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 Post subject: Life's Too Short to Use a Bad IGS Client
Post #1 Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:49 am 
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There are so many IGS clients out there - both official and unofficial - and I have tried many of them but I have yet to find one that really makes me smile. All of them are functional but all of them feel like they're stuck in the '90s.

At the moment, I'm using GoPanda - the new-fangled official Java client - but it irks me that I have to spend hours immersed in what can best be called the epitome of ancient and clunky U.I. design.

Which client do YOU use and why?

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 Post subject: Re: Life's Too Short to Use a Bad IGS Client
Post #2 Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:57 am 
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While you're right, in that they all provide more or less the same functionality over the same API, I wonder what it is that you would like to see in a preferred or ideal GUI?

There's lots of programmers out there in the go community, ready to do something better, but they lack a vision of what to do.

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Post #3 Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:08 am 
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gIGo. It's pretty (yes, the UI is not very good, but the board and stones are 1,000 times better than CGoban's.)

Once a game starts, for me only two things remain:
- mentally: reading;
- visually: board and stones. gIGo's board and stones are beautiful.

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Post #4 Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:27 am 
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EdLee wrote:
gIGo. It's pretty (yes, the UI is not very good, but the board and stones are 1,000 times better than CGoban's.)

Once a game starts, for me only two things remain:
- mentally: reading;
- visually: board and stones. gIGo's board and stones are beautiful.


I'm sure Charlie would agree that a beautiful board is a non-negotiable. Once that is in plce, however, I'm assuming he's expecting a bit more from the GUI, however. Such as

- a better way to find games
- a better way to manage multiple game watching
- some kind of social capability (hard given IGS's limited chat capabilities)
- a better way to manage and locate favourite players
- dynamic notifications (favourite player has joined/started a game, or a new 7d vs 7d game has started)


This post by quantumf was liked by: Charlie
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 Post subject: Re: Life's Too Short to Use a Bad IGS Client
Post #5 Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:06 am 
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A pretty board would be nice, but it isn't high on my list. As long as the board is large enough to see, easily, I don't particularly desire shiny graphics.

quantumf, your list of features is quite inspired. I have some more to add.

TOP PRIORITY: It should be newbie friendly. I should be able to email a download link to a friend and, without any hassle, they should be able to download the software, install it, run it, register for an account, sign in and find a game. Current clients do NOT provide a very good experience for new players, with their esoteric "Connection" menus and guest accounts and red/green circles.

SECOND PRIORITY: It should NEVER launch mode-less windows. One window and only one window. Exploit the availability of wide-screen monitors. Above all, do not launch windows BEHIND the current window.

After that, it should be stripped of all functionality other than interacting with the Go server. I do not want to use the client to view SGF files or play against GNU Go - there are better programs that specialise in those things. I think the feature bloat is what makes current clients feel so clunky. It isn't that they're terrible at anything they do, it's just that you have to wade through rubbish on your way to the "find game" button.

Better disconnect handling would be useful. If my connection dies during a game, prompt me to sign in immediately. Show a count-down timer according to the server's dropping rules. Raise the alarm! Once the connection has been re-established, just assume I want to get back into the game immediately. Don't leave me to try and find a combo-box on a toolbar somewhere. (Ok, I play via a tethered phone so this might be a personal want.)

Better anti-slip systems. Clicking twice to move is easier and safer than double-clicking.

Better behaviour when suffering from LAG. I want to know that my move has been sent to the server and that the client is awaiting a response. GoPanda gives you no feedback until the response from the server is received and that never fails to make me feel nervous and wonder if I really did click in the right place.

Some social features would be cool. Chats and fiends lists.

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 Post subject: Re: Life's Too Short to Use a Bad IGS Client
Post #6 Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:33 am 
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Missed something rather important: I don't know if this is possible, given the protocol used by IGS, but it would be really nice to be able to review the match made by auto-match BEFORE starting the game. I think this would lead to fewer resignations within the first four moves.

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 Post subject: Re: Life's Too Short to Use a Bad IGS Client
Post #7 Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:48 am 
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Charlie wrote:
Missed something rather important: I don't know if this is possible, given the protocol used by IGS, but it would be really nice to be able to review the match made by auto-match BEFORE starting the game. I think this would lead to fewer resignations within the first four moves.


Not sure I follow. Automatch is automatch. Resignation, even on move one, should have an immediate impact on rank. If you botched your automatch configuration that's your problem, assuming IGS gives you reasonable control which I seem to recall that it does. Surely the only parameters are handicap limits and time limits (which I'm sure IGS allows you to configure)?

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 Post subject: Re: Life's Too Short to Use a Bad IGS Client
Post #8 Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:52 am 
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No - you get a free resignation on IGS if you resign immediately. This seems to happen to me about once in every four games. It isn't a real problem. Since the opening hasn't been played, I don't feel attached to the game. It's rude, though, but, hey, the Internet is rude.

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 Post subject: Re: Life's Too Short to Use a Bad IGS Client
Post #9 Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:05 am 
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Charlie wrote:
No - you get a free resignation on IGS if you resign immediately.


I know - but why is this permitted? Is it possible to get "wrong" games?

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 Post subject: Re: Life's Too Short to Use a Bad IGS Client
Post #10 Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:25 am 
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Charlie wrote:
Which client do YOU use and why?


I use the "official" windows client from Pandanet.co.jp when I do go on. It's also not that pretty, but it functions. They used to make it more internationalized and had an English version, but they seem to have dropped it for the Java client which doesn't work as well. The advantage is some of the major titles are sent live using commentary that client understands.

http://www.pandanet.co.jp/English/setup/

They're not keeping this up to date with the Japanese one unfortunately.

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 Post subject: Re: Life's Too Short to Use a Bad IGS Client
Post #11 Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:37 am 
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I use glGo and it's GUI is good enough for me.
What I like to see are better graphics for board and stones, better stone-placing sound and a voice for the time.

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 Post subject: Re: Life's Too Short to Use a Bad IGS Client
Post #12 Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:28 pm 
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Charlie wrote:
Above all, do not launch windows BEHIND the current window.


Heh, that is a pretty epic glGo fail.

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 Post subject: Re: Life's Too Short to Use a Bad IGS Client
Post #13 Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:30 pm 
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It is kind of amusing that the iOS client (especially for the iPad) is superior in many of the ways mentioned. Of course, in other ways it is inferior (e.g., there is only one "window"). But maybe the computer-based clients could learn something from it.

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 Post subject: Re: Life's Too Short to Use a Bad IGS Client
Post #14 Posted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:30 am 
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Last night, I tried out PandaTetsuki for iOS. My initial impressions were favourable - it looks incredibly pretty, supports auto-match if you know where to look and the two-touch move placement just seems to work. Additionally, the board is full-screen and that creates a very nice experience while playing Go.

It is definitely NOT user friendly. It took a long time for me to work out how to seek a match which, on IGS, is just about the only way to get a game if your rank isn't stable.

On IGS, I am used to playing with one minute main time followed by 25 minutes for ten stones per byo-yomi period. My first game, last night, was unusually 25 minutes main plus 25 minutes for ten. While in main time, I thought I was in byo-yomi but the number of stones remaining was not shown. Turns out, I was in main time after all. This confusion is probably my fault so can't really fault the design, there.

I do have a major criticism, though - it doesn't handle disconnects very well. I lost a won game because of a disconnect, yesterday, even though I did manage to get back onto the server within about a minute and hit the "My Game" button to bring back the game board. It simply failed to reconnect me to my game but showed the board as if it was my opponent's turn to play.

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 Post subject: Re: Life's Too Short to Use a Bad IGS Client
Post #15 Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:12 pm 
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Historically "escapers" have been a problem on IGS, and I suppose elsewhere.

My understanding is that IGS has set up their system as it is now to handle deliberate escapers, thus the issue with disconnect.

I suggested some time back through certain "channels" in IGS to have a flag possible on the Match command where the game could be flagged "friend" so that multiple disconnects would be permitted. Useful when one has bad dialup or flaky wifi. But this has never been implemented.

I use an older client on IGS, but it does not support "review" so I have to switch to GlGo if I want to do a review.

I don't even like cool graphics and shiny stone bitmaps, I find it terribly distracting, and most of the stone images are in my view less than nice to the eye. I prefer a flat white and black stone like you would find in a go book. But of course with a yellow grained background for the board. I turn off the fancy stuff in GlGo.

Btw the usual game on IGS is 1/10, faster is often found, slower is considered, well... slow. I think the slowest game that is usual is 1/15, but that is really really slow. :D

I think if you want "chat" you go elsewhere, or visit a channel on IGS. Mostly it is for playing or watching Go.

Shout was disabled because of abuses... so things are pretty subdued and quiet now on IGS.

_-_-

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 Post subject: Re: Life's Too Short to Use a Bad IGS Client
Post #16 Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:03 am 
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I agree with the IGS escaper policy - in fact, it is one of the things I love about the server.

MY problem with the Tetsuki client was that it was dropping me from games due to a bug in the client. My network connection was fine and there was no other reason why I should have dropped out of the game. Reviews on the Apple App Store show that this is a common problem.

In essence, it is broken.

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 Post subject: Re: Life's Too Short to Use a Bad IGS Client
Post #17 Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:24 am 
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the Tetsuki client author for Android has been quite responsive to issues on his facebook page. But don't know if its the same author or not.

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 Post subject: Re: Life's Too Short to Use a Bad IGS Client
Post #18 Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:33 pm 
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It is the same person :). I'm not sure that this disconnection issues is due to bugs in the app. I use it over three years now, and sometimes connection is stable, sometimes not - Iso think it is iGS issue because I can't find any pattern which could point at the app as a core of connection problem.

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