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Do You Want to Write a Backgammon Program ?

By: tcads

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Whenever you play a video game or a PlayStation game the game progresses through various levels, this is no coincidence that the term levels should be used, as levels designate the distinct way that a program has been put together. Itís also, in the case of Lara Croft Tomb Raider and the like representative of the progress of the player.

In backgammon programs the level of a playerís ability is not configured into their program par se: it is done by their rankings.

In producing a viable and sustainable program for backgammon there are really only two ways that the computer can beat the human mind, One is to be cleverer than the opposition; the other is to work hard at it. Most strategies in these programs use evaluations and try to think ahead of the players by over compensating for moves.

In chess, there are possibly 20-30 moves by each player per turn.

With backgammon, the difference is far greater, with 21 unique rolls and often 4-6 ways to play each one (not counting doubles which could have 10 or more ways of playing). This makes it almost impossible to look ahead to the levels. For example just looking ahead 3 moves by both players provides up to 25 choices each; in consequence as far as the program is concerned this evaluates to 'only' 244 million positions. If there are 90 ways to play each move, there are 530,000 million, positions. Mesmerising!!!!

In chess, you can lose 5 or 10 plays per person. With backgammon, there are always 21 different choices of best game plays, which are also dependent upon the dice throw. Then because of the nature of the game the final race effect of the game puts a completely different slant on the whole program process, coupled with the timing element, which is bad enough for human players to comprehend let alone a machine.

Given that there is an almost daily update in technology advancement these problems are of course achievable and one day a machine will be a better player at backgammon than a human, but in the meantime will show you how a successful and well designed backgammon platform can improve your game to stay ahead of the computer.

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