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Palview and Live Game Broadcast

Palview's contribution to the Live Game Broadcast is quite modest with almost all of the actual work being performed by Eric Bentzen's excellent program Palive. So you really must read the documentation that comes with Palive to truly understand all that you can do with the two programs. What you will get here is just a brief description of the Palview options and features that support Live Game Broadcasts.

The first thing to note about Live games is the fact that the page type used is htmltype = normal. So all the various INI options that are specific to that page type also applies to the Live games. One additional page type that can be created using Palive is an htmltype = overview. This page acts as an overview of all the games in progress at an event. It is a way for your visitors to enter the chess hall, roam around to all the different boards, see which game's current position interests him, and then visit a page dedicated to that game where he will be able to replay all the moves of the game and Kibitz on the board.

Below is an example of a Live game page:

Of course the overall look of the page is determined by the various INI options and stylesheet settings that you choose. What interests us in the above example is the fact that the game has automatically been positioned to the last move played in the game. Also note the refresh counter under the controlpanel.

This refresh counter is enabled by the INI option refreshtime. The refreshtime command is used to set the time in seconds for the auto-refresh of the page in Live broadcasts. This command is only intended for Live broadcasts and should not be used otherwise. The refresh counter counts down to zero and then automatically refreshes the page so that any moves played in the meantime will become visible. Whenever the refreshtime is any number other than zero, Palview assumes that the game is being viewed as part of a Live broadcast. In this case, Palview always sets the board position to the last move played. Your visitors can still navigate through the game just as they usually do, but the position they see each time the page refreshes is the position after the last move. Viewers can turn the Refresh counter off by pressing the Off button. This gives them time to play around with the current position, by Kibitzing on the board using the movingpcs feature, without having to worry about the page refreshing on them. The Off button will become an On button once pressed so that the refresh can be toggled on and off.

Palview will check each game to see if it has been completed when producing the Html. If the game is finished, then Palview will remove the Refresh counter from the page. This is done so that your viewers will know that the game has finished and also to insure that the page is no longer needlessly refreshing since there will be no more moves to be seen.

Digital Clock Times

Palview understands the new PGN extension that allows digital clock times to be inserted by software that runs the DGT chess boards and digital clocks. These new clock times are inserted into comments after each move as in the following example:

1. e4 {[%egt 0:00:32]} e5 {[%egt 0:00:05]} *

There are a number of clock time commands, but the most important of these are:

[%clk h:mm:ss]  Digital Clock Time
[%egt h:mm:ss]  Estimated Game Time
[%emt h:mm:ss]  Estimated Move Time

The Digital Clock Time refers to the actual time on the digital clock itself. Estimated Game Time is the total amount of time used by the player in the game. If this follows a white move then it refers to the time taken by the white player. The Estimated Move Time only estimates the amount of time taken for the actual move it follows. Palview does not make use of the Estimated Move Time at present because the Html can become quite cluttered looking if times are provided after every move.

Palview only makes use of the first two clock times above, Digital Clock Time and Estimated Game Time. The last values for these times that are found in the PGN file will be written to the Html after the last move and before the Annotator's name as in the following:

If you hover the mouse over the times you will see a tooltip that tells you what type of time is being reported, either Digital Clock Time or Estimated Game Time. Most likely you will see Estimated Game Time since this is the most relevant time for viewers of Live Game Broadcasts.

Headers and Footers in Live Games

Two options in Palview can prove to be very useful indeed for Live Game Broadcasts. These options are headerfile and footerfile. During Live Game Broadcasts, Palview generates a new Html page for each game in the event as moves are played. But this means that there is no time to edit each of these Html files, they are after all Live. But you may wish to provide a banner at the top of each Live game page, perhaps just a simple image with the Event logo, or maybe something more elaborate. You may also wish to place some navigation links at the bottom of each game page. Either way, the headerfile and footerfile options allow you to do just this.

These options are used to insert native Html code directly into the Html file. The headerfile and footerfile must be simple text files that contain Html code and the file should be located in the same folder as the PGN file. The entire contents of this file will be read and inserted into the Html page either at the top, just after the <BODY> tag, and before the game, in the case of the headerfile, or just before the ending </BODY> tag, and after the game, in the case of the footerfile.

You can prepare these special files ahead of the Live event by simply editing a test game with Palview. Take any single game, place it in a PGN file, then set htmltype = normal and get Palview to generate an Html file for you. Now you can use the generated Html file as a template for your Live games. Simply edit this Html file and add whatever Html code you want for a header immediately after the <BODY> tag. Once you are satisfied with the appearance of the page, simply copy the Html code you created and paste it into a simple text file. You then use this text file as the headerfile. You can repeat this process for the footerfile as well.

The Special INI Option - player

Another option in Palview that can be useful for Live Game Broadcasts is player. With this option you can provide an entry for each player in a Live event that contains the player's name, title, elo, and country. This information will then be used by Palview when generating each Live game. Here is an example of a couple of player entries and the infobox that results from them:

player = "Anand, Viswanathan:gm:2771:IND"
player = "Leko, Peter:gm:2701:HUN"

So why would you want to use the player for Live Game Broadcasts? The main reason is to provide information about each player that would otherwise be lost each time the PGN file is rewritten by the DGT software. For example, you would likely lose Peter Leko's title, elo rating, and his country if it were not preserved somehow. The player option is just how you do that. (For more information, see the player option.)

Note that the player INI option continues to be supported by Palview4 for live games (and the batch page). But this option has been discontinued for all other page types. (For more information, please see Options Modified from Palview3.)

The Live Broadcast Overview

Palview can generate a special new page type for Live Game Broadcasts. This is the htmltype = overview page. Essentially, this shows the last known position of all the games in the Live event. These positions can be linked to the actual games themselves so that visitors can click on the game that most interests them and they will be taken to a page dedicated to that particular game. Here, they will be able to replay the moves of that game, Kibitz, if movingpcs has been enabled, and perhaps follow the live commentary if the game is being annotated by a Master.

The actual positions from each of the games are placed inside an Html TABLE. The number of positions across the TABLE can be controlled using the overviewcols option.

Here is an example of what the top of an Overview page might look like:

Note that it is best to create a separate INI file and CSS file for the overview page. This allows you to provide different formatting options for the page. It also allows you to provide a different headerfile and footerfile for the overview page distinct from those used for the games themselves.

One final note of caution. Do not use the multilang option for Live games! While this may be tempting, any language chosen by your visitor will not be remembered whenever the page reloads. This will prove very frustrating to your visitors. Until such time as we can provide a reliable method of preserving the selected language while the page is refreshing, it is best to avoid using this option for Live games.