Dear Software3D Forum Members,
some days ago i submitted my MineSweeper3D world records to Robert Webb and in a somewhat sceptical and amazed fashion Robert asked me whether i might write a review about MineSweeper3D. I thought ‚Hey, why not?’ and here is what i made out of that idea:
First of all let me introduce myself. My name is TriNitro and i confess: ‚I am addicted to MineSweeper3D.’
After this secret is being diclosed, i will not start telling you about the long history of Minesweeper. Everybody ever running a windows computer knows this game and it will last for generations to come. But once having done the expert level, most promising minesweeper players start to get bored. Months or years later most of us re-discover this simple game and start to chase the old records. And thus the cycle starts anew…
But Robert has taken this classic of games to a new dimension – in the truest sense of the word! Not that the mines are hidden within a three-dimensional structure (like a Rubik’s Cube) but on the surface of amazing polyhedra. Best known are the five Platonic Solids – Tetrahedron, Cube, Octahedron, Dodecahedron and Icosahedron – all built by equilateral polygons. But MineSweeper3D offers much more than the Platonic Solids: there are Archimedian Solids and Duals, Near Misses, Nonconvex and Toroidal polyhedra. Overall there are more than forty (FORTY ) different fields.
The shape of the polyhedra other than the cube consequentially affords the shape of the single segments of the mine field to be adjusted as well. Besides the well known squares, there are triangular, pentagonal, octagonal, dodecagonal and other shaped segments. This fact and the three-dimensional alignment of tiles on the field’s surface results the number of neighbouring segments and thus mines to differ in a somewhat terrifying way. While the maximum of neighbouring bombs is eight in the well-known classic Minesweeper it increases to twelve in a board consisting only of triangles (like Icosahedron). But not enough though! In some boards even more neighbour-segments are present (e.g. 16 in Prism-Expanded Truncated Cuboctahedron or 17 in Great Stellated Dodecahedron). Everytime a trace of daunting astonishment creeps over me when i reveal a number higher than eight. The increased number of neighbouring segments and there three-dimensional alignment is a challenge and provocation for everyone who believes to be good in mines-sweeping. Just try to drum into your mind that a segment at the corner of a Rubik’s Cube no longer has eight neighbours – count them and you’ll find only seven! Now imagine there are not squares but triangles and pentagonal segments side by side. It will take you a lot of your precious time to count neighbouring segments and marked mines. Another challenge is the mixture of different segment shapes within the same board. Your brain has to change its way of thinking oftentimes and you must be highly concentrated. And if you are highly concentrated it happens: you are sure that a segment does not cover a mine and you click on it in your utmost concentration and – BANG! – the amazing sound effects of MineSweeper3D will knock your socks off if you were wrong (you will miss the best moments if you turn your speaker off!).
Most classic Minesweeper ‚Professionals’ will have to realise that their skills reasonably work for boards with square segments but changing to other boards might bring you back to a bloody beginner. Thank Robert that he implied four different levels of difficulty (beginner, intermediate, expert and the amazing insane! level) synonymous to 10, 15, 20 and 25% of mines hidden. Further possibility to adjust the difficulty to each player’s skills is given by the choice between four different subdivisions for each board. If you chose ‚don’t subdivide’ a cube is build by six segments (as you know it). Each of the further three subdivide modes multiplies the number of segments by four. So you will get 24, 96 or 384 segments for the cube. For more complex boards the number of segments rapidly grows to several thousands! The biggest board so far (Prism-Expanded Truncated Cuboctahedron) has not less than 12718 segments in subdivision 8 mode (that means more than 3000 mines in the insane! level). Compare that with the classic Minesweeper expert board of 480 segments and you should feel intimidated by the tremendous dimensions. Not worth mentioning, it will take you a long time to solve one of these monsters and many attempts. Some of the boards are still not solved, yet, and i think some of them never will be.
Another excellent feature of MineSweeper3D is the possibility to compare your skills with players around the world. The online World Records are easily downloaded from the internet and are displayed for each board, level of difficulty and subdivision level in the upper left corner as you play. Additionally your personal best time, the number of lift/right and combined clicks you needed to beat a board (or vice versa) are shown as well.
Once you manage to beat a world record you will not only hear a charming sound but a small window will open to inform you that you finally made a new record. The program saves a file that you might submit to Robert and soon your name will appear in the World Record list. The number of boards and possible levels sum up to a total of 656 different combinations. So there are 656 records waiting to be beaten (as of July 2nd 2010 there are still 32 boards waiting to be solved for the first time).
Let me sum up my experiences with MineSweeper3D. Everyone who enjoys the classic Minesweeper will have a lot of fun with this wonderful game. But be aware that once you started you might never be able to stop playing and chasing records. The game offers multiple possibilities to adjust the boards and difficulty to your preferences. If you like to play a fast game or even non-flagging you might chose a board with no or medium subdivision and rather few mines and chase the records. In case you are looking for a new challenge, you might try to solve one of the boards that have never been solved before. No matter what you prefer there is the right board for everyone. As you play some of the boards you will feel your speed increase and you will never get bored of the game.
Thanks to Robert, there is a free demo-version (unfortunately only with four boards playable – i hope you add some more in the future?) and the full version is absolutely affordable for everyone. Every now and then there are updates including new features and – even better – new boards. Many thanks to Robert for his commitment and this wonderful game.
If you are looking for further information you should visit the MineSweeper3D homepage) or the respective Wiki page.
To finish my report, i would like to challenge you to beat my records (at the moment there are 164 ).
For remarks or questions please don’t hesitate to ask in the MineSweeper3D forum. I will follow the forum and try to answer as fast as possible. I also made a video how i achieved a World Record for the Truncated Tetrahedron.
I am looking forward for your comments.
Be aware of Mines!
Best wishes, TriNitro.
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