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Over 100 new and improved features.



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What's New in Zillions of Games 2.0

Improved Graphics (Designed by Scott Haag)

  • Improved graphics for most games
  • Alternate Piece Sets
    • "Learning set" for SHOGI
    • Western set for CHINESE CHESS
    • Larger sets for FANORONA, HASAMI SHOGI, TAFL, VERTICAL TIC-TAC-TOE, GO-MOKU 9x9, etc.
    • Many alternate sets provided (CHESS, etc.)
    • "Switch Piece Set" now has toolbar button (which also makes it easier to see when an alternate set is available).
  • Improved smiley faces, select screen, splash screen, program icon, etc.

New Games (Over 50 new variants)

  • GO: 9x9, 13x13, 19x19, plus handicap variants - Includes real Go engine!
  • CHECKERS: International 10x10, Frisian 10x10, Italian, German, Russian, Pool, Spanish, South-Central German, Scandinavian, Gothic, Turkish, Armenian
  • CHESS: Knight Hunting
  • FAIRY CHESS: Grand Chess
  • HASAMI SHOGI: 4 new variants
  • MAZE: 2 new variants
  • ROOK'S TOUR: 17 variants

The Grand Chess variant in Zillions of Games 2.

Position Highlighting

  • F7-key highlights the movable pieces ("from" positions) in blue and "drop" positions in yellow.
  • F8-key highlights the "to" positions that attack an enemy piece (in red) and "to" positions that don't attack (in gray).
  • Multiple keys may be pressed simultaneously.

Quick Arranging

  • Cut: Clicking a position with CTRL-X held down cuts a piece from that position.
    Alternate method: right-clicking with X key down.
  • Copy: Clicking a position with CTRL-C held down copies a piece from that position.
    Alternate method: right-clicking with C key down.
  • Paste: Clicking a position with CTRL-V held down pastes a piece onto that position.
    Alternate method: right-clicking with V key down.
    • If you then drag the mouse, you can paste onto multiple positions.
  • Rotate: Clicking a position with CTRL-TAB held down changes a piece on that position, rotating through the possibilities.
    Alternate method: right-clicking with TAB key down.
  • Clear: Clicking a position with the DELETE key held down clears a piece from that position.
    Alternate method: right-clicking with DELETE key down.
    • If you then drag the mouse, you can delete pieces from all positions the cursor passes over.

Overhaul of Net-Play

  • Now is "Lobby-launchable"
    • Launchable by MSN/Windows Messenger.
    • Launchable by DirectPlay lobby servers.
  • Supports improved DirectPlay 8 technology.
  • Supports a guaranteed-delivery protocol to prevent dropped messages.
  • More information displayed in Session Status dialog while hosting.
  • Miscellaneous internal improvements.

New User Options and Related Features

  • New option to show the position name in the status bar. (General Options dialog)
  • New option to set the background to any color. (General Options dialog)
  • New options added for highlighting movable pieces and attacked positions. (see "Position Highlighting" above)
  • New options dialog containing "Authoring Mode" settings. (see below)
  • Tabbed dialog allows quick switching between various options.
    Note: "Feel Options" is now accessed from the View:Options... dialog. It will only appear if a force-feedback pointing device is detected.
  • Options dialog allows you to "apply" settings immediately (such as background color.)
  • Feel Options dialog displays the name of the TouchSense-enabled device connected.
  • General/Feel/Authoring Options dialogs have Help buttons that take you right to the help page where they're described.
  • Display of labels, et. al., can be toggled from a right-click submenu. Shift-right-click brings up the "Show" popup menu directly.

More Features and Improvements

  • "Back to Start" (left-arrow) now backs up to the game's first real move, after any initial board edits. This allows ZSGs to be effectively used to hold starting positions. (Choosing "Back to Start" a second time will back over the edits.)
  • A new "Switch Sides" menu item makes switching sides easy. All human players are swapped with computer players, the board is inverted/uninverted based on who moved first, and the computer starts thinking if it is to move.
  • A new "Recent Saved Games" menu remembers recent opened saved games and solutions.
  • Better XP compatibility
    • Uses XP application and document icons.
    • Adjusted sizing of the "Game Over", "Choose Move", and "Syntax Error" dialogs for XP.
  • Engine
    • Evaluation improved to factor in the value of pieces' dynamic mobility
    • Speed optimizations in move generation. Also, built using a better-optimizing compiler.
    • Improves method in which puzzles containing captures are searched.
  • Cursors
    • Color cursors option.
    • "hand" cursor used for grabbing a piece.
    • "hand" cursor used for idle time.
  • New accelerators
    • Page-Down moves forward a full turn. This was added as the counter-part to Page-Up, which takes back a full turn.
    • Control-G for "Select Game".
  • Saved games record and restore the "flipped" state of the board. (The file format is backward compatible with earlier versions of Zillions.)
  • The search bar now shows progress if the search time is infinite, but the strength is set under the maximum.
  • The status bar now displays its normal information, rather than blanking, in a search when "Show Search Info" is unchecked.
  • The status bar now displays its normal information when it is the opponent's move in a net game.
  • Allows ctrl-right-click to view piece properties when it is the opponent's move in a net game.
  • If labels are already being shown (via the option), holding down F6 will temporarily toggle them off.
  • Much smarter about where and what size to draw labels. Eliminates overlapping position labels and terminates labels that won't fit with an ellipsis.
  • CHINESE CHECKERS
    • All positions enlarged so they are easier to click.
    • SUPER CHINESE CHECKERS variant can now use 3 different boards.
    • Switch between Chinese Checkers boards using the standard "Switch Piece Set" instead of variant menu.
  • CHESS
    • Improved some strategy/history sections of variants
    • Allow pawns to promote to Kings in KNIGHTMATE variant
    • Updated to a more standard starting position (with King on d1) in 3 PAWN CHESS variant
    • Puts stars on goal squares in KING VS. KING variant
  • SHOGI
    • Improved so promoted pieces are valued better
  • The maximum number of rules files in the most-recently-used menu was increased from 8 to 10.
  • To avoid annoying you when you make the occasional mouse slip, now if you make an invalid click on a board with tiny positions (where the cursor is small), Zillions will beep instead of putting up a dialog. [Affected MAZE, HALMA, GO-MOKU, CHINESE CHECKERS]
  • Announces end-of-game conditions when loading a game or restarting a game.
  • Allows a "smart move" of a clicked piece having only one move, even if the clicked position is also the destination square of another possible move.
  • Determines better when a multi-column popup menu should be used.
  • Cascaded drops no longer produce multiple drop sounds. [Affected no games in Zillions]
  • Sounds tweaked and made a more consistent volume.
  • New Help menu item to "Check for Updates."
  • Miscellaneous drawing and window placement improvements.
  • Updated to use a newer version of Immersion TouchSense (force-feedback) libraries.

Authoring Mode

  • F2-key reloads current ZRF.
  • Option to use verbose notation in moves list.
  • Option to show piece attribute value in Properties dialog.
  • Optionally saves out "preprocessed" output file.


The Authoring Options dialog..

Authoring Mode Board Display Options

  • Show:Outlines (in right-click menu) draws outlines around positions.
  • Show:Directions (in right-click menu) shows direction links from positions.
  • Show:Values (in right-click menu) shows worth of individual pieces or all pieces.
  • Show:Zones (in right-click menu) shows positions in a zone.
  • Show:Goals (in right-click menu) shows absolute-config goals. Also can use F9.


The Show Directions feature.

Statistics Dialog

  • Shows ZRF parsing counts.
  • Shows counts from game definition.

Syntax Error Dialog

  • Added a second "Cancel Loading" button to the syntax error dialog box allowing you to skip further errors.
  • Now displays readable names (either English or ZRF keywords) instead of cryptic, internal token names (USYMBOL, VARIANT_TOKEN, IS_NOT_EMPTY, etc.)
  • Better displays where a parsing error takes places in some cases.
  • Miscellaneous improvements to display message.

Handles More Complex Rules

  • Greatly improved stability when loading huge ZRFs with many "symbols."
  • Removed limit on the number of pieces a single move/drop may capture.
  • Removed limit on the number of flips, change-owners, change-types, and set-attributes a single move/drop can do.
  • Increased limit on the number of cascades a single move/drop can perform from 256 to 1,024.
  • Increased limit on the number of move primitives in the search from 16,000 to 20,000.
  • Removed limit of 32,000 pieces off-board to drop.
  • Removed limit of 16,000 moves in the moves list.
  • Increased limit on the amount of text in a single string or expanded macro from 128k to 256k.
  • Increased limit on the amount of move code allowed in a move block from 20k to 32k.
  • Increased limit on the number of instructions that a move/drop can execute from 99,999 to 200,000

New Syntax and Other Authoring Improvements

  • New "create" keyword for adding pieces to the board.
  • New "goal-position?" keyword for checking whether a position is part of an absolute-config goal. Also "not-goal-position?"
  • New "option" keyword, so future game options can be backward-compatible (unknown options can be ignored) and don't clutter the "name space".
  • New ZRF game options
    • "discard cascades": discard cascades after an "add".
    • "highlight goals": show absolute-config goals to user; override Show:Goals setting.
    • "progressive levels": automatically go to the next variant on a win.
    • "selection screen": explicitly set whether the variant is a selection screen or not.
    • "show moves list": override the View:Moves List setting when a game is opened.
    • "silent ? moves": don't play sounds for moves of a random ("?") player.
    • "smart moves": override the Smart Moves setting.
  • Improved ZRF game options
    • "animate captures"/"animate drops": may be set to force animation on, overriding the user's setting.
    • "maximal captures": a new setting can force players, in the case of two or more equally long partial move sequences, to follow the sequence resulting in the capture of the most valuable pieces (as in Italian Checkers).
    • "prevent flipping": a new setting allows Flip Board to swap the positions without inverting the board bitmap. Also, there is an option to use a different method for calculating flipped positions that ignores borders and "openable" positions.
  • "open" can now take URLs as arguments, e.g. clicking on a piece can open a webpage. http, ftp, and mailto links supported..
  • "total-piece-count" now allows an optional argument to specify what kind of piece should be counted.
  • "total-piece-count" now is nestable within "or", "not", and "and" operators. It is also usable with a player list at the top-level.
  • Allow use of "opposite" keyword with "capture", "change-owner", "change-type", or "flip". For example: (flip (opposite e))
  • The "Switch Piece Sets" menu item now switches between multiple board images, not just piece images, when they are included in an "image" statement. If an alternate board bitmap has different dimensions from the first, all the positions will automatically be scaled proportionally.
  • Backslashes may be used for formatting in a piece's "help" string. Text before a backslash ("\") is left-justified in the status bar, text after a single backslash is centered, and text after 2 backslashes is right-justified.
  • Parser checks for missing "turn-order" statement and if not found, gives appropriate error message.
  • Updated and improved Language Reference documentation.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed some incompatibility problems with MIDI files on some computers.
  • Sometimes scores would be offset by a constant amount, causing different searches of the same position to display different scores.
  • Move numbers would sometimes not be incremented correctly in games with partial-moves. [Affected CHECKERS]
  • The number of nodes searched was not being displayed when using a plug-in engine. [Affected some variants of REVERSI and NINUKI-RENJU.]
  • Did not apply "maximal-captures" rule correctly within a search, so sometimes would miss winning combinations in those games. [Affected no games in Zillions]
  • relative-config goals were being evaluated in the reverse order, which could cause non-symmetrical relative-config goals to be mis-evaluated.
  • Right-click menu would not show neutral-owned pieces (and thus would not add pieces correctly) in single-person games with one or more neutral players who had non-dummy pieces. [Affected no games in Zillions]
  • When used with something other than a count-condition, a total-piece-count goal could result in a crash. [Affected no games in Zillions]
  • If a specified "include" file wasn't found, Zillions would crash after a "Can't open include file". [Affected no games in Zillions]
  • Fixed crash that could occur if a moving piece captured itself with a move generated with "add-partial". [Affected no games in Zillions]
  • Better able to load saved games from ZRFs that have a position and piece (or player) with the same name. [Affected no games in Zillions]
  • Opening a ZRF with too many directions would crash rather than put up an error message. [Affected no games in Zillions]
  • The piece and position names would run together in the Properties dialog if the piece had no description. [Affected no games in Zillions]
  • Fixed: kill-positions could cause the "dummy" property of other positions to change and/or positions to be removed from zones.
  • If you get a pop-up "choose move" menu when making a move, then click on the title bar to make the menu go away, a green dot may be left on the screen. [Affected 9 MEN'S MORRIS].
  • Fixed potential problem (introduced in v.1.2.2) printing move list.
  • Fixed: If a chance player wins a puzzle, should announce "You won" if the human is playing another side. [Affected no games in Zillions]
  • Fixed: in some games, the result of "Flip Board" did not look good. [Affected MORRIS]
  • Fixed bug (introduced into v1.3) where some syntax errors showed up as "%s at %s..."
  • Fixed bug: The "argument not found in macro" syntax error showed a "box" character instead of a $ for the macro argument.
  • Fixed: if a piece was nearly as big as its position, 1) it could leave screen garbage on an enlarged board when going backwards through the scoresheet, and 2) the bottom and right edges might not get redrawn if uncovered by a dialog or other window.
  • Fixed problem where labels in very small positions could become partially erased on redraw. [Affected GO-MOKU:19-LINE NINUKI RENJU]
  • Zillions now considers check to be only deliverable by the next moving player making a move of an allowed move-type. Previously the criteria was any opponent attacking a checkmateable piece ignoring turn-order and move-type restrictions.
  • If a custom rules file references an image with a relative path, Zillions will now look for the image relative to the rules file before trying to look for the image relative to the Zillions application itself.
  • It's no longer necessary to turn on Smart Moves to play NIM.
  • Corrected a ZRF bug where White could make an illegal win in HASAMI SHOGI.
  • Loading the solution for CHESS:KING VS. KING no longer changes it so the human plays both sides.
  • Corrected Select Screen so that the same size cursor is used for all variants.

    Other Zillions Features
    Changes made in versions 1.0-1.3.1

 

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