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Billiards Game Overview

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Billiards Game Overview
(1) Web site:
(2) Click �Games for Teachers� link at top of page.
(3) Or Web site: for direct access to game web page.
(4) Click �Billiards� text link or the image to start game.
(5) A splash web page (�Billiards Games�) will appear with instructions for using virtual que stick. Click �Start Game� to begin.
(6) A game table will appear with the que ball and the 15 numbered billiard balls.
(7) A suggested introduction to game play:
     a. Click �Help� button for a quick overview of game. (Click �Close� button to close help.)
     b. Click �0� in the �Pick Billiard Balls� selection to clear table of the 15 numbered billiard balls leaving only the que ball. This will allow for easier viewing while displaying basic concepts.
     c. To experiment with using the virtual que stick.
         1. Click and hold the left-mouse button.
         2. Drag the mouse around the table to observe the stretching of the virtual que stick, noting the speed indicator.
         3. Release the left-mouse button to shoot the que ball.
     d. Click �Trigonometry� button for game play settings.
         1. Set �Show Pythagorean Theorem during game� to �Yes�, Click �Close� button. Click and drag virtual que stick and note the yellow hypotenuse is the distance from the mouse and que ball.
         2. Set �Show pi during game� to �Yes� to illustrate pi is ratio circumference/diameter.
         3. Set �Show Trigonometry during game� to view trig basics noting the difference between the game engine coordinates and standard coordinates.
         4. Note, for simpler viewing, show each of the above concepts one at a time. After viewing concepts, set all buttons to �No�.
     e. Use the �Show CueBall Banks� to experiment with banking.
         1. Set que ball banking to 1 and shoot que ball to bank off a side into a table pocket to scratch que ball.
         2. Try the other bank settings (2-5) to shoot que ball to scratch.
         3. When finished experimenting with banking, set banking to 0 for now.
         4. Note, by default scratch is initially turned off at beginning of game play. To turn scratch on for this banking experiment, can use the "Physics" button as noted in the next step.
     f. Click �Physics� button for game play settings.
         1. Friction can be turned on or off.
         2. Que ball scratch can be turned on or off.
         3. Displaying �Physics Engine� can be turned on or off.
         4. Try each of the above settings with only the que ball on table.
         5. Next, click �1� in the �Pick Billiard Balls� selection to experiment with the 1-ball.
     g. After basic concepts, try game play.
         1. 15-ball - play solids and stripes.
         2. 9-ball - must shoot balls 1 through 9 to win game (use banking to help!).

     h. Interesting questions for students.
         1. In a computer game environment, assuming the same velocity and start position of the que ball, are all rack breaks the same? In other words, how random would the results be? For example, attempt to shoot the que ball at a 15-ball rack with the same velocity (speed and direction) using the same distance of the que ball from the rack. No matter how steady the mouse is held to get the exact angle and distance, human error can make a difference from rack-break to rack-break. A few pixels off for each rack-break can make a big difference. Program the game to produce rack-breaks all using the same setup by clicking a button to start the experiment. Now, without a human-controlled virtual que stick, will each rack-break be the same?
         2. How can the game be programmed to allow a human to play the computer? A human, for example, can see the que ball banking needed to shoot the, say, 5-ball in the lower-right corner pocket without first knocking in the 6-ball, thus losing a 9-ball game. The computer cannot see the game table, but it knows the state (data) of the game table. What additional mathematics and programming logic will be needed to implement this?

     i. Extras.
         1. Want to see a neat effect? With 15-ball game selected, click �Physics� button and turn off friction and turn on view physics engine. Now shoot the cue ball with a small to medium velocity against the 15-ball rack. After the cue ball break, watch the 15 billiard balls go wondering aimlessly about the table like lost "zombies" with with vx and vy vectors reaching out to grab someone. When you try to explain the concept of vectors to students for the first time, most of them don't seem to grasp the concept, but after showing them this experiment, whenever you mention vectors they say "oh yeah, zombies".
         2. My personal record with the 9-ball game, with scratch set to "yes" via �Physics� button I might add, is 12 strokes. Try using a 1-bank option to shoot the 1-ball in the bottom-side pocket to start the game. Thereafter, use different cue ball bank settings as a tool to help make those difficult shots. I must warn you whenever you experiment with different cue ball bank settings by dragging the mouse around to see the banking angles, but drag the mouse back to the center of the cue ball to not shoot it in order to select another bank setting, it will cost you a stroke. So plan your banking selections wisely. You could of course preset to 5-bank setting before starting the game to avoid the cost of future strokes during game play, but a 5-bank setting can be overwhelming if not needed.

Webpage: GameBillVw