Best Times

On the levels I have noted a "My Best Time" which gives an indication of how fast the level might be completed. These are not all-time records, simply our best times. Best Time is the number of seconds left when the level is completed. Higher is better. In the scoring for the game, you get the level number times 500 points for completing the level the first time, plus ten points for every second left on the clock. Because you can go back to a previous level with CNTRL-P and then up to the next level with CNTRL-N, the game can be made to think that you are trying a level for the first time. Therefore, a player can always get the maximum points for completing a level. So the only way to improve your score on a level is to do it faster.

For those people who are hooked up to the MicroSoft Network, see Jay's Gaming Forum for a Chip's Challenge bulletin board. The current record times by a group of Chipsters are listed there, as well as some level maps.

Some Chipsters are interested in seeing if they can get to the maximum possible game score. It seems that the practical upper limit of the score that may be attained is 5,968,930. This is the score you would have if you could do every level the fastest it has ever been done. Beating the record time for a level by one second would add 10 points to this score.

Is the magic level of 6 million points achieveable? There are 149 levels in Chip's Challenge, of which 29 are untimed, leaving 120 timed levels. When the highest score was 5,967,930 the best score that could be achieved by setting the current record on every level is 32,070 points short of six million, or 267.25 points per level. At 10 points per second improvement, one would need to improve by 26.725 seconds on average per level. Since the average time now for the levels completed is 71.77 seconds, a 37% improvement is required on the current record times! This seems a daunting task. Further, there are 27 current record times that are already less than the 26 seconds needed per level. Taking these out of the equation makes the average requirement for the 93 levels left up to 35 seconds per level. Repeating this iteration five more time brings us to 62 levels where it is still possible to make up time. On these the 32,070 points are still required, or an average of 517.25 points per level. The other way of looking at this now is that 3,207 seconds of improvement are required from these 62 levels. Their total solution time is now 7,156 seconds. This is a 45% improvement on those 62 levels. This doesn't seem possible.

If you are interested in maximizing your score, you should go to the previous level to the one you are working on, start that level, then use CNTRL-N to move to the next level and solve it the first time (as quickly as you can). This gives you the maximum bonus points for solving the level the first time (at least the game thinks it is your first time) as well as the maximum time points.

By the way, you may wonder how many level bonus points there are to be gained in Chip's Challenge. There are 500 points for the first level and it goes up 500 points for every level after that. So, all you have to do is add up 500 + 1000 + 1500 + 2000 and so on all the way up to level 149. There is a fun mathematical solution to this kind of problem. The series above is the same as (1 + 2 + 3 + ... + 149) times 500. Now, think of another series that is the reverse, that is, 149 + 148 + ... + 3 + 2 + 1. If you write these two down on the same piece of paper, one above the other, you can see that when each column is added together, the total is always 150, and there are 149 of these totals. Therefore, the sum of the series 1 + 2 + ... + 149 is 150 times 149 divided by two (because you created the reverse series and have to divide it out). Multiply this total by 500 (per level) to get the solution of 5,587,500 total level bonus points available. Now, comparing to the practical maximum reached of 5,967,930 (as of March 7, 1997) we find that there are 380,430 time points to be gained.

Here's a contribution from Bruce Hilman about the 6 million point level: 

"On your website, there is much talk about getting higher than 6 million points. I have accomplished this. However, I did cheat to accomplish this. Using Chip Edit, I opened chips.dat, hit the Save As button and saved a copy of it as Chips1.dat. I then proceeded to put exit squares right next to chip in all 149 levels. In Explorer, I copied the real chips.dat and renamed Chips1.dat to chips.dat. I ran the game, and my edits were visible. I believe that the final score, 6,114,560, is the highest score attainable. Though this technically is cheating, it answers the question as to whether the 6 million mark is reachable. I have enclosed a print screen of my high score table. It says 150 levels because I added another level at the end, but I did not get any points for it, since I didn't complete it yet ^_^."

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