Release notes and quick manual of the TT500 BETA I
September 20. 2015
The TT500 is a steampunk'ish themed chessboard for virtual chess play in Second Life and succeeds both the TT200 and TT300 series.
Those familiar with the TT200 and TT300 will recognize functionality and ease-of-use and welcome the new features.
The TT500 is suitable for both PvP (Player vs Player) and PvE (Player vs computer AI) usage.
People have begged me to release. With the new AI engines ready, i decided to release a BETA for existing customers. You can test it, and are invited to give your feedback on (the new menu structure/new AI/possible bugs) anything. The BETA will slowly decay maximum AI level until december 31. 2015. After that day the maximum AI level will be decimated to 1.
Please send me your feedback as notecard.
Customizable AI - Select your own engine and level.
Persistent settings - Managers will stay managers after a hard reset, and your settings and theme will be remembered.
Infinite time. Play without this nasty clock (PvP only).
Tournament & Mass configuration
Gimmick: Medieval variant (PvP only)
Anonymous mode - Practice and play, but don't register outcome and will not affect your ELO score.
Tournament mode - Enables a more strict user interface and rules. Allows a manager to pause or cancel games, swap players or dictate outcome.
Mass Configuration - Set settings and control all boards at your parcel at once.
Elo-base Time Compensation - players can challenge each other with time compensation based on ELO. This gives the weaker player a bit more thinking time. Does not apply to PvE matches.
Medieval pawn - disables the double-square pawn (PvP)
The devil is in the details, and a lot time was spend on them. A few examples:
Last move display
Well formatted PGN notation
Fast response times, low on sim resources
High contrast themes
Balanced contrast default theme (steam punk)
Clean, efficient & intuitive dialog-based user interface
By default, the TT chess series uses no chairs. This is done purposely. There is support for separate and customizeable chairs, and a tournament-specialized model may have them linked in. If you like to test with chairs, contact me.
It's partly ready partly not. Implementing AI limits amount of engines but doable. Implementing PvP is trivial against a small performance hit when enabled. No-one bothered me about the feature recently (2+ years), makes me conclude it's mostly irrelevant. Likely it automatically comes as by-product of analyzes mode, see next point. Sorry for not giving it any prio at all.
Game replay & analysis - still on the wish list to make a proper undo-replay function, and turn practice mode into an analysis tool that could import a PGN.
There are some things on the to-do list. Some are relative details (ex. hovertext disable):
PvP - Player versus Player.
PvE - Player versus Enemy - that is - against the computer or the AI.
PGN - Portable Game Notation - a way to store played chess games for later reference as text. The golden standard between all chess programs, desktop or online.
ELO score - Named after the Hungarian-American mathematician Arpad Emrick Elo, who invented a scoring system that allows to rate players with very different skills, and proven to apply very well in real world, from Chess and Go to sports and various 'arena' based computer games. Players with comparable ELO rating are expected to equal chances against eachother, or achieve comparable results in a competition. A difference of 400 between players is often considered as 'a certain outcome'.
The ELO score as hold by TT Chess is for entertainment purposes only, and one should be very careful to compare this with real-world ELO score. The AI's are only loosely calibrated and there is a random drift as players challenge them.
By default your played games are made public. Pro editions allow anonymous play.
Because to consider a game element, and because Second Life avatars are already anonymous and using a nickname, the TT chess series default to registering rated matches at http://ttchess.tk. Most players actually enjoy this and-or use it for later reference.
However, this also raises a righteous privacy concern. This is why all pro versions now have an 'Anonymous' mode. When enabled, you can use the board as is, but outcomes will not be registered online and ELO ratings will not be updated.
The TT500 is a training tool. The avatar ELO as recorded by the TT chess computers is for entertainment purposes.
You have lifetime warranty on my products, where lifetime defines as my lifetime, or second life's, whichever comes first.
Purchasing my products will support future work. However you do not buy any service apart my 'best effort to make it work'. This includes no uptime guarantee for the AI engines or the website (which was actually about 99.9% resp. 99.7% over the last 5 years).
Behind the curtains:
Based on proven TT200 and TT300 code with major code overhauls, and adding a tonload of new features and customizations.
Basically the TT500 is evolvement of the TT300 + TT200. Hence the name. And a very large underestimation of the amount of hours put into it. Better make that number logarithmic. The result is an ultra fast, agile, stable and reliable chess board. Simplicity of user interface was a personal learning objective. Throwing in neat features the hobby. I hope you enjoy playing it as much as i did making it for you!