Minesweeper Reader

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Minesweeper Board Reader
Minesweeper Board Reader
Author: Benny Benjamin & Yoni Roll
Initial release: 2002-06-01 (Beta 1)
Latest release: 2002-08-31 (Beta 2.0)
OS: Windows
Language(s): English
Genre: Programs
Status: Freeware

Minesweeper Reader was the first program to count 3BV. The original intent of the program had been to search screenshots for matching boards. Benny Benjamin (Australia) and Yoni Roll (Israel) released several betas during the summer of 2002. Ultimately, the program was abandoned.


Although the Reader became popular due to its 3BV counting function, it was originally designed to find matching boards in a database of record screenshots. During the spring of 2002, several players completed the Dreamboard and its shifts. Yoni proposed in the Guestbook 29 May 2002 to make a board database. Benny noted that programs already existed to find duplicate images, but they required all screenshots to be saved in identical formats. David Barry (Australia) suggested that a program in Visual Basic only needed to find a unique black pixel near the centre of each square. Case Cantrell (USA) suggested a method for locating numbers easily, but Yoni noted that it would only be necessary to locate the mines.

Benny announced 1 Jun 2002 that he had written a program to locate mines on Intermediate boards. He also explained how his program searched pixels. Yoni immediately uploaded it to Minesweeper Addicts. Several players tested the program and noted minor problems. For instance, Visual Basic did not have handlers to allow PNG analysis.

Benny then broke his Expert record 11 Jun 2002 and jumped from 73 to 64. He openly stated disbelief and asked if his record should be excluded. Stephan Bechtel (Germany) asked him if he counted clicks and noted that his jump was reasonable. This led to a discussion and the invention of 3BV, which was immediately incorporated into Beta 2. Yoni took over the project in July and translated the program into Delphi. 31 Aug 2002 he released what became the final version. He also created Reader pages on his site and founded a Reader forum, but neither were as popular as hoped.

The final version, Beta 2.0, introduced MRB files. These files memorised a single pixel per square and recreated boards rather than storing images. This reduced each board into a few hundred bytes of easily analysed information. Yoni hoped this would enable creation of a board database, which would allow records to be compared for board shifts. Unfortunately, this project was not completed. Yoni instead put his efforts into Project Minesweeper Utopia. A few months later he retired from the community.


  • May 29: Yoni suggests in Guestbook creation of board database.
  • May 29: Benny notes limits of existing duplicate image programs.
  • May 29: David notes a single unique pixel per square required for identification.
  • May 30: Case suggests method to locate numbers.
  • May 30: Yoni notes location of mines sufficient for board memorisation.
  • Jun 1: Benny releases Beta 1 in Visual Basic.
  • Jun 2: Yoni uploads first beta to Addicts.
  • Jun 11: Benny expresses disbelief as expert record jumps 73 to 64.
  • Jun 11: Stephan states record jump is possible, asks if Benny counted clicks.
  • Jun 12: Stephan explains how he counts minimum clicks.
  • Jun 21: Benny suggests terming minimum count 3BV, after Stephan.
  • Jul 10: Benny releases Beta 2, with 3BV counter.
  • Aug 10: Yoni releases Beta 1.0, translates program into Delphi.
  • Aug 31: Yoni releases Beta 2.0.
  • Aug 31: Yoni creates Reader pages on website, creates Forum.
  • Oct 12: Yoni joins Project Minesweeper Utopia.

Version History

Beta 1: Jun 1, 2002

  • First release in Visual Basic test board analysis

Beta 2: Jul 10, 2002

  • Reads Expert boards
  • Displays 3BV count
  • Displays numbers and mines

Beta 1.0: Aug 10, 2002

  • Translated to Delphi
  • Graphic board display
  • Displays time
  • Notes if board won or lost
  • Includes an About window
  • Browse, Copy command

Beta 2.0: Aug 31, 2002

  • Creation of MRB files
  • Renaming utility
  • Flags, incorrect flags, questionmarks, closed squares displayed
  • Help file
  • Save As, Paste commands
  • Drag and Drop pictures
  • Option to hide exploded mines
  • Icon changed
  • 3BV explanation written by Stephan Bechtel
  • Hand cursor over links
  • Fixed bugs:
    • Times with digit 4 recognised
    • Corrected spelling of "Windoiws 95"
    • Copy command renamed to Paste
    • Various small shanges to source code

Beta 2.0 Known Bugs

  • XP recognised as 95
  • GIF format low quality
  • Program unstable after heavy usage

Future Version Suggestions

  • Picture database