Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

Organic Order: A New Problem Solving Game

Have you updated your Lumosity mobile app recently? In addition to launching the new Lost in Migration Insight last week, we also made Organic Order, one of our most popular Problem Solving games, available on our iOS and Android apps.

Organic Order challenges logical reasoning, or your ability to combine multiple cognitive processes to recognize patterns, draw conclusions, and make decisions. In the game, you’re tasked with planting seed packets in a garden according to a set of rules to ensure your plants flourish. The game starts with one or two conditions to help guide you, but as you advance, the game becomes more difficult as the number of instructions and seeds to be planted grow.

Laura, the games engineer responsible for developing Organic Order, conceived of the game after taking the LSAT. Although standardized tests aren’t usually anyone’s idea of fun, Laura found mastering the logic problems both challenging and satisfying, and she thought Lumosity players might feel that way, too.

“Logic games just scratch this itch,” she explained. “People like that moment when everything clicks and makes sense, so I wanted to develop a game that would be challenging but ultimately rewarding in a similar way.”

Like all Lumosity games, Organic Order is adaptive, with the game getting progressively more difficult as you level up. While beta testing the game, Laura looked to game data and user feedback to refine the game’s levels.

“This game was really interesting to develop. One thing that changed after beta testing is that we’d originally included an ‘impossible’ button in every level and based on the data we ended up only including the impossible option in higher levels.”

The “impossible” button is meant to be selected when a player reviews the instructions and determines that, due to some contradiction in them, it isn’t possible to plant the seeds in an order that satisfies all of the instructions’ conditions. Laura found that when the “impossible” button was an option from the beginning, beta testers tended to choose that by default if they couldn’t work out the logic problem, rather than wrestling with the problem’s various conditions a little longer.

“When we removed the ‘impossible’ button from the earlier levels, we saw players’ success in understanding how to manipulate the conditions improve ten-fold,” Laura said. “Not having it be an option encouraged people to take their time and figure out the game, so that when we reintroduced the impossible option later they were more thoughtful about it.”

With over 85 million registered users around the world, every Lumosity game needs to appeal to and challenge a wide variety of players. User feedback during beta testing was invaluable to Laura as she fine-tuned Organic Order, and we’re excited to make the finished game available across our web and mobile platforms. Give Organic Order a try and let us know what you think.

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