Saturday, February 04, 2006

Mind Rover

Name: Mind Rover: The Europa Project
Author: CogniToy
License: Commercial

This is part four of five in my series on programming logic games. This week's game is Mind Rover, a commercial game which came out in the late 90s. Mind Rover is a fun and challenging game in which you build and program a rover to complete one of the many the scenarios. The scenarios range from winning a race to defeating an opponent rover in battle.

There are three phases to completing a scenario. The first phase is to design your rover. You pick a chassis type: hovercraft, wheeled, or treaded. Load it up with components such as motors, sensors, and weapons. There are limits. Weight, point, and space limits restrict how many components you can load onto your rover. You have carefully optimize your selections to meet the scenario objectives.

The goal of this scenario is to destroy your opponent's rover. I went with the medimum hovercraft chassis and put one engine on the lower right. This causes my rover to just spin around. This is not very subtle but it gets the job done. Next I put sensors on each side to detect the opponent. Finally, I needed some weapons: lasers on each side and a rocket launcher both front and back.

In the second phase, you program your rover. This is done by wiring your components together allowing one to trigger or effect another. In the example, I set a wire between the front sensor and front rocket launcher. If the opponent is sighted, this wire causes a rocket to be fired. Besides adding wires, you can add logical components such as AND, OR, ADD, or COMPARE. Then there are timers and waypoint sensors. There is even a randomizer which I never have had need to use. This allows you create fairly complicated programs for your rover.

The final phase is the running the scenario. Just hit the go button and watch the 3D action. For each scenario, there is a rover designed by the CogniToy for you to compete against. Here is an action shot of my rover getting a laser shot on their rover. Once you defeat the built in rover, you can take on your friends.

Mind Rover comes with 22 scenarios including 5 tutorial scenarios. You can also download some additional scenarios. I found this game to be a difficult game. It has a high frustration factor. You have to be detail oriented to understand how each component works and interacts with others. But the reward is worth the effort.

Despite being an older game, Mind Rover can still be purchased. Patched to 1.08, it runs just fine in WindowsXP. One wonderful thing about it being an older game is the manual. It runs 250 pages and completely explains every aspect of the game. You just don't see manuals like this any more. It is a shame.

If you want to get a feel for the game, there a java version called MiniMindRover. If you want play with a hardware version, there is LegoMindstorms. You actual have to wire components. This is one of the best geek toys ever.


At 10:04 AM, Anonymous kamagra said...

Excellent, I think they are doing an important contribution, all is about good games and this one is better than the last version, actually we can see the scenarios and we won't ignore the features, specially if we're talking about objectives. 23jj


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