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Messages - wallaceprime

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General / Luckiest Escape!
« on: June 20, 2022, 06:58:43 AM »
What your luckiest escape in a game of Carcassonne?

Mine might have been this lunchtime in the first round of a Single Elimination knockout tournament against a 100 Elo player.
She kept getting cloisters and completing them while I had to wait until my final tile to close a crucial city. Amazingly the result was a tie, so I only lost 9 Elo - phew!!
Due to the vagaries of the BGA system, I was put through to the next round  ;D
A lucky escape indeed!

The galling thing about the result is that we beat both of the top two teams of our group, China and RCP!

Thanks, @MMike

It was bitter-sweet this evening in our fortune-deciding World Team Carcassonne Online Championships match against Brazil.
I drew Melvin Quaresma, current World No.2 in the singles championship, so was rather trepidatious.
However, I won the first of the best-of-three duel :D . However, he won the next game so it went to a decider.
It didn't start well for me; he got what I consider the perfect starting tile, a straight city extender with pennant, and I just couldn't do anything particularly useful so he gradually pulled ahead to where I couldn't recover from and he won the duel.
The rest of our 5 players for this match were evenly matched with 2 duels won per team, so that's the UK out of this year's World Team Championships  :'(
On the plus side, we've had a great experience and lots of fun, so we've just got to prepare ourselves for the European Team Championships hopefully later this year.

Reviews & Session Reports / Re: Family Game in Oban!
« on: June 18, 2022, 08:03:49 AM »
That brings back great memories, @kothmann
We love north-west Scotland, too. Last year we spent a week just outside Oban followed by a week in Morar; the only time I've ever needed to put on sun-screen to play Carcassonne (the view is looking out towards the islands of Eigg and Rum):

The view across the Morar Estuary from the bedroom balcony was superb. I loved taking these time-lapse videos, first of the different cloud layers moving in different directions...

...and this sunset

Photography is another of my hobbies. You can set some of my images here (I've started you off in the Scottish Highlands section):

General / Re: I love the postman...
« on: June 16, 2022, 01:45:57 AM »
The thing in the foreground is a magnet.

Shiny!  8)
(I think I must be turning into a magpie)

Strategy Guide / Re: Project 1A: Carcassonne Game Notation
« on: June 16, 2022, 01:22:50 AM »
To find tile boundaries, I originally used a hue, saturation and value test to see if a pixel was a tile or not. Unfortunately, it got confused by meeples that hung over the edge of a tile; indicated with red circles below:

Rather than looking at every pixel, I used recursion to find the edges of the tile placement positions, where the function that tries to find a corner initially starts with a step size of 16 pixels, but then calls itself with half that step size when it overshoots. This way, if the edge was 63 pixels away for example, instead of checking all 63 pixels, it would only check at positions 16, 32, 48, 64, 56, 60, 62 and 63, so at just 8 positions. The tricky bit was tailoring the algorithm to ignore when meeples overhang the edge of tiles, looking ahead to see if it went back to being the background.

Ultimately, however, it was easier just to look for the dark grey placement positions:

I could then pick a couple and look for the smallest dimension and that was the tile size. I did have to go one step further, however, because BGA must calculate the corner positions in floating point, but then use them in integer form. This had the effect of sometimes causing tiles sizes to fluctuate between two integer sizes, such as between 54 and 55 pixels. This meant I couldn't rigidly use one size as, going across the playing area, the error would increase sufficiently to throw the tile boundaries off.

If any of you find this sort of stuff interesting, I'll create a new subject for it, but I know it's not everyone's cup of tea and I don't want to distract here from @DIN0's sterling work on his notation projects.

Strategy Guide / Re: Project 1A: Carcassonne Game Notation
« on: June 15, 2022, 06:10:02 AM »
I originally tried looking at various locations within a tile to decipher whether it was city, road or field, but it got really tricky when a meeple almost occluded visibility of the small segment of road it was placed on, such as with a CCCR tile (so it couldn't tell if it was a farmer on a CCCF or a road meeple on a CCCR) or similarly with a RRRR being interpreted as a farmer on a RRRF tile.

I'm surprised I've got any hair left at all after all the hair-pulling that all those tweak/test iterations took! Comparing all 25 pixels seem to have worked flawlessly so far; I expect the slightly different layouts make enough difference for the matching to differentiate between them.

Strategy Guide / Re: Project 1A: Carcassonne Game Notation
« on: June 15, 2022, 05:37:01 AM »
I think a “clean” landscape would be much easier for image processing.  Are you using openCV?  Some other library?

I'm brute-forcing it in C++.
I take the following steps:
  • capture the screen
  • do a maze-walk to find the periphery of the playing area
  • search for a couple of dark grey tile placement positions (so I can find the tile size)
  • calculate the tile boundaries in the playing area
  • reduce each tile position to a 5 x 5 pixel matrix leaving a small border to allow for pixel misalignment
  • compare each reduced tile to a list of all 2116 tile/orientation/meeple combinations (just for the base game at the moment) to find the best match

Here's a composite image of all the 5x5 pixel combinations!

It wouldn't be of any use at all for analysing photos of games played with real tiles on a table; I can't imagine players reacting to well to repeatedly being told that "you can't put the meeple on that side, it expects it on the other" or "well that doesn't work, your meeple is 2 mm away from the optimal position" and so on  ;)

Strategy Guide / Re: Project 1A: Carcassonne Game Notation
« on: June 15, 2022, 01:00:03 AM »
A system that I think would be very fast and easy would be to log only the coordinates of each tile, and the type and location of each meeple deployed, and then use software with a photo of the landscape, after final scoring, to complete the tile type and orientation.  I would love to try this, but my python skills aren’t up to it…yet.

Gosh, I imagine that would be incredibly difficult! I've had enough difficulties in C++ identifying tiles and meeples from screenshots of BGA games when everything is geometrically straight, let alone from real, imperfectly aligned games! One of my biggest aims has been to capture replayed games from BGA to build up a database of past games to analyse and hopefully data mine little gems of information, such as when is the most profitable time to start a farm.

Unless my web-scraping skills aren't up to it (a distinct possibility), I don't think BGA records meeples once they have been removed and scored so, unless you grab the information at precisely the right moment, you miss recording that aspect. Consequently, I have put my efforts into trying to get the computer to assess tile and meeple positions quickly enough from screen captures to map in real time what is happening. I got a fair way into this task, but the program was getting rather messy, so I am in the middle of a full rewrite. I've called my software WallyCarc  :)

Strategy Guide / Re: Project 1A: Carcassonne Game Notation
« on: June 15, 2022, 12:49:11 AM »
So the project release order at the moment is as follows:
Project 1B short version,
Project 2,
Project 1B full version.

We’re eager to see them!

Oh yes - very eager!  :yellow-meeple:

Strategy Guide / Re: Project 1A: Carcassonne Game Notation
« on: June 14, 2022, 12:53:41 PM »
This is similar to mine suggestion but I used R1r1R2r2 or R1R2r1r2 you used RRR2R2 and RR2RR2 which is quire more readable.
Still issues CCCC tiles with field inside which can be CC2C3C4 and field and garden in C2 inside.
And what about CCCC with Cathedral?

If the field existing between the four cities is too cryptic/hidden, perhaps this could be made explicit with a field suffix: CC2C3C4Fh (F for field, h for herbs) or CC2C3C4F<gdn> or  CC2C3C4F<garden>.

In the same way that a cloister surrounded by 4 field faces is, in my version, FFFFK (with K being the cloister), perhaps CCCCK would be a memorable/logical cathedral, and KKKK an abbey. In this way, the K essentially represents any ecclesiastical building, its precise meaning relying on its context.

Strategy Guide / Re: Project 1A: Carcassonne Game Notation
« on: June 14, 2022, 12:32:42 PM »
Considering the inherent complexity of the task, I think that different approaches suit different mindsets. However, as long as any notation systems are fully documented, then it should be relatively simple (I think) to write a conversion utility to swap between systems. This would allow people to notate in whichever system they feel most comfortable with, but then share them in the format(s) that anyone would be familiar with.

Out of interest, which of the following are people intending to do?
  • notate their games manually for personal reference
  • notate their games directly onto a computer for personal reference
  • convert their manual notation into a digital format (text, Word, Excel etc) for personal reference
  • share an image of their manual notation sheet
  • share their digital notation

Strategy Guide / Re: Project 1A: Carcassonne Game Notation
« on: June 14, 2022, 12:09:22 PM »
Regarding unique ID's for each tile, I think this is perfectly fine for digital storage, such as BGA's tile_36 being the starter tile, but I don't think it works so well for manual notating where I feel that a system that doesn't require looking-up a tile works more easily. [edit: sorry, I've just seen this was addressed in a previous post]

General / Re: Feel the pain - When you get tiles like these...
« on: June 14, 2022, 02:23:35 AM »
I'm sure @Willem would take them off your hands for their curiosity value and (hopefully) uniqueness!  :yellow-meeple:

Strategy Guide / Re: Project 1A: Carcassonne Game Notation
« on: June 12, 2022, 03:48:07 AM »
Thanks for your comments, @Bumsakalaka  :)

The different forms of RRRR are easily accommodated with the road numbering system:

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