Opus Magnum (from Zachtronics of SpaceChem/Infinifactory fame)


I’m still early on, so I may get to that point too.


Looks like there’s a hidden fast forward feature. Start the program by single-stepping once with tab. Then ctrl-click on an instruction to fast-forward to it.


Oh my god, thank you.


I’ve never been good at imagining things moving through space. Remember those I.O.W.A. tests? I did well in everything except those damn questions where you had to imagine folding the shapes along the dotted lines to make a 3D object. I sucked at those big time and I don’t think that is helping me in this game.

I’m staring at a pretty early puzzle (face powder) trying to figure out how to get my cycles down from 43 into the 20s, and I can’t picture how I need to set it up.


I got my Face Powder cycles to within 1 on my friend leaderboard. It felt so good to make progress on it. I’m curious though, can others post there Face Powder solution optimized for cycles? I’m curious to see how similar they are.

Here’s mine.

Any idea how to get it so it doesn’t display so small in an outline?


Not similar! I think yours is a lot more fun.

edit: Oh, and I uploaded the picture rather than linking to imgur or something. It’s an option in the compose panel (and hopefully it’s cool w/Tom)


This is what I came up with now, after hearing that it could be done with 26. Wouldn’t have tried for it otherwise :) Tried a few times first with the three-pronged arms, which is I’ve been using a ton when optimizing the later solutions that require converting something to salt. But that approach doesn’t work here.


I have to say both of your solutions are much more elegant than mine. It just goes to show you the weird way my mind works :-)

When I tried to upload my solution here, I got a message stating it was too big - so I went to imgur,


I think it’s real that the three of you came up with very different solutions


Here’s what I came up with when I saw jsnell had beat my cycles score:


Ooo, I like that one.


I completed the entire game without using track once. But now I’m completely obsessed with using track with multiple arms to solve everything.

Pro-tip: CTRL+Drag something, copies everything, including component selections and sequences of instructions. Without that, programming multiple arms to do the same thing is tedious.


That is cool Richard. It is amazing there are such varied solutions.


I couldn’t get down to 26, but mine is:


That’s pretty elegant though.


I love the input mechanism!


I have spent hours and hours trying to improve my Airship Fuel solutions and damn I just can’t see it. I have 37 cycles. On my leaderboard are 29, 27, 20, 19, 19. My hat is tipped to you guys. My only guess is that rotating the chemical has to be a big part of the solution because that tends to be efficient as you don’t need to ‘undo’ those operations when starting a new iteration.

My cost and area is at least in the ballpark. Even my 37 cycles is pretty good according the histogram, just not good compared to my friends. I need friends who aren’t as smart!


I’m the same. For instance, you are beating my cycles score on other levels, and I simply cannot work out how. But my philosophy, for the moment, is: looking at the left 25% of the global histogram, and asking - am I in that? Am I also basically happy with my solution, or - based on my current knowledge of the game - is it obviously inelegant, hacky, kludgey? So I’m trying to run through the game with this in mind, optimizing for cycles at the moment, and if I’m happy enough with a solution, moving on to the next problem.

With these kinds of games, in the past I’ve been obsessed with beating or equalling the top player in my local leaderboard before moving on, but there’s definitely a point where the pleasurable frustration turns into a kind of hopeless frustration, and you end up not launching the game anymore due to what you think you would have to achieve.

I might yet return to earlier levels and try to better my score, but I find it more rewarding overall to know when to settle for what I have and carry on. I’m also a lot more cavalier about starting new solutions - for some of the earlier puzzles, I’m sure I have a bunch of different “cycles” solutions that each only beat the previous attempt by a couple of cycles, but also each would be structured in a radically different way.

BTW, my 29-cycle airship fuel solution:


I liked this as there was only a cycle period of 4 for each of the arms. Doing it all in 19 seems flat-out impossible for me at the moment.


That’s a nice and clean solution - quite a bit better than mine for sure.


This is one of my favorite levels in the game; simple but tricky. Every time I went back to it I learned something new.

Alarm bells should be going off when your inputs are underutilized that badly. Let’s do some quick math.

You’re only extracting 1 fire/turn on average in that solution, so it’ll take roughly 24 turns to produce the necessary atoms (to be precise, the 4th atom is grabbed from an input on round 3, so the 24th will be grabbed on round 23). And the it’ll take 6 more turns for that last atom to go through all the steps in your pipeline. It might be possible to shorten the pipeline a bit, but at a minimum the last atom must be grabbed, moved twice, and dropped. So 26 turns should be a lower limit if the inputs are used like this.

What if you were able to extract atoms at the maximum rate, rather than leaving some inputs idle? You’d grab the 24th atom on round 15. By the earlier logic, the theoretical lower limit must be 18 turns. That’s a much bigger potential payoff. So the only optimization worth doing at this point is figuring out a way of using all the inputs all the time; no matter how long the pipeline or how long the cycle time. The other optimizations are only worth it once you’ve gotten that basic part done.

Yes, unlike some of the earlier levels, here it’s not obvious how to get that full utlization going. Which is exactly why it’s such an instructive puzzle :) Some of the later levels will make achieving full utilization even more inconvenient. In particular, fuck the “Water Purifier”; usually I name my solutions things like “fast”, “cheap” or “small”. In that one my best solution is named “bullshit”, just to remind me not to touch it again.