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 Post subject: Announcing Gridmaster (Android app)
Post #1 Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:59 pm 
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Hi All,

I made an Android app for the game of Go, which may be of interest to this audience. The app is called GridMaster and can be download it from:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... gridmaster

Gridmaster provides a full featured sgf reader/editor, a Go Text Protocol (GTP) interface to connect any GTP-compatible engine, and a lite version of the Olympiad champion Go program Steenvreter. It can be used as a tool to play, study Joseki, solve Go problems, make diagrams, annotate games, etc. For those that are new to the game, a self-contained introduction as well as some links to more information is included in the help.

If you're looking for a Go Gui on Android, if you'd like to play Steenvreter, if you're looking for the best sgf editor, or just something that quickly opens Kogo's Joseki Dictionary, please give it a try!

Best regards,
Erik


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing Gridmaster (Android app)
Post #2 Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 4:10 pm 
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This is a great app. I installed it today and had a lot of fun already.
I am surprised I am the first one to notice.
As further feedback two details.
1 The option you offer not to be nagged by advertisement doesn't work.
2 If I want to load I file I first have to navigate 3 steps through the UI and then I still have to navigate everytime again through the filesystem to the same directory. Either remember the last opened directory or offer an option to change the standard IO directory.

Hardstikke bedankt!

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 Post subject: Re: Announcing Gridmaster (Android app)
Post #3 Posted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:01 am 
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Incompatible with my device (Android 2.3) - oh well.

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 Post subject: Re: Announcing Gridmaster (Android app)
Post #4 Posted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 9:04 am 
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Nice app :clap:

My two cents:
1.- Add some faster replay method. Clicking once for every move is too slow. For example, in the kgs app, when you make a long click on the "next" button, a menu shows up: 25 moves ahead, 100 moves ahead, end of game. The same applies backwards.
2.- Add some territory estimation method. Users sometimes are just too lazy to count by themselves, just like me :lol:
3.- Remove the "new" button
4.- Make the variations easier to navigate through, marking with a number the variations (such as eidogo) or somehow... The current dis/enabled button isn't too user friendly. I may miss some variations while looking at the board if I don't pay attention to the variations buttons.
5.- Sell it cheap :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Announcing Gridmaster (Android app)
Post #5 Posted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:05 am 
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Hi All,

Thank you for the comments; it's nice to get some feedback.

@Cyclops:
(1) I'm not sure exactly what the problem is. You should be able to turn off the ad banner by going to the settings and unchecking 'ads'. If you restart the app this setting may not persist, but at least you should always be able to turn ads off for the current session.

(2) It is possible to change the sgf directory in the settings (Options menu -> settings -> scroll down to 'Files'). Unfortunately not all file managers play nice (some just ignore the path). On my phone 'ES file explorer', 'AndExplorer' and 'OI file manager' all open in the selected location.

In a next version I may add an option to browse the path directly under the save option as well.


@Daal: Sorry, 2.3 is really old, it needs at least Android 3.0. Perhaps there's a way to upgrade your phone? Maybe try something like CyanogenMod?


@Alejo:
(1) You can do already do that; if you push down a button and slide away it will go multiple moves.

(2) Reliable territory estimation is not easy because it depends on life & death status of groups. The main app is just a 'dumb' gui that does not have such knowledge. The Steenvreter (lite) engine can do it, but it requires significant work on the interface and gui. If I find the time maybe in a future version...

(3) If I remove the 'new' button, how would you resign / start a new game?

(4) Perhaps adjusting the style property solves this problem?
Under Tools -> Other -> Style select 'show siblings' or 'show children'
Alternatively, if you zoom out, the tree view may also be useful to find unexplored variations

(5) yeah, I'm still pondering on a good price, but first I want to get the bugs out...


@All: before suggesting changes, please have a look at the help and/or tips. Some functionality may already be there.

Best,
Erik

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 Post subject: Re: Announcing Gridmaster (Android app)
Post #6 Posted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:07 am 
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1. True, I hadn't noticed it.
2. Though I know a reliable territory estimator is difficult within a cell phone's power, I wonder about making a sort of KGS estimator were we could switch the alive/dead status of stones.
3. I would place the "new" button within the menu, but not in the main screen, this would avoid people accidentally pressing this button and allow more space for the navigation buttons.
4. I hadn't seen this "other" menu from the tools section. I think it would be more intuitive if it were inside the settings... but that's just my opinion...

After installing it on my tablet I realised initial tips were there, I skipped them...

By the way, I'm sure you've already considered it, but what about adding some graphic textures? And a landscape mode? Specially for tablets...

I know setting a price is hard, specially with google charging a 30% tax...

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 Post subject: Re: Announcing Gridmaster (Android app)
Post #7 Posted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:03 am 
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I uploaded a new version which addresses some of the issues mentioned above. In the settings you can now choose to hide the 'new' button and add custom SGF defaults (e.g., add 'ST[0]' if you want to see auto-markup of child variations). I added a directory picker directly in the 'save' option.

Also, something not mentioned before here but what I quite like myself; you can now copy-paste through the clipboard between apps. E.g., if you copy plain text sgf from an email you can directly paste it into the tree (which now also supports collections, so you can simply paste in a new root).

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Post #8 Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 4:04 pm 
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Hi Erik, Thanks for the app. I don't have any Android devices, but it's great you are providing this to the Go community.

One suggestion on the UI: add an option to adjust the gaps between stones. I looked at the screenshots and the gaps are too big for my taste. This is a personal preference. I prefer either zero pixels between 2 adjacent stones, or maybe at most 1 pixel.

Thanks and keep up the nice work! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing Gridmaster (Android app)
Post #9 Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 3:32 am 
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Hi EdLee,

I agree. In the next version the stones will be a bit bigger (though probably not all the way to zero pixels).

Thanks,
Erik

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Post #10 Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 4:10 am 
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Hi Erik,
evdw wrote:
In the next version the stones will be a bit bigger (though probably not all the way to zero pixels).
Thanks. Options are good. :)
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 Post subject: Re: Announcing Gridmaster (Android app)
Post #11 Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 4:22 am 
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Ha, maybe I'll just do all styles. :-)

A while back I was also considering to add a black-and-white mode (e.g., for making printable figures)...

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 Post subject: Re: Announcing Gridmaster (Android app)
Post #12 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:17 pm 
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Here's some different views I've implemented for the next version:

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2014-04-29 21.45.50.png [ 46.5 KiB | Viewed 7284 times ]


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Post #13 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:42 pm 
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Hi Erik, very nice! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing Gridmaster (Android app)
Post #14 Posted: Sat May 10, 2014 3:05 am 
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The new version has been upload (to https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... gridmaster)

No crashes logged in several weeks now... Perhaps I'm done? :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Announcing Gridmaster (Android app)
Post #15 Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:49 am 
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Ever since uploading a new version last weekend I've been getting bad anonymous reviews...

Did I break anything?

Perhaps it's just child's play, but if anything is wrong with the latest version I'd really like to know about it. Analytics are not showing anything bad. No crashes in months, engines install successfully, so I'm a bit clueless as to what's driving this.

:-?

Erik

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 Post subject: Re: Announcing Gridmaster (Android app)
Post #16 Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:35 am 
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Well, I didn't have time to give it a full testing on my lunch break, but it seems to work fine, and the AI can still kick my butt apparently.

My suggestions:

1. The settings are hard to find. You have to click on 'tools', then 'Options', then 'settings.' It's not really intuitive because the 'options' button is kind of unobtrusive, and I would assume those are options for the tools, rather than the rest of the game. Maybe Options or Settings could be a different button from Tools, available from the main page.

2. It would be nice if your settings were saved. I find that when I come back to the app after shutting down, and start a new game, I have to change the board size, rules set, etc. completely again as it goes back to the default settings.

I don't know if you're responsible for the AI, but I seem to recall that in the endgame, it makes some really nonsensical moves that give me free points. (in Japanese Rules mode, anyway...not sure if they'd make better sense in Chinese, since I have not played Chinese rules much.)

I have not tested the tools and commentary section at all.

But I'm surprised you're getting bad reviews, Gridmaster seems quite decent to me, and I don't think there are very many apps for English-speaking players who want to play the Chinese ruleset.

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 Post subject: Re: Announcing Gridmaster (Android app)
Post #17 Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:33 pm 
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Thanks Inkwolf, this is useful input!

I introduced the options button in the tools tab as a work-around for devices that don't have a native options menu button (which is something Google is trying to get rid of, but is still present on many devices). E.g., on a Galaxy S4 you can just press the bottom left hardware button from any tab to get to the settings in one less step. Unfortunately on some screen sizes there is not much space left, so I have to think of a clever way to improve this...

BTW I was kind of hoping that the default settings are reasonably good, so that it is not critical to find them immediately. If anyone feels a certain setting is likely to be a poor default that also would be useful input. (E.g., I changed the default sound for placing a stone and maybe some people prefer the old system beep).

Saving the settings is a very good point. Thanks! Currently they are only saved when you exit the settings activity. If something is changed upon a new-game, you have to go in-and-out of the settings to get it saved. Should be something I can easily fix though :-)

Yes, I also wrote the AI. The occasional nonsensical endgame moves are a common issue in MCTS bots. They occur because the engine does not distinguish between winning big and winning small. It just tries to maximize the probability of winning, and if the win is secure (even if it's only by 0.5 points) all else is considered irrelevant. I do have some ideas to change the endgame behavior so that it becomes more human-like, but since it will not improve actual playing strength (and there is even a risk it gets weaker) it is not high on my to-do-list.

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 Post subject: Re: Announcing Gridmaster (Android app)
Post #18 Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 2:36 pm 
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I think I figured out what was causing the occasional bad reviews. On non-ARM cpu's the Steenvreter lite engine doesn't work (because it is compiled for ARM). As a temporary fix I just excluded incompatible devices. A nicer solution would of course be to get a different binary, but that needs some more work and testing...

Regarding Inkwolf's feedback. The latest version now has another entry point to the options menu directly left from the clocks (so you don't have to go to tools first). Also, the settings are now saved more frequently, and there are a bunch of other small improvements.

Update (24/9): Android devices with an i686 cpu are now fully supported as well

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 Post subject: Re: Announcing Gridmaster (Android app)
Post #19 Posted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 3:30 pm 
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daal wrote:
Incompatible with my device (Android 2.3) - oh well.


You may be interest to know that I just uploaded a new version that should support your device.


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 Post subject: Re: Announcing Gridmaster (Android app)
Post #20 Posted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 5:03 pm 
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I recently came across Gridmaster - Steenvreter.
Yes, there's always something to comment on, but overall I think it is excellent.
Kudos to the maker.
I do not understand why there have not been more downloads. Everyone (on Android) should use it. Totally wonderful.

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