Large Maze Support

Okay, this has started to turn into a bit of an obsession. While making human-scale mazes was fine, generating ones that push the browser to its limits proved to require extensive rework of the code. The fundamental issue with the more basic code is that it absorbed all the resources of the browser and provided no feedback as to where it was in the generation process. Worse yet, browsers such as Firefox pop up modal dialog boxes warning that the script is unresponsive.

The current code is now limited only by the browser’s memory which allows for mazes on the scale of half a million cells or more—say 2500 rows by 200 columns on a reasonable-sized system.

Generator: here. Updated source: here.

The solution is to yield time back to the processor which is tricky with JavaScript since it doesn’t directly support such a mechanism universally. This required replacing the row and column iterators with a generalized loop counter with Continuation-passing style (CPS) support.

function iter(f, done, fc, fp)
    var max   = 50; // a reasonable number
    var count = 0;    

    /* a functor that manages calls to f() */
    var loop = function (state)
        while((state = f(state)) != done)  {   
            if (count < max)  {
            else  {
                count = 0;
                setTimeout(function() {loop(state)}, 0);
        if(fp) {
            fp(state, done);
        if(fc && (state == done)) {
            setTimeout(function() {fc()}, 0);
    /* call the loop function with the initial state */

The above code calls a function f(i) until it returns a result that indicates processing is complete. The value “state” passed to f() is the result of the previous call to f(). Every “max” iterations, processing is yielded to allow responsiveness.

a function that takes a state parameter and returns an updated state
the final state that indicates that iteration is complete
an optional continuation function that is called when processing is complete
an optional callback function used to indicate progress though the iteration
» Posted: Friday, July 20, 2007 | Comments (3) | Permanent Link



» Posted by Anonymous on August 25, 2008 11:24 AM

Another interesting look:

» Posted by David S. on February 8, 2011 10:31 AM

Oddly enough, I was looking at an earlier entry in that series a few weeks ago when the topic of “Eller’s Algorithm” came up. That is one of the maze types that is supported in the generator here. There were comments asking about where the name came from. I looked around myself and eventually asked the person who runs the “Think Labyrinth” site where he had heard of it. I put the answer in the comments there:

» Posted by winter on February 8, 2011 11:01 AM