Saturday, August 27, 2005
I received a new CheckerBoard engine this morning from Lithuania. Kestutis Gasaitis has written an engine which plays Russian checkers - the kings fly and men can capture backwards in this version. I already lost three times against it! You can download the engine on the CheckerBoard website. It even comes with source code!
There are four new piece sets available for download on the CheckerBoard site. All of them were created by Ron Carney from Florida. Thanks a lot Ron! Here's a challenge for all of you: try to create even nicer pieces :-)
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Scrambling back on topic, I remember that when I introduced bitmaps in CheckerBoard back in December 2003 I hoped that somebody would supply nicer bitmaps than those I had whipped up. I also hoped that that would happen rather sooner than later. Instead, nothing ever happened - until I received a nice set of new pieces by email a few days ago. Ron Carney is obviously more talented when it comes to computer graphics than I am, and with the next release of CheckerBoard, it will probably come with his new bitmaps. To get a preview of things to come, turn to any game on my website, such as this one from the Big Engine Match between Cake and KingsRow last year. If you have any further suggestions about these new pieces, this is the time and place to drop a line!
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Going completely off-topic, I watched the space shuttle land today. As a child, I was fascinated by rockets and spaceships and the like, and I still can remember quite well how I first read about the Challenger disaster: it was the headliner of the Swiss tabloid "Blick" that day. Later it became clear that the Challenger disaster was a direct consequence of managers overruling scientists and engineers, something which has lead to catastrophes before (e.g. Titanic) and afterwards (e.g. Chernobyl). Today, my fascination for manned space flight has disappeared; I tend to agree with the article A Rocket to Nowhere - there's not much point in sending humans into space. My interest in engineering problems however has increased, since I'm more of an engineer today than the physicist I was by training. Gregg Easterbrook's article from 1980 (before the first shuttle flight) has a nice description of the engineering tasks involved in building the space shuttle.
All of this has nothing at all to do with checkers, and I apologize for the digression. Except, perhaps, that my early fascination with space technology also lead to a fascination with computers - and that lead to CheckerBoard, many years later!
Monday, August 08, 2005
The last two weeks I was in the alps, and of course I had my laptop with me. I first worked a bit on CheckerBoard, adding the option to change the menu languages. Then, I revamped my old 4 in a row program. You can download it on my 4 in a row page. Have fun!