Comments on TrevorLDavisPBW

# 11 Comments. # Came looking for a game and found that we had already started one -- Ultima. But I'm a bit confused. You're playing White and I'm playing Black, but your pieces are black and mine are red. Could you please remedy that?

Also, I kind of wonder if one reason people don't see how cool piecepackr can be is that there are some semi-indecent chunks of naked R code decorating the gameplaying pages.

Also, where are you finding your Ultima notation?

Would you like to see (and play) the latest rules for my game Hostage Ultima, which has drops? In my 2019 10x10 challenge, I was counting plays of HU as plays of U. The board is identical to Hostage Chess, so you could probably add the extra board areas in about 5.5 minutes.

Finally, you might be interested to learn that I'm still challenging myself with my 2019 10x10 challenge, which I always (always!) intended to run through the end of the Year 2019 on the Martian Calendar, specifically the Darian Calendar. This event will occur in approximately 4000 of your Earth years, so take your time responding.

-- RonHaleEvans 2020-03-01 08:03 UTC


  1. I'll change the piece colors (I usually put red suns/hearts in the upper left corner in piecepack game diagrams to match the piecepack logo but I see that isn't necessarily a good choice here).
  2. Maybe it is intimidating some people, although I always appreciate seeing lots of code chunks of how cool projects actually work so I can more easily make something cool myself. Also other people can't host a game using PPN as a backend if they don't know how to generate a particular diagram for that game.
  3. You can use any reasonable Ultima notation and I will translate to PPN. PPN doesn't use x as a capture token for the default parser because it is pain to parse for the general case when one has "x" files (also currently using "x" to explicitly indicate (pyramid) top in the Simplified Piece Notation) i.e. contrast x4xx5 versus x4:x5 for "the piece at x4 captures the piece at x5" as well as moves like R3x@x5 "place a 3-pipped icehouse piece top up at x5". : is taken from (Russian) chess notation (and can sort of be viewed as a twisted form of = piece replacement which also has two symbols each on top of each other). * is an adaption from Morabaraba (Twelve Men's Morris) notation i.e. the notation c5-b6xe5 "move the cow from c5 to b6 and 'shoot' (remove) the cow on e5" was adapted to PPN as c5-b6*e5. I use * since it means "bullet" in markups like Creole and Markdown and the glyph * literally has an x within it.
  4. Lets play a game of Hostage Ultima after we first play a game of normal Ultima (which seems crazy enough). Sometime soon I'm going to support for the default movetext parser an optional separate SetUp section in the metadata section in addition to GameType to allow reuse of another games setup but semantically indicate we are playing a different game (and we already allow arbitrary setup "moves" in the MoveText? part if we need to add things like extra boards):
---
GameType: Hostage Ultima
SetUp:
  Name: Ultima
  Has subpack: True
...
Prison_Setup. t@(9.5,{1..7..2}.5)
Airfield_Setup. t@(12.5,{1..7..2}.5)
1. {White's first move goes here}

5. If you want to play multiple games at the same time I could also do a game of Alien City now (just finally finished my first game yesterday). I'll want to do Tak later after I implement some planned PPN improvements for moving stacks of pieces and Ricochet Pyramids after I implement better visual support for stacked Looney pyramids.

-- TrevorLDavis 2020-03-03 07:34 UTC


1. Thanks.

2. OK, but I bet there are plenty of people who just want to play, not to GM. If they do want to GM, knowing how to create a board is not sufficient.

3. OK, I'll use the notation at chessvariants.org.

4. I didn't know until today you had previously played neither Ultima nor Alien City. OK, Ultima first!

-- RonHaleEvans 2020-03-04 04:14 UTC


Ok, I've made the requested change to the Ultima diagram. I think I've played myself in a game of Ultima and I've read the rules for a lot of the variants at chessvariants.com including Ultima but this will be my first time playing it against someone else (this is why I initially indicated you as a GM title and me as unranked since I anticipate that you'll crush me). Looks like quite the fun variant though.

-- TrevorLDavis 2020-03-04 05:51 UTC


Yes, please add crib notes to the page, including links to rules. Also, if there are any onlookers, now or in future, they might appreciate commentary. Does PPN have a slot for that?

-- RonHaleEvans 2020-03-05 21:13 UTC


Also, yes, Ultima is a hoot, and for that very reason, you might crush me! Its creator, Robert Abbott, said later it lacks "clarity", meaning your opponent might always have a surprise move ready that you just can't see.

-- RonHaleEvans 2020-03-05 21:16 UTC


Notified the Facebook group about the games.

-- RonHaleEvans 2020-03-05 21:22 UTC


> Also, ... they might appreciate commentary. Does PPN have a slot for that?

PPN currently allows comments that start and end with braces. This is one of the comment styles supported by PGN chess notation and most of its offshoots like PDN, PBN, PSN and PPN.

Comments may be contained within a single line between moves or span multiple lines and use Unicode characters but there are a couple (minor) restrictions:

  1. The opening brace must be preceded by whitespace (such as spaces or newlines) and the closing brace must be followed by whitespace (such as spaces or newlines).
  2. Comments cannot contain braces.
  3. Multiple line comments should not have a line that starts with "---" or "...".

Restrictions 1 and 2 aid in distinguishing "comment" braces from the "brace expansion" braces that can be used as a shortcut for expressing multiple moves. Restriction 3 aids in determining where the Metadata sections for each game in the PPN file begin and end.

-- TrevorLDavis 2020-03-06 00:01 UTC


I hope this isn't too disappointing, but I'm going to have to put all gameplay on hold for at least a month while I write my book, which is long overdue. I'm going to see what a period of near-total focus apart from paying work can do for it (assuming I can manage that) and come up for air circa 8 April, which is an important day at my job as well. So, I'll be back here in a month, but don't hesitate to contact me by the other usual channels. R

-- RonHaleEvans 2020-03-09 01:12 UTC


Thanks for the heads up, can't wait to see the final product of what you write! Is this the same book project the KiloDeck? is part of? No worries, I'm not annoyed by long delays between moves in an asynchronous game especially if the delay is communicated ahead of time.

-- TrevorLDavis 2020-03-09 04:11 UTC


Thanks, Trevor! Yes, this is Parallel Pastimes, the book that describes the Kilodeck. I've been noodling on this a long time, and I just need to see if I can make some progress again with a chunk of focused effort.

By the way, I suspect that the ability to return to an abstract game after a potentially distracting delay is part of the secret of Chess masters who can play a dozen simultaneous games.

-- RonHaleEvans 2020-03-09 04:37 UTC


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