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The Tech Deck

More details about Pac-Man than you could shake a stick at

I'm not old enough to have enjoyed Pac-Man during its heyday, but I am old enough to have had it on my Atari. I'm also old enough to have been around people who really dug it. (Somewhat related, our online director, Gina, is apparently a Ms. Pac-Man fiend. Challenge her at your next opportunity.)

But no one dug it as much as Jamey Pittman, author of the Pac-Man Dossier, digs it. It's a gold mine for anyone interested in perfecting the art of the Pac-Man marathon. History of the game, information about each of the ghosts and their patterns, technical glitches, pixel accuracy of collisions, the Pac-Man Dossier has it all.

Consider this tidbit:

Whenever Pac-Man makes a pre-turn or post-turn, his orientation changes, and he starts to move one pixel in his new direction for every pixel traveled in his old direction, effectively doubling his speed as he moves at a 45 degree angle. Once he reaches the centerline of the new direction's path, he starts moving purely in that direction and his speed returns to normal. The greatest distance advantage is thereby gained by making the earliest pre-turn possible. The illustration below shows the layout of pre-turn pixels (shown in green), center point pixels (shown in yellow), and post-turn pixels (shown in red) for each of the four possible directions a turn can be approached. Each example shows Pac-Man entering the same four-way intersection from a different direction. When entering from the left, there are three pre-turn pixels before the center of the turn, and four post-turn pixels. Conversely, entering the same intersection from the right yields four pre-turn pixels and three post-turn ones. Entering from the top as opposed to the bottom exhibits the same property. For any turn that is made later than the earliest possible pre-turn, Pac-Man will be one frame behind where he would be for every pixel of “lateness” in the turn. Basically, it pays to move the joystick well before reaching a turn to maximize your speed

What the what did I just read.

The Pac-Man Dossier is a competitive gamer's fantasy

I encourage you to check it out.

Daniel Gayle
Dan Gayle joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He is currently a Python/Django developer in the newsroom, primarily responsible for front end development and design of

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