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Let's first state a few thing about me and Solitaire. I love game, especially abstract game, but I hate hasard. I hate all the game where you play against Mr. Random rather than your opponent. I also hate games where some information are hiden. Most card game use both principle. And solitaire game also. However, in solitare game there is no opponent, and your realy play against Mr. Random. But Mr. Random is not gonna help anybody else. So I like Solitaire games as they let you waist your time trying to fight against the odds.


By playing Solitaire with a computer program, I found out that most of those game where almost the same. Typicaly you have a stack of card and you need to move them to a few goal position. But you have to respect a certain number of rules concearning the rank, color or many other things. The number of card, the number of stack, the way you can move them can be very very different from one game to another game, but at the end most solitaire game looks the same.

Rather than to have a english description of a specific game like in the excelent book of David Parlett "Solitaire", you can have a computer description. In that description, you must provide a lot of information about the game like: The board setup, how the card are randomise and distribute, including the position of the stack. The stacking rules, what card can go on top of wich card and such issue. The distribution rules, when card can be distributed, how many, where, how many time. The goal rule, that define when the game is win or not.

If you have such a description of the game, then it should be easy to formalise a language to describe a game of solitaire. And to write a computer program that will read such a description and provide you with a user interface to play the game. The computer will randomize and distribute the card, then let you move card and verify that you are making legal move. As an option the computer can give you hint or have an AI that will play the game for your.

This is one of my project, I just need time to finish it. Of course the result will be free, open and GPL. As an extra option I will port this development to my iPaq running Linux.

The Ace of Penguins

I am not a good programer anymore, even if I remember a lot of thing and I know enough to be dangerous and ask dangerous question in a training. And if there is something I am not good at, is writing user interface. Basicaly because I don't like user interface (graphical one's) too much and it is always a lot to learn just to open a window into a page. Hopefully I found a very nice, open, free, well documented project that is so much like what I need that I am going to use it. 'The Ace of Penguins' try to offer you all the Solitaire games comming with various version of Windows to your Unix/Linux X screen. It is not Meta, but it is the only thing missing, so I am going to add it.

I had a lot of trouble to install ACE on my desktop. I was stuck because of problem with libtool. This problem appeared while using version 1.2 downloaded as a tar.gz on a Suse 7.0. Recently I have install a linux Suse 7.1 and man a cvs update of "The Ace of Penguins" and it seems to compile better here, development can continue. There you can find here the original Delorie "The Ace of Penguins".

... to be continued ...

Soon or later you will find here link, credit where credit is due, description of the language, source code, pictures, 'how-to write your own games', ... But this will be when time and real live permit it.

CREDIT: The icone of this page was created with 'Free & Clear' a Freeware by Steve Gibson, Gibson Research Corporation http://grc.com/. It use Sub-Pixel Font Rendering in order to be more readable on a Laptop LCD screen. At least on RGB LCD screen. And that's why the text is so readable.

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Content last updated: Thu Jan 31, 2002.
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