[OLPC-Games] Play Go issues for laptop

Paul Barchilon shimari at comcast.net
Fri Oct 24 04:02:51 EDT 2008

Hi Andres,

Here is a list of most of the problems.  Some of these may be caused  
by running the program on the emulator.  I was able to fix the view  
menu, thanks for the suggestion.  With komi the scoring is correct,  
except the half point issue.  The number of prisoners I had in the  
games I played did not make it evident that there was komi, I thought  
they just weren't being counted, or in one case added to the wrong  

1) A player should be able to choose color as well as board size.

2) Your program is strong enough to beat any beginner, so you need to  
create a handicap module.  With handicaps, the AI could play people at  
18 different ranks, guaranteeing a lot more interest in the game.  If  
a beginner simply loses every game, they will rapidly lose interest.

3) The scoring mechanism is abstract and confusing.  A visual display  
of prisoners would be helpful.  The game lists prisoners as "score"  
which is not correct.  Komi is not indicated anywhere, but that should  
also be something you can choose along with handicap.  It should be  
displayed on the side, along with "Prisoners" for each side.

4) The computer waits to display the move you make until after it has  
decided on its move.  This makes a person think their move hasn't been  
registered.  When the move does appear, it comes at the same time as  
your prior move.  When there are many stones on the board, it is  
extremely difficult to find where the computer moved - especially if  
it is not in the same area.  The last played stone for either color  
should have a circle or some other mark in it.

5) The program does not understand the concept of dead stones.  It  
must surround and capture stones in order to score them.  In actual  
play when both players realize a group or a stone has no possibility  
of making two eyes,
the group is simply abandoned.  It is not necessary to spend extra  
stones to capture them, they should be removed automatically at the  
end of the game.  Obviously this is a difficult assessment for the  
computer to make. KGS solves this problem by asking the player to mark  
any dead stones.  Some kind of pop up menu that explains the concept  
and tells a person to mark the stones prior to scoring would work.  It  
is a little tricky because new players won't know which stones are  
dead either.  Solving this problem will take some creativity, but I am  
sure we can come up with something.  I have screen captures to  
demonstrate this, but I am not attaching them to this message as doing  
so seems to cause the message to be blocked from the list.  I will try  
sending the screen caps to your personal e-mail and see if that works.

6) The program makes unnecessary moves at the end of the game.  It  
appears to think that all stones must be connected into a single  
group.  It also fills points and makes eyes where they are not  
needed.  This could actually cause the program to lose a game it has  
won, and it could possibly cause it to fill a liberty that would put  
its own group in danger, or create a seki.  Again, I have a screen cap  
for this.

7) I get hovering ghost stones that get stuck on the board.  They are  
semi-transparent, and occur at random.  This may be something the  
emulator is causing.

8) I have had difficulty starting a second game with the AI every  
time.  It fails to clear the board if you click "Play against Play  
Go." If you hit the reload arrow, it clears the board, but then  
nothing happens after you play your stone.  It seems to be in two  
player mode.  If you click play against play go again, still nothing  
happens.  Then if you place a second stone, the AI kicks in and you  
are white and the computer plays black, but the person had to play the  
first two stones.  I had to keep clicking on reload and new game  
repeatedly to get it to launch another game.  The first one always  
worked, the others are problematic.  Could be an emulation issue.

9) I see no way to choose opponents, and no way to negotiate color  
with them either.  If two kids are playing over their local network,  
they need to be able to do this.  Perhaps this functionality has not  
been added to the program yet.  A chat interface within the program  
would be helpful for this kind of thing, although perhaps kids could  
use the OLPC chat program while they are playing.  Whatever the case,  
some communication is necessary to start the game.

10) The introduction page, from Wikipedia, is not really a good guide  
for kids.  Our Tigersmouth explanation is better, but probably needs  
alteration for this project too.  The Interactive Way to Go might be  
the best choice, as it is already in a great many languages.  It needs  
Java to run though.  Does Java come pre-installed on the laptops?  I  
tried to download and install it, but it wouldn't work.  We don't want  
kids to have to download something separate to learn how to play.  A  
tutorial within the program might be a better way to explain the game  
to kids.  We could write the words and create the moves if that is  
something you might be able to implement.  A learn the rules button  
could launch this mode, kids could click on a button to advance after  
they read each description and looked at the example.

We should play on KGS and talk about these things.  I think you are  
three hours earlier than I am, depending on where in Uruguay you are.   
I am GMT -7.  Evenings are good for me, but I could play during the  
day if necessary. Next Wednesday, the 29th, would work for me.  Other  
days are okay too, let me know what works for you.  the 13 year old  
who has a laptop said he might be able to join us also.  He thinks he  
is about 19 kyu, he cannot beat your program.

I am very glad your English is so good, my Spanish is terrible ;)


Paul Barchilon,
American Go Foundation


-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: AGFsig.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 4032 bytes
Desc: not available
Url : http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/games/attachments/20081024/9c7acfe6/attachment.jpg 
-------------- next part --------------

On Oct 23, 2008, at 1:40 AM, Andr?s Ambrois wrote:

> On Thursday 23 October 2008 05:15:36 you wrote:
>> I sent this message last week, but it came back with a message that  
>> it
>> needed moderation (I guess because I included a screen shot).  It
>> appears to have never been posted to the list, so here it is again
>> without the image:
>> Hi Andres,
> Hi!
>> I spent a good deal of time playing with the program and overall was
>> quite impressed!  It looks great, and plays fairly well.  There are
>> many little problems, and a couple of major ones.  The scoring engine
>> got the wrong result on every game I played, there are clearly some
>> mistaken instructions in the module itself.  Should I post the
>> problems to this list or would it be better to talk about them on the
>> phone, or during a game on KGS?  This week is looking pretty busy for
>> me, so it would have to be next week for the latter.  I am on  
>> mountain
>> time in the US, where are you?
>  Thanks! I wonder how the scoring engine is failing. What it does is  
> take
> your territories, subtract the prisoners your enemy has taken, and  
> if you're
> White add 5.5 komi. The scores are currently displaying as integers,  
> this is
> stupid and I need to fix it.
>  Please post any problems you find :). I'm from Uruguay, so your  
> phone bill is
> going to be an issue =P.
>> Also, I am unable to right click in the software.  I think the
>> emulation doesn't recognize my mouse.  Option click or command click
>> don't trigger it either.  This means I can't access the jabber online
>> play option you were mentioning.
>  Right clicking is not necessary, if you just leave the mouse over  
> what
> you're trying to "right-click" on for a few seconds, it will have  
> the same
> effect.
>> When I browse the web, sites are enlarged to the wrong screen
>> resolution.  As a result, fonts are huge, and you can only see the  
>> top
>> left corner of a web site, even one that is at 800x600.  Is there a
>> way to control this in the program, or from outside of it?  Is it
>> doing this because I am on a Mac and using an emulator?  I attach a
>> screen shot of our Tiger's Mouth site so you can see the problem.
> I believe this is a problem with the emulator. Maybe this can help you
> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Emulating_the_XO/Quick_Start/Mac and more
> specifically this:
> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Emulating_the_XO/Help_and_tips#Font_Size_correction
> If that doesn't work, you can at least reduce the font size in  
> Browse in the
> "View" Menu, or by pressing Ctrl+-.
> Cheers!
>> Thanks,
>> Paul
>> http://tigersmouth.org
>> Paul Barchilon
>> 1005 36th St.
>> Boulder, CO 80303-2139
>> 303-440-7124
>> On Oct 12, 2008, at 1:50 PM, Andr?s Ambrois wrote:
>>> On Sunday 12 October 2008 17:28:15 Paul Barchilon wrote:
>>>> Hi Walter,
>>>> That was exactly the right question to ask!  I was trying the  
>>>> LiveCD
>>>> method with XO-LiveCD_080919.iso, which didn't work.  When I
>>>> created a
>>>> "new PC" in Qemu and told it to use olpc-redhat-stream-ship.2-
>>>> devel_ext3.img then it worked.
>>>> Still trying to figure out how to get the screen size to the
>>>> appropriate dimensions, and now I have to figure out how to use  
>>>> your
>>>> OS.  From there I will load PlayGo and get back to all of you.
>>>> Thanks
>>>> for the help, I am glad I got in finally!
>>> Great! I'm glad you got it. To install PlayGo just head to
>>> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/PlayGo with the Browse activity and click
>>> on the
>>> PlayGo.xo link in the box on the upper right. Then you can launch it
>>> from the
>>> Journal or in the list view in the Home.
>>>> Here is another comment from the kid who is giving me feedback on  
>>>> his
>>>> laptop:
>>>> From	leinad
>>>> Date	10/11/2008 23:39
>>>> Subject	RE: one thing about playgo i can
>>>> i dont think it is online i think you have to be physically near
>>>> another XO...
>>>> and i do not have access to wi-fi that frequently...
>>>> also i noticed that the program does not take away dead stones...
>>>> I am not sure if he means it doesn't take dead stones off during
>>>> play,
>>>> or at the end, both are important though.  I will definitely want  
>>>> to
>>>> play a game with Andres on KGS, I think we could figure out all the
>>>> problems quite quickly that way.
>>> I'm not sure about what he means by that either. The game does take
>>> away
>>> dead stones, and supports collaboration. To play it "online" you
>>> will need to
>>> connect to an online jabber server. If you have a recent version of
>>> the
>>> system, this is done by right clicking on the "XO guy" in the home
>>> view ->
>>> Control Panel -> Network and typing: jabber.laptop.org in the
>>> "Server" field.
>>> Then, you will need to click on the "tick" mark and restart Sugar.
>>> Sure, I'm on KGS now as a guest, my handle is aambrois. Please go
>>> easy on me
>>> =P.
>>>> Thanks,
>>>> Paul
>>> Thank you!
>>>> http://barchilonceramics.com
>>>> Paul Barchilon
>>>> 1005 36th St.
>>>> Boulder, CO 80303-2139
>>>> 303-440-7124
>>> --
>>> -Andr?s
> -- 
>  -Andr?s

More information about the Games mailing list