25 November 2009

Playing online chess with a crazy bot

Adobe AIR application ChessJam is (no surprise) chess application which offers free playing of your favorite game with other enthusiasts around the globe right from your desktop. Visit and download ChessJam home page. Current application version is 2.1 and it brings some new features like multi-game support (up to 6 games), UI enhamcements, improved rating system etc.

You can read more about how this application is done in a post The making of ChessJam Flex/AIR + ColdFusion + LiveCycle DS = fun project! by author Greg Wilson. He reveals some of the code and application architecture used for making ChessJam.

Since this is commercial project they decided to buy third-party library for AI engine. I'm not totally convinced they did good job with it, as you can see from image below.

Adobe AIR chess application
Another thing I don't like about it is chat room within current game. Everyone can enter the game you're playing (no private game option) and watch game in progress. You get text notification about it "player238 is observing". Bad thing about it is you don't have an option not to see playing suggestions from others. That's very frustrating. Imagine real-world game where everyone is making comments about your next move, even worse in ChessJam you can't through at them angry, warning look!

Greg also mentioned in his post about more than 1000 users, but very often I'm lucky if I find anyone playing at all! That's it. Generally, I like the app and hope it will be even better in the future.



ChessJam said...

Hello and thanks for the blog post on ChessJam!

Couple of quick points...

The error you point out was due to a bug in our networking code, not he AI engine itself. It occurred when playing over a slow network with high latency, especially when a player is moving very fast such as a bullet game. We put out a fix recently that appears to have fixed it.

The "private game" suggestion is a good one, and fairly easy to implement so I'll add it to the list ;)

We are getting more activity daily. We just passed 180,000 moves but even with between 5,000 and 8,000 moves per day, there are still idle times. At the current pace of growth, we should get to the point soon where you can find opponents easily. Hopefully your blog post here will help! :)

We are also about to add correspondence chess (games that last several days/weeks) which should help as well.

We have lots of other new features "in the works" so keep checking back.

Thanks again!



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