With this release I concentrate on two main areas: setClock & chess engines. Actually, this “setClock” cost me a lot of time, even the user can not see too much. The dgt chess clock display a sent time immediately. This is sometimes not what I want – I want to send a time and show the time later. To make this possible, I had to exchange quite a lot of code. The main reason for this was Benny, who reported a small mistake to me. If you start a new game and make your first move very quickly, the clock still runs with the old time, which was corrected again on the second turn. This should be much better now, even if it is not fully solved yet.
Nevertheless, I have changed many engines. Some very old engines – which have been around since the beginning of picochess, unfortunately have some uci problems. Essentially their implementation of the uci protocol is not complete – mainly “go searchmoves” and the “ponder” flag. Arasan, for example, now has a new version, so the problem with “alternative move” is solved. Others have not done this yet.
In order to get a bit closer to my goal of version 1.0, I now decided to replace all engines that do not completely implement the uci protocol by other chess engines. For this reason, I have now removed “Cinnamon” from the Top8 list (Cinnamon does not support “alternative move”). As an alternative we choose “sayuri”. Sayuri we had already a few years ago as engine in picochess. Its advantages are full support of uci and active development. Its disadvantage is mainly a weaker engine, but perhaps thats what alot of players probably enjoy: have a chance to win a game 🙂
Maybe you’ve already seen this engine in CCRL 40/4 list. At the time of this post, the engine ranks 103th with 2629ELO. Our team is always watching various uci engines to find new candidates or even to upgrade the chess engines running in picochess. Since some Top8 engines still have problems (see above), I started an active search for an alternative and found WyldChess. Again, not all uci functions were implemented, but I had a great session with the developer of this engine (mk-chan), which has the missing functions at a breathtaking pace still built in. In this sessions mk-chan implemented uci960 mode (which makes another engine, you can choose to play with if you want to try out this mode) and also “alternative move”. An most important he also did a level system similar to rodent where you can setup each parameter of the evaluation yourself or simply use one of the provided personality files (right now there is only one “drunken” but more to come). Many thanks again to mk-chan! I wished alot more chess engine developers are so active as him.
Despite this i also did the following (again a super big update):
- if you have choosen an engine by picochess.ini which is (no longer) there, you ended up in a crush situation. Now picochess will load the first engine again. Also if you change your engine to a non-pondering one during you are inside such pondering mode the engine failed before. This is now prevented in both possible situations (first a pondering mode then engine or vice versa) and the old working engine is reloaded. This are only 2 examples of alot more improvements done.
- updated rodent3 engine with new personalities from v0.210 upwards.