I made a small yet important update to the mission viewer yesterday : element substitution.
When I asked Lanky (the guy who's responsible for most of the new ResearchNet assignment) how he made his special-element missions, he said he had asked Zach to simply replace certain elements with the greek ones. After feeling a bit stupid for not thinking of that myself, I went along and added that option to the viewer. And then when showing this to Lanky, he suggested an any→any substitution option, so that's now possible as well.
It works as follows. There is now a “conversion bar”, seen in Fig 1. There are three types of fields here:
- A conversion enable checkbox.
- Search input-fields for the special elements Θ-Av. Av is the symbol for Australium.
- A batch-converter field, where you can specify any-any conversions by entering search:replacement pairs.
The example from Fig 1 has 'Ru' for the Ω substitution, so any Ru's will be converted to Ωs. The batch string will be parsed into Os→Σ and Hs→Δ substitutions. As you can see, you can use either the element's symbol or number here – the special elements have numbers 200 through 204.
The conversion process will change both the elements in the molecule, and in the formula. At present, the formula substitution uses a simple text conversion, so it can get confused by single-letter elements, but otherwise it works fine. Only valid SpaceChem elements are considered, so you shouldn't be able create a mission code that crashes the game (I hope).
All in all, this change presents two interesting possibilities. First, the ability to create puzzles with special elements with relative ease. Second, the ability to break bond-limits. for example, you could change O-C-O into O-H-O using a 'C:H' batch. Not that anyone would be wildly Mad enough to use that as a target, right? Right?!?