Thursday, January 29, 2009

More Android Updates

Two minor updates at the Android Market.

Version 1.3.1 of Checkers for Android has a slightly improved search and evaluation in the checkers engine. Some users complain the engine plays too strong, others say it is too weak. Needless to say I enjoy the challenge of making a strong engine more. I also added an "undo" feature for this game.



Version 1.3 of Chess for Android now also has the option to disable highlighting all valid moves once a piece has been selected for more experienced chess players. I also modified the on screen button layout.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Reversi for Android Update

Version 1.3 of Reversi for Android at the Android Market adds an "undo" feature of the last move (to correct a mistake) and an option to disable the "ghost stones" for all valid moves (for users that prefer to see the board as in real-life).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fixed Castling Bug

I posted version 1.2.2 of Chess for Android at the Android Market that fixes a bug that would sometimes allow castling when no longer legal. I validated the move generator of the chess engine by doing a perft (an internal feature) on several board positions to minimize the probability of other bugs related to move generation.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Trackball Support

I just posted version 1.2.1 of Chess, Checkers, and Reversi for Android at the Android Market with trackball support. A small circle denotes the trackball cursor, as illustrated in the screen shot below. Hopefully this will make the input easier. Many thanks to Chris Bueno for quickly testing the applications shortly after posting!

Monday, January 5, 2009

G1 Android Phone

I received my own G1 (well, strictly speaking, the Android Dev Phone 1™)! This means now I can (1) read all user comments posted at the Android Market, and (2) experience my applications on the real device, rather than on the emulator. After just a few minutes I must agree with users stating that touch screen input is rather hard given the board size (something I could never experience on the emulator, where touch is emulated with mouse input). So, trackball support may be a good idea after all.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

More on User Feedback at the Android Market

I can now read the last few comments that are posted at the Android Market for each application. For chess and reversi, feedback is mostly constructive. I was very shocked, however, to read the comments posted for checkers.

People freely post four-letter words and do not shy away from personal insults. Why? Because the application uses the official straight checkers rule where jumps are mandatory? Perhaps, but adding an option to make captures optional did not seem to help. Because graphics are not advanced? True, but I wrote the game for fun and give it away for free! Because the application plays too strong (or too weak)? I assumed people like a challenge (and, conversely, I still have ideas for improving the strength of the checkers engine).

Ironically, I implemented checkers by popular demand after I released chess and reversi in the hope people would enjoy the application. But now I am starting to regret this somewhat after reading too many ill-mannered comments and emails....