Go software for the future

    Keywords: Software

What would we like the ideal go software to be able off.

Now (april 2009) there are different go playing programs go editing programs study assistance software. All have some good things in them (as long as they play go) but unfortunately all are also missing some other options that i guess users would like.

This is just a kind of general forum where you can put your wishes for any go software for the future. This page is not to promote some existing program (there are other pages for this purpose) but to come with one big user wishlist for go software writers.

But if you have seen an option in a program and think it would be a good addition to other go programs add it here. (and if it is a rare addition give the name of the program as well)

The setup of this page is a bit thematic. please add it under the appropriate heading. (or create a new heading for it)

See also Go server for the future

Table of contents

Graphics, Interface

  • Board Display
    • having just a board on screen but toggle to a more containing format easily
    • chose between different board appearances (possibly as plugins)
    • turnable board so that it looks like you are playing a real board instead of on a square. (like U3DC or glGo)
  • Electronic Go Boards
    • Be able to use the display as electronic go board (including clock) for people who own an tablet PC.
    • interface with electronic go boards or able to work as such.
    • Useable to broadcast games to servers as KGS (requires the program to use 2 identities)

Playing Go

  • Scoring
    • scoring end positions under different rule sets, and be able to change the rule sets in games (as with Many Faces of Go and Aya)
    • possible to chose between different engines for score evaluation
    • show assumed dead stones (as Many Faces of Go, CGoban,TurboGO)
    • toggle status of assumed dead stones (as Many Faces of Go)
    • giving information how the score is reached (not just white wins by 2.5 points but also how many territory for each player, captured stones ed.) (as Many Faces of Go, qGO, TurboGO)
  • Komi, adjusting komi, time to play and so during play.
  • Time systems be able to choose of the many different time systems

Playing against the program

Off course we want the program to play strong but we also want other things:

  • show the freedom points for each stone/group in real-time TurboGO
  • show the board influence for each player in real-time TurboGO
  • explain why a move is good (as Many Faces of Go, TurboGO)
  • show the 2nd best 3rd best and so moves as well (a bit available in smartgo, TurboGO)
  • Option to add your own opening database. and converting sgf files to opening databases.
  • be able to use it as gtp go player (as input into another program)
  • selectable skill level of the program (so that weaker players don't get pushed around and never want to play again)
  • autoadjust handicap for games against engines (as Many Faces of Go)

Online Go (connect and play on Go servers)

  • connect to multiple servers
    • not only to IGS but also to wBaduk and maybe even KGS (requires that KGS open their protocol)
    • even an option to let two players who play on different servers to play against each other while not knowing it themselves that they play against eachother?
    • interface to 2 or more go servers at the same time for live transmission of tournament games (some tournament's first boards are transmitted to KGS and IGS at the same time)
      • willemien it is good to name examples i think makes it just much easier.
  • connect also to turn based servers like Dragon Go server, or web servers
  • detection of player cheating (eg: playing the same game simultaneously with two other players and just copying the moves.)
  • MJWhiteaker: I like the idea of a 3D Go Server that utilizes a virtual world and avatars... basically like the Second Life Go Center, but more like what Shot Online is to golf. Having something that could connect existing servers like IGS would be cool. I detail this idea at MassivelyMultiplayerOnlineWorldForGo
  • It could be possible to talk with the opponent (e.g. in a teaching game or a review, not only one way). The client could connect to the other client directly (e.g. by a tell command: tell NAME connect_speech=protocol address=123.456.789.012 bit_rate= ...)
  • On playing Simultaneous Go, have all the boards visible on one page for the player playing them all. Be able to zoom in to one of them when needed.

Online Go (connect directly to other players)

  • be able to play directly with other players on a local network without both having to connect to an online go provider.

(there is an old go modem protocol and some programs many faces of go still have it implemented but something similar that works directly via a local network would be handy.

it looks that Xuan Xuan Go has this [ext] option.

GTP, Engines

  • be able to use it as interface for GTP Go programs (engines) (as Many Faces of Go)
  • be able to have tourneys between engines (many games between the engines) and save the result like (as in SmartGo
  • possible to quickly switch between more engines for playing as in GoGui and in a coming version of Drago (screenshot: [ext] http://www.godrago.net/Images/NewEngineGame.png , mentioned in a forum entry) .
  • use it also as intermediate between two GTP programs so you can see how two GTP programs compete against each other) (as Many Faces of Go)
  • possible to chose between different engines for score evaluation
  • engines: 5 or more presets for the command line start switches (e.g. -NoMonteCarlo, :-) )

Studying Go

Playing and recording audio go lectures.

  • lecture option. The ideal go program should be able to record a lecture (sound track) and then replay the appropriate board positions alongside with the sound track at a later date. (Moyo go studio stores audio in an own property inside the sgf file; MultiGo can record/play go video; KGSPlus lectures can be seen like this, but are only for online use, most of them only for KGSPlus members; the same lecture format is possibly used by audiogolessons.com)

Studying professional games

  • Lots of professional games to study.
  • option to compare games
  • searching tesuji's in Pro games so maybe i will learn them as well. (hmm - they need to be tagged in the game files)

Studying Joseki

  • Browse through the complete josekis (as Nemesis Joseki Tutor and Many Faces of Go)
  • use different joseki databases (as plugins) and make your own.

Analysing games.

  • The program is able to show players where they made a mistake
  • Giving hints where the best move is. (or a better alternative)
  • adding variations
  • out playing variations (and a way to show the result of the variation) (Gohome has this option but it is very basic, only for very small boards useful)
  • manage move values (see Semi-automatic assistance, possibly implemented in GoHome as "value management"?)
  • Show some kind of divergence graph. The software is normally able to compute probability of win. Where was the gap in play - where is the biggest gap between P(win_for_my_move) and P(win_for_best_move)

Go Problems

  • importing problems from goproblems.com (for self study)
  • exporting problems to goproblems.com (if you found a new one)
  • solving tsumego problems. (if you cannot do it yourself)
  • assisting with tsume go problems. (if the software cannot solve it, or more likely because you want to figure out other variations)
  • support for the equal positions (isomorphic positions) so they only to be worked out once (like in goproblems.com)
  • copying tsume go problems from actual play to another place (just a kind of copy and paste a part of the board, removing move numbers so that only the tsumego problem remains.

Organising games

  • converting image to sgf file (as CompoGo)
  • converting text images to sgf (like problems )
  • converting gamerecords to sgf (like Smartgo)
  • converting games in other formats to single format and visa versa (e.g. merge and split sgf game collection)
  • moving games between collections
  • creating a new file for a game, copying from an collection.
  • having a thumbnail view of games in a folder. (or the game info)
  • combining games into one tree. (so they get similar comments in similar positions)
  • splitting a tree op into games.

Editing Game Records

  • adding variations.
  • allow to move a stone (e.g. when a move in the game record is at the wrong place; as Many Faces of Go)
  • allow inserting moves as in SmartGo
  • allow to move a variation (as CGoban)


  • able to open sgf game collections
  • accept older file formats (and, as option, save as actual format)
  • tolerant with unknown properties and wrong values
  • force writing of correct SGF (or as option)
  • show (text-)values of not accepted properties or wrong values in the comments window
  • call text editor for actual sgf file (and possibly highlight the syntax, as jEdit with syntax file (see under utilities, chapter "Various")
  • convert game files to sgf (plugins)
  • strip properties (as MultiGo)
  • strip certain games (e.g. all below 2 dan) or all comments
  • strip properties from all files of a folder (and subfolders; as MultiGo)
  • allow plugins to interpret properties which are not standard (as e.g. audio, Picture)
  • search for a string in node names and comments (as in MultiGo)
  • ability to define filename based on metadata, for instance player1-player2-event-date.sgf.

As of 18 Mar. 2021, as a mobile go player, I am not seeing a good SGF editor on Andriod (so many Go Apps are available, SGF editor is a key missing piece), so I am wondering if someone can port Multigo from Windows to Android. (Dino Hsu)

Other wishes

  • multi language support. (not everybody speaks English)
  • support Unicode, Chinese characters code, Japanese characters code (selectable; as MultiGo)
  • also versions for other operating systems. (Java supports all)
  • linking to Sensei's Library for go terms
  • automatic pattern searching
  • plugins from other program authors can be added (engines can also be seen as plugins)
  • the program can run from USB key (preferable) or CDd rom (so you don't first have to install it on a computer if you want to use it temporarily on it) Handy for demo's at friends and so.
  • scan a diagram for a game or problem that is in traditional numbered circle format into SGF format.

Plug ins

willemien There seems to be a couple of different ideas about what plug ins are and do. Maybe better not using the word anymore. maybe call an separate gtp program an engine (if it can work outside the program as well) an database a database (including software that can do something with it) a file a file ect.


  • Allow pseudo-code in comments to be used to generate diagrams to file formats like .eps and .svg
    • In essence this would be a return to Ishi file format
  • Handle things like rsgf, or gtp output to mark up diagrams

Phelan: Automatic/easy creation of game records when playing in real life. I think this area is just waiting for the right push.

tapir: Well, just type during play. This is not so difficult with current programs. (Though i hate it, when opponents are looking half the time in their palm.)

Phelan: This distracts you from the game, though. My point was that this could be improved either with a electronic board with stone detection, or with image to sgf software.

Go software for the future last edited by on June 14, 2023 - 21:54
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