|Curvy Copter 3|
Now 3 years later MF8 have released a new puzzle which they have called the Curvy Copter 3. This was designed by them entirely independently and only after they saw the similarity to TomZ's earlier Curvy Copter and subsequent Curvy Copter 2, they decided to name it after his initial puzzle as a mark of respect. The first release was as shown in the picture above, made from coloured plastic with no stickers (I love these because they look pristine forever) and a black plastic with stickers is shortly to be available. I would consider one of these an ESSENTIAL addition to a twisty collection and if you want it then it can be bought from the usual Chinese/Hong Kong stores for example HKNowstore where I got mine.
So what makes this one so special? As you can see from the picture it retains many features of the parent puzzle - it is an edge turner but now the cuts are deeper than before and actually cross midline making the centre cubies and petals which get moved around. The edges, corners and pentagons remain as before. It also jumbles as the parent did (jumbling occurs when it is possible to partial turns to line up planes of the cuts and then swap pieces completely out of their normal orbits and even out of position.
Before you all run away screaming at the thought of a commutator, bear in mind that if you can solve a 3x3 using beginner technique or using the Ultimate solution then you are already using commutators without realising it - the corner piece series is a commutator (shock!) The fun thing for me here was that, presented with this totally new puzzle, I needed to try and find my own commutator and actually managed it with little difficulty. In fact this approach is used on much more complex puzzles. Probably my favourite twisty puzzles of all time (Eitan's star and the Master Curvy Copter) had similar problems which I solved by looking for a commutator. With very complex multi-part puzzles a common approach is to solve them, not by layers but by piece type and after a few types have been placed it becomes impossible to move the remaining ones about without ruining what has already been achieved and hence a commutator becomes necessary.
I probably cannot give you a definition of a commutator properly but the overall idea is to perform a sequence (preferably a simple one), then another sequence, then reverse them in order. If designed properly then the outcome will be a cycle of a particular piece type without upsetting the others. Many puzzlers use a fabulous piece of Java based emulation software called Gelatinbrain to try and find these commutators on a computer before playing with a puzzle - although the best twisty solver I know (Burgo from the Twisty Puzzle Forum) always does this on a puzzle itself rather than in software which I find astounding! With his encouragement and Konrad from TP I was actually able to find a couple of suitable commutators for the Curvy Copter 3.
To prove to you that you also can achieve such wonderful results I will show you how a basic commutator can be found on the CC3. Taking a non-scrambled cube if you perform the sequence UR, UL, UR, UL then you end up with 3 centre lines having been cycled (U -> L -> R ->U)
After this if you do a UB, UF, UB then the effect of this is to have replaced just one petal within those three lines
After this then the next sequence is to undo the first set of moves so UR, UL, UR, UL becomes UL, UR, UL, UR
|After the first sequence is undone|
[UR, UL, UR, UL], [UB, UF, UB], [UL, UR, UL, UR], [UB, UF, UB]The final effect of this is simply to produce a 3 cycle of the petals from top-front to front-top to right-back with absolutely no effect on any other piece as you can see in the pic below. This can be used to move the petals effectively wherever you wish with the use of setup moves to position the required pieces to those correct positions
|3 petals cycled around|
This means the Curvy copter 3 is a revelation of a puzzle - partly solved by intuition and then requiring a nice easy commutator and lots of setups - so much fun and a really nice challenge without being too horrific. So go on all you general puzzlers out there - it's time to branch out! I would say that this is one of the best twisties released this year! Buy it as it is essential!