Kingsrow International + endgame databases is available

Discussion about development of draughts in the time of computer and Internet.
Ed Gilbert
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Kingsrow International + endgame databases is available

Post by Ed Gilbert » Wed Jul 28, 2010 00:01

A number of people have asked me, so I have decided to make Kingsrow International available for purchase. I'm supplying the program and the 8pc and 5men vs. 4men subset of the 9pc databases on an external USB hard drive. See this web site for details: http://pages.prodigy.net/eyg/Internatio ... tional.htm

I apologize for the commercial nature of this post.

-- Ed

64_bit_checkers_engine
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Re: Kingsrow International + endgame databases is available

Post by 64_bit_checkers_engine » Tue Aug 10, 2010 00:54

Well you can't be giving this stuff away for free, heck, your electric bill probably won't be paid until you get 10 orders for it.

:)

BertTuyt
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Re: Kingsrow International + endgame databases is available

Post by BertTuyt » Wed Aug 11, 2010 00:09

Ed,

is it an idea that you also provide a KingsRow lite version which you sent via the net.
If you include (like dragon) a DB-gen program, then DB's can be generated in a later stage (and at least till 5P is relatively fast).

Bert

Ed Gilbert
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Re: Kingsrow International + endgame databases is available

Post by Ed Gilbert » Wed Aug 11, 2010 03:49

Bert,

One of the reasons for selling is to make the large databases available. But I have created an install file for the 7-piece db that is compressed to fit on 4 DVDs, and that will be much less expensive because I can subtract the cost of the hard drive and shipping it overseas. I sent the masters out to be duplicated and will have them in a week or so.

-- Ed

Ed Gilbert
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Re: Kingsrow International + endgame databases is available

Post by Ed Gilbert » Fri Aug 27, 2010 01:23

Some people have asked about less expensive configurations and shipping options, and more license keys. I can now provide some of those things.

- The Kingsrow program is now available with the 7-piece endgame databases on DVDs at a cost that is much lower than the 8-piece configuration. This version also requires less ram and much less disk space.

- I am now providing 2 license keys with each program so it can be installed on 2 computers.

- Now that I have a better handle on costs I am able to drop the price a bit of the 8-piece version on USB hard drive and offer a less expensive shipping option, so that the total cost can be about 10% less than it was originally.

More details at the web site: http://pages.prodigy.net/eyg/Internatio ... tional.htm

-- Ed

birndof
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Re: Kingsrow International + endgame databases is available

Post by birndof » Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:06

With all respect to the terrific programming work U are performing,the time U spend on that, the great results U have achieved in tournaments etc , I really think that 180 $ for a draughts program is by far too expensive.If U compare it to chess for instance ,Rybka 4,the best and strongest available soft in this category only costs 60$.

Instead of shipping dvds , which generates costs ,why not offering it to download at a secure place and sending a key per e mail to unlock this proggy.


I really am willing to spend 60 $ for such a great soft but not 180 $ .

Kindly yours

Heinz

Ed Gilbert
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Re: Kingsrow International + endgame databases is available

Post by Ed Gilbert » Sun Sep 12, 2010 15:16

Hello Heinz,

Thank you for your comments which I know are intended to be constructive. I will try to explain the reasons that the program and databases are priced as they are.

The $180 cost that you mentioned includes a 320GB USB hard drive, so that is not just the cost of the software. It is not possible to deliver that much data through an internet download. When you subtract the 4% that PayPal charges for each transaction, and also allow about 5% for the inevitable losses that occur in this kind of operation, you can see that I end up with about $100 above expenses on each sale, of which I get to keep about $60 after taxes.

For the version with 7-piece databases on DVDs, the net result is about the same. Subtract from the $110 price the cost of 4 commercially duplicated DVDs, the 4% PayPal charge, and a few percent losses because overseas shipping is not always reliable (shipments get lost and then I have to resend, and of course I pay the additional shipping, etc.) and I clear a little under $100 above expenses and before taxes. You might think that 4 DVDs of data is small enough to deliver via a web download. In this case it is about 16GB of data. A good percentage of buyers will have a fast enough internet service that this much data could be dowloaded in under one day. I have a web hosting account that like many is advertised as "unlimited disk space" and "unlimited bandwidth". However when you read the fine print and then inquire what "unlimited" means, as I did with 3 or 4 of these hosting companies, you find that it is not unlimited at all. They all have terms in their agreements that essentially say they will turn off your web site if it starts using much more bandwidth than what a typical site consumes. It's very hard to pin them down on exactly where their limits are, but when I gave examples of what I guessed might be consumed in a month downloading databases they said it was too much. No doubt if I paid enough I could find a hosting service that would be willing to accomodate the bandwidth, but then I would have to charge enough to cover the monthly web hosting fees so it might not save very much over the cost of shipping 4 DVDs.

For anyone to do what I'm doing strictly as a business they would have to be insane. Here is your business proposition. You will spend hundred of hours, maybe even thousands, developing a strong draughts program over the course of several years. Then you will spend more time developing a program that can build an 8-piece endgame database, something that at the time no one had been able to do. You will buy a couple of expensive server class computers and run them for nearly a year to build the database. Then you will sell your product in a market where the best you can hope to do is perhaps eventually recoup the cost of the computers, but not have anything else to show for your thousands of hours of work.

Obviously I did not do these things for business reasons, and until recently I never intended to sell anything. I enjoy draughts programming as a hobby. I already have a full time job, a family and an active life, and distributing kingsrow is a lot more time consuming than you might think. I only decided to do this after several people asked about it, and also because I felt it was kind of wasteful to have this powerful tool sit basically idle when there are a lot of draughts players that can make good use of it. I read many of the posts on the forum where people are analyzing games, discussing whether this player could have avoided the loss, where was the losing move, etc. In many cases I can see "the truth" about these games using kingsrow, and I'm trying to make this available. However I'm not willing to give it away for free. You are right that in some ways it is a lot of money to pay for software, when there are many programs for the PC that can be bought for $20 to $30. But compare it to other programs in the draughts market. Compare the price to what you will pay for Truus, or Turbo Dambase. Heinz, you feel the price is too high, and you are certainly entitled to have that opinion. Of course I am biased, but I feel just the opposite.

-- Ed

BertTuyt
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Re: Kingsrow International + endgame databases is available

Post by BertTuyt » Sun Sep 12, 2010 18:34

Ed,

I fully support you.
And compared with Flits (to a lesser extend) and Truus, your Kingsrow programme is great value for money !!

Bert

TAILLE
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Re: Kingsrow International + endgame databases is available

Post by TAILLE » Sun Sep 12, 2010 21:53

I also fully support you Ed.
60$ cannot be a reasonable price for such a program, even when you do not want to make business!
Gérard

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Re: Kingsrow International + endgame databases is available

Post by Wieger Wesselink » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:18

Yes, it's much appreciated that you have made kingsrow available to the public! To me the price seems more than reasonable, given the tremendous value of the 8 piece databases. The draughts market is simply too small to make more competitive prices possible.

Ed Gilbert
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Re: Kingsrow International + endgame databases is available

Post by Ed Gilbert » Sun Feb 13, 2011 18:40

It has been a little over 6 months that kingsrow has been available for purchase, and I thought I would give a brief update.

There have been several program revisions distributed to users for bug fixes and enhancements. I have been using a mailing list for this purpose. The last email was sent on Jan 26. If you are a kingsrow user and did not receive this email, check your Spam mailbox to see if it landed there, or send me an email.

If you purchased kingsrow with the 7-piece db on DVDs and you have a friend that can lend you his 8-piece install hard drive, then it is perfectly ok to do that and use the 8-piece db. I just wanted to make that clear.

Here is the list of countries that have kingsrow users, sorted by number of users.

Netherlands
USA
France
Italy
Russia
Australia
Brazil
Canada
China
Croatia
Germany
Ukraine

Not surprising that the Netherlands is at the top of the list, and has the most users by a very big margin. What surprised me is that the USA is second. I did not know that international draughts was played much here, and I was not personally aware of most of them.

Of the large number of USB hard drives that have been shipped overseas, only 2 have been lost, and those were only temporarily lost and showed up about 2 months later (I shipped replacements before that happened).

Kingsrow is used by a former world champion and former national champions, and also by several active draughts programmers. A few of these are quite active on this forum.

http://pages.prodigy.net/eyg/Internatio ... tional.htm

-- Ed
Last edited by Ed Gilbert on Tue Feb 15, 2011 13:49, edited 2 times in total.

TAILLE
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Re: Kingsrow International + endgame databases is available

Post by TAILLE » Sun Feb 13, 2011 19:34

Ed Gilbert wrote:It has been a little over 6 months that kingsrow has been available for purchase, and I thought I would give a brief update.

There have been several program revisions distributed to users for bug fixes and enhancements. I have been using a mailing list for this purpose. The last email was sent on Jan 26. If you are a kingsrow user and did not receive this email, check your Spam mailbox to see if it landed there, or send me an email.

If you purchased kingsrow with the 7-piece db on DVDs and you have a friend that can lend you his 8-piece install hard drive, then it is perfectly ok to do that and use the 8-piece db. I just wanted to make that clear.

Here is the list of countries that have kingsrow users, sorted by number of users.

Netherlands
USA
France
Italy
Russia
Australia
Brazil
Canada
China
Croatia
Germany
Ukraine

Not surprising that the Netherlands is at the top of the list, and has the most users by a very big margin. What surprised me is that the USA is second. I did not know that international draughts was played much here, and I was not personally aware of most of them.

Of the large number of USB hard drives that have been shipped overseas, only 2 have been lost, and those were only temporarily lost and showed up about 2 months later (I shipped replacements before that happened).

Kingsrow is used by several former world champions and national champions, and also by several active draughts programmers. A few of these are quite active on this forum.

http://pages.prodigy.net/eyg/Internatio ... tional.htm

-- Ed
Good success Ed. congratulation.
Could you tell us the number of people per country or do you consider this information as confidential ?

I have to say that, since some days, I am now one of the owners of Kingsrow. I have build some applications between Damy and Kingsrow in order to help me cleaning and improving my evaluation function. Sure I will be more efficient in my developments.

In order to understand the impact of all elements of the evaluation function I follow Bert idea to begin with an empty evaluation before intoducing one by one various elements.

First test by taking into account only the material in a 1-move start position (18 games). No surprise : 18 wins for kingsrow.
The next step will be the introduction of the "balance" item. I doubt it will be sufficient for one draw. I will keep you informed.
Gérard

BertTuyt
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Re: Kingsrow International + endgame databases is available

Post by BertTuyt » Sun Feb 13, 2011 19:59

Ed, great news.

And to be honest you and Kingsrow deserve this.
It is real value for money, without any doubt.
And I will also be (most likely) a future owner of Kingsrow :)

Gerard, do you have now DXP or something like this working, as you are now able to play automatic(?) games.

I need to dig more into the tests which I have done with all the various evaluation elements.
Basically I don't understand it (yet).
But it seems that some of the routines (where I put lots of energy in) don't have a major impact.
And on the other hand some quickies make the difference, weird.......
And some of these simple evaluation elements, I didn't find in Horizon, so this maybe could be low hanging fruit.

So keep you all posted.

Bert

Ed Gilbert
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Re: Kingsrow International + endgame databases is available

Post by Ed Gilbert » Sun Feb 13, 2011 20:47

Good success Ed. congratulation.
Could you tell us the number of people per country or do you consider this information as confidential ?
Thank you Gerard. I can tell you that selling kingsrow has covered the cost of the 2 computers I used to build the 8pc db, and perhaps one of my trips to a computer draughts tournament, and nothing else (which is fine). I am not about to quit my day job :-) One of the benefits is that when my wife complains that I spend too much time working on the computer, I can tell her that I am making money. Of course I don't tell her that it is only enough money to feed my hobby, and she doesn't read this forum...

-- Ed

TAILLE
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Re: Kingsrow International + endgame databases is available

Post by TAILLE » Sun Feb 13, 2011 21:58

BertTuyt wrote: Gerard, do you have now DXP or something like this working, as you are now able to play automatic(?) games.
Bert
Yes Bert my current Damy version is now able to play an automatic match (as Initiator). As I said this will help me to build my new evaluation function under development.
I did not introduce DXP in my old version (the only one which is able to play a game) because this version is not really interesting for me. In order to test the new evaluation function I prefer to use another program in order to avoid to mask a weakness that would be in common in both my old and my new version
Gérard

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