Lim Chee Aun

Pentago or Pentagoo?

Confused? Don't worry. It's just a project I've been doing for the past few months.

First, let me introduce the Pentago:

Pentago is a two-player abstract strategy game invented by Tomas Flodén. The Swedish company Mindtwister has the rights of developing and commercializing the product.

The game is played on a 6×6 board divided into four 3×3 sub-boards (or quadrants). Taking turns, the two players place a marble of their colour (either black or white) onto an unoccupied space on the board, and then rotate one of the sub-boards by 90 degrees either clockwise or counter-clockwise. A player wins by getting five of their marbles in a vertical, horizontal or diagonal row (either before or after the sub-board rotation in their move). If all 36 spaces on the board are occupied without a row of five being formed then the game is a draw.

I was introduced to this game was when I was working part-time. I personally find that this game is a genius! Simple yet confusing. It's the first I see a board game that involves some rotation mechanism. It really fits the name of the company behind it, Mindtwister.

Okay, enough with the story.

Pentagoo web site, with visible white and black marbles on the board

Now, let me introduce the Pentagoo. Take note of the extra 'o'. The online Pentago game, written in Javascript. Yeah, I wrote the whole game from scratch. Haha. Quite a challenge for myself, though.

Actually, there are already some other projects and web sites for Pentago:

Some are very matured while some seems to be quite inactive. However, I decide to make my own version with more features and better interface. Therefore, Pentagoo is born. The current version has few interesting features such as sub-board rotation animation effects, keyboard control support, undo and history logging.

Pentagoo desktop application, running under Adobe AIR on Windows Vista

Following the recent Adobe AIR craze, I've even made a desktop version of Pentagoo! It works on Windows Vista and though I never test it thoroughly, it should work on Windows XP and Mac OSX too. I've learnt some pretty cool stuff while developing Pentagoo with Adobe AIR. A very amazing technology, especially for web designers like me. Well obviously, it look almost, if not exactly, the same as the site, but with additional features like save game and sound effects! Sometimes, I just couldn't believe how easy it is to create a desktop application with Adobe AIR. Simply unbelievable.

The current version 0.1, which I've released two days ago, is ready for the public to play online or offline. I spent the last few weeks back in my hometown rewriting code and fixing bugs in the game. The only problem I got now is the lack of a decent AI engine for the game. I'm able to code, but Artificial Intelligence is just way over my capabilities. So, I would greatly appreciate any help from interested AI gurus out there. So do any comments, ideas or suggestions to improve the project!

The Pentagoo project is currently hosted on Google Code. Just spend some time playing it and spread the news!