Re: Aisleriot: suggestions from a Windows Spider fan

Hi Guys, 

I'm not exactly volunteering but if I find the spare time I'll really
try to understand the C source of sol. I've already begun a bit. 

I have some ideas:

Sorting out Internationalization 

We are sooner or later going to have to deal with the i18n stuff and the
problems with the "hint: move card a to card b".  It should not be too
difficult (I hope) to find out how to highlight the source and
destination for a second or so. It would mean that all the scheme rule
files will have to be modified to return (list 2 from-slot to-slot)
instead of (list 2 cardname1 cardname2). In general the code is already
turning slot numbers into card names so it would be a simplification in
most of the games. In fact by adding new functionality to the C-side of
the get-hint interface it might allow for an evolutionary transition. 

It might be the _only_ way to sort out the internationalization problem
associated with the grammar of building a "from to" sentence in some
languages. It would also have the fringe benefit that the  'graphical'
response might be possible and better for other hints. 

The animation, when coded, could then be used in place of the
highlighting approach. 


I am truly awestuck by the code in freecell.scm which  Matthew Ball
wrote. As a hobby I would love to 

a) try to understand this software. 
b) rework it to make it into a game independent sub-system.
 This in principle is just a matter of a four function interface.
1) An initialize function. 
2) A move generating function. 
3) A game state/outcome evaluation function. 
4) A hint requesting function that yields the results. 

This would move the possibility of having quality move searching code
from impossible to difficult for many games.  

Seahaven can be solved in about 80-90% but is quite difficult to find
the right moves; and this hint feature would seem truly astounding. 



On Mon, 2009-03-02 at 14:06 -0600, Vincent Povirk wrote:
> Thanks for the feedback. Sadly, I don't think we can do much with it.
> On Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 1:43 PM, Fernando <ferkiwi gmail com> wrote:
> > 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 worry that if we use the status bar for messages, people will not
> see the message and wonder why the hint button isn't working. Or it
> may not fit in the appropriate space. The fact that we use the
> statusbar to explain the "empty slots must be filled" rule makes me
> unhappy.
> Perhaps a firefox-style temporary message ribbon that dismisses
> automatically would be good, but I'm not the one who would have to
> code that.
> We would like to have animations go to with the hints. We have a bug
> for that. I expect to go through and modify individual games to make
> this possible, for unrelated reasons, but again I'm not the one who
> would have to code the feature into the main program.
> Multiple hints would be difficult from a coding perspective (I'll have
> to think about how we can design for that) and possibly a UI
> perspective.
> > * 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.
> We have a bug for that too, but it hasn't made progress recently.
> > * 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.
> Personally, I'd like to see Aisleriot open to the state in which you
> closed it, so that if you were in the middle of a game, quit, and
> restarted aisleriot, you'd start where you left off.
> We have a (stagnating) bug for that as well.
> Vincent Povirk
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