Waxman chess engine with WinBoard

winboard

Many years ago, in the days of Windows 3.1 and just as Windows 95 was coming onto the market, I bought a copy of a computer magazine, I seem to remember that it was PCW (RIP), that had a 1.44” floppy disk on the front and on that disk was a chess program called Waxman by Ivan Bacigal.

The name comes from the fact that ‘Waxman’ looks a bit like the Russian word for chess: WAXMATbI.

I got an email from someone this week asking me if I knew how to get it running on Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit). I had to email back to say that unfortunately Waxman was a 16-bit application and 64-bit versions of Windows can’t run them.

WinBoard

However, this evening I discovered that Waxman is still going albeit in a slightly different way: as a game engine for WinBoard. It’s pretty simple to setup too:

  1. Download WinBoard
    Unzip it into a directory, e.g. c:\winboard
  2. Edit the winboard.ini file in Notepad adding two lines beneath the firstChessProgramNames and secondChessProgramNames lines, i.e. /firstChessProgramNames={“waxman xboard -h32 -r-900” […] /secondChessProgramNames={“waxman xboard -h32 -r-900”
  3. Download Waxman 2010
  4. Unzip the file into the c:\winboard directory
  5. Run the winboard.exe file.
  6. Select the Waxman engine from the drop-down options
  7. Click OK.

What’s nice is that you can setup a position; a feature that is surprisingly absent from a number of versions of chess for Windows; including the built-into-Windows 7 ChessTitans.

Could this be chess for Kindle coming soon to the UK?

kindlechess

I just spotted today that chess is now available on the US Amazon Kindle Store. The product details indicate that it was released on 9 February 2011.

Might this be an indication that Kindle apps and games might be coming the UK Amazon Kindle Store sometime soon? I do hope so.

Update

21 January 2015

I’ve just come across this post about four years later. I never did get a game of chess on my Kindle before I sold it. 🙁

Battlefield Play4Free closed beta

Battlefield Play4Free
Battlefield Play4Free closed beta invitation

Look what email dropped into my inbox the other day: an invitation to the Battlefield Play4Free closed beta.  (I’ve obviously edited the image to remove my “personal beta key”.)

I signed up there and and then and over the course of the next couple of hours I…

According to the Beta Testing Agreement I’m allowed to disclose only two things about it:

  1. The fact that there is an official Beta Program for the Game.
  2. The fact that you are a member of the official Beta Program for the Game.

Okay.  There is an official beta programme for Battlefield Play4Free.  I am a member of that official beta programme.  Am I not even allowed to say that I quite like it?

The Battlefield Play4Free Facebook page will tell you more, though.

Can you run it?

Screenshot of Can You Run It showing that Battlefield 2 passes
Battlefield 2 passes with flying colours on my laptop

Downsizing and upsizing

By the recent photographs of my study in various states of disarray you probably know by now that I’m in the process of reorganising a few rooms in our house.

And by now you probably also know the reason why I’m doing it, judging by the recent scan of a 12 weeks and 3 days old baby currently gestating in my wife’s tummy.

Yes, we need to make room for another minor human some time in late January 2011.  So, I’m downsizing some of my … well, stuff, while Jane’s tummy is … well, I guess upsizing.

(She doesn’t read my blog, so don’t worry about that last sentence.)

Battlefield 2

In my study I have two PCs.  One is on my desk, the other is on Jane’s desk/our-old-dining-room-table.  One gets used almost every day, the other gets used only when Valley Boy Rich comes to visit, to play Battlefield 2 over the network.

But the time has finally arrived for my trusty Nethighstreet PC (MSI K7N2 Delta, 2.8 GHz Athlon CPU, 2GB RAM, Creative X-Fi soundcard) to be retired to the PC graveyard that is either Freecycle or eBay (I haven’t quite decided yet). Which obviously leaves us one PC down for our mildly regular death-matches.

Can you run it?

So there I was thinking, if only there was some way of discovering whether Battlefield 2 will run on my laptop when I discovered Can you run it? from System Requirements Lab.

It requires the Java runtime environment to be installed but it’s pretty simple to use:

  1. Visit Can you run it?
  2. Type in a game, or select one from the drop-down list.
  3. Click on the Can you run it? button.
  4. Can you run it? tells you whether you can run it. Or not. Any why.

Genius!  Within a few seconds I was given the good news that Battlefield 2 will run successfully on my laptop.  And what’s more it will do so at a pretty high spec.

I also discovered that it will not run Call of Duty 4, isn’t entirely sure about Lego Star Wars or Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts and hasn’t even heard of Heaven & Hell.

Healthy video games … an idea

So here’s my idea for video games, right.

You know some applications have a dongle, a bit of hardware like a USB drive, that has to be plugged into the PC before the software will run. Well, my idea is to have one of these for computer games.

But it’s not just any ordinary, run-of-the-mill dongle. This one is a pedometer, which records how much exercise you do and has a direct affect on the health of your computer game character.

So if you walk and run about all day: you have a fit and healthy character who can run and jump and climb trees.

On the other hand, if you sit on the sofa all day and the furthest you travel is to the front door to pay the pizza delivery man then you may be the only character in Call of Duty 4 with an inhaler and a username like wH33zieBu993r.

Obviously there would have to be some kind of biometrics involved to make sure you weren’t cheating, that it was you wearing the pedometer and that you hadn’t just attached it to the dog’s collar.

That’s my idea. You can use if it you like.