The Chess Variant Pages
Custom Search

Daniel Elliott Loeb send me the following information on Barney Pells METAGAME Game-playing Workbench. The author of the file below is Barney Pell.

METAGAME Game-Playing Workbench 2.0.0

I am announcing the availability of the latest version of the METAGAME workbench. This is a workbench for developing and playing metagame programs. The workbench also allows users to enter and modify the rules of chess-variants, and test them out against other humans or programs. This release contains the following:
  • Generator for Symmetric Chess-like Games
    • Automatically generates new games in this diverse class.
    • Generator can be controlled by parameters affecting board-size, piece complexity, types of goals, branching factor, and so on.
    • Generated pieces are given mnemonic names, which can be modified by the user.
  • Definitions of chess, checkers, chinese_chess, shogi, lose_chess, lose_checkers, french_checkers, tic_tac_toe translated into symmetric chess-like games.
  • Text interface for generating and playing games, with extensive help menus and move completion.
  • Legal move generator
    • Takes in the rules of any game in this class (either generated or user defined), an returns the set of legal moves from any board position.
  • A sophisticated player: ITERATE
    • This is an iterative-deepending alpha-beta searcher, with resource bounds, randomized ordering on ties, and the principal continuation heuristic
    • The supplied evaluation function uses features of MATERIAL, THREATS, PIECE-MOBILITY, TOTAL-MOBILITY, and PIECE-SQUARE tables. The weights for these features can be set by users or programs for different games.
    • The evaluation function used in this searcher can be entirely customized or replaced by the user or program.
  • Efficient indexing, for fast search and pattern matching.
  • Game Clock / Timing Facilities
  • Portability: This Workbench can now be used in Quintus or Sictus Prolog.
This is an EXPERIMENTAL system. You may take it and use it at your own risk. No warranties are given or implied. The primary concern has been to develop a system which could play all the games in this class, using a declarative respresentation suitable for machine learning and meta-reasoning.

I would appreciate any feedback (at (email removed contact us for address) concerning the system and its use. I will try to be responsive to any comments/requests/bugs/etc.

                             Barney Pell
                         Computer Laboratory
                           New Museum Site
                           Pembroke Street
                          Cambridge CB2 3QG
                  E-Mail:  (email removed contact us for address)
                    Telephone:  (44)(0)223 334602
                        Fax: (44)(0)223 334678

To receive and build the Metagame Workbench:

The metagame system is implemented in SICStus Prolog, version 2.1,
which is available by email to:  (email removed contact us for address)
This new release also supports Quintus Prolog. 
HOW TO ftp:

 1) Issue FTP command to connect to our ftp server

 ftp or ftp

 When asked for Name, respond with "anonymous"
 When asked for Password, respond with your email address

 2) Issue change directory command to where the METAGAME system is
 cd users/bdp
 3) Change transfer mode to binary
 4) Now retrieve the METAGAME system
 get metagame2.0.tar.Z
 5) Exit the ftp program
 6) Now uncompress and untar the files
 uncompress -c metagame2.0.tar.Z | tar xvf -

 Note that this command creates a subdirectory Metagame in the current
 directory and uncompresses the files into that directory.
 7) (Optional) Remove the compressed METAGAME system

 rm metagame2.0.tar.Z

 8) Change into the Metagame directory

 cd Metagame

 9) Build the system

 make install

 10) Run the system


  That will put you in the system proper.  After that, use the help
  menus to find out what to do.

  Remember that if you ever encounter an error which fails to prolog,
  just type: "metagame."  to get back into the system.

 11) Have fun with the METAGAME system...

Note that some of these instructions (1-7) apply only to Berkeley derived 
Unix, eg BSD, SunOS, etc.

Also available are two papers on Metagame:
        Metagame: A New Challenge for Games and Learning
        Metagame in Symmetric Chess-Like Games

And one paper on Go:
        Exploratory Learning in the Game of GO

To retrieve and print these papers:

1) Get them from FTP, as described above

2) uncompress them:


3) print them to a postscript printer:

 lpr -Tps

Webpage created: February 7, 1997.