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Think Tank Hatred: Part 1

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johnhattan

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I got the weirdest email today from someone who owns my games.

Basically, he's insisting that ThinkTank cheats. He didn't get into any specifics, but he claims that it's impossible to get a score over 40,000 (boy, you'd think he wouldn't play it so much if he hated it), and he even videotaped the game cheating so he could analyze it. Finally he stated that he would never ever ever buy anything of mine again and that I'm not "smart enough to know what it takes to make a hit."

It's funny, because the AI in ThinkTank is as about as simple as can be. As you can imagine, you don't need very smart AI if you outnumber the player ten-to-one. . .

Turn randomly when you get to an intersection --biased a bit for going straight (so you can get a bead on the enemies easier) and against staying along the outside walls (as all the tanks tended to congregate along the walls without the bias).

1. If the player is in front of your tank (with a 5 to 20 pixel buffer to either side), and you have a bullet, fire the bullet.

2. If a bullet hits a wall, give it back to the tank that fired it.

3. If the player completes a level, give a random tank a bullet. Also give a random tank a tiny speed increase. Also reduce a random tank's bias for going straight.

As you can imagine, eventually the enemy tanks will all be so fast, so well-armed, and so wily that you can't possibly win. Such is life in the arcade --eventually the ghosts in Pac Man are so fast and smart, and the power-dots last for such a short time that you are 100% doomed.

Anyway, I guess there's no accounting for taste. It does seem, though, like this guy got a lot of mileage out of a game that he hated with such a passion :)



Trivia: An obnoxious former coworker once accused me of being politically correct in ThinkTank because I gave a 1000 point "peace bonus" for running over all the dots without killing any tanks, but only a 300 point "war bonus" for killing all the tanks without running over any dots. I actually did that because getting the peace bonus is a lot more difficult --almost impossible when the tanks start getting well-armed.
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