A few months ago, David Fotland released the 12th edition of “Many Faces of Go”. Following the patterns of its predecesors, MFoG most important changes remain within its engine.
According to its author, MFoG is supposed to be 5 stones stronger than the 11th version and, in year 2008, he proved to be the best engine by winning the Go tournament in the 13th Computer Olympiad (see Game results). Currently it’s supposed to implement some Monte Carlo analysis over the traditional knowledge, so as to make it much more powerful.
If you visit its homepage, you’ll see this list of the major new features of this version:
- World champion (2008) go engine, over 5 stones stronger than version 11.
- Calibrated levels from 18 kyu to 2 kyu to give any player between 20 Kyu and 1 Dan a good even game.
- You can play ranked games and the engine will track your rank as you improve.
- The 2 Kyu or better Monte Carlo level increases in strength with more time or a faster computer. It’s stronger on small boards. On 9×9 it’s over 3 Dan.
- Multiple users can track playing strength by name.
- Improved Vista compatibility. It uses the Microsoft installer, which works on all Microsoft operating systems and Linux or Mac. It uses the newer HTML help system, since the older help is not supported on Vista. It works well on 64-bit Vista.
- This is a downloadable program with a free trial, so there is no need to wait for a CD in the mail. You can download it and see how it looks and read the manual to underatand all the features. The free trial will play games at the 18 Kyu level, and you can review the included games or any other sgf game. When you purchase the program you get keys for each of your computers to enable the full program.
- Bug fixes and minor updates are available free. The program can check for updates for you.
- The progam will resign when it is behind, or you can resign a rated game if you are behind.
- The default komi was changed from 5.5 points to 6.5 points to match recent changes in standard rules.
- You can talk to the engine. It includes a simple English language conversation generator. The conversation control is in text files so you can change it if you like.
Some users, who have tried the trial version, criticise the fact that the trial version is limited to a 18k strenght, which actually won’t give you any idea of the engine’s strength… but this is another question and it has been for long discussed in rec.games.go