Here's a code. Can you crack it?
When a puzzle looks like this… AUGH.
I believe that the main purpose of this site, apart from entertainment and sharpening our puzzle-solving skills, is learning what makes a good puzzle. This site is a great place for aspiring puzzle creators to practice on a wide audience of tireless testsolvers and get constant feedback.
Coded message puzzles can be fun, but with many of them (like the fake example above), I get the feeling that the designer doesn’t care about making a good puzzle. In particular, they probably did not think about how a solver would approach their puzzle.
What am I supposed to do? Throw spaghetti at the wall until it comes up English? This is not enjoyable. There is no starting point. There are no clues, or not enough.
A variation: some recent puzzles (example, example, example(?), example) have followed the following pattern:
- Post a code that’s so hard that nobody can solve it.
- Wait a day and post a hint.
- Repeat until somebody finally solves it.
I don’t think this fixes anything. Before any hints appear, the puzzle is way too hard. At some point along the line, the puzzle becomes possible. Indeed, it may become a really fun puzzle at this point. But if that's the case, why not at least try to figure out when the puzzle becomes fun, and then post that?
On to my question(s): what are some examples of code puzzles that are enjoyable to solve? (Cough cough, shameless plug, like this one) What should aspiring code designers do, and what should they avoid? As a solver, what do you want to see when you open up a new code puzzle?
The idea is to make this a meta post that we can link to whenever someone posts a probably-low-quality code puzzle.