Here's a quibble:hgm wrote:Note that it only has two commands (and guaranteed bug-free!): type a move, or type an empty line to make it think up an play a move.Peter Berger wrote:Thanks; I will give your micro-Max a try.
It is not a bug report, but second only to reliability user-friendliness is an important design goal of WinBoard. So I consider it quite important to minimize the chances for experiences like this, for which reports like yours are potentially very helpful.For WinBoard, I tried it again tonight. I installed a recent version and decided to install a recent Stockfish development version as an UCI engine. It was added smoothly, Then I wanted to setup the number of CPUs it should use. I failed, as there was no parameter to configure to be found anywhere. I looked around for a while, then gave up. Please don't think of this as a WinBoard bug report. I am confident that this is sth that could have been worked out rather easily. It is just that it would have meant more effort than I liked to invest.
In this particular case, the option you were looking for was in the Common Engine Settings dialog, next to Hash Size, EGTB cache and book settings. This seems the logical place for settings that apply to all engines, so the important question is why you could not find it while "looking around for a while", and whether the interface can be improved such that you would have immediately found it. Where exactly did you look for it?
For instance, would it have helped if the Common Engine Settings dialog would have been accessible through the Engine menu, say just above the Engine #1/#2 Settings items? I am considering to move that menu item there in WinBoard 4.9. (I believe in XBoard I have already done that.) Would it then have been the first place you have looked after the Engine #1 Settings dialog? I am usually quite reluctant to change the menu structure, because for every novice that might be helped by a reorganization that conforms better to his intuition, there might be 100 experienced users that grumble because they can no longer find the menu item anymore in the place where they are used to finding it.
Another question is how much help the help actually is. In the index of the chm help file, looking under 'N' you would find 'Number of CPUs', which would bring you directly to the description of the Common Engine dialog. If that proves to be insufficient to be of any use, is it any help at all that WinBoard is supplied with an elaborate, indexed help file, or might I as well drop the help function completely, because users would rather die than use the help menu?
How about doing this two ways. Set it in general engine options as you do now, and then have it as a specific engine option as well. IE some want to try 2 thread vs 4 thread to see performance gains, etc? Only bit of complexity would be to try to be informative. IE if you set the general engine option for thread, you might ask "do you want to use this to override all individual engine thread settings?" Otherwise I could see some confusion and complaints when one forgets it was set here, sets it over there, and it doesn't work.