SVILO SCORE CUBE CLOCK DICE - (SSCCD)
SOLID STATE DIGITAL BACKGAMMON DEVICE
While all care has been taken to produce the best SSCCD device, I am aware that workmanship is not at the desired level. There is a whole lot of work to be done in perfecting the box. and other hardware. The software part is going to be improved too.
I am confident that even in this initial stage of development the device will be a good helper to players and Tournament Directors.
I may, in my discretion, chose to change the design and functions of SSCCD without preadvise and the changes will be covered in the future editions of this User's manual. The User's manual may be changed itself, and only the version accompanying a physical device will apply.
All comments, test reports and recommendations for improvement are welcome.
(aka svilo - on FIBS and GG and GOL, boardmaker on Truemoneygames, Aceofrace on Play65)
mailing address: Alexander von Humboldt 36B
Sofia 1113, Bulgaria
Phone/Fax: +359-878415549e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
What is SSCCD
As backgammon is becoming an internationally recognized sport, more and more backgammon tournament rules provide for playing with a clock. Chess clocks are used to help players and tournament directors (TD) comply with the provisions.
Rolling the dice from dice cups and using the clock makes the whole procedure - evaluation of cube action, shaking the dice in the cup, rolling, thinking, moving, pressing the clock - still longer as more devices are used - the backgammon set including a doubling cube, dice cups and dice set of four, the clock.
Another consideration is the randomness of the roll produced. With so many "movements" a player has to make, it is difficult both for the player to produce the required uniform mechanical shaking and rolling of dice and for his opponent to control whether this has been performed properly. It is also very difficult for TD to verify an offense
Conflicts may arise as to the value, ownership of the cube or match score etc./b>
Sometimes, conflicts arise in respect of the last roll. Especially where two sets of dice are used.
The SSCCD is designed to help overcome most of these problems.
The digital device is programmed to produce random rolls.
The SSCCD keeps in memory at all times the following parameters: Match score; Value and ownership of the cube; Turn to roll and turn to play; Dice rolled; When the dice are picked by the opponent, his previous roll is kept in memory and can be reproduced on request before rolling oneself;
There is a Fischer function (offered once by the great American chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer). If enabled, when a player's clock reaches 00 hours 55 minutes (when left with 5 minutes) and his turn comes, the clock will not run 10 seconds for his cube decision and another 10 seconds for his checker play on each subsequent roll. This "free time" is not accumulated. This means that the player with less than 5 minutes left will never increase his remaining time, but his time left will decrease each time he uses more than 10 seconds for a cube decision or for a checker play.
has a LCD display and 2 buttons - one for each player. Every player uses his button.
The LCD shows the time for each player in hours and minutes, but when a player has 00 hours on his clock, the LCD shows his time in minutes and seconds.
The turn to roll or move is expressed by the "small arrow" - ">" or "<".
The roll of the dice is expressed by 2 digits e.g."66"
Left player has 35 minutes and 59 seconds on his clock and has rolled 51:. It is his turn to move. Had the left player not rolled yet, the digits "51" would be missing.
A "?" asks for a decision - to accept a double or a resignation, to give a value of resignation (1, 2 or 3 - simple, gammon or backgammon), or to accept reset of device.
A long arrow "==>" or "<==" shows who is offered the cube.
Two digits in brackets - i.e. "(66)" express the previous roll.
Four digits with a colon separation in the middle show the score - e.g. "01:03". The score is Left:1 Right:3
Two digits on one of the sides represent cube value. The placement of these two digits signifies cube ownership.
(66) 01:03 02
shows the previous roll "66", score Left:1 Right:3, and cube owned by Right at 2 level. The placement of the previous roll is irrelevant to who rolled it.
Using Display B, on one's turn to roll, by pressing not one's own button, but opponent's button one gets the information about the previous roll, the score, cube value and ownership.
Three Modes of Operation
The buttons can be pressed i 4 different ways
Remember, your SSCCD is always alive. Even in sleep mode all parameters are kept in memory, ready to be used when you restart your match. This is handy when playing in unfavorable environment - in a vehicle or on board a plane, using a palm held backgammon set and the SSCCD. Or any time a match is interrupted.
Sleep mode minimizes consumption and you should take care to leave the unit in sleep mode when not playing. In sleep mode, the LCD is dimmed and both clocks are stopped. Clock, score, cube, and dice parameters are held in memory. Sleep mode can be entered in automatically when it is a player's turn to roll (not his turn to move), and a roll (or a double, or a resignation) has not been produced for 15 minutes. Alternatively, sleep mode is entered immediately by pressing and holding both buttons until the LCD is dimmed.
Settings mode is available from Sleep mode only:
Settings mode has two submenus which may be entered individually from sleep mode.
Settings I:Here the value and position (ownership) of the doubling cube, and the score, are set. The last question (default in NO) is whether a Fischer function will be enabled. In Settings I the method to set a parameter is:
Left button - pressed and held - increments the value of that parameter.
Left button - pressed twice - saves the parameter and shows the next parameter to set.
After the last parameter (Fischer function) the device goes into Sleep mode.
Settings II:This is the submenu where the players clocks are set. Players are named (Left) and (Right). In Settings II the method to set a parameter is:
Right button held - changes the value of the parameter being set (hours, minutes, seconds) - the parameter being set blinks.
Right button pressed and released saves the value for that parameter and starts setting the next.
Right button pressed twice saves parameters and starts setting next (right) player's time. Right button pressed twice on Right player time settings saves paramaters and exits into Sleep mode.
Play mode can be switched on from Sleep mode by pressing simultaneously and holding both buttons.
If the SSCCD has not been reset, it will resume with the settings parameters of the game held in memory (score, time, cube value and position, dice ownership and who is on roll). Dice roll can not be kept in sleep mode because Sleep mode cannot be entered from an uncompleted move. You cannot fold your board without picking the dice. What this means is that your SSCCD, your faithful servant, will stay on (not go automatically or manually in sleep mode) until the roll is played and dice picked.
When a game ends - a player's resignation is accepted or a double is declined - the new score appears in the middle of the LCD without any other information. When the device is globally reset the LCD will show 00:00.
This is the initial roll. It is produced every time a new game starts.
A single press of any button will produce a roll for a randomly picked player. See Display A above. When a player is on roll only his clock runs. If he presses his button once, he rolls his dice. After playing his move, he needs to press his button again, thereby clearing the dice from the display, stopping his clock and starting opponent's clock. Now his opponent has the option to double; to resign; to roll; or to see the information on Display B. Before rolling one's dice one may see the information in regard of current score, value and ownership of cube and the previous roll as on Display on Display B .
Offering a double: A player may only offer a double when on roll and has access to the doubling cube (the cube is in the middle or on his side). Pressing and holding his button will bring a display like Display C
This means that the Left player is offered a double at 4, and his time is 39 minutes and 16 seconds. Now his time is running and he has two options:
- to accept the double by a single press of his button
Then Player Right will be again on roll, but the cube will be in Left at the level of 4.
- to decline the double by a long press (pressing and holding) of his button. If the double is declined, the doubler gets as many points as the cube has shown before it was turned (of course, each time a double is declined the doubler gets half the points indicated by the turned cube).
Resignation: Each player may offer a resignation when on roll by pressing his button twice. (double click). The display will clear and a single "?" will ask whether he really wants to resign and how. A long press of his button will change the values (single = 1, gammon = 2, backgammon = 3). Each time one gets a new value of resignation, one needs to release the button and hold it long again for another value. The display shows the type of loss offered (1, 2 or 3) and the value of the cube e.g. 2x04 means resigning a gammon at the current cube level of 4. When the resigning player picks the desired level of resignation (be careful) he offers the resignation by a short press of his button.
Here Player Left has reached resignation of gammon and the cube level is 4. When a resignation procedure is started only a long press will change the level of resignation (1,2,3). In fact, the resignation menu contains 4 levels (1,2,3 and ?). These value appear in a loop by means of a long press of the button. A short press will offer the resignation effectively. What about pressing short when a value "? "is on. Well, the resignation procedure is aborted and the player is again on roll. The same would happen if the oponent rejects a resignation. If you start a resignation procedure by mistake, what do you do? You simply press short and you are again on roll! What if you change your mind in the middle of the procedure? You just press long (releasing after each new value) to reach the "?" and then press short.
Remember, in SSCCD a long press means "NO", "change"; a short press means "Yes", "continue".
Player Right's clock is running. Time digits are on the right side. He is offered a gammon resignation at the current cube level of 4. If he accepts the resignation he will get 8 points. He can accept it by a short press. If he plays on for backgammon, he may decline the resignation by a long press of his button . If he rejects the resignation, the play continues. The resigning player will be again on roll. If Right accepts, his score will be incremented by the product of the level of resignation and the current cube value. A new game will be started with the new score in the center of display.
To enter score at the end of a game, the same procedure is used, the losing player offers the relevant resignation and the winner accepts.
From Play mode it is possible to exit to Sleep mode in two ways. Automatically: when it is a player's turn to roll. The LCD will dim after 15 minutes of idleness. Manually: on player's turn to roll by a simultaneous long press on both buttons. In the initial roll: by a long press of any one button.
A global reset (score 00:00, time 00:00, Fischer "NO", cube 64) may be achieved only from the initial roll menu (score in the middle), by a long press of both buttons. How can one get to initial roll from the middle of the game? Well, resign and opponent accepts. As easy as that.
A question RESET? appears. A long press of one button exits into Sleep mode. A long press of both buttons resets the device.
What about batteries? Batteries will last for more than 100-300 hours of play (depending on the brand you bought) and years in sleep mode.
What about visibility? There are two types of LCD displays. The standard LCD display has lower consumption and is generally good for dimmed daylight playing conditions. The better BACKLIGHT LCD displays cost more and the device costs more and the consumption is considerably more. Batteries will last about 20 hours in Play mode. This could be overcome by means of rechargeable batteries. The SSCCD with backlight LCD is equipped with changeable battery holders so that a spare battery holder with 4 charged battersies can be carried and replacement made in seconds.
The LCDs are of a "bottom view" type. This means characters and digits are best visible from the bottom (not from top of digits or sideways or perpendicular). If they were of an angle view type, this would benefit one player at the expense of the other. Because the device lies horizontally, the view can be improved if the unit is tilted a little bit backtwards. In Svilo boards this is easy - SSCCD just fits the checker separation area and you can tilt the unit at 45 degrees backtwards (toward the backgammon playing ground) or leave it horizontal.
I would appreciate all remarks and will try to implement the suggestions.
mailing address: Alexander von Humboldt 36
Sofia 1113, Bulgaria