Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Brutal Chess

With a name like Brutal Chess, I was hoping for something along the lines of Battle Chess. While I didn't get that, I did get a much more attractive and 3D-capable version of the classic board game than GNU Chess offers.

I suspect the AI in GNU Chess is brighter, but I am only guessing. On all other fronts, Brutal Chess is superior. Graphically it's very pretty, and 3D, while GNU Chess was ugly in 2D, and hideous in 3D. It was also sluggish and processor-intensive in 3D; Brutal Chess handles like a dream.

The developers' SourceForge page has some screenshots that suggest that multiple tile-sets are planned - including some tile-sets that fulfill my Battle Chess wish - but there don't seem to be any included in the current package. Oddly, the version available via package is two releases out of date; the most current version was released in January of '07, and fixes a bug that allowed white pawns to move backwards, which is sort of game-breaking. Or at least game-altering.

There are pretty reflections, and smoother animations. Holding down the right mouse button allows you to rotate the board in any direction, which is neat.

Other than these graphical tweaks, there's not much else to say. It's chess, and it plays like chess. It allows for two-player locally, and there's talk on the dev's page of adding network-play support, but it's not in the current build. These guys are doing a great job.

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