Comments on TrevorLDavis

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Summary: {{{>You'll probably need to use a video editor (a technology I'm unfamiliar with) or do a hack like taking a video of you playing/pausing the . . .

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> {{{>You'll probably need to use a video editor (a technology I'm unfamiliar with) or do a hack like taking a video of you playing/pausing the video if you need extra long pauses at certain points. }}}
> I guess another hacky solution for adding pauses at certain points in the animation would be to insert empty "moves" where you do nothing e.g. {{{1. b4-d3 pause.1. pause.2. 2. a2-b2}}}. Normally that should create a pause where nothing happens. I think one current limitation is if you want transitions in your animations AND non-moves then your "board" needs to have at least one piece present for each of the (non-)moves.
> -- TrevorLDavis 2020-09-09 05:03 UTC


# 22 Comments. # Good work!

-- Jessica_Eccles 2016-08-30 08:54 UTC


It seems to me Minishogi could be played pretty easily with a standard piecepack. What do you think?

https://www.chessvariants.com/shogivariants.dir/minishog.html

-- Ron Hale-Evans 2019-04-20 08:00 UTC


I agree. For piecepacks with non-standard suits I'd suggest the same pieces as I did in Shogi but if you have a standard piecepack I'd probably use instead sun coin backs for gold generals and moon coin backs for silver generals (easy mnemonic because in alchemy gold was represented by a sun symbol and silver by a moon symbol).

In the past month I've been pretty busy with piecepackr development/documentation but still have more non-reverse-compatible API, print-and-play layout changes, and documentation to do before it makes sense to share with the group.

-- TrevorLDavis 2019-04-21 04:21 UTC


I'm subscribed to your GitHub? repo, so I see exactly how hard you've been working -- which is pretty damn hard. :)

I had a similar thought about Gold and Silver, but in Minishogi, the Silver promotes to a Gold, and there is no piecepack coin with a Moon on one side and a Sun on the other.

I'm working on it. I'm regretfully coming to the conclusion that unless I want to swap out coins when one gets promoted, I need two standard piecepacks for even this smol variant...

-- Ron Hale-Evans 2019-04-21 07:30 UTC


I'd forgotten that your rules show promotion by 90-degree rotation. Worth thinking about.

-- Ron Hale-Evans 2019-04-21 07:35 UTC


You could stack the moon on top of the sun and flip them together..

-- Dan_Burkey 2019-04-21 18:12 UTC


Like an Oreo with numbers in the middle.

-- Dan_Burkey 2019-04-21 19:38 UTC


Besides promotion by 90-degree rotation as I suggested for Shogi for Minishogi you'll also have enough extra coins that you could also do checkers-kings-style promotions (i.e. upon promotion slide an extra coin underneath and when a promoted piece is captured first take the extra coin away). This would be harder to make 2D piecepackr diagrams for than 90-degree rotation promotions but should work well in 3D real life (I guess if you had to you could draw slightly staggered coins).

Dan, although you could stack the moon on top of the sun and flip them together for Silver generals it would be hard to do similar promotion schemes for Pawn (which also promotes to Gold General), Bishop, and Rook especially since you want to be able to tell apart a promoted Pawn, a promoted Silver General, and an unpromoted Gold General (these have different values to the opponent as pieces to be captured). There is enough extra piecepack components that I think you could make such a scheme work but I think using a 90-degree-rotation or checker-kings-style promotion scheme is probably simpler to implement and remember what all the pieces are.

-- TrevorLDavis 2019-04-21 20:44 UTC


> you could also do checkers-kings-style promotion ... This would be harder to make 2D piecepackr diagrams for than 90-degree rotation promotions but should work well in 3D real life (I guess if you had to you could draw slightly staggered coins). 

Inspired by the oblique projection in the Fuji-San academic paper I've added some basic oblique projection support to piecepackr which should (for most but not all games) allow one to tell if there are stacked coins/tiles. However right now requires the programmer to hustle a bit more than they would need to in order to make diagrams with the default "top view" orthographic projection.

-- TrevorLDavis 2019-06-11 17:55 UTC


RonHaleEvans what should be the wiki best practices for records of piecepack game instances (completed or in progress)? Should they go in an examples section in the relevant game page? What about the several piecepack games you said you wanted to play in January on your blog (that we agreed would be good to generate diagrams and animations for) that I started a page to collect?

-- TrevorLDavis 2019-08-01 03:38 UTC


Trevor, has it occurred to you that you could easily enter the video demo portion of the Iron Piecepack Designer contest if you set up an animation of some game with piecepackr (maybe slow it down a bit) and do a voiceover? If you don't want to do a voiceover, send me the animation and we'll do it together. :) If you want help creating a demo game or sample moves, you can also let me know. I have experience writing documentation. So does Marty, as well as instructional design, specifically using computer animation to teach people things.

-- RonHaleEvans 2020-09-06 20:41 UTC


Also, can I persuade you to upload your rules for your Alquerque variant? Marty and I will post our rules soon.

The playtest page for the last contest worked so well that I suspect the absence of a similar page this contest might be one reason we haven't seen many people saying they're entering.

-- RonHaleEvans 2020-09-06 21:30 UTC


1) I'd be happy to do an animation collaboration with you. Not super interested in doing the voice over or uploading to Youtube myself (don't want to try to do a voice over in my small apartment with a sleeping kid OR an awake kid). Easy to slow animation down and/or increase the pause between (all the) moves. Can export to .gif, .mp4, or do a basic "html" page where one can click through the moves at one's leisure e.g. https://trevorldavis.com/share/piecepack/relativity.html I currently have full games of Relativity, Japan (current animation work-in-process), AlienCity, Fuji-san, FourFieldKono, and Checkers. Happy to help record and animate more games especially via playing a game PlayByWiki (or PlayByEmail? or PlayByPostcard? or maybe PlayByRadio? ;-) or help one figure out how to express their particular moves themselves in PortablePiecepackNotation (which has recently added support for go stones, checkers, dominoes, (crude PnP? style) chess pieces, (French Tarot) playing cards, and meeples).

2) Okay, I'll print out some crude black-and-white paper matchsticks and try to do some basic playtesting and put something up. My son was finally invited back to preschool so hopefully I'll finally have a little bit more time to do this.

-- TrevorLDavis 2020-09-07 05:12 UTC


For #1 and #2: Thanks, Trevor! :)

For #2: Without going back and checking, I think I recall that one of the printable matchsticks sets came in the form of an Excel spreadsheet, where each suit of sticks has both color and suit markers. You should be able to delete the colors for clarity's sake but retain the suit markers, leaving the matchsticks even more playable.

-- RonHaleEvans 2020-09-07 19:54 UTC


For #1 let me know which game(s) you'd be interested in doing.

For #2 piecepackr's print-and-play generator already generates configurable printable piecepack matchsticks (although I should probably tweak the matchstick layout) so getting a color-free layout should be easy. It would have been nice if I could have cut the 144 sticks with my (currently-prohibited-from-entering) office's guillotine instead of having to use scissors although maybe I can get my son to help.

-- TrevorLDavis 2020-09-07 21:10 UTC


For #1: I was already thinking of AlienCity, which is one of my all-time favorite games. However, it would be nice to do an all-piecepack game, as opposed to one that requires IceHouse pieces. I'm delighted that there's a complete game of Relativity available, and I'm pretty sure I'd like to do that at some point. I really enjoy Japan and think it's underrated. The fact that it uses another game system is not a big deal, because dominoes are in the public domain and you can even print your own, as I did. FourFieldKono and Checkers are traditional games, not really piecepack games as such, so less suitable IMHO. Fuji-san is a good game, but has already received a lot of attention, and I'd like to spread that commodity around. I'm not ruling it out, though.

I have to say, I'm more interested in narrating a game I've participated in than one played by other people. But I'll keep your recorded games in mind. I'm also going to browse the BigBoard and see if there's something even more appealing.

-- RonHaleEvans 2020-09-07 23:34 UTC


Consulted the BigBoard. Other games that are immediately appealing for demo videos include Desfases (which I know you can do, obviously), PiecePackingPirates, and ShoppingMall (another underrated game IMHO).

Do the latter two seem feasible? For example, is the board of ShoppingMall too big? Also, can you create a setup animation so that people can learn how to set up their games?

-- RonHaleEvans 2020-09-07 23:49 UTC


  1. A full game of Desfases is 84 moves (21 turns for each player), each move being 2-3 "submoves" moving a total of 2-9 pieces. Probably not going to do a full game if just playing against myself but would be willing to play a full game against 1-3 more people. 84 moves might take a month or two to go through though on an asynchronous basis. PortablePiecepackNotation would also allow someone to write and use a specialized Desfases notation parser instead of the default parser that could cut down on the required notation (i.e. each move just indicate tile moving the pawn to and perhaps the tile moving a coin onto) but writing a specialized Desfases notation parser isn't something I'm personally likely to tackle.
  2. I don't think ShoppingMall is too big. Doesn't seem to be bigger than Go which seems to work okay. I don't have American currency pieces although I guess we could use stones/checkers. Random setup isn't the most straightforward and there are a couple more PortablePiecepackNotation improvements I'd like to make before tackling it as a PlayByWiki game.
  3. I'd like someday to write a random PiecePackingPirates setup generator that gives a chance of creating any of the legal setups. A tad more work though than your typical piecepack game setup.
> Also, can you create a setup animation so that people can learn how to set up their games?

Could you explain more what exactly you'd like? My animation skills are actually very weak (all the animations I do are mostly performed by the "tweenr" and "animation" R packages, I just wrote some glue code that wraps around them and then basically type animate_game(...) after I finish recording a game in PortablePiecepackNotation). Do you mean write an article/section about writing a game setup function (basically an R function that returns an in-memory spreadsheet of which pieces go where which we can instruct PPN to use in the "SetUp?" metadata section) or adding some 2-step animations illustrating the possible piece drops/moves combos in the PortablePiecepackNotation article since instead of a "setup" function one could also use an arbitrary number (and labeling) of "moves" in the movetext section to set-up the board from a blank (or partially completed) beginning slate dropping and manipulating pieces as necessary. PPN "moves" don't need to correspond to the official "moves" of the game, they're just labeled manipulations of pieces on the "board"...

-- TrevorLDavis 2020-09-08 05:53 UTC


1. Desfases sounds too unwieldy, because of the number of moves and submoves in a complete game.

2. ShoppingMall sounds more plausible than I thought, but still might be hard because of the random setup and notation improvements necessary.

3. PiecePackingPirates sounds as if it's still plausible for a video, but needs a bit of work to get the random setup working.

However, you seem to be saying that writing random setup routines might be unnecessary if we have a setup in mind (probably selected randomly) and just use PPN to specify where the pieces go at game start. Is that true? If so, can we still animate the setup? What does a piece look like when coming from off the board in such a situation?

I'm still interested in animating Relativity and AlienCity. The latter is perhaps the most popular piecepack game, so in that sense doesn't need the boost from a video; however, it's also one of the more complex and counterintuitive piecepack games, so maybe it could use a boost anyway.

-- RonHaleEvans 2020-09-08 20:24 UTC


> However, you seem to be saying that writing random setup routines might be unnecessary if we have a setup in mind (probably selected randomly) and just use PPN to specify where the pieces go at game start. Is that true? If so, can we still animate the setup?

Yes, you could use PPN to specify where (perhaps some of) the pieces go at game start, breaking the set-up into multiple (animation) "moves" if desired. For example a game of Relativity could instead be manually set-up like this:

---
GameType: Relativity
SetUp: None
...
AddTiles. tb@({1..5..2}.5,{1,3}.5) {Or without brace expansions you could do tb@(1.5,1.5) tb@(3.5,3.5) ...}
AddCoinsBackUp. Mc2b@a4 Mcab@b4 { plus the 22 other coins... }
FlipCoinsFaceUp. /c~f
1. {First "real" move here}

You could also do a hybrid set-up with a function doing some of the set-up (e.g. there is a square board from tiles generator) and the rest done manually.

> What does a piece look like when coming from off the board in such a situation?

If you use animation transitions (i.e. the n_transitions argument in animate_game() is greater than the default 0) then pieces coming off the board shrink in size to nothingness. I also played around with making the pieces increasingly transparent so they disappear from view due to their translucency but didn't like that visual effect.

> I'm still interested in animating Relativity and AlienCity.

Okay, let me know exactly what you want. As I said I already have stored PPN games for both (and animations made from them already on the wiki). animate_game() lets the user control frames per second i.e. fps, number of "transition" frames between move states i.e. n_transitions, and number of frames to pause at each move state i.e. n_pauses. You'll probably need to use a video editor (a technology I'm unfamiliar with) or do a hack like taking a video of you playing/pausing the video if you need extra long pauses at certain points.

-- TrevorLDavis 2020-09-08 22:32 UTC


>You'll probably need to use a video editor (a technology I'm unfamiliar with) or do a hack like taking a video of you playing/pausing the video if you need extra long pauses at certain points.

I guess another hacky solution for adding pauses at certain points in the animation would be to insert empty "moves" where you do nothing e.g. 1. b4-d3 pause.1. pause.2. 2. a2-b2. Normally that should create a pause where nothing happens. I think one current limitation is if you want transitions in your animations AND non-moves then your "board" needs to have at least one piece present for each of the (non-)moves.

-- TrevorLDavis 2020-09-09 05:03 UTC


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