I have continued to achieve awesomeness in all things Spider Solitaire.
Hitherto my Spider Monkey algorithm program was text-based, but I have successfully managed to convert this into a graphical user interface and upload the new version onto GitHub.
The screenshot below shows an example position from a Spider Solitaire server which I suspect may be biased. But since I am not too confident of my suspicions (unlike the other one, where even a 1-suit algorithm was enough to expose the bias), I have redacted the name of the file, which would give away the software company in question.
The graphical interface allows the user to initialise a start-position from either a text file or generate a random position. The user can then get the AI to step through the hand one moveblock at a time (repeatedly clicking “single moveblock”) or fast-forward through the entire game (“clicking all moveblocks”). A moveblock is essentially a sequence of moves that exposes one or more cards, either through turning over cards in the tableau (woohoo!) or dealing from the stock (gasp!).
You may have noticed the game started with “ja” instead of the superior “cg” or “ij”. The reasons for this have been discussed in a previous post. The evaluation function is 10 points for a turn-over, 1 point for an in-suit build, and +100 for removing a complete suit (note that removing a complete suit loses the points gained for every in-suit build so the effective bonus is only +88 instead of +100).
Note that there is no “equity” assigned to empty columns or columns that are close to becoming empty. This could be a future task, either for myself or someone else who wishes to contribute to my project.
I have used a four-color deck instead of the usual red-black colors for most card games. I have also used gray for face-down cards and added a minus sign for good measure (to be color-blind friendly). The stock is shown in the bottom half of the window and I have decided to have the cards face up for ease of visibility (they could have equally well been face-down).
Here is another screenshot showing some extremely long moveblocks in action. Sometimes long move sequences are needed to resolve a critical position, but other times a long sequence is just idle moves such as oscillating an Ace between two different columns. If you see a sequence ending in [(5,9),(9,5),(5,9),(9,5),(5,9)] then it’s almost certain the algorithm is waiting to reach the move limit, which I have hard-coded as 30 – and yes, you are most welcome to download my code, get rid of the hard-coded parameters and send me a pull-request 😊
My code was written using tkinter which is a standard GUI library for Python. I only picked this up a few days ago, so I can’t claim my code is the most efficient (in terms of speed or readability), but it seems to get the job done and I am not aware of any mundafental muck-ups yet. So it’s all good 😊
My GitHub username is hilarioushappystar, which by some strange coincidence also happens to be my username on the Cracking the Cryptic discord server 😊
And now we digress …
Fun fact: if I really wanted to design the best possible AI for Spider Solitaire, I believe it would be something to do with neural networks, trained over a large number of games just like the well-known Alpha Go program (or equivalent programs for Chess). Of course I may not have the resources to achieve this. But I am reasonably satisfied with a simple AI given that (AFAIK) there are no existing AI programs that play the Royal Game without rot13(haqb).