InfoChambers Research

Private research assessed quietly.

q (at) infochambers (dot) com

Current primary research:
Database creation, modelling, and study based on assorted board and card games,
Multiple massively networked computer operating system and installation virtualization research,
Computer animated film production and rendering farm study using using open source video game production software.
Github account: Infochambers.

For additional assorted current and ongoing research see also:
Watcher Point Entertainment at Flickr
Watcher Point Entertainment at YouTube.

Database creation, modelling, and study based on assorted board and card games

The primary interest is the creation and operation of the database of game play for each variety and variation of board or card game, with a definite focus on data redundancy elimination and other forms of data compression, and aspects of data indexing and retrieval.

As of a time in writing this, with all very much under development, the intent is to use HTML, CSS, and related bits of JavaScript for any front end work that gets developed. For the back end and major data crunching, a distinct expectation is Python or mebbe Golang, very much with some some particular use of SQL . . . Postges, MySQL, SQLite??, while noting all still being thought about and while noting that Datasette is a very interesting possibility.

A further interest will be to assess artificial intelligence engines and generators, observe AI based game play and strategy using research from and related.

The assorted games being studied are:
Major Poker
Cripple Mr. Onion
Stealth Chess and Active Chess.
Go is a strategy board game that is usually played with black and white stones that are placed on the intersections of an odd numbered grid, where the usual full board is a 19x19 square, where beginner games are also played on a 9x9 or 13x13 grid. The aim of each player is to end up controlling more territory, usually by surrounding the territory, occasionally by capturing opposing stones.

The study in this instance is to map out the basic game, starting with a 3x3 grid, then 5x5 and continuing up to 21x21. Variations to be considered and explored are three and more dimensional play, different shape boards, and additional player strategies.

Major Poker
Poker is a collective name for a number of card games that involve strategy and skill and are played using a standardized format card deck of 52 cards. The aim of each player is to achieve a preagreed variety of cards, or get an opponent to believe that the variety has been achieved.

In the case of Major Poker, the play is absolutely identical with all other forms of poker, except that the card deck to be used is the more or less standard 78 card Tarot deck, which involves a set of cards that is pretty much the standard poker variety cards and is called the minor cards, combined with 21 additional cards called the major cards. With the difference caused by the change of playing deck the three differences in the play of poker are:

1) The major cards are counted as three additional suits of cards.
2) The cards of a tarot deck are different when upside down, and any upside down card beats the same card when upright.
3) Any hand with any major card beats any hand with no major card.

For further reading on Major Poker, see Major Poker: Playing poker with a tarot deck.
Thud is a board game devised by Trevor Truran and first published in 2002, inspired by the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett rather than originating in them. It bears a strong resemblance to the ancient Norse games of Hnefatafl and Tablut but has been changed to be less one-sided. The two sides are dwarfs and trolls. In the game, the objective is to eliminate as many of the opposition's pieces as possible. The two antagonists are the trolls and the dwarfs, the trolls being few in number (but individually very powerful), while there are a large number of dwarfs, but each individual dwarf is very weak and requires support from nearby dwarfs to be of use against the trolls. As in fox games, the two sides have different pieces with different movement and attacking styles. Thud uses an unconventional, octagonal board divided into smaller squares.
Cripple Mr Onion
Cripple Mr Onion was originally a fictional card game played by characters in the Terry Pratchett novels of Wyrd Sisters, Reaper Man, Witches Abroad, Men At Arms, and Lords and Ladies. A game called "Shibo Yancong-San" also appears in the novel Interesting Times. These mentions were used by Dr Andrew Millard and Prof. Terry Tao as the basis for an actual card game. The complete rules and design of this game were posted on USENET around 1993. It contains elements of blackjack and poker. Following these rules being posted on USENET, they were approved by Pratchett himself.
Stealth Chess and Active Chess
Stealth Chess is a chess variant, played in the Ankh-Morpork Assassins' Guild, according to The Discworld Companion.

It is similar to normal chess, with the exception of an extra piece and the widening of the board by two specially-colored fields (red and white are described, as opposed to the normal black and white) on either side, known as the Slurks. The extra piece is the Assassin (appearing on either side of the Rooks in the beginning of the game), the only piece to be able to move in the Slurk.

The Assassin moves one square in any direction, and two to capture; however, on exiting the Slurks, the assassin may make as many moves as it has taken within the Slurks and, optionally, a capture move.

Active Chess was created as a solution for those who fantasize that chess can be considered a study of strategy, tactics, and warfare. The reality of play in the passive and standard variety of chess is that one piece is moved at one time, making the game resemble a fencing match with toothpicks. To play Active Chess, one single move includes the ability to move up to all pieces on one side of the game, moving each piece to the full capability of that piece as prescribed by standard chess rules, including all captures made during that collective move. The opposing player then does the same.

A noted complication with Active Chess is that with a standard limited 8x8 board, game play then starts to resemble a knife fight in a bathroom stall. As a solution to that, the large board variation calls for placing four standard chess boards together for a playing area of 16x16, where the pieces then face off from the center of opposing sides.

--This is just extra space added to let the links work . . .