TL;DR SmartGo One is an all-new version of SmartGo for iPhone and iPad with improved user interface, more features, better integration, and stronger computer play. It’s your one app for learning, playing, and studying the game of go.
I just released SmartGo One, the all-new version of SmartGo. It’s a free app replacing both SmartGo Kifu and SmartGo Player, with the books from Go Books fully integrated – one app for all your go needs. Currently for iPhone and iPad; a Mac version of SmartGo One is in the works.
I’ve written a separate blog post on the business aspects of replacing two apps with a new app and a different business model. In this post, I will focus on user interface and features, highlighting the changes from SmartGo Kifu. For details and a full list of features, see the user manual in the app (Books > Tutorial & Help > SmartGo One User Manual).
Overall user interface
SmartGo One features a more modern visual look (thanks to designer Scott Jensen), including dark mode (swipe two fingers down/up on the board to turn on/off). Navigation is more standard, using a tab bar on iPhone and the familiar three-pane layout on iPad.
- Ability to use whole screen on iPad
- Multiple windows on iPad
- Continue where you left off on another device
- Much smoother scrolling
Strong computer play
The old SmartGo apps used my own playing algorithm based on Monte Carlo Tree Search. This was fine pre-AlphaGo, but AlphaGo raised expectations. SmartGo One integrates KataGo, a very strong go engine. However, the current implementation only uses the CPU (no GPU or neural net), so it’s not yet as strong as e.g. ‘Master of Go’.
The current score and winning percentage can be shown while playing against the computer. End-of-game handling has been refined significantly.
SmartGo One lets you manage SGF files locally on your device as well as sync between devices using iCloud Drive. Huge improvements in this area:
- Organize files using folders
- Create and manage SGF collections (one file containing multiple games)
- Work with zipped collections (one zipped file containing multiple games): e.g. if you get a zipped game collection from the Go4Go game subscription service, you can directly open that whole collection
- Convert between folders and collections
- Reorder games in collections
- Drag and drop games into folders, onto collections, or onto books
- Handle files with go problems (PRB) and go books (GOBOOK)
iCloud is used to sync your state across devices, between your iPhone and iPad (and Mac in the future). Here’s what’s synced:
- Preferences (the ones that make sense)
- Games stored in iCloud Drive
- Your progress in solving problems
- Games, problems, and books marked as favorites
- Game annotations of pro games
- Current reading position in your books
The gobook format (smartgo.com/pdf/gobookformat.pdf) is used for the books in the Go Books app. In SmartGo One, you can convert annotated games into your own book.
Pro game collection
SmartGo One offers more games than ever before (currently 114,000). The pro game collection can now be updated without updating the app, so expect more frequent game collection updates (whenever GoGoD releases a new version).
The names dictionary (by John Fairbairn) is now a separate tab with more than 4,400 entries:
- Better presentation of player info
- Links between different players, making it easy to explore and navigate between players
- Search in players finds that player as well as related players such as teacher, or mentions in go style or bio
The go problems (from goproblems.com) are better organized, and there are more problems available.
- Improved flow to work through problems
- Improved display of statistics
- Your problem stats sync between devices
- Additional problem collections available
- Better mechanism for updating problems, allowing issues to be fixed more quickly
Game play and recording
SmartGo has always excelled at replaying, recording, and editing game records, but SmartGo One improves on it in several ways:
- Improved New Game screen
- Edit game info directly inline, not in separate popups
- Easier to go to a particular move
- Easier to correct a particular move
- Improved feedback while inserting a move or move pair
- Quick access to frequently used board display settings
- More discoverable and reliable board rotation, with a panel adding related functions
All 150 books from the Go Books app are directly integrated into SmartGo One. (If you bought books in Go Books, you can read those in SmartGo One.) Compared to Go Books, there are a number of improvements:
- Better organization of books, including currently reading, recent additions, most popular
- Keeps track of up to three books you’re reading right now
- Search in book list
- All book purchases can be shared with Family Sharing
Finding games that match a given joseki or fuseki works as before, but has been improved:
- Faster matching
- Clearer display
- Easier to get to and return from the list of matching games
A few features didn’t make it into the 1.0 release of SmartGo One:
- Guess Move: This will be added in an upcoming version.
- File formats: Reading go game files other than SGF is not supported yet.
- Localizations: SmartGo One is English-only right now.
SmartGo Kifu and SmartGo One can happily coexist on your device, so just keep SmartGo Kifu around for these tasks.
SmartGo One builds on decades of experience with computer go, and creates a new foundation for the next decade. By bringing games, problems, and books into a single app, it opens up lots of possibilities for the future – stay tuned.