tic-tac*: Tic tac turmoil

According to Jack, I have been unfair. Jack wrote about a two weeks ago pointing out my inclusion of trivial ditties like color-invaders.sh, but passing over a tic-tac-toe game because it didn’t have enough mojo.

Jack wasn’t serious or angry, and we both got a good laugh over it. But he does have a point: It’s hard to justify including something like a script that paints colored glyphs on the screen, but pass over a working game. So in the interest of fairness, here are four tic-tac-toe games, all by different authors and all dating back at least a decade — some of them two decades.

As a word of warning, all of these games will fall into a category I mentally refer to as “weak sauce.” They all work and I can’t deny that, but they don’t carry enough oomph to stand on their own. Perhaps as a quartet, they can win a little credibility. And since they all have the same name, I’ve included the tarball name and the author, for clarity’s sake.

tic-tac-0.1.tar.gz: Daniel Haque


Probably the most fundamental incursion into the dangerous world of competitive tic-tac-toe, this uses a scrolling board update and single-character graphics against a board drawn with pipe symbols. Moves are given in coordinates. Compiles with just gcc tic-tac-toe.c -o tic-tac-toe, although I imagine professional players add in a few more perilous flags. 😉

tictac-1.0.tgz: Jay McCarthy


The stakes are raised. A full-screen application with a svelte board and x-y coordinates entered separately. Apparently written in pascal originally, but with a precompiled binary. Needs better error trapping, since it’s possible to confound this by entering something other than a number. This kind of wildness makes me uncomfortable. 😐

tictac2-0.6.tgz: Ian Singh


Here be dragons. Cell selection is with the arrow keys, and enter places your marker. Declare your opponent from the command line, with the option to play against yourself. Needs termcap to compile, and you’ll need to edit both screen.c and main.c to change #include <ncurses/ncurses.h> to just #include </ncurses.h> … and after that, make alone will do the trick. 😦

tictac4-1.0.tar.gz: Niklas Olmes


Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. A 4×4 game board with onscreen help and a healthy color profile, plus alternate win combinations. Coordinates are sequentially numbered cells. Paranoia strikes deep. And yet … apparently only a two-player game, and tends to get jammed up when entering cell numbers. Will build with just make, but comes with a precompiled version too. 😯

That’s all I have in the category for now. Perhaps this collection will be of interest to someone, even if I rank it rather low on the totem pole. And remember, if you want a real challenge in this genre, take a look at ox3d again. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. … 😈