You've probably played the old game called minesweeper. It's been
included with each of Microsoft's operating systems since before Windows95, and
is very addictive! The idea is simple, but it's a challenge to master.
Here is a 3D version of minesweeper. The 3D graphics enhances the
experience and the different tilings used for the different boards introduces
new challenges of logic and adds a lot to the gameplay. There's a lot more
variation in this game than in the original Minesweeper!
The board is covered with tiles. You play by clicking to reveal what
lies beneath each tile. Some tiles have mines (or bombs) hidden beneath
them, so you must not click on those tiles! Other tiles will reveal a number,
which indicates how many neighbouring tiles contain mines. Tiles are
neighbours if they touch, either along an edge or just at a corner. Use these
numbers to find all the tiles that don't contain mines. You win when all such
tiles have been revealed. If no neighbouring tiles contain mines, then no
number is given (it would be zero), and all neighbouring tiles are also
revealed (recursively if they too have no neighbouring mines!). This helps you
clear large empty areas.
Since this version is three-dimensional, you also need to rotate the board
to access all the tiles. This is also controlled with the mouse. You can even
zoom in and out.
Controls are fully compatible with the original game, so you can
start playing straight away.
48 board shapes to choose from, each with
4 levels of subdivision and
4 levels of difficulty. Compared to the original game,
the smallest board is smaller, and the largest board is much larger!
Exciting new tilings, not just squares. New tilings require new
strategies. Many boards even have various different types of tiling within the
An integrated solver lets you watch the computer play on its own.
Can also be used to ask for a hint. See below for more info on this.
Nice graphics effects when you win or lose. The winning effect is more
impressive depending on how difficult the board is, so you need to keep trying
to solve more and more difficult boards!
Statistics are given: 3BV and number of clicks of each button
combination. Statistics are also stored with entries in the best-times list.
Not only is the first tile opened guaranteed not to reveal a mine, but none
of the surrounding tiles will contain a mine either, so you don't generally
have to start guessing immediately after the first click. If the first click
revealed was a number, you wouldn't be able to figure out where to go next!
You win by revealing all the tiles that don't contain a mine, but now you
can also win by flagging all the tiles that do! This takes out the guess work
at the end of the game when you occasionally get an ambiguous situation. You
can try flagging both possibilities to see which one wins.
Since there are no "edges" to the board, you don't get as many ambiguous
situations, where it is impossible to know what to do next. Such situations
were more common in the original Minesweeper because at the edges, tiles
weren't surrounded by neighbours so there wasn't enough information.
Timer has two extra digits, for those really big boards!
Timer is accurate to a tenth of a second, so you really know who deserves
to be in that best-times list!
Best-times are stored separately for all 768 possible
boards! 768 = 48 board shapes X
4 levels of subdivision X 4 levels of
World record times are also stored, so you aren't just competing with
yourself anymore! The latest world records are downloaded automatically from
within the program (or you can do it manually), and if you beat the world
record for a board, you can submit your new time. Best-times files are
encrypted to make cheating difficult! There are lots of boards though, and
some haven't even been solved yet, so there's plenty of opportunity to get on
the world record list!
The program automatically informs you when one of your world records has
been beaten by someone else!
Countdown bars show you how much time is left if you want to beat a
personal or world record. Another countdown bar shows how many mines are left
so you can compare the two side-by-side to see whether you're on-track for a
The original Minesweeper had sound effects, but they were too annoying to
listen to, beeping every second! My approach to sound effects is more sparce.
My home-made sound effects are kind of humourous, but fit into the game well,
giving it a kind of retro feel somehow!
The game has a built-in auto-solver. Watch the computer play MineSweeper3D all
by itself! You can also use this feature to ask for a hint when you get stuck.
If you do use the integrated solver, the timer will be disabled and you can't
get a world record (that would be cheating!).
The solver can rotate the board to show you what it's doing, and highlight
tiles to show what information it used to figure it out. Download the free
demo and check it out! The solver can always find a safe move to make if one
exists, and it can calculate exact probabilities of each tile containing a mine
otherwise. Probabilities are shown on the screen as percentages and by
colour-coding the tiles.
So how does it work? It uses various rules. First it looks for any moves
that can be made using just a single open tile. For example, if an open tile
has the number "1", and it already has a flagged tile touching it, then all
other neighbours must be safe to open.
Then it looks for moves that can be made based on two tiles. Then three.
And then it considers all the tiles at once and counts the possible
combinations. If tiles don't contain mines in any valid combination, then they
are safe to open. If they do contain mines in all valid combinations, then
they are safe to flag. Otherwise the counts are used to figure out exact
probabilities of each tile containing a mine, and a guess is made by choosing a
tile with the lowest probability.
There are lots of user-settable options which control the auto-solver. You
can tell it to stop when it finds certain situations. You can change the speed
at which it plays on the screen. There is even a stats mode, where it
plays off-screen and collects statistics about how many games were won, and how
many of each type of rule were used to solve the boards.