Global Mines

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Global Mines
Global Mines
Author: Stefan Pettersson
Initial release: 1.0 (1998-02-03)
Latest release: 2.0 Beta 4 (2002-11-09)
OS: Windows
Language(s): English
Genre: Minesweeper Clones
Status: Shareware ($9.90)
Website: No longer online

Global Mines is an early minesweeper version by Stefan Pettersson that inspired many later clones. It was the first minesweeper version to include 3BV stats, and the first official clone attempt that included a decimal timer and game skins.

Contents

[edit] History

In 1998 Stefan Pettersson (Sweden) wrote an experimental clone of minesweeper with an online scorelist. He abandoned the project due to cheaters and other problems. However, in October 2002 he noticed Project Minesweeper Utopia and realised he could easily meet the stated requirements for a perfect minesweeper version. After a request for beta testers posted 12 Oct 2002 in the Guestbook, he posted this letter on 16 Oct 2002 in Minesweeper Addicts:

Hello,

Just thought I should make a reply because what you describe is very similar to my own thoughts.

A short story. Back in 1998 I had the idea of recording minesweeper scores directly online and I did a minesweeper to try it out. It was severely flawed, had bugs, wasn't secure and overall I didn't know much. After just a couple days the highscorelist was filled with more faked scores than real ones. End of story.

Today I know more (I hope), so I've spent the last month or so to rewrite a new minesweeper clone from scratch. I've taken great care in making it very similar to the original minesweeper (i.e. left/right clicks etc), but without the bugs. No time-bug (may track milliseconds (if that's good idea or not I'm not sure about yet), random boards, time does not slow down if the CPU is overloaded, etc.

It features recording to a website/database on the internet automatically. Currently the website is very simple but I've got ideas about player-profiles, various highscores, etc. The package sent with the score and other information to the website is encrypted to prevent modification.

Besides that it features a built-in 3BV counter and I'm right know thinking about various click-counters to implement (this is quite an easy task) and related statistics. It also features some other less important stuff (like skinnable graphics).

Other things I'm planning to implement:

- Screenshot functionality: Save a screenshot (optionally automatic) with the board and date, time and statistics. - Game log: Every game and result is logged to a comma-delimited file (which may be imported into Excel and e.g. used to generate graphs about playing performance over time) - Recording and playback of games: Record a game to a datafile which may be playbacked (at any speed) again (this is not a video, rather a datafile)

Anyway, the important thing - which is already implemented - is that I've put a lot of effort in making it secure. The exe-file itself is packed and also contains various checks to prevent modifcation (checksums, deassembler traps, anti-debugger stuff). The part of the program used for the internet submission is also encrypted with a key, this key doesn't exist in the program itself - instead it is part of the registration code (which itself is encrypted) used to register (and unlock the internet submission feature with). The encryption of the internet submission package is then itself also encrypted with part of this key to prevent modification of the package itself.

It's impossible to make it impossible to crack, but it's possible to make it hard and it is possible to see when it has happened. Therefore it's also possible to block scores from a certain version if necessary. Unfortunately there usually is someone who tries to destroy for everyone. So, if all this become true we'll see what happens.

The status is that the gameplay is currently beta-tested, and some of the ideas I mentioned above will be implemented as well and the website will feature more highscorecategories. Then it should be ready for release. Currently it's planned to be set as shareware for a price of $9.90 - this is because of the hosting cost of the internetsite/SQL-database (I'm not interested in any unreliable free- hosting service full of banners with frequent outages), the license for part of the encryption software and for basically maintaining and supporting the whole thing.

How does this sound? Is there any interest in that I continue to pursue this?

Best regards, Stefan Pettersson

Beta testers included Damien Moore, Dan Cerveny, Georgi Kermekchiev, Lasse Nyholm, Mikael Jonker and Sorin Manea. Following are all posts about the game made in Addicts and the Guestbook. Surprisingly, not many people responded.

Damien in the Guestbook on 20 October:

i've been playing stefan peterson's global minesweeper, which he hopes can become the new version we've all been talking about. (standard levels, 6 levels of encryption, online scorelists that submit directly from your comp, built-in timer, improved board generator, 3BV built in with left-right click counter)...there's a few things still being worked out but it's great and the best i've seen so far. reason i write...i just did a 58s game where 3BV was 206, but i used 186 left clicks (and 213 right). i'm not sure how to work it out, but i think this'll provide a way to work out whether flagging or not is more efficient.

And again the next day:

before we all get carried away, this version isn't yet accepted (timer starts on 0 so 1 sec advantage)...stefan is still making changes and hasn't finished the product yet (for instance, if you flag a lot, then very often the left button starts functioning as the double-click function), but it's still the best i've seen and he's hoping to make it work.

Stefan then posted another announcement 28 Oct 2002 in the Guestbook:

I've updated my website with a couple of screenshots and some more information about my new minesweeper game (currently beta tested by some of the people writing in this guestbook). Read more at this URL: http://www.stefan-pettersson.nu/site/gmines/

Jeroen Courtens made this amusing comment on 02 November 2002:

I just saw some screenshots of 'global mines' at the site of Steven Pettersson. Looks as good as a Kylie in hotpants. So congrats to the programmers! Will it be available for free if it becomes the new standard for minesweepers?

Georgi posted in Addicts on 12 November 2002:

Hi, I am one of the beta-testers of Stefan Pettersson's minesweeper version. Yesterday I've got with it the lowest 3BV in Intermediate - 23 !!!!!

I was playing with an awful mouse and couldn't get better than 18.68 (yeh, it counts the hundredths).

The game is getting very functional and responds to all our requirements ... (correct timer, random board generator, online scoring, profile support, 3BV-left-right-doubleclick stats and more) ...

And a final post the same day, by Mikael in Addicts:

I am also very impressed by Stefan's game. It has much of the functionality currently being discussed in the Minesweeper Utopia project, and new functions are still being added. I think everyone should take a look at it when it's released.

Global Mines was originally to be shareware, priced at $9.90 to cover the costs of maintaining the online ranking and paying for encryption software. However, several players noted that few would buy the version when the standard Windows version came free. In a post to Addicts on 11 Nov 2002, Stefan admitted that there would probably not be a fee for the final version. Unfortunately there was no final version and the project was cancelled on 25 Nov 2002 due to time constraints and lack of funds.

[edit] Final Features

  • Post scores directly to website ranking on internet
  • Accurate timer starting at zero with precision of hundredth of a second (e.g. 4.51)
  • Exact behaviour and gameplay style as in original MS Minesweeper
  • Built in 3BV-counter
  • Statistics (left, right and double clicks and clicks per second for each)
  • Save top 100 highscores for each level (including statistics)
  • Random board generation (random seed to prevent board cycles)
  • Skinnable graphics (including traditional win31 and win98 look)
  • Several layers of encryption of both score posting and executable file itself to prevent cheating
  • Save board screenshot with statistics within the game
  • Automatic logging (optional) of score and statistics to file (e.g. to open with Excel)

[edit] Bugs

  • A chord (pressing both buttons) is counted as a doubleclick but also counts as either a left or right click. It seems to be random whether the left or right total is incremented.

[edit] Historical Importance

Global Mines was the first minesweeper clone with a decimal timer or to include stats of any kind (left clicks, right clicks, double clicks, 3BV, date and clicks per second of each type). At the time the only other options for stats were the Minesweeper Reader to count 3BV from screenshots of finished boards, or the Recorder to record games with a decimal time and stats into a text file playable as a video. Global Mines was also the first attempt at an official clone that started the timer at 0. Its different skins inspired later clones, like Minesweeper X, to allow custom skins.

[edit] Screenshots

[edit] Releases

It is not known how many versions were released. Evidence exists for the following:

2.0 Beta 4 2002-11-09 - Added 'Options' to menu with features such as automatic logging of stats in CSV format (storing grid size, mines, time, date, 3BV, right, left, chords), whether to show stats after lost games, and whether to display number of clicks on a status bar during the game
2.0 Beta 3 2002-10-18
2.0 2002-10-14 - Major update and nearly everything changed.
1.1 1998-02-24 - Graphics made resizable
- Allowed use of middle button on mouse
- Fixed to give correct results when using both mouse buttons
- Several minor changes
1.0 1998-02-03 - Initial public release.

[edit] Original Link

The site used to be hosted at: www.stefan-pettersson.nu/site/gmines/index.phtml. It can still be found using the Wayback Archive website.

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