KGS Leben: Auto-Match

Earlier this afternoon, with my development environment still open and my code yet uncommitted, I connected to the live KGS server with one of my own ranked accounts and played the first real games ever to be played via KGS Leben. Games against other humans!

2016-05-31 hyaumet vs. Xharlie
hyaumet (5 kyu) vs. Xharlie (6 kyu, me)

I have reached a major milestone: all the use-cases required to play a complete game of Go (and those required to join the automatic match-making queue) are implemented, operational and stable enough for me to set aside my test accounts and play with a real one!

After playing several games, I joined a game between Imnot7d (7 dan) and Dom (6 dan) as a spectator and took some screenshots to show off the visible aspects of my work since my last post. I will upload a video showing the client in action as soon as I clean up a few rough edges that became apparent during today’s testing session but, for now, enjoy the pictures!

Firstly, by popular demand, I present markers on the most recently placed stone on the Go board:

Here is a picture of the board during the scoring phase:

Imnot7d (7 dan) vs. Dom (6 dan)
moku” markers showing territory and dead stones that were not removed during play during the scoring phase of a game between Imnot7d (7 dan) and Dom (6 dan)

Here is a picture of the score-summary section that appears in the sidebar:

Imnot7d (7 dan) vs. Dom (6 dan)
The score-summary table is updated dynamically during the scoring phase and also visible after the result has been finalised

The score-summary table draws some inspiration from the the dialogue box that the Java client, Cgoban, displays after the result has been finalised except, unlike the latter, my score-summary table is visible from the moment scoring begins and remains visible thereafter. I have also tabulated the data for readability and indulged in a little innovation. Let me state my case…

All the client software I have used to play Go on the Internet, when it does give the user a score break-down, adds the number of stones captured during play to the number left for dead on the board and marked as such during the scoring phase. A single tally of ‘captures‘ is presented to the user. This does not represent the way I count in my head.

When I count the game, mentally, I count territory and dead-stones together and add previously removed prisoners and constants such as komi or reverse-komi afterwards. For me, the final result of the game is important because it lets me know how accurately I did this and that feedback helps me get better at counting and, hopefully, stronger as a player.

In my score-summary, I have broken the player’s scores down to a more granular level, displaying separate counts for prisoners, being stones captured and removed from the board during play, and captures, being those remaining on the board at the end and marked as dead during scoring. I admit that the terminology needs some work but I think the feature will be very useful to players, like me, who want to know how close their mental counts came to the facts and where they went wrong in their assessment.

To the previously shown player-panels, I added buttons to pass and resign and, to the home view, buttons to join the auto-match queue. Joining incoming challenges has been doable for quite some time, as previously demonstrated and games started from incoming challenges can also be played to completion, naturally.

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KGS Leben: Player Panels

I have finished working on the player-panels for KGS Leben, tweaking the automatic layout algorithm, polishing the seven-segment LCD clock’s design and adding elements to display capture counts, komi and user information.

Here are a couple of screenshots that I captured while spectating live games in the E.G.R.

2016-05-15 Player Panels - Away Landscape Canadian

In landscape orientation, the player-panels are displayed on the left and right sides of the game board. When spectating, the away panel (pictured above) belongs to the stronger of the two players, or the white player in the case that the players are of equal rank. When you are a player in the game, this panel will always belong to your opponent. Esquire55 (2 dan), playing white, must play twenty-two moves before the end of his rather short Canadian overtime period. White has not captured any of their opponent’s stones and is only receiving a half-point komi.

2016-05-15 Player Panels - Home Portrait Main

In portrait orientation, the player-panels are displayed as horizontal strips along the top and bottom edges of the board. This is a screenshot from a different game, showing the home panel. TOKKURI (2 dan), black, has captured two stones and has not yet entered overtime.

KGS Leben: Boards, Players & Clocks

I spent the last several days experimenting with KGS Leben‘s game area – the space that will hold the Go board, clocks, prisoner counts and more. At the start, I wasn’t sure where I was heading or where I would end up but something materialised, nevertheless, and I am immensely satisfied with it.

I divided the space into three areas: one for the board, one for the ‘away‘ player and one for the ‘home‘ player – thus named because, when spectating a game, neither of these may be the current user.

The two player-panels currently host the player’s clock and will show prisoner counts and other vital elements in the future. When one of the players is the current user, their panel will provide them with buttons including pass, resign and undo. Otherwise, the space will show the player’s identity: their name and avatar.

The layout adjusts according to the available screen real-estate, showing the away player’s panel above or to the left of the board and the home player’s panel below or to the right. The decision is made to maximise the size of the Goban, arguably the most important thing on the screen.

2016-05-05 Byo-Yomi Clock Feature
13×13 board at 2560×1440

The Goban itself is restricted in size so that it can never grow larger than a real-life specimen. This ensures that a nines board never grows so large that the stones appear like draughts-men! The user can always use their browser’s zoom-feature to bend this rule.

After settling on a design I implemented the game clocks. I began by using SVG graphics to make a simulacrum of my nice and chunky Chronos chess clock and, when that was operational, I began to extemporise…

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A clear, readable game clock is crucially important and I think that this design satisfies that requirement with aplomb. Besides, if it looks this pretty after one quick iteration, it will be truly beautiful on release day!

KGS Leben Announced

KGS Leben is a prototype that will become a full-featured interface for the KGS Go Server. It is a web application and will simply run in a standards-compliant web browser, without the need to download or install any software or runtimes.

After one month of experimentation, exploration, trial, error, frustration, success, water, beer and tea, the software is capable of joining open game challenges, negotiating a game proposal with the challenger, playing moves on a Go board, spectating games being played by others, watching demonstration boards and chatting in rooms and channels. Furthermore, I have succeeded in the most difficult task demanded by all new software projects: I have chosen a name! The name comes from the German word for life „das Leben

None of the features exhibited in the preview video are really complete, yet, because I chose to spend the last month confronting risks that I identified when I began wrangling with the idea and tackling the most technically challenging facets of the project.

I hope to achieve rapid progress, now that the foundation has been cast.