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Reading order

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Reading order is the way that all versions of Chip's Challenge process teleport usage, and is also used in several other applications such as mapping.

Reverse reading order[edit]

In the MS ruleset, when searching for the Chip tile which the player moves, reverse reading order is used. Chip's Challenge game will begin searching from the grid coordinate [31, 31] and move west, and then move to the next row all the way to row 0 in the same manner. If [0, 0] is reached and no Chip tile exists, the search stops there and the principles of the Non-Existence Glitch are used to determine what to do.

When any object runs into a teleport, reverse wrappable reading order is used instead. The teleport's direction is the starting location, and if [0, 0] is reached with no legal exit from a teleport, Chip's Challenge wraps back to [31, 31] until either a valid teleport or the same teleport is reached, whichever comes first. Chip's Challenge 2 also uses reverse wrappable reading order for blue and yellow teleports.

Forwards reading order[edit]

In Lynx and Chip's Challenge 2, forwards wrappable reading order determines how brown buttons and red buttons are connected. A button will be automatically connected to the next trap or clone machine in forwards wrappable reading order. CC2 also uses forwards wrappable reading order for red teleports.

In solution guides, forwards reading order, going from [0, 0] to [31, 31], is often used to vastly simplify the guides to levels with long block pushing, a lot of closely packed blocks to push which would require very unwieldy disambiguation, or both.

Mapping guidelines[edit]

Blocks, and sometimes their targets in long Sokoban levels such as Warehouse II, are numbered using forwards reading order, and keep the same number for the duration of the level wherever they move. Rather than having to write "the block 3U from the ice patch on the far right" or "the northernmost block", simply "block 5" and "block 13" suffice. Cake Walk, Chiller, Partial Post, and Pier Seven are examples of noticable simplification. Block reading order can encompass the whole level, or be divided into sections of the level. An advisory that the currently held block is block X in this section may be necessary or be implied.

Block numbers can be changed only by a specific decree noting that there is a new block order, and that the next block to be moved is block X out of the remaining Y blocks in this area. This makes the notation easier to use when blocks have been jumbled continuously and it is no longer clear to the reader which block is which, such that one would have to painstakingly trace the path of each block to its current position.

Column reading order[edit]

In some rare cases, such as the chips in the upper section of Block Buster II, it may be easier to use column reading order rather than the usual forwards:

BBII column reading.png

In column reading order, only the columns are counted - the rows are immaterial. The computer chip order from left to right is 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 using column reading order, while it would be 9-7-5-3-1-2-4-6-8-10 using normal reading order.

Column reading order is at its most effective when the chips in question are located in adjacent columns, as the player would naturally tend towards numbering the chips by column when they are located at such close proximity. When the chip chains travel southeast, the two methods tend to cannibalize each other: if only the five chips on the right were there, both methods would yield the same order.

There is also a natural limit imposed by the exclusion of rows: only one chip can be on each column. However, it is not uncommon for chips to be stacked in diagonal columns (Mixed Nuts is an additional example), so column reading order is highly effective in the rare cases when there is a difference.

In level editors[edit]

In CCLD and CCCreator, teleport reading order is shown by a line connecting the teleport with its target teleport. The line is teal in CCLD and green in CCCreator. The following image, cut from The Mystery of the Seven Chips, shows how this works:

Reading order.png

CCEdit indicates which tile the teleport links to when the teleport is under the cursor.

Note that even if the indicated move would be illegal, as it would if Chip slid L through teleport 4, all three editors mentioned above always show the next teleport in sequence, so be aware of the surroundings when using an editor to sort out teleport paths.