Release of XBoard 4.9.0 soon

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hgm
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Release of XBoard 4.9.0 soon

Post by hgm » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:40 pm

Most of the WinBoard/XBoard stuff I have been working on in 2015 has now been completed. This means we are ready for a new release, which will be version 4.9.0. We are currently waiting for the translation files to come in from the various GNU translation groups.

Although this will be accompanied by a WinBoard 4.9.0, this will not be spectacularly different from 4.8.0 for people only interested in orthodox Chess, as much of the stuff I have been working on was aimed at making XBoard's general variant handling more powerful. The EPD test-suite capability ight still be interesting, however. Most other work went into improving the XBoard GTK build, making it possible to leave the Xaw era finally behind us.

I already put up the What's New page for XBoard 4.9.0, which gives an elaborate description of all new features. Apart from a lot of bug fixes, these are:
New features in this release

EPD test suite capability
Instant help by right-clicking dialog texts (XB)
Editing castling rights when setting up a position
Use mouse wheel to select piece during position setup (XB)
Allow engine to pop up its settings dialog
Specifying ultra-fast games (XB)
An option to install board themes from packages (XB)
Using a single-button mouse for position setup
A special directory for start positions
Allow terminal-less ICS play (XB)
Sound warnings in analysis mode on new PV
Fonts changable through the GUI (XB)
Automatic adapting of fonts to board size (XB)


New variant support

New piece types (mostly in XB)
Allowing more than 26 piece types in one game
More flexible piece promotion
Restricting promotion choice through a new WB-protocol command
New configurable move types
Inscribing pieces with text
Setting rules from the command line
Support for inaccessible squares
Loading of Shogi games in .kif format
For those who already want to try it: the latest sources are on http://hgm.nubati.net/cgi-bin/gitweb.cgi . (Remember you have to start with ./autogen.sh before the usual./configure, make,sudo make install when you are building a git snapshot!)

I will put together a new binary package for WinBoard 4.9.0 soon, so people could try that out too.

Image
Running an EPD test suite

MikeB
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Re: Release of XBoard 4.9.0 soon

Post by MikeB » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:26 am

hgm wrote:Most of the WinBoard/XBoard stuff I have been working on in 2015 has now been completed. This means we are ready for a new release, which will be version 4.9.0. We are currently waiting for the translation files to come in from the various GNU translation groups.

Although this will be accompanied by a WinBoard 4.9.0, this will not be spectacularly different from 4.8.0 for people only interested in orthodox Chess, as much of the stuff I have been working on was aimed at making XBoard's general variant handling more powerful. The EPD test-suite capability ight still be interesting, however. Most other work went into improving the XBoard GTK build, making it possible to leave the Xaw era finally behind us.

I already put up the What's New page for XBoard 4.9.0, which gives an elaborate description of all new features. Apart from a lot of bug fixes, these are:
New features in this release

EPD test suite capability
Instant help by right-clicking dialog texts (XB)
Editing castling rights when setting up a position
Use mouse wheel to select piece during position setup (XB)
Allow engine to pop up its settings dialog
Specifying ultra-fast games (XB)
An option to install board themes from packages (XB)
Using a single-button mouse for position setup
A special directory for start positions
Allow terminal-less ICS play (XB)
Sound warnings in analysis mode on new PV
Fonts changable through the GUI (XB)
Automatic adapting of fonts to board size (XB)


New variant support

New piece types (mostly in XB)
Allowing more than 26 piece types in one game
More flexible piece promotion
Restricting promotion choice through a new WB-protocol command
New configurable move types
Inscribing pieces with text
Setting rules from the command line
Support for inaccessible squares
Loading of Shogi games in .kif format
For those who already want to try it: the latest sources are on http://hgm.nubati.net/cgi-bin/gitweb.cgi . (Remember you have to start with ./autogen.sh before the usual./configure, make,sudo make install when you are building a git snapshot!)

I will put together a new binary package for WinBoard 4.9.0 soon, so people could try that out too.

Image
Running an EPD test suite
That is awesome HGM - have you considered including my Wood Squares as an additional option? These are retouched photos of my chessboard squares actually purchased from our sponsor http://www.chessusa.com?

Anybody can follow my link and feel free to distribute then use then as you desired. They are from me and I'm putting them into the public domain.

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Re: Release of XBoard 4.9.0 soon

Post by MikeB » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:06 am

follow the instructions (I think) this is what I get:

https://youtu.be/xNa_SiU1Dso

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Re: Release of XBoard 4.9.0 soon

Post by hgm » Fri Apr 08, 2016 6:44 am

I see a movie where XBoard tries to load Fairy-Max, which apparently is not installed on the machine. At startup that is not a fatal error, (XBoard switches merely back to -ncp mode), but from the Load Engine dialog it is.

In addition you do seem to suffer from the "sluggish drawing" problem that Marcel van Kervinck reported here recently for his MacBook: When you drag the Pawn it follows the mouse with an awful delay. This is not specific to this version of XBoard, and seems to strike randomly: Marcel reported running two XBoard instances simultaneously, where one was fast, and the other excruciatingly slow. It is very annoying, but the cause does not seem to be in XBoard, but in the cairo drawing library, which will stop responding promptly to screen-refresh requests for unknown and unpredictable reasons.

As to the wood textures: I will incorporate them in the git repository, as we don't have too many textures in there yet (just wood, marble and a xiangqi whole-board image). The policy for the binary distribution, however, is to include just one theme (in accordance with the zero-one-infinity rule). Alternative themes will in the future be distributed as separate package. This XBoard version has been already prepared for that: it supports a new option -installTheme XXX which will add the line XXX (supposedly containing a list of low-level options for setting textures, pieces, colors etc.) to the -themeNames list stored in the user settings file (~/.xboardrc), which is appearing in the Themes listbox of the View->Board dialog. By putting the command

xboard -addMasterOption {-installTheme "NAME -liteBackTextureFile xxx -darkBackTextureFile yyy -pieceImageDirectory zzz"} -autoClose

in the install script of such a theme package, the -installTheme option would then be added to the master settings file /etc/xboard.conf (with a time stamp), and for users that run XBoard after that the latter would then respond to that option (if the time stamp indicates they see it for the first time) by appending the theme with the given NAME to their private list of themes. Your wood textures could be distributed in such packages, perhaps within a larger collection of board textures (such as the marble).

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Re: Release of XBoard 4.9.0 soon

Post by hgm » Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:37 am

Some more about your textures:

It seems that you photographed a single square of a chess board, and saved this as a 652 x 667 image. This is pretty much the size of the entire board that XBoard displays, however. So basically the image of a square is blown up to the size of a complete board, out of which XBoard then cuts the individual squares of the needed size (say 72x72). To me this blow-up makes the impression that the wood texture is a bit 'smeared out': there is not nearly as much structure as you would expect.

I experimented a bit, by reducing the size of the images 4-fold with GIMP, which makes them about 160x160. This puts 4 times as much structure in the individual squares. At a square size of 80x80 it would still have only used half the photographed square to fill a complete square, but it does seem a bit more natural to me. The downside of course is that different board squares are no longer independent, but will be cut out of the total image so that they overlap. But at 80x80 this is not very obvious yet, also because of the checkering. For -size 129 (the largest that XBoard supports) the individual squares look really good (as there is hardly any blow-up), but alas, they also all look very much the same...

Anyway, I think that on average the result is better when I shrink the size of the images 4-fold. Do you agree? It would be nice if you could photograph an area larger than a single square, so we could distribute a large image without having to blow it up. But when these images are from a real chess board I understand that you can of course not do that. Do you think it would be possible to photograph several different squares of the same shade, and patch them together to get a larger image without the need to upsize anything? Or would this give noticeable discontinuities at the original boundaries?

An alternative would be to glue a mirror images of the same square to each other to double the size; this would then have better-matching boundaries, and the fact that the same pattern occurs multiple times is not so obvious, as mirror images are not so easily recognized by the eye, and they mostly tend to be far apart. I used this technique to enlarge the wood texture image I had for the Xiangqi board, which had to be a whole-board image because of the grid drawing on it, and it looked quite well.

What do you think?

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Re: Release of XBoard 4.9.0 soon

Post by hgm » Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:33 am

Gluing 4 mirrored versions of the same square together to create a ~320x320 image gives this:

Image

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Guenther
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Re: Release of XBoard 4.9.0 soon

Post by Guenther » Sat Apr 09, 2016 9:24 am

hgm wrote:Most of the WinBoard/XBoard stuff I have been working on in 2015 has now been completed. This means we are ready for a new release, which will be version 4.9.0. We are currently waiting for the translation files to come in from the various GNU translation groups.

Although this will be accompanied by a WinBoard 4.9.0, this will not be spectacularly different from 4.8.0 for people only interested in orthodox Chess, as much of the stuff I have been working on was aimed at making XBoard's general variant handling more powerful. The EPD test-suite capability ight still be interesting, however. Most other work went into improving the XBoard GTK build, making it possible to leave the Xaw era finally behind us.

I already put up the What's New page for XBoard 4.9.0, which gives an elaborate description of all new features.
After a long time I was running some games again via an oldschool batch file and happened to notice a little bug in writing a certain pgn tag.
Haven't looked at the source yet. When running a match from start positions with colours reversed it correctly adds Rounds 1 and 2 tags,
but incorrectly adds Number 1 and 3 tags each time.

Example:

Code: Select all

[Event "RWBC"]
[Site "CAPPUCCINO"]
[Date "2016.04.08"]
[Round "1"]
[White "A"]
[Black "B"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[TimeControl "40/120"]
[Number "1"]
[Annotator "7. +0.17   7... +0.00"]


[Event "RWBC"]
[Site "CAPPUCCINO"]
[Date "2016.04.08"]
[Round "2"]
[White "B"]
[Black "A"]
[Result "0-1"]
[TimeControl "40/120"]
[Number "3"]
[Annotator "7. +0.28   7... -0.08"]



*Edit: This was the latest available 4.80b Winboard version*

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Re: Release of XBoard 4.9.0 soon

Post by hgm » Sat Apr 09, 2016 9:58 pm

I will take a look at it. Thank you for reporting!

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Re: Release of XBoard 4.9.0 soon

Post by hgm » Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:02 pm

Still a last-minute improvement that we did not think of before: the file chooser now lists the directories where XBoard keeps its piece themes and board textures amongst the 'Places', so you can browse there when looking for installed themes with a single mouse click:

Image

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Re: Release of XBoard 4.9.0 soon

Post by MikeB » Sun Apr 10, 2016 4:00 am

hgm wrote:Gluing 4 mirrored versions of the same square together to create a ~320x320 image gives this:

Image
Looks good to me.

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