Thursday, March 01, 2007

SmartGo vs. Many Fogs

The more I see of both, the more I'm inclined to argue that if your Go budget is modest, buy SmartGo ($69) first and Many Faces of Go ($85) maybe never, unless you need to fill a slot in your virtual Go museum.

SmartGo's feature set is immense, cleanly implemented and rationally laid out for the intelligent user. Example: One explores one's library of 39,000+ Go games by players' names, not by file names. I was baffled when I saw the default layout of games and players panels — for about 3 minutes, until I right-clicked on a player more or less by accident and suddenly realized I could filter the huge game database to just those featuring, say, Umezawa Yukari. Push the triangle and watch your selected game play back at comfortable speed, stopping at comments if you so prefer!

The rest is a little quiet perusal of the widgets on the screen — what appears when you do this, and what that does when I click, slip or select something else. Suddenly, I've got marks on the bare board, and when I put the mouse there, I get a heads-up display showing me how well that particular opening pans out in all those pro games! Ok, I'll admit it took me a few minutes to configure Kogo's Joseki Dictionary to display exactly the way I like to see it (and the Tree button was hiding in plain sight, after all), but that was then. This is now. When you're at the wheel of a Ferrari, you tend to notice the road more and the model tease less.

Many Fogs, of course, held the laurel for years, mainly because it too after a fashion could do all this stuff. Not bad, for the only wheel in town, but having established what the market will bear to teach itself Go... whoa.

Yes, I have a Many Faces of Go 11.2 icon (bought and paid for) on my desktop. Here's what else:
  1. SmartGo 2.6
  2. WinHonte 2.01
  3. Go++ 5 Deluxe (it's up to version 7 now)
  4. MultiGo 4.3.0 (free, these days)
  5. Drago 2.21 (free, free)
  6. baduK alpha 0.1(open source at SourceForge, but bring your own database)
  7. Uligo 0.3 (also free)
  8. PANDA-glGo (free, free, free)
  9. KGS's CGoban 3-NFA (free)
  10. igowin (this cracks me up! it's a great little game)
  11. GNU Go 3.6 (of course), and also Aya, CrazyStone and GoGUI and...



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