buggnubg - Bugs: bug #36871, Thousand dollar offer (request...


bug #36871: Thousand dollar offer (request 35653 simplified)

Submitted by:  Tom Martin <tom_martin>
Submitted on:  Wed 18 Jul 2012 07:33:00 PM UTC  
Originator Name: Tom MartinItem Group: Feature Request
Category: Loading and saving of SGF filesRelease: 0.90-devel
Privacy: PublicOperating System: All
OS Type: AnyProcessor Type: Any
Severity: 3 - NormalOpen/Closed: Open
Assigned to: NonePriority: 5 - Normal
Status: None

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Sat 11 Aug 2012 10:45:29 PM UTC, comment #2:

Within the next year or so, I hope to create my own version of GNUBG which does much of request 36871. Since I have few C skills, I’ll take some shortcuts to customize it for my use, so few of the resulting source changes will be suitable for adding to the standard build.

But I’d like to contribute whatever might be useful. Let me know if I should contribute the source for any of the below changes (I realize that it might well be impractical for you to accept changes from an untried newbie):

1: Display saved positions at the point of decision rather than on the first or last step. This one is clearly useful for anyone that saves positions, and I hope it’s simple enough to have little risk of buggy code.

2: Retrieve the next position if “Go To Next Marked Move” is used while reviewing a position rather than a game. This is probably too extreme a change for you to want by itself.

3: Position to the CURRENT file rather than the first file when “Open” is used. This might also be too jarring a change for people, but it does seem like the obvious thing to do – why wouldn’t someone want to be automatically positioned to the current file so they can easily select the next one?

I probably wouldn’t bother with the last change unless it was either deemed useful by the group or #2 proved to be more work than it was worth.

Tom Martin <tom_martin>
Mon 23 Jul 2012 06:50:42 PM UTC, comment #1:

Ignore my "A later enhancement might be to check the comment field for some keyword to indicate that the position should be shown as a cube decision rather than a checker play (missed doubles always appear as the latter)" paragraph. This is only true of saved positions, so is not a problem.

Tom Martin <tom_martin>
Wed 18 Jul 2012 07:33:00 PM UTC, original submission:

This is an earnest attempt to stimulate discussion as to whether GNUBG should be enhanced to encourage players to repeatedly study positions from prior games. Currently it’s easy to review the analysis once, but there’s no convenient way to mark up a match so that you can repeatedly review the most relevant decisions.

This doesn’t seem hard to provide, but how many players would use it if it was available? After analyzing a session, most players no doubt are happy to just generate new errors by playing more backgammon – time spent on multiple reviews of old games means that much less playing time.

But this is true of the initial review as well, so the real question is this: If you devote time to analyzing your play, is it better to do it just once or to mark some positions as worthy of repeated study? If you had to review your sessions using the current methods, diminishing returns would make that hard to justify. You could put comment entries on positions that you wanted to see again, but they would be hard to locate unless they were also a marked error – you would need to walk through every position to be sure of finding them.

But if there was a simple way to allow players to go directly to what they felt was worth studying, that certainly would be more instructive than playing more games. How many players are that disciplined? Hard to tell. That’s where I could use your help.

If any developer believes the above will be truly valuable, I am happy to contribute the specifications and $1,000 to the cause. That isn’t enough to fully compensate anyone, but I don’t want someone to do this for the money. I want to know that they believe in the work.

I’m prepared to do my share and handle QA, the doc and even provide a Python script to let people move saved positions with errors of a certain severity to a separate directory for easy review. Suggestions are welcome for other features (particularly if there’s a way for me to examine the Comments for text strings).

I’m hoping this might let us legitimately claim that GNUBG is better for developing players than XG, although I don’t know whether the latter has this feature. It would certainly be nice to say I prefer GNUBG because of its features rather than its price. And if we can publicize this change, my hope is that more players will give the game serious study.


To make things as easy as possible, I’ve simplified (but slightly extended) my original 35653 request (see final section). The “deluxe” treatment of having three toggle switches configurable for Next Marked Move can be postponed indefinitely, but if the below proves popular, it probably wouldn’t be hard to tack on later, especially if other options are considered worthwhile such as “get next cube error”, “get next move error”, “get next heinous error” or “get next comment containing <string>”.

Instead of three toggles, we can just use the Ctrl, Alt and Shift keys. Below I assume they’ll be used in conjunction with the “Next Marked Move” icon, but if you can’t tell which keys are depressed when that’s clicked, then use “Page Down” instead.

Unfortunately I think this change needs to also support saved POSITIONS, since that is the only way to properly review “failure to double” errors or to classify positions to review general categories of errors (besides, there may be many players that already have a large collection of saved positions that they are eager to conveniently review).

The problem here is that I doubt if there is any code to distinguish a saved position from saved games. So when an .sgf file is originally opened, code would need to be added to determine which it contained so we could properly display it and handle the Next function. We would ignore the “position at top/bottom” flag and simply display the position at the point of the decision (one step from the bottom). When the next position was requested, GNUBG would retrieve the next FILE. But before displaying the position, it would check if any of the three keys had been simultaneously pressed:

Shift corresponds to option #1 below; meaningless for positions, it otherwise advances to next commented position

Ctrl corresponds to option #2 below; the display is made in Full Screen mode

Alt corresponds to option #3 below; if necessary, the position is rotated to show the player on move at bottom

What happens when we reach end-of-file for a session? Probably retrieve the next file in the directory, but that’s certainly optional (as is continuing to the next directory when you reach the end).

A later enhancement might be to check the comment field for some keyword to indicate that the position should be shown as a cube decision rather than a checker play (missed doubles always appear as the latter).


Here’s request 35653:

For people who like to review their decisions more than once, saving them as positions provides several advantages over saving them as matches or sessions. Unfortunately positions are a little awkward to retrieve (see my enhancement request 32570) and I think this must discourage people from using saved positions.

A solution is to enhance the "Next/Previous Marked Move" function with up to three new toggle switches:

1) Error/Comment - When originally viewing a match or session, the default action of "error" would be used. After adding comments and saving the file, it could then be reviewed by toggling to "comment" so that only commented decisions are displayed when "Next/Previous Marked" is used.

2) Normal/Full Screen - This option results in entering full screen mode each time "Next/Previous Marked" is used. This is useful to hide results and looks pretty cool too.

3) Normal/Player on Bottom - This flips the board so that you can view the decision from your usual perspective.

The toggles would all be evaluated independently of each other and optionally the last two could also be used with the other "Go" options (Cmark, Move, Game).

Tom Martin <tom_martin>


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