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Re: [Bug-gnubg] Good beta release! (Suggestions)

From: Jim Segrave
Subject: Re: [Bug-gnubg] Good beta release! (Suggestions)
Date: Tue, 18 May 2004 01:24:44 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.4.1i

On Sun 16 May 2004 (16:09 -0700), Richard Anderson wrote:

> > >3. Currently, the Game Record window only shows the analysis for the 
> > >user's moves if tutorial mode is on, which prompts the user when he 
> > >makes a mistake.  There should be an option to show the user move 
> > >analysis without the prompting.
> > 
> > Try to analyze the whole match: "Analyze->Analyze match". 
> > That will analyze the match for both players.
> I tried the Analyze->Analyze game, but it works incredibly slowly, several
> orders of magnitude slower than using tutorial mode.  Some parameters must
> be set differently for this function and tutorial mode.

The default tutor settings are to use the same settings as evaluation
(which is what the hint command uses). Analysis of moves/games uses
different settings. Typically, evaluation is 0 ply, analysis is 2
ply. This is about 30 to 400 times slower. Try setting tutor mode to
use analysis settings or change your evaluation settings to 2 ply -
the game gets noticeably slower.

> I still think a better solution is to allow a floating point threshold for
> tutorial mode or an option to activate tutorial mode without prompting.
> This would let the user go back over his moves as soon as the game is over
> with no waiting or extra mouse clicks.

It's doable, but requires a lot more work in the code. At the moment,
after analysing a move, the skill level (very bad ... none (or
good)). That's what the 'go to marked move command uses - it doesn't
need to understand the rest of the analysis figures. It's not a huge
amount of work though

> > >4. If a move is selected in the Game Record window and the Rollout 
> > >button in the Analysis window is clicked, a rollout window 
> > opens but I 
> > >see no way to initiate the rollout.
> > 
> > Hmmm..... Can it be that you rollout setting is set to 0 trials?
> Yes it is, this seems like an odd default value.  Perhaps the default could
> be set to a more reasonable value?

The default is normally 144 games (if you don't have a gnubgrc file)

> > >8. There should be more fine-grained control of the threshold the 
> > >tutorial mode uses for flagging bad moves. Instead of 
> > discrete levels, 
> > >how about a floating-point threshold based on the equity 
> > difference / 
> > >MWC difference and related to the annotation symbols:
> > >
> > >Tiny (any move that is not the same as the highest ranked) 
> > Minor (?!) 
> > >Moderate (?) Major (??) Insane (???)
> > 
> > Hmmmm....maybe.
> I think this would also be a good idea for the play skill level, although
> there are already eight levels here.  The relative level of "supremo" vs.
> "grandmaster" and "casual player" vs. "intermediate" are not obvious.

Changing the tutor thresholds is similar to the game record problem -
doable, but non-trivial. The various settings of playing skill are
combinations of move filter choices and plies of lookahead - there's
no way to map this into a range of numbers. You could increase the
number of presets, but that's not the same
> > >10. The dialog box that pops up at the beginning of each game (You 
> > >rolled a 3, gdb rolled a 4) doesn't add anything of interest 
> > and should 
> > >probably be eliminated.
> > 
> > Yes, maybe an idea. However, you can get rid of this dialog 
> > box if you turn the the message panel on. "Windows->Messages"
> > 
> Does this turn off any other messages?  Most of the messages I've seen are
> useful.  Again, I can't see how the "You rolled a 3 ..." dialog has any use
> to anyone, why not eliminate it?
> > 
> > >13.  There's a UI bug in the interaction between the Game 
> > Record window 
> > >and the main window.  When I scroll back to a previous game, then 
> > >scroll forward to the current position, select the current 
> > move and try 
> > >to roll the dice by clicking in the board, nothing happens.  The 
> > >workaround is to then select the previous move and re-select the 
> > >current move; then clicking on the board rolls the dice.
> > 
> > Hmmm... I can't recreate this at my computer.
> > 
> > Are you sure you click on the current position and not on the 
> > opponents previous move?
> > 
> Sorry, I wasn't clear.  I use the double arrow scroll button to move back
> one game, then forward to the current game where I am on roll. Then I
> click-select my next move, which is an empty move box and click on the board
> to roll the dice.  Nothing happens.  Then I click-select any previous move
> in the game and re-click-select my next move.  Then clicking on the board
> rolls the dice.  I am running Win XP Home.

I've seen this happen before, I've never investigated

> > >14. On the Analysis window, the two buttons labeled "..." would be 
> > >better labeled "Set" or "Settings".
> > 
> > You're right, but there is a space problem as well. I see 
> > some GUIs uses a triangular arrow down for these kind of 
> > things. Do you think that would be better?
> > 
> "Set" and "..." are the same number of characters, so I don't think this
> would cause a space problem.  "..." is not very intuitive.  A triangular
> arrow is not as intuitive as "Set", "Setting", "Opt" or "Options".
> What is the difference between clicking "Eval" and "0" here?

You could have evaluations set to something other than 0 ply

> > >15. The Eval function on the Analysis window should cache 
> > its results, 
> > >as should the rollout function.  Currently, selecting the 
> > 3-ply button, 
> > >then the 4-ply button, then the 3-ply button needlessly 
> > repeats the previous run.
> > 
> > There is a cache for each evaluation. It doesn't cache deeper 
> > plies, but speeds up evaluations if it hits intermediate 
> > positions in the cache memory. 
> > You can increace the cache memory by clicking 
> > "Settings->Options->Other".
> This doesn't seem to help the scenario I discussed above.  I think there
> should be a cache dedicated to the Analysis window so that the user can run
> the 3-ply and 4-ply once and then click between them with no recalculations.

If you have a lot of memory and can give gnubg say 30 Mb or so, try
setting the cache to something like 200000. It makes a huge difference

> Actually, I'm not all that sure that there needs to be both an Eval and
> Rollout function on the Analysis window.  Rollout is more useful, perhaps
> Eval could be dropped.
> > 
> > >18. I like the look and feel of the play, especially the 
> > sound effects.  
> > >One exception is that I don't like the sounds is makes 
> > during startup 
> > >and shutdown and don't see the need for them.  How about eliminating 
> > >these sound events?
> > 
> > The sounds are the wav files played in the /sound directory. 
> > Maybe you can alter these files. The sound can be turned off 
> > by selecting. 
> > "Settings->Options->Sounds" and then uncheck the "Enable 
> > sound effects" 
> > option.
> > 
> Why would the user want to hear a sound when the program opens or closes?
> This only happens when the user initiates the action.  Sounds are best used
> for  alerting the user to unexpected events or notifying him that a
> long-running function has completed without the distraction of a pop-up.
> Simplicity, simplicity!

For the same reasons my Sony laptop makes a crescendo when it powers
up and many versions of Windows make horrible noises at boot time. It
amuses some people and annoys the hell out of others (you can guess
which side I'm on)

Jim Segrave           address@hidden

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