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Matthew Fabian Final Project Report

From a user perspective:

The program runs by typing 'make' into the command line, followed by 'go.' This launches a new window labeled "Chess." On the screen appears an 8x8 grid of alternating colored cells, and a moment later 32 of the squares are covered by a chess piece. The pieces are in the expected positions for a game of chess, with white on the bottom and black on the top. The user can then play a basic game of chess with another user at the same computer.

White moves first. To move a piece, the user clicks first on the piece that they want to move. If it is their turn and they click on their own piece, the cell it is on will be highlighted with an olive green color. From there, the user can click on any cell on the board. If the user clicks on a cell that is valid to move to, the piece will disappear from where it was and reappear at the new cell. If it is taking the place of an opponent's piece, that piece will disappear from the board. If the user clicks on a cell that isn't valid (such as the same cell again, one of their own pieces, or a cell that the particular piece cannot move to), it will deselect the piece. The color of the cell will return to normal, and the same user will be able to attempt to move any of their pieces again. They will not relinquish their turn until they succesfully move a piece.

The game of chess ends with checkmate, draw, stalemate, or resignation. When one of these conditions is met, either use can exit the program by pressing 'q.' This can be done at any time.

The standard rules of chess are followed, with the following exceptions:

  1. En Passant capture does not exist.
  2. Castling does not exist.
  3. Pawns that reach the opposite side of the board are promoted exclusively to queens.

Touch move rule is in effect; there is no such thing as undo. The player is responsible for declaring check and checkmate. There is no built in clock, but users could play with an external clock if desired.

From a programmer perspective:

The program has a main function that includes the game while loop and 23 supporting functions. A quick note - I chose to use a few global variables because we were told via piazza that global variables would be ok for the final, and it saved me from having to pass an extra few variables to every function. With so many functions, this saved both programming time and perserved better readability within the program.

In the main function, several variables are initialized and declared. A graphics window is opened using gfx_open(), and 2 functions are called to initialize the board: drawboard() and newboard(). The output is then flushed to the screen using gfx_flush(). Next, a while loop is entered that loops until the user chooses to quit and the 'quit' boolean is triggered. The while loop encapsulates a single if statement that is true when gfx_event_waiting() detects any input. If that is the case, gfx_wait() is called and if statements are used to determine if the left mouse button was clicked, or if some other event occured. If the mouse button occured and the clickedOnce flag has not been triggered, the cell value that was clicked on is recorded using gfx_xpos() and gfx_ypos(). The program determines what piece is in the cell that was selected, and if the piece you selected is your own piece, it colors the cell an olive green. The clickedOnce boolean is set to true. When another click is registered, it will lead the program to the else statement (line 82) and determine the cell coordinates in a similar manner as was previously described. Now, the program determines if it is valid to move the piece from the original cell to the new cell and moves it if legal. The turn then passes to the other player, and all updates are flushed to the screen. clickedOnce is set back to false to reset the cycle.

What is described above is accomplished through the help of several functions.

The first function is drawBoard(). It is a void function that uses the gfx library to draw the 8x8 checkerboard in the graphics window. This is accomplished by a nested for loop encapsulating an if/else statement that alternates colors based on if the sum of the rows and columns are even or odd.

Next is newBoard(). This function calls the .setNewGame() method of the Chessboard Class. This updates a private array that uses ASCII characters to keep track of where each piece is on the board. the .setNewGame() method initializes the pieces to the default setup. The commented out code in this section shows the process that would have been necesarry without the class implementation. It clearly saves both programming time and delay while running the program.

Within newBoard(), updateBoard() is called. This is a simple helper function that uses a nested for loop to call the function updatePosition() for every cell on the board.

updatePosition is another void function. It takes as its arguments two integers that represent the x and y indeces of the Chessboard. The function uses the .getSquareValue() method to determine what piece is on that particular cell, then uses a switch statement to call the relevant draw...() function. This places the proper piece of the proper color on the graphical chessboard.

There are six draw...() functions. Each of these functions uses various members of the gfx library to draw the described piece. Every function is a void function with no return, but takes as its arguments integers x and y (located at the top left corner of the cell in which to draw the piece) and the char color (what color to use to draw the piece). An if/else statement is used in each case to select the color, and then various gfx functions are called to make a recognizable image. Featured functions include gfx_fill_circle(), gfx_fill_polygon(), gfx_fill_rectangle(), and gfx_fill_arc(). These functions required several iterations of trial and error in order to make the pieces look presentable.

Next is one of the key functions: movePiece(). This is a void function that takes as input the x/y coordinates of the piece currently, the x/y coordinates of the cell to move to, and the turn value, passed by reference. Within the function, the piece at each relevant cell is determined using the .getSquareValue() method described earlier. Next the rules function is called, which will be explained later. If the rules function returns true, the old square is cleared, the new square is cleared, and the original piece is placed in the new square. Exceptions exist if the original piece was a pawn and it is advancing to the back rank, in which case it becomes a queen instead of a pawn.

A function mentioned brielfy earlier is the highlightCell() function. This void function takes as input the x/y coordinates of a specific cell. It colors that cell an olive green, then calls updatePosition() for that cell only in order to redraw the piece in the cell.

The checkRules() function accomplishes a few connected points. The function returns a boolean value from the arguments of original x/y coordinates, new x/y coordinates, the piece in each of the aforementioned cells, and the turn value passed by reference. The first two if statements if the function state that if the new cell is either the same as the old cell, or the cell of one of the user's own pieces, that move is not allowed. Turns is switched in order to ensure the player does not lose their turn, the highlighted cell is cleared, and we exit back to the main while loop. If both of the initial conditions pass, we enter a switch statement that selects from among several relevant check...() functions. If the relevant check...() statement returns true, the rules function returns true and the move is made as the user indicated.

Each of the six check...() functions determines if a piece is allowed to move where it is attempting to move according to the rules of chess. The boolean functions are passed the x/y coordinates of both the old and new cell. (Note the pawn is also passed the actual values of the cell including color in order to ensure it moves in the proper direction.) The functions establish basic movement rules, such as that rooks can only move horizontally or vertically, and then a helper function is called: checkCollision. The pieces that need to check for collisions are bishops, rooks, and queens. Knight jump pieces so collisions aren't a concern, while pawns and kings only move one cell at a time so collisions are impossible. The checkPawn function has a special else/if string because of its unique forward movement coupled with diagonal attacking.

The checkCollision() function returns a boolean and takes as its arguments the x/y coordiantes of the old cell and the new cell. It uses a several if statements to determine which cardinal direction the piece is attempting to move in, and then determine if there are any obstacles along the path that it will travel. If there are obstacles along the path (traveled in the program using a for loop), the function returns false. If there are no obstacles, the function returns true.

A few more miscellaneous functions... checkTurn() is a boolean function that returns true if the color entere matches the color of the player who currently has the turn, while clearPosition() is a void function that essentially erases a piece from a specific cell by coloring it back to its original rectangle. switchTurns returns a char that is the opposite of the current player's turn, allowing the turn to switch back and forth between 'W' and 'B.'

Evaluating program correctness:

As far as I described and as best I am aware, the program works properly. I built small portions of the program at a time and tested each possible edge case and several points of possible failure. For example, the original movePiece function could be used to move any piece to any cell. This resulted in overlap of pieces, illegal moves, and several more issues. The most pressing issue and first to address was that clicking on a piece and then a different cell occasionally resulted in different pieces being moved, or moved correct pieces to incorrect squares. This problem was solved (an issue with the offset). Then a function was written to prevent pieces from overlapping. Next several functions were created under the 'rules' function that checked whether a piece was making a valid move for its type. And so on and so forth, until each piece was moving exactly as it should.

A similar process was used for the less innovative and more tedious task of drawing each of the pieces. Each piece has a separate function that the gfx_library to build a 2D image of the piece using circles, arcs, rectangles, and polygons. These functions were built on trial and error, with more trial and less error as the process went on.

Currently there are no cases where the program gives innacurate results, but there are several areas for improvement as I continue to work with it in the future. Most importantly, I want to get the program working with all rules of chess. In order of priority, this includes rules for castling, non-queen pawn promotion, and en passant capture. I would also like to implement an checkForCheck() function similar to the earlier extra credit which forces the user to take a legal action if they are in check. Included in this would be adding a small red circle around a king when it is check, and possibly a larger red square when the king is checkmated.

Once these goals are met, future plans include:

  • displaying small olive circles on cells that are valid to move to when a user clicks a piece once.
  • displaying on the side of the board all pieces that have been captured so far.
  • options to restart and to undo
  • a chess clock
  • improving the graphics for the pieces (especially the knight)
  • implementing click and drag functionality
  • create a txt file with the history of the game in chess notation.
  • be able to read in a txt file with chess notation and initialize a board based on where the game currently is.