Aisleriot: suggestions from a Windows Spider fan

My dad is a big fan of the Windows card game Spider. Apart from this,
the thing that he mainly does in his computer is to surf with Firefox
and use OpenOffice. So I tried to introduce him to GNU/Linux for
avoiding all the malware problems and show him what free software can

He was really impressed because of all the different kind of card
games that Aisleriot can offer, I think this is a great solitary game.
However, none of the games have still caught on him because he is
still learning the rules. Also, he has given to me a number of reasons
why he still prefers the Spider game on Windows XP, and I thought it
might be good to point them out here.

* The hint button *
I think that this is the main reason why he preferred Windows Spider.
My dad likes very much the ability for the program to give hints. He
sometimes use it for spotting the different optional paths in the game
when he is in a hurry or when he can't find it for himself, and for
learning how to play. While he was trying the other solitary games in
Aisleriot I found that he in fact was pressing a lot the hint button
to learn how to play instead of looking at the rules.

In Windows, when you press the hint key the cards just get highlighted
to show you what you can do, it doesn't find the perfect move, it just
show a legal move that will get you closer to the end (good or bad
end). When there are several possible options you can press the hint
key several times to see them. So.. although it is a hint, it just shows you
the choices and you are the one who have to ultimately think what to

However, in Aisleriot you get a popup dialog that shows just some text
with only
1 possible movement (I don't know if it calculares the best movement or not,
but it doesnt show you any other choices when you request hint multiple times)
and you have to click "accept" to close the popup and then search for the
cards. He didn't liked that at all, he thought that it was annoying,
slow and not
so useful.

I understand that Aisleriot has support for a lot of card games and
maybe not always the hints would be "move this to this" or "deal
another round" and maybe highlighting the cards would not be an
option. However, if this is the case, maybe it would be better if the
hint text was displayed in the status bar instead of poping up a hint
window dialog every time that you have to click to close.

* Identifying initial states *
Another thing that Windows Spider has is the ability for saving the
initial status of the decks and the card ordering. It codifies the
ordering in a sequence of numbers, so each game is given a number code
and called, for example, "game 24552". This way, if you remember the
number you can play with the same card ordering. You can even give the
number to some friend so that he can play the same game as you and see
if he can solve it.

* The Game Saving *
Along with this is the option to save your game for restoring it
later. If you like how the game is going but you have to stop for some
reason, then you can resume the game later.

It's possible that you have already thought about adding some of this
features, but I didn't know where to look for it, so I thought that
maybe sending this feedback could help to improve the project. You are
doing a nice job.


Fernando Camona

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