Recorder

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Minesweeper Recorder
Minesweeper Recorder, R6
Author: Sorin Manea (Romania)
Initial release: 2002-08-03 (Release 1)
Latest release: 2003-11-11 (Release 6)
OS: Windows
Language(s): English
Genre: Programs
Status: Freeware

The Recorder is a collection of three programs that display game stats and create videos. Sorin Manea (Romania) released several versions between 16 Mar 2002 and 11 Nov 2003. It was the first program to display stats during gameplay, to count clicks, to calculate click ratios, to calculate 3BV/s, to use an accurate timer and to create a video format designed for Minesweeper.

Contents

[edit] The Counter

Lasse Nyholm (Denmark) first counted minimum clicks 17 Dec 2001 in an attempt to analyse a controversial screenshot. Georgi Kermekchiev (Bulgaria) asked Lasse for the counting formula and suggested 5 Feb 2002 the creation of a minimum click/s ranking. It was hoped this new skill ranking would eliminate UPK from the world rankings. This generated interest, but many people confused his idea with clicks per second. The idea was lost in the resulting discussions and forgotten.

Sorin noticed the interest in clicks and programmed a Counter, which he released 16 Mar 2002. This program ran during gameplay and displayed right and left clicks, as well as right and left clicks per second. Several players downloaded the Counter but soon found the information correlated poorly to performance. The program went largely unnoticed.

[edit] The Recorder and Player

The minimum click count was named 3BV 21 Jun 2002 after it was rediscovered. Benny Benjamin (Australia) added a 3BV counter to his second beta of the screenshot Reader released 10 Jul 2002. This program arose from several discussions in the Guestbook. An important discovery was that all squares could be identified by an unique pixel, and that numbers could be generated from mine locations rather than memorised.

Sorin realised that 3BV was the reason he had created the Counter. He also realised the value of the new observations. The Recorder and Player were released 3 Aug 2002 along with a modified Counter. The Counter now also noted 3BV and 3BV/s. The Recorder looked exactly like the Counter but it stored the click information, noted the mouse path and recorded mine locations into a text file. The Player analysed stored information and used mine locations to generate the board. It then matched clicks to mouse movement and could recreate the game as a video.

Sorin joined Project Minesweeper Utopia in October, so the first revision of his program was not released until 24 Dec 2002. Players noted that the Recorder occasionally did not stop and that the program often died. The timer also occasionally added a full second, which resulted in discussion 15 Jan 2002 when Martin Toft Madsen (Denmark) broke his record according to the Minesweeper timer but not the Recorder timer.

A fix of the Recorder was released 15 Apr 2003. Several players complained that it still did not work on their computers, most blaming it on XP. Lance Votroubek suggested 18 Mar 2003 the creation of a Help file and an Estimated Time stat. Georgi noted that too many games were ending at '.99' and requested a stat for efficiency as well as a function to export the stats. He was also first 20 May 2003 to suggest that the Recorder did not work on foreign versions of Windows.

Sorin released 2 Nov 2003 what he hoped would be the final version of the three programs. The main improvement was making recording more efficient by writing data at the end of games instead of during play. He also expanded the 3BV limit from 255 to 511, added a Help file, allowed use of F2 to start games and recorded both estimated times and solved 3BV. However, the new Recorder occasionally did not stop at the end of games due to a delay with the smiley face on some computers. Sorin removed the program from Minesweeper Addicts for repairs. Dennis Lutken (Denmark) reminded him that it still did not work on his computer, so Sorin requested foreign versions of the game. It was discovered that some versions change hidden values used by Winmine. The program was modified to recognise Minestryger, Buscamines and Démineur. He then modified Prato Fiorito so Italian players could download their flower version of the game and use the program. The final release came 11 Nov 2003.

[edit] Acceptance

Prior to the Recorder, players had to use Camtasia to make game videos. The advantages of the Recorder were numerous: small file sizes, no video editing, searchable files, live stats, click charts, an accurate timer and exportable stats. As a result nearly all the top players switched to the Recorder.

However, many players began using clones instead of winmine after the introduction of the Clone and Arbiter in 2004 and 2005. Both clones were modeled after the Recorder and it is still used by several players. The program had a tremendous impact on the early Minesweeper community.

[edit] Known Bugs

  • Many videos end with the decimals 99. In Sorin's words, "Whenever a mouse event is captured, T read the time of the event from the minesweeper window (it comes with the message). I noticed a little bug here: the millisecond timer sometimes shows something like 1002(above 999) between two WM_TIMER messages, which occur whenever the minesweeper board timer changes. I truncated that value to 999 (99 tens of milliseconds in fact). This is the reason why times like xx.99 appear more often than others," posted 25 Dec 2002 in the Guestbook.
  • 'Estimated Time Bug' - the program only accepts estimated times equal or less than 999.99 because it only uses 5 digits. Sorin did not fix this 'bug' on purpose because you would have to be very slow to be affected.
  • The 'New' option from the Minesweeper menu does not reset counters.
  • Does not work if colour option is disabled.
  • If minesweeper window is moved during play, recordings will be wrong until F2 is pressed.
  • Changing the mine settings in Custom levels does not reset counters.

[edit] Timeline

2001

  • Dec 17: Lasse Nyholm first to count minimum clicks.

2002

  • Feb 5: Georgi Kermekchiev suggests ranking based on minimum click/s.
  • Mar 16: Release 1: Sorin Manea creates Counter for performed clicks and click ratios
  • Jun 21: Benny Benjamin names 3BV.
  • Jul 10: Benny includes 3BV counter in his board Reader Beta 2.
  • Aug 3: Release 2: Sorin adds 3BV and 3BV/s to Counter, creates Recorder and Player, packages all as Recorder.rar.
  • Dec 24: Release 3: Sorin rewrites the Recorder and Player, releases as Count_rec.exe.

2003

  • Jan 15: Martin Toft Madsen notes incorrect time on Counter.
  • Apr 15: Release 4: Sorin uploads enhanced Recorder_fix.exe to replace Recorder.exe in the Counter_rec.exe package.
  • Mar 18: Lance Votroubek suggests creation of an Estimated Time stat and a Help file.
  • Mar 18: Georgi suggests a stat log and an efficiency ratio stat. Notes many games end in '.99'.
  • May 20: Georgi suggests foreign versions are disrupting the Recorder.
  • Jul 11: Georgi suggests adding probability of successful next click to Counter.
  • Nov 2: Release 5: Sorin releases penultimate revision of the Recorder Package.
  • Nov 2: Sorin modifies Recorder to account for occasional delay of the smiley face.
  • Nov 3: Dennis reminds Sorin the Recorder does not work on the Danish version.
  • Nov 3: Sorin removes Recorder from Addicts for repairs.
  • Nov 5: Sorin requests foreign versions of Minesweeper to enable fix.
  • Nov 11: Release 6: Sorin releases final version of Recorder Package.
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