Benny Benjamin

Born: 10 November 1976 Jakarta, Indonesia
Currently living in Sydney, Australia

Minesweeper Records (9/4/2004):


First of all, I'd like to thank the AR crews and let you know that I'm truly honoured to have my profile as part of the AR.

About me:

Not much to write about, I'm originally from Jakarta, Indonesia. I came to Australia after finishing my junior high school in Indonesia (which is up to year 9 or 'SMP 3' as we call it). My first arrival in was on 29th August 1992. I'm currently studying computer science in Macquarie University.

Some of my non-minesweeper interests (G-rated ) are:

  • Table tennis, which I haven't played for a while now. I suppose I'm not as much into it as Mike Lowder who left minesweeper for table tennis
  • Snakessss, is a quite good online resource on herpetology
  • Evolutionary biology, Talk Origins Archive is an extensive resource for evolutionary biology, and is reader friendly for a layman like me .

Some lo-res blurry Pictures of me and my friends, some of whom have had impacts in my minesweeping life. Taken in Manly Beach at a date you can see for your self  :

From top to bottom, left to right: Susanto Tan, Franciscus Woon, me, Rudy Tjoe, William Jao.

From left to right: Michael Murray, Franciscus Woon, Susanto Tan, me, William Jao.

My minesweeping related life:

Starting Minesweeping:

I first learned to play minesweeper around January/February 1996 from a friend of mine Rudy Tjoe. At that time I didn't have a computer at home, and played only occasionally when I was in friends' places who had. My first computer was a second hand 486 I bought from another friend, William Jao in 1997. Not long after, yet another friend, Michael Murray, taught me how to count mine positions using question marks.

However I only started getting hooked into serious sweeping in the beginning of 1998. At that time I had to move out from my place then, and I lived with my God father Michael Moore for about a month before I rejoined my flatmates again. I was mostly into Heroes of Might and Magic II at that time, but the game was on my flatmate Susanto Tan's PC. So while I was at my God father's place, I began playing minesweeper seriously and started working out the basic patterns.

Score History and Involvement in the Minesweeper Community:

I first found minesweeper sites in mid 1999, my records then was 08, 33, 96. I've looked for minesweeper sites before, but the web search engines before didn't list the minesweeper sites yet. When I first looked at them, I was really amazed by the other players best times. In late 1999 I discovered the trick of not flagging every mine to save time. But I'd only been successful in bettering my intermediate and beginner scores at first. In March 2000, Pascal de Guélis in our email exchanged told me that after I get used to using the trick my scores will improve, And it did! Within a couple of months by May 2000, my times went down to 03, 23, 86.

Some people might be curious as to why I'm always listed as being from Australia when I'm originally from Indonesia and my citizenship is also Indonesian.
Well, the first time I submitted my scores on minesweeper sites, I'm in Australia.
I've been in Australia all of my minesweeper carrier, learned it here, and been playing it here for the vast majority of my minesweeper hours
(perhaps 99.99%).
And having lived here for quite a while, I consider Australia home, particularly Sydney .

I got stuck at 86 for a year (and gave James Lange the scare when I mentioned it in Damien's guestbook ), then my scores saw improvement up to 03, 22 , 77 by the time I first submitted to the Active Ranking in April 2002 (Period 8). The AR gave me a tremendous motivation boost to improve my score. And my scores improved in an unprecedented slope. My expert scores went down to 76, then 73, and then came the big surprise, in June 11 2002, 64s!!!
I was so shocked and couldn't believe it myself that I asked in Damien's guestbook for opinions if I should claim it or regard it as a timer slow-down. But thankfully others thought I should claim it, so I did and still do .

One of these people was Stephan Bechtel, who also asked for the "click count" of the board I did my 64s on. What followed in our email exchanges then was a discussion that we need a better name for this "click count". And since no one else would claim to be the first to discover the counting procedure, I invented the name 3BV which is short of Bechtel Board Benchmark Value.

Also earlier that month (June 2004), I started a small project to write a program in VB that analyses board pattern from a screenshot. The project was in response to Yoni Roll's request, and the then Australian no 1 David Barry made it possible by giving a hint about a pixel reading function in VB. So it was only natural that I tried to incorporate a 3BV counter into the program. And thanks to Stephan and Yoni's help in testing the program, it was achieved in the couple last versions that I released in the Yahoo Minesweeper Addict group.
So although my best times are nothing to brag about, at least I can boast as being the person who gave the name 3BV as well as being the first to write a program that gives 3BV count from a minesweeper board pattern .

It is a pity that the project never gets to where it was first requested to be. Yoni's request was to make a database application for a collection of boards. I started uni in August 2002 and handed it down to Yoni. He ported the language to Delphi and released a few more releases with added features and functionality. But then, by late 2002, it seems that study demands got the better of Yoni too.

Well I think I've bored everyone enough with my stories, .

So let's move on to....

My Thoughts on Minesweeper Current Affairs (at least what I think is current ):

As has been mentioned by David Barry recently in his profile and some others before for some time, the community is in need of a new minesweeper version. I would add that we also need some sort of formal committee so they can sanction things like this, and perhaps also sanction score submissions, etc. And perhaps this committee can start the project by proposing the requirements for the new version.

As for such a version, my wishes are:

  • It is free of board cycles as already mentioned by David.
    I would go further and hopes that it's randomisation algorithm is onto.
    That is, it should have the possibility of generating all the 480!/(99!*381!) possible games on expert, and similar concepts apply for other levels.
  • It'll be nice to have a save game possibility.
    By this I don't mean 'save a halfway-game that you can continue later' feature;
    but rather a board pattern with some extra information like Yoni's mrb format.
    This would save space instead of saving screenshots even in GIF/PNG format.
  • It'll be even nicer if we can have a video save feature.
    As Sorin Manea and I have talked once, this would be a board pattern, plus information on the squares the player has clicked, the type of click, and the time it was clicked.
    If it is desired that mouse movement details is also in the video, this can be achieved by a mouse hook program such as the one Sorin has written;
    and then added as another information layer to the video.
    This would be a huge saving in file size compared to any video format even with the later option.
  • If we already have a committee and a formal somewhat permanent home website;
    a 'send/submit scores/saved games/saved videos to the website' feature would be awesome.
  • It is my recommendation that the probabilities of mine distribution, 3BV distribution, etc be calculated;
    and that the new version is statistically tested against those calculation, so that it achieves optimal randomness.

Finally, I'd like to congratulate Dion Tiu as the new no 1 sweeperoo. It's very nice to see a sweeperoo in the top 10 again .
And I also like to voice my encouragement to David, it'll be even nicer to see 2 sweeperoos in the top 10 .

Happy Sweeping everyone...