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.
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…
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!