Mine Field Travel

Does a slower speed give you a better chance of NOT hitting a mine?

By: Steven Gedye… Better known as the Sonic Hedgehog

For those of you that don’t care with “how” and “what” I did and just want to see the results, feel free

to “click here” to skip to the results and conclusion.


This test is to confirm 2 things.
1) That the chances of hitting a mine while traveling through minefields has nothing to do with the speed that you are going.
2) That the Statistical chance of NOT hitting a mine when cloaked in 81LYs traveled of 66.6% (0.995 ^ 81) is correct.


When reading an “E-friend’s” (friend via E-mail) VGAP Web page, I saw he had said “You have a better chance of traveling cloaked through a minefield without getting hit, at slower speeds.” I questioned this as I was fairly sure you had a 0.5% chance of hitting a mine for each LY you traveled through the minefield regardless of speed.
In came a big debate with him (and a few others) on one side saying with experience at going through minefields fast and slow he reckons he has better chance going slow (he did admit this was “feeling” and not “hard fact”). and on the other side we have me (also with a few others) saying the chances of NOT hitting a mine when cloaked is 0.995 ^ (LY traveled)….. time taken to go through the minefield doesnt come into it.
We then both agreed that we should do some tests to find out what is true. Here are my findings that I have found with my tests, I’m a big believer of NOT doing things by halves!


Contents of TESTRUN.BAT Contents of Y.TXT
586 DX4 100
14 Meg Ram Disk
Host 3.22.004 (Tims)
Batch file called “testrun.bat”
Text file called “y.txt”
And too much spare time 😉
echo off
host test >null }
host test >null } The number of Hosts needed
host test >null } per loop changes with the
host test >null } Warp, which is changed at
host test >null } Step 6
host test >null }
type e:\planets\test\score.log >>e:\warp4.txt
del e:\planets\test\*.* < e:\y.txt
copy e:\planets\test.zip e:\planets\test\*.*
cd e:\planets\test
pkunzip test.zip
cd e:\planets
echo ** looping **
goto start

Please Note: The “Y.TXT” file is there to bypass the “are you sure (Y/N)” of the Del *.* command. I favour this way over piping a Y with an echo.


Step 1. Setup a test game on Ram Disk with the following settings.
1 Race only (The Birds)
Cloaked Ship Minefield odds = 0.5%
Cloak Fail = 0%
Fuel Used To Cloak = 0
Ion Storms = 0
Planet Gravity Wells = NO
Minefield Decay = 0
Step 2a. To build 11 Ships in total, these were
10 Swift Hearts with Tech10 Engines
1 White Falcon with Mk8 torps. to be recycled later
Step 2b. To build 200 Mk8 torps on the White Falcon and Lay a 140+ Radius minefield in the FEDs id. this was done over 2 turns. The White Falcon was then recycled.
Step 3. To set all 10 ships missions to CLOAK and all waypoints to 81Lys.
Step 4. Set Warp Speed of all the ships for the first test run, taking note of the ETA of the ships. Exit out and run MAKETURN.
Step 5. Zip up game directory.
Step 6. Change my Batch file for the number of Hosts needed for the ships to reach 81LYs (given by ETA) and change the file name “warp?.txt” for the score log.
Step 7. Run batch file and wait for at least 1 hour.
Step 8. Ctrl-C out of batch file and copied “warp?.txt” to Hard Disk.
Step 9. Delete game directory and unzip the zip version. This is to make sure the ships are back at the planet
Step 10. Repeat from Step 4 for next warp speed.


Due to the fact that I stopped each test anytime after 1 hour and that each test runs at a different speed, the sample size for each Warp is different. This is not importent as we are only interested in the %

Warp 2 Warp 3 Warp 4 Warp 5 Warp 6 Warp 7 Warp 8 Warp 9
Sample Size (# of Ships) 1090 1530 3260 2750 3550 3140 7220 8110
Ships Survived 734 1028 2131 1820 2372 2060 4837 5493
% Survived 67.339 67.189 65.368 66.181 66.816 65.605 66.994 67.731
In Groups of 10
Average number left 6.733 6.718 6.536 6.618 6.681 6.560 6.699 6.773
Std Dev 1.579 1.434 1.544 1.490 1.506 1.555 1.484 1.537

Please Note: A Swift Heart with a full load of fuel traveling at Warp1 would run out of fuel before it reached 81LYs (at least, thats what VPA told me)


With these results one can argue that there no difference in hitting a mine whether you are going “fast” or “slow” and that the Statistical chance of NOT hitting a mine when cloaked of 66.6% (for 81LYs) is bang on!

Steven Gedye 12th April ’97

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