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Submitted by Jason Colman, posted on February 08, 2002

Image Description, by Jason Colman

this picture shows off my pride and joy. But in the foreground is a chess computer I built a while back. Sad to say it has been gathering dust ever since I finished it - I never guessed making it would be more fun than finishing it. Anyway before I give it a decent burial I thought I'd share with you the details of its awesome power.
  • Z80B CPU
  • 6MHz
  • 8KB RAM
  • 16*2 LCD display
  • Magnetic sensor board
  • If only I'd done it about 30 years ago I might have something here. BTW if anyone wants the source code (laugh) just drop me an email.

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    Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.

    February 08, 2002, 01:53 PM

    Are you tossing it? You should keep it- I mean, how often do you come accross an 8Mhz chessboard!

    Impressive specs... does it outpreform your iMac? :)


    February 08, 2002, 01:53 PM

    I meant 6Mhz... sorry. :)

    Pieter Anemaet

    February 08, 2002, 02:12 PM

    I thought you rendered the damned thing, my bad :)

    Anyway, this is pretty impressive too! Have you ever though about writing a step-by-step tutorial on building chessboards, It'd would prolly give you a lot of credits (and hits on your site ;])

    -- Divide


    February 08, 2002, 02:33 PM

    building a chessboard is simple:
    take a square flat piece of paper, take some ruler and draw vertical and horicontal lines in the middle of the paper. then you got 4 squares.. divide them again in the middle and you got 16, and one time again divide all those squares and you got it. take some black pen and fill out every second square you got..

    next tutorial i'll introduce you in modelling the figures. for now, just take some of another chess:)

    have fun..

    (btw, this is great work, i would like to know how to do this, too.. today very much people don't know anymore how a simple calculator can be build, not at all some great stuff like a chess-computer.. i've done a network-cable-checker in school.. the only hardware-development i've done in live!.. )


    February 08, 2002, 02:37 PM

    He should overclock it ;)


    February 08, 2002, 02:40 PM

    Damn I like this place...

    Get to see cool games on PDA's, landscapes, quake engines, live tv broadcast tools, chessboards and more. (No sarcasm) I really enjoy reading about the odd stuff all you people have done.

    Keep em coming people...


    February 08, 2002, 02:48 PM

    sad question I know but how do you tell one piece from another?
    Does it just rely off the starting position, and progress from there? or do you use some other method?


    February 08, 2002, 04:27 PM

    It looks tremendously cool. Kudos! I'm sorry to hear it didn't see much use, but that's common enough to many for-fun homemade projects.


    February 08, 2002, 04:29 PM

    For a minute there I thought that this was an actual chess game render, alas I have been bamboozled! =D

    Cool stuff nonetheless! Most I've done was conjure up a calculator using logic gates, which is obviously no match compared to this craftsmanship.


    February 08, 2002, 04:45 PM

    I love the times we live in...
    when graphics are so good people can't distinguish real pictures from rendered ones! woohooo I say ;)


    February 08, 2002, 05:36 PM

    I have to admit... I'm still not sure what to make of this. That picture really looks rendered to me, but everyone here seems to think it is real... Is it supposed to be funny?


    February 08, 2002, 06:02 PM

    This is definitely a computer generated picture !!! Real world does not have so many details :)

    I checked : in my flat, there is not written "realtime raytracing" on the bathroom mirror and there is no "global illumination" sticker on the living room walls so real world does not have such features. Here, I can clearly see a raytracer working on the checker board and a GI on the figures :)


    February 08, 2002, 06:03 PM

    I can't speak for the author, but the way it's usually done is the pieces have a magnet mounted into the base, and sensors under the board detect when the magnetic field disappears, and where it reappears..



    February 08, 2002, 06:46 PM

    Ok thank you.


    February 08, 2002, 10:39 PM

    As most of you, I first thought this image is rendered.
    Then, reading the image description, I first noticed the tech description. Can you imagine my astnishment -- image of such quality
    on Z80 ;-)



    February 08, 2002, 11:14 PM

    ... I just found marvelous that CG pictures have became so real that if you post a real world picture on a CG picture forum, people would have to ask themselves : "is this real ?"

    I had the same reaction and I finally decided it was real because of the comment comming with this picture.


    February 09, 2002, 02:25 AM

    I don't think this is rendered image... it just doesn't look "rendered".

    As for building thing like this- the furthest I ever got in electronics class was hooking leads up to capacitors and blowing them all to hell! And it was a LOT of fun!!!

    Nice work on your chessboard (render?) :)


    February 09, 2002, 06:14 AM

    God, you people sure are set in your ways! Of course it's not rendered. It's so easy to tell! You know, I can scan in a picture of some woods, paste a Windows titlebar over it, and you guys would believe it was raytraced.

    Jason Colman

    February 09, 2002, 06:46 AM

    Hi, thanks for the comments. The photo was taken with a digital camera with no flash, then brightened and sharpened, hence the dodgy quality.

    To answer the sensible question :-) you don't need to tell the pieces apart, you just need to tell which squares changed, then modify the board position in memory accordingly.


    Alex May

    February 09, 2002, 02:34 PM

    It'd be cool to make one that was robotic and could move the pieces itself. That's yer next goal!


    February 09, 2002, 05:37 PM

    I think he means how does it keep track of pawns, knights, rooks, etc. Basically, how can it tell the difference between them?


    February 09, 2002, 06:23 PM

    Because, initially, every piece on a chessboard has a fixed position.
    As long as it is possible to backtrack movement to the original position, it should be possible determining what kind of piece occupies a given square.


    February 09, 2002, 06:27 PM

    Hmmm.. that shouldn't be too hard if you are into electronics should it?
    Basically you'd need a position mechanism (two stepmotors) and a somewhat powerful magnet. :D


    February 09, 2002, 07:17 PM

    Yeah B-urn, that works until you have to move a horsie over some other pieces :)


    Warren Marshall

    February 09, 2002, 07:19 PM

    You would think there would be some complicated problems though. Like the knight piece can move to locations that don't necessarily have a clear path to them (it moves in that "L" shape). So the machine would have to move the other pieces out of the way, slide the knight into place and then slide the old pieces back into place ...

    That must suck. :)


    February 09, 2002, 07:47 PM

    Admittedly.. you would probably need a nifty function to make way for pieces to move, but hey.. you are programmers aren't you? ;)


    February 09, 2002, 09:37 PM

    It seems to me you could just get the robotic arm to pick them up, instead of dragging them. Or you can activate your arm and fingers and, if you are coordinated enough, pick up the pieces yourself! j/k, of course that's preposterous.

    Hey, I have a great idea for a project in the same vein - design a device that tracks the motion of your hand and moves the mouse accordingly. I can't believe mouse movement isn't automated yet. What is this, 2001?


    February 09, 2002, 10:07 PM

    well, you have the initial board setup, from there you can keep track of the pieces the way i said



    February 09, 2002, 10:43 PM

    I guess you've never seen a laptop before?? =P

    Lion V

    February 09, 2002, 10:49 PM

    Now thats 1337 !
    Keep it !

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