Saturday, February 24, 2007

Many Fogs

Ten things I hate about Many Faces of Go:
  1. Version 11.2 costs $85 for the download edition (no VAT if you're in the U.S., though);
  2. The download edition calls home each and every time you start it up, making an internet connection to see if you're running a "legal" copy (unlike honor system competitors like WinHonte 2);
  3. MFOG was written using the exceedingly quaint Visual C++ Microsoft Foundation Classes multi-document architecture from a decade ago, piling up an unbelievable amount of clutter in a short time — in other words, every single 9x9 game you've played in the last 40 minutes is still active when you quit, so you get to close them all one by one, or bail out with "exit without saving," which quits the program entirely;
  4. The go problems tend to be repetitive, in practice;
  5. The fuseki study tools are bald and unexplained;
  6. The joseki study tools are bald and unxplained, but more interesting if you've ever run Kogo's Joseki Dictionary in a good sgf viewer/editor like MultiGo 4;
  7. The commands are distributed in a menu system and across a toolbar set without evident plan or organization — there is, in other words, no way to progress from simple stuff to advanced stuff by means of tabs or other elementary interface tools;
  8. As strong as it is, the Go engine plays dull, when you find your level and can play an even game against the machine — Go++ and WinHonte mix up the opening better, as, bewilderingly enough, so does igowin (the free Many Faces of Go 9x9 come-on player);
  9. The games library is sort of organized, some of it lightly commented, but in the absence of tutorial guidance, a bit recherché — despite its pretensions, this is not your virtual Go sempai.
  10. And I hate that I keep using it, over and over, as though the promise of dawning light were not about to wink out yet again. But, like Sigmund Freud said, "If you don't pay, you don't get better"... so who knows?

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