Tag Archives: pacman

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A little White Noise

Reader, and blogger on things Calvinistic and other stuff, Lee Shelton IV, doesn’t just have a numerically cool last name. He has skills of an artist (if you think that sentence is grammatically incorrect go here).

He has started a whiteboard cartoon blog called “White Noise”. And I’ll be following along.

 
So far he has zombies, politics, venn diagrams, and pacman. How could I resist?

The best thing is the lack of comic sans.

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Game Theory: Understanding the mechanics of Pacman

Well. I’ll never look at a game of Pacman in quite the same way again.

Its mysteries have been revealed by these two links – firstly the Pacman Dossier – basically a textbook on Pacman, and secondly, this study of the mechanics, and individual personalities, of the Pacman ghosts – which draws on material from the first.

The ghosts have three movement patterns, each individually calibrated. These patterns are determined by what mode they’re in – chase, scatter, or frightened. And these modes switch based on time cycles in each level. The modes determine what a ghost will do as it approaches an intersection.

“The diagram above shows a simplified representation of the maze layout. Decisions are only necessary at all when approaching “intersection” tiles, which are indicated in green on the diagram.

When a decision about which direction to turn is necessary, the choice is made based on which tile adjoining the intersection will put the ghost nearest to its target tile, measured in a straight line. The distance from every possibility to the target tile is measured, and whichever tile is closest to the target will be selected.”

Here’s what happens in Scatter mode:


Each ghost has a pre-defined, fixed target tile while in this mode, located just outside the corners of the maze. When Scatter mode begins, each ghost will head towards their “home” corner using their regular path-finding methods. However, since the actual target tiles are inaccessible and the ghosts cannot stop moving or reverse direction, they are forced to continue past the target, but will turn back towards it as soon as possible. This results in each ghost’s path eventually becoming a fixed loop in their corner. If left in Scatter mode, each ghost would remain in its loop indefinitely. In practice, the duration of Scatter mode is always quite short, so the ghosts often do not have time to even reach their corner or complete a circuit of their loop before reverting back to Chase mode.

Pacman in stopmotion

I’ve posted something like this before. It may even have been this. If so, it is worth repeating. If not… well, it’s worth posting. Clever.

Pacmania: Google’s Pacman costs world billions

As reported the other day, to celebrate Pacman’s 30th birthday Google created a playable Pacman version of its logo. It’s now permanently available. The playable logo is estimated to have consumed 4.8 million man hours globally.

RescueTime is a program that monitors online usage. They extrapolated their data to reach that figure.

Here’s the baseline:

Our average Google user spends only 4 and a half active minutes on Google search per day, spread over about 22 page views. That’s roughly 11 seconds of attention invested in each Google page view. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but next time you do a search, count to 11- it’s a long time.

Here’s what the study found:

The average user spent 36 seconds MORE on Google.com on Friday.. Thankfully, Google tossed out the logo with pretty low “perceived affordance” – they put an “insert coin” button next to the search button, but I imagine most users missed that. In fact, I’d wager that 75% of the people who saw the logo had no idea that you could actually play it. Which the world should be thankful for.

If we take Wolfram Alpha at its word, Google had about 504,703,000 unique visitors on May 23. If we assume that our userbase is representative, that means:

  • Google Pac-Man consumed 4,819,352 hours of time (beyond the 33.6m daily man hours of attention that Google Search gets in a given day)
  • $120,483,800 is the dollar tally, If the average Google user has a COST of $25/hr (note that cost is 1.3 – 2.0 X pay rate).
  • For that same cost, you could hire all 19,835 google employees, from Larry and Sergey down to their janitors, and get 6 weeks of their time. Imagine what you could build with that army of man power.
  • $298,803,988 is the dollar tally if all of the Pac-Man players had an approximate cost of the average Google employee.