Suggestion for a future version...

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Suggestion for a future version...

Postby EdCollins » 27 Mar 2012, 00:07

A few days ago I had a slight problem... "Analyze Game" wasn't working for me... and initially I couldn't figure out why. When a game was loaded and Analyze Game was selected from the menus, the engine would begin to analyze the game, but wouldn't make the game move and continue on, like it normally does.

I've used this option before, (back when the feature was called Analyze File) so I knew what to expect. (And by the way, "Analyze Game" is a better description than "Analyze File," so good work on renaming that.)

As it turns out, the solution to solve my problem was quite simple. I had a my /TimeDelay option set to -1... and I simply needed to give this a positive number.

My "/TimeDelay=-1" option was set to -1 for a specific reason... when I load a game I do NOT want to have WinBoard step through the game automatically. I very much like paging up and down through the game myself, at my own convenience and speed. As you know, the -1 option means WinBoard WON'T automatically step through the game at all when a game is loaded. (And giving the option a value of 0 means WinBoard will jump directly to the end of the game, which is kind of cool.)

But when /TimeDelay=-1, I discovered Analyze Game won't work at all.

I think many users like me would have also desire to NOT want to have WinBoard step through a game, and yet expect Analyze Game to work without first having to change this value.

My suggestion is to make this a separate option in a future version, called something like... oh, I don't know... /AnalyzeDelay.

/TimeDelay could be the the time delay value WinBoard uses between moves when the program automatically steps through a game.

/AnalyzeDelay could be the analyze delay value WinBoard uses between moves when an engine analyzes a game, using the Analyze Game option.

Having two separate options also makes sense because it seems quite likely some users would want to have their chosen engine analyze a game for a longer or shorter period of time, than the number of seconds desired when stepping through it.

Just a suggestion...
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Re: Suggestion for a future version...

Postby H.G.Muller » 27 Mar 2012, 12:01

Yes, you are right. To use the auto-play delay here was basically just a quick hack. You almost never would want the two to be the same, I suppose: what is pretty minimal for analysis is already unbearably slow for auto-play. But of course a new option for this also needs setting through a dialog, and it is aways such a pain to make WinBoard dialogs. So I was just too lazy.

An alternative would be to use the currently set time control for Analyze Game. This might not be so crazy as it first sounds. E.g. when it is set to 40 moves / 10 min you could really have WinBoard step through the game at a variable speed, (rather than fixed time per move), to make better use of the engine time: it would have on average 15 sec/move, but you could let it step to the next move after a PV comes in and more than 10 sec (66% of the target time) have already expired. And only force it to step even when no iteration is finished after 30 sec (200% target time). You can still do a strict 15 sec/move by specifying fixed-time-per-move TC. So it offers a lot of flexibility.
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