FactorPad
Faster Learning Tutorials

The Vimazing Race - hjkl Edition is a free educational game to learn Vim navigation

Start to finish, the maze game requires 417 hjkl keystrokes. How can a simple text file be such a challenge?
  1. Home row - Keep your fingers on the home row and reinforce good Vim navigation habits from the start.
  2. Vim hjkl keys - Ditch the mouse and arrow keys for good.
  3. Maze game - Navigate a path and avoid the water. Use a stopwatch to improve your time and speed.
  4. Free download - See download instructions below and get started.
Paul Alan Davis, CFA, August 30, 2017
Updated: August 8, 2018
Training your brain to break free from the mouse is difficult but easier with an educational game. Give it a try!

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Memorize Vim hjkl Keyboard Navigation While Having Fun

Beginner

Begin your journey to mouse-free programming in Vim with this simple game in a text file.

Video Game Introduction

Vimazing Race Maze Game - A free game to learn Vim hjkl navigation (5:04)

Videos can also be accessed from our Games for Faster Learning Playlist.

Video Script

The most granular level of Vim navigation is accomplished with four keys used to move the cursor one character at a time.

  • h - left
  • j - down
  • k - up
  • l - right

So a common first step with online coding courses for beginning Vim editors is to move around in a text file using just those four keys.

Why Vim? Well, if you have yet to explore the website, our goal is to make it a coding school online for those motivated enough to learn coding on their own. It is best suited to supplement more formal computer coding courses to make learning faster. That said, the Vim text editor to us, represents the best text editor for aspiring programmers to invest their time in, for the long term.

Okay, so if you are ready, it is time to start training to become a fast computer programmer!

If you need an introduction to Vim navigation, we have a page dedicated to first steps in Vim navigation with hjkl keys.

Level 1 - Play the Vimazing Race game to learn hjkl navigation

Okay, here is what it looks like, the Vimazing Race - hjkl Edition maze game.

_______________________________________________________________ ~~~~~ V i m a z i n g R a c e - hjkl Edition ~~~~~ ~~ https://factorpad.com/tech/games/vimazing-race-hjkl.txt ~~ ~ ~~~ Follow the path from start (1,1) to end using only ~~~~~ ~~ ~~~ the hjkl keys. If you hit the water go back to the ~~~~~ ~~ ~~ beginning using only the hjkl keys and start over. ~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~ ~ ~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~ ~ ~~~ ~~~~~~~~ ~~ ~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~ 100~~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~~ ~~~ ~ ~ ~~ ~~~~ ~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~~~ ~ ~~~~~~ ~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~ ~~~~ ~~ ~~ ~~~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~ ~~~ ~~~~~ ~ ~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~ 200~ ~~~~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~ ~~~~~ ~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~ ~~ ~~~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~ ~ ~~~~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~ ~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~ ~~~~~~~~~~~300~~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~ ~~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~400 ~~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~~ ~~ ~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~ ~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~~~ ~~ ~~~~~~ ~ ~~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~~ ~ ~~~~ ~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~ ~~ ~ ~~~ ~~ ~~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~ ~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Copyright 2017 FactorPad LLC ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ end _______________________________________________________________

It is not an online program to be run in a browser, but instead a simple 29-line text file to use in your own installation of Vim.

To get the game, copy and paste from above or download straight from here: https://factorpad.com/tech/games/vimazing-race-hjkl.txt and save it to your preferred working directory. To inspect the file, click with your primary mouse button and it will open in a new browser window. FactorPad uses a secure https website.

To download:

  • Windows - Right-click on the file link above and save to your preferred location.
  • Mac - Use Ctrl-right-click and save.
  • Linux - From the working directory where you want the game downloaded, at the command line enter:
$ wget https://factorpad.com/tech/games/vimazing-race-hjkl.txt

To open:

Next, at the command prompt, open the file with:

$ vim vimazing-race-hjkl.txt

Your cursur will be placed at the starting line (position 0,0) and you are ready to start the race. Go!

Rules and suggestions:

  • Objective - Follow the path to the end while avoiding the poisonous water ~. If you touch the water go back to the start using hjkl.
  • Start - The cursor by default goes to the starting position 0,0.
  • Rules - Use only the keys hjkl To navigate one character at a time. Touching the letter 'e' in 'end' is considered finishing.
  • Expect to struggle - Everyone struggles with Vim at first.
  • Time yourself - The minimum number of keystrokes needed to complete the maze game is 417, so it may take up to 7 minutes to complete.
  • Have fun - Keep track of your best times. Challenge yourself to improve.
  • Numbers - The numbers 100, 200, 300 and 400 represent the number of keystrokes from the start to reach that point in the race.

For Those Seeking a Greater Challenge

Intermediate

Level 2 - Use numbers to advance multiple times in the Vimazing Race

In our second challenge, using the same text file, try something different. Where you would hit a key multiple times, instead this time use the numeric multiplier in front.

For instructions on how this works in Vim, see our page dedicated to first steps when learning Vim navigation with hjkl keys.

For example, at one point in the race you need to move left 5 times, and using hhhhh is 5 keystrokes where you can save time with just 2 keystrokes 5h. Level 2 will be much slower at first and will take some time to get used to; however, at some point your brain will just take over and do this for you. That's how the more advanced (and fast) Vim users do it.

Give it a try and see how many keystrokes this saves you.


Vim Maze Game Questions and Answers

Q:  How can you compare your speed to others?
A:  Post your results on the YouTube video (soon) associated with this page and challenge your friends.

Q:  Can you edit and share the file?
A:  Yes, in the spirit of open software this is free to download and you can edit the file and share it, but please do not call it your own, sell it or modify the references to FactorPad.


Related Vim Commands and Procedures


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