Friday 20 November 2009

Mouse Maze: Obsession

Have become obsessed with maximising my Mouse Maze score. I've improved my search algorithm, and I've found mazes with scores up to 9960 and 642. Haven't input this to Kongregate yet, just because the maze will take so long to run - Tomf really needs to add a fast-forward button (also more graduations of colour - he really wasn't expecting anyone to get scores this high; more on that later).

Nobody's competing with me for top scores, which is a little unfortunate - that would be more fun, but it's still interesting to compete with myself and see how high it's possible to go. Apparently Tomf's code uses 1000 as the visited value for walls (just picking an arbitrary big number he thought nobody would ever reach), so if I can get the mouse to visit a tile more than 1000 times, it will power up and start walking through walls. This is my goal: break his assumptions and break the game. I'm only in the 600s at the moment, but there's some vaguely exponential behaviour which causes it to sometimes increase in fairly large steps, so I may not be too far off:


In this configuration, if the mouse is at C and has visited A N times, then it must visit each of B and D N times before it will return to A, and in the process it will visit C 2N times.

Edit: I ran a maze that should achieve 642 visits to the same tile, but at 201 the mouse levelled up and started crossing walls. So I'd gotten the value wrong; I've broken the game already. Awesome. I feel a sense of achievement - I now have the actual maximum possible score given the current implementation. Am now hoping Tomf will fix it so I can have a higher score.

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Mouse Maze

Tomf made a puzzle called Mouse Maze. The basic concept is that it solves mazes with a ridiculously inefficient algorithm, and you have to find input to maximise the inefficiency. It's quite easy to make a maze that takes a few hundred steps, but after that it gets difficult.

For a long time, this very elegant maze was the second highest scoring, at 1135 moves. As it was saved to the folder of shared mazes, lots of people ran it and got the same score, but there was one single person with a higher score of 1223, with an unknown maze. Then recently someone came up with this maze, giving 1364 moves, and saved it, so it was possible for anybody to reach the top of the score table.

When Tomf told me someone had found and shared a better maze I was a little disappointed - I'd liked the mystery of the top solution being unknown. I have now fixed this; see the high score table.

Thursday 5 November 2009

Pulse Wave (GREEN)

The effect of pushing away adjacent players/robots was originally on an ability named Kamikaze. The main effect was to suicide while doing lots of damage to anything nearby, but I threw in the pushing effect as well on the grounds that interesting interactions were bound to emerge from it somehow. Eventually I figured out what these emergent interactions are, and they're pretty cool, so when I cut Kamikaze, I went looking for where else this effect could be applied. Pulse Wave had been looking a little overpowered, and funnily enough, on it the pushing is actually something of a disadvantage - when you've stunned someone you want them to be next to you so you can attack them. I was pleased to be able to bring Pulse Wave down in power level and keep the interesting interactions from pushing things all in one move.

Tuesday 3 November 2009


Haven't had much time for working on Vertex Dispenser lately. I was near to a proof of a problem I've been working on for a while, so I've been working hard on that trying to get it out. That done, today I've just been slacking off, but I'll be back to work tomorrow. Vertex Dispenser is in a state where it really needs some dedicated time spent on it to finish it off; I've run out of little things I can do between the work I'm supposed to be doing; so probably I won't get it done until the Christmas break. I've lots of new ideas for games swirling around, but again they'd need a dedicated coding session to get them off the ground. Maybe I should get into making board/card games, so I can cut out the hard work of programming and just get straight into design.

I've entered the IGF, so we'll see what comes of that. There are three hundred entries, some of which I know to be excellent, but most of which I've never heard of. Who knows. Also got around to registering, as I've been meaning to for a while.