Help and Documentation for Pontes Backgammon
- Keys Reference
- About Sounds
- About Speech
- Online Game
- Offline Game
- The Chat Section and Google Translate
- About the Music Player and Ambience
- My Games (History)
- Other Languages
- Game Pad and Joystick Support
- Mouse Support
- Game rules
- Registration Process and Registration Manager
- Demo Limitations
- Other Details
Pontes Backgammon is an online and offline game created for blind computer users.
It is programmed by Emanuel Boboiu in BGT from Blastbay Studios.
Download Pontes Backgammon, version 1.6.1 (released on 6 January 2016 - 13,9 MB)
What's New in 1.6.1
During the Game:
- F1: open this Help.
- F2: open the chat in an online game. Escape closes the chat..
- F3: change the board notation. There are two possibilities: points from 1 to 24 or from 1 to 12 (A for white's side, B for black's side).
- F4: announce current point / position.
- F5: roll the dice. Also the Enter key rolls the dice. When the dice are rolled, these keys says the dice not used.
- F6: choose your favorite pair of dice during a game.
- Control + F6: open a dialog where it is possible to change current sounds theme during a game.
- F7 / F8: set the TTS voice rate. If a screen reader is used as output, these keys set the duration between computer actions from 400 ms to 3 seconds.
- F9 / F10: adjust the background sound and music player volume.
- F11: open a menu where it's possible to enable / disable the sounds during the game. Use up or down arrows to choose an item, left and right arrows to enable / disable it. For instance "Say all points automatically" option can be disabled after the user is accustomed with the board. Enter saves sounds settings, Escape closes the Sounds Settings dialog and the changes are temporary available.
- Control + F11: open the Change Language option. You can change the language during a game. This option is also available in the Main Menu.
- F12: announce current time.
- Space: take or put down a checker. Using Space also re-enter a checker.
- Delete or Decimal Numpad Key: bear a checker off from the board, when all the checkers are in the home board.
- The arrows: move the "cursor" on the table.
- The numbers 1 to 6: make the "cursor" to jump the corresponding number of points forward to home board.
- Shift key + numbers 1 to 6: make the cursor to jump the corresponding number of points backwards to the opposite home board.
- Home and End: move the "cursor" directly to the edges, home in home board, end to the opposite part.
- Pressing Tab key, you can hear the registration status, for instance: "Online No, Offline Yes" means that the game is registered for offline games, but it is not registered for online games.
- Alt + Shift: change the speech between screen reader and SApi 5.
- Control + Shift: change the SApi5 voices.
- Q: during a game, announce the names of players waiting as host if they are available.
- W: announce your partner's nickname during an online game. In menus, W activates or deactivates the wrap navigation.
- Control + W: spell the current partner's name in an online game.
- S: announce the score.
- T: announce the time elapsed since current game started.
- Control + T: in an online game, announce the available time until an abandon is considered. (You have only 3 minutes for a move.)
- G: announce who's turn is to move.
- H: say how many checkers are in the home boards.
- U: say how many vulnerable checkers are on the board.
- Control + U: enumerate the points where are vulnerable checkers.
- I: announce the number of checkers found on the bar.
- O: say the number of checkers borne off.
- P: announce the number of possible moves.
- R: announce remaining moves for current dice.
- F: announce how many dice points are necessary to bear all checkers off. For instance if a checker is on 24 you need 24 points to bear it off. If when is the removing time, if there are for instance 2 checkers on 1 and 2 checkers on 6, you need a total of 14 dice points to bear them off. This information is good to see who is more advanced, who has more chances to win at any moment.
- D: announce some dice statistics: the total dice points from start and the number of doubles.
- E: announce the efficiency. The efficiency is 100% as long you used all the dice points to go into home board, and it becomes smaller for instance when a checker was hit.
- A: announce the dice average. In this information, a double is considered as 4 dice. If you start for instance with 6 4, the average is 5; if the second dice rolling is 2 2, the average will be 3 because there were 6 dice with a total of 18 points.
- L: repeat the last action, moving the cursor at the last item in the history list.
- K: move the cursor at the first item in the history list.
- Coma and Period (Less and Greater signs): move the cursor item by item in the history list.
- Insert: copy the current game history into clipboard.
- J: enable / disable the game pad or the joystick.
- Control + J: if game pad or joystick is enabled, adjust the delay between its actions when using the arrows or the stick. By default, it is set at 200 ms.
- M: enable or disable the mouse.
- Control + M: if mouse is enabled, adjust the delay between actions when moving it. By default, it is set at 200 ms.
- Control + S: save current offline game.
- Control + O: open a saved game.
- Control + X: open the choose ambience option. This is available also in the Main Menu.
- X: open the music player.
- Z, X, C, V, B: the functions available in Winamp. N says the current track playing and the number of tracks loaded in the play list.
- Escape: close or abandon the game after confirmation and goes into Main Menu.
- Left Alt + F4: close or abandon the game after confirmation.
Keystrokes in the Chat Section:
- Enter: send the message written or translated by Google Translate.
- Backspace: delete the last character written.
- Control + Backspace: delete the message written since last Enter key was pressed.
- Page-Up / Page-Down: read the messages from history.
- Home / End: go to top or bottom of history.
- Insert: copy all the messages into clipboard.
- Control + C: copy the current line from history list into clipboard.
- Control + V: paste the text from clipboard in the "edit area".
- Delete: delete a message from the history.
- F3 / Shift + F3: change your language for translation with Google Translate.
- F4 / Shift + F4: change your partner's language for translation with Google Translate.
- F2: say the chosen languages for translation.
- Control + Enter: translate the message written and put it into current line. Just press Enter after to send it.
- Control + T: translate a message from the history. Choose a message pressing Page-up or Page-down and translate it.
- F5: repeat the last message translated by Control + T.
- Control + G: send a buzz.
- Control + M: choose an audible.
There are many sounds in this game.
You can hear the moving through the points, the middle of the board, the edges of the board. These sounds are placed on the corresponding position, it would be better to use stereo headphones.
You can hear also specific sounds when a checker is taken in hand, when it's put down, when a checker is hit or removed. All these sounds can be disabled / enabled from the "Sounds Settings" in the Main Menu or pressing F11 during the game.
After rolling dice, when the "cursor" is on a playable checker, you will hear a sound. When the checker in hand can be put down, another sound will be heard.
There are many other sounds: setup the board, close the board, starting the music player, closing the music player, clock cuckoo etc.
In Main Menu or during a game pressing Control + F6 you can change current sound theme. It means the specific sounds for different actions are changed depending of the theme chosen. By default, starting with version 1.57, the theme is Pontes Backgammon Modern. Choosing Pontes Backgammon Classic the sounds will be like from version 1.0 to 1.55.
About Speech in Game
You can play Backgammon using a screen reader or a SApi 5 voice.
Switch between screen reader and SApi5 voice pressing Alt + Shift. The screen readers supported are: JAWS for Windows, NVDA, Window-Eyes and System Access.
You can change the SApi 5 voice pressing Control + Shift.
You can adjust the TTS voice rate pressing F7 (slower), F8 (faster).
When it's screen reader chosen, F7 and F8 increase or decrease the number of milliseconds between computer actions.
If you play an on-line game, you can be the host or the client. If you are the host, you must have forwarded the 9995 UDP port. This port must be forwarded manually if you have a router. It's necessary also to allow Pontes Backgammon to pass the firewall.
In the on-line Menu choose "Host a New Game and wait for your partner". Waiting there, when another user chooses "Search for a Hosted Game" will find you.
As a client, you can wait for a hosted game. When a new host who is waiting is created, the TTS voice says: "1 partner" or "X partners", where X means the number of hosts available. Pressing Enter on a partner name, he or she will be ask if he or she wants to play with you.
Use Space on a partner's name in that list to hear it spelled.
After some moves, if one of the partners presses Escape or Alt + F4 to close the game, he or she will be asked if abandon is accepted. If the player asked presses Y for Yes, the game will be won by the other player.
If one of the players doesn't move for 3 minutes, it is considered an abandon and the game will be won by the partner. The time spent in Chat is not considered.
There are two ways to play off-line.
First option in the "off-line Menu" is "Play with a Partner in the Same Room". The board turns automatically for black color and white color. This way you can play Backgammon at home with your friends without buying a physical board which is more expensive than Pontes Backgammon.
The second option is "Play with Computer".
In the current version there are seven difficulty levels: "Easy", "Hard", "Difficult" and other five adventure levels like: "Computer has only doubles", "You have only doubles", "Computer has only 6 6", "You have only 6 6" and "You and computer have only doubles".
The off-line games can be saved pressing Control + S. Pressing Control + O, a list of saved games will appear. Each game has as a name the date, the hour, the minute and the second when it was saved. There is also an option to delete all saved games.
The saved games are not considered for statistics. For instance if you save a game before removing the last checker and after you try to open many times this game to make points in Score Board, it's not possible.
When playing offline, pressing key Q you can hear the names of the available partners waiting as host of an online game.
During an offline game, the available partners waiting for clients are announced automatically periodically if their list changes.
In Sound Settings You can enable or disable the automatic announcement of available partners.
The Chat Section and Google Translate
The Chat section is available just for on-line games. If one of the players presses F2, the chat will be activated. Pressing escape by one player, the chat will be deactivated.
When your partner is writing a message, a typing sound will be heard. When you partner presses the first letter in a new message, the voice announces: "Your partner is writing a message...".
Send a message pressing Enter Key.
Backspace delete the last character written.
Pressing Control + Backspace you can delete the message written since last Enter key was pressed.
Using Page-Up and Page-Down you can move through messages history. Home and End keys move the cursor to first or last message in the history.
If you want to copy all messages into clipboard, you can use Insert key. After copying, you can paste the discussion in your text editor to read it later.
The Delete key removes the message under the cursor from the history.
You can copy / paste a text in the chat section, use Control + C and Control + V.
Translation in chat
After writing a message, if Control + Enter is pressed, the written text will be translated and it will replace the written text, just press Enter to send it.
After choosing a message from the list, pressing Control + T that message is also translated.
F5 repeat the last translation made by Control + T.
You can choose your language pressing F3 or Shift + F3, and the partner's language pressing F4 or Shift + F4.
F2 says current languages set.
About the Music Player and Ambience
In the group Pontes backgammon there is an icon named "My Music Folder". This will open a folder where you can paste your favorite music. The music must be OGG format.
When playing, pressing X key, the music player will load all the tracks found in "My Music" Folder and will play them.
If you change the content of My Music Folder during a game, you must close the Music Player pressing V key and "reinsert the CD" pressing X key, this way the new tracks will be available.
V key will close the music player and the implicit background will play again.
B and Z keys go to next or previous track found in the play list. C pauses the current playing track.
F9 and F10 decreases and increases the background sound.
Be careful! You must convert your MP3s files in OGG or WAV format in order to be playable by this Music Player.
There is also an ambience background if music player is not loaded. You can choose from several ambiences like: park, forest, night, cafeteria or silence.
The ambience can be changed from Main Menu or during a game pressing Control + X.
My Games (History)
In the Pontes Backgammon group you will see an icon named My Games Folder. In this folder there are folders for all kind of games you played.
For instance in Online folder you can see in TXT format all the games played online. There is also a folder named Unfinished, there you can see all the games started, having at least 4 moves done. You can delete the folders at any time, when new games are played, they will continue to be saved there.
In these history game files appear also the statistics, like game duration, number of doubles, efficiency etc.
History during the game
Pressing L key will let you hear the last action. Pressing K will let you hear the first item in the list, the title.
The comma and period keys move the cursor up or down one by one item in the history list. Comma and Period keys shifted are also Less and Greater signs in an American layout.
Pressing Insert key will copy the current game history into the clipboard.
Game Pad and Joystick Support
You can use a game pad or a joystick to play Pontes Backgammon.
A game pad with arrows and 8 buttons is enough for this game. You can buy a simple game pad for only 5 Euros.
In Main Menu there is an option: Game pad or joystick Settings. Here you can choose your favorite game pad or joystick if there are more than one attached to your computer, you can read information about current game pad or joystick and you can also check the number of each buttons found on your game pad or joystick.
You can enable or disable the game pad or joystick pressing key J.
Pressing Control + J you can adjust the delay between actions when using the arrows or the stick found on your game pad or joystick. By default, the delay between actions is 200 milliseconds.
There are actions set for first 8 buttons found on your game pad or joystick:
Button 1, like the space bar, takes or puts down a checker. When you are in Sound Settings, button 1 enables or disables the chosen sound.
Button 2, like key Enter or key F5, rolls the dice or announces the dice not used in current turn. In the menus, button 2 chooses the selected item.
Button 3, like key Delete, bears a checker off.
Button 4, like key F4, announces current position. When in menus, button 4 has the functions of key Escape.
Button 5, like key U, announces the vulnerable checkers.
Button 6, like key H, announces the number of checkers currently in home boards.
Button 7, like key T, announces the time elapsed.
Button 8, like key F12, announces current time.
If you plug or unplug a game pad or joystick during a game, the changes are not available until a restart of Pontes Backgammon.
This game was tested with a Serioux and a Genius game pad.
You can use the mouse in Pontes Backgammon.
In the menus the mouse moved up or down has the same action like up or down arrows. Left click is enter, right click is escape.
In sounds Settings left click saves the changes, right click enable or disable the chosen sound.
During the game you can move the mouse on the table and it seems like arrows are used.
Pressing key M you can enable or disable the mouse during the game. If you don't use the mouse, it is better to disable it. By default, the mouse is enabled.
Pressing Control + M you can adjust the mouse delay between actions when moving the mouse. By default the delay is 200 milliseconds.
Left click takes or put down a checker.
Right click removes a checker.
Middle button rolls the dice or repeat the dice not used.
The left click also rolls the dice if they are not thrown yet.
The mouse wheel moves the cursor in the game history. If the Wheel is moved down after 5 seconds since last time it was used, the last message in the history will be announced.
Pontes Backgammon in Other Languages
Currently Pontes Backgammon is available in Croatian, Danish, English, German, Hungarian, Italian, Romanian, Serbian and Turkish.
Pontes Backgammon is translatable in other languages.
In the installation folder there is a folder named "languages". Each language has a file "language_name.lng" where the text after equal sign on each line is the translated message.
For instance in the file "English.lng" there is the line:
announce_nickname=Your nickname in this game is %1.
In the file "Romanian.lng" that line is:
announce_nickname=Numele tau in acest joc este %1.
%1 is a placeholder for the nickname, when a line like this is translated, %1 can be placed in any part of the sentence, depending of the language topic.
If you want to translate the game into a new language, you can download the file Lang_template.lng, open it with a text editor and translate all the parts of the lines after equal signs.
After or before translation, rename the file in your language name and paste it into "language" folder found in Program Files, Pontes Games, Pontes Backgammon.
If you do a complete translation of a new language, please send the file to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will include it in next version of Pontes Backgammon, or we can compile it again to have the new language available.
The translator name will be mentioned in Credits section on the site and also in the message announced when changing the language during the game.
Backgammon playing pieces are known variously as checkers, draughts, stones, men, counters, pawns, or chips.
The objective is to remove (bear off) all of one's own checkers from the board before one's opponent can do the same. The checkers are scattered at first and may be blocked or hit by the opponent. As the playing time for each individual game is short, it is often played in matches, where victory is awarded to the first player to reach a certain number of points.
Each side of the board has a track of 12 long triangles, called points. The points are considered to be connected across one edge of the board, forming a continuous track in the shape of a horseshoe, and are numbered from 1 to 24. Players begin with two checkers on their 24-point, three checkers on their 8-point, and five checkers each on their 13-point and their 6-point. The two players move their checkers in opposing directions, from the 24-point towards the 1-point.
Points 1 through 6 are called the home board or inner board, and points 7 through 12 are called the outer board. The 7-point is referred to as the bar point, and the 13-point as the mid point.
The players alternate turns, rolling two dice at the beginning of each turn.
After rolling the dice players must, if possible, move their checkers according to the number of pips shown on each die. For example, if the player rolls a 6 and a 3 (notated as "6-3"), that player must move one checker six points forward, and another or the same checker three points forward. The same checker may be moved twice as long as the two moves are distinct: six and then three, or three and then six. If a player rolls two of the same number, called doubles, that player must play each die twice. For example, upon rolling a 5-5 that player may move up to four separate checkers forward five spaces each. For any roll, if a player can move both dice, that player is compelled to do so. If players cannot move either die in a roll, given the position of their checkers then that turn is over and the turn passes to the opponent.
In the course of a move, a checker may land on any point that is unoccupied or is occupied only by a player's own checkers. It may also land on a point occupied by exactly one opposing checker, or "blot". In this case, the blot has been hit, and is placed in the middle of the board on the bar that divides the two sides of the playing surface. A checker may never land on a point occupied by two or more opposing checkers; thus, no point is ever occupied by checkers from both players simultaneously.
Checkers placed on the bar re-enter the game through the opponent's home board. A roll of 2 allows the checker to enter on the 23-point, a roll of 3 on the 22-point, and so forth. A player may not move any other checkers until all checkers on the bar belonging to that player have re-entered the game.
When all of a player's checkers are in that player's home board, that player may start removing them; this is called bearing off. A roll of 1 may be used to bear off a checker from the 1-point, a 2 from the 2-point, and so on. A die may not be used to bear off checkers from a lower-numbered point unless there are no checkers on any higher points. For example if a player rolls a 6 and a 5, but has no checkers on the 6-point, though 2 checkers remain on the 5-point, then the 6 and the 5 must be used to bear off the 2 checkers from the 5-point. When bearing off, a player may also move a lower die roll before the higher even if that means 'the full value of the higher die' is not fully utilized. For example, if a player has exactly 1 checker remaining on the 6-point, and rolls a 6 and a 1, the player may move the 6-point checker 1 place to the 5-point with the lower die roll of 1, and then bear that checker off the 5-point using the die roll of 6; this is sometimes useful tactically.
If one player has not borne off any checkers by the time that player's opponent has borne off all fifteen, then the player has lost a gammon, which counts for double a normal loss. If the losing player has not borne off any checkers and still has checkers on the bar or in the opponent's home board, then the player has lost a backgammon, which counts for triple a normal loss.
Registration Process and the Registration Manager
After you pay the game, 13 Euros, you must send an E-mail to emanuelboboiu (a round) gmail.com or to email@example.com. This mail must contain your full name and your nickname.
The chosen nickname will be your ID, it will appear also for your partners in online games.
After a short while, maximum 24 hours, you will receive an E-mail containing your unlock key.
Copy that unlock key and go in Start Menu, All Programs, Pontes Games, Pontes Backgammon, Pontes Backgammon Registration Manager.
In the first input box which appears, write your nickname.
In the second input box paste your unlock key.
You must save your nickname and your unlock key, it's available forever for registering the game.
If the game is registered and you want to unregister it, the Registration Manager will ask you if you want to unregister the game.
If you play in demo mode, the game will close when you bear the 4th checker off from the board. However, playing with computer in "Easy" level is available until finish without registering the game.
The nickname in demo mode is "DemoTester". When you play an on-line game in demo mode and your partner plays in full mode, he or she maybe will not accept to play, because he or she knows that a "DemoTester" will disconnect after the 4th checker was borne off.
The mouse, game pad or joystick can be used only for some moves in demo mode.
The translation in Chat is not allowed for DemoTesters.
View here how to get an unlock key.
Be careful to have your speakers set correctly, you can make before playing a Speakers Test from the Main Menu.
When you win a game, the details are stored into a database. This is not available for an opened saved game. The database containing all the games details is created for the Score Board and other statistics. We don't show other details excepting your nickname.
Pontes Backgammon can be played using only the numeric keyboard.
- 5 announces current position, 0 takes and puts down a checker, comma removes a checker, 7 and 1 have the functions of home and end keys respectively, 2 4 6 8 have the functions of the arrows keys.
We wish to thank the following people for their respective contributions:
- Philip Bennefall - has created BGT, an excellent scripting language and compiler.
- Sounds recording and editing: Constantin Cristache, Cristian Csetnek, Sorin Ţaţa.
- Alexander Nielsen - Danish,
- Igor Zelenika - Croatian,
- Dogan Yildirim and Mihaela Cîrlig - German,
- Tanko Csaba - Hungarian,
- Claudio Garanzini - Italian,
- Nikola Stojšić - Serbian,
- Yusuf Kovanci - Turkish.
- Beta Testers: Nicu Neag, Aurel Pătru, Adrian Tămăşan, Cornel Todericiu, Ioan Ţichir.