My thoughts on 81dojo
Hello everyone. I’ve been on 81dojo for a couple of years now and I would like to give a lot of suggestions. These are my personal opinions and I’m aware that some people will disagree with them, which is perfectly fine.
I would really like to hear opinions of others, no matter whether they agree with me or not. There’s one indisputable fact though that I think everyone will agree on – 81dojo isn’t even close to where it should be when it comes to popularity, considering how many years it has existed. I remember that during previous years, the number of players online at any given moment was about 80 to 100. Now it’s about 150. After so many years I think we must all agree that 81dojo failed to reach a significant number of active players and that this is a big problem. In this post, I will try to explain why I think that happened and I would really like to hear other opinions as well. A lot of this will go against the core ideas that were utilized when this site was first conceptualized and created, but bear with me please.
1. The possibility to play illegal moves and lose as a result
I remember Hidetchi saying that this was done because the idea was to mimic the real world, and that makes sense, but I would argue that it very much defeats the purpose of websites such as 81dojo – casual play.
There’s really no reason to treat every game like it’s a tournament game. I can say from experience that because of this, I’m always under a lot of stress when I’m playing at 81dojo. I’m someone who plays shogi as a hobby and simply doesn’t have a lot of time away from work and family obligations to devote to it. I would argue that a lot of other people on 81dojo are the same. They don’t really want to feel like they are in a tournament with super-strict rules, but like they are playing in a club or with friends, where an illegal move will be pointed out buy the opponent and then taken back, and the game would go on.
Therefore I think it would be better if the illegal moves simply couldn’t be played, like they can’t be played on pretty much all other shogi servers (and chess servers as well) and I think there’s a good reason for that.
Since the idea of 81dojo was to give international players a way to get into the game more easily, I feel that this situation with illegal moves only works against new players who are prone to making these mistakes, get frustrated and give up on 81dojo. You can clearly see this by the fact that there are always much more Dan players online compared to kyu players. That should be the other way around, since naturally, there will always be more weak players than strong players. This practically means that beginners don’t have anyone to play against, and that combined with the fact that they can lose by playing illegal moves is bound to drive them away and that is exactly what’s going on, imo.
I think you should really consider removing the possibility of playing illegal moves, and maybe keep that as a feature for official tournaments only.
2. Lack of time controls without byoyomi
If I’m not mistaken, most Japanese amateur tournaments are actually played without byoyomi so I see no reason why that wouldn’t be an option on 81dojo. The games are much shorter that way and therefore, players can play more of them in a relatively short time period, and playing a lot of games always was the best way to improve.
When I started playing chess on chess.com I was rated about 1200. Now, I’m rated 1700 on some time controls. I’ve obviously improved, and I was able to do it by playing a lot of games. In shogi however, I didn’t make the same progress at all, and that’s because I didn’t get to play nearly as many games. Pattern recognition is key, and the way to recognize patterns is to see them many times.
For comparison, Shogi Wars has no-byoyomi time controls only, and it’s extremely popular, maybe the most popular shogi server today. All shogi youtubers that I’m following almost exclusively play on that website. Why not open 81dojo to them as well and potentially make it more popular buy showcasing it on YouTube?
3. Registering and playing
The registering process right now is very outdated. As a professional game developer myself, I can tell you that simplicity is absolutely the way to go. Log in with Facebook must be an option without question. The fewer the steps the player must take before getting to the game, the better.
I’ve seen some posts on the forum where people were asking for an explanation on how to play. There shouldn’t be even one such case. The way to play must be as clear as day to everyone. If there are people who actually went to the forum to ask how to start a game, imagine how many people just gave up on 81dojo because they didn’t understand how to do it. This is something 81dojo simply cannot afford.
4. The graphics
I think that 81dojo should be completely redesigned in the near future. The ability to scale the board (zoom in or out) is essential nowadays, and that is something that 81dojo never had, which is a shame really. I think this would be a great feature to have and would be welcome by a lot of players. Even Shogi Club 24 now has better graphics than before and the ability to scale the board to multiple sizes.
The 81dojo interface is pretty outdated too – Flash is no longer used anywhere whatsoever. It’s a dead technology. I think the visual appeal of the site has diminished greatly over the years, which is completely normal, but it needs an overhaul, rather than small cosmetic changes it’s been receiving occasionally.
I would also like to criticize the emphasis on traditional shogi manners, even though this is not a major thing.
The greetings, the requirement to resign even though you got checkmated, saying ‘thank you’ after the game… I understand this is shogi tradition, but it is also an instance of too much emphasis being put on things that aren’t the game itself. If shogi is to become an international game, then it definitely must not come with the baggage of strictly Japanese ethics and manners with it. Any game, in its pure form, is a set of coded rules, and that should be separate from anything else. It is wrong to expect the world to adapt to shogi. Instead, shogi must adapt to the world, without losing its essence of course. The kanji on the pieces are big enough of a barrier for a lot of westerners, so there’s no need to add any more obstacles. I’m a big fan of Japanese culture and I think it’s beautiful, but I’m not Japanese myself and it’s not natural for me to act in a way that would be natural for a Japanese person. I think other non-Japanese people would agree with this.
Besides, pretty much none of the other shogi servers put a lot of emphasis on manners, so apparently, even the Japanese don’t find it to be that important. Here on the other hand, I see announcements of the intention to ban people who end the game by deliberately making illegal moves. Seriously? Can 81dojo really afford to ban players because they aren't being nice?? This is a great example of expecting non-Japanese people to adopt Japanese manners and punishing them if they don't want to. I'm sure even some Japanese players sometimes end their games like this. It’s best to end the game as soon as checkmate happens, rather than forcing the losing player to resign or play an illegal move. That's a win-win situation.
Now, as I said, these are all my personal opinions and I understand that some people will not relate to this at all.
I just want summarize my experience on 81dojo so far, using shogi terminology – playing on 81dojo feels “heavy”, compared to playing on “Shogi Wars” which feels “light”.
I have to click a couple of times just to wait for a game, then spend some minutes waiting for someone to challenge me or try to challenge others who in most cases aren’t accepting invitations. As a higher kyu player, it’s pretty hard for me to find a suitable opponent in a reasonable amount of time, so this becomes very frustrating, very quickly. After finally receiving a challenge, you give more significance to that game than you really should (at least I do), which leads to some anxiety. Then there are the greetings which are optional, but you know you just have to say them because it’s the culture of the server and everyone does it, and then finally the game itself starts.
For me personally, the feeling that I get while moving the pieces, combined with the very aggressive snapping sound (especially the double snap) that always suddenly breaks the silence in an unpleasant manner, contributes to my impression of “heaviness”. Then, there’s the length of the game, because of byoyomi, and then, if you lose, you have to resign and thank your opponent, and then finally do it all over again. All this takes too much time and it’s very inconvenient.
81dojo was made to resemble professional shogi as much as possible, and after all these years spent on the site, I strongly feel that it wasn’t the right way to go. It feels too official instead of feeling casual.
In Shogi Wars, you click Play, click the time control, and you’re in a game in a couple of seconds. It feels very light and easy, and that’s probably the reason why it’s become so popular, even though it’s got a lot of arcade (or even childish) elements which I used to dislike in the past.
I think 81dojo should try to go down this path more, because right now, it is a server where strong players are playing, and weak players are mostly there to watch the strong players, and that’s precisely the opposite of the original 81dojo idea. I know that 81dojo was made and is maintained by enthusiasts who get no compensation for their work whatsoever. But I really wish that this website becomes the number one shogi website in the world, and I think the creators would also wish that. I’ve even sent them an email, offering to make a desktop client for 81dojo in Unity 3D (for free of course) which would then be easily adjustable and portable to many platforms, but they didn’t respond to my message. I’m not sure why anyone would decline free help of any kind, but OK.
I hope this will be taken as constructive criticism and not in a negative way, because I really care about 81dojo and I'm thankful for the immense work that its creators have put in and are still putting in.
As much as my opinion is neither warranted nor solicited, it seems to me that the biggest "real" sticking point is the "loss on illegal move" convention.
I think the best way to explain the frustration is that it isn't actually merely that "illegal moves" makes you lose, it's more specific than that.
81Dojo's user interface isn't simply a "dumb" board, letting you move ANY piece to ANY square, and causing you to lose immediately. If, say, you wanted to move a Gold like a Rook, or moving a Bishop to the wrong diagonal. 81Dojo DOES prevent these illegal moves, but I can only assume that in a real tournament this would constitute a violation.
The problem is that there are SPECIFIC movement violations (check, nifu) that 81Dojo will *not* prohibit, but will instead swiftly and unforgivingly punish.
So in a typical game, the interface initially ensures you can only make legal moves, but then suddenly (check / pawn-drops) the rules change and the interface will gleefully offer you the option to make illegal moves that instantly result in loss.
No matter what anyone chooses to tell themselves, this is a contradictory approach to how a game user interface should function. EITHER the software should permit ALL possible illegal moves, and punish them ALL with an instant loss; OR the software should ONLY let you input legal moves. To my knowledge, no other online board-game implementations have arbitrary "legal but you lose instantly" options, and most (if not all) chess-like software announces check and checkmate (since it's trivial for a computer to check) irrespective of what the social convention would be for a real game.
I believe that this is what sits most badly with many players, and though I don't expect for a second that there'll be any interest in going back to this question, the most obvious way to actually alleviate these frustrations would be to implement an optional, purely cosmetic "Western Mode" - where check/mate are clearly declared to the player using that mode, and where NO illegal moves are possible. (Resignation would NOT be affected by telling opt-in players that the King is mated, as "automatic resignation on mate" would be an entirely separate and IMO undesirable request.)
Thanks for reading.
TL;DR The problem is that 81Dojo's rules are selective, most illegal moves are IMPOSSIBLE whereas others are possible AND result in INSTANT LOSS, which is arbitrary and contradicting, hence frustrating. A potential workaround would be an optional setting to make this consistent.
> I was about to win,then i suddenly lost because of illegal move!!!
To me, this simply means: "I was about to lose, because of illegal move!!!"
What's the beef? Making an illegal move is, well, illegal. The penalty is loss of the game. It's in the rules:
"..A player loses when he/she has violated any of the restrictions stated above, which are:
Making an illegal move.."
(From the 81 Dojo Rules and Manners of Shogi)
I totally agree with you.I just played a non-rated game with a friend,I was about to win,then i suddenly lost because of illegal move!!! Shogi is a good game, but this site is terrible and unfriendly.Chess.com is excellent.I love chess and shogi,but almost every shogi site and shogi app disappointed me.
It doesn't matter anymore. I no longer have any desire to make an 81Dojo client anyway. If I end up making a shogi client, it's going to be for a different server.
That's not good news for the (western) shogi world.
Still I don't understand:
there is a handshake between client and server (and it was me who advocated for it), so the server knows which client is used and furthermore the server can deny logon.
Hidetchi (as everybody else) can test your client and if there is something he wouldn't approve of, he can dissable your client conect to 81dojo till you fix the client.
I only can guess, Hidetchi don't like to take a lot of time for testing your client and are afraid about "hidden" features you'll only encounter with longer examination.
Oh, of course he can not check if you make a LOCAL version of the client which only uses YOU and make not public.
Would this be the reason??? If so, maybe it would be a solution, if you don't use your client for tournaments?
Yes, I agree - when often used, disturbing things won't continue to disturb so much.
I remember, the shadow of the pieces which make them look "flying" always make me shake when seeing. In the meantime, it's no problem.
When I'd reached 19kyu, there was a short popup saying something like "promote to 19 kyu - winning 2 successively games".
But maybe this were only an additional information and promotion would have happend also if I wouldn't have won the last but one game.
If I'll continue playing there, I'll take a look at it. ;-)
Nevertheless on Quest you can read, what you have to aim for.
Human preferences are different and also changing, so I can't say which shogi-app is better.
Supporting English language is the most important thing (for non Japanese speaking) and both are making fun.
The project isn't going to happen, for 81Dojo server at least, because Hidetchi decided not to give me the manual. He thinks that I would push some ideas into the client that he wouldn't approve of. Needless to say, I had no intentions of doing anything like that on someone else's server, but Hidetchi apparently seems to know me and my intentions better than I know them myself, so that's that.
Yeah, the animations were something I disliked a lot in the beginning, but now I don't mind them that much. The biggest problem with Shogi Wars for me is 3 free games a day. Now I mostly play on Shogi Quest, even though I don't like the graphics, you can find suitable opponents fairly quickly and you can get a lot of games in.
I'm not sure how the promoting works on Shogi Wars. I remember my rank kept getting higher every time I beat someone until I reached 1st kyu and there it stopped even though I've beaten 1st and 2nd Dan players many times.
How is your client-project ongoing? ;-)
and more about Shogi Wars:
I start like it more and more and have already played some games - already more than the whole last year. ;-)
Still most bad thing are the anoying animations and that it seems the developer don't like to add an option to turn it off.
Also watching mode is not fun. Why not use the same design as for playing?
Is there anywhere written, what you need to reach next rank? Maybe it's the same as in shogi-quest, but in shogi-wars I get only informations when already reached next rank, while in shogi-quest the target is readable.
That's right. I would really like to see how a shogi tournament with regular chess time controls would look like as an experiment. An hour and a half for 40 or more moves, and then an additional hour for every next 40 (80 in shogi notation). I think it would be interesting to have a lot of time to calculate mating attacks instead of being forced to play fast (and innacurate) in byoyomi.
Well ok, but there's no place to play such a game except for correspondence-type sites.
Then that's not correspondence. It's a regular game with long time controls. Correspondence is like byoyomi, only much longer - when you play a move, your clock resets.
Thanks for the information. (and sorry for misreading)
I think that the goal is for a place to play a serious 3-4 hour game. Chess FIDE has standard 2 hour-ish time limits in tournaments. And, 3 hours may sometimes be found. Since shogi is more complicated, 3-4 hours may be reasonable for this kind of playing.
Yes, I like correspondence. It's not time consuming and you have a lot of time to calculate. I've had some pretty nice mating attacks there. I've also managed to beat players who are 3rd or 4the Dan in real life, so that was encouraging. Little golem has the best graphics but the games last too long. For me, the perfect time controls for correspondence would be one or two days per move. Chess.com has these types of time controls. The other thing that's very annoying about little golem is the way the vacation feature works. It's an OK feature when used properly, but the problem is when someone's time runs out, and he hasn't used his vacation up, the game doesn't end, but instead starts draining vacation days, and you've got 20 of those. So if someone isn't playing, you have to wait for 10 days for his regular time to run out, and then for additional 20 days for his vacation to run out. So that's a month minimum, provided he hasn't made any moves. Some people stop playing in the middle of the game or are playing their moves so rarely that some games can last for months. It's really profoundly annoying.
about Shogi Wars:
with English support, it's much better.
Board design for play is okay, but animations are anoying.
Still board for watching is small and without kanji, no edit possible.
The collections (castle, tactics, ...) could help motivate playing.
Furthermore it could motivate trying new things (things I'm not doing anymore since a long time).
Still I like to know, how the 6 values of "play style" is calculated? Anyone know?
There are so many criteria about to decide which shogi-server is best for which person.
I also thought about writing a review for others, but the personal preferences are so much different that this will be impossible.
Even for myself alone not possible: I remember I always was somthing like "shocked" by the pieces of Shogi Quest. The shadown is looking, like the pieces are flying over the board. Terrible. But also Shogi Wars is using this "flying shadow" - one thing more to see the neighbourhood to it (and JSA).
In the meantime I'm used to it.
So I concentrated on a table about technical things, done at end of 2014 - so of course not up-to-date, but nevertheless if someone is interested in it, here it is: http://berni.safe-ws.de/Shogi/OnlineShogi/index.html
sorry for missunderstanding, I spoke about 7 real-time sites (mainly for android).
About turn-based shogi, I'm not the right person to ask. I don't like games which last years to finish.
Nevertheless I was/am also interested in knowing about them and even tested a few ones.
Oh, I wonder: my page (linked above) even shows also 7 turn-based shogi sites!!!
(Even one link is dead, so "only" 6.)
Nevertheless, I'd listen all I know, even maybe many of them lack about shogi-players.
So I would GUESS (@nexxogen - what you think, you like such games?):
BrainKing and LittleGolem are probably the first choice - if I'm not wrong, both are free, but you can pay for additional things (more games, vacation days, ...).
I believe GoldToken could also be worth to take a look at it.
When you prefere playing on a smartphone (android or iphone), dg-shogi could be interesting.
This one indeed I'd tried a little bit more.
Unfortunately only Japanese and very ugly.
But as android app, it has nice features like notifications and so good useable.
(If you need some translations, you can look here: http://berni.safe-ws.de/Shogi/dg/dg-Shogi.html)
One thing I don't like (tested 2014 - maybe changed in the meantime):
the playing time is fixed
For a normal game you have 300 hours, for a league match 200 hours and for tournament games only 100 hours.
If I'm not wrong (only used google-translation, not beeing able understanding Japanese), you'll lose after the time is ofer (no byoyomi) and the time is ALWAYS running when it's your move!!!
I have to sleep some hours and also don't like to make moves before goging to work.
This means, when I make my move at evening, go to bed and my opponent immediately answers the move, than I'll lose maybe 20 hours, till I'll have time again to look at the position.
This never happend during my maybe 5-10 games I've played, but knowing about it wasn't given good vibrations.
I don't like to play games last years, but also not in this way.
I've thought, maybe stop the time when sleeping and at work, but this isn't a good idea.
Maybe the time only run when you open the app and look at the board - but than others can copy the game on a real board and think there. So also not possible.
By the way, this is a very interesting site about board-games, real-live AND turn-based:
Playing chess, xiangqi, reversi, backgammon and a lot, lot more.
The game Go was added two days ago!!!
Unfortunately there is no shogi - at least not yet.
This site also supports a STUDIO (!!!) where you can add games.
Probably not hard to do, but still a lot of time needed, at least for your first game.
But if someone is interested, it should be than very easy to add further shogi-variants!!!
Small board variants, Chu-Shogi and anything other.
There's littlegolem.net, which I think is the best. You need to install an add-on called "Bigger Golem" in Chrome if you want to play with kanji pieces.
I have opened a thread here about possibly adding correspondence (turn-based) option to 81Dojo, but it didn't catch a lot of attention.
@Berni314 (or whoever):
What are the 7 turn-based shogi sites?
I only know of Brainking.
(I know someone who prefers very long games -- even over multiple days. So, 81dojo, although nice, is a bit too fast for them to regularly use.)
Oh, recognized some things:
the board seems different for playing and watching.
All my experience were related on "watching" (small, no kanji, ...) - I like watching more than playing. ;-)
Maybe "playing" uses the same board as "practise game" which I told is much better, but has annoying animations.
Will try later ...
I don't like Facebook and Twitter at all and furthermore don't like to use my (worthy) Google account for loggin in any public app.
In my eyes, "most simple" means:
only type your wished username - if it's still available you're logged in.
of course if any other is using this name, you have to enter any other.
No email, no captcha, nothing than only the name you like.
And if you play on only one device, that's all!
If you like to loggin on an other device, than (maybe not simplest) you have to reenter a password shown in options.
Okay, if you ALREADY use facebook and if you ALREADY logged in and if you LIKE to use it, than this would be more simple.
It is possible of course. I wouldn't spend a second on that site if I couldn't play with kanji. Here, take a look at the position of the mouse cursor in this screenshot:
This is where you change the piece type.
I don't think that the board is too small. For me it works.
Shogi Quest client is done very badly I think. It seems most of the attention has been directed towards the server. The client really looks atrocious. But it had more than 1000 players every time I logged in, so that's pretty nice.
Btw, the simplest registration is "Log in with Facebook, Google+, Twitter and so on". Of course, there must also be an option for people that don't want to use these. We use Amazon Web Services for logging in with these providers for our games. It's super convenient because it allows users to synchronize data on various devices and it's easy to implement in Unity. But it's not free unfortunately, although not very expensive either.
so I've also checked Wars again:
yes, it's English (also the web-app), but I'd need some time to figure out.
But how to use English text and a kanji-pieceset??? Not acceptable!
Control of Wars is very slow.
Also I don't like the board-design - it's too small.
On small devices (smartphones) the board must be displayed as big as possible (for tablets it's okay).
The board for "practise game" looks much better, but annoying animations.
Still it's the same with the official 24shogi-app.
on google-play, there is the following screenshot:
I never got this looking on any of my devices (phone+tablet), always have komadai on left/right, which makes the boardsize small.
Maybe an older screenshot - design was changed, because users like the new one more???
Further about Shogi-Quest:
- there is an edit-mode, useable while watching games or after finishing own play
- you can send the kifu to any app (email, shogi-app, ...)
- and most simple registration possible
I've played a little bit on it. It's good that it's free but it looks horrible.
Wars now supports English.
Quest is similar to Wars. Its developer was involved in Wars too.
The difference is, it does not have the AI advise features, and it is completely free. These two differences seem to attract Wars users to switch to Quest.
2. Wiki isn't mentioning any Vikings. But who cares? :D
3. Don't worry about that part. :) Of course, the phone interface will have to be different, but that's only a matter of Unity scenes. It doesn't change the code in the background whatsoever. There's not any unknown factors when it comes to controlling shogi-like games via touch so it's pretty straightforward.
1. Intersting to know - maybe I should take a look again at it.
At least the web-interface (shogiwars.heroz.jp/s) is not translated to English (clicked from https://shogiwars.heroz.jp/?locale=en).
By the way, in your first post you wrote "Shogi Wars has no-byoyomi time controls only": it still has also 10s byoyomi!
2. I'd read about vikings. ;-)
(But haven't done serious search.)
3. Being portable is one thing - DOING it is an other (big) step.
It must be fit to different screen sizes, also on desktop it's best used with mouse, while on phone and tablet it's used by touch, maybe also many people prefere portrait format, ...
So many programs are ported to android which makes no fun there, for example Battle for Wesnoth is a nice game on Desktop, but I can't feel any joy on even a big (10") android tablet (to tell only one of them).
Also I have to say, that I'm still not happy with the 81dojo android app. There is so many text in this thread, that maybe Hidetchi wouldn't read this unlovely words. ;-)
4. I'm not 100% sure:
The web-app is written in flash.
The android app uses AIR (which is based on flash), so obviously containing also much of the same code.
Still may experience about flash and AIR is 0%.
By the way: your writings made me thinking a little bit about my shogi.
My last played game is long, long ago. Also I like watching others playing, this is also long (but not such long) ago.
Maybe thinking about it could also help getting (new) players. But I fear, I'm not such a typical shogi-person, which behavior can be transfered to others. ;-)
That's OK, since it's only my way of viewing things and I'm not trying to influence his.
1. Actually, Shogi Wars has been translated and now English is available. Also, in the screen just before the game starts where you see your opponent, the name of their favorite strategy has been translated pretty well too. Somebody did a good job.
I haven't tried Shogi Quest and yet and I will. I agree about the rest.
2. Actually, I think it's an Anglo-Saxon thing if we're to be super specific. And as you said, it makes no difference.
3. I would distribute to all of them. :) That's the beauty of Unity, it's portable to many platforms due to Xamarin's 'Mono framework'. Theoretically, it could be ported to PlayStation and XBOX as well, although I wouldn't really go that far. The only stepping stone is iOS since in order to build anything for it, you must have a Mac computer (which I don't) and you also need to have an Apple Developer Account which you have to pay for.
Do you know what the current mobile 81Dojo client was built in? I see a lot of possibilities for improvements there.
interessting post (last one @Hidetchi), but I'm afraid by far too long for Hidetchi to read.
Causing me also something to say:
1) often, there was spoken about "Shogi Wars" as alternative
If I'm not wrong, Shogo Wars is only in Japanese and so I wouldn't suggest it to beginners.
I told I know about 7 sites focusing for android, so I'll make a short brief:
- Shogi Wars (as told) only Japanese, a lot of players, but childish, disturbing scrolling things
- 81Dojo ...
- Shogi Online, looks promising, but also only Japanese, terrible 3D shadows
- PlayOK - by far too less players
- Dr. Shogi - terrible optic, only android
- 24Dojo - on android only 1 game per day for free
- Shogi-Quest - simplest registration possible ever, multidevices, English, edit position, but no chat
Maybe you should think about suggesting "shogi-quest" instead of shogi wars, at least for Nonjapanese people?
Oh, by the way: shogi-quest is the only shogi-site with a separate grade-system - maybe also help to motivate
2) "kneeling when they propose to their girlfriends"
It's not an American thing, it's an Europe thing, long time before america was discovered
Yes, I know - it makes no difference to that what you like to said.
3) You told, you'll do your client in unity
For which OS you'll distribute?
Windows, Android, Linux, ...?
You would be surprised by how much of a difference a seemingly insignificant change can make when it comes to games. I'm not claiming that things would change a lot after some modifications are made, but leaving things exactly as they are isn't even giving any chances for them to improve.
Also, I'm not sure why you think anyone would have to give up playing chess in order to play shogi. One can play both without problems.
I don't think that the technical side of 81Dojo is much of a problem when trying to get new players into the game.
First of all people tend to prefer playing board games IRL, even if they play a few games online they easily lose interest because of limited chances for offline play.
Secondly, it's very difficult to attract chess players. They will often show some interest in the game, maybe even participate in tournaments, but at the end of the day they have invested so much time into chess that they will just keep playing it instead. Also it's much easier to find opponents offline with chess so they don't have much of a reason to switch game.
For those few players that actually want to play online I believe the main issue is how easy it is to get a game against an equally strong opponent. But the only way to fix that is to have a server with lots of beginners. Outside of Japan there aren't many beginners and Japanese beginners will most likely go to a Japanese focused server. Automated matchmaking is very nice but it also requires many users to work well. That won't be fixed just by improving the UI a bit and I highly doubt the greetings are an issue, it's not like you get kicked if you don't greet someone.
In my opinion the best way is just to direct people to Shogi Wars and 81Dojo because they are both great tools with different purposes.
Is OK, we're all human and it's sometimes hard to keep the emotions out of the picture. Also, it's hard to articulate an argument well in a couple of short sentences. I wish I could make all this brief, but I don't know how to do it and still get my point across, so this one will also be pretty long unfortunately. I understand you don't have a lot of time (I don't either for that matter), so if you can't read long posts, I won't blame you.
You mentioned a hypothetical devoted promoter overseas so let me speak from experience. Although my enthusiasm has significantly subsided, I was at one point very keen on bringing shogi to my country, which has a rich chess tradition. My texts that included shogi were published in the chess section of the Serbian national newsletter, and I've also published some texts on the most popular chess website in Serbia. I also made a video in Serbian to explain the basic shogi rules and I have a Facebook group with the "Play" button linking to 81Dojo. During previous years, I've communicated with a lot of people who were among other things asking me where to play online, and I directed all of them to 81Dojo. Facebook also notifies me of clicks on the Play button, which happen sporadically.
Out of all those people, there's just one chess player who actually spent some time playing on 81Dojo. We sometimes play in real life, and he's the only one I managed to get. Also, he's an anime fan and knew about shogi even before he met me, so he's not your average person with no ties to anything Japanese. There also was one chess player who I really hoped would stick. He is an IM and a GM mating problem solver, one of the best in the world actually. A couple of years ago, he went to Japan to participate in a chess problem solving tournament where the hosts organized a demonstration of shogi. He actually played Dobutsu shogi against Madoka Kitao and played regular shogi against someone else. It doesn't matter how I found out about this and met him, but we did meet and we actually played in person one time. I tried to get him to play on 81Dojo several times, but he never did, even though he showed a lot of interest and even had me come to his chess club and bring shogi. However, that was the last time I saw him and I eventually lost all contact with him.
All this made me lose my enthusiasm quite a bit. SC24 is absolutely not an option for new players, and Shogi Wars only lets you play 3 games a day for free, and paying for game subscriptions is unfortunately not an option for most people in my country. That's why I see 81Dojo as pretty much the only entry into the shogi world, not just for my countrymen, but for any other place that doesn't already have shogi established in some form. I wanted to get at least 4 people who were somewhat serious and then try to contact the Japanese embassy and ask for some sort of support. But I never managed to.
The other thing that bothers me is the fact that the online international community is pretty much on life support. 81squareuniverse was small, but the new forum is even smaller. There still isn't nearly enough material in English to be found. I just have the feeling that the community hasn't grown at all, but actually shrunk.
Those are the reasons I started this topic. I was speaking from a fully technical standpoint as a game developer - how to make the 81Dojo experience smoother for new users. The things I said aren't all necessarily what I would want for myself. I have no problem whatsoever with greeting my opponents at the start and at the end of the game. What I don't like are the illegal moves, and the fact that checkmate isn't registered, but as I said in my original post, none of those is a major thing. What I was trying to say is how all of the things I pointed out are making the experience less smooth for new players and that it might be the reason why they aren't sticking. But then you explained that just getting a lot of new players isn't really the goal of the site. I wish it was, but if it's not, then it's not.
I see you misunderstood what I meant by "shogi must adapt to the world", and that's because I didn't clearly explain what I meant so it's my fault. I didn't mean that shogi in Japan should change. I think traditions are very important because they define cultures and we must keep them no matter what. I'm profoundly annoyed that people in my country now dress up for Halloween, that we now have "Black Friday" sales and that people started kneeling when they propose to their girlfriends. Those are all American things, and why on Earth would we want to do that? We have our own traditions which define us. So of course I don't think Japan should change anything about its shogi culture. I was only talking about the way it's promoted to foreigners and what the emphasis is being put on. Now, you might argue that even then, shogi should be promoted not just as a game, but as a culture, and that of course is your personal philosophy which you have the right to, but I'll try to explain my philosophy as food for thought. Don't take this as an attempt to change your opinion, because I'm not trying to do that.
I don't know whether you're a baseball fan or not, but I assume you would agree that modern Japan wouldn't really be the same without it. It is an integral part of its culture. It has brought so many emotions to your nation. So much happiness, and so much sadness. So many kids have grown up looking up to their baseball heroes. It has inspired stories and movies and other forms of art, and it really shaped Japan in a way. I'm not a baseball fan, but I understand that American culture surrounding baseball and the Japanese equivalent are vastly different. Here's a read for anyone interested in details: http://www.umich.edu/~wewantas/brooke/differences.html. Now, imagine if Horace Wilson wasn't only interested in teaching you the rules of the game, but insisted that you must accept the American culture with it, or otherwise you'll spoil their beloved game. Do you think that baseball would have caught on in Japan in the same way? Maybe, but only because the people of Japan would still mold it according to their own culture, since you can't stop that. But if by some miracle you actually could have had prevented them from doing it, there would be no baseball in Japan today, and none of the things I listed would have happened. And what a shame and a loss that would be. The reason why it happened was because Wilson said: "Let me teach you this fun game. Here are the rules. Now go play." :) The culture eventually grows around the game but it gets derived from the already existing culture of the nation. And in every country that embraces the game, that surrounding culture is somewhat different. That's why when they play against each other, it's not just a clash of two teams, but also a clash of cultures, and that's what makes it great. Even shogi itself is not entirely a product of Japanese culture, but instead the end result of a process where a game that was created in one culture was then shaped and changed by other cultures until it reached its final stage which is arguably the best game in the entire chaturanga family. Yes, shogi became what it is in Japan, but without chaturanga, there would be no shogi. This is what sharing creates and I firmly believe in it. I hope you understand where I'm coming from, even if you don't agree with me. This is just my philosophy and I'm not trying to impose it on anyone else.
I will just quickly touch on using games to teach manners to children. Teaching your kids decency is something that depends on a lot of variables. Games are good tools for this of course, but if other variables are lacking, I don't believe that any single game could make up for that. Manners are generally important, and are mostly a product of your close social environment. As I said, shogi can be a good tool to teach them, but so could any other game where you lose to an opponent and must accept it, no matter how complicated it is. There's nothing specific about shogi that makes it better for this purpose than any other competitive game. But this is a separate topic and I don't want to spend time on it.
As for Japanese judokas and fans getting fed up by seeing the blue gi at IJF tournaments, I just think it's silly. If there's a reason for this better than "we think it's ugly" and "judogis are traditionally white", I'd really like to hear it, because otherwise it's really not a good argument. Traditions are important as I said, but for the country they belong to. The reason for introducing the blue gi was, as you know, very practical - so that the audience can differentiate the players from afar. I doubt anyone is forcing the Japanese federation to require blue gis in domestic tournaments. Complaining about what IJF does would be like if the Americans complained about FIBA not having NBA rules. People have different ways of doing things. There's nothing wrong with that.
I hope I explained my position in an understandable way. As I said, I'm not trying to change your opinions or tell you what your goal should be. I'm simply explaining the reasons why I wrote my original post.
I would really appreciate that manual. I hope there aren't any time limitations or anything, because I have very little time away from work, so it would take a while to finish it.
Yes, that's a good point. But I would still be willing to make a client, just because I think that if I would want to see a better interface and a smoother experience, I should try do it myself instead of expecting other people who aren't doing this for any money, to do it.
Hi nexxogen, I really have limited time and honestly couldn't read you guys' posts word by word; First I'm very sorry if I sounded too offensive, I apologize. But I was really disappointed by the long speech ending up suggesting removing greetings and resigning based on totally wrong assumption to begin with. (This is really where ShogiWars becomes harmful...) Anyway I will probably do a long one too.
You said you understood the real goal. It sounds much better now, but I think you still don't get it. Looks like you only think about the site's getting someone. But there are more. Some examples: (1)A devoted shogi promoter overseas found a new guy who he could tell about shogi, he wants the guy to experience what shogi is like. He can recommend 81Dojo and the guy can see the people (Japanese) play shogi and feel the real atmosphere. Even if he doesn't ever come to 81Dojo again, we helped this promoter provide the real experience. (2) 81Dojo is the only server that can host tournaments like WSL. (3)Say, some people had difficulties in figuring out subtle points in the rules. They go "Let's check how 81Dojo does it". 81Dojo is always there to be the right "reference". (4) People can communicate well with Japanese people through many functions and have chance to understand more about real shogi world.
The roles of 81Dojo are everything that people would see troubles in, if 81Dojo disappeared today and only ShogiWars remained. Likewise, everything people would see troubles in, if ShogiWars disappeared today and only 81Dojo remained, are the important values of ShogiWars. Both are needed and they have strong points and weakness, have to be selected properly.
And I kind of have a feeling that you think 81Dojo itself is my prime activity, and it has its independent goal? Actually it's only one of the tools that plays a role in the portfolio I have to achieve such goals of my whole projects.
Whether it's successful or not, my opinion is not important. You should go ask the shogi players out there in Europe. Ask them if it helped a lot or not.
I don't understand you still stick on Point 5. Adapt shogi to the world??? (Basically,) no way. If we need to adapt it casual to spread overseas, then I wouldn't stick on international promotion anymore. Then we Japan would keep this treasure for our own and won't give it to you guys. But we still want to do everything to help people who want to touch this treasure and promote this treasure as it is. Do you know Japanese judo players and fans feel fed up with seeing the blue uniform they use in Olympics? Adapt shogi like that? Please. No thank you.
Of course there are exceptions. For example, do we allow chairs to be used while playing? We already know the answer is clearly toward yes. (I mean even Japanese do so.) My internationalized piece design; this is not fully appropriate, but I use it while giving utmost care not to let it mislead people, because it is too effective to abandon. (ShogiWars is a lot lot more effective, so it means we need a lot lot more care.)
But greetings and resigning??? Please, that's one of the most important things in shogi. I regret I could not emphasize that enough in my videos... Maybe it's my fault. Why do Japanese parents let the kids learn shogi? Not only because mind sports do good for the brain, but also it teaches you manners, courtesy, and the strong mentality to be able to declare one's own defeat. (I'm not saying I myself always have good courtesy, as you already saw.)
Even though I'm not working for numbers, the more is the better, of course. You are definitely right about that point. So things should be changed as long as they don't harm the philosophy too much. So Facebook login and board scaling suggestions will be (even have been) of course studied.
I think Berni said something about the shogi-server. Yes, anyone can try to develop a client, and I will license it if it meets the standards. I can give the protocol manual anytime.
Very sorry for the e-mail; if it was brief I must have read it. I don't know why I didn't respond. Perhaps there was a reason or something.
(One part of) philosophy of 81dojo is to lose by illegal move.
So there can't be any other client, which prevent make illegal moves - that would be anfair.
I believe there were already sometime the suggestion that for official tournaments the 81dojo-client have to be used, while any other can be used for "normal" play. Also rejected ...
Yeah,that's why using 81dojo server would be the best for what I wanted to do. I pretty much wanted to make a client that I would use and offer it for free to others who would want to use it.
true, P2P isn't a good idea.
If only the 2 players interact together, than P2P maybe could be even a good option.
But if you like observers, gamechats, global chats, ... P2P would have too much problems.
But be aware, you need hardware (=money?) for a server running the server-app.
Maybe an other idea: one (random) client get server functionality
Would also save money for hardware, but also causes a lot of problems.
Thanks for the links. I wouldn't really count on P2P much, but I'll see if I can do anything. This would be my first multiplayer game anyway.
"If you want to be careful not to offend anyone, you shouldn't define the goal of someone else's site"
I didn't define anything. I only assumed what it was and then tried to prove to you that it was a reasonable thing to assume. If I was wrong, then I was wrong. But there's nothing offensive about it.
"If you have respect for him and his videos, you wouldn't question his emphasis of traditional manners."
Sorry, but I don't agree with this statement. Constructive criticism is a good thing and you do it for things and people you like and care for. Not agreeing with some of the things you say doesn't mean I have no respect for you. And likewise, having respect for you doesn't mean I have to agree with everything you say.
I didn't make any personal attacks against you. I didn't speak in a rude manner. I went out of my way to show my respect and appreciation for you and others involved in this and I stated my good intentions several times. If you're still offended after all that, it's simply because you didn't like what I said. I'm sorry, but I believe in civilized discussions where it's normal to say things others won't like, as long as you do it in an assertive way. What I don't believe in though is arguing with emotions because that leads to nowhere. If we all agreed on everything, what would be the point of talking?
I don't know what you think I meant by "easier to play". Shogi is shogi, and it's equally hard to play everywhere. I was talking about logging in and getting to the game as quickly as possible which is purely a technical thing related to points I made that you acknowledged were true.
So let me see if I understood you - the goal of the site is to get more international players, but not just any players. You want only those who want to immerse themselves into shogi seriously and play it in the way it is played in Japan. OK, I would then have a couple of questions in case you have time (please ignore them if you don't).
1. Are you happy with how that goal is currently being achieved?
If the answer is 'yes' then this discussion is over, everything is clear as day.
2. If the answer is something like 'no' or 'somewhat', then what do you think is missing for the answer to be 'yes'?
My point is this - for more serious players to emerge, there must be more players in general. If you only care for getting the ones who are serious from the start, then you're gonna only have a few, like you do now. If you're happy with that, that's absolutely fine and there's no point in discussing anything further.
Unfortunately, I can't go to tournaments because there aren't any nearby, however, I did participate in chess tournaments as a kid, and I know the feeling. That feeling isn't unique to shogi I'm afraid. There's as much profoundness and beauty in chess as well, although I would rank shogi a tad bit higher.
But how does the fact that shogi is a profound and beautiful game make point 5 go away? Is it because you consider those manners to be a part of the beauty? I'm trying to argue against that, and I made a lot of points to support my position, primarily stating that I think those aren't necessarily 'shogi manners', but general (Japanese) manners that are used in other games and situations as well, though this might not be true. I'm also trying to argue that the beauty of shogi lies in the game with it's rules, and not anywhere else. The beauty of good manners is a separate kind of beauty in my opinion. On the other hand, it seems you consider your position on the importance of manners to simply be true and not debatable. If I remember correctly from your videos, the point of emphasizing manners is simply to encourage people to be decent and respectful when playing, but that's not specifically a shogi thing and I don't see it as vital point when trying to promote a game. But again, if you're only interested in players who want to embrace that too, then that's perfectly fine. It's not something I would do, but this is your site, so you're 100% entitled to do whatever you want with it.
As for points 1. and 2., of course they have been discussed and decided. Now that you have a couple of years of statistics, you can measure whether those decisions were good or not, and adjust if necessary.
And of course I sent a short and concise email.
yes, "the most proper way" is of course debatable.
I mean, (I believe) I know about the "most proper way" of Hidetchi, still not written in detail.
I can tell 2 reasons against fitting different personal preferences:
1) I'd also written in footnote (5) of my previous post: if there are so many games without byoyomi, players who prefere byoyomi would stay away, playing on an other server
2) 81Dojo is like a child from Hidetchi: when he is thinking this or that is wrong, he don't like such things on his server
=> maybe if there would be a lot of more people, having a filter showing only things you like would be helpfull, but this solves only the first part.
Yes, speaking about kicking I've also only seen on playok and there were some rude people doing it.
By the way, maybe I'm not a "big" fan, but I also like American Football. ;-)
In Japan, shogi is more than a game, it's culture.
So I believe, Japan has no interest in spreading an interesting game around the world - it should stay culture.
To make shogi popular all over the world, I believe there must be an counterinitiative, focusing at the game.
Telling your philosophy about "chess.com" was maybe the most important word.
So we'll understand better now and I believe more, that this wouldn't be the way of 81dojo.
Everyone who has internet can form a team, today. ;-)
For shogi-server, the CSA protocol is "well known".
Also 81dojo is using it as basic, even there have had to be done a lot of extensions, support comfortable human play, chatting, drawing arrows, ...
It was long time ago, I've gambled with shogi server software.
I'm not sure, if that was also ruby - but with ruby (running under windows) I've had also tried it.
The (one) source is here:
Maybe also look here: http://shogi-server.osdn.jp/
I remember, also the free open-source go server supports shogi.
But before you start, you should be aware the following:
where will you run the server?
I don't believe there will be a free way - will you give money? Somehow collect money?
You can also use other technics, for example write a server in PHP.
There are still also free ones available, but it's not a save future - if to much traffic, it can become unfree.
Or maybe doing it with a peer-to-peer solution. ;-)
Without the need of server, or at least much easier to handle, so possible to do without money.
But on the other side, I assume a lot of more work to do.
Next very difficulty thing would be to establish and make it popular.
Hmmm, this would be an own extensive topic. ;-)
A lot of things written somewhere in internet, some ideas, but very hard to do.
if you want to be careful not to offend anyone, you shouldn't define the goal of someone else's site (especially as the one he disagrees most). If you have respect for him and his videos, you wouldn't question his emphasis of traditional manners.
I totally cannot believe you say you saw my videos. "Giving an easy way to play shogi" is the "goal"? And playing "shogi" here means even a casual toy like ShogiWars? Did any one of my videos look like I have such a low-sighted goal? I think I made every effort there to explain the importance of the things surrounding shogi.
If the goal was like you said, yes, ShogiWars would do. We don't need anything else. Many many people would have fun and go crazy with the easy toy to play shogi. Maybe you're happy with that, but I am not. I've been making efforts for years to avoid such tragic situation. So Berni has the point. I'm not working for numbers.
Japan has so many and strong shogi players and we're really fine. We're not desperate to increase overseas players. But we are so much fascinated by the supernatural beauty and profoundness of shogi, that we dream of letting even overseas people to share this feeling, and that we definitely want to do everything to help those overseas people who are eager to endeavor to go deeper into this world but having difficulties. If you go to an European shogi tournament and see the people who seriously face shogi, you will feel it. To remove their difficulties, to help them with a successful promotion in the country, to give them right access to shogi world, to guide them through the right way to get along with shogi; these are some of the important goals of the site.
With this correction being made, your point 5 will immediately go away. And point 1 and 2, you can see they had already been designed like that after thorough discussions and thoughts. Point 3 and 4 are fine, of course. These are just technical and man-power issues. (But they won't make much difference in the number of users.) By the way you can scale the board with Ctrl key + mouse wheel.
I've never seen your e-mail, at least I don't remember at all reading one. But I'm sure I must have decided immediately not to read it and thrown it to archive IF the email looked exactly like your post.
When you want to be listened to by someone who doesn't have time, you need to be brief.
Hello Berni and thank you for the detailed answer. I have no problem with reading long posts, so don't worry about it. :)
A) I absolutely agree that this comes down to personal preferences but most of the things you wrote can be present at the same time, so why wouldn't they be? Byoyomi and no-byoyomi should both be available, so people can pick what they like. If you want to greet your opponent and thank them after the game, then by all means do it. Kicking of the players is something I've only seen on playok, and I don't support it. I'm more for reporting disruptive players.
C) The problem is that "the most proper way" is something hugely debatable. I would go as far as to argue that there isn't such a thing. They are probably referring to ethics as much as the rules of the game itself, and that's one of the things I was talking about. If we strictly talk about games (sports included) I don't know of a single example of a game that became very popular in the world while still hanging on to surrounding traditions from its country of origin.
For example, I'm a big fan of American football. When I watched the world cup in Vienna in 2011, my favorite team was the Japanese national team. After their game against Canada, they all held hands and bowed to the audience. I absolutely loved it. Of course, no other team would do anything similar, because it's strictly a Japanese thing, and of course, it's absolutely not a part of American football culture, but it was an instance of the Japanese adding manners of their own to a game that isn't their own. Also, while watching a U19 game between Japan and Mexico online a couple of years back, I heard a reporter comparing the atmosphere on the two sidelines. She said how the Mexican side was all cheerful, players moving around, high-fiving eachother and talking, while the Japanese side was completely silent and dead serious. And I thought it was great! Because that is how Mexicans play the game, and this is how Japanese play the game.
The game itself is universal. It's a set of rules and regulations that form something that's either fun to play, or it's not. Ethics and manners are entirely dependent on a particular culture and don't translate well across nations. Tying that to the game and saying "here, let me teach you this great game, but if you want to play it, you have to act like this, and say this" simply cannot work in favor of spreading it.
D1) My philosophy isn't "make another Shogi Wars". My philosophy is "make it more like chess.com". I've mentioned Shogi Wars only as an example of a popular site that puts no emphasis on the things 81dojo considers to be the proper way to play. And yes, I know that there's too many chess players in comparison to shogi players, but some core principles of chess.com can absolutely be copied without fear of making something that already exists. It has everything - game analysis (with an engine), many different time controls, the ability to challenge a particular player or to auto-match, chat, correspondence play, puzzles, tournaments, discussion boards. And yes, I know that it's a much more serious site for a lot larger audience, but again, I believe that many things can be copied from it successfully, such as the experience of registering and getting to the game quickly, the ability to adjust the size of the interface and so on.
Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to form a team. I didn't know there were open source servers, so thank you for letting me know, I will try to look into that more. If you know of any, I would appreciate if you could give me some more info. Of course, I would require a lot of time to do this, but I still want to do it, no matter how long it takes. If anything, it will be good practice to hone my Unity skills. :)
I followed this thread from beginning and also wanted to write, still delayed because so much content to say.
I know, I often write too much - boring to read.
So I try to keep it short and will use footnotes, which you should only read if you are really interested in it.
A) there are different philosophies:
one like byoyomi, others not and both can justify it. (1)
one like the rule "lose on illegal move", others not. (2)
one like "autocreate play", others prefer to select the oponent manually.
one like traditional manners, others not. (3)
and so on, one like this (feature), while others dislike it. (4)
B) so what about the current situation in general?
maybe one could dream about ONE shogi place, where ALL shogi lovers meet.
To handle this huge amount of players and games, there must be filters, so it simply will hide all players who don't like byoyomi, who don't like to play short/long time limit and so on.
I'm not sure if this theoretically could work.
BUT I'm sure nevertheless this will stay a dream and can't be practially make reality.
=> existence of more than one different shogi server
C) situation about 81Dojo:
About the philosophy, you can read here: http://81dojo.com/en/?jump=en/about.html
It's right, 81Dojo is "aiming for promoting shogi to the world" BUT (!!!) with the addition "in the most proper way"!!!
And THIS (!!!) is the reason, that the count of players on 81Dojo can't grow.
This don't fit to the wishes of so many people who will play shogi only to relax.
you can't mix the players of 81dojo and Shogi Wars together (5) (suggest to read at least this footnote)
Only a dream, maybe possible with a lot of filters => reread B)
D1) @ thread-opener
so what is your philosophy?
Of course, you like to have more players.
Reaching this goal without changing the philosophy would be hard work (promotion, advertising, ...)
But chaning the philosophy will only create another Shgoi Wars.
=> there are different shogi-servers, one has this feature you like, an other has other features you like.
=> check them and use that one, which fit best your wishes
=> furthermore: don't be fixed to only one of them, use this today for serious play, use an other tomorrow for relaxing play!
By the way: currently I know 7 sites to play live-shogi on android (and a few about turn-based).
D2) @ thread-opener - continue
I highly appreciate your ambition in helping to make the shogi-world better.
And I'm also very disappointed that you didn't got any answer to your offer writing a client.
That's NOT the (japanese) polite manner, claimed to do like in shogi games.
Furthermore the rude ... :-(((
Won't write this.
=> write down your philosophy
=> if it won't fit well to any existing shogi-server, maybe try to create a team to found an own shogi-server
There already exists (I believe even different) open-source shogi-servers, so writing the Client would be by far the most time needed thing, but this you told you like to do.
But second, there is also the need of hardware, to run the server. Even possible with free available services in internet, without money this would be a gambling unsure thing.
While chess games (normaly) become more simple to the end of the game (even there are unsolvable positions for humans), shogi become more and more tactical to the end.
So you would need much time at the end.
In my eyes, sudden-death is not good working for shogi, but only for chess.
=> So I (!!!) prefere byoyomi, or also an increment per move is working well in shogi (even not typical in Japan world).
Nevertheless I also know a reason against byoyomi: mostly I played shogi in advaning getting material. Having reached this aim, I can slowly win by doing only save moves.
Having a winning position you have to win in maybe 5 minutes instead can be an interesting task.
Here I believe the best is to explain my experience in my childhood, playing chess with my father:
of course, a beginner become frustrated, if always loosing by a stupid failure.
so to learn the game I would say it will be a good idea to take-back blunders.
But when I was older, it was my (!!!) idea I told my father, NEVER take back any moves.
Following this moment, there still were games one lost by a blunder, which is annoying for the losing player and furthermore makes no fun to win for the other.
BUT the result of this was, that the blunders become less and less and finaly (almost?) happend never.
=> the games became more seriously, better. You have learned not doing blunders and even recognize them early, not wasting time about this move.
Learn to detect nifu from beginning and you won't waste time in further thinkings.
I like it from beginning in shogi and also have done it always, even if there wasn't any automatism. I'd created a simple textfile with most common words/sentences I needed, in English, also Japanese and German language, doing copy'n'paste with it.
And when the client (ShogiClub24) only allows me to select English text for autopost, I still used copy'n'paste of Japanese text when playing against a Japanese.
For example I hate the "kick" feature, which allows to ban watchers from the game.
It could be usefull (the idea of creating it) to ban unpolite people, sisturbing the game.
But on the other side, some are using it from a very unpolite way, kicking his oponent when losing a game or kicking any observer without any reason.
for example, on 81Dojo are connected 100 players, maybe 20 of them like postgameanalysis.
You will have "a good" chance of find an opponent, doing analysis after the game.
If all Shogi Wars players would be also on 81Dojo, you maybe have more than 1000 players, but only 20 will do serious play.
Almost no chance of postgameanalysis - and finaly this players like doing analysis will stop visiting this page.
=> 81dojo will NOT become better, it will become a second "Shogi Wars"
Here, let me do something about it.
In the very first YouTube shogi video you made, you said that you're doing it because you think there are a lot of people who want to learn shogi but can't find enough lessons in English. Almost the entire content of your YouTube channel is directed towards those people and the very reason you started it was to bring shogi to foreigners. I myself learned shogi with your lessons and I'm eternally thankful to you for that. And of course, I'm far from being the only one. You have done so many things to promote shogi internationally that one can just stand in awe and admire it. Not only have you made a ton of YouTube videos, but you've translated books to English, done god knows how many promotional activities and even learned programming just so you could make this website. And you did all of that (or most of that I guess) for no compensation whatsoever. I don't know anyone else with such devotion and passion. You are one of the top international shogi promoters in the world, maybe even the most important of all (at least that's how it was before, I'm not sure how it is these days). So having that in mind, don't you think it makes perfect sense to assume that this site you yourself thought of and helped build, was created for the same purpose of international promotion? I think it was perfectly reasonable to think that, even if it somehow wasn't true.
I was very careful not to offend anyone and I made it perfectly clear a couple of times how much I appreciate your work and effort and how I understand that people will disagree with my statements, so I really don't understand your rude tone. Doesn't the fact that I apparently care about 81dojo so much that I'm willing to "waste time" writing such a long post about it, and the fact that I offered some sort of help for free (no matter whether you want it or not) deserve at least enough respect for an assertive answer?
If my assumption about the goal of this website was wrong, why not simply say "you're wrong about it, the goal is something else", instead of responding in such a cynical way for no good reason whatsoever? But OK, that's your choice. I'm certainly not going to reply to you in the same manner, because of how much respect I have for you.
One thing is indisputable - 81dojo still has very few users. And even if my assumption about its original purpose was wrong, that still doesn't automatically negate all of the things I said. Of course, I'm not saying that they are necessarily true either, but that's why I said I'd like to hear other opinions.
But anyway, by your answer I can clearly see that you don't consider changing anything, so I can only wish you good luck.
First please at least do something about your mistaken idea of the goal of 81Dojo, before wasting time to form your long-text argument.
1. It just adds more ways to lose, and I think it's unnecessary.
2. Well, that's how chess works, as you know. The idea here primarily is to make it easy to play a lot of games. I understand what you're saying about winning on the board, however I think that part comes down to personal preference. When I talk about no-byoyomi time controls, I don't mean that byoyomi should be completely removed. I would just like to see this being added together with current time controls. The fact kiremake is used in club play is probably due to the exact reasons I'd like to see it on 81dojo - squeezing more games into the available time frame.
5. This is a very important thing that you said. You are here primarily because you can interact with other people who speak English and analyze games, and without that, you wouldn't be here. On the other hand, you do play on Shogi Wars, even though you much prefer byoyomi and there's no verbal interaction with your opponents. That means you're on Shogi Wars for the most important reason - playing games. That tells a lot. Also, I don't think 81dojo should become Shogi Wars at all. I think it should become more like chess.com. It has the social aspect that's even better than the one on 81dojo.
Sure, it's not hard to be nice. :) However, people are different. I don't see a moral justification for forcing someone to be nice. Of course, being rude and insulting is something else, but there's nothing wrong with simply being neutral. If you don't get annoyed when you get mated, then I admire your nerves, but I personally would rather have that "You lose" in my face immediately, than have it a couple of seconds later bundled with the requirement to thank my opponent for beating me. :D
But again, this is more of a personal thing. The real issue is, and I can tell you this as someone who creates video games for a living, that the less clicks your players have to do, and the less windows they have to go through, the better.
Well, I said that it's made to suit serious players. I didn't say that all serious players are necessarily going to like it because of that. If the strength of 81dojo are post-game tools and socializing while analyzing games, then that proves my point - it's suited for serious players who want to do that.
We agree on what the biggest problem is, but what I'm trying to say is not "the biggest problem is the lack of users, while all the rest is more or less fine", but "the biggest problem is the lack of users, and that problem is a result of other things not being fine". I believe that fixing those other things will get more users. You don't have to have anything really unique. You just need to make everything smooth and simple and the users will come as a result.
1. I don't know how much it matters for new players, personally when I started out I just felt that it's nothing different compared to make a legal blunder. At the same time it's not a big loss if it was removed so it's a change worth considering at least.
2. I have seen 30 minute kiremake being used in local tourneys and club play. Outside of that I was under the impression that they used byouyomi but I haven't really looked into it much. The format is pretty weird because it's long enough to allow playing a good game but there is still that risk of losing on time if a game runs on for much longer than expected. I much prefer at least a short byouyomi of 10 s or so to force players to actually win on the board. Even though I've played for time wins plenty of times on Shogi Wars.
5. The social side of 81Dojo is actually the reason I still play shogi, if it was just like Shogi Wars with no player interaction at all I probably would've found it too lifeless after trying a few games.
Of course that's a bit different topic than manners but I still don't see the problem of taking ~2 s of your time pressing a button at the start and at the end of a 15+ minute game to come across as a nice person. Forcing resignation also gives the losing player time to see that it's actually mate instead of just throwing "You lose!" in his face.
It's funny that you say 81Dojo is for serious players because I much prefer other servers for playing. The strength of 81Dojo is the social side and postgame tools. I mostly brought up the topic of improvement because you used it in the OP.
At the end of the day I think the biggest problem is just that the most important thing for a server is the number of users. As long as you don't have something unique that many players want they will just gravitate towards the most popular servers which are SC24 for longer games and Shogi Wars for short games.
I don't think rating inflation has anything to do with it. I actually think the ratings are pretty accurate, when you compare people's real life ranks to their 81dojo ranks.
1. I didn't know that. Is that true for other illegal moves as well? But anyway, playing non-rated games doesn't really solve this issue because improving your rating is a good motivation to come back and play, no matter how serious about shogi you are.
2. Then I would guess that most Japanese amateur tournaments promote bad shogi too? I disagree with this notion.
3. OK, there's nothing to be said here.
4. Of course it is. I'm giving my opinion on what I think needs to be done in order to improve 81dojo. The fact that people are busy is something I'm very much aware of, but it's a different topic.
5. SC24 is outdated and very user-unfriendly. Even though it's been translated to English, it never had the goal to appeal to international audience. Therefore, manners make more sense there.
Actually, I usually do not make any greetings when I play an online game, and neither do my opponents. We play the game, and move on to the next one without saying a word. There's nothing wrong with that. Playing a game online is simply not the same as playing it face to face. If someone left after a game in real life without saying anything, I would consider it rude. When it happens online though, I don't, and I would bet that most other people think so too. It's the same with a lot other online interactions. If you simply don't answer to this new post I'm writing, I wouldn't equate that to you leaving without saying a word if we were having this conversation face to face. It's simply not the same.
As I previously said, the goal of 81dojo was to give international players an easy way to play shogi. As far as I know, JSA doesn't care much about promoting the game worldwide, so that falls on the shoulders of enthusiasts. Naturally, their primary targets aren't strong players like yourself. I doubt that you actually started playing shogi because of 81dojo (maybe I'm wrong), and that you need it in order to play shogi online against opponents of your strength. Their targets are people who are new to the game, because once there's a lot of them, there will be some who will become serious players.
And did you notice something - most of the points you made were from the perspective of a strong player who takes shogi seriously. You mentioned good practice, promoting bad shogi, post game analysis in order to improve... I guess you tend to play in tournaments and travel to foreign countries because of shogi? This is exactly what I'm talking about - 81dojo is a site that suits serious players, but not new players. It really doesn't come down to what you like or what I like. It comes down to what's best to attract new players.
At this stage, good practices and post game analysis aren't important. What's important is getting people to play. If you make it easy and casual, there's a bigger chance that they will stick with the game and they might also tell their friends "hey, check this cool game out". Once we're at the point where the number of people playing is no longer an issue, then we can put emphasis on more serious things for those who want it. When a parent teaches their kid to play chess, they mostly don't teach best practices nor spend time analyzing games. They just teach them the rules and have them play. Most strong chess players have started like this.
As you can clearly notice, the online international shogi community is pretty much non-existent. Before, there was 81sqareuniverse where some of us were somewhat active, and then it died. This forum is even less used by people, and the Japanese section is more active than the English section. Things are obviously not going well so leaving them like they are probably isn't going to improve anything. Things need to be changed.
I listed Shogi Wars as an example of a successful shogi playing site. By saying that 81dojo should try to go down that road more, I meant that it should adopt what's good there, and not that it should turn into Shogi Wars completely.
1. Last time I checked you don't lose on nifu in NR games so you can always play that if you want the casual experience. I personally like that you lose on illegal moves here because it's good practice.
I think the high numbers of dan players has more to do with massive rating inflation.
2. Having the option would be nice and it existed for a short period of time on 81dojo. I think being able to win on time promotes bad shogi though. Also blitz games easily give you bad habits and quick games tend to mean little to no postgame analysis which is the most important step if you want to improve.
3. UI can always be improved, creating an account has caused problem for me in the past because of not getting a confirmation mail.
4. That's a ton of work and I guess people are busy.
5. SC24 has a similar manner system, shogi wars doesn't but it's designed to be devoid of communication and a feeling that you're playing against another human being.
The things you mention aren't specific to Japanese games. I would assume you make some kind of greeting before you start to play any game. You also tend to do something when you lose a game. Be it writing gg before you leave like in many computer games or shaking hands like I believe you do in chess. If I was playing someone in a club or something and he just suddenly left when he was losing I would consider him very rude.
Shogi Wars is Shogi Wars. It's the perfect server when you have a limited amount of time and just want to play a game of shogi. It most likely generates a decent profit so they have the resources for high production values. Trying to mimic it is not really the right way to go because then why would I play on 81Dojo when I can play on Shogi Wars?
Hello,I agree with you, exactly 1 point. I'm begginer in this game, and I play the game due to the fact that did not know about nifu, or didnt see when i open my ''king'' for the attack. And after game, i thought why i lose!?
So, will be good, if begginer player can see ''nifu'' or other illegal move's.