Minesweeper with extended automation

About the simple excitement of MineSweeper

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Against gambling

Once, after some quick games i found, that one fulfills tasks by hand, which should better be handled by the computer. But probably the simplicity is the attraction of the game. And the reason for thousands of lost working time every year...
The permanent feeling of success leads to addiction: "Yes! 15 seconds. Again!"

The implementations i know (Windows-standard and KDE2-kmines) automatically open all neighbours of those fields showing a '0', these are the ones where it is secure at first sight - and afterwards this is done recursively for all opened fields. Furthermore they have a feature (Win: click both mouse buttons simultaneously ) to open all neighbours if it is secure, just by counting.
E.g.: '2' in the centre, 8 neighbours, 2 already marked => all 6 secure ones will be opened, but not recursively.


At the end, the goal is only the fast recognition of primitive patterns, and a fast click of two mouse buttons.

I wanted to automate this simple case, to let the computer open the secure fields and mark the mined ones. Fields where the shown number equals the sum of the 'not opened' + 'marked' neighbours, as explained above. But only this case, what is reachable by pure counting of marked and opened fields, without the combination of information from more than one open field, every 9x9 square examined individually.

This is what a human being - that can count - can do without further thinking.


The result is a rather boring game, even more from 16x16 and bigger, named intermediate and expert. Either all fields are opened after some clicks by the simple counting job, or one hits a mine by accident. In the smallest game (9x9) the change isn't such big, but sometimes it is solved in 3 seconds.

In the case some field stay closed, you:
• can not tell where the mines are (game of luck), or
• have to combine.
Combine means to merge info from more than one field: 'here a 2 is shown and a 3 there, so there has to be a mine in that field'. Also, you can take the number of the outstanding mines into account. This combinating act is what one may call interesting.


The game has lost most (all?) of it's attraction to me. In the original it's all about pattern recognition. In my version it's gone really fast. I prefer playing freecell.

Probably this is the attraction of the original:
'feeling of success without mental effort'.



For all systems with at least Java 1.3, Windows, Mac, *nix, .... Try it now.

New version 1.1 from 18.8.2003: Fixed windowmanagerproblems under Linux. No mine on first click. Better makeup.
New version 1.2 from 20.8.2003: Now proper handling if player flags wrong fields.

Download jMineSweeper.jar 56KB.
After download, and if you have windows, you can double click the file to start playing.
The java runtime has to be installed.

Or you may start it direkt with Java Webstart in the secure sandbox.


© July 2003 Peter BŁttner