Thursday, June 17, 2021

Draft of overall approach

I started by thinking through what the algorithm should be for parsing information off the board, as a pipeline that it walks through. I expect this will get refined as I start implementing, but the high level first draft of the steps is:

  1. Figure out the board outline. That is, look for lines/rectangles in the image and use them to figure out the overall board dimensions and what part of the image is in the board and what's out.
  2. Find all the checkers on the board inside the board outline. It needs to distinguish between white and black checkers on the board, as well as possibly checkers on the bar. I won't bother with checkers that have been born off; I'll just assume any checkers that aren't on the board have been born off.
  3. Identify the dice and the numbers that are showing. For this purpose I'm just going to look at the two regular dice, not the doubling cube, because it's a bit easier. Maybe later I'll add in the doubling cube. I'll assume the dice are inside the board outline and not on top of any checkers. It'll also need to identify whether the dice are white or black so it can figure out whose move it is.
At the end of that it'll know how the board is laid out, whose turn it is, and what the roll is - that's enough to figure out the next move, at least if we're ignoring the doubling die.

Some assumptions I'm going to make:
  • The picture of the board is from above, without a lot of perspective skewing. That means all the checkers are roughly the same size, the board outline is pretty close to rectangular, and we can see only one side of each of the dice.
  • No checkers are stacked. For example, if there are six checkers on a point, they should all be laid out in a row, without stacking them on top of each other. I think it'll be very hard for a classifier to identify stacked checkers.
  • The doubling cube doesn't matter when choosing the best move. Of course this isn't really the case, but it's generally not bad.
Maybe later I'll amend this to include the doubling cube, but for the first stab I'm leaving it out, just to keep things simple.

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