After a very late start but some good progress, this idea just isn’t going to work out in the time remaining.
The premise of “Missile Demand” is to protect your cities by shooting down a barrage of ICBM warheads. The catch is, you only have one anti-ballistic missile to defend yourself. Your only chance of survival is a well-timed, well-placed missile setting off an exploding chain reaction of incoming warheads.
It looked like it would be fairly easy to construct puzzles automatically, but the constraints of the existing form of “Missile Command” make this more difficult than anticipated.
First, it is too easy for warheads to pass through explosions at the wrong time, breaking the intended chain. Intense heuristics might produce some good challenges but this is speculation. Manually designed challenges are feasible with some more time but this particular problem makes the puzzles seem rather bland.
The second problem is poor situational awareness. Within the existing form, a satisfyingly long chain reaction requires too many warheads to be off-screen when the critical shot is fired.
Something Connor Ullmann tweeted during this rings especially true at the moment.
“It’s a very sad thing, to me, knowing that I’m far more interested in the potential of an idea than the realization of it. An idea may seem AMAZING, but the main reason it’s amazing is because you’re not actually sure what it is yet.”