goban.co

goban.co

Contributor: Lucas Nasif
Project holder:
Edition: 2015
Start date: 01/01/2014
Enddate:


Project name: goban.co
Project description:
goban.co is a virtual representation of a Go board. You can use this board for anything you would use a real physical board.
You can start from an empty board or load your own SGF files, and everyone you share it with can manipulate the board in real time.
Everything you do on the board is broadcasted to everyone else with the link, so they see what you are seeing. You can choose to let other people edit the board or only observe.
There are a lot of possible use cases for this project, but here are just some of the things I use it for, myself:
  • Teaching games with friends and coworkers
  • Reviewing my own games with my teacher, in real time, while we chat on Skype
  • Studying fuseki and joseki on my own, while reading Takao’s joseki dictionary
  • Replaying professional games and talking about them with friends over a Google Hangout
  • Some people also started using goban.co to produce online video lectures and commentaries on YouTube as well, like this commentary with Ryan Li, when he became 1p: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5Wa06-1FNk.

    goban_youtube

    Some people even started using goban.co to broadcast live games from leagues and tournaments for people that couldn’t attend the event personally.
    Last but not least, goban.co is, and will always be, free. You don’t need to register as a user or provide any personal or private information.
    If you’re interested in learning more about the site and how it works, check out our frequently asked questions: http://goban.co/faq which also has examples and step-by-step instructions on how to use the site.
    Project aim:
    goban.co aims to be a tool that allows people to have a Go board with them, wherever they go, with whatever device they happen to have on them. It works with any web browser and it doesn’t require installing any additional software. It also works both online or offline.
    goban.co is unlike any Go website or application available today. It doesn’t care about ranks, komi, time settings, etc. All of those things are for you to decide and enforce or ignore. Instead, we want to give Go players a tool to connect with anyone in real time and share a moment enjoying Go, in a beautiful, simple and easy way.

    goban_co_2

    Means of the project:
    goban.co uses modern web technologies in both its rendering components and its backend code. It is deployed in the cloud and developed from anywhere that has an internet connection.
    We have a twitter account where we sometimes post news and updates: @goban_co and we participate regularly on http://reddit.com/r/baduk where we also post and discuss about our site.


    Time line:
    This is a project that was born in my mind years ago. I started working on implementing this idea on 2014 and released the first alpha version of the site on February 14th of 2014.
    In the following months, I received a lot of great feedback and support from several Go communities, which drove me to continue working on the site and add more features to it. I’ve been steadily working on this project whenever I can, enhancing it and extending it based on users feedback.
    On June 19th of 2015 we released the latest version of the site.



    Geographic extension:
    goban.co can be used in any web browser, either from a computer or a mobile device.
    Result(s):
    This project is still at a very early stage, where fundamental features are being developed every week. Even so, we received a very warm welcome from friends and users so far, and we’ve made a great effort to incorporate their feedback and suggestions into the roadmap.
    Today, goban.co has thousands of unique visits from more than 100 countries. Most visits come from America and Europe, but surprisingly (to us), many people visit from Asia as well.
    Public exposure:
    We have steadily grown our user base over time, but we’re still at an early stage. So far our exposure has been limited to Reddit, Twitter and a few Facebook Go groups.
    Human resources:
    This project was implemented by Evelin García (my wife) and myself, Lucas Nasif. We work on this project on our spare time, whenever we can.
    Financial resources:
    We work on this project for free, and we cover the costs of the web servers ourselves.

    goban_co_1

    Perspective:
    We will continue working on goban.co, adding more features and enhancing the experience on mobile devices, while at the same time staying true to our goal of simplicity.
    We think this tool is especially useful for teaching, and I’ve been personally using it for giving lessons to my coworkers and friends and taking lessons from pro players. We hope this trend continues and more people use it for teaching! We are definitely going to emphasize teaching tools in our development roadmap.
    We also think there’s a great opportunity for goban.co to be used from websites like gogameguru.com to show game commentaries in real time to a wide audience that can consume that content from any device, easily.
    We also want to encourage people to use our site for all the use cases that we enjoy using it for ourselves. Playing with friends, reviewing games, studying fuseki, etc.


    Wishes:
    We would really appreciate help to increase our exposure and get more players using our site.
    It would be great to have Go teachers try it out and give lessons or reviews to their students with it. Additionally, it’s a great way for students to do homework or add annotations to a game and send it to their teachers.
    Go clubs could use it to store and broadcast games played in person, or for playing casual games or doing group lectures remotely.
    YouTubers and video makers in general could use it in their videos, and people could follow along via a streaming site like twitch.tv or simply follow the board via goban.co.
    We want your help to continue exploring these kinds of use cases so we can bring a simple, beautiful and modern experience to Go players world wide.
    Additonal comments:
    Here’s a video explaining some of the site features and use cases: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUNsR3ipz4k

Public Touchscreen Go Table

Public Touchscreen Go Table

Contributor: Daniel Bösze
Project holder:
Edition: 2015
Start date: 04/10/2014
Enddate:


Project name: Public Touchscreen Go Table
Project description:
A public touchscreen Go table has been installed on Mariahilfer Straße, providing everyone regardless of age with an easy and inviting way to learn and play the game of Go. It features two 42″ inch Full HD Screens in a wheather-proof, unbreakable chassis that was customly designed. Running 24/7, protected from rain and sun by a pair of big sun shades, it is an extremely attractive spot for people to sit down and enjoy Go. Four players can play at once on the two screens with enough space for kibitzers.
3DGoban, the software especially created for the table, offers an attractive 3D-rendered interface with traditional japanese tatami, kaya Go board and shell and slate stones.
People can:

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  • play on three different board sizes (9×9, 13×13, 19×19)
  • play against each other or against the computer
  • learn Go interactively in an easy-to-follow step by step tutorial
  • find out about the history of Go
  • save and load their games for later review
  • choose between different languages (German and English currently)
  • find out about the Go club Go7
  • watch a selection of famous professional games on the title screen


The Go Table is situated right in front of the Viennese Go Club Go7 at one of the most attractive spots on Mariahilfer Straße, directly at a metro exit. Since its Installation, it has proven extremely popular and is occupied during nearly all time, even at 3am in the morning. No major vandalism has happened so far.

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Project aim:
With the touchscreen Go table on Mariahilfer Straße, we aim to give the game of Go as much public spotlight as possible and let anyone in the broad public learn and play Go interactively, 24 hours a day with maximum attractivity.
Mariahilfer Straße is one of the busiest shopping streets in Middle Europe. Having been already croweded in 2011 with more than 70.000 customers daily, nowadays the popularty of it has soared to even higher levels thanks to the car ban.
Mariahilfer Straße is especially popular with kids and students, but also with open-minded families and the young urban demographic.


Means of the project:
The Go table uses a complete custom design, because a similar public outdoor touchscreen tablen has never been created before. It is fully heated in the winter and cooled in the summer, with extra-bright screens and reinforced glass as a protection. During reconstruction of the street surface, a power line was laid to supply the table. The table along with its two concrete benches that were provided by the city are protected by two square 4 by 4 metres interconnected parasols. It is cleaned every two days by members of Go7.
The software that runs on it has been specifically designed and written for the table and offers a simple and very intuitive interface.
Time line:
  • June 2013 – Development start of a 3D Go Software, originally planned for tablets and phones
  • August 2013 – Start of a temporary pedestrian zone at Mariahilfer Straße shopping street, stirring huge controversy in car-affine Austria
  • October 26th 2013 – Birth of the idea for a public a go table in the new pedestrian zone during a brainstorming session after Austrian Open 2013 Tournament
  • October 28th 2013 – Reaching out to different vendors of outdoor advertisement installations to get an idea about the costs
  • November 15th 2013 – Successful presentation of the rough draft project to the sponsor
  • November 26th 2013 – Presentation to the head of Neubau District, Thomas Blimlinger. The district promises support for the Go Table after a detailed presentation where a visualisation is shown, but asks for caution because of the then ongoing political debate about the permanent car ban on Mariahilfer Straße which needs to be approved for the project to have any chance of implementation
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  • March 7th 2014 – After months of heated public discussion and controversy, a public vote is held whether to keep the pedestrian zone and start the reconstruction of the street or to revoke the changes and reallow car traffic. The vote ends in favor of the pedestrian zone with an extremely narrow margin of 53% to 47%
  • March 18th 2014 – Final approval of the Go Table project by the district of Neubau
  • April 2014 – Start of detailed plannings and nerve-wrecking meetings with different city officials, planning bodies and architects
  • May 2014 – Start of the manufacturing of the touchscreen Go Table in China
  • June 2014 – Final approval of all construction plans for the site of the Go Table by all involved parties
  • August 2014 – Construction of the undground concrete foundation for the Go Table and establishment of the necessary power lines under the street
  • September 4th 2014 – Public announcement of the project in Austria’s biggest online newspaper, Der Standard, with much debate and huge public interest
  • October 4th 2014 – Official opening ceremony with head of District, Mr. Blimlinger


Geographic extension:
On one of the busiest shopping streets in Europe, Mariahilfer Straße, directly in front of Go7
Result(s):
Since the start of the project in October 2014, more than 15.000 games have already been played on the two screens. This amounts to nearly 100 games per day. Many new Go players have been attracted to Go7 because of it and a great number of children and adults try the game on the table every day. Of course some don’t learn the rules and start to play right away, but even they have a great time. Often, there are people playing at the table who specifically come there to play Go..
Public exposure:
The project got huge exposure and quite a debate after the announcment of the project in DerStandard online newspaper which enjoys the highest user counts of all online newspapers in Austria: Der Standard.
A public opening ceremony was held with Thomas Blimlinger on October 4th, 2014.
Tables with go boards, a Japanese food buffet and of course the Go Table itself attracted hundreds of people and was featured by Kurier, one of Austria’s major newspapers: Kurier
Since the Go Table is located at one of the most crowded spots in Vienna, it receives big attention. A large number of people are becoming new Go players every day.

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Human resources:
The project was preconceived, created and implemented by Daniel Bösze, Board Member of the Austrian Go Federation.
He spent nearly one and a half years voluntarily and unsalaried planning and designing the table itself, writing and designing the software and scheming and negotiating the Installation of the table on the street.
Huge bureaucratic hurdles had to be overcome and everything had to be done in a very short time constraint since the project could only be implemented during the reconstruction phase of the street. Currently, he works on new features and improvements for the table’s software.
Daniel had big support from the Austrian Go Federation, especially from Christian Anderson who served as a mentor and big advocate for the project, as well as from Michael Winkler, President, and Lothar Spiegel who both made big efforts in supporting the project.
From the city of Vienna, Thomas Blimlinger, Susanne Häßler, Robert Hart and Ulrike Pitro among many others helped to make the project a reality.
Financial resources:
The costs for the Go Table’s hardware and its installation on the street were sponsored by the CEO of Palmers Immobilien AG. He also sponsored the parasols and financed the contract that had to be closed with the city. All in all, the costs of the project amounted to around $20.000, not including the work hours for the writing the software and planning the project which were unpaid. The table itself cost around $11.000.

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Perspective:
In the future, the Go Table will receive new features as the software is constantly developed further. Potential new features include:
  • support for other languages, such as French, Japanese, Korean, Hungarian, Chinese…
  • tsumego and other Go problems
  • tutorials for advanced players
  • the possibility to play online, eg. on IGS
Wishes:
The goal for the project itself would be to install another touchscreen Go table in Vienna or even in other cities around the world. Since the software is ready for any language, the hardware has already been designed and a lot of refinement and improvement has been done since the opening day, implementation of a similar project somewhere else will be a lot easier. We really hope that the success of our project inspires other Go communities to replicate the project.
Due to his day-to-day job as a 3D graphics artist, Daniel’s ressources are somewhat limited on how much time he can spend with improving the software. In order to speed up development and to enable a potential release of 3DGoban on other platforms like tablets, a sponsor would be needed.
Additonal comments:
Please find some additional images of the project along with some screenshots of the software here