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When to pop wrinklers?

bob_32_116bob_32_116 Member Posts: 770 ✭✭✭
edited September 2016 in General Discussion
The wrinklers are one of the most complicated and interesting features of the game. I've seen a variety of opinions expressed about when to pop them. Pop them all once a day. Pop one wrinkler each hour on the hour, so each one survives for ten (or twelve) hours. In the Wikia it's recommended that wrinklers should not be popped singly; pop them all, or none at all, though the explanation of the rationale is a bit unclear.

I spent some time figuring out the pros and cons of popping wrinklers and came up with a formula. Rather than present the formula though, I'll explain the reasoning behind it:

Exploding a wrinkler incurs a cost, which can be estimated by the difference in wrinkler production from having one fewer wrinkler, multiplied by the expected time for the wrinkler to respawn. In that sense popping a wrinkler is much like selling a building; there is a loss of production as a trade-off for releasing cookies that presumably will be used to buy something else that increases production.

there is clearly no point in popping a wrinkler unless there is something you have in mind to buy with the cookies released. A building or upgrade will increase production by some percentage. By what percentage will production fall due to the loss of one wrinkler? A first guess would be to take the loss of wrinkler production, and divide that by the total wrinkler production. However this gives an overestimate. If (for example) this wrinkler has lived for one hour, but the expected time for replacement by respawning is one minute, the loss is only 1/60 of the above.

My condition for popping a wrinkler is then:

(Lifetime of wrinkler) * (fractional increase in production from object purchased)

> (expected respawn time) * (fractional change in wrinkler production)

There is an additional condition of course: i don't pop wrinklers unless I expect to release enough cookies to purchase the thing I want to buy.

This can do no more than give a rough estimate. I don't note down the time at which each wrinkler appears, so i am just estimating how long it has been there. Also, the "expected time to respawn" is just that - it may be sooner or later.

In practice this means I end up popping all or most of the wrinklers at once. This is because the loss of production is much greater with more wrinklers; there is not much difference between zero and one wrinkler, but a big difference between 9 and 10 wrinklers. As well as that, the fewer wrinklers remaining, the faster they begin to respawn. If it's worth popping one, it's usually worth popping them all.

It also means that I only pop wrinklers in order to buy expensive upgrades and high buildings. Normally it's only prisms and antimatter thingies. For anything smaller, it's generally better to just let existing production continue until I have enough cookies to cover the cost, which won't take very long.


  • ViniVini Member Posts: 3,521 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There is an additional condition of course: i don't pop wrinklers unless I expect to release enough cookies to purchase the thing I want to buy.

    This can do no more than give a rough estimate. I don't note down the time at which each wrinkler appears, so i am just estimating how long it has been there.

    You DO know you can open a new tab/window to export your save and pop the wrinkler there to know exactly how much it gives, right?

  • adam_antichristadam_antichrist Member Posts: 525 ✭✭✭
    I just pop them all once or twice per day, they don't take that long to respawn and I suppose I don't really care about missing out on a few cookies in the meantime. I also routinely pop them all when harvesting the easter eggs and halloween cookies. I can't imagine what the overall loss would be each run

  • bob_32_116bob_32_116 Member Posts: 770 ✭✭✭
    Yes I should have added that I also pop them when starting a season. Generally when I turn on a season I get Elder Pledge, turn off Golden Switch if it's on, and get the season goodies, or most of them, before letting the Pledge run out and turning the switch back on.
  • bob_32_116bob_32_116 Member Posts: 770 ✭✭✭
    Vini said:

    There is an additional condition of course: i don't pop wrinklers unless I expect to release enough cookies to purchase the thing I want to buy.

    This can do no more than give a rough estimate. I don't note down the time at which each wrinkler appears, so i am just estimating how long it has been there.

    You DO know you can open a new tab/window to export your save and pop the wrinkler there to know exactly how much it gives, right?
    Yeah, I suppose I could do that. That seems a little bit like cheating though, a bit like hitting reset as soon as you get a clot.

  • CookiewoodstockCookiewoodstock Member, Flagger Posts: 16,226 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
  • bob_32_116bob_32_116 Member Posts: 770 ✭✭✭

    Really, whenever you feel like it. It increases exponentially, so the only true "efficiency" would be to wait for infinity, and obviously, you can't pop a wrinkler that's been there for infinity.

    Sorry, I have to disagree with this. Exponentially with what? Certainly not with time. Wrinkler production depends only on the current CpS from buildings and on the current total number of wrinklers.

    Popping a wrinkler costs a certain number of cookies, as I outlined in the OP. Once it is replaced by respawning, the production from wrinklers is either the same as before, or slightly more, if the cookies released by popping were used to buy a building or upgrade.

    Ten wrinklers gives a 6-fold increase in production. By never popping them, you are failing to reap the benefit of that 6-fold increase. If you pop them occasionally, that 6-fold increases is occurring for most of the time, the only time it is not being the time between popping and respawning. As against that you get cookies released immediately, which can be used to increase production in other ways. that was the point of my post - the way to figure out the trade-off.

  • bob_32_116bob_32_116 Member Posts: 770 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2016
    I have been thinking about this a bit more, and I have decided I am a bit uncomfortable with my own analysis. There are times when one must admit to being wrong, or partially wrong.

    What bothered me was this: if you check my formula, the amount of time for which you should leave a wrinkler before popping it is inversely proportional to the CpS increase from the object purchased. By that reasoning, if the next object in line was something really small (and cheap) and the one after that was something very big and expensive, you might wait a very long time before popping the wrinkler and buying both of them... but if the more expensive one had been first in line, you may buy them both immediately - yet if you have enough cookies released to buy them both, it makes hardly any difference which one you buy first because the two purchases occur within seconds of one another, so it should make no difference to the decision whether or not to pop the wrinkler.

    Another problem: if it were possible to buy half of a building, then buying half now and the other half one second later is basically the same as buying the whole thing at once. According to my formula though, you would wait twice as long to buy the two halves, compared with buying the whole. There seems to be something wrong there.

    I decided that the item "increase in CpS from purchasing building or upgrade" should in fact be "increase in CpS from purchasing whatever you can purchase with the cookies released by popping the wrinkler". This can be calculated by multiplying the wrinkler lifetime by current wrinkler production.

    I have produced a revised formula, but I am not going to post it yet until I have used it for a while and observed whether it gives results that look sensible. All I'll say right now is that it involves lots of terms, and a square root operation.

    Who said maths can't be fun?
  • adam_antichristadam_antichrist Member Posts: 525 ✭✭✭

    Who said maths can't be fun?

    John Kerrich

  • esque45esque45 Member Posts: 414 ✭✭
    I would say wait until you cant possibly wait any longer to pop them, because the more their there, the more cookies they seem to be worth. (also, more spawn, so you can repeat the process!)
    Why are there no new discussions/polls? Why? Its as if Dash net has gone silent, or has ran out of ideas and inspiration, and has dropped dead.
  • bob_32_116bob_32_116 Member Posts: 770 ✭✭✭
    The longer you are into the run, the more time you should allow each wrinkler to survive before popping.

    Without going too deeply into the maths, popping the wrinkler incurs a time cost that is dependent on the both the lifetime of the wrinkler and the expected waiting time for respawn. This needs to be compared against the time cost of what you are doing with the cookies released by popping, which is buying more buildings and upgrades. As the run progresses, these get more expensive in terms of time, hence the wrinklers should be left for longer.
  • bob_32_116bob_32_116 Member Posts: 770 ✭✭✭
    edited October 2016
    After using my formula for at least one run, it seems to give believable results.

    It's led me to believe that most people - including myself prior to actually doing the calculations - leave wrinklers to survive for too long before popping them. As I posted earlier, the optimum wrinkler lifetime depends on the time cost of the objects you are buying with cookies released by popping, and therefore this optimum time gets longer as the run progresses. To give a rough idea, though, I am 38 hours into my current run, and at the stage where each new building costs about 1.3 million seconds. The ideal lifetime right now works out to about 0.6 hours.This refers to popping the first wrinkler in a batch of ten. After popping the first one, each successive one has a shorter ideal lifetime, largely because it is more quickly replaced by respawning - hence I just pop all ten at once. I should add that I do have Unholy Bait, which makes a difference; respawning occurs faster, hence they should be popped more frequently.

    I think people who only pop the wrinklers once a day are deluding themselves, perhaps thinking that every time they pop them they are losing a massive amount of production, until the wrinkler set regenerates itself. You do lose production for a while, but you have to balance that against what you are missing out on by leaving those cookies locked up in the wrinklers instead of releasing them - cookies you could be using to buy other things that increase CpS.
  • dr_flashdr_flash Member Posts: 110 ✭✭
    I only pop wrinklers in the morning, after a night of "filling them up". Then buy everything I can, have them grow again, go to work. And when I return home in the evening I pop them again.
  • bob_32_116bob_32_116 Member Posts: 770 ✭✭✭
    ^^ Well, I'm certainly not suggesting you should wake up several times during the night to pop the wrinklers (though I suspect there might be some here who are tragic enough to do that). I'm just responding to those people who think it's best to leave them as long as possible... my response is, only up to a point.
  • bob_32_116bob_32_116 Member Posts: 770 ✭✭✭
    Some further observations regarding ideal lifetime of wrinklers:

    As stated above, the optimum time to wait before popping the wrinklers depends on current production and on the current time cost of the next building or upgrade. These increase as the run progresses.

    It also appears that with successive runs, the time cost of buildings gets greater at the end of each run than what it was at the end of the previous run. The result is that the ideal wrinkler lifetime also gets longer.

    To put some figures on this, I am now approaching the end of run 19. The cost of the next building I buy will be 281 million seconds. My formula says the wrinklers should be allowed to survive for 7.5 hours before popping. This is a longer time than at any previous point in the game - but still shorter than some of the times I have seen suggested here by other people. Popping one wrinkler on the hour, as some do, allows each to survive for 12 hours. I won't be waiting 12 hours until quite a few runs further down the track.

    This 7.5 hours is the time I should wait before popping one wrinkler out of the twelve; however once one is popped, the remaining wrinklers are producing significantly less, hence the best strategy is to pop them all at once to get their hoarded cookies and allow the whole set to respawn.

    It should be emphasised that this is only near the end of the run. Early on, when the cost of buildings is measured in thousands of seconds rather than millions of seconds, the ideal wrinkler lifetime is much shorter.
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