Here’s a game I’ve been trying to make for a while.
For a while I’ve had a hunch that there’s fun to be had in moving between numbers by using something related to the prime numbers.
Over the years I’ve tried out a few different ideas, but none of them ever worked out – they were either too easy, too hard, or just not interesting. This time, I think I’ve found something close enough to the sweet spot that I’m happy to publish it.
Prime Run is a game about adding and subtracting prime numbers. You start at a random number, with a random target. Your goal is to reach the target, by adding or removing any prime factor of your current number.
You know what’s fun? Typesetting mathematics! Glad you agree, because here’s a game that puts the fun in ‘underfilled hbox’.
In TeXnique, you’re shown a typeset bit of mathematical notation, and have to frantically type LaTeX to reproduce it. You get three minutes, and you’re awarded points when you produce something that’s a pixel-perfect replica of the original. Think Typing of the Dead crossed with The Art of Computer Programming.
When I first saw this I rolled my eyes, but now my high score is 68 and I don’t know why I keep going back to it.
The formulas are largely well-known snippets of notation, so you might find some of them coming out through muscle memory, but if a symbol shows up that you can’t remember the macro for, there’s always the brilliant Detexify tool.
If you are like me, you have played the game SET and have probably been perplexed at how quickly some people can play the game! Even as the game is quite easy to explain, it takes some time to build various strategies and pattern recognition to play the game effectively. If you have never heard of SET, don’t fret because we will soon review its layout. For my final masters project at Texas A&M University, we had the autonomy to research any higher-level mathematical topic and I felt SET would be a great venue to tap into some deeper mathematics. Little did I know how truly complex and elegant SET really is with connections to combinatorial geometry, finite affine geometry, and vector spaces over finite fields, some of these problems still open in research-level mathematics. All of these topics (and more) are included in a great resource I highly recommend for some summer reading. Check out The Joy of Set by McMahon, et al. to dig deeper into what is presented below.
Number Drop is a mobile app maths game we came across recently, and have taken the opportunity to have a chat with its creator, Ben. NumberDrop is available for on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
I’ve been a fan of your “Is this prime?” game for a while, and after seeing your blog post from last May, I thought I’d say hi and send you some high scores. Until recently, my record was 89 numbers (last March 12), which I think may be the dot in the top right of your “human scores” graph. But I tried playing some more a couple weeks ago, and I found I can go a little faster using my computer’s y/n buttons instead of my phone’s touch screen. It turns out 100 numbers is possible!
Watch in amazement:
But, to the delight of prime fans everywhere, he didn’t stop there:
Today I even got 107 – good to have a prime record again.
I’m not normally interested in education stuff, but we’ve had a flurry of emails from various people telling us about their projects, and I’ve got nothing else to do today, so I thought I’d round them up.