One thing I would like for the Zachtronics games is if the optimization mattered somehow other than just personal satisfaction. Such as you get achievements, special equipment, or get to unlock special stages for meeting certain optimization goals. Or since you are basically designing factories (or PCBs in the case of Shenzhen and TIS), maybe your creations earn profit based on their cost and efficiency? And maybe you have to earn enough profit to win the game, in which case would have to revisit less efficient designs to improve them.
Haven't seen any mention of Factorio in this thread. It's not as much of a puzzle game (except when going for extreme optimisation) but a resource management game.
Someone created a bf interpreter using this game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll0qHlx_qLg
Also of interest may be similar attempts to create computers in other games and applications:
Great review of the game, and doesn't even mention the built-in solitaire game, Sigmar's Garden, which is a fun game in and of itself, set in the same hex grid you play on in the main game.
Another excellent game I would put in the same genre is Manufactoria, a free flash game. In fact, here's a glowing recommendation for it from the creator of Opus Magnum (the game featured in the OP): http://thesiteformerlyknownas.zachtronicsindustries.com/manu...
Edit: It looks like this is the URL for the latest version of Manufactoria: http://pleasingfungus.com/Manufactoria/
I enjoyed this one a lot more than his previous games. There’s not a lot of challenge to just getting through a level, so it’s more of a meditative experience. It has depth if you want to optimize but there’s less banging your head against the wall for hours completely stuck, as can happen in his previous games.
I'm not a gamer yet that write up was riveting. Cool.
Abstract optimization games like this remind of Verigames, a DARPA project researching gamification of scientific problems (such as protein folding or formal verification of software) so crowds of untrained human players could attempt the solve the problems.
As you might expect, these types of games appeal to quite a few people that frequent HN, and have come up often the past.
I found this game to be terrible, in contrast to Shenzen I/O which I found somewhat fun.
The issue was the lack of any meaningful constraint, which means that there is no difficulty and solving the puzzle is just a matter of tediously entering a sequence that produces the desired result.
In theory you could try to get the most optimal solution, but that doesn't seem very fun either, since the lack of programmability and variety makes everything very bland.
Perhaps it would be a tinge more fun, if the chemistry was somewhat realistic. Though I haven't played Opus, the totally bogus chemistry of SpaceChem was detracting from the experience, and I wonder why most reviewers haven't really commented on that aspect.
I am not sure i should buy 'opus magnus' or the new 'into the breach'
Opus looks like more about programming solving problem? And into the breach more like chess or tactical rpg?
I am curious if someone tried both could me make a choice!
From the article this sounds exactly like my experience playing code golf - coming up with a cool solution, finding out your friend did it in half as many characters, completely reinventing your approach, repeat.
SpaceChem was my favourite iPad game. It was great when travelling when you had some time to burn and it could be really challenging. It’s a shame that Zachtronics decided to drop support for iOS.
What I love about Zachtronics is the vast design space.
Can those who've played these games recommend which one to start with for someone who is interested but hasn't played any of them?