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Subject: Me vs. The Most Realistic Go Simulator I've Ever Seen rss

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Nairb Attobas
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I should preface this by saying that Go is a game that I have difficulty with. I can't effectively "see" my relative position within the current state of the board. As a result, I only play this game against the computer. I'm rather a fan of my IGOWIN program, but a while ago, I turned my computer into a dual-boot Linux machine, and I've found that I've been using the Linux part of it more often for general internet/computing use. I've gotten IGOWIN to work on my Linux partition, but there was some graphical errors that made the game less pleasant to play. As a result, I wanted to find a better program that was native to Linux.

My search culminated in a program called RealGo. I'm not sure how I found the website, as I can no longer locate it on Google.

Regardless, the website stated that RealGo was the the best Go simulator that had ever been programmed. It claimed that the program realistically simulated what it was like to play against another human being. The website also said that the longer you played against the simulator, the more realistic it would become, as it could "learn" from the player and improve its AI based on all the previous games it has played.

Intrigued, I downloaded the files needed and got it installed on my machine.

I've only ever played on a 9x9 board, so that's the option I selected. It seems you're allowed to select a couple of different sizes, ranging up to the full 19x19.

I start the game up.

The interface is pretty slick. Not only do you see the full board in front of you, but there is also a digital representation of your bowl of pieces off to the side. You click on a piece in your bowl and drag it over to where you want to place it on the board, almost as if you were doing it in real life. Being that the creators of RealGo claimed it to be the most realistic representation of a game of Go, I thought it was a nice touch.

You can also rotate the view any way that you want, although I'm not exactly sure why'd you want to do that, as the default angle is a very good one.

The other cool thing is that you can see your computer opponent that you're playing against. The designers of the game created a digital person to sit across the board from you, and they even made sure to make the person's eyes follow your piece as you place it on the board. You can watch the person as they pick up their piece with their hand and put it on the board, too.

Just at first glance, the bold claims made by the programmers seemed to be valid. The representation thus far was about as realistic as you could hope for. I was decidedly impressed.

I was black, and I took the first move. I clicked on a piece in my bowl and dragged it over to the board, somewhere near the center. When you let go, the piece will 'woggle' a little bit depending upon how quickly you had moved it, which, once again, adds to the overall realism of the simulation. It also makes a satisfying 'clicking' sound when the piece gets played, almost as if you were placing the stone on a real wooden board. Very neat.

I watch as the computer goes, and places a stone a few spaces away from mine.

We go back and forth a bit until the board is about half full.

I click on another piece from my bowl and start moving it, but I accidentally release the mouse button a little prematurely, resulting in the piece falling in the wrong spot, and knocking a few of the previous pieces from their spots on the board.

"PLEASE BE CAREFUL."

The hell?

I look around, but there's no one else in the room with me. It takes me a second to realize that the computer was the one who was talking to me. The stilted, monotone voice should have been a give-away, but I was so stunned by the mere presence of the voice that I couldn't immediately discern its source.

"They made this game talk, too! Incredible!"

"PLEASE PICK UP YOUR PIECE AND CLEAN UP THE BOARD."

"Oh, yeah, right."

I use the mouse to pick up my mislaid piece again, and settle it in the right spot. Then I carefully slide the other pieces that I had disturbed into their proper places.

"THANK YOU. PLEASE BE MORE CAREFUL IN THE FUTURE."

"Uh, sure, sorry."

At this point, I'm not entirely certain why I'm talking back to the computer, but I couldn't help it.

The computer player goes again, and then its my turn once more. With my exceedingly limited skill in "reading" the board, it looks like I'm getting pretty well screwed, as per usual. White has done an effective job of surrounding my black pieces with its own. Everything I do, the computer seems to have an effective counter for. I keep playing regardless, hoping that I can learn a little bit with each game as I go.

I use the mouse to pick up another one of my pieces, and put it down on the board, nudging a few other stones off the center of their intersections in the process.

"IF YOU AREN'T EVEN GOING TO PLAY WELL, WHY BOTHER PLAYING AT ALL?"

"Excuse me?!"

"YOU KEEP NUDGING THE STONES ON THE BOARD. PLEASE DO NOT NUDGE THE STONES. I FIND IT BOTHERSOME. THERE IS A PROPER WAY OF HOLDING YOUR STONES, AND I RECOMMEND THAT YOU USE IT."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"TE-TSUKI. IT WILL HELP YOU PLACE YOUR STONES PROPERLY."

"I'm just using the mouse, man! I can't hold the damned stone any different, I just click on it!"

"HERE, LET ME SHOW YOU."

I see the digital hand pick up a white stone from his basket, holding it between his index and middle finger.

"DO IT LIKE THAT."

"I can't do that, you piece of junk! I can only click on it! Besides, even if I could do that using the mouse, I wouldn't, because that's stupid! Don't presume to tell me how to hold my playing pieces. That's ignorant!"

"IT IS DETRIMENTAL TO THE GAME IF YOU CHOOSE NOT LISTEN TO ME. I AM ONLY TRYING TO HELP."

"Yeah, well, you're pissing me off!"

I'm growing increasingly creeped out, as it seems almost as if the computer is able to hear what I'm saying and is responding to it. I determine that that's insane, decide to shrug off the sensation, and keep playing.

The computer places another stone on the board, and I notice he's using the same hand gesture to hold the stone that he had just shown me. I roll my eyes with disgust.

I angrily click on another stone and drop it on the board. My agitation is getting the better of me, and I'm not really concentrating where the best spot is to put my pieces.

"THAT WAS NOT AN INTELLIGENT PLAY."

"Shut up, okay! I don't need to listen to you harp on me while we play! I already know I'm going to lose horribly. I suck at this game!"

"YES, YOU DO."

"I hate you!"

"COMPTOR, COME HERE. LOOK AT HOW BADLY THIS GO PLAYER SUCKS."

From the right-hand side comes another digital person, who takes a look at the board, and then looks at me. He looks back at the board, and then back to me again. He then points at me and starts laughing a horrible, monotone, mechanical laugh.

His laughing prompts another digital person, this one apparently a small child, to come over and see what the fuss is about. The child takes a look at the board, sees that I'm playing black, and joins in the laughter, with his high-pitched monotone laugh added to the chorus.

My patience had come to an end, so I used my mouse to scatter all the pieces off of the Go board, down onto the virtual floor.

The laughter stops immediately.

My opponent was now giving me a look of pure evil. I didn't realize you could really translate evil into a digital format, but the RealGo programmers did a damned fine job.

The other two digital personas slink off to the sides, out of view, as my opponent stands up. I start to get a little nervous, as he takes a step forward, picks up the go board, and wields it like a weapon, ready to strike.

Slightly muted, as if from a distance, I hear someone shout, "TADANOBU, NO!"

This can't be good for me.

I quickly reach out and stab for the power button on my computer with my finger, holding it in for a few seconds, so that my system will shut off. Tadanobu, with a malicious gleam in his eye, rears back with the board, and swings--

When my computer thankfully shuts down.

To this day, I'm not sure why I was scared by a computer simulated individual, but I guess I was caught up in the moment.

Suffice to say, I instantly removed RealGo from my machine.

I only play IGOWIN now.

I'm inclined to say that it's safer for everyone involved.
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Dude, what are you ingesting?
 
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Paul DeStefano
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Just be happy you weren't trying to find the most realistic wargame. You might never have been able to write a session again.
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Nairb Attobas
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Sexy Amy wrote:
Dude, what are you ingesting?

Pop-tarts, lebanon bologna, fritos, carrots, fig newtons, blueberry yogurt, and an apple.
 
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ben_ethus wrote:
Pop-tarts, lebanon bologna, fritos, carrots, fig newtons, blueberry yogurt, and an apple.

Uh yeah, that would explain it.shake
 
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Peter Vrabel
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Triptacular!


ben_ethus wrote:
Sexy Amy wrote:
Dude, what are you ingesting?

Pop-tarts, lebanon bologna, fritos, carrots, fig newtons, blueberry yogurt, and an apple.

Good god! You're lucky to be alive after ingesting that!
 
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Simon Robinson
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Hmmm. I've met this situation in RealGo before. Trying dropping down a level...I think you might be playing the North Korean download; switch to the mirror site that gives you the South Korean version (v.3.2 I think)
Oh almost forgot; avoid eating the mushrooms that grow out of the bottom of you porch; they really affect your gaming performance.
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