Checkers Jump and Capture

I am back to working on my checkers program. Added the capability for the player to jump over and capture the computer pieces. The computer cannot jump over the player pieces yet. And there is no double jump. But all of those are coming soon.

Eventually I will need the ability to promote pieces to kings for both sides. However right now I am focusing on baby steps. It is working out pretty good. Just doing some game logic. Not learning a whole lot of C++. But hey. Any programming is good practice.

Moving to the Checkers App

Originally I started writing a chess app to practice some C++ programming. The movement of the pieces were tricky. So I decided to work on the simpler checkers game. Having drawn the board, I am now drawing game pieces on the board.

I can respond to the player choosing a piece. The selected piece gets highlighted on the screen. Also can have the player click on the location where the piece should be moved to. Implementing simple checkers movement rules (no jumping opponent pieces yet).

Now that the player can move, time for the computer to do the same. Originally I thought I would generate a list of all possible moves and rank them. But for now I just have the computer choose the first available move.

These limitations lead to a pretty boring checkers game. I guess it is time to implement jumping/capturing opponent pieces. After that, I must implement piece promotion to kings. One thing at a time though.

Getting Ready For Chess

I decided that I wanted to try my hand at writing a chess game. Started thinking about the objects. The pieces were a bit complicated. So I simplified my aim and decided to go for checkers instead. I wrote some classes. Got some logic in there. Represented a game board with pieces on them.

At first I just used text to output the game board. It looked terrible. Plus it was clunky to specify the move you wanted to make. I did this to spend as little time on the user interface, leaving more time for the actual checkers engine. Never got to it.

Later I took a Udemy class that helped a lot. It was Learn to program Tic Tac Toe Game in Visual C++ on Windows. Whew. Lengthy course name. This was an awesome course. It got into the details of drawing the game board and playing the game. Just what I needed. Best of all, the course is free. Props to course instructor Mohammad!

With this knowledge, I launched my Visual Studio. Decided on a Win32 project. Much of the boilerplate was provided by the template for this project. I first customized the About box because it was easy. Then I filled in the WM_PAINT handler. It was actually quite easy. Now I have a game board drawn.

Next step: draw some checkers pieces.

Have You Played Atari Today?

While eating lunch today, I came across an advertisement from Kohl's. They are selling an Atari Flashback Portable device for $39.99. It has a very small screen (less than 3 inches). It mostly plays Atari 2600 games. However there are some updated games included as well. This sounded very interesting.

Looking at the official documentation for this device, I see the following gems included:
  • Centipede
  • Dig Dug
  • Galaxian
  • Tempest
Some titles that I would have like to have seen were Kaboom and Pacman. Although the handheld has a tiny screen, you can hook up the output to a TV if you get some cables to do so. You can also plug in an SD card and play more games.

There are buttons on the pad for control. Might be a bit harder than the real joysticks/paddles from the 2600 console. Still this is a trip down memory lane. I never owned an Atari 2600. But the neighbors did. I know I really wanted to have one. Instead my parents bought me a computer. But that is another story.

Short Lived Victory

I have been playing the Warrior class in Angband. It is tough not having all the useful spells I had as a mage. But at least I strive to have good strength and dexterity. Makes hand to hand combat so much more effective. Some monsters are just resistant to magic. As a warrior, I can deliver a combat beat down.

Was scumming up and down the stairs to quickly find loot and battles. One such fight produced special boots. Boots of Feanor? These were better than vanilla boots of speed. These were +15 to speed. Unfortunately the victory was short lived. A bunch of hounds ganged up on me. I was super stunned. Essentially I got paralyzed. Game over man.