SCID vs PC

knightstalker

Has anyone used SCID vs PC? I guess this is the newest version of SCID. How do you like it and problems, etc?

thanks

MrEdCollins

Scid vs PC is probably my favorite interface.  I now find myself using that one for all of my GUI needs.

It's a fork of Scid.  The Scid program itself is no longer being maintained, and hasn't been for quite awhile.  You can read a little bit about Scid's history here:

http://scidvspc.sourceforge.net/

(Click on Miscellaneous and then scroll down.)

The latest version of Scid vs PC, version 4.8, was just released last week, which introduces a bunch of new features.

Last night I had a question or two for the author, and he responded right away.  We've corresponded in the past, too.  This of course is one of the advantages of using freeware and shareware... the actual author is often very accessible.  (Try finding the author of a commercial GUI, let alone talking to him.)

With Scid vs PC you can use your own bitmaps for the piece squares, the program supports both UCI and xboard engines, you can choose between different chess piece fonts, board sizes and board colors, you can have engine vs engine tournaments from any start position, you can have different engines all analyzing the same position, you can connect and play on FICS, the Free Internet Chess Server, you can use an engine to analyze and annotate your games, it's database capabilities can handle LARGE files, (loaded a database with 8 million games in it the other day, with no problems.  Note that I did have to first convert it with a little utility that comes with the program, to transfer my pgn files to a binary format for the program.) you can paste in FEN positions that you find online... etc., etc., etc.   

Anyway, the list goes on and on and on and on...  I'm STILL learning about MANY of the features.  I can't say enough good things about it. 

When I get home form work, maybe I'll jump back here and post a few screenshots.

MrEdCollins

1) I have a pgn database of all of my over-the-board USCF tournament games.  (Almost 300)

Last night I learned that I can set it up (by adding my name to a player list) so that when I open a database that has one of my games in it, the program recognizes my name and will automatically rotate the board so that whatever color I played is now at the bottom!  That is so cool!

2)  By default, the program comes with ten different "themes..."  different colors for the light and dark squares.  Under the Chessboard settings menu, you can click on these themes to instantly change the color of the squares.  Most of these default color schemes I don't care for.  However, just earlier this morning I learned I can edit the scid.gui text file and change the colors of these ten themes to whatever I want... so I can have ten of my own specific color choices! 

3)  I didn't care for the tick-tock sound that is an option when a move is made on the board.  So I replaced the move.wav file in the sounds folder with my own move.wav file. 

4)  I'm still not sure what I prefer... seeing the moves of a game in a column format, or a non-column format.  But Scid vs PC gives you the choice.  (Not all GUIs do.)

MrEdCollins

You asked about problems...

So far, I'm having a problem with the board screenshot function.  At home, when my board is a very large size, the resulting screenshot only shows a portion of the board.  When I reduce the size of the board, the screenshot works fine... I see the entire board.

At work, on my laptop, I also see the entire board.

Steven suggested a fix late last night, so I will try that.

Other than that, I can't think of too many problems.  There is one chess piece font I'd like to see made availalbe in the future.  (TTUSCF)  And I can think of a few things I'd like to add, but no, I haven't had any problems with it.

JamesCoons

The thing I hate about SCID vs PC the most is the board appearence. You have just a limited selection of fixed board sizes. Compare with ChessX where you can just drag the board as big as you want it. 

www.box.com/chessx

MrEdCollins

Hi James,

On my system at home, the largest board size is about as large as the screen.  (The smaller sizes are way too small for me.)

There were several board sizes available, from a very small size up to a very large size.  On my laptop, with a much smaller screen than what I have at home, the largest size fills MORE than the entire screen... meaning I can't use that size... it's too large for me!

Yes, if I remember correctly, you can't drag the corner of the windows to change the board size, like some other GUIs.  Instead, the shortcut was CTRL + mousewheel, or something like that.

MrEdCollins

Ha!  Never been told that.  Been told I look like Martin Short a few times but not Willis.

MrEdCollins

Stepping through a previously played game, and then creating a new variation, and then eventually quickly going back to the main line, is not something I do very often... but it appears that Scid vs PC handles this nicely. 

To do so, just prior to starting the variation, click the "+V - add a variation" icon.  Then make the moves on the screen.  With your pgn window up, you will see the moves made, which are now listed in a different color and in parenthesis.)  When you are done, click the icon that shows a "left arrow and a V" which indicates this variation is now done.  You can then go back and step through the main line again.

bufferunderrun
MrEdCollins wrote:

The Scid program itself is no longer being maintained, and hasn't been for quite awhile.

That isn't exactly true. While it's true that original author of the program no longer maintains it and there hasn't been a new release for about 17 months now, it still doesn't mean the project is dead. Maybe things do not progress as fast as one would perhaps desire, but there's activity in their git repository.

MrEdCollins

Ah.  Thanks for the correction.

JamesCoons
MrEdCollins wrote:

Hi James,

On my system at home, the largest board size is about as large as the screen.  (The smaller sizes are way too small for me.)

There were several board sizes available, from a very small size up to a very large size.  On my laptop, with a much smaller screen than what I have at home, the largest size fills MORE than the entire screen... meaning I can't use that size... it's too large for me!

Yes, if I remember correctly, you can't drag the corner of the windows to change the board size, like some other GUIs.  Instead, the shortcut was CTRL + mousewheel, or something like that.

Even the largest size only takes a fraction of my screen, I tried CTRL mousewheel but it only switches between the fixed sizes. When you spend most of your time looking at your chess board on your screen, the appearence and behaviour of the chess board is crucial to a good experience. The dozens of features I will never use are far less important.

If chessx wasn't available I would probably use scid vs mac. but I can't get beyond the small board sizes and lack of continous control.

www.box.com/chessx

finalunpurez

Will Scid support chessbase format database?

MrEdCollins
JamesCoons wrote:

When you spend most of your time looking at your chess board on your screen, the appearence and behaviour of the chess board is crucial to a good experience. The dozens of features I will never use are far less important.

I agree with this completely.  If I don't like the piece font or if I can't change the colors of the squares, then the entire GUI / program /app is a deal-breaker for me.  You HAVE to enjoy the way the chessboard looks... including the size.  (Being able to use your own bitmaps for the squares is a big bonus.)

Sorry to hear that the board size is an issue for you.  I don't know what is wrong.  I'd be interested in a seeing a screenshot.

MrEdCollins

MrEdCollins

Chess.com resized the above image, and it looks terrible, but this kind of gives you and idea of my chessboard size.  (My monitor has about a 24" by 14" screen.)

bufferunderrun
finalunpurez wrote:

Will Scid support chessbase format database?

That's an interesting question. Chessbase uses its own closed, undocumented, proprietary format. Reverse engineering of the format is obviously required and for that reason there were no support in SCID.

Now, some RE work had been done by some people and now it seems to be possible to read Chessbase files (CBH), Chess 960 is not supported and you cannot write to CBH.

Last time I checked there were no support for CBH in SCID, but there's another project called scidb (not to be confused with SCID or its forks) that has a command line tool that can convert Chessbase CBH databases into SCID format. No binaries, so no Windows build. You would need to compile it yourself and for now only under GNU/Linux / UNIX.

So, the question that remains is whether SCID developers will implement the same tool or just point to scidb project.

bufferunderrun
MrEdCollins wrote:

Chess.com resized the above image, and it looks terrible, but this kind of gives you and idea of my chessboard size.  (My monitor has about a 24" by 14" screen.)

It's not resized, only scaled down. Just right-click on the image and select View image / Open image (depends on what browser one uses) to see the full size picture.

MrEdCollins
cavelorum wrote:

It's not resized, only scaled down. Just right-click on the image and select View image / Open image (depends on what browser one uses) to see the full size picture.

Oh shit, I forget one can do that.  Thanks.

MrEdCollins

Scid vs PC has the ability to automatically display a photograph of the players of the game you have loaded.  Until tonight, I hadn't gotten around to trying this out yet.

Of course, this is nothing new.  I believe Fritz/Chessbase can do this too.

The photos do not come with the program... they have to be downloaded separately.  So, a short while ago I downloaded a few player photo files.  It worked fine.

And then just for fun I edited one of the files and added a photo of me!  So now when I load a database that has my games in it, my mug will come up!  Kinda neat.  Attached is a screenshot.

It's too late tonight (gotta work tomorrow) but I'm going add a photo of a chess buddy of mine.  The next time he asks me to look over one of his own games, his photo will come up!  I think he will get a big kick out of that.



So this screenshot shows a custom bitmap for the squares, a unique piece font that currently doesn't come with the program (Steven Atkinson set me up with it today) and a custom photo!

Rikeshar

I've just started playing around with this program as well. So far, I love it. I'm a Linux user and there aren't too many (good) FICS clients, so the fact that this can do that, plus all the extras, is really awesome in my opinion