We built a TV Minesweeper game that is played with a mouse and displayed on the TV screen. The game itself runs very smoothly, and the mouse works well when there is no interference from other groups that emit electromagnetic wave. However, we used two microcontrollers rather than one in our final design, because of the difficulty in fitting the mouse interface code into the TV code. The difficulty is due to timing consideration that transmission of data between microcontroller and mouse is too slow. However, by using two microcontrollers, we also have more memory that make the programming easier. With the extra memory, we implemented a recursive function that open up a series of blanks cells, which is a standard feature in the original Minesweeper games.

What might we do differently next time?

Given our experience, if we were to design anything using the mouse again, we would use the oscilloscope more efficiently to debug the program.

Other than that, if we were to improve on our design, we can probably try doing TV codes on a color TV instead of black-and-white TV. There was a group from previous year that did a TV Snake game on a color TV, and we believe that we can use their experience as our reference. We are aware of the fact that a sync pulse generator might be necessary to make this improvement because it is too slow for the Mega32 to generate color signal.

Intellectual Properties Considerations

Although we did refer to Chapweske’s PS/2 mouse protocols, we did not reuse any other people’s codes for the mouse. The TV codes were based on the ones that we had for Lab 4, of course, but minor changes have been made to it. We did not use any code in the public domain, and did not reverse-engineering any design, nor did we have to sign any non-disclosure contracts to get a sample part.

Although we are proud of our design, we believe neither the hardware nor the game itself can be patented.