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Lumines Skills Guide
  By Rovingbar AKA Jeff Hebert
  Version 1.0


0.   Contents
1.     Introduction to this Guide
2.     Know Yourself
  2.1.     Your brain and Lumines
  2.2.     Motor skills
3.     Blocks and Sequences
  3.1.     Squares, Blocks, Deletes, and Combos
  3.2.     Block Types
  3.3.     Block Frequencies
  3.4.     Destroyers
  3.5.     Sequence Probabilities
4.     Rotating Blocks
  4.1.     Single Direction Strategy
  4.2.     Dual Direction Strategy
  4.3.     Rotation Statistics
5.     Delete Strategies
  5.1.     A word on scoring
  5.2.     Basic Deletes
  5.3.     Infinite Tower
  5.4.     Layers
  5.5.     Slice
  5.6.     Double Slice
  5.7.     Power Slice
  5.8.     Advanced slice and dice
  5.9.     Maximizing Deletes
  5.10.     Managing Leftovers
6.     Delete Theory
  6.1.     How many Squares does it take to make a Delete?
  6.2.     Rectangular Deletes
  6.3.     Max and Min Squares per Delete
7.     Game Speed
  7.1.     Game Speed
  7.2.     Max Drop Rate
8.     Know your Skills
  8.1.     Performance Statistics
9.     Improve Your Skills
  9.2.     Upcoming drops
  9.3.     Planning your next move
  9.4.     Play Faster
10.     Know your habits
  10.1.     Identify your habits
  10.2.     Break your habits
  10.3.     For Lumines Sake ? Know your habits
11.     Credits
12.     Copyright
13.     Version History
14.     Appendix
  14.1.     Table of 3 block sequences
  14.2.     Table of Typical Deletes





1.	Introduction to this Guide

This is a different kind of guide. I?ve read many guides on 
how to play Lumines. They cover controls and strategy very 
well. Please refer to them if you want to learn strategy. 
This guide is intended to help you develop your Lumines 
skills. I am actually writing this guide to help me 
formalize my thoughts. I am NOT an advanced player. I see 
things in this game that I have not seen in any other game. 
More importantly, no other guide covers this material. The 
shining star (IMHO) of this guide is the Improve your Skills 
section. In that section I discuss the essential skills of 
Lumines ? predicting, planning, and speed. Most important, 
I?ll recommend some exercises to help you develop these 
skills. But first, we need to cover quite a bit of ground so 
lets get started.

Here is a quick guide to how you play the game, and the 
section of this guide with info on that skill. 

Quick Guide to Lumines Activities
1. Recognize the block (Section 3)
2. Decide what to do with it (Sections 5,6)
3. Slide the block (Section 9)
4. Rotate the block (Section 4)
5. Drop the block (Section 9)

2.	Know Yourself

2.1.	Your brain and Lumines
Many folks describe a moment where you ?get it?. Before that 
moment, Lumines seems impossibly difficult. After that 
moment, everything seems to make sense. Yet the game is 
still impossibly difficult, you can just get much farther in 
the game until you come to some barrier. The way it 
typically goes is the first few games you get to 10k or 20k 
points, and get stuck there for a while. You may steadily 
improve to 30k or 40k where you get stuck again. Then you 
figure out the controls and the timeline and how deletes 
work and you can suddenly get to 50k or 80k. Then after 
another breakthrough you suddenly start scoring 150k to 200k 
points. Then you run into some of the fast levels and get 
stuck again.

The reason this happens is because to play this game well 
you need to re-train your brain. This game is not just about 
reflexes or strategy, it is about training your brain to 
recognize and respond to patterns. As you play, you will 
recognize lots of patterns. You will drop a block onto it 
and see the results. Sometimes the results are good (many 
deletes) sometimes they are bad (checkerboard of death). 
After repeating that same pattern a few dozen times your 
subconscious will suddenly 'get it' and you will start 
dropping the blocks better. You will suddenly start getting 
combos that seemed impossible before. If you look closely at 
your combos, you will notice that they are usually the same 
pattern over and over. Even the most advanced players have a 
set of standard patterns stored away in their subconscious 
somewhere.
 
The point of this is that the only way to improve in this 
game is through practice. You can study all the guides in 
the world. You can read how to beat specific puzzles, or how 
to do an infinite combo, or whatever. But not of that will 
really help you improve. (Actually, learning those 
techniques can help you improve, but only if you practice 
the technique over and over.) 

So don't worry if you don?t get it right away. Just keep 
playing and practicing. When you get stuck with Challenge 
mode, switch over to Time Attack for a day or two then come 
back to Challenge mode. Try some of the exercises later in 
this guide. They are designed to help you develop some of 
the skills that help you improve the critical areas of your 
game.


[At some later date I may describe mental pathways, 
invariant representations, and habits.]

2.2.	Motor skills

Obviously, motor skills play a role in this. Again, the only 
way to develop those skills is through practice.

Remember, this game is about patterns. That is why it is a 
puzzle game. The more you play, the faster your brain gets. 
Soon enough you will find that you have an intuition about 
where to place blocks, so you don?t have to think about them 
much. At that point, your game becomes limited by your motor 
skills. How fast can you move the block 3 columns right, 
rotate it once, then drop it. Fast players can do that in 
about half a second. Slow players take 1.5 to 3 seconds to 
do that simple move. When you first start playing, it may 
take 2 seconds to figure out what to do with a block, so it 
doesn?t matter if it takes you 2 or 3 seconds to move it. 
You can do some multi tasking and the entire sequence works 
well. But as you advance in the game, you must be able to 
move blocks faster so you can devote more brainpower to 
figuring out what to do with the blocks.


3.	Blocks and Sequences

3.1.	Squares, Blocks, Deletes, and Combos

Squares are the fundamental pieces of Lumines. Four squares 
create a block. You drop blocks to create deletes. A single 
delete is always a 2x2 collection of same color squares. 
Combos happen when you get more than 1 delete. The most 
efficient way to get combos is to pile many squares of the 
same color onto each other. There will be more on deletes 
and combos later in this guide.

3.2.	Block Types

For the purposes of this guide, I?ve chosen to use a numeric 
nomenclature for blocks. Whenever you see a code like [1], 
that means that 1 of the squares is dark. A [2x] means that 
2 are dark, and they are the checkerboard type (AKA Deuce) 
block. Note that there are only 6 types of blocks, but for 
some the orientation is significant. So there are 16 
possible configurations. I label the possible orientations 
ABCD. Throughout this GUIDE, you will see codes like [3]A or 
simply 3A which means 3 dark blocks, and the one light block 
is at the top left. Keep this table handy for reference.

               Orientation
Block code   A   B   C   D

Blank [0]:   OO
             OO

One [1]:     XO  OX  OO  OO
             OO  OO  OX  XO

Two [2]:     XX  OX  OO  XO
             OO  OX  XX  XO

Deuce [2x]:  XO  OX
             OX  XO

Three [3]:   OX  XO  XX  XX
             XX  XX  XO  OX


Four [4]:    XX
             XX


3.3.	Block Frequencies

We need to get something straight here. Lumines is a game of 
random probabilities. That is part of the elegance of the 
game. When generating blocks, the program randomly chooses 
the color of each square. There is a 50% chance of getting 
either light or dark for each square. Squares are put 
together in groups of 4. The order is significant, thus the 
probability of getting any one pattern is 2^4 (i.e. 2*2*2*2) 
or 16 possible combinations. The probability of getting any 
one of the combinations is 1/16 or 6.25%. The part that 
confuses most people is that there are several different 
orientations for some of the blocks.

Block   My Code  Orientations     Total Probability
 Blank    [0]         1                 6.25%
 One      [1]         4                25.00%
 Two      [2]         4                25.00%
 Deuce    [2x]        2                12.50%
 Three    [3]         4                25.00%
 Four     [4]         1                 6.25%
 TOTAL               16               100%

3.4.	Destroyers

Destroyers come along about once every 64 or 128 blocks. 
That means the probability that any given square is a 
destroyer is 1 of every 2^8 or 2^9 squares. Yes indeed, they 
are very rare.

Note: I would be grateful if anyone can provide statistics 
on actual destroyer frequency. I?ve seen some posts, but 
there is precious little data.

3.5.	Sequence Probabilities

This section is of limited use, but I thought it would be 
useful to get a sense of the top sequences. Note: These 
sequences ignore orientation because initial orientation is 
not relevant to how the block is finally placed on the 
field. 

3.5.1.	Two Block Frequencies

As expected, the most frequent blocks dominate the most 
frequent sequences. Blocks 1,2, and 3 show up together 
nearly 56.25% of the 2 block sequences. 

Probability   1st   2nd
6.25%          1     1
6.25%          1     2
6.25%          1     3
6.25%          2     1
6.25%          2     2
6.25%          2     3
6.25%          3     1
6.25%          3     2
6.25%          3     3
3.13%          1     2x
3.13%          2     2x
3.13%          2x    1
3.13%          2x    2
3.13%          2x    3
3.13%          3     2x
1.56%          0     1
1.56%          0     2
1.56%          0     3
1.56%          1     0
1.56%          1     4
1.56%          2     0
1.56%          2     4
1.56%          2x    2x
1.56%          3     0
1.56%          3     4
1.56%          4     1
1.56%          4     2
1.56%          4     3
0.78%          0     2x
0.78%          2x    0
0.78%          2x    4
0.78%          4     2x
0.39%          0     0
0.39%          0     4
0.39%          4     0
0.39%          4     4


3.5.2.	Three Block Frequencies

This is just the top frequencies that you will see more than 
1% of the time. The complete table is at the end of this 
guide. Note that again, these sequences are dominated by the 
most frequent blocks. Blocks 1,2, and 3 show up together 
nearly 42.19% of the 3 block sequences.

Probability   1st   2nd   3rd
1.56%          1     1     1
1.56%          1     1     2
1.56%          1     1     3
1.56%          1     2     1
1.56%          1     2     2
1.56%          1     2     3
1.56%          1     3     1
1.56%          1     3     2
1.56%          1     3     3
1.56%          2     1     1
1.56%          2     1     2
1.56%          2     1     3
1.56%          2     2     1
1.56%          2     2     2
1.56%          2     2     3
1.56%          2     3     1
1.56%          2     3     2
1.56%          2     3     3
1.56%          3     1     1
1.56%          3     1     2
1.56%          3     1     3
1.56%          3     2     1
1.56%          3     2     2
1.56%          3     2     3
1.56%          3     3     1
1.56%          3     3     2
1.56%          3     3     3


4.	Rotating Blocks

There are two strategies when it comes to rotating blocks: 
Single direction or dual direction.
4.1.	Single Direction Strategy

The single direction strategy is easier to learn, you rotate 
blocks either clockwise or counterclockwise. The primary 
benefit is that once you?ve decided what orientation you 
want, you don?t have to think about which direction to 
rotate. You just hit your favorite rotate button 0, 1, 2, or 
3 times.

4.2.	Dual Direction Strategy

The dual direction strategy is slightly harder to pick up, 
because you have to learn which way the block rotates when 
you press the different buttons. However, once you master 
this technique you can rotate blocks with fewer button 
strokes. Let?s look at some numbers...

4.3.	Rotation Statistics

Given the random nature of Lumines, let?s look at each type 
of block and each type of orientation to see which rotation 
strategy is best. To read the following tables, consider any 
block can be presented randomly in any given orientation. 
That is that the Drop orientation can be A, B, C, or D. You 
may need to rotate it to another orientation. Overall the 
Drop and Need orientations should be uniform. That means 
that 25% of the time it drops in orientation A. Given that 
drop, 25% of the time you need orientation A so you don?t 
need to rotate it. 25% of the time you need orientation B so 
you have to rotate it once. 25% of the time you need 
orientation C so you have to rotate it twice. The main 
difference between the Single and Dual strategy is that in 
single, you periodically have to rotate 3 times, while in 
the dual, you simply rotate backwards 1 time.


Single Strategy Rotation Table for type 1,2,3
          Need     
     Drop  A     B     C     D
     A     0     1     2     3
     B     3     0     1     2
     C     2     3     0     1
     D     1     2     3     0
     Average = 1.5 Rotati0ns per Drop



Dual Strategy Rotation Table for type 1,2,3
          Need     
     Drop  A     B     C     D
     A     0     1     2     1
     B     1     0     1     2
     C     2     1     0     1
     D     1     2     1     0
     Average = 1.0 Rotati0ns per Drop


Single and Dual Rotation Table for Type 2x
           A     B
     A     0     1
     B     1     0


Now that we have tables for the different types of blocks, 
lets put them together and use the drop probabilities to 
figure out how many rotations you need for each strategy.


Summary Table for Rotation Strategies
     Block       Prob     Single       Dual
     0           6.25%     0.0          0.0
     1          25.00%     1.5          1.0
     2          25.00%     1.5          1.0
     2x         12.50%     0.5          0.5
     3          25.00%     1.5          1.0
     4           6.25%     0.0          0.0
     Total                 1.2          0.8

So this data shows that folks who use the single direction 
strategy will press the rotate button 50% more than those 
that use the dual direction strategy. This may be a limiting 
factor when you advance very far in the game.


5.	Delete Strategies

5.1.	A word on scoring

There are basically two scoring levels. You get 40 points 
per delete. However, if you get 4 or more deletes when the 
timeline passes, you get a 4x combo bonus. This is great for 
your score, and it actually gives us a way to measure how 
good you are at using combos as you will see in Know your 
Skills.

 N     Points     Points/Delete
 1      40           40
 2      80           40
 3     120           40
 4     640          160 ? 4X Bonus begins
 5     800          160
 6     960          160
And so on... all combo?s after 3 deletes are worth 160 
points per delete. So when it comes to maximizing your 
score, make sure you get 4 deletes each time the timeline 
passes. This will come naturally as you play faster.

5.2.	Basic Deletes

The first think you need to realize about deletes is that 
they are not always 4 squares. The first delete is always 
made by 4 squares of the same color. After that, you only 
need 2 squares to make the second delete. Sometimes you can 
make a delete with only one more square. (This topic is 
covered in detail in the Delete Theory section of this 
guide.)


One delete

     4 squares

               
       XX              
       XX              


Two delete combo
     6 squares
                    
       XXX            
       XXX            

Three delete combo                    

     8 squares
                    
       XXXX            
       XXXX            
                    
       XX
       XXX            
       XXX            

Four delete combo

     9 squares
                    
       XXX            
       XXX            
       XXX            
                    
     10 squares

       XXXXX          
       XXXXX          

       XX
       XXXX          
       XXXX          



5.3.	Infinite Tower

As I understand it, Stan64 was the first to formally 
articulate this strategy in Lumines forums. This is a 
fundamental skill which helps buy you time to think, and can 
help you get through some very tough spots in the game. I 
believe that most people develop this strategy on their own, 
though they may not recognize it as thoroughly as Stan64 
did.

The Infinite Tower combo always starts with a single X or O 
square. The square can be sitting on the base, or it can be 
on other squares. You can find this pattern just about 
anywhere. Sometimes you will get a delete with a tower drop, 
sometimes you will just build up the tower. Using this 
strategy you will very rarely get more than 2 or 3 deletes 
when the timeline passes.



Tower base examples

             X         X          O
  _X_       XO         XX        XX


Blocks 0 or 4 ? Be sure to put these off to the side


                    
            OO            
            OO    -->   
                            OO
       X                X   OO
                    
                    
Blocks 1 or 3
                    
                          
            OO   -->      
            OX        O     
                      OO
            X         XX           
                    
                    
Block 2 ? Be sure to put these off to the side
                    
            XX       
            OO   -->       
                              XX
        X              X      OO
                    
                    

Block 2x
        
            
       XO      
       OX   -->  X    
                 OO
       X         XX     
                    
                    
                    
5.4.	Layers

Layering is what I call laying down rows of 2 colors side by 
side. You can sometimes get a long row of the same color. Or 
you can end up with a stack of alternating colors. Either 
way, these layers are fairly easy to set up and to delete. 
You will get a 0, 2, or 4 about 37% of the time, so one in 3 
blocks should be a perfect match for one of these setups. 
You can also use a 1 or 3 block, but it will mess up your 
layer.


 OO
 XX             OO           XO
                OO           OO
OXXO
OOOO            OOOO         OOOO



Another way to use 1 or 3 blocks is by building a ?house? 
around an existing layer. The example below will clear all 
the blocks with two timeline passes.


OOOO
OXXO

 XX
 OO





5.5.	Slice

I call this a slice when you build vertical columns of 
similar colors. You slice off part of a block to get a 
delete. The block below will cause the two O columns on the 
left to delete.


     OX  
     OX  

 OXXO
 OOOO




5.6.	Double Slice

A double slice will make two deletes over the course of two 
timeline passes. In this example, the two O columns will 
delete, and then the X column will drop and cause another 
delete with the next timeline pass.

OX  
OX  

 OXXO
 OXOO




5.7.	Power Slice

A power slice causes two or more deletes when it drops. 
Usually you get these deletes by staggering columns of 
blocks.


OX  
OX

  X
  X 
 OXXO
 OOOO




5.8.	Advanced slice and dice

As you get better with slicing, you can build higher 
columns. If you are fast enough, you might be able to drop 2 
or 3 blocks into one of these structures and get quite a few 
deletes. Sometimes folks will call these J, U, or L 
structures because they look like letters J, U, and L. These 
structures can have a one or two square opening in the 
middle. The advantage of one square opening is that you get 
an extra deletes with the drops. The next section has 
details on how to maximize deletes with each type of block.

   O     O O    O
   O     O O    O
 O O     O O    O
 OOO     OOO    OOO


Variations on JUL


X  O     O X    O  X
X  O     O X    O  X
XO O     O X    O  X
XOOO     OOO    OOOX



5.9.	Maximizing Deletes

I?ve spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to 
get the most number of deletes from a single drop. There are 
two issues here: 1. Maximizing delete with this drop, and 2. 
Setting up to maximize deletes with another drop. For now, 
lets focus on how to maximize the number of points you get 
with each type of block. As you develop your skills, you 
will naturally setup these types of patterns.

5.9.1.	Blanks (0 or 4)

6 deletes from a blank or four block.

 OO
 OO

O  O     OOOO
O  O --> OOOO
OOOO     OOOO




5.9.2.	Ones and Threes (1 or 3)

4 deletes from a One or Three block

XO
OO
        X 
  O     OOO
O O --> OOO
OOO     OOO



5.9.3.	Twos (2)

5 deletes from a Two block (Note: A = any block that does 
not complete a delete.)

 XO
 XO

X        XX 
X    --> XX 
XO O     XOOO
AO O     AOOO
AOOO     AOOO


3 deletes from a Two block


 XX
 OO
          XX
O  O --> OOOO
OOOO     OOOO


Or even 4 deletes from a Two block



 OX
 OX
     
O  X     OOXX
O  X --> OOXX
OOXX     OOXX


5.9.4.	Deuces (2x)


3 deletes from a Deuce block


 OX
 XO
          O 
X        XX 
XX   --> XXX
AO O     AOOO
AOOO     AOOO



5.10.	Managing Leftovers



5.10.1.	Cleaning up a mess

[Eventually I plan to add some details on how to clean up a 
mess. But first I have to learn how to do it myself. :) ]

5.10.2.	Setting up for slicing


The simple rule for slicing is that you need vertical 
columns of similar colors. This is exactly the opposite of 
the infinite tower strategy. You start off with a similar 
base, and you simply want to make it taller. Try to have 
open space next to your column.


Slice base examples

             X         X          O
  _X_       XO         XX        XX


Blocks 0 or 4 ? Be sure to put these off to the side


                    
       OO            
       OO        -->    O
                        OO
       X                XO
                    
                    
Blocks 1 or 3
                    
                          
           OO    -->      
           OX          O   
                      OX
            X         OX           
                    
                    
Block 2 ? Be sure to put these off to the side
                    
        XO           
        XO       -->   X   
                       XO
        X              XO
                    
                    

Block 2x
        
            
      XO      
      OX   -->   O   
                XX
       X        OX     
                    
                    
      



6.	Delete Theory

So what the heck is he talking about delete theory? What 
theory could there be? Its just a game. Well if you are 
interested, here are some interesting observations.




6.1.	How many Squares does it take to make a 
Delete?


No, this is not the start of a joke. This is a serious 
question. You?ve probably noticed by now that you can get a 
delete with fewer than 4 blocks. But how many squares does 
it really take?

Lets start with some basic deletes. In the diagrams below, 
there are three columns, the number of deletes from the 
pattern, the number of squares in the pattern, and a diagram 
showing the pattern. The numbers in the pattern refer to the 
delete in the pattern. For instance a 3 represents the third 
delete in the pattern.

Del Sq Pattern               
1   4  11              
       11              
                    
                    
2   6  112            
       112            
                    
                    
3   8  1123            
       1123            
                    
    8  33
       112            
       112            

                    
4   9  334            
       112            
       112            
                    
   10  11234          
       11234          

   10  44
       1123          
       1123          


6.2.	Rectangular Deletes


We can easily develop a grid for calculating the number of 
deletes from a rectangular pattern of the same color 
squares. A 2x2 square gives 1 delete. A 4x4 square gives 9 
deletes. A 4x5 rectangle gives 12 deletes.


                              Width          
                     1     2     3      4      5
               1     0     0     0      0      0
     Height    2     0     1     2      3      4
               3     0     2     4      6      8
               4     0     3     6      9     12
               5     0     4     8     12     16


It turns out that the formula for the number of deletes for 
a rectangle is (h-1)*(w-1).


6.3.	Max and Min Squares per Delete


I combined the numbers from the previous two sections and 
came up with a regression equation for the min number of 
squares per delete. The equation for minimum number of 
squares per delete is

MinSq = 2.1 + 1.9 * Number of Deletes (Combos <10 deletes)


The equation for maximum number of squares per delete is 
very easy. It is one block per delete,

MaxSq = 4 * Number of Deletes



So the average number of squares per delete falls somewhere 
between those two numbers.


Actually, at the extreme, you only need 1.14 squares to get 
more deletes. But this is really only valid for single 
combos above 20 deletes so it really is not useful.
MinSq = 7.8 + 1.14 * Number of Deletes (Combos >20 deletes)




7.	Game Speed

Game speed governs how far you can get. 

7.1.	Game Speed


I?ve collected some data on the speed of the timeline and 
the speed of drops. The timeline speed is the amount of time 
it takes for the timeline to cross the screen. The Drop 
Speed is the time it takes a block to fall if you don?t 
speed it up. Notice that the timeline speed is all over the 
mpa throughout the game, while the drop speed decreases as 
you advance. The one exception is that blessed oasis Holiday 
in Summer where we get a brief respite before the maddening 
pace resumes.



Skin     Skin          Timeline  Drop Speed   Level
1     Shinin'              3.0      6.7         0
2     Urbanization         4.0      6.5         4
3     Round About          3.7      7.2         8
4     Slipping             4.0      6.4        12
5     Shake ya Body        4.0      6.3        16
6     Square Dance         4.0      5.0        20
7     Talk 2 You           4.0      4.0        24
8     Just...              3.5      3.0        28
9     I Hear the music...  7.0      4.1        32
10     Dark Side...        4.5      3.0        36
11     Aback               4.5      3.1        40
12     Working in the Hole 3.5      3.0        44
13     Sister Walk         4.5      3.0        48
14     Da-Di-Do            3.5      2.5        52
15     Strangers           3.0      2.5        56
16     Holiday in Summer   6.7      6.0        60
17     Take a Dog out...   6.0      5.0        65
18     Big Elpaso          7.0      4.5        70
19     My Generation       3.5      3.8        75
20     Meguro              6.0      2.7        80
21     Spirits             4.0      2.2        85
22     Get Up and Go       4.0      1.2        90
23     Fly into the sky    4.0                 95
24     Lights                                 100
25     Water, Flower & Lights          


The important lesson here is that your ability to progress 
in the game depends on your speed relative to the native 
Drop speed. If you need 4 seconds per drop, you will very 
rarely make it past the 8th skin. (And many intermediate 
players can attest just how frustrating that Just... level 
really is.) If you need only 3 seconds, you can barely make 
it to the 13th skin as you watch the screen fill up with 
your mistakes.


7.2.	Max Drop Rate


Your maximum drop rate may vary, but I?ve measured it to be 
about 0.4 seconds. That means that at best you can drop 2.5 
blocks per second, or 25 blocks in 10 seconds. This has real 
implications on how many deletes you can get in the game. 
For instance, if the timeline speed is 4 seconds, you can 
drop up to 10 blocks or 40 squares. Based on the previously 
described delete theory, the best players use about 2.5 
squares per delete. That means that the best players can get 
up to 16 deletes in real-game situations. (Remember that you 
can get many deletes in the aftermath of a destroyer combo. 
This discussion is about typical game play, not those 
situations.)




8.	Know your Skills

This section tells you how to measure some basic performance 
statistics, and gives some exercises to help improve your 
performance.

8.1.	Performance Statistics

The following statistics measure how well you play the game. 
The purpose of these metrics is to give us a method of 
measuring our improvement. Just like golf, or baseball, 
these statistics can also tell us how we compare with our 
past performance as well as comparing ourselves with others.

The first four can be calculated from data displayed during 
most challenge mode levels. To measure your performance, 
simply pause the game after you have been playing for a 
while and write down your numbers. The remaining statistics 
take some creative measurement.

LPM ? Levels per Minute
DPM ? Deletes per Minute
PPD ? Points per Delete
ACE ? Apparent Combo Efficiency
DrPM- Drops per Minute
TDR ? Typical Drop Rate
MDR ? Maximum Drop Rate
SAS ? Slide Accuracy Score
SDS ? Slide Drop Score


Formulas

LPM = Level / (Hours * 60 + minutes + seconds/60)

DPM = Deletes / (Hours * 60 + minutes + seconds/60)

PPD = Score / Deletes

ACE = (PPD -40)/120 = (Score / Deletes - 40) / 120 

DrPM = Number of Drops / (Seconds / 60)

DrE = DPM / DrPM

TDR = DRPM in a typical setting

MDR = Your best possible DRPM

SAS = 2 * # perfect drops + 1 * Number off by 1 square

SDS = Start Seconds ? End Seconds


8.1.1.	Levels per Minute

LPM = Level / (Hours * 60 + minutes + seconds/60)

Levels Per Minute is a simple statistic that is related to 
how fast you play. I don?t find this statistic to be very 
useful. Deletes per Minute is much more useful.

8.1.2.	Deletes per Minute

DPM = Deletes / (Hours * 60 + minutes + seconds/60)

This is an elegant and useful statistic. It is the best 
measure of how fast you play the game. DPM is an average 
number of deletes per minute. Many factors influence your 
DPM. Some of them are how fast you play, speed of the 
timeline, how good you are at managing leftovers, and how 
good you are at making large combos.

One quick estimate of your DPM is your max Time Attack 
score. Your 60 Sec Time Attack score is your max DPM under 
limited circumstances. You have one skin, and one timeline 
speed to deal with. The best players can get 120 or even 150 
deletes per minute in a 60 Sec Time Attack.

There are many ways to improve your DPM. Playing Time Attack 
games is probably the best way. Also, try some of the games 
described in this Faq. One non-intuitive way to improve your 
DPM is to slow down and look for combos. Sometimes we get so 
caught up in making deletes, that we miss opportunities to 
get combos that may be worth 2 or 3 deletes instead of just 
one.

8.1.3.	Points per Delete

PPD = Score / Deletes

Points per Delete is also an elegant metric that tells how 
well you are using combos. Each delete is worth 40 points. 
However, when you get 4 or more deletes, you get a 4X bonus 
so each delete is worth 160 points. Using this knowledge, 
you can calculate your PPD to see how well you are using 
combos. If your PPD score is around 40, then you are only 
getting a few deletes per pass. If your score is near 160 
you are usually getting 4 or more deletes per pass. This 
metric is very useful, but it can be hard to interpret. So I 
came up with the concept of Combo Efficiency or ACE.

8.1.4.	Apparent Combo Efficiency

ACE = (PPD -40)/120 = (Score / Deletes - 40) / 120

Your ACE score should be reported as a percentage. It 
represents how well you use combo?s during the game. If you 
have a low ACE score, you rarely get more than 3 deletes 
with each pass of the timeline. An ACE score of 100% means 
that you nearly always have 4 or more deletes when the 
timeline passes. For instance, I currently run around 60% 
combo efficiency. That means that about 60% of the time I 
have more than 4 deletes when the timeline passes. 

Of course, this number is affected by points from fast 
drops, single color bonuses, and all clear bonuses. So it is 
possible to get more than 100% combo efficiency. That is why 
I call it an _apparent_ combo efficiency, not the actual 
combo efficiency. For the same reason, it is not really 
possible to get 0% ACE.

You can measure your ACE score at any point during a game. 
Simply pause and record the Score and the number of deletes 
at that moment. The ACE score should be averaged over 
several games. Generally it is best to calculate the score 
later in a game because it will cover a broader range of 
play conditions (i.e. many skins).

The ACE metric is valid for scores between 1,000 and 
999,998. Once you reach 999,999 your ACE quickly becomes 
meaningless. It is best to use DPM after you max out the 
score.


8.1.5.	Drop Rate

DrPM = Number of Drops / (Seconds / 60)

Drop Rate is an interesting metric related to your DPM rate 
but entirely different. Drop rate is the number of drops per 
minute while DPM is the number of deletes per minute. If all 
your deletes are 4 squares, then the two numbers will be 
equal. But you probably noticed that sometimes a delete is 3 
or 2 or even 1 square. So your DrPM is usually less than 
your DPM score. There are many different ways to measure 
this rate. On each level, blocks drop at two different 
rates. One is the ?native? rate, the other is the ?drop? 
rate. I think the ?drop? rate is constant throughout all 
levels. The ?native? rate changes from level-to-level. 
Finally, there is a personal drop rate which is the number 
of blocks you can drop in a minute at your normal play 
speed. The three metrics are important because they really 
govern how far you can get in the game.

To progress in the game, your DrPM must be higher than the 
Native Rate for the skin. For example, if your average drop 
rate is 50 blocks per minute, but you come to a skin where 
the native drop rate is 60 blocks per minute, you will soon 
find the screen filled with random blocks. You will do fine 
on skins where the native rate is say 30 or even 40 blocks 
per minute. (Stats on the native drop rate are covered in 
detail in section 7.1 Game Speed.)

As a general rule, if you can pass a level easily then

  Native Rate < DrPM < DPM < Max Drop Rate

That is, for you to pass a level, your Drop Rate is higher 
than the native drop rate. Therefore you can get combos and 
your DPM is even higher than your DrPM. For the most 
advanced players, I believe it is possible for the DPM to be 
greater than the Max Drop Rate. But this is only true 
because of something I call Drop Efficiency (DrE).




I find that the best way to measure your drop rate is the 60 
sec Time Attack mode. Simply count the number of drops you 
make in a fake game. There are two ways to do it. 

Typical Drop Rate (TDR)
This is best to do with a friend, or video camera. Play a 
normal 60 sec Time Attack game. Your friend must keep track 
of how many blocks you drop during the game. Or check your 
video to count them.


Max Drop Rate (MDR)
Don?t worry too much about deletes or combos. Simply focus 
on counting the drops. You should spread the blocks around a 
little bit like your normal game. This will give you a 
higher number, but it is a good measure of your current 
reflexes. I?ve found this is the easiest 


9.	Improve Your Skills

9.1.1.	Drop Efficiency

DrE = DPM / DrPM

Drop Efficiency is an interesting metric which tells you the 
average number of deletes you get from a single drop. Now 
you might think if you keep the screen mostly clean your 
drop rate would be the same as your delete rate. That is,

Typical Assumption:  DrPM = DPM

But the fact of the matter is that deletes can be 1, 2, 3, 
or 4 squares. Drops are always 4 squares. SO we have to 
introduce an efficiency. Think about it this way, when you 
play, the number of squares on the board stays nearly 
constant. That is you may have 40 squares on the board. 
During a minute you may drop 20 blocks (20 blocks * 4 
squares/block = 80 squares) During the same minute, you may 
get 40 deletes. When all is done, you may be left with 20 
squares.


DPM = DrE * DrPM


9.1.2.	Speed Slide Accuracy

When you slide blocks, you have probably noticed that they 
slide faster if you pause half a second. For a long time, I 
simply pressed left or right many times to line up the 
block. 

This game is fun, and a little tricky. You get to practice 
sliding to a specific point in the field. The play field is 
16 squares wide by 10 squares high. I?ll say there are 16 
columns and 10 rows. Counting from the left, blocks are 
automatically centered over column 8 and 9. For this game, 
you practice trying to slide blocks to column 2 and then 
dropping them. Then slide to column 14 and dropping them.

The Game:

Alternate dropping blocks over columns 2,3 and 14,15.
1. Slide a block to columns 2 and 3 as fast as you can and 
drop as fast as you can. 
2. Slide a block to columns 14 and 15 as fast as you can and 
drop as fast as you can.
3. Repeat 1 and 2 until you have dropped 8 blocks (4 blocks 
on each column)
4. Pause. You get two statistics from this exercise.
   SAS ? Slide Accuracy Score
   SDS ? Slide Drop Score


Scoring:

SAS ? Slide Accuracy Score = # of squares that hit the 
correct column

SDS ? Slide Drop Score = Time required to stack 4 blocks 
over columns 2 and 3

SAS is a score between 0 and 32 which indicates your 
accuracy when doing a slide-drop. Simply count the number of 
squares that land on target (column 2,3 or columns 14,15). 
If the block is on the right columns you get 4 points 
because all for squares are on the columns. If you are off 
by 1 column, you get 2 points because two squares are on the 
right column, and two squares are not. Otherwise you get 0 
points. When you first start playing, you may have to pause 
part way through the game if you get any deletes. After you 
play a few times, your accuracy improves and you don?t have 
to worry so much about deletes.


SDS is a score in seconds which tells how long it takes you 
to slide and drop 8 blocks. (i.e. 10 sec) You can turn this 
into a Drop per Minute score with this formula

DrPM = 60 * Drops / SDS = 240 / SDS

Do not confuse this with DPM (Deletes per Minute). DrPM 
(Drops per minute) is related to DPM, but they are 
different.


Advanced Game:

You can play this game with any column. I generally double 
up the game during a single Time Attack game. For example: 
Hit 2,3 and 14,15 then hit 5,6 and 11,12, stop and count. 
Sometimes I miss a lot and have to stop early. Also, 
sometimes I get deletes. This is not a problem, but I 
usually pause and record which column the deletes happen in. 

At first, this game seems impossibly hard. You will probably 
start with your normal left-left-left-left-left-left-drop 
sequence. After a while it becomes more intuitive and you 
can do left-hold-drop. You will be amazed at how much faster 
you get after just a few dozen games.


9.2.	Upcoming drops

Basically, you are trying to improve your awareness of 
upcoming blocks. You can play this game without touching the 
controls, but it is best to hold your PSP as you would 
during a normal game. Look at the center of the screen and 
use your peripheral vision to see which blocks are coming 
next. Do not worry about making deletes at first. Simply pay 
attention to the upcoming blocks.

I am not really satisfied with my technique for measuring 
this skill, but here it is. Drop a block in the center and 
look at it. For the next 4 blocks call out what you think 
the block is. (Blank, one, two, etc. or 0, 1, 2, etc. 
whatever you are comfortable with calling the blocks). If 
you are right, you get a point, if not you get nothing. You 
will get a score between 0 and 4 which is your Upcoming Drop 
Proficiency score.


9.3.	Planning your next move

This game is the flipside of the previous game. Instead of 
looking at the field, look only at the blocks. You have to 
?know? where the blocks are on the field, and plan where you 
want the upcoming blocks to fall. Then (and here is the 
tricky part) slide and drop them WITHOUT LOOKING. This is a 
much more advanced skill than the Upcoming Drops skill. It 
also requires that you are pretty good with your Speed Slide 
accuracy. So you may want to wait a while before trying this 
exercise.


9.4.	Play Faster

This has been a recurring theme of this guide: Practice. The 
only way to play faster is to practice until all the 

Game speed is governed by five activities. You go through 
this entire list each time you drop a block. The order of 
the last three may be a little different, but all these 
activities happen.

1. Recognize the block
2. Decide what to do with it
3. Slide the block
4. Rotate the block
5. Drop the block

Hopefully you recognize that each of these activities has 
been covered in great detail earlier in this guide. This is 
the final stop where we bring it all together. These five 
activities work together to determine your DPM rate. 

I break these activities down into two categories: 
Predictive and Reactive. Predictive activities are Recognize 
and Decide. The process is mostly mental where you figure 
out what you will do with the block. The Reactive activities 
are slide, rotate, and drop the block. They are primarily 
physical, and the speed is based on your reflexes. Rotation 
strategy can play a role, but your speed here still boils 
down to reflexes.



10.	Know your habits

10.1.	Identify your habits

OK, this section may be hard for some to take. I know it was 
tough for me to recognize at first. Lets start with the 
basics: You have habits which limit your ability to get 
large combos.

Yes you. The shining star Lumines player, you too have 
habits that limit you. I found that most of my habits caused 
me to get many single deletes and miss out on combos. For 
instance, if I got a 1 or 3, I would look for a lone block 
to make a delete. This kept me from stacking up the blocks 
next to the lone block in a U or J shape. Eventually I 
learned how to make those structures, and they became a 
habit.


10.2.	Break your habits

The best way to break your habits is to first recognize 
them, and then to deliberately NOT follow them when they 
come up. For instance, I typically use an infinite combo to 
deal with a [3] block when I see one. I?ve gotten into the 
habit of forming vertical columns of light and dark blocks. 
So when I get a [3] or [1], I look for a column and either 
drop it 2 columns away to setup the next slice, or I slice 
it through the column to get the 2X delete.


10.3.	For Lumines Sake ? Know your habits

The best way to learn about your habits is to record 
yourself and watch the video. Pause it after each drop and 
try to think of other ways you could have dropped the block. 
Do you find yourself following a pattern? Is it a good 
pattern? Do you want to change something?


10.3.1.	Practice patterns

One good thing to do is forcibly practice some of the 
patterns. Practice building L and U columns.


10.3.2.	Practice again

10.3.3.	Practice skills


11.	Credits

In building this guide I sought guidance from many people. 
Most of the people were forum members at gamefaqs.com. I 
have already mentioned the wonderful Lumines FAQs on the 
site.

Thanks to          For contributing
 Stan64             Infinite Tower strategy
 itsmeoreo          Data to help develop the metrics
 Lord Grahf         Data to help develop the metrics
 MaSTeR C 3223      Data to help develop the metrics
 Tighting           Previous work on Bar speeds


12.	Copyright

This guide is completely my work. Do not copy it without my 
permission. If you want to use any portion of this guide, 
send email to faq @ rovingbar . com. I will probably give 
you permission. If you don?t hear from me it is because the 
spammers found me before you did. Try posting to the Lumines 
board at gamefaqs.com if you can?t get me through email.

Copyright 2005 by Jeff Hebert

13.	Version History

9/1/05   Rev 0.0  Began working on the guide
12/2/05  Rev 1.0  Completed enough to publish first draft

14.	Appendix

14.1.	Table of 3 block sequences

Prob     1st   2nd   3rd
1.56%     1     1     1
1.56%     1     1     2
1.56%     1     1     3
1.56%     1     2     1
1.56%     1     2     2
1.56%     1     2     3
1.56%     1     3     1
1.56%     1     3     2
1.56%     1     3     3
1.56%     2     1     1
1.56%     2     1     2
1.56%     2     1     3
1.56%     2     2     1
1.56%     2     2     2
1.56%     2     2     3
1.56%     2     3     1
1.56%     2     3     2
1.56%     2     3     3
1.56%     3     1     1
1.56%     3     1     2
1.56%     3     1     3
1.56%     3     2     1
1.56%     3     2     2
1.56%     3     2     3
1.56%     3     3     1
1.56%     3     3     2
1.56%     3     3     3
0.78%     1     1     2x
0.78%     1     2     2x
0.78%     1     2x    1
0.78%     1     2x    2
0.78%     1     2x    3
0.78%     1     3     2x
0.78%     2     1     2x
0.78%     2     2     2x
0.78%     2     2x    1
0.78%     2     2x    2
0.78%     2     2x    3
0.78%     2     3     2x
0.78%     2x    1     1
0.78%     2x    1     2
0.78%     2x    1     3
0.78%     2x    2     1
0.78%     2x    2     2
0.78%     2x    2     3
0.78%     2x    3     1
0.78%     2x    3     2
0.78%     2x    3     3
0.78%     3     1     2x
0.78%     3     2     2x
0.78%     3     2x    1
0.78%     3     2x    2
0.78%     3     2x    3
0.78%     3     3     2x
0.39%     0     1     1
0.39%     0     1     2
0.39%     0     1     3
0.39%     0     2     1
0.39%     0     2     2
0.39%     0     2     3
0.39%     0     3     1
0.39%     0     3     2
0.39%     0     3     3
0.39%     1     0     1
0.39%     1     0     2
0.39%     1     0     3
0.39%     1     1     0
0.39%     1     1     4
0.39%     1     2     0
0.39%     1     2     4
0.39%     1     2x    2x
0.39%     1     3     0
0.39%     1     3     4
0.39%     1     4     1
0.39%     1     4     2
0.39%     1     4     3
0.39%     2     0     1
0.39%     2     0     2
0.39%     2     0     3
0.39%     2     1     0
0.39%     2     1     4
0.39%     2     2     0
0.39%     2     2     4
0.39%     2     2x    2x
0.39%     2     3     0
0.39%     2     3     4
0.39%     2     4     1
0.39%     2     4     2
0.39%     2     4     3
0.39%     2x    1     2x
0.39%     2x    2     2x
0.39%     2x    2x    1
0.39%     2x    2x    2
0.39%     2x    2x    3
0.39%     2x    3     2x
0.39%     3     0     1
0.39%     3     0     2
0.39%     3     0     3
0.39%     3     1     0
0.39%     3     1     4
0.39%     3     2     0
0.39%     3     2     4
0.39%     3     2x    2x
0.39%     3     3     0
0.39%     3     3     4
0.39%     3     4     1
0.39%     3     4     2
0.39%     3     4     3
0.39%     4     1     1
0.39%     4     1     2
0.39%     4     1     3
0.39%     4     2     1
0.39%     4     2     2
0.39%     4     2     3
0.39%     4     3     1
0.39%     4     3     2
0.39%     4     3     3
0.20%     0     1     2x
0.20%     0     2     2x
0.20%     0     2x    1
0.20%     0     2x    2
0.20%     0     2x    3
0.20%     0     3     2x
0.20%     1     0     2x
0.20%     1     2x    0
0.20%     1     2x    4
0.20%     1     4     2x
0.20%     2     0     2x
0.20%     2     2x    0
0.20%     2     2x    4
0.20%     2     4     2x
0.20%     2x    0     1
0.20%     2x    0     2
0.20%     2x    0     3
0.20%     2x    1     0
0.20%     2x    1     4
0.20%     2x    2     0
0.20%     2x    2     4
0.20%     2x    2x    2x
0.20%     2x    3     0
0.20%     2x    3     4
0.20%     2x    4     1
0.20%     2x    4     2
0.20%     2x    4     3
0.20%     3     0     2x
0.20%     3     2x    0
0.20%     3     2x    4
0.20%     3     4     2x
0.20%     4     1     2x
0.20%     4     2     2x
0.20%     4     2x    1
0.20%     4     2x    2
0.20%     4     2x    3
0.20%     4     3     2x
0.10%     0     0     1
0.10%     0     0     2
0.10%     0     0     3
0.10%     0     1     0
0.10%     0     1     4
0.10%     0     2     0
0.10%     0     2     4
0.10%     0     2x    2x
0.10%     0     3     0
0.10%     0     3     4
0.10%     0     4     1
0.10%     0     4     2
0.10%     0     4     3
0.10%     1     0     0
0.10%     1     0     4
0.10%     1     4     0
0.10%     1     4     4
0.10%     2     0     0
0.10%     2     0     4
0.10%     2     4     0
0.10%     2     4     4
0.10%     2x    0     2x
0.10%     2x    2x    0
0.10%     2x    2x    4
0.10%     2x    4     2x
0.10%     3     0     0
0.10%     3     0     4
0.10%     3     4     0
0.10%     3     4     4
0.10%     4     0     1
0.10%     4     0     2
0.10%     4     0     3
0.10%     4     1     0
0.10%     4     1     4
0.10%     4     2     0
0.10%     4     2     4
0.10%     4     2x    2x
0.10%     4     3     0
0.10%     4     3     4
0.10%     4     4     1
0.10%     4     4     2
0.10%     4     4     3
0.05%     0     0     2x
0.05%     0     2x    0
0.05%     0     2x    4
0.05%     0     4     2x
0.05%     2x    0     0
0.05%     2x    0     4
0.05%     2x    4     0
0.05%     2x    4     4
0.05%     4     0     2x
0.05%     4     2x    0
0.05%     4     2x    4
0.05%     4     4     2x
0.02%     0     0     0
0.02%     0     0     4
0.02%     0     4     0
0.02%     0     4     4
0.02%     4     0     0
0.02%     4     0     4
0.02%     4     4     0
0.02%     4     4     4


14.2.	Table of Typical Deletes

The numbers and letters in the pattern column tell which 
delete the square belongs to.

Del Sq Pattern               
1   4  11              
       11              
                    
                    
2   6  112            
       112            
                    
                    
3   8  1123            
       1123            
                    
                    
4   9  334            
       112            
       112            
                    
   10  11234          
       11234          
                    
                    
                    
5  12  112345          
       112345          
                    
                    
6  12  3346            
       1125            
       1125            
                    
   14  1123456        
       1123456        
                    
                    
7  16  11234567        
       11234567        
                    
                    
8  15  33468          
       11257          
       11257          
                    
   18  112345678      
       112345678      
                    
9  16  7789            
       3346            
       1125            
       1125            
                    
   20  1123456789      
       1123456789      
                    
                    
10 18 33468A          
      112579          
      112579          
                    
   22 1123456789A    
      1123456789A    
                    
                    
11 24 1123456789AB    
      1123456789AB    
                    
                    
12 21 33468AC        
      112579B        
      112579B        
                    
   20  99ABC          
       33468          
       11257          
       11257          
                    
   26  1123456789ABC  
       1123456789ABC  
                    
                    
                    
                    
13 28  1123456789ABCD  
       1123456789ABCD  
                    
                    
14 24  33468ACE        
       112579BD        
       112579BD        
                    
                    
   30  1123456789ABCDE
       1123456789ABCDE
                    
                    
                    
                    
15 24  99ABCF          
       33468E          
       11257D          
       11257D          
                    
   32  1123456789ABCDEF
       1123456789ABCDEF
                    
                    
                    
16 27  33468ACEG      
       112579BDF      
       112579BDF      
                    
                    
       GG              
   34  1123456789ABCDEF
       1123456789ABCDEF
                    
                    
17 29  HH              
       33468ACEG      
       112579BDF      
       112579BDF      
                    
   27  DDEFGH          
       33468AC        
       112579B        
       112579B        
                    
   27  GGH            
       99ABCF          
       33468E          
       11257D          
       11257D          
                    
   36  HH              
       GG              
       1123456789ABCDEF
       1123456789ABCDEF
                    
                    
18 30  HHI            
       33468ACEG      
       112579BDF      
       112579BDF      
                    
   28  DDEFGHI        
       33468AC        
       112579B        
       112579B        
                    
   28  GGHI            
       99ABCF          
       33468E          
       11257D          
       11257D          
                    
   38  HHI            
       GGI            
       1123456789ABCDEF
       1123456789ABCDEF
                    
                    
19 31  HHIJ            
       33468ACEG      
       112579BDF      
       112579BDF      
                    
   30  JJ              
       DDEFGHI        
       33468AC        
       112579B        
       112579B        
                    
   29  GGHIJ          
       99ABCF          
       33468E          
       11257D          
       11257D          
                    
   40  HHIJ            
       GGIJ            
       1123456789ABCDEF
       1123456789ABCDEF
                    
                    
20 32  HHIJK          
       33468ACEG      
       112579BDF      
       112579BDF      
                    
   31  JJK            
       DDEFGHI        
       33468AC        
       112579B        
       112579B        
                    
   30  GGHIJK          
       99ABCF          
       33468E          
       11257D          
       11257D          
                    
   42  HHIJK          
       GGIJK          
       1123456789ABCDEF
       1123456789ABCDEF


0        1         2         3         4         5         6
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[End of Guide]