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31 December 2006 @ 12:37 am
Digital Paint By Number and Paint By Number Place (Redux)  
So I had a great time at home visiting with family. The only slight sore spot was the reappearance of the Paint By Number/Hanjie book entitled "Paint by Sudoku" which has nothing to do with Sudoku at all (my father was getting into this style of puzzle, and this was the best of the available books at the stores). After complaining about the extent to which sudoku is reframing all existing puzzles, I made a complicated variant several months ago that sort of fit the name. It led to an interesting geometric variant of the standard grid for solving a straight sudoku puzzle so I posted it, even though the picture was a bit unrefined.

I mentioned at that time that I had discovered two great ideas for puzzles and I introduced one of those ideas as Battleship Sudoku. Now, finally, I can unveil the other great idea, which is a very publishable variation of sudoku that truly earns the title "Paint By Sudoku". The methodology also lends itself nicely to what I will call "Digital Paint By Number" puzzles. You'll find examples of both new types in this entry (enjoy!):

First the meat. Start with the standard Paint By Number style where you shade cells to form a picture. Imagine adding numbers into the grid; the outside numbers now no longer refer to just the count of consecutive shaded cells, but rather the sum of consecutive shaded cells. Just as in digital battleships, the sizes of the sums and the numbers allow for a different kind of elimination when solving. I haven't worked a lot to perfect the style (far too busy with other things), but I wrote a reasonable example on the plane home for the holiday season and you can try it out here.

(Click here for solution).

Now, onto the pudding. Imagine a puzzle that uses this same concept, but takes a standard sudoku grid with the regular rules as its starting point. You could easily put any set of sums over an existing sudoku puzzle (that is solvable on its own) and reward the solvers for doing the sudoku by letting them color it in and get a picture. You could even just give numbers on the side to indicate "shade 1, 3, 4, 6 wherever they occur in this row" or something like that. Its so trivial a concept, I expect Conceptis or someone else to use it pretty soon (either from seeing this entry, or more likely not).

However, it would be awesome to combine the coloring of the picture with the solving of the sudoku itself, and I've tried that below with this digital paint-by-numbers/japanese sums style sudoku. They come in three difficulties, as indicated, and I think you'll enjoy the hidden theme that links the pictures. Keep in mind that there must be at least one blank square between any shaded regions. Having some experience with Killer Sudoku/Kakuro certainly won't hurt as dealing with the sums becomes very important.

(Click here[1], here[2], here[3] for solutions).
thedan on December 31st, 2006 06:05 am (UTC)
Damn it, Thomas, secrecy! Now we have to write a brand new Round 37, Puzzle 12.
motrismotris on December 31st, 2006 06:16 am (UTC)
I still feel we should cut about two hundred of the puzzles so this Mystery Hunt ends before the next Hunt. But since you won't listen, I might as well blow some of mine to cut the number... ;)
XSG - 1 G 2 Manyxsg on December 31st, 2006 07:50 pm (UTC)
Maelstrommlstrm on December 31st, 2006 09:21 am (UTC)
I'm anxious to try these out. Somehow I thought of the following:

"Gonna paint sudoku,
Gonna paint it fine,
Gonna use oil-based paint,
'cause the wood is pine..."
thedan on December 31st, 2006 02:10 pm (UTC)
I see Sudoku and I want to paint them black...
No puzzles anymore, I want them to turn black...
motrismotris on December 31st, 2006 04:32 pm (UTC)
Those are both pretty funny and the Stones one is pretty apt for this moment in time for me and thedan.
TH: homsarrpipuzzleguy on January 6th, 2007 12:43 am (UTC)
PonderOOOOsa pine, ooo-ooo!
Teesside Snog Monster: swingsjiggery_pokery on January 18th, 2007 05:46 pm (UTC)
These are really good (OK, I have only done the Digital Paint By Number puzzle so far) and look very commercial to me. Any newspaper (etc.) that has had both a Paint By Number and a Sudoku in the past would likely leap at the chance to print these.

Go and make money!
motrismotris on January 18th, 2007 07:00 pm (UTC)
I definitely agree - now that Hunt is over, I'll be writing another of these and sending a set to GAMES to see if they are interested. I would go through Sterling where I'm writing my battleship sudoku book, but I figure its easier on me if I just start with a magazine publication of this idea given I do have a doctoral thesis to write soon.
Teesside Snog Monster: puzzlejiggery_pokery on January 18th, 2007 07:13 pm (UTC)

Have done the first two Paint By Sudokus as well. The second took me something like 45 minutes at a guess; two complete attempts were required, but I got there in the end. Very, very cool!
(Anonymous) on February 11th, 2010 07:22 am (UTC)
what was the most fun?
I just solved these three and I like the concept! Will there be some of these in your Sudoku Masterpieces book?

I'm not sure which part I enjoyed more: the solving process going back and forth between sudoku-logic and paint-by-numbers logic and sometimes kakuro (or killer sudoku) logic; creating a pretty picture (with only 9x9 pixels!); or the puns in the titles.

By the time I got to the third one I was imagining something like the astrological sign for Libra: I couldn't imagine drawing not-quite-balanced scales in 9x9 pixels, so I was imagining the underlined omega kind of thing. But then I thought that might be too obscure a reference, especially with so few pixels. I was pleasantly surprised by the much more sensible drawing that emerged.
motrismotris on February 11th, 2010 07:30 am (UTC)
Re: what was the most fun?
I haven't revisited this idea since the puzzles I put together here; I actually sent these to GAMES back in the day and never heard anything from the editor which pushed me in other directions for awhile. Still I really liked how these turned out and will certainly come back to make some more in the future.