I was thinking the other day, and I am thinking again now, that it’s partly amazing that after two years of sifting through text-based software titles, I still can’t come up with more than one or two chess games.
Maybe it’s just that gnuchess is that good. Or maybe it’s because proper chess players (and not rank amateurs like myself) demand a graphical environment. Or maybe it’s just that other chess projects haven’t reached maturity yet.
I have found another though — the aptly named crafty.
The link above is dead — I probably should have told you that before I let you click on it. But crafty is still in Debian, which means even if the home page is gone and the project has dissipated, crafty lives on. 🙄
I must admit that I am not so terribly overjoyed at that. From my perspective, as someone looking for interesting and inspiring examples of text-based software, crafty suffers almost all of the same faults as gnuchess, almost to the letter.
You will probably want to know chess notation to work the board. You have to ask to see the board. There is a long list of commands, some of which take additional options, and some that don’t. Animation is really just the scrolling effect, which is marred by crafty’s thought processes and the screen output they create.
Most of these complaints stem from the fact that crafty, again like gnuchess, isn’t really meant to be a terminal program. It too is intended to act as a brain for xboard, and so playing it at the console is a bit like slicing bread with a hammer. You can do it, but you’ll make a mess and you won’t enjoy the final product.
I won’t be too harsh with crafty; after all, I’m a rotten chess player, and I’d be unlikely to play it anyway. So finding a proper, forgiving, attractive, fullscreen chess game for the console would only be a novelty for about 10 minutes, before I quit out of frustration.
Still, it seems with the plethora of board- and card-game remakes in bsd-games, or the plague of locusts that takes the form of Tetris remakes, or the endless stream of rogue knockoffs, shouldn’t there be at least one out there? 😦
Don’t answer that. I have an answer, and it’s coming up, soon. Trust me, I’m a professional. … 😈