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

From: Øystein Johansen
Subject: RE: [Bug-gnubg] Good beta release! (Suggestions)
Date: Sun, 16 May 2004 22:12:47 +0200

>===== Original Message From "Richard Anderson" <address@hidden>
>The Gnu Backgammon for Windows is really good for a beta release with lots
>of neat features.  I find the most useful aspect is for self-training:
>playing against the program with tutorial mode on and analyzing my errors.

Thanks. Yes the tutorial mode can really teach you something. At least this
feature tought me a lot.

>Some suggestions and bugs, in no particular order, based on the 0.14-devel

>1. Add two buttons to the Game Record window that act like the two
>arrow-question mark buttons, except that they take you forward/back to the
>nearest move where your move was not the same as the best rated move.  (The
>arrow-question mark buttons skip past moves that were not best but with an
>equity / MWC difference below the tutorial threshold).

There is a work-around. If you set the analysis doubtful threshold to 0.0001,
The "next marked move" button will stop at any move that's not top ranked.
You can set this threshold at the menu item "Settings->Analysis"

(Is it necesarry to re-analyse after changing the doubltful threshold?

>2. There should be a pop-up display of a progress bar and estimated time
>left when the program is doing rollouts or any analysis that take more than
>a few seconds on a modern desktop computer.

I think it already is.

>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 analyse the whole match: "Analyse->Analyse match". That will analyse
the match for both players.

>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?

Click on the "..." button right to the rollout button and set the number of
trials to 1296, (or whatever you want.)

>5.  A nice feature would be to have a simple way to select any move/position
>in the Game Record window and compare rollouts for various alternative

This can be done with the anaylsis functionality. Open the game record and the
analysis panel. "Windows->Game record" and "Windows->Analysis". Make sure both
these are checked in the menu. You should then be able to see the the analysis
of each move when you select a move in the game record.

If you you see the text "No analysis available", you can go to the analysis
menu and analyse the match, game or move. I recommend that you analyse the
whole match. "Analyse->Match"

>7.  Some of the displays (such as the Statistics display) show numeric data
>without explaining the units or significance of the numbers.  I like
>displays that are self-documenting better than cryptic displays that need
>extensive documentation under the Help option.

Agree. The documentation is still not very good.

>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 (???)


>9. The Analysis window should have a Stop button that halts the Eval

I think you can stop any operation by pressing the "Stop"-button in the

>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

Yes, maybe an idea. However, you can get rid of this dialog box if you turn
the the message panel on. "Windows->Messages"

>11. In several positions, it rated my drop of the cube as a bad play, but
>when I used the 3 and 4-ply Eval functions in the Analysis window the
>results supported the drop (as did a visual assessment of the position).
>Perhaps this indicates that the 3-ply and 4-ply evaluations (and my cube
>play) aren't very accurate.

Things like this can happen rather often. These are called "interesting

>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?

>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

There is a tooltip text which says: "Modify rollout settings" and "Modify
evaluation settings"

>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".

>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

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"

I'll take a look at the positions soon!


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