A Short Wrapup of the “Puzzling StackExchange Award Ceremony” Series
This is not a solution to the puzzle, but provides notes from its poser. This type of answer has been approved by the community.
This is a wrapup of all three puzzles in the series.
Caution: This post may contain spoilers.
The series was inspired partly by my love for making puzzles (not so much solving them – I’m better at designing than solving), and my desire to use my skills and talents to reach a wider audience. I found just that right here with the Puzzling StackExchange community, and I’m extremely grateful and happy with the help the community has given me.
Each puzzle in the series was created using roughly the same technique. The first aspect of each puzzle I designed was the spiral in the first two puzzles, or in the case of the third puzzle, the pyramid. This would provide the backbone for the rest of the puzzle, seeing as it is harder to take a block of text and design a shape around it, than it is to take a shape and design a block of text around it. Just my opinion.
The second aspect to be designed were the notes. Each note was carefully based around the shape that I had designed, and whenever I hid a user’s name or another word inside the shape – that had to be taken into account as well. This was the step I found easiest to complete when designing the puzzles, but that’s not to say I found it a breeze. It had its own little difficulties..
The final step was to construct the storyline, and to determine what hints to prepare for the puzzle. The storyline was very simple: Usually it involved writing one or two paragraphs to go at the start of the puzzle. Designing the hints, though, was much harder. There is a fine line between giving too little information inside a hint such that it renders the hint completely useless, or giving away too much, and making the puzzle too simple. I had to strike the right chord in designing my hints, and unfortunately, that took 2 puzzles to figure out.
I have had a lot of fun, and learnt a lot of new things throughout the making of this series. It being my first ever puzzle series, and indeed, the first puzzles I have ever posted on this site, I went in relatively new and inexperienced. Still, the making of this series has taught me a number of things:
Easy for you ≠ Easy for Others!
A puzzle that you’ve designed will look easy to you, most of the time. That’s because you’ve designed it, and thus the solution will pop out naturally at you. You can’t get a public judgement on the complexity of the puzzle simply by considering it from your own perspective. That’s why my first puzzle was too simple, and my second a tad too hard. Judging the difficulty of a puzzle comes with experience on the community designing and solving puzzles.
Create – edit, review, edit review, edit, review, … – Publish!
It’s never enough to post a puzzle immediately after creating it. Inevitably the puzzle will be riddled with errors, or have one small error in it somewhere that will throw every solver off his or her track. Once you’ve created a puzzle, spend some quality time refining and perfecting it – even get someone else to try and solve it before publishing it, if you have the time and effort (I certainly don’t 99% of the time).
My time on this community has come with a steep learning curve, but I have climbed it with pleasure. Once again, thank you to the community for all your tireless help and support and I look forward to posting more puzzles in the future!