While certainly nothing fancy, I have added a quick material evaluation to picoEngine. Up till now, I’ve been using picoEngine with random moves on. It is an option that by default is off, but the end user can choose to play against the engine in random move mode, where the next move is chosen at random. By default it will now play in “Normal” mode, which tries to make an educated decision.

Of course, the engine does not have a brain, or any essence of being, and thus cannot really “choose” a move. Thus, by educated decision, I really mean a weighted decision. The simplest of all weights is that of material advantage. In this case, I’m using “deca-pawns”, where each pawn is worth 10 points, the nights 30, the bishops 30, the rook 50, the queen 100, and the king 1000 points, respectively.

I don’t intend for this to be the final say in making the decision for picoEngine. At this time, though, I’m really in a position to work out the details of making a decisive move, but to be able to “choose” the best move, it needs some criteria to choose from. Thus, I put in the smallest and simplest criteria I could think of so I could work on the real part of determining how picoEngine will cycle through the available moves in order to pick one to play.

Other good methods of evaluating the board are:

  • Space – how much area you control.
  • Development – leading or lacking thereof.
  • Mobility – the freedom of movement that your pieces enjoy verses your opponent.
  • Aggression – the ability to attack your opponent.
  • Defense – things like the status of castling, or if your pieces are defended from loss.

And of course, materialism, which is the simplest to implement, as it is basically a count of remaining pieces. The problem with materialism as a goal is that such a machine can be easily tricked with things like a queen sacrifice, but it is a start!

Linux – keep it simple.

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