Regular readers of the site may have noticed that we’re working on overhauling the way we present board diagrams. Up to now, screenshots of eXtremeGammon and Gnu have been common fare – often in our authors’ various favourite configurations of colours. They do vary quite widely in readability, and a board which looks fine on a laptop may be pretty hazy to someone reading on a phone.
Recently we’ve been introduced to a very useful and free tool – BGLog by Simon Woodhead. It’s a web-based application that should run on almost any device, which allows you to record live matches as they happen with a simple board interface, and generate a log file that can be passed across to your favourite analyser later. It also allows you to input an eXtremeGammon or Gnu position ID, and it will set up the board appropriately… for example, give BGLog the string XGID=-b—-E-C—cEaa-c-da—AA:0:0:1:52:0:0:3:0:10 and you get:
from where it’s extremely easy to generate board images that are either optimised for websites, or print-quality for books. It has quite a pedigree, supplying the images for Ray Kershaw’s Backgammon Funfair, Chris Bray’s website Position of the Day and other titles.
There are a myriad of options to select from – piece colours, point colours and styles, point numbering options, pipcounts, score styles and more – so you can get your diagrams exactly the way you like them. We have settled on a UKBGF house style that matches our other colours, so our articles’ protagonists will forever be Blue and Black… you can find all the details in our notes for contributors if you want to generate images yourself. But the beauty of BGLog is that you don’t even need to send us documents full of images any more. Just paste an XGID into your text and in seconds all the illustrations will be ready on my laptop!
BGLog is being actively developed – we understand a future version will allow transcribers to broadcast matches as they happen, which will give us a great alternative to video broadcasts for those who don’t have a lot of bandwidth. BGLog certainly seems to have a very promising future, and we hope you find it as useful as we have done!