This issue introduces our new Pool teaching system. Having been surprised just how well our Shogi-teaching system worked we caught the "teaching" bug and looked at what could be done with Pool/Snooker. From our testing of our new system this seems a fine way to learn Pool/Snooker as your intelligent master tutor takes you through your game, setting tests and offering advice. These lessons are each unique as the AI tutor sets tests during the frame as it is played. We are not aware of any other product that offers this much, so it might even get some serious press attention in competition with the noise of all the other big title releases around.
This advanced Pool/Snooker product also takes our AI to a new level, where it seemed we already had established a significant lead over other Pool/Snooker products. In particular the already advanced safety play has clearly now set a new high. This will already be published in Japan, but we are now looking for publishers in the west as well. The quality of the 3D environment is also much advanced over our original product. This looks like a good base for a very high quality on-line game. (We are looking for new publishers right now!)
A small curiosity, but this issue was to announce that our XBLA Shotest Shogi is now in service in Japan (as of July 23rd). For some unknown reason this did not happen. Hopefully by the time you read this, it will have happened. This is unusual as the product was to be launched in Japan before the west, so western readers will have a little longer before they can get their hands on it. From inputs so far on the forums, it looks like the prospect of a proper Shogi teaching system is generating some real excitement. The XBLA product will also be able to take add-on teaching modules, so that it may well become a standard recommended means of learning Shogi.
In parallel to the Shotest Shogi (XBLA) product, we have already launched separate Japanese and western (English only) versions of "Shotest Shogi 3D" on the PC. This does not pre-empt the XBLA version as the initial PC release does not have the teaching system, or on-line play, but does have the full lavish 3D environment. The latter has been very carefully crafted, right down to fine detail. The game is played on an authentic Shogi board design, which accurately emulates the highly distinctive wood grain of Kaga wood, used for such boards. These trees are only found in Japan.
To support these existing and coming releases we have created a new separate dedicated home page for our Shotest Shogi engine on www.shotestshogi.com. This will keep readers up-to-date on the availability and progress of these products.