A silly driving game

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7 February 2006

I think about driving. A lot. (I will someday compile and post a complete set of driving rules that they should have tought in drivers ed.) One of those thoughts is about a somewhat silly game I want to play, with rules that go something like this:

  1. Pick a starting point. A starting point is defined as a particular direction in a particular lane on a particular road in a particular place. So, for example, I might choose “going North in the only lane on Main Street in Springfield, NJ, USA.”
  2. Pick a single rule for what to do when that lane changes in any relevant circumstances, such as:
    1. Forks off in multiple directions or splits into multiple lanes (ex: “follow the right-most fork”)
    2. Dead-ends (ex: “turn right”)
    3. Hits a detour (ex: “follow it”)
    4. Anything else relevant (ex: “always use the left-most open tollbooth”)
  3. There are two more pre-defined rules:
    1. Whenever the lane merges into another, start using that new lane
    2. Whenever you are forced to take a turn, take it (ex: at an intersection with a right-turn-only lane, or an exit off a highway)
  4. The only rule you can’t make is one that says “change lanes” – you always have to stay in the current lane, unless you’re forced out, or forced to choose a new lane.
  5. Then start in the point you specified, drive in the direction you specified, and follow all the rules.
  6. If you reach a situation for which you don’t have a rule, that’s it – the end of your trip. (ex: the road dead-ends and there is no right turn)

The goal of the game is up to you. In a single-player version the goal might be to find long routes, or routes with lots of turns, or a route that loops, etc. Or you could use this to start a road trip to anywhere. In a multi-player version of the game, you might compete to see who can find the longest/turniest/interesting-est route. Or you could look for the longest route that ends at a particular place. Make up the goal!

I always think about this game when I find myself on such a route, and I wanted to share it with the world. So here you are – enjoy!

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