Thursday, July 23, 2009

Screencast of Freecell Solver in Action

Yesterday, I spent some time on preparing a screencast of PySolFC auto-solving a deal of Freecell using Freecell Solver . Here's an embedded player:

I remember the first time I saw KDE's KPatience automatically solving a deal of Freecell, while using Freecell Solver as its back-end. Seeing the cards move on their own was very cool, and brought me a lot of joy. Now that PySolFC has built-in support for Freecell Solver, I was able to use it to prepare the screencast. I hope you'll enjoy seeing this screencast, and would be interested in trying out PySolFC and Freecell Solver.

I'm going to blog about how I prepared the screencast on my tech blog, which may prove instructive to other people wanting to prepare screencasts on Linux. This was the first video I ever prepared and producing it proved to be a pleasant experience, even though some tasks did not work right away.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Freecell Solver 2.34.0 was Released

Freecell Solver version 2.34.0 has been released. It is available in the form of a source tarball from the download page.

Back in the abandoned 2.10.x branch a programmer called Michael Mann contributed a new Simple Simon move function that allowed it to solve more games. In 2.34.0 this move function was restored, and made optional. We now have a theme called "the-last-mohican" (or "tlm" for short), after the movie "The Last of the Mohicans" by a different Michael Mann, which I have watched and enjoyed, that is capable of solving over 90% of the first 5,000 PySol Simple Simon deals. (Incidentally "The Last Mohican" is the direct translation of the book and movie's name in Hebrew). The solutions of the solver were verified to be correct using Games-Solitaire-Verify.

Working on this theme uncovered a bug in the solver where the --next-instance flag was removed by accident, and it is now fixed.

Aside from that, there's now an improved atomic moves theme - "toons-for-twenty-somethings", which can solve all of MS Freecell's 32,000 deals. It is still much slower than the meta-moves-based theme.

There are also some other more minor changes, which can be found at the NEWS file in the distribution.