Scid Pocket




1st June 2008 : Scid for Pocket PC 1.0 is released !

I would like to thank Eric Hassold (from Evolane) for his great technical support and for ETcl : without him it would have been impossible to achieve this.

How to get the latest version ?

The latest version is Scid Pocket v 4.1 which includes a new engine : Robbolito which is far stronger than all others. I am still looking for engines on Pocket PC that can win some games against Robbolito.

Requirements

In order to run ScidPocket, you need a Pocket PC (Pocket 2002 is not supported) with an ARM processor and a VGA, or a QVGA screen (the latter is not well tested as I own a PDA with a VGA screen). I only tested with WM5 (I have a Dell Axim x51v), but Pocket 2003 should also work.
ScidPocket requires a lot of memory (if you want to open big databases), and it is highly recommended to close all other applications before running it.

As Scid Pocket needs latest Tcl/Tk 8.5, it is mandatory to use a version of eTcl newer than rc24.

Current status

All back office Scid code has been ported to Pocket PC (even book handling and tablebases). 

However, due to changes in Pocket PC architecture Scid Pocket will not run on newer Windows Mobil devices and further development has been stopped.
Until now, implemented features (non exhaustive list) :
- engine analysis, with the display of up to four best lines
- board setup
- load/save of Scid bases
- opening books
- several bases can be opened with the possibility to switch between them
- import of PGN files and export of Scid bases to PGN files
- game navigation with variations handling (tap and hold generates a right click in PGN window, triggering the same contextual menu as in Scid)
- search (position, header, material & patterns). All Scid search features are available.
- opening tree (stats related to current opened base)
- engine tournament (several engines are available in installation package)
- play on internet (freechess.org also known as FICS)
- automatic game annotation by engine
- Novag Citrine external board (trough Bluetooth)

Engines ported :
  • Fruit's family : Fruit 2.1, Fruit 2.3.1, Toga 1.2.1a, Toga 1.3.4, GambitFruit 1.0Beta4bx
  • Glaurung 1.2.1
  • Viper 0.1
  • Phalanx XXII
  • Scorpio 2.0
  • Greko 5.6
GambitFruit is very strong in blitz. Viper is very strong for a simple engine. The strength of the best engines is around 2600 ELO on Pocket PC with an ARM processor over 500 MHz.
If you want to play against an engine simulating an opponent of a given ELO, you must select Phalanx as engine 1.
For some engines, some parameters are tunable (aggressiveness, cowardise of Glaurung for example).
The level of the engines is around 2600 ELO for the best (see http://raitpref.hotbox.ru/ct003-1.htm).

Scid bases generated on a little endian machine (like an x86) are compatible with ScidPocket. For other architectures, I did not have a chance to test : let me know if it works.
 
Here is a screenshot of version 0.1 (outdated). Note that even if Toga takes 100% of CPU, the UI stays responsive:


The numbers at the top are : [current base] : [game number] / [number of games in the base]

Move back 1 ply - Move forward 1 ply
Move back 10 plies or at sart of variation - Move forward 10 plies or at end of variation
Previous game in filter - Next game in filter
Display PGN window
Side to move - Flip board
Toggle engine analysis

Installation

CAUTION
You MUST install Scid in device (RAM), not on a removable storage like a SD Card, or it may not work (this may be fixed in the future).

Scid needs about 15 seconds to start : during this phase just be patient, and don't try to close it (it is working in the background).

Moreover, be warned that if you use a Scid database present on a SD Card, and if you turn OFF your PDA, then back ON while Scid is running, you may encounter problems (many versions of Windows Mobile "loses" file descriptors pointing to a SD Card after a suspend). So a safe place for Scid bases is also the RAM (for example the My Documents folder). With Windows Mobile 6.1, this limitation seems to no longer exist.

To install ScidPocket, follow those 3 steps :

Step 1 : install Etcl (at least 1.0rc24) from Evolane (the standard edition is a good choice, but if you use the compact one, you will not get sound support), available at : http://www.evolane.com/software/etcl/index.html

Step 2
(optional) : Launch Etcl and associate .tcl files to Etcl (menu options -> associate).  This step can be skipped if you installed eTcl above 1.0 rc23.

Step 3 : install the CAB file of ScidPocket found in the download section (scidpocket-4.0.Arm.CAB): Scid Pocket will appear in program menu / games.

In order to upgrade Scid Pocket, just repeat the last step.

Tips

  • When using Board setup, the board used may be flipped depending of the main board status : this may seem unusual, but I feel it is convenient once you get used to it (for example you may have a position in mind from black point of view, then it is easier to enter it).
  • You can simulate a mouse right click by holding down the stylus : use it in PGN window to handle variations.

Technical considerations

  • the user interface is built with Evolane Tcl TK for Pocket PC
  • engines are compiled with cegcc (ARM gcc) under Linux. Engines are slightly modified to interface with Scid. Sources are available except for Fruit 2.3.1 which is closed source.
  • communication between UI and engine is made through message queueing
  • the application runs in the same way under Linux or on the Pocket PC, except communication between Scid and engines which is made through sockets under Linux  (making debugging easier)






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Page updated: June 2008