5.6 The settings dialogue - customise your chesspp

Chess++ is a highly customisable software system. You can set up any colour combination you like for the window itself, chess board, and pieces which includes transparency for the board and pieces. You can use different textures in the OpenGL game widget. There are different languages you can choose from and there is even a themeing system that allows you to save and export your settings to share them with other users. Most of these settings are adjustable via the chesspp settings dialogue.

The dialogue is divided into tabs and subtabs (see figure 5.5) which group settings according to the part of the application, they are related to.

Figure 5.5: Tabs and GL Widget subtabs of the Chess++ settings dialogue.
Image chesspp_settings_tabs

Most of the settings affect the OpenGL widget.

5.6.1 Chess display settings of the OpenGL widget

You can adjust game display in many ways. You can set up different colours for black and white pieces, squares, and use a coloured background. Pieces and squares can be decorated with textures that you can load from images on your machine. Moves can be animated so that the pieces seem to disappear and reappear on the target square of their move.

Figure 5.6: Setup tab for transparent squares and pieces.
Image chesspp_settings_transparency Transparency settings

"Activate piece transparency" has to be checked in order to have pieces displayed transparently. As stated in the dialogue, this involves sorting all objects in the scene. (Transparent objects that are closer to the viewing plane have to be rendered after those objects that are farther away when using transparency effects with alpha blending.)

If you have a very slow machine, you might want to switch piece transparency off, to achieve higher frame rates.

You can also display pieces as wireframe objects, which also gives them a somewhat transparent look, while piece transparency doesn't have to be activated. Colour settings

Colours, and also transparency values, can be adjusted using the colour chooser dialogues in the colour setup (see figure 5.7) that appear when clicking "Change" for one of the values.

Figure 5.7: Settings tab for colouring the board and pieces.
Image chesspp_settings_colours

The alpha value you can set up there, is the value for opacity (and so the reciprocal value of transparency). You shouldn't confuse the background colours, you can adjust here with those for the main window. These here only affect the OpenGL widget. To display the background coloured, instead of black, you have to activate the checkbox "Show background" in the properties tab. Animation settings

Moves can be animated by making pieces dissolve and then reappear on their target square. Selected squares can be highlighted

Figure 5.8: Settings tab for animation sequences.
Image chesspp_settings_animation

(in addition to simple colouring) with a pulsating colouring. In the animation subtab of the settings dialogue (see figure 5.8) you can set up the step size for every animation scene and the timer step size. Increasing the timer step size slows down animations (as it reduces the frame rate), while increasing the other step sizes increases the speed of the resepctive animation.

5.6.2 Main window display settings

The Chesspp main window can be set up to use a freely configurable palette for background, buttons, text etc. or to simply use the palette of your window manager. Figure 5.9 displays the subtab of the settings window where you can adjust the colours.

Figure 5.9: Properties tab for main window colours and start screen.
Image chesspp_settings_main_colors

You can also set up a start screen image that will be displayed in the OpenGL widget while you are not connected to a server or don't play a game.

Figure 5.10: Tab for selection and export of themes.
Image chesspp_settings_theme Chess++ theme import and export

You can save your palette settings and all settings concerning game display to a file using the subtab shown in figure 5.10. Here you can also import so-called themes using the "Import" button or by configuring the path where to search for theme files. If you use the "Import" button, the theme file will be copied to your theme folder. Theme files always end with .cpt. Please make sure that you have write permissions to your theme path if you want to use the import function.

If you want to use a theme file from the list of available themes, select it from the list and click "Use selected theme" or simply double-click the item, and then "Apply" or "Ok".

5.6.3 Settings of the chat widget

The chat and command prompt widget can be modified in its look using the settings tab shown in figure 5.11.

Figure 5.11: Settings of the chat and command prompt widget.
Image chesspp_settings_chat

Here you can adjust the color for messages you send, messages you receive and messages like hints from Chesspp or the server you are connected to. Time stamps can get added to every chat message and you can switch special formatting features for the chat on and off.

Check "Use BBCode" if you want to enable the BBCode-like markup for chat messages (as described in section 5.4). If you do not activate this option, all BBCode commands will simply be stripped.

Hendrik Hochstetter
Thu, 30 Jul 2009 00:03:11 +0200