Posts

New Buttons for Chess for Android

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Not everyone was happy with the "swipe-up" to open the options menus (for devices that lack a menu button, or that broke the legacy options menu altogether), so I decided to simply implement an on-screen button instead. I also improved the graphics in the on-screen buttons for navigation, something that as long overdue.
The result is shown below. The right-most button with the horizontal lines opens the new-style options menu. As before, the other buttons are used for navigating the game, see the manual for details. On devices that still support a physical or virtual menu button (vertical dots in the screen-shot below), that button opens the legacy options menu.
Expect a similar update for Reversi and Checkers for Android soon too.

Chess-playing Robotic Arm

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A while back I got an email from Isaiah James D. Puzon, a computer engineering student at the Philippines FEU Institute of Technology, with a minor request for a new feature in Chess for Android that would help with his thesis project: a chess-playing robotic arm. It was very rewarding to receive pictures from his exciting working prototype a few months later. You did a great job building this robot arm, Isaiah. Congrats with your graduation and good luck with your further career!



Opening Books in Chess for Android

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I got several questions on how to use the opening book features in Chess for Android, so I hope this blog posting will be useful.
By default, the GUI uses a built-in opening book before it consults any chess engine, either the built-in Java engine, or an imported third-party chess engine. This small built-in opening book (consisting of few opening lines I studied a long time ago as a young member of a chess club, by the way) provides some variety of play, but otherwise is probably not sufficient for the more serious chess player. Therefore, before using an engine's own opening book, one has to disable the GUI opening book, by disabling the "Use Book" choice in the options menu, as shown below (touch to remove the check mark).

It may seem a bit counter-intuitive to disable the "Use Book" feature in order to use an engine's opening book, but without doing this, the GUI will first consult the built-in opening book before consulting the engine, so the engine w…

Checkers for Android Animation

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I have also improved the graphics and animation in Checkers for Android. You can see the result in the video below. Both the reversi and checkers updates are now available on Google Play.

Reversi for Android Animation

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Reversi for Android is getting a graphics overhaul! The "retro stones" have been replaced by stones with a gradient. A new animation on placing and flipping stones makes it more clear what moves just have been played. Except an update on Google Play soon!



Android Applications Updates

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I just released new versions of my Android applications, as usual available on Google Play or as direct download. These versions introduce a new options menu dialog that can be accessed by swiping up. Hopefully this provides a viable alternative on devices that lack or broke the legacy options menu button. Reversi for Android v2.5.5Checkers for Android v2.6.5Chess for Android v5.1.5 Chess for Android also introduces a slightly cleaner position set up window, and added the ability to define an opening book for an imported UCI or XBoard engine. Please let me know if all works well.



New Options Menu

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In order to ensure my games remain relevant as the old options menu is phased out by some vendors, I am adding new support for action buttons and feature selection. As shown below for the upcoming Reversi for Android update, in addition to the old options menu entered by pressing the menu button, the user can now swipe up to enter a new dialog with action button, check boxes and a drop down box for the levels.
I am not just excited about making sure that users can enter this menu again, but also about the fact that this probably makes the features much more discoverable for my users.

For Chess for Android, it will look something like this.


Expect updates on all my games soon!

Working on Chess for Android Again!

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I am getting excited about adding new features to Chess for Android again! I am in the process of working around the menu button issue on Samsung devices. Furthermore, I am extending UCI engine support with the ability to set a book opening for each engine, as well as allowing a wider variety of number of threads (six in the example below). If you have any urgent feature requests for engine support, this would be the right time to ask.

Android Applications Update

I just released minor updates for my Android applications, as usual available on Google Play or as direct download. These versions allow opening the options menu with a simple "swipe up" gesture over the screen. Chess for Android also fixes a problem with importing engines. Reversi v2.5.1Checkers v2.6.3Chess v5.1.2 As some background, my applications still use the older options menu, introduced in the days that Android devices still had a physical menu button. Newer models without a physical button sometimes allow accessing the options menu through a virtual button (shown as vertical dots) or through long-pressing the activity switch button, or sometimes don't provide an easy way at all. This release hopefully makes accessing the options menu easier again.
Note that, apparently, a recent Samsung update broke the options menus completely for any application (not just mine) on some models (like the Galaxy S6 edge). This update does not fix that problem. I am still trying t…

"Supermoon" Eclipse 9/27/2015

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