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1  Games Center / Contests / Re: The OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open - An Abstract Strategy AI Tournament on: 2018-02-28 19:14:51
I'm planning tafl again; it's less an interest in abstract strategy AI generally and more an interest in the intersection of AI with tafl. Also, I've already written all the tournament tools I need for tafl. Tongue

I don't see it as an intrinsically easy target—certainly, it's not go hard, but it's mathematically harder than chess. (Assuming 11x11 boards, in terms of branching factor and state space, by my calculations.) It's much less well-studied, and also very unlikely to attract attention from the big machine-learning shops given its lack of popularity.
2  Games Center / Contests / Re: The OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open - An Abstract Strategy AI Tournament on: 2018-02-07 18:49:13
I plan on running another tournament in 2018, provided there's sufficient interest.
3  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: OpenTafl: old terminal graphics meet Old Norse board games on: 2017-07-11 13:07:21
No real OpenTafl news to report, although I do plan to write a multiplayer front-end for playtaflonline.com. (It seems like that's where most of the online players are gravitating to these days.)

The OpenTafl tournament, however, will be played again in December, 2018!
4  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: OpenTafl: old terminal graphics meet Old Norse board games on: 2017-05-04 23:52:23
In the last month or two, I've released several updates. Less interesting: bugfixes and minor improvements to multiplayer UI. More interesting: a full-featured rules variant editor, and support for arrow keys and spacebar to move pieces around the board. Much more user-friendly now.
5  Games Center / Contests / Re: The OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open - An Abstract Strategy AI Tournament on: 2017-01-03 18:39:12
I'm up for an exhibition game at a later date if you get it sorted out.
6  Games Center / Contests / Re: The OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open - An Abstract Strategy AI Tournament on: 2017-01-03 16:40:34
It must have done—it played one or two moves without using anything like all of its time.

7  Games Center / Contests / Re: The OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open - An Abstract Strategy AI Tournament on: 2017-01-03 14:10:50
They're available in OpenTafl replay form here. Along with more in-depth overall analysis, I hope to do some annotations on them, too, possibly at the end of this week. (I have a friend with whom I play a regular tafl game, and it'll be a fun exercise to do a joint commentary.)
8  Games Center / Contests / Re: The OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open - An Abstract Strategy AI Tournament on: 2017-01-02 16:28:48
Long story short: the only entry to arrive functional and on-time came from our very own Jono. He graciously agreed to a one-match playoff with OpenTafl for the title, rather than taking it outright as is his right. There's a liveblog up at soapbox.manywords.press, and if you have the OpenTafl client, you can spectate by pointing your client's server setting to taflopen.manywords.press.
9  Games Center / Contests / Re: The OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open - An Abstract Strategy AI Tournament on: 2016-12-21 15:51:30
Today is the last day for late entries.
10  Games Center / Contests / Re: The OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open - An Abstract Strategy AI Tournament on: 2016-12-14 15:01:14
You can follow this tag at my blog for tafl tournament coverage.
11  Games Center / Contests / Re: The OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open - An Abstract Strategy AI Tournament on: 2016-12-13 14:27:53
Looks to be working fine. Your evaluation function is very clever. In the interests of suspense, I haven't played it against OpenTafl yet, and I don't think I will until I'm doing all the tournament round robin stuff, but I played a quick game against it, and even with only 10 seconds, it seems to play pretty smart.
12  Games Center / Contests / Re: The OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open - An Abstract Strategy AI Tournament on: 2016-12-12 17:40:04
Either a shared Google Drive or Dropbox item would be fine. If neither of those are possible, shoot me an email and I'll set up some other submission mechanism.
13  Games Center / Contests / Re: The OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open - An Abstract Strategy AI Tournament on: 2016-12-08 17:50:36
One week to go before the official deadline! As stated at the tournament website, I'll probably accept late entries up until the 22nd or 23rd when tournament play will start. I will test every entry on Amazon's hardware as soon as the entry comes in, though, so if I have trouble running it, earlier entries will have more time to get things figured out.
14  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: OpenTafl: old terminal graphics meet Old Norse board games on: 2016-12-04 15:21:44
AI improvements are in flight: I've tried and undone some interesting ideas for speed reasons, and made some improvements to the evaluation function which make it easier to adjust (albeit a bit slower, since it involves a fair bit of floating-point math).

I have one final structural improvement to make: piece-square tables, a technique borrowed from chess where the evaluation function consults premade tables relating piece type to space on the board, which give a flat score for that kind of piece being on that space. This should help immensely with making the defending taflmen flow outward and the attack taflmen flow inward. It's also relatively simple, and carries effectively no speed penalty. I hope to have that done today.

Also on my to-do list, though this is a little less likely, is tournament support for the OpenTafl server, and UI for same in the client. This is less likely to happen in time, and my expectation is that, for 2016, at least, I'll be running the tournament by hand.
15  Games Center / Contests / Re: The OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open - An Abstract Strategy AI Tournament on: 2016-12-03 02:36:20
About two weeks to go! Deadlines and submission guidelines are available at the tournament website.

I also took some time to spin up an Amazon EC2 instance of c3.large size, on which all the AIs will be running. Here are OpenTafl's benchmark mode results for v0.4.4.7b:

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./OpenTafl.sh --benchmark
OpenTafl v0.4.4.7b log from Sat Dec 03 02:20:31 UTC 2016 on ip-172-31-5-180
Java version: 1.8.0_111
Brandub 7: finished in 27.429 sec, searching 1133609 nodes to depth 6
Tablut 9: finished in 36.718 sec, searching 1127203 nodes to depth 5
Copenhagen 11: finished in 6.562 sec, searching 23562 nodes to depth 4
Tablut 15: finished in 11.343 sec, searching 113556 nodes to depth 4


These results are directly comparable to the results of any other benchmark run using OpenTafl v0.4.4.7b, and are a good indicator of both single-core performance and memory performance. (For comparison, my laptop, with a recent Core i7m, is about twice as fast on Brandub through Copenhagen, and about 33% faster for Tablut.) Plan accordingly!

I'll be running the OpenTafl server on another EC2 instance in the same datacenter, to reduce the influence of latency on AI time usage planning. When tournament games are ongoing, I'll post the server address here so people can spectate.
16  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: OpenTafl: old terminal graphics meet Old Norse board games on: 2016-11-15 15:10:16
With one month to go before the tournament, I'll be tabling my other game project (which will be announced soon, but since it isn't Java, not here) to pick up OpenTafl again for a month. On my to-do list: AI evaluation improvements, which I hope to make by letting the AI search to depth 1 and seeing why it evaluates bad positions as good positions; and some logistical setup with Amazon AWS.
17  Games Center / Contests / Re: The OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open - An Abstract Strategy AI Tournament on: 2016-11-15 14:42:41
Heads up: thirty days to go! Watch this space for news about logistics and scheduling. Looking forward to seeing the entrants!
18  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: OpenTafl: old terminal graphics meet Old Norse board games on: 2016-10-28 13:57:25
I'm up to 0.4.4.7b, with work under way of 0.4.5.x: the latter will (hopefully) feature some improved AI play, while the former includes all the general bugfixes I've had reason to implement.

Early in November, after I get back from a vacation, I'm planning on spinning up some AWS services to test both the performance of the EC2 instances and the network performance we can expect for the tournament.
19  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: OpenTafl: old terminal graphics meet Old Norse board games on: 2016-09-29 00:57:35
J0, yes! Support for limited-move variants arrived in v0.4.3.x, I believe.
20  Games Center / Contests / Re: The OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open - An Abstract Strategy AI Tournament on: 2016-09-28 17:15:22
Attention, entrants: you now have 77 days to go until the deadline!

OpenTafl is playing at its highest level ever, reasonably able to defeat decent players on 7x7 boards, but the 11x11 board still proves to be a lot of trouble. I hope to spend some more time on that later this month.

How's everyone else doing?
21  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: OpenTafl: old terminal graphics meet Old Norse board games on: 2016-09-28 17:13:34
OpenTafl v0.4.4.5b is the current stable version. It features four tafl puzzles: as far as I know, the largest assemblage of tafl puzzles in the modern era. (Which is a little sad, but I'm always working on expanding the stable.)
22  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: OpenTafl: old terminal graphics meet Old Norse board games on: 2016-09-07 15:33:56
OpenTafl v0.4.4.0b has been released, the first stable version with the partially-improved AI. It also features puzzle mode, and two annotated puzzles are included.
23  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: OpenTafl: old terminal graphics meet Old Norse board games on: 2016-08-23 03:59:18
The stable release has gone up to v0.4.2.4b, fixing some bugs I found along the way in v0.4.2.0b. The bleeding edge release is now v0.4.3.4pre, which features a massively improved AI. It's about 50% faster (after JIT warmup) in raw speed, and makes smarter moves thanks to some improved search techniques.
24  Games Center / Contests / Re: The OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open - An Abstract Strategy AI Tournament on: 2016-08-18 01:29:25
Eeeeeeeeek! My entry will serve the purpose of making everyone (else) a winner Sad

The fellow who runs playtaflonline.com whipped up a bot in a day or two which is reliably better than OpenTafl, so I'll be right there with you at the back of the pack.
25  Games Center / Contests / Re: The OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open - An Abstract Strategy AI Tournament on: 2016-08-15 21:49:41
Quick reminder: four months until entries are closed!
26  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: OpenTafl: old terminal graphics meet Old Norse board games on: 2016-08-11 19:37:44
Busy few days: I just put out v0.4.2.0b, which adds variants with speed-limited pieces, and a new kind of king capture option.

Releases going forward will probably slow down a lot: v0.4.2.0b is basically feature-complete, and my next task is AI improvement, which will take a long time and a lot of testing to be sure that I'm actually making a positive difference.
27  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: OpenTafl: old terminal graphics meet Old Norse board games on: 2016-08-10 18:51:19
I'll pass that feedback along next time I see the guy there.
28  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: OpenTafl: old terminal graphics meet Old Norse board games on: 2016-08-10 16:34:04
v0.4.1.0b is now released and, as far as I know, it's now the only tool which allows for easy authoring and watching of annotated games. The feature list includes variations, as in 0.4.0.0pre, and now has support for variations in saved games and an in-replay UI for authoring annotated replays.

Remaining on the docket before the major AI push: a few more rules variations to support custom play at PlayTaflOnline.com, a new site for head-to-head tafl play set up by an Internet acquaintance of mine, which uses OpenTafl as a bot player.
29  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: OpenTafl: old terminal graphics meet Old Norse board games on: 2016-08-07 11:43:30
It turns out that was the hard part: building the actual variation functionality into the engine, and creating some UI to go around it, was relatively easy. I'm about 90% done with what I would consider prerelease-worthy functionality, so later today, I'm going to spin a v0.3.3.3b stable to fix a bug in game loading over the network, and a v0.4.0.0pre to demo variations while I continue to work on them. Hopefully. I'm pretty wiped out from my Saturday, so I may be a bit delayed.

Edit: double release day it is! v0.4.0.0pre and v0.3.3.3b are available now.
30  Games Center / WIP games, tools & toy projects / Re: OpenTafl: old terminal graphics meet Old Norse board games on: 2016-08-04 17:47:30
I have a 1200-word post on the playable variations feature coming with v0.4.x. Or, more correctly, on a single point in the implementation: building the system for addressing variations. It turns out that naming lines of play through a move tree which can be created or deleted at will is not an altogether trivial problem, but I've hit upon a solution I'm not too unhappy with.
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