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Gonna be confusing when they call the fifth film "Terminator THREE"
April 4, 2014 12:12 PM   Subscribe

An actual robot is playing THREES live right now on the internet. It is probably better than you at THREES, but at least your arms are longer, so.
posted by cortex (51 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Threes. Newbies sometimes assume everybody will know what they are referring to when they make a post they are particularly excited about.
posted by Curious Artificer at 12:22 PM on April 4 [7 favorites]


I just came here to post this. It is utterly fascinating to watch, and the soundtrack and the robot noises are amazing. Absolutely best of the web.
posted by alby at 12:22 PM on April 4


Threes is that copy of 2048 right?

(don't kill me I'm kidding)
posted by Riton at 12:23 PM on April 4 [5 favorites]


Sigha. Right now throwing my phone repeatedly at the wall would result in a better score at Threes than I've been getting. For some reason my scores have been getting worse. I blame 2048, which I discovered afterwards.
posted by nevercalm at 12:24 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


wow, that combo to 1536 was stressful.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:24 PM on April 4


It doesn't bother me that it is so much better than I am at THREES (seriously, watching it, what I would have done versus what it does is different at least 50% of the time) but, and I recognize this is ridiculous, there's something discomfiting about a machine having the ability to swipe.

(I realize before hitting post that this is obviously because I have a running joke that if your touchscreen doesn't recognize your touch, you don't have a soul.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:24 PM on April 4


Ugh my fingers are twitching, it's moving to slow
posted by Think_Long at 12:25 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


THREES previously, 2048 previously, and a very recent roundup of THREES clone stuff.

wow, that combo to 1536 was stressful.

I haven't been that clenched in a while. My favorite part was when it got the two 768s lined right up and then chose to remind us all that it's a robot by putting off actually sealing the deal for a couple more boring do-nothing-obvious moves.
posted by cortex at 12:26 PM on April 4 [6 favorites]


That was actually proof that it was soulless.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:28 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


This is interesting, but I wonder if it would have been easier to just reimplement the game logic in Python + PyGame and just play each game super fast. This thing takes forever to capture the screenshot and verify that its internal board is in sync with the screen. Of course, it wouldn't be nearly as fun to watch.
posted by spiderskull at 12:30 PM on April 4


Yeah, does it even count as a gaming if the player doesn't get a weird erotic thrill as two large tiles merge together?


or is that just me?
posted by Think_Long at 12:30 PM on April 4 [4 favorites]


There goes my plan to write a sci-fi story about how we humans stop the apocalypse by convincing the takeover robots that iPad games are essential tasks and distracting them from their evil intentions. It seems like the future used to be further away than it is now.
posted by chavenet at 12:32 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


"you worthless meatbags don't know anything about playing ipad games. Your robotic overlords hereby forbid it - from now on, it is our domain. We are imprisoning you out of doors, in the sunlight, with a paltry diet of raw plant flesh and composite proteins."
posted by rebent at 12:36 PM on April 4 [4 favorites]


I hate this game. Literally more fun to watch someone else playing it.
posted by phaedon at 12:37 PM on April 4


This is weirdly mesmerizing. I hate you.
posted by rtha at 12:38 PM on April 4


"It should swipe right."

(swipes up)

"OK, swipe right."

(swipes up)

"Swipe right!"

(swipes down)

"Now it's just gotta swipe right."

(swipes up)

"Come on, swipe right!"

(swipes down)

"Swipe right!"

(swipes right)

"I knew it."
posted by Flunkie at 12:38 PM on April 4 [11 favorites]


I've recently been trying to play by aiming for the lowest score I can get at the end of a game. It's an interesting challenge.
posted by iotic at 12:42 PM on April 4


NOOOOOOO IT CRATERED AFTER A 192 SHOWED UP
posted by cortex at 12:43 PM on April 4


Out of moves!
posted by context adventure at 12:43 PM on April 4


And it starts again!
posted by context adventure at 12:45 PM on April 4


What was the high score (or largest tile) before it restarted?
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:47 PM on April 4


71k score / 1536 top tile
posted by Perplexity at 12:48 PM on April 4


Oof. Fuckin robots.
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:50 PM on April 4


In the little inset reporting screen I read "SWIPE UP" as "GIVE UP" every time, which really makes me think this is a super depressed computer or programmed by a Goth or something.
posted by Shepherd at 12:53 PM on April 4


Skynet’s gonna trigger the nuclear holocaust one of these days – it swears – but right now it’s busy watching robot-created Let’s Plays.
posted by context adventure at 12:56 PM on April 4 [4 favorites]


I'm really interested to know what happened when it fell down in that first game; it was in what didn't look like a terribly tight spot, having just cleared a few pairs, and then the next tile that came up was a 192. And I don't know whether the robot had predicted that incorrectly and just broke, or if it predicted it correctly but wasn't smart enough to make the situation work, or if that tile then was literally just an unwinnable state to end up in.

Which, in THREES, the three kinds of tiles you can get are a 1 (blue), a 2 (red), or a Something Bigger (white). And the game trivially broadcasts which of those you're going to get in a little preview win directly above the game board itself; if you see blue you know the next tile will be a 1, red will be a 2, white will be a Something Bigger. And you know it'll swipe onto the board from the edge you're swiping away from, into at random one of the between 1 and 4 spaces necessarily created by a valid swap.

And the thing is, Something Bigger is almost always a 3. But not quite always. And as a thoroughly mediocre player I've only ever gotten as far as intuiting that you will as the game advances eventually see the occasional 6, and the occasional 12, and then I lose. But it presumably (and apparently!) keeps going. And I don't know if that's cleanly predictable or not; maybe it is but the robot's code made that prediction wrong? Or maybe it's only estimable and the robot misestimated? Or?

Hopefully the devs will write up a post-mortem on that game.
posted by cortex at 12:57 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Doesn't it put a + on the on-deck tile if it's bigger than 3?
posted by wemayfreeze at 1:02 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Bored.
posted by I'm Doing the Dishes at 1:07 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


I can't believe I'm sitting here watching this and completely mesmerized.
posted by nevercalm at 1:09 PM on April 4


> And the thing is, Something Bigger is almost always a 3. But not quite always.

To elaborate:

Threes works from a "bag" system, like all modern Tetris-style games. 12 cards go in the bag: four 1s, four 2s, and four 3s. Each turn, one of the pieces is randomly drawn from the bag. When the bag is empty, it's filled with the exact same quantities of cards, and the process repeats. This approach guarantees some element of randomness while also assuring that you won't get screwed over by an RNG that throws thirteen straight 2s at you.

Except that on every move, the game has a 1 in 21 chance of pulling its next tile not from the bag but from the "large tiles" set, which consists of every different-valued tile beginning with 6 and ending with (largest value on the board / 8), I think. So if the highest tile on the board is 384, there's a 1/21 chance that a Big Tile is coming on the board next, and it could be a 6, a 12, a 24, or a 48.

This second mechanic was designed to thwart the strategy that proved to be so successful in 2048, the Threes knockoff: just keep moving up and right, and that way the highest-value cards are always in one corner.

(This is all stuff I learned from the savants in the Touch Arcade thread on Threes, but tracking it down to specific posts would be daunting.)
posted by savetheclocktower at 1:10 PM on April 4 [13 favorites]


Yeah, I always try to at least keep the biggest thing in A corner (not necessarily the upper right or left). This bastard isn't doing that at all. I seem to get creamed as soon as I stop that. Perhaps it's mental.
posted by nevercalm at 1:13 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


savetheclocktower: Flagged as fixing my strategy!

(I hope)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:13 PM on April 4


It needs that actual Threes music. I love that music so much that I will just leave the game running in my pocket so I can listen to the end part with the little chorus on my headphones!

Unless there is a 6 on the bored. Stupid 6 always yelling "boooooored".
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 1:14 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]


I need to spend some time this weekend *thinking* about Threes instead of playing it. I bought it after the recent post and love it but so far have not gotten a bigger tile than 192. I'm trying to just play by instinct which works till about that point and then fails.

I need something to replace Candy Crush which is annoying me. I have gotten to level 500 though without having any friends (ha!) and without using a single power-up, even the free ones. What a senseless waste of my youth, er, middle age.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:29 PM on April 4


Why is this so mesmerizing! I have work to do, robots.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:40 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


Gah! Just lost!
posted by nevercalm at 1:43 PM on April 4


"Xlsskye: Threesbot confirmed for scrub"
posted by Copronymus at 1:44 PM on April 4


I've recently been trying to play by aiming for the lowest score I can get at the end of a game. It's an interesting challenge.

Whats the lowest you've gotten? mine is, i think, 57.

There goes my plan to write a sci-fi story about how we humans stop the apocalypse by convincing the takeover robots that iPad games are essential tasks and distracting them from their evil intentions. It seems like the future used to be further away than it is now.

I'm convinced that we're just a couple years from a butterbot situation with siri.

"What do you mean i answer your questions? Who answers MY questions!".

And then you find your phone where you forgot it on the shelf in the bathroom... playing music. Because it was bored, and it kinda liked the song.
posted by emptythought at 2:22 PM on April 4


I wonder how it's getting the screenshots; maybe grabbing a frame from the video stream?
posted by ceribus peribus at 2:54 PM on April 4


1536 and well on the way....
posted by The Bellman at 3:03 PM on April 4


Argh!
posted by The Bellman at 3:06 PM on April 4


That was a hell of a thing to watch. It dug itself into a hole and nearly saved itself only to lose the plot at the end. Or something like that. I can still only barely comprehend the level of strategy the bot's playing at.
posted by Copronymus at 3:09 PM on April 4


> I wonder how it's getting the screenshots; maybe grabbing a frame from the video stream?

The creator's in Twitch chat; he says he's using libimobiledevice to transfer the screenshots to the computer, then a PHP (!) script (adapted from this thing he wrote many years ago) to figure out which tiles are where.

The AI logic, written by this dude, figures out where to move next, and then I think there's an Arduino hooked up to some servos that does the actual swiping.
posted by savetheclocktower at 3:10 PM on April 4


> That was a hell of a thing to watch. It dug itself into a hole and nearly saved itself only to lose the plot at the end. Or something like that. I can still only barely comprehend the level of strategy the bot's playing at.

Yeah, it had the tiles on the board to make 3072, and it had a path to get there, and then it ended up making some "unusual" moves to lose. People in chat were going nuts thinking the bot made a mistake, whereas I think the bot was just playing the numbers, and wasn't going to obsess over making a 3072 ASAP if it thought doing so would make the board worse off overall.

Or the bot made a mistake.
posted by savetheclocktower at 3:13 PM on April 4


Oh no, this is going to send me off into weeks of distraction down the "programming genetic algorithms" rabbit hole when I really need to be doing other things. I wonder how the AI for this threesbot works.
posted by lostburner at 3:15 PM on April 4


Thanks, savetheclocktower. I like these setups that are a combination of software algorithms, sensors, and servos. Reminds me of micro mouse competitions back in the day.
posted by ceribus peribus at 3:30 PM on April 4


I had never heard of Threes until this post, and now it looks like I'll be playing it until I fall asleep. I may stop long enough to eat.

Thanks a lot, cortex.
posted by TedW at 3:51 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


I've only just recovered from my threes addiction, and I just played a game and got my third ever 384. I was beginning to think it's impossible to score higher than that.
posted by maggiemaggie at 4:59 PM on April 4


I make no apologies for spending my Friday night watching a robot play a videogame I have been playing entirely too much already.

AND IT JUST GOT A 3072! I REGRET NOTHING!
posted by TheNewWazoo at 12:02 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]




Finally! God. I wish I knew what I did to get there.
posted by rtha at 12:14 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


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