Chess for Android: FICS client in alpha

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abik
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Chess for Android: FICS client in alpha

Post by abik » Sun Mar 31, 2019 10:25 pm

It took me a bit longer than planned, but I finally finished the alpha version of a FICS (Free Internet Chess Server) interface in Chess for Android. Either play directly on a phone or table, or first connect to an electronic chessboard (DGT, Certabo, and Millennium) to play over an actual chess board with people online.

To connect to FICS, long press the notation window in Chess for Android to open the extended menu. Then select "Connect to FICS" and login as a guest or using your register username and password. The formula string can be used to filter out match requests. For example time >= 5 & inc = 1 only accepts games with at least five minutes start time per player and exactly one second increment per move. The formula syntax is explained in more detail on the FICS help page.

Once connected, your username or temporary guest name is shown at the bottom of the screen. Match requests that pass the filter are shown in a dialog with the player names and game parameters. Either decline, or accept and the game starts at once. During the game, both players' names are shown at the bottom of the screen (white always at the bottom) and the board is automatically oriented with the side you are playing down. The status message shows whether it is your turn or the opponent's turn. Chat messages, if any, are shown next to the player's name. Click one king and then the other king to open a dialog to offer a draw or resign. If the opponent offers a draw, use the same mechanism (in that case offering really means accepting). When the game ends, a termination message appears at the bottom of the screen. The game can be saved to SD card or shared with another program as usual.

Per FICS policies, all chess engine features are disabled while connected to FICS. To analyze a game with a chess engine, first disconnect.

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abik
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Re: Chess for Android: FICS client in alpha

Post by abik » Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:15 am

I forgot to say how much fun I had coding the client. Just like connecting to electronic chessboards, it is the kind of hacking I like (the graphical part is not always my strong side, as some users never fail to point out :-)).

Below you see the testing environment I used without bothering other online players. Chess for Android on a tablet connected to the Millennium chess board and as guest to FICS. Another test account on Mobialia Chess on the web. This way, I could test all sorts of scenarios without annoying other players (the testing account was with explicit permission of FICS).

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chysiddh14
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Post by chysiddh14 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:49 am

keep on progressing ,great work Sir.

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Re: Chess for Android: FICS client in alpha

Post by PeterO » Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:48 pm

Thank you so much Aart,

1. is it possible to play rated games too?
2. Its hard to write name + password always. Please let the app remember the last setting.

Peter

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abik
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Re: Chess for Android: FICS client in alpha

Post by abik » Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:51 pm

PeterO wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:48 pm
1. is it possible to play rated games too?
2. Its hard to write name + password always. Please let the app remember the last setting.
Thanks for testing!

1. I assumed so. FICS asked me not to play rated games with my test account, so I have not tested that myself. But what happens when you enter 'rated' as part of the formula and log in as registered user? I see no reason why that would not work, but perhaps I missed something.
2. Absolutely, details like this will be polished in the production version.

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Re: Chess for Android: FICS client in alpha

Post by abik » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:39 pm

I actually never was an online chess player myself, but due to implementing this feature, I started to see the appeal. Where else can you play a patzer game like this? (I won this one with black, but I could easily show just as many examples where I lost)


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PeterO
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Re: Chess for Android: FICS client in alpha

Post by PeterO » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:26 pm

Hi Aart,

Looking forward to play a patzer game with YOU!

Peter :D

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Re: Chess for Android: FICS client in alpha

Post by abik » Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:26 am

I am now also working on support for the DGT 3000 chess clock. I am hopeful that the combination of Chess for Android on mobile, online chess on FICS, and an electronic chess board and this clock will provide a very pleasant chess playing experience!

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Re: Chess for Android: FICS client in alpha

Post by gbtami » Thu Apr 11, 2019 1:04 pm

Unfortunately FICS (and ICC also) is slowly dying as it loses users to more modern chess servers. Just take a look at https://www.ficsgames.org/stats.html year by year.

I myself playing on lichess.org in latest years. It's getting better and better because it is open source and developed actively at https://github.com/ornicar/lila

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Re: Chess for Android: FICS client in alpha

Post by AdminX » Thu Apr 11, 2019 1:19 pm

Keep up the great work Arrt. :wink:
"Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions."
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