Mine Hunt

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Mine Hunt
Mine Hunt
Author: Paul LeBeau (New Zealand)
Initial release: 1.04 (1992-??-??)
Latest release: 1.10 (1994-04-11)
Language(s): English
Genre: Minesweeper Versions
Status: Freeware
Website: None

Mine Hunt is a minesweeper game for RISC OS written by Paul LeBeau in 1992. For several years it came with official RISC OS releases.


Paul LeBeau (New Zealand) wrote Mine Hunt after his friend Judith suggested porting Windows Minesweeper to the RISC OS used by Acorn Computers. The game is also known as MineHunt, because RISC OS did not allow spaces in filenames. At the time he was working for an educational software company in England.

Many features were copied from the Microsoft version. The standard levels of 8x8 (10 mines), 16x16 (40 mines) and 16x30 (99 mines) remained, but he also added two new levels: Better, 16x8 with 20 mines and Good, 24x16 with 60 mines. Flags and Questionmarks are used the original way. Instead of using the default chording method of pressing both buttons, he chose the alternative Windows method of pressing the SHIFT key while making a Left click. Paul explains that in RISC OS, "click events are sent on button down as opposed to Windows where they are on button up" so programming chording is trickier. The Highscore list was improved by making it save the best 5 scores for each level. All mines are shown when you lose - the mine you clicked turns red and correct flags become green mines. Unlike the Windows version, it is possible to lose on the first click. Maximum Custom size is 64x64, limited only by your screen resolution. Version 1.06 introduced the ability to change the colours of the Timer and Mine Counter by clicking on them. Timer starts at 0.

One interesting feature of the game is spoken messages. There are several messages in a New Zealand accent, ranging from "You realise if it was a real mine, you'd be just a squidgy mess on the floor by now" for losing, to "Ooh, look at that, you actually did it!" if you win.

On 16 Apr 1994, Acorn Computers launched the Risc PC using RISC OS 3.50. A copy of Mine Hunt 1.10 was included in the Diversions directory. According to LeBeau, "Acorn contacted me saying that MineHunt was very popular internally and they were interested in including it with the next release of RISC OS. I agreed in exchange for a donation to charity." The game continued to be released with each version of the operating system until 3.71 in 1997, the final public version before Acorn sold the operating system. Mine Hunt remained the de facto version of the RISC OS community until 2002, when RISCOS Ltd replaced it with Flag Day on releases of RISC OS 4.


There are two interesting comments on the internet about this game. After someone complained about sound effects, Julian Wright replied 27 Nov 1994 in comp.sys.acorn.games, "The original version that Paul Lebeau wrote has far superior samples, from Bill'n'Ted's Excellent Adventure. I suspect that Acorn had him change these to the present, muffled, icky ones before they put it on the Risc PCs' hard drive for legal reasons." According to LeBeau, early versions had the current applause sound effect for winning, and on losing you heard the "Game over man, game over" quote from the movie Aliens. Acorn did ask him to remove the copyrighted sound clip, "so I ended up recording a few silly samples myself". A second claim is made on websites such as riscosopen.org, and describes the purpose of Mine Hunt as "Destroy the hidden ships". LeBeau states this has never been the purpose of Mine Hunt.

Mine Hunt does not work on 32-bit computers, such as the Iyonix or ARMini, that come supplied with RISC OS 5.

Easter Egg

In a post on 19 Mar 1998 to comp.sys.acorn.games, LeBeau announced a cheat for the game: "If you want to impress your friends with your MineHunt prowess, hold down Ctrl when you click on the 'man' to start a new game. Then keep Ctrl held down while you clear the board with a frenzy of seemingly random clicks. Your amazed friends with their gaping mouths won't know that you really aren't as good as you seem." Scores made this way do not qualify for the Highscore list.



Paul kindly supplied information about his game to AMS by email on 16 Sep 2011, quotes are included in this article. Other references are as follows:


1.12 - Added support for higher resolution images
1.11 - Option to have safe corners
- Option to chord with the Adjust (Right) button
1.10 1994-04-11 - Version included with Risc PC on 16 Apr 1994.
1.06 1992-12-20 - Added option to turn Questionmarks on or off
- Added LED colour change facility
1.04 - First public release.