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March 2023 link to March 2023 news
Chess moves on
December 2022 link to December 2022 news
AI Factory in Nepal!
October 2021 link to October 2021 news
All new Backgammon!
September 2021 link to September 2021 news
A strange year!
December 2020 link to December 2020 news
The Queen's Gambit
September 2020 link to September 2020 news
Spades update
June 2020 link to June 2020 news
Facebook hack
April 2020 link to April 2020 news
Chess multiplayer update
August 2019 link to August 2019 news
Chess with 3D graphics
January 2019 link to January 2019 news
Chess gets a friendly facelift
December 2018 link to December 2018 news
The new look icons
October 2018 link to October 2018 news
Spades AI moves on
December 2017 link to December 2017 news
142,000,000 Android downloads
November 2017 link to November 2017 news
Checkers goes on-line
October 2017 link to October 2017 news
Publication moves to public domain
June 2017 link to June 2017 news
Game AI Pro 3: Collected Wisdom of Game AI Professionals published
May 2017 link to May 2017 news
Spades app gets a voice
December 2016 link to December 2016 news
The numbers continue to roll! 122,000,000 downloads
November 2016 link to November 2016 news
Chess book update
May 2016 link to May 2016 news
Go Free goes East
March 2016 link to March 2016 news
Go Free
September 2015 link to September 2015 news
Gomoku launch
August 2015 link to August 2015 news
The Knight Train
July 2015 link to July 2015 news
Tic Tac Toe Universe launch
May 2015 link to May 2015 news
The Numbers Roll Over...100,000,000 downloads!
April 2015 link to April 2015 news
Euchre Free: Our latest card game
July 2014 link to July 2014 news
Chess Free in Film Short!
June 2014 link to June 2014 news
Chess Free re-vamp
March 2014 link to March 2014 news
Chess Free Tutor
December 2013 link to December 2013 news
Christmas 2013
May 2013 link to May 2013 news
Solitaire Android launch
February 2013 link to February 2013 news
AI Factory tops 50 million Android downloads
August 2012 link to August 2012 news
AI Factory tops 40 million Android downloads
June 2012 link to June 2012 news
Gin Rummy Free and Antix
May 2012 link to May 2012 news
Chess Free tops 10 million
November 2011 link to November 2011 news
Sticky Blocks™ release on iOS
September 2011 link to September 2011 news
Hearts Android launch
July 2011 link to July 2011 news
Spades Android launch
May 2011 link to May 2011 news
AI Factory Android hits 5,000,000 downloads
March 2011 link to March 2011 news
AI Factory Android hits 3,000,000 downloads
February 2011 link to February 2011 news
AI Factory poker engine in Microsoft Full House Poker
January 2011 link to January 2011 news
AI Factory Android hits 1,500,000 downloads
November 2010 link to November 2010 news
Android apps in South Korea
September 2010 link to September 2010 news
Chess Android launch
August 2010 link to August 2010 news
Backgammon Android launch
June 2010 link to June 2010 news
Move it!™ puzzle launch
May 2010 link to May 2010 news
Lecture at Tokyo University of Technology
January 2010 link to January 2010 news
Touchscreen Aquarium
December 2009 link to December 2009 news
Tokyo University of Technology
August 2009 link to August 2009 news
In-flight entertainment Shogi
April 2009 link to April 2009 news
Poker engine development
February 2009 link to February 2009 news
Aya Go on iPhone
January 2009 link to January 2009 news
Chess release in Japan
December 2008 link to December 2008 news
Happy Christmas
November 2008 link to November 2008 news
Seawater Aquarium PC release in Japan
October 2008 link to October 2008 news
Billiards release in Japan
August 2008 link to August 2008 news
Shotest Shogi released on XBLA in Japan
July 2008 link to July 2008 news
New Pool / Snooker including dynamic tutorial
June 2008 link to June 2008 news
Shotest Shogi 3D
May 2008 link to May 2008 news
18th World Computer Shogi Championship
March 2008 link to March 2008 news
3D Shogi for PC and Shotest Shogi for Xbox360
February 2008 link to February 2008 news
GDC 2008 conference
January 2008 link to January 2008 news
PC Aquarium
December 2007 link to December 2007 news
Merry Christmas
October 2007 link to October 2007 news
3D Shogi
September 2007 link to September 2007 news
Mobile Aquarium
August 2007 link to August 2007 news
Our Chess on MSN
July 2007 link to July 2007 news
In-flight entertainment Bridge
June 2007 link to June 2007 news
Aya Go engine
May 2007 link to May 2007 news
17th World Computer Shogi Championship
April 2007 link to April 2007 news
Most popular engines
December 2006 link to December 2006 news
Happy Christmas!
November 2006 link to November 2006 news
August 2006 link to August 2006 news
Omar Sharif Bridge
July 2006 link to July 2006 news
Game Developer's Conference
May 2006 link to May 2006 news
16th World Computer Shogi Championship
April 2006 link to April 2006 news
February 2006 link to February 2006 news
AI Factory and Selectsoft
December 2005 link to December 2005 news
Merry Christmas!
October 2005 link to October 2005 news
Classic Compendium 2 launch
August 2005 link to August 2005 news
July 2005 link to July 2005 news
Classic Compendium launch
June 2005 link to June 2005 news
May 2005 link to May 2005 news
15th World Computer Shogi Championship
April 2005 link to April 2005 news
Gizmondo compendium
February 2005 link to February 2005 news
3D Chinese Chess
January 2005 link to January 2005 news
Pool for Unbalance in Japan
December 2004 link to December 2004 news
Christmas wishes
October 2004 link to October 2004 news
AI Factory and Buruxo's Spell Mage
September 2004 link to September 2004 news
Treebeard Chess in Japan
July 2004 link to July 2004 news
AI Factory and Revolution Software
June 2004 link to June 2004 news
AI Factory in Japan
May 2004 link to May 2004 news
3D Chess and 3D Bridge products released
April 2004 link to April 2004 news
On-line shop selling Classic range
March 2004 link to March 2004 news
Go (Wei-chi) for South Korea
February 2004 link to February 2004 news
New Treebeard Chess engine
December 2003 link to December 2003 news
AI Factory and XBOX
November 2003 link to November 2003 news
3D Chess and 3D Bridge demos
September 2003 link to September 2003 news
Omar Sharif signs for AI Factory
August 2003 link to August 2003 news
3D Pool and 3D Darts products released
June 2003 link to June 2003 news
Rock band Meretto sign to AI Factory
April 2003 link to April 2003 news
First AI Factory contract to Global Star
March 2003 link to March 2003 news
Company formed
March 2023:

Our chess program still holds a commanding position in the app store with over 100m downloads. However, even after some 13 years in charts, there are always ways to improve it.

The existing product optionally marked endangered pieces but did not prevent me from moving a piece needed to defend another piece or ensure that it occupied a safe square.

We have implemented two optional levels of safety checks for piece movement. Level 1 checks whether a piece can safely enter a square, while Level 2 checks whether moving the piece may cause a loss on another part of the board.

This update provides a “safe” casual mode of play and serves as a valuable teaching tool.

chess screenshot with show danger option
December 2022:

AI Factory participated in an Everest expedition and contributed substantial sponsor funds towards building a Vocational Centre in Nepal where young people can learn trades such as carpentry, plumbing, electrics, tailoring, fabrication and welding before returning to their home villages to start businesses. This is a worthwhile use of AI Factory’s increasing capacity for agency in the world. James Barnet here shows our modest presence at base camp!

photo of James Barnett with AI Factory logo at Everest Base Camp
October 2021:

Our Backgammon Pro has been top of the charts for a long time but it needed a new game engine. Both this and the free product now have 2 games engines, leaving levels 1-5 using the old engine and levels 6 and 7 the new much stronger game engine.

We could have swapped out the old game engine, but users still like the old version! So it is better to add rather than both add and take away facilities.

backgammon screenshot
September 2021:

A strange year! We have products to be released, but the pandemic has stripped out much activity.

The likes of GDC San Francisco have fallen out of the calendar. However conferences are morphing and the one we just attended on-line was pretty close to being as good as a live conference, using the very capable software. You could wander around and even eavesdrop conversations and seamlessly join, if desired.

The world finds new ways to adapt to adversity!

virtual conference screenshot
December 2020:

Most of our history is in our own hands, but from time-to-time an external seismic event dictates our progress.

No, not the pandemic but Netflix's release of "The Queen's Gambit" which has received over 62m views and has boosted the interest in chess worldwide.

We have been swept up in this and have have gone the extra mile to provide an update to our product to engage the new enthusiasm for chess. A key hook in this series has been its focus on particular openings, and we have expanded our app so that the player can track what opening they are in. The program holds over 700 named opening lines and even tracks the final game in the series.

still from TV series The Queen's Gambit
September 2020:

Our heads have been down for a long time dealing with many issues, exacerbated by the pandemic. However progress has continued, but at a slower pace.

Our most recent release has been the latest update to Spades Free. This is an important app for us and has consumed the vast majority of our AI work over the last 5 years.

The most significant gains were from a radically new bidding system.

This new release is the cumulation of much work on Nil play, particularly double Nil. Nil play is the most challenging part of Spades AI.

It's looking good.

Android Spades screenshot
June 2020:

Unfortunately our Facebook page for Chess was hacked by Cambodian hackers and sadly we have been unable to regain control of it, so apologies to our 73 thousand followers. We have a new protected page. A component in our failure to recover stems from the pandemic where Facebook do not have the bandwidth to help users suffering from such hacks.

Stock image representing a hacker
April 2020:

Will the withdrawal of Google Play Games support for multi-player we have had to quickly replace this using Firebase. Initially this seemed a total pain but the plus side is that the new system is much faster and flexible, allowing adding of features not possible with the old system. This will eventually allow addition of proper chess clocks. User feedback has been very positive.

Android Chess multiplayer screenshot
August 2019:

Over the years we have had a great many requests for 3D graphics. In an effort to keep the apk as small as possible, and concerned how practical these graphics might be to play an actual game on small devices, we postponed implementing it.

But apps and screens have both grown in size over the years, so we decided the time was right to look again.

We have just added 4 new boards and 7 new piecesets in a 3D view. We have also added a choice of 4 backgrounds for 3D and, for the first time, 2D.

To allow players greater flexibility, we have also extended landscape support from tablets to include almost all devices.

We are glad to say that the response from our playing community has been very positive!

Android Chess 3D screenshot
Android Chess 3D screenshots
January 2019:

Our Chess app was designed to make sure that most people had all the things they wanted. Over a period we added more and more. However it seems that some of our newer and newbie users were a tad overwhelmed by so many options. Most chess products provided few and therefore seemed more friendly. To address this we re-designed options so that the default was less intimidating, but with still an option to access all advanced options.

This brought our chess more firmly into the "friendly chess" fold that many users wanted. We also added inducements that made suggestions to the player in response to their progress.

Android Chess screenshots
December 2018:

Android persists in "moving on". we started on Android 2.0 and now we are at 9.0. With this has come changed and enhanced presentation of game icons. The old icons were still supported, but buried inside a generic rounded square. After much hand wringing we decided on how we would look in the new icon format and in doing so we needed to change the look of our brand. This can be disruptive and weaken our brand, but actually we like the new look forced on the move to Android 9.

AI Factory icon updates
October 2018:

Our Spades app is now quite old, but still consumes 90% of our AI effort over the last 5 years.

The area that needed the most attention was Nil play, particularly where two players go Nil. This poses many conflicting goals so has needed much more coding attention.

From our analytics we can see that the app win rate against human play continues to improve with new updates, but we still have further to go.

Android Spades screenshots
December 2017:

AI Factory Google Play apps topped 142,000,000 downloads in December. We have come a long way since May 2011 when we annouced 5,000,000. Of course the market overall has hugely grown and increasingly we are a smaller fraction of all apps out there, but with 142 million downloads, there are still a lot of people using our apps! Our biggest star among this is our Chess Free, which has topped 70 million.

We still need to earn the loyalty shown for our apps so we continue to work very hard to listen to our users and make our products better and closer to what the users want.

AI Factory downloads top 122 million
November 2017:

AI Factory Android apps cover a wide range of functionalities, but these have all been geared to single user play, or shared play on the same device. Netplay has been on our radar for years and finally we have bitten the bullet and released this for our Checkers app.

Of course netplay offers the opportunity for more ways for the app to not do what the user wants, so Checkers has been a helpful testbed before moving on to our bigger apps!

The feedback has been good and the added facility well-received!

Android Checkers screenshots of online multiplayer feature
October 2017:

AI Factory publishes its own periodical twice a year, but also publishes externally. One such publication from 2015 has now moved to the public domain: "Interest Search – A Faster Way to Do Minimax:"- Hardback Game AI pro 2 : Collected wisdom of game ai professionals". CRC Press ISBN: 978-1-4822-5479-2.

This describes in detail our bespoke search method which proved highly successful on our Shogi app and is core to our Chess program. You can now download this excellent book for free using the link above

Game AI Pro-2
June 2017:
AI Factory is gradually sharing its development knowledge via the AI Factory Quarterly/Biannual Periodical, but recently also published a chapter in Steve Rabin's Game AI Pro 3: Collected Wisdom of Game AI Professionals, following on from our previous contribution to Game AI Pro 2: Collected Wisdom of Game AI Professionals.

The AI Factory Periodical not only shares our knowledge and experiences but is also helpful for us to dissect and present development issues we have had. This forces us to analyse and understand these, and as a consequence have a better comprehension of what we learned to feed back into our follow-on development. Writing it all down for others to read helps us!

cover of Game AI Pro 3 book
May 2017:

Our Spades app had received most of our work this year and now characters have speech bubbles to comment on the game situation and engage in chatter. They also smile or frown in response to the game situation. This brings the AI opponents to life, rather than present a mostly static face that does not respond to the game.

In addition much new work has been completed on the AI, resulting in a play strength substantially above the level we had at the start of the year. Spades is a very popular app among our users and we have much enthusiastic input and more beta testers than for any other game, so our commitment to this app is very strong!

Android Spades screenshots showing speech bubbles
December 2016:

With 122 million downloads, AI Factory continues to make headway in what is becoming a very competitive market on Google Play. The number of games played is staggering. Our chess alone clocks up over a million games played per day.

Of course all this attention also obliges us to satisfy our user's requirements, so much effort is expended in making our apps do exactly what our users want. There are not many of us, but very many of them! We are very grateful for all the input we have received from all our users.

AI Factory downloads top 122 million
November 2016:

The old chess opening book in our Chess/Chess Free was a legacy book from the first release version back in 2010, designed to run on mobiles with tiny memories, such as the Google G1. Clearly the mobile technology has moved on a long way and compromises we made early on are no longer needed. It now has a 2 meg book, 700x times bigger than the tiny book previously provided.

However it needed some special crafting as players do not just want to play in the style of modern grandmasters but also to be able to follow some unfashionable or simpler or even slightly unsound lines. The solution was to mix the book with an extra hand-crafted book, structured like the old small book, and have this hand-crafted book steer the choice of openings.

From this we have a book that works well with the amateur player, but still has the depth desired by more professional players.
Android Chess screenshot
May 2016:
Taking advantage of the new helpful embedded links through to translation services provided by the Google Play console, we have relaunched our first product with Japanese, Korean and Simple Chinese translation. Our Go Free has its prime popularity in the east and now we provide a properly supported product for these territories. Our paid Go product was #1 in the paid board game chart for 30 days in succession and, as of publishing end of May, was still #1.
Go in Korean, Chinese and Japanese
March 2016:

In parallel to the lead-up to the famous AlphaGo vs Lee Se-dol match, we were beavering away at completing a massive upgrade to our Android Go product.

This replaced the old AI with the much more recently and widely adopted MCTS to play Go. The resulting product plays at 3 dan, some 10 grades higher than the old version of Go.

Our update release and the historic match coincided with GDC in San Francisco, so we were even watching the match live during the flight into San Francisco.

The product went well, showing a 10-fold increase in downloads. The image to the right shows Go Free's analysis of game 1 against Se-dol.

Go Free's analysis of game 1 against Se-dol
Game 1 against Se-dol
September 2015:

AI Factory's new Go-moku/Gomoku game is a sister product to Tic Tac Toe Universe released in July, but adding 3 harder opponents and losing the 3 weakest from Tic Tac Toe Universe for the more serious player.

It provides 9x9, 11x11 and 15x15 grids.

In testing against the top 5 other products on Google Play it won with a clean sweep of 10 wins and 0 losses, so it should provide a good challenge to most players.

Android Gomoku
August 2015:
From July 2014 we indicated that our Chess Free has been featured as an integral part of the charming new short film "The Knight Train" by Tasha Sharp and Lee Scott of Cut To The Dog Productions. This delightful cameo tells the story of a teenager crossing generations to learn to play chess.

Users can now view this short film on Youtube: The Knight Train.

The Knight Train short film still
July 2015:

AI Factory released the new Android game Tic Tac Toe Universe which provides 3x3, 4x4, 5x5, 6x6 and 15x15 game from the family Tic tac Toe to Gomoku.

These include a new ladder system that we have not yet included in our other games. As a player you complete with 12 animated opponents.

This is based on MCTS (Monte-carlo Tree Search) instead of minimax to give a more human-like style.

Android Tic Tac Toe Universe
May 2015:
At the end of May, the download count for AI Factory apps on Android added a 9th digit, exceeding 100,000,000 downloads! That is a hard number to imagine but, slicing it another way, we have 50 games completed per second and one new user added every second. That is a lot of people playing our games and, of course, a valuable source of input to help us improve our games. This high volume of input makes the process of fine tuning much easier. Users vote for what they want and, using analytics, we can also see what artwork users choose in the games, so we can fine tune the aesthetics as well as the features. It is an extraordinary industry!
100 million Android downloads
April 2015:

Over Christmas we published the first version of our latest trick-taking card game "Euchre", which was our most requested game.

This 4 player trick-taking game uses only 24 of the 52 card deck, dealing each player 5 cards. Despite the simplification of the reduced deck and smaller hands, this game adds complexities over trick taking games such as Spades as 3 cards are not dealt, so the player has to not only anticipate who has which cards but also which cards are not in play.

This product immediately did well, but from feedback from our users we went on to improve it significantly further still. It is now #1 ranked from some 40 Euchre products.

Android Euchre screenshots
July 2014:
Chess Free has been featured as an integral part of the charming new short film "The Knight Train" by Tasha Sharp and Lee Scott of Cut To The Dog Productions. This delightful cameo tells the story of a teenager crossing generations to learn to play chess. The Knight Train has been accepted by the Trinity International Film Festival in Detroit and the Deep Fried Film Festival in Scotland, with others expected to follow.

Existing Chess Free users may also recognise from the promotional poster below that the piece shown closely matches the king in our latest piece set: the Lewis set.

This short film will be available for public viewing in the near future. Watch out for it!

The Knight Train short film poster
June 2014:
We have just released a new substantial update to our Chess v2.0, adding landscape for tablets, 2 new chess sets including a Lewis set, Google Play Games, Cloud Support, Professional mode, ELO rating, full algebraic notation and endgame improvements. Chess Free is the #1 ranked app in Google's Top Board Games from 280 listed, with over 32 million downloads. The professional mode does not allow the user to use the various help facilities such as hint, undo and the tutor, and calculates an ELO rating for the user. Adding Google Play Games allows users to work for achievements and to compare their performance against other players in the leaderboards.
Android Solitaire
March 2014:
Chess version 1.8 just recently released now supports a chess tutor. Our tutor has implemented a different take on the usual idea - rather than divert the user into a separate tutorial, which can feel a bit like an exam, we have provided in-play help. Our approach has been to simply recommend a piece to move, but not where to move it to. This obliges the user to think about what that move should be, so the recommendation becomes a puzzle set as the selected piece must have some non-obvious beneficial play that is better than the more obvious choice. These become natural in-game problems for the player to solve.
Android Chess Tutor
This tutor has been received very well, with an approval rate of 80%. Chess Free is still, by far, our most popular product.
December 2013:
Christmas season is high adrenaline as we get apps in shape for the seasonal spike. Happily for us we have 8 apps that are best-of-type in the app listing (e.g. top ranked Chess among all competing Chess apps). We even managed to have our Chess Free as the #1 Android game in Norway, which was an unexpected accolade.

Currently we are updating our existing apps to add customer requested features before we embark on new titles in 2014.

Android apps
During the year we have been making good use of analytics. Of those apps substantially updated over 2013, our Spades Free has taken the most work. This mostly floated in 2nd or 3rd place among competing Spades apps but is now clearly #1, some 12 places in the Cards & Casino ahead of our next rival. However we have another new version getting ready for release soon, so watch that space.

We hope you have a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!

May 2013:
After a long spell of updating the infrastructure of our existing titles, AI Factory has finally managed to release a new title for Android, Solitaire Free. Solitaire introduces a new feature for AI Factory titles, adding the option for the user to select and crop their own pictures as game backdrops. This has proved a popular feature, which was also carried to Spades Free, where it was even more popular. Despite the huge number of Android Solitaire apps out there, our title quickly ascended to the 4th most popular with a sustained high download rate. AI Factory expects to now roll out new titles more often.
Android Solitaire
February 2013:
AI Factory has been pre-occupied in the last few months with product updates and enhancements, rather than new products. Since our last news we have had 22 product updates to gradually provide better device support, stability and artwork, but also to include our own in-house net control that allows us to keep our users informed about new products and updates. Generally all this has contributed to the range becoming even more solid than before. Our total user base passed the 50 million downloads mark over Christmas and now stands at 52 million.
Android app new art
However new products are on their way, the first in the next few weeks. We then expect to roll-out a number of new games using some powerful new AI technology.

Our thanks to our many users who have been helpful providing product input and suggestions, which we have gratefully taken on board.

August 2012:
At the end of August we had accumulated 40,000,000 downloads of our AI Factory Android apps. This is a 700% increase over the same time last year, so clearly a good year for us. Key to success here has been keeping our apps working well with all the new devices coming out. By the end of last year, tablets only accounted for 2% of our users, but since then this has grown to over 6% as more and more people use tablets for gaming.

Note! : We are currently working with Blit to take our portfolio to a new platform, so watch this space!

Android app icons
June 2012:
We have just released Gin Rummy Free, which has leapt up the Android Cards and Casino charts, currently #13 in the US.

This product has also been the first to step up the UI candy to use such features as menu items with momentum.

Following our new direction in AI, Gin Rummy uses new methods to get the best AI play, allowing it to play all parts of the game very well. The app is also our first drag-and-drop card game.

Android Gin Rummy screenshot and Antix Labs logo
Additional news is that our products have just gone live in Indonesia under the Antix system under MLW Telecom and Telkomsel. The seamless Antix system allow such diverse devices as mobile phones and TVs to share common game binaries. Indonesia is a big market with 100 million subscribers on this service, so is an interesting development for AI Factory.
May 2012:

Compared to 16 months ago, when we had 1.5 million Android downloads, we have now topped 30 million in total.

Of these our most used app is Chess Free, which last week went above 10 million - a healthy haul for just one app.

We have been recently re-working our portfolio to raise the bar in terms of app presentation in a market where people increasingly expect much more from their games.

In particular we have been paying more attention to tablet computers, which, since last year, has increased from under 1% to over 5% of our users.

In consequence our general rate of new game production has slowed, but we will have a new title released in the next few days.

Android Chess screenshot
November 2011:
Sticky Blocks™ is released on iOS! This is AI Factory's first direct publishing of an iOS app, although we already have many game engines on iOS through licensing to Optime and Spark Plug Games.

Sticky Blocks™ further develops the block sliding concept, already advanced by Move it!™, which raised the bar by creating sliding puzzles with a wide variety of shapes that each freely moved in 2-dimensions, rather than fixing to the more usual 1-dimensional puzzle sliders.

Sticky Blocks™ screenshot
Sticky Blocks™ now adds a significant new twist introducing wobbling "Sticky" shapes that will fuse together if they touch. Once fused the Sticky pieces permanently change the puzzle, which may then become insolvable, so planning is needed!

This new evolution in AI Factory products also expands the play elements, with collectables and rewards during the game, with full Game Center integration.

See press release and also Facebook

September 2011:
On the back of our Spades release, which rose quickly among the card and casino games on the Android market, we have just added Hearts.

This is an easier game than Spades as there are no target contracts, so the search can simply be "greedy", rejecting all points cards, rather than aiming for a specific target number of tricks.

However it still offers a challenging AI task.

To contribute to this work, we are also currently in collaboration with Artificial Intelligence Research Centre, who have been developing MCTS around our Dou Di Zhou game engine, publishing a paper based on this and presenting the results to the CIG conference in Seoul.

Android Hearts screenshot
July 2011:
This month saw our first release of a card game for Android, the contract trick-taking game Spades.

This is the first western game we have created using Monte Carlo tree search (MCTS), so was an experiment for us. We have combined MCTS with static evaluation and found ways to avoid many of the pitfalls of MCTS, which naturally and easily wants to pick non-optimum plays.

Spades is a casual game but with a play complexity similar to Bridge, which is a challenging game for AI. This, and other non-perfect information games, offer a particular challenge as the AI not only needs to make exact calculations, but also needs to read play inferences.

All these issues add another layer to the complexity of the AI, and as time goes on we expect to continue improving Spades play.

Android Spades screenshot
May 2011:
This month we have released our four-in-a-line Android product, bringing our total family of Android apps up to 8 products. These have all surged up the Brain and Puzzle free charts and now 4 of these are in the top 20, whereas a month ago we had just one. On May 9th our total download count exceeded 5,000,000 downloads, currently running at nearly 2,000,000 per month.

The success of these has focussed our attention on this platform. Now, as Android tablets are becoming more commonplace, we will be upgrading our products to take advantage of these larger screen formats.

We have also recently been upgrading our products to support the Heyzap social gaming network, which allows users to see what their friends are playing and to share tips. Heyzap also links to Twitter and Facebook.

Android Four in a Line screenshot
March 2011:
After a very strong 2 months AI Factory has doubled its total download count to 3,000,000 and all 6 of its games are inside the top 100 Brain and Puzzle games.

The leading game is Chess, which is currently #9, with Reversi at #21, Backgammon #23, Move it! #46, Checkers #58 and Go #83.

Of these recent releases, Reversi has been our fastest mover and Go our hardest game.

Android Go and Checkers screenshots
The latest release is Checkers, which has found particular favour in the U.S. market but has only been out a short time so is playing catch-up in the charts.

We are readying for two new titles to be released very shortly, with more in preparation. The Android space is increasing rapidly and we are doing our best to try and fill it!

February 2011:
One of the more high profile products we have been involved in is due for release soon: the impressive "Full House Poker" for XBox 360, which was recently shown at CES.

It will also be on display at GDC San Francisco, which we will be attending.

Microsoft Full House Poker screenshot
We created the AI for this product and it has been a big exercise for our probability engine, taking some 6 months of work. Full House Poker has already created a buzz and is set to be one of the higher profile products for the start of 2011. As can be seen, it is a product that sets a high graphical standard with a rich environment and set of animations to accompany the game. This is a full-on fun product! See it, and us, at GDC!
January 2011:
AI Factory has just passed 1,500,000 downloads from Android appstore, averaging around 30,000 per day.

We now have 5 Android apps in service on the Android appstore and 4 of these also on TStore (and Amazon very shortly). We have another app in development and several more to follow.

We also have 5 of our game engines in service on iPhone, through Optime and Spark Plug Games, and will be publishing our own iPhone app directly very soon.

Android Reversi screenshots
Our most recent Android app is Reversi Free, which very quickly climbed the Android Charts, and can be seen here (above right).

Our Android apps are also prepared for pad use and are already in common use on devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, taking advantage of its higher resolution screen.

November 2010:
This month we released 4 Android games into the South Korean market, in the ubiquitous TStore. We will also be following with other titles. The South Korean Android market only started in February 2010, so is a "new" market, and has already doubled in size in the last quarter to 5 million users with further rapid expansion expected.
Android South Korean TStore
Android is already ahead of iPhone by over 3:1 here and expected to rapidly grow as Android becomes the standard OS for higher-end Korean smartphones.

As well as adding our apps to TStore in Korea, we have also released Go Free to the Android Market.

September 2010:
Our third entry into Android is Chess Free, which also quickly established itself into the top 100 Brain and Puzzle games.

Chess Free is a very polished application with well crafted graphics and shares the same chess engine as Microsoft's MSN Chess, which also uses our Treebeard chess engine.

Treebeard uses non-conventional method for chess analysis, based on probability, giving the game engine a more human-like playing style.

Treebeard also appears in various PC products for Japan and the West.

We have also re-released Move it!, now including an updated art style, music and added animation. See Move it! PRESS RELEASE

Android Backgammon screenshot
August 2010:
After our Move it! game, we have quickly followed up with our Backgammon Free Android game. This has been very popular and is now firmly locked into the top 100 Brain and Puzzle games. Backgammon again followed the example of our previous apps to maintain a very high visual quality, and quickly established a solid 4.5 star rating. At about the same time Optime also released our Backgammon engine on iPhone as Backgammon Free, using a different art style. We are expecting to continue releasing multiple Android apps in the following months.
Android Backgammon screenshot
June 2010:
This month we are rolling out our first directly published puzzle game Move it!™ on Android. This is the puzzle to fill the void that should have been filled by successors to the genius Yoshigahara's famous "Rush Hour" block puzzle.This void has opened because of the sheer difficulty of synthesising such puzzles.

Move it!™ removes the restrictions that Rush Hour imposed, adding greater richness to a game with a simpler format.

Move it!™ screenshot
This "simplicity" hides puzzles of great potential complexity and elegance!

Move it!™ been a long term project of AI Factory. By combining our existing technology that has taken our Shogi program twice to world rank 3rd, with new technology developed for puzzle creation, we finally cracked this difficult task. We already have a successor to Move it!™ in production and will follow with many more from this attractive genre.

Move it!™ will be rolled out shortly on iPhone, iPad and Antix, with more platforms to follow!

May 2010:
Apart from the annual World Computer Shogi Championships that we always compete in in Tokyo, this year had a another distraction as we gave our first lecture within the School of Computer Science at the Tokyo University of Technology.

They are running a computer gaming course based around our gaming technology and this was our first hand-ons lecture for the course.

Lecture at Tokyo University of Technology
We also provided a second lecture that they gave on our behalf the following week. This is outside any previous lecture we have ever given, requiring a translator for the 90 minute lecture. Previously lectures given in Japan have always been in English.

This industry-academia synergy is healthy and a good way to feed in new ideas. AI Factory is also currently starting a research collaboration with Bradford and Imperial for MCTS (Monte Carlo Tree Search).

January 2010:
AI Factory has its first true Windows 7 title. Although touchscreen is now already almost passé for mobile devices, it is still relatively "new" in the desktop and laptop arena.

This title makes use of our bio-simulation technology that we described in our newsletter article Emulating Biological Systems – 2 of 2.

Touchscreen Aquarium screenshot
However this now allows the user to more directly interact with the simulation. You can now touch the tank directly with your finger and have the fish react as they might if touching a real tank. This, and other features, needed some new AI. You can see this at the Unbalance site.
December 2009:
AI Factory is currently collaborating with the Tokyo University of Technology to bring some of our AI and product development techniques into the course teaching there. Of course AI Factory has been involved in Japan game products throughout its history.
Tokyo University of Technology
Among AI Factory's founders there has also always been a background in Academia. These links are still very much active with other collaborations currently planned with UK Universities.

Such links also encourage undergraduate involvement with AI Factory, a potential rich source of fresh input from the new waves of top graduates which is always welcome. This healthy industry-academia synergy is a valuable source of new ideas.

August 2009:
Flying to the east? You might like to while away some time with our in-flight Shogi engine (Japanese Chess), which is currently published in a title by DTI Software. Increasingly more flights provide dedicated game screens for each passenger in addition to in-flight movies, so expect to see more titles coming from AI Factory in the near future. Currently we have Shogi, Go and Bridge games in service.
in-flight entertainment Shogi screenshot
April 2009:
Taking advantage of our existing probability engine and recent experience with UCT (Mote Carlo), we are well advanced in creating a strong Poker engine, initially targeted for Texas Hold'em. This is currently running non-stop on 8 processors, learning to improve its playing parameters. Poker is our most requested game engine, so its development was an inevitable addition to our range. The Poker engine's development will also feature in the coming Summer newsletter, which will talk about the types of learning that have been applied to it.

Our Poker engine will be available for licensing very soon.

Texas Hold'em Poker
February 2009:
We are working with Spark Plug Games to bring a series of AI-based games to iPhone/iPod. The first of these is Aya Go, released on 20th February, the award-winning Go engine developed by Hiroshi Yamashita.
Aya Go screenshots from iPhone
January 2009:
This month sees the Japanese release of our new Chess product. Play is set in a comfortable Western-style sunroom at twilight, with 4 distinct piece sets and boards to choose from (including metal pieces on a glass board, shown right), and good camera control to survey the scene to best advantage.

There are 30 levels of AI opponent and tutor, as well as human vs human mode. Added to this a hint feature, plus timer and handicap options, all designed to improve your enjoyment and your game!

Japanese PC Chess screenshot
December 2008:
There's just time to wish a very happy Christmas Season to all our friends and clients - have a successful holiday and a great New Year!

Click on the image on the right to see a full size version of this card...
AI Factory Christmas Card 2008
November 2008:
This month sees the Japanese PC release of our Seawater Aquarium. Developed alongside the Freshwater Aquarium released earlier this year, Seawater Aquarium also builds on its mobile original to make excellent use of the extra resources available on PC. It displays the same variety of features and increased realism as its freshwater companion, combined with a new variety of fish, environments and objects.
October 2008:
We have our advanced Billiards 3D releasing in Japan on October 17th. This is our first product to incorporate our new teaching system, which is not scripted teaching but a dynamic system where you play against the tutor and they will test you on shots during play. In doing so the tutor plays their own shots like a friendly teacher, making sure that you are left with interesting shots to try.
Japanese PC Pool screenshot
The tutor also will arrange it so that neither the learning player nor the tutor run away with the game. This way your teacher will balance to match your improving play. Once you have reached a good level, you can pick a more advanced tutor so you can take your game further.

This is a significant step up in our product range, utilising the AI to model a real teacher opponent to play against, instead of depending on de-humanised scripted teaching.

August 2008:
Our Xbox 360 Shotest Shogi product is now live on Xbox Live in Japan, developed in collaboration with Rubicon Development. This is an unannounced release and will be followed by a full worldwide launch in the fall. In consequence only Japanese users can currently see it. However the XBLA version does fully support EMEA, Chinese, Korean and Japanese languages, and is the first product with our advanced Shogi teaching system, which has been well received and prompted many requests to also take this over to our PC products. Shotest Shogi is our first entry into the large XBLA market.
XBLA top ten listings
Despite appearing unpromoted we note that in its first 2 weeks Shotest Shogi entered and stayed top of the Live Arcade products in Japan (see image above). So even as a stealth "unlaunched" product it still got noticed! Of course the worldwide version will have a full launch, so will benefit from much more exposure.
July 2008:
The last period has been shared between a number of product developments, but one key one we are excited about is our new 3D Pool / Snooker product. This has taken our existing Pool / Snooker product to the next level, with a completely new environment, taking advantage of newer faster 3D hardware.

However a key added feature is that we have also taken our already capable player AI to a higher level as well, providing much more capable safety play. An impetus for doing this was the introduction of an AI-driven tutorial system.

Pool / Snooker tutor screenshot
Our Shogi product very successfully used a script-based tutorial to provide teaching, but for Pool / Snooker we wanted to create a dynamic teaching system which would provide lessons embedded in the player-tutor games. To make this work well the AI really needed to be spot-on.

This product will first launch in Japan, but we are currently looking for partners/publisher to take this further.

We will be at "Develop in Brighton" in a couple of days. Maybe see you there!

June 2008:
We now have a total of 5 Shogi products either already on release or weeks away from release. The latest of these is Shotest Shogi 3D which has just gone on sale. This is an English-language only product with full 3D, rendered in an attractive Japanese setting. An added feature of this product is that two westernised Shogi sets are provided in addition to the standard Japanese set. One of these uses a design which shows the legal moves that each piece can make (pictured right). Since Shogi is a significant product for us, we now have an "Official Shotest Shogi Website" at This will be the centre now for new Shogi products and Shogi news in general.
Shotest Shogi 3D screenshot
We are also working on a next generation version of Pool and Snooker right now. Building on our older Friday Night 3D Pool product, this takes advantage of the improved newer graphics processors, and offers a good prospect of providing a capable basis for an on-line game, offering richer graphics than other existing on-line Pool/Snooker products.
May 2008:
The CSA World Computer Shogi Championship in Japan has just completed, and we already have a review article.

Unlike human competition, Computer tournaments have a long history of throwing up bizarre games, and this year was no exception.

Of these the one that drew the most attention was the Shogi program MOVE#1 running on the exotic super-fast FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array). Speed is no insurance against goofs and the program 28 times spurned mate-in-one, eventually choosing a draw by repetition instead!

CSA 2008
The winner of the whole event was also determined by no more than a simple clock error. However this year it was our turn to fall into our first ever elephant trap as we accidentally ran a broken build version of Shotest in round eight. With random moves what would have been an easy routine win was instead a super-fast loss. This left us on 4 wins 5 losses instead of 5 wins and 4 losses, pushing our ranking down 4 places and out of the seedings.
Goofs apart, Shotest held its own and, with 5 wins, would have been tied in games with TACOS (which it nearly beat) and K-Shogi, which were last year's 6th and 7th world ranked programs. We'll be back next year!
March 2008:
We have two Shogi products coming to completion at about the same time, 3D Shogi on the PC and Shotest Shogi on Xbox360, but the PC version just got there first. Shogi is Japan's alternative to western chess and is more popular there than chess is here.

3D Shogi is published by Unbalance and is our first new PC Shogi product since our Shotest engine topped the sales charts in Japan some 5 years ago. The double launch also coincides with our annual entry in the CSA World Championship near Tokyo.

A significant difference between the new products and our previous older Shogi products is that these games are now rendered in finely crafted 3D environments. In the same way as Mah-jong, Shogi is also an aesthetic experience as well as a game. However Shogi is also a much deeper game than Mah-jong, and arguably a better game than chess. This PC product is currently Japanese-only language support, but an English version will follow.

Unbalance PC 3D Shogi boxcover
February 2008:
GDC 2008 in San Francisco was our first conference of the year. This provides an opportunity to re-connect with existing developer and publishing partners and also to sample which way the market is currently going. One area that we are very involved in is with Antix, which is rapidly looking like the way to go for gaming on mobile devices. Antix as a company is new, but was created from mature groupings from within the industry. As it looks now, their technology may well become an industry standard, where otherwise the industry seems wildly divergent. We also met up with our regular partners: It is curious how you find that you have to travel 4000 miles to meet with people who work just 20 miles away! I guess it is down to time and opportunity!

The bulk of our time is again dominated by XBLA and Shogi, which has taken much of our attention this month.

GDC conference 2008
January 2008:
Our mobile Aquarium has moved up to a high-resolution version for the PC. Without the restrictions imposed by mobile 3D GPUs, this allows increased realism in the product with high resolution and more lighting effects (such as water ripples on plants and fish). Of course it is also to show off more fish at any one time so the more advanced fish behaviour such as shoaling can be seen (See the Autumn newsletter).
PC Aquarium screenshot
Take a look at the Unbalance website to see some demo movies of this running. This product allows the user to buy and breed fish in an Aquarium that they have designed. This is the kind of product that goes down well in Japan, but will be also making its way to the western market. Another more exotic product in this genre is destined for release in late Q2.
December 2007:
The best wishes of the Christmas Season to all our friends and clients - we hope you all have a great holiday and a successful New Year!

Click on the image on the right to see a full size version of this card...
AI Factory Christmas Card 2007
October 2007:
A major project currently nearing completion at AI Factory is a 3D Shogi product, in collaboration with Rubicon Mobile. This provides a rich environment with advanced 3D graphics, providing a highly aesthetic computer Shogi game experience. However the feature that really distinguishes this new 3D Shogi product is its advanced tutorial system, which provides a powerful and easy way to learn this particularly complex game (see previous newsletters).
3D Shogi screenshot
The product demonstrates and explains the principles by playing out examples and setting tests for the player. For many potential new Shogi players this will offer a far more accessable and agreeable way of learning than is possible through traditional book study.
September 2007:
One of the more exciting projects we have been involved in recently is a highly realistic bio-simulation on a mobile phone running under Brew. This is currently in-service in Japan and provides the mobile user with a virtual Aquarium for keeping either sea or freshwater fish. The user has to look after their fish and can also breed them. The level of realism is such that many previewing our emulated fish were convinced they were real and that this was just a movie. Not so!

This is a first generation product, with generation 2 already in late development and generation 3 is at an advanced design stage. All this rests on the more powerful OpenGL mobile phones currently coming into service, providing advanced 3D rendering comparable to early PCs with 3D cards. This is a lot of power for such a tiny device!
aquarium screenshot
August 2007:
Our Treebeard Chess engine is now the featured Chess engine for Microsoft's MSN games, so will be clocking up many more games of chess than ever had before, through the 14 million people that make up the MSN game-playing community. Treebeard is not like many conventional chess programs, depending on a deep analysis of a small number of positions rather than a simple evaluation of millions of positions. This gives the game a more human-like style with a more subtle appreciation of positional features but capable of falling into tactical traps.
MSN Chess screenshot
This makes for a more satisfying game for the casual player. You may well see other of AI Factory's game engines join Treebeard soon.
July 2007:
In-flight gaming is now pretty well a standard feature for airlines, provided as part of the on-line entertainment package designed to keep passengers amused during the extended hours needed for long haul flights. If you are a Bridge player you might like to look out for our Bridge program, currently featured on Emirates Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways, as published by DTI Software (recognized as the leader in the In-Flight Entertainment industry).
in-flight entertainment Bridge screenshot
AI Factory also has other games lined up to join this in-flight genre. Given the rapidly expanded capabilities of in-flight game computers this is likely to continue to be an area of rapid growth, offering the passenger an increasingly wider range of game options, including more sophisticated games. AI Factory will continue to be a player in this area.
June 2007:
AI Factory has recently added the Go program Aya to its engine catalogue, in addition to the existing Go++. Aya plays at 7 to 8 Kyu and provides AI Factory with a more compact Go program, more suitable for smaller platforms, but still very competitive. It is currently being applied on a new platform.

Aya is authored by Hiroshi Yamashita, who recently won the World Computer Shogi Championship in Japan, and has been in development for several years. At its last competitive event it came 4th from 17 Go programs. AI Factory welcomes Hiroshi Yamashita to the ranks of our AI engineering!
Aya screenshot
May 2007:
The CSA World championship is concluded and the favourite and previous world champion "Bonanza" (see last news) has moved down 3 places to 4th, but it was a close and exciting contest. Our program Shotest did not get to meet Bonanza, but did move up a modest 2 places from last year's ranking. That bucked the trend, where the net result for re-competing programs was to lose ranking.

A clear development this year has been that all the qualifying programs to the final round ran on multi-core machines, with the top programs using 8 fast cores.
Tokyo CSA 2007
This is clearly the way things are going, so our program will next year move up from single to multi-core, giving it a more even chance to contest for the top places. See the quarterly newsletter for the coming full tournament report.
April 2007:
The first quarter of this year has so far seen us ship more engines than any previous quarter. Historically our long-term front runners have been Chess, Bridge and Pool/Snooker, but in the last 6 months Shogi has been the top engine, followed by Bridge, Chess and then Chinese Chess.

Of course, Shogi has also received particular interest as this is one of our competition engines, so once again we will be off to compete in the World Championship in Japan on May 3rd. Computer Shogi has received more attention this year than any previous, with the new World Champion "Bonanza", which everyone is keen to beat. Our engine "Shotest" is taking games off Bonanza in testing, so we are interested to see how it does in the Championship!
most popular engines of 2007 so far
December 2006:
Our end-of-year has been primarily work on Pool and Snooker (see newsletter), and also Shogi. We are also gearing up to adding puzzle titles to our engine resource, as we have a purpose-designed generic AI architecture which can easily generate both puzzle solvers and puzzle design. Squeezed in there we had a short holiday seasonal blast at paintball, taking on the guys at system7. This feels a lots like half a dozen on-line combat games out there, so is the same thing, but for real. We have now crawled back to our keyboards to tidy up our end-of-year commitments.
AI Factory Christmas card 2006

Click on the image on the right to see a full size version of this card...
November 2006:
We have been particularly active with Shogi in our end of year, with two active Shogi contracts, two further currently being assessed and a further two in early consideration. We also have other Shogi spin-offs planned. This fits well with our other schedules as we each year enter the World Computer Shogi Championship in Japan, so added activity in this domain has useful spin-offs for our competitive product. Those subscribed to our quarterly newsletter will have seen the recent publications on our Shogi engine. (The newsletter is free and simple to subscribe to. You can unsubscribe at any time and we do not pass your information on to any 3rd parties.)
Shogi screen shot
August 2006:
AI Factory have just published the Omar Sharif Bridge product for the PC, designed to run on minimal PC hardware, and available from the Trading Centre. Bridge is generally considered the most challenging of the imperfect information games. This is our second major version of Bridge, the other being the full 3D product, available as Western and Japanese language products. The game engine is available for licensing as a source.
Omar Sharif 2D Bridge for PC
July 2006:
Part of July's agenda was the Game Developer's Conference in Brighton, where we focussed on porting casual games to mobiles. A key discussion here was with NVidia where we will be collaborating to port 3D games to use their GoForce 5500 chipset. With kit already donated by NVidia, we are on our way here.

It is amazing to see that 3D applications that might have struggled on PCs a few years ago, are now comfortably running on mobiles. The picture here is our chess running on a Sony Ericsson W41S, under OpenGL ES. The contemporary mobile is now clearly an impressive games platform.
Chess on mobile
May 2006:
May is the month when we trek off to Japan to compete in the World Computer Shogi Championships, near Tokyo. This event attracts many competitors and the popular media for what is Japan's most popular game. This is a touchstone event for computer AI.

This year we had some extra problems as our PC turned up in Japan with a big dent in the side and failed during round one, losing us an otherwise precious won game. However with a loaned PC on hand we recovered and still managed to retain our position as "strongest western Shogi program". See our quarterly newsletter for coverage and pictures.
Media at Tokyo CSA 2006
April 2006:
The key item this month is the signing of a multi-engine contract with Microsoft, potentially covering all platforms.

AI Factory game engines may therefore appear in several guises under the Microsoft label.
Microsoft logo
This takes advantage of AI Factory's key specialisation, to provide in-depth AI content for 3rd party development. The mature generic AI core and established uniform engine interface will allow Microsoft to rapidly integrate multiple AI game engines with low development costs, as all engines share the same interface and game control. For us, this is the start of a new and challenging contract, which we look forward to developing.
February 2006:
February saw our first new U.S. product for 18 months, as our more recent publishing has been in Japan, England, France, Holland, Germany and Italy. This was for the products Chinese Chess Deluxe, Championship Chess, Gomoku Deluxe and Four-up for the California-based publisher SelectSoft.

This is our first stand-alone published Chinese Chess program, and won the Gold medal twice in the Computer Olympiads. Chinese Chess is played across much of the far east and has a huge player base. This is also a likely candidate for providing a future mobile Chinese Chess game.
Selectsoft Games
December 2005:
We've had our busiest year at AI Factory, with the roll-out of 3 products in Japan, and 10 games through PDA compilations. We are now embarked on a substantial new AI project which is still under wraps, and discussing a number of other new projects.

Click on the image on the right to see a full size version of this card...
AI Factory Christmas card 2005
October 2005:
The Classic Compendium 2 (Eastern pack) for the Gizmondo, was released this month, coinciding with the Gizmondo unit launch in the US. Once again the 5 classic games - Shogi, Gomoku, Chinese Checkers, Chinese Chess and Taipei - present players with great quality board and casual games on a portable device.

The compilation provides both challenging play standards and weaker computer opponents, emulating believably weak human play, meaning that the compendium is equally suited for beginner or life-long enthusiast.

The Shogi engine featured in this compilation is the same one that competed in the 15th World Computer Shogi Championship detailed in the May 2005 news item.
Boxcover for Gizmondo's Classic Compendium 2
August 2005:
The GDCE (Game Developers Conference Europe), is one of the focal events for the games development community to exchange ideas, and combines with the IGDA for one of their many social business gatherings. As is often the case, these events collide, so the time also had to be shared with the new GME (Game Market Europe). This is the 6th such trade event for us over the last 12 months.

Our particular interest this year was mobiles, which was a substantial topic at the event. Our current schedule looks as if it will be almost entirely dominated by mobile work over the next 6 months.
Game Developers Conference Europe
July 2005:
The Classic Compendium (Western pack) for the Gizmondo, is now out on the streets. This provides the traveller with portable classic games, offering a very high standard of play which is often missing from portable devices.

This mobile gaming companion provides a long-term challenge with its multiple AI opponents, each with their different play styles. You start at the bottom of the rankings ladder and work your way up. The AI genuinely provides both the highest play standards and also weaker computer opponents, engineered to emulate weak human play, making the compendium an ideal learning tool.
Boxcover for Gizmondo's Classic Compendium
June 2005:
E3 is the biggest event in the computer games industry calendar, so it's going to get a mention! Again the Los Angeles Convention Center exhibition was bigger, noisier and with more attendees than ever before. AI Factory were there in the thick of it, from 18th to 20th May and beyond, to work through several publishing deals, yet to be announced.

Among these are plans for the creation of AI for the classic game genre of Hexwar, currently already supported by an active on-line gaming community (see AI Factory have also just concluded contracts with Mindscape and Denda.
Gizmondo stand at E3
May 2005:
AI Factory's Shogi program Shotest successfully competed in the 15th World Computer Shogi Championship in Tokyo in May 2005. This is the version for release on the pocket console Gizmondo.

Unlike in previous contests, Shotest was this time running on the slowest machine at the event! .. but competing head-to-head with high speed 128-bit AthlonFX processors. Despite this, Shotest came a respectable 13th out of 53 entries, tied on wins with the many times world champion Kanazawa.
Shogi at the CSA
Shotest has always maintained its position as the highest placed western Shogi program, twice coming 3rd out of 50 programs and, in its last competing event on a full speed computer, was the only program that could beat the new world champion in the final top 8 all-play-all final round. See reports on the championship, and the results on the official CSA site.
April 2005:
AI Factory are currently in production for classic games for the exciting new Gizmondo platform. This very attractive feature-rich handheld console is already in the UK and set for European, US and Eastern markets very soon. The classic game pack will come in 2 parts, East and West.

The first will be the West pack, due in June, with Chess, Checkers, Backgammon, Reversi and Four-in-a-Line, including our innovative "Treebeard" chess engine. The follow-on East pack will include Shogi, Chinese Chess, Gomoku, Chinese Checkers and TaiPei.
Backgammon on the Gizmondo
The Shogi program featured in the East pack will be entered in the coming World Computer Shogi Championship in Tokyo in May 2005, so watch this space for details of how it does!
February 2005:
A recent product, nearly ready for publication, is AI Factory's Chinese Chess. Chinese Chess probably has more players worldwide than Chess, although it is somewhat less well known in the West. This game adds another twist to the genre of chess-like games, as it confines certain pieces to move only in restricted regions of the board. The game engine in this product has already proven itself in competition, winning the gold medal in two computer Olympiads. This product follows our current trend of setting classic games within lavish 3D products, giving the player access to the game within a beautiful game environment, as well as providing attractive pieces, lighting and 3D-enhanced reflections.
Japanese Chess screen shot
January 2005:
9-ball, 8-ball and Snooker in Japan. Unbalance are to publish AI Factory's Pool and Snooker game in Japan for full release in February (details on This new product has exceeded the functionality of AI Factory's previous Pool Snooker product published in the west, to include many extra features, including better cameras and real human opponents instead of the older cartoon opponents.

This is our second major Japanese product, with three more products planned in the pipeline, including 2 completely new product types.
Screen shot from Pool for Unbalance in Japan
December 2004:
AI Factory will be operating at a seasonally adjusted rate during the Christmas to New Year interval. However mails will get processed.

We have had a very busy year and expect the same next year!

Click on the image on the right to see a full size version...
AI Factory Christmas card 2004
October 2004:
AI Factory is currently working with Buruxo of South Korea to create AI for the game Spell Mage. This on-line game is already well-developed, and can be accessed at, where login passwords can be requested for commercial testing. Spell Mage is an intriguing game which combines complex tactical battles with a powerful educational theme. The players pit their magical characters in combat and need to reveal the word hidden by their opponents to defeat them. To do this requires language skills to guess the word as it is exposed, but also strategic and geometrical skills to carefully position characters to achieve strong attacks.

The game therefore introduces an element of competition into the education process. AI Factory will be producing the AI for this unique game. Although primarily designed the Eastern market, Buruxo and AI Factory are currently also seeking Western publishers for Spell Mage.

UPDATE: Spellmage site no longer available.
Screen shot from Spell Mage
September 2004:
Treebeard Chess is ready for launch in Japan. This game was completed as a first all-Japanese product for the Japan PC market. A number of follow-on titles are expected shortly. This will provide Japan with its first all-Japanese 3D Chess product, with chess advice offered in Japanese by the in-built chess coach. Chess is being launched in two versions; one for the desktop and a second version for low-spec notebooks, aimed primarily at the travelling businessperson.
Japanese Chess screen shot
July 2004:
AI Factory is currently working with Revolution Software to create game components for an up-and-coming new title. Revolution have a history of creating ground-breaking games and are highly acclaimed for their innovative gameplay. Each of their games have taken technical leaps forward and their new work will certainly follow this trend.

AI Factory will also shortly be adding to the range of game engines immediately available, including Gobang and Tafl, among others. Most of these will be using controlled limited resources to make them suitable for mobile phone implementation.
Screen shot from Revolution's Broken Sword
June 2004:
This was a busy month for AI Factory, particularly in Japan. New contract negotiations have been started for console, PC and mobile games; two of these in Japan, one in the US and one in the UK. During this phase the core interface technology used for all our engines has been evolved to a version 3 of the engine technology. This has been designed with mobile client and server needs as the first priority, but presents an elegant and simple interface that makes all platform developments very easy, with off-the-shelf ready-made testbeds, common for all our engines. Watch this space!
Photo from the business trip to Japan
May 2004:
Tournament Chess II and Omar Sharif Bridge II released for Global Star Software. Both of these products provide not only beautiful 3D implementations of the games, but also set them in full 3D environments. With Bridge you get to see and hear Omar Sharif, and also partner him as you progress through tournaments. In both games you face player characters with true human player characteristics. Both programs set new standards for classic AI games.
Images from Bridge and Chess
April 2004:
The AI Factory on-line shop is launched: The AI Factory Classic range includes Chinese Chess, Gomoku, Backgammon, TaiPei, Reversi, Dominoes, Checkers, Four-in-a-Line and Chess. These games provide quality games at attractive budget prices. All these engines are also available for 3rd party console/mobile/PC implementations.
Screen shots of Classic games
March 2004:
Computer Go for South Korea. South Korea has a higher proportion of Go players per head of population than any other country, and dominates international competition. AI Factory will shortly release the first Korean-language Go product for this market, using the world's strongest Go program.
Korean Go boxcover
February 2004:
AI Factory develops and completes the next-generation Chess engine "Treebeard", designed to provide high AI Chess strength that can be used on both large and small devices. Treebeard is the first Chess engine to make use of the SUPER-SOMA algorithm (see: or download SUPER-SOMA.doc directly from here), which successfully placed the Japanese Chess program Shotest as 3rd world-ranked and unrivalled strongest Western program.

Although the first implementation of this new engine is for Global Star's forthcoming PC product Tournament Chess II, the engine's architecture has been purposely designed for easy Server, Console and Mobile implementations.
3D Chess screen shot
The generic architecture used for this is shared by all of our engines and makes 3rd party implementation particularly painless, as all engines use exactly the same C++ based interface. This architecture is supported by clear and polished documentation and a ready-made workbench for testing the engine.
December 2003:
Mindful of the console market, AI Factory is now also moving into xBox game development. Many game titles can be found on both the PC and xBox platform. Further down the line this may be extended to PS/2 as well. With the advent of xBox live, the future of on-line gaming offers much to the gaming community.

We're all in fine festive mood and everyone here at AI Factory would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderfully Happy New Year! (How long did it take us to pose for this photo? Don't ask!) ;-)

Click on the image on the right to see a full size version...
AI Factory Christmas card
November 2003:
Demos for 3D Tournament Chess and Omar Bridge V2 delivered. These products are for full release in the Spring of 2004. Both products come with lavish 3D environments and provide a variety of computer opponents with differing play styles. These products push out the boundaries of 3D quality, with stunning environments.
Omar Sharif Bridge II and Chess Tournament II splash screens
September 2003:
Omar Sharif signed an endorsement contract with AI Factory to promote the coming 3D Bridge title. Omar Sharif is renowned the world over across all generations for his many films over the last 40 years, and has some of the World's greatest films to his name. Omar Sharif also has another formidable career in his passion for the game of Bridge, where he is undoubtedly the World's most well-known Bridge expert. The coming Bridge product will be featuring Omar in the game.
Omar Sharif photo
August 2003:
AI Factory completes two major applications for Global Star Software, 3D Pool and 3D Darts. We are currently working on 4 further applications for the same publisher and already have plans for future follow-on work in the same area. Already we are making plans for Pool 2. We have also just completed work for Psion and are in discussions with two other publishers with new projects in mind.
Friday Night 3D Pool and Friday Night 3D Darts splash screens
June 2003:
Contracts signed with the band Meretto and Hasen Music to create Music and SFX for our coming titles.
April 2003:
AI Factory signs a contract with Global Star Software to complete 6 3D Titles, 3D Pool, 3D Darts, 3D Chess, 3D Bridge, 3D Slots and 3D Casino.
March 2003:
Company established.