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GamesGrid--Comparison to FIBS

From:   Ken Arnold
Date:   28 May 1997
Subject:   Re: FIBS vs GamesGrid
Google:   5mgfe6$

> What is the difference between FIBS & GamesGrid?
> Any infor would be appreciated

Here is one point of view....

I started the development of GamesGrid because I enjoyed fibs a great deal,
while also feeling that there was a lot of room for improvement.


Fibs provides online backgammon via telnet connection and has done this
for several years.  The native interface is crude (consisting of x's and
o's and requiring arcane commands), but several people have designed
graphical front ends for each of the different operating systems.  Even
with these graphical front ends, it is not entirely intuitive to install
and learn fibs.   Those who master the interface really love the site and
some players have played over 10,000 games there.

There are between 4000 and 5000 rated players registered with fibs and the
online population ranges from 75 to 145 players most of the time.   A
large percentage of fibs players seem to use unix and mac platforms and be
involved with computers professionally.  The population may be more
representative of the internet several years ago, versus the net today.
There are also a large number of skilled and serious bg players.

Up until the summer of 1996, the fibs server was very laggy and unreliable
and this newsgroup was filled with postings asking for another bg server
to come online and do a better job.  Since moving the fibs server to San
Francisco, it has run much, much better.

Fibs is the creation of Marvin (Andreas Schneider) who programmed the
server as a graduate student and has put a great deal of work into it, but
not very much since he entered the workforce a couple of years ago.
Marvin owns the copyright to the source and has stated that he is
committed to keeping fibs online as a free bg server for the net.


GamesGrid consists of a client and server which offer a broad feature set
and higher capacities then other servers.  The first beta version of
GamesGrid was published in June of 1996.

The Version 1.0 beta4 client offers many advanced features not possible
with the fibs server....

     Position printing with a single mouseclick
     Recording and playback of games via a record button on the toolbar
     The ability to replay matches in standard , quiz or edit formats
     The ability to backup a match and view any previous position or play
     3D graphics, with fully scalable renderings, textures and colors....
       or a 2D board
     Drop-and-drag objects
     Sound effects
     Affinity lists that notify a player when favorite opponents arrive or
       leave... and ignore lists for players who you would rather not see
     Separate public and private chat areas
     Many more features not found in other game environments

A new version of the GamesGrid client with many more features will be
published within a week, providing no major problems during a semi-public
alpha which is underway.

GamesGrid backgammon is installed from a self-extracting archive using the
Install-Shield technology which deals with both the client and the server,
creates the appropriate directories and prepares desktop icons.

GamesGrid currently has 17,250 rated users from all over the world.  The
server can accomodate 300 simultaneous players.  The 300 mark has been
achieved each day for the past several days, and there are immediate plans
to raise the capacity of the server to 500 players.  There are usually one
or more sysops online to assist players.

Many of the players on GamesGrid are 'gamers' first, and have come to the
site because they like the look, feel and features of the product, not
because they are tournament bg players.  The advanced learning features
and intuitive easy to use interface have attracted many top players
including World Champions Bill Robertie, Paul Magriel (often incognito),
Mike Svobodny and Frank Frigo to the GamesGrid as their preferred online
venue and the level of competition is increasing quickly.  Lessons are
available from several top players as are private matches for stakes.

The population averages 200 simultaneous players.  There are various
tournaments for cash and glory, and the largest fills up a 256 bracket
each month with plans to expand to a 512 bracket.

GamesGrid was founded as a commercial venture to offer an advanced games
environment for the millions of people who are attracted to the internet
as a new communications and entertainment medium.   It is aimed primarily
at Windows and NT users.  The intention is to charge members a modest
annual or monthly fee, roughly equal to the cost of one movie ticket per
month, and to provide a superior gaming environment.

Following a free beta period of one year, GamesGrid is on the verge of
installing a fast ATM Frame Relay T-1 line and is looking to its players
to subscribe to the service and help to keep it moving forward.

There are a staff of 4 fulltime engineers plus consultants located in
Canada and trained in the most advanced Microsoft technologies who are
devoted to this project.  Almost $1,000,000 Canadian has been invested in
this software to date.  GamesGrid intends to keep pushing the envelope on
the backgammon product, and look forward to adding other games of skill to
the Grid.
Did you find the information in this article useful?          

Do you have any comments you'd like to add?     


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