Weird Science - Tales from the
Vectrex Academy Lab
Playable alpha prototype, version 0.2
A simple one
or two player chess-like game with some
Intended to be
rather an academic experiment than the
attempt to create a good Vectrex chess game
The goal of this experiment is to
keep the complete board drawn at a 50Hz
framerate at all times.
Especially, the board shall remain
visible during the AI move computations.
Only the original Vectrex hardware
is used, no additional RAM, no "stronger"
The code is pure Vectrex C, using the BIOS
routines for interfacing with the console
the code does not use processor interrupts.
The rules of Kingslayer Chess are a simplified and
modified version of the common rules of chess.
The goal of the game is to explicitly slay the
opponent's king (hence the name).
In order to win the game, the king must be taken
by an attacking move of another piece.
There is no checking-rule, and the game only ends
if the king is taken.
There is no castling, en-passant, or
pawn-promotion. Also no 50-moves-rule or alike.
Use the joystick and the buttons of controller 1
to play the game.
Issues and Current Limitations
The are currently three different types of AI
(implementing levels 1 to 3 of the minimax
Also, a non-AI can be chosen as opponent which
does completely random moves only.
The screen size of the chess board is the
(currently) best possible compromise between
performance and the goal to display the board at any
time while maintaining a 50Hz frame rate.
The code of the core AI has not yet been optimized
for performance, and thus the 50Hz frame rate goal
is still being slightly exceeded every once in a
while. This will be addressed soon.
The AIs are certainly not club player level and
rather intended as (worthy?) opponents for the
casual novice or amateur player. Maybe they can also
provide some fun for beginners or kids who are just
about to start learning chess.
As of now, the order of "thinking" time of AI 1 is
approx 1 second per move, AI 2 needs between 6 and
30 seconds, and AI 3 on average computes its moves
in the range from 30 seconds to 3.5 minutes,
occasionally taking up to 7 minutes.
It is sort of fun to watch the AIs
play against each other...