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This item is a graphics resource
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2005-03-20
 Author: David  Howe. Alfaerie Variant Chess Graphics. Set of chess variant graphics based on Eric Bentzen's Chess Alpha font.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2018-10-12 UTC

> Are you using Inkscape, loading the bitmap, and tracing over it?

Indeed, that is exactly what I do. I do the tracing by hand in course steps with 'Pen', making a polygon with corners at every sharp corner of the perimiter (ignoring tusks, horns or antennae), and at about every 30 degrees of smooth curves. I make that 75pt wide and red (to distinguish it from the background bitmap). Then I switch to point-editing, and start to bend all the chords of curved outlines in shape, usually by adjusting the 'angular hands' that appear in the end points of the segment once you curve it. I don't use any filling at that point, to make it easy to later remove the bitmap. Then I trace over any details the same way, sometimes with a 60-wide line (and set the end-points to 'rounded'). Usually this is just one or two lines, and an eye. Then I delete the bitmap. Finally I select everything, change the 'stroke color' to black, and select filling with #f9f9f9ff (RGBA) for the outline (and possible horns / tusks, which I drew as an open 'V'). This is the color used for white-piece filling in the original Chess Alpha SVG set, and which the CGI renderer is programmed to replace. (It is annoying that this is different from XBoard's #ffffcc.) Then I group everything, 'Save as', delete and copy-paste in the next bitmap, and scale it up (through Object -> Transform -> Scale) by a factor 4096% to make the 'nominal' size equal to that of the original Chess Alpha pieces.

Of course many similar pieces, such as the riders and ferzed or wazired leapers are cloned from each other, and where I could I started with an original Chess Alpha piece, cutting away the parts I did not want by deleting the points there in point-edit mode, and then adding new points by double-clicking the segments, and move those where I want them now.

Of course it helps that I only need outline pieces, so I don't have to make black pieces separately.

It is a bit of a pain that the color-to-replace depends on the image set. I would hate to hard-code that in the renderer. We could adopt a convention that in any directory with SVG images we put a colors.ini file which the renderer would read at startup, to define the color to replace, and the default filling colors and square shades for that piece set.

Some more:

I don't think it makes sense to also make inverted or rotated images (even though that would of course not be very hard); it seems better to equip the renderer with an option to do that. That could also hold for most cut-and-past combination pieces, which can be produced from their primitives by the renderer.

I also had a look at the Alfaerie extension sets, but there seems to be a lot of nonsense there. Colored disks for use as board markers are useful, but they do not belong in a piece set. Board markers should be a class of their own, as they are usually independent of the chess font used. Also there seem to be alternative representations of the same piece. It is true that the Alfaerie Camel (and to a lesser degree the Elephant) sucks. But that's Alfaerie. One should not combine glyphs from all kind of different fonts for the same piece, and than slam a new name on the entire collection. And some of the animals in the extension set are completely 'out of style' (e.g. Crab), using a higher resolution with thinner lines. There are also multi-colored images, (with red eyes and such), which as far as I am concerned is also a no-no.

Perhaps we should clean up the set a bit, throwing out all the stuff that is not likely to be used by anyone in the future. I doubt it is useful to have all kind of 'starred' animal images, with an undefined move.