FIBS Client Protocol Detailed Specification

Copyright 2003-2004 Evan McLean.
Revision 1.2 (October 10, 2004)

Abstract

This document is intended as a comprehensive guide to the client interface for FIBS, the First Internet Backgammon Server. The intended audience is programmers intending to write their own client to interface with the FIBS server.

Table of Contents

Abstract
Table of Contents
Revision History
Introduction
Acknowledgements
Contacting the Author
Initial Notes
CLIP Messages
     CLIP Welcome
     CLIP Own Info
     CLIP Motd
     CLIP Who Info
     CLIP Login
     CLIP Logout
     CLIP Message
     CLIP Message Delivered
     CLIP Message Saved
     CLIP Says
     CLIP Shouts
     CLIP Whispers
     CLIP Kibitzes
     CLIP You Say
     CLIP You Shout
     CLIP You Whisper
     CLIP You Kibitz
Logging In
     Standard Log In
     Guest Log In
Invalid Commands
Chat and Settings For Other Players
     Shout
     Kibitz
     Tell
     Say
     Whisper
     Message
     Waitfor
     Gag
     Blind
Between Game Actions
     Invite
     Join
     Watch
     Unwatch
     Look
     Oldboard
     Oldmoves
     Away
     Back
     Bye
     Wave
Settings Commands
     Toggle
         Toggle Allowpip
         Toggle Autoboard
         Toggle Autodouble
         Toggle Automove
         Toggle Bell
         Toggle Crawford
         Toggle Double
         Toggle Greedy
         Toggle Moreboards
         Toggle Moves
         Toggle Notify
         Toggle Ratings
         Toggle Ready
         Toggle Report
         Toggle Silent
         Toggle Telnet
         Toggle Wrap
     Set
         Set Boardstyle
         Set Linelength
         Set Pagelength
         Set Redoubles
         Set Sortwho
         Set Timezone
     Address
     Password
     Save
General Info
     Help
     Show
         Show Games
         Show Saved
         Show Watchers
         Show Max
     Who
     Where
     Rawwho
     Whois
     Ratings
     Last
     Time
FIBS Info
     Motd
     About
     Average
     Dicetest
     Version
     Stat
Other Commands
     Cls or Clear
     Erase
     Shutdown
     Undocumented Commands
Various Asynchronous Messages
     CLIP Messages
     Invitations
     Waves
     Timeout
     Waitfor
     Watch
     Away
     Game Reports
Game Play
     Board State
     Start or Resume a Match
     Start a Game
     Player's Turn
     Opponent's Turn
     End of a Game
     End of a Match
     Doubling
         Player Doubles
         Opponent Doubles
     Redoubling
     Resigning
     Dropping or Leaving the Game
     Watching a Game
     A Spanner In The Works
Game Commands
     Roll
     Move
     Off
     Board
     Pip
     Double
     Accept
     Reject
     Resign
     Leave
     Redouble
     Beaver
     Raccoon
     Otter
     Panic
RepBot
     General Info
     Ask
     Friends
     List
     Complain
     Vouch
     Withdraw
     Alert
     Asynchronous RepBot Messages
     Miscellaneous
Player Profile Protocol
References

Revision History

The most up-to-date copy of the document should always be available from either http://www.fibs.com/fibs_interface.html or http://www.fibscommunity.org/fibs_interface.html.

1.2 October 10, 2004
  • Added a Contacting the Author section.
  • Added a note at the start of the Revision History about where to find the most up-to-date copies of this document.
  • Expanded the cls command to include the equivalent clear command as well.
  • All the following changes were suggested by Burper, who administors the FIBS Community Projects forum and web site.
    • Added message received if you invite someone who is already playing.
    • Added message received if you invite someone with a bad second argument.
    • Added explicit example of using the rawwho command with a valid user as the argument.
    • Added a section on some undocumented commands.
    • Added paragraph in the Initial Notes regarding the fact that many commands can be abbreviated.
  • Changed all the double quotes from using the straight " ("—") to a “/” pair (“—”) just because I find them more aesthetically pleasing.
1.1 March 22, 2003 Added some notes to the introduction for RepBot and the alert sections that were supplied by Avi Kivity.
1.0 March 19, 2003 Initial revision.

TOC

Introduction

This document is intended as a comprehensive guide to the client interface for FIBS [1], the First Internet Backgammon Server.

The intended audience is programmers intending to write their own client to interface with the FIBS server. It covers every command and the server's responses.

This document outlines the CLIent Protocol for FIBS, also known as CLIP [2]. It does not cover the standard user interface that you get when you log in normally via a direct telnet session.

I do not try to explain all the commands in detail. Readers are encouraged to look up the FIBS Command Reference [4] as required.

I start off with some initial notes, followed by all the CLIP [2] messages. These CLIP messages form the basis of the responses from a lot of other commands. After this the login process is covered.

The sections after this are structured in much the same way as the FIBS command Reference [4] except I leave actual game play to the very end. It's the most complicated part so I cover the easier stuff first.

There's also a section on all the asynchronous messages you might receive for things like waves and invitations and the like.

When we get to the actual game play, rather then going into each command I first go over it from more of a process view, working through the sequence of events that occur during a match and what you might see from the server. After this each game command is then covered in detail.

Finally the available commands and responses from RepBot are covered.

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Acknowledgements

Thanks to Paul Ferguson, the author of the MacFIBS client and the excellent FIBS Cookie Monster [3] for answering questions, reviewing early drafts and making suggestions.

Thanks also to Peter Nevalainen, the author of the JavaFIBS 2001 client for letting me plagiarise some of his documentation [7] and call it research.

TOC

Contacting The Author

I can be contacted via the FIBS CLIP forum at The FIBS Community Projects web site. At least there, if you ask a question and I'm not around then somebody else may be able to help you.

My user name on this forum is “Wendigo” so if you prefer you can always leave me a private message there too.

TOC

Initial Notes

FIBS expects any client to conform with the telnet protocol specification (RFC854). In practice this means the following:

Great care has been taken to accurately show all messages returned by FIBS, right down to if there is a period at the end of the message or not. However FIBS appears to have the habit of putting one or more spaces on the end of it's output for some messages and not for others. This has not been documented. It's recommended that any parser you write should be able deal with an arbitrary amount of whitespace on the end of the lines returned from the server.

Many commands that can be sent to the FIBS server can be abbreviated. For instance to send the board command you could type any of “b”, “bo”, “boa”, “boar” or the full “board”. I have not tried to document the shortened versions as some of them are documented in the FIBS Command Reference [4], and at any rate, if you're writing a program to talk to FIBS (which is the intended audience for this document after all) you might as well have your program send the full command. You wont save that much bandwidth in the total scheme of things to be of concern.

In a couple of places in this document I have a large blue exclamation mark (“!”). This indicates a point I am not sure about and wouldn't mind some feedback on.

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CLIP Messages

The CLIP or FIBS CLIent Protocol [2] is an effort to make the FIBS server a little more friendly for client programs to interface with. FIBS was originally designed for use with a straight telnet session with a command line like interface.

When you login in CLIP mode (see Standard Log In) the main differences from the telnet mode are:

All the clip commands start with a number. Most of them will occur asynchronously and not always as a direct result of sending a command.

TOC

CLIP Welcome

Synopsis:

1 name last_login last_host

Example:

1 myself 1041253132 192.168.1.308

This is the very first line you'll see after a successful standard login in client mode. This is the only time you will see this message.

name The login name you just logged in as.
last_login The time of the last login given in seconds since 00:00:00 UTC on January 1, 1970.
last_host The host or IP address the last login came from.

TOC

CLIP Own Info

Synopsis:

2 name allowpip autoboard autodouble automove away bell crawford double experience greedy moreboards moves notify rating ratings ready redoubles report silent timezone

Example:

2 myself 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 2396 0 1 0 1 3457.85 0 0 0 0 0 Australia/Melbourne

This is the second line you'll see after a successful standard login in client mode. This is the only time you will see this message.

Most of these just represent various initial settings on FIBS.

name The login name you just logged in as.
allowpip 1 for yes, 0 for no. Refer to Toggle Allowpip.
autoboard 1 for yes, 0 for no. Refer to Toggle Autoboard.
autodouble 1 for yes, 0 for no. Refer to Toggle Autodouble.
automove 1 for yes, 0 for no. Refer to Toggle Automove.
away 1 for yes, 0 for no. Refer to Away.
bell 1 for yes, 0 for no. Refer to Toggle Bell.
crawford 1 for yes, 0 for no. Refer to Toggle Crawford.
double 1 for yes, 0 for no. Refer to Toggle Double.
experience Your experience.
greedy 1 for yes, 0 for no. Refer to Toggle Greedy.
moreboards 1 for yes, 0 for no. Refer to Toggle Moreboards.
moves 1 for yes, 0 for no. Refer to Toggle Moves.
notify 1 for yes, 0 for no. Refer to Toggle Notify.
rating Your rating as a number to two decimal places.
ratings 1 for yes, 0 for no. Refer to Toggle Ratings.
ready 1 for yes, 0 for no. Refer to Toggle Ready.
redoubles 0, 1, 2 ... or the string “unlimited”. Refer to Set Redoubles.
report 1 for yes, 0 for no. Refer to Toggle Report.
silent 1 for yes, 0 for no. Refer to Toggle Silent.
timezone A string representing your timezone. Refer to Set Timezone.

Some of the toggles like “telnet” and “wrap” and settings like “linelength” and “pagelength” are meaningless and not at all useful because FIBS ignores them when in client mode. No lines are wrapped and no page breaks made.

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CLIP MOTD

Synopsis:

3
motd message text
...
motd message text
4

Example:

3
+--------------------------------------------------------------------+
|                                                                    |
| It was a dark and stormy night in Oakland.  Outside, the rain      |
| came down in torrents.  Winds of 40MPH+ pounded at the windows,    |
| and whipped at trees, power lines, and anyone foolish enough       |
| to be outdoors.                                                    |
|                                                                    |
| In the middle of the night, I was awakened by a loud BEEP BEEP     |
| BEEP BEEP.  "What is that?" I thought groggily.  Ah!  We've had    |
| a power failure, and the computers are running on battery power.   |
|                                                                    |
| Curious to see how things were working, I crawled out of bed and   |
| stumbled downstairs to log in.  To my delight, people were         |
| merrily playing backgammon, oblivious to the fact that they had    |
| just ridden out a power failure that a few months ago would have   |
| shut down the server most ungracefully.                            |
|                                                                    |
| Thanks to all of the generous FIBSters who bought the UPS and      |
| made this possible!  And coming soon, as soon as I can get it      |
| built and deployed, a new (more reliable, and maybe faster)        |
| server.                                                            |
|                                                                    |
+--------------------------------------------------------------------+
4

This is usually displayed after the CLIP Own Info line during login, and whenever the motd command is used.

The “3” by itself on a line signifies the start of the message of the day. All lines received from the server between this and the ending “4” on a line by itself are the message of the day text.

TOC

CLIP Who Info

Synopsis:

5 name opponent watching ready away rating experience idle login hostname client email
  (one of more lines of the above, followed by...)
6

Example:

5 mgnu_advanced someplayer - 1 0 1912.15 827 8 1040515752 192.168.143.5 3DFiBs -
5 someplayer mgnu_advanced - 0 0 1418.61 23 1914 1041272421 192.168.40.3 MacFIBS someplayer@somewhere.com
5 anotherplayer - - 0 0 1439.79 1262 410 1041251697 somehost.com - -
6

You are going to see lots and lots of these, and most of the time you receive them asynchronously. You will see them in the following cases:

You receive these who info lines for yourself whenever your own status changes as well.

Note that in theory one or more info lines (starting with a “5”) will always be followed by the end marker line (a “6”). However from studying the output this does not always appear to be the case. In particular, the results from sending the who command do not return an end marker line. The rawwho command always does however, and is obviously intended for use by client programs while who is tended for people using telnet.

name The login name for the user this line is referring to.
opponent The login name of the person the user is currently playing against, or a hyphen if they are not playing anyone.
watching The login name of the person the user is currently watching, or a hyphen if they are not watching anyone.
ready 1 if the user is ready to start playing, 0 if not. Note that the ready status can be set to 1 even while the user is playing a game and thus, technically unavailable. Refer to Toggle Ready.
away 1 for yes, 0 for no. Refer to Away.
rating The user's rating as a number with two decimal places.
experience The user's experience.
idle The number of seconds the user has been idle.
login The time the user logged in as the number of seconds since midnight, January 1, 1970 UTC.
hostname The host name or IP address the user is logged in from. Note that the host name can change from an IP address to a host name due to the way FIBS host name resolving works.
client The client the user is using (see login) or a hyphen if not specified. See notes below.
email The user's email address, or a hyphen if not specified. Refer to Address.

Some client programs (at the time of writing, as far as I know only JavaFIBS 2001) use the client field when logging in to encode certain information using the encoding scheme outlined in the Player Profile Protocol [7]. This can encode certain information such as gender, country and the player's real name.

Without going into a lot of detail, the basic upshot is that if the client is exactly 20 characters long and starts with one of “>”, “<”, “=” or “?” then it is using this protocol. Detailed information at Player Profile Protocol.

TOC

CLIP Login

Synopsis:

7 name message

Example:

7 someplayer someplayer logs in.

Received asynchronously every time a user logs in (assuming notify isn't toggled off). You will invariable receive a CLIP WHO INFO line (followed by the who info end marker) immediately after this message for the user who has just logged in, so as a client developer you could safely ignore these messages and just look for who info lines if you had no especial reason.

name The login name for the user that has just logged in.
message The complete message you would see if you were logged in with a telnet program instead of in client mode.

TOC

CLIP Logout

Synopsis:

8 name message

Example:

8 someplayer someplayer drops connection.

Received asynchronously every time a user logs out for whatever reason (assuming notify isn't toggled off).

name The login name for the user that has just logged in.
message The complete message you would see if you were logged in with a telnet program instead of in client mode.

TOC

CLIP Message

Synopsis:

9 from time message

Example:

9 someplayer 1041253132 I'll log in at 10pm if you want to finish that game.

May receive several of these messages during login, or a single message at any time. Refer to the message command.

from The login name for the user that left the message.
time The time the message was left as the number of seconds since midnight, January 1, 1970 UTC.
message The text of the message.

TOC

CLIP Message Delivered

Synopsis:

10 name

Example:

10 someplayer

If the recipient was logged on at the time you sent the message, then you receive this confirmation that the message has been received. Refer to the message command.

name The login name for the user that you sent the message to.

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CLIP Message Saved

Synopsis:

11 name

Example:

11 someplayer

If recipient was not logged on at the time you sent the message, then you receive this confirmation to indicate that the message has been saved for them. Refer to the message command.

name The login name for the user that you left the message for.

TOC

CLIP Says

Synopsis:

12 name message

Example:

12 someplayer Do you want to play a game?

Received asynchronously whenever another user used the say or tell command in your direction.

name The login name for the user that sent the message.
message The text of the message.

TOC

CLIP Shouts

Synopsis:

13 name message

Example:

13 someplayer Anybody for a 5 point match?

Received asynchronously whenever another user uses the shout command (assuming silent isn't toggled off).

name The login name for the user that sent the message.
message The text of the message.

TOC

CLIP Whispers

Synopsis:

14 name message

Example:

14 someplayer I think he is using loaded dice  :-)

Received asynchronously whenever another user uses the whisper command while you are watching a game.

name The login name for the user that sent the message.
message The text of the message.

TOC

CLIP Kibitzes

Synopsis:

15 name message

Example:

15 someplayer G'Day and good luck from Hobart, Australia.

Received asynchronously whenever another user uses the kibitz command while you are playing or watching a game.

name The login name for the user that sent the message.
message The text of the message.

TOC

CLIP You Say

Synopsis:

16 name message

Example:

16 someplayer What's this "G'Day" stuff you hick?  :-)

Received when you've used the say or tell command as confirmation that FIBS processed the request.

name The login name for the user that you just sent the message to.
message The text of the message.

TOC

CLIP You Shout

Synopsis:

17 message

Example:

17 Watch out for someplayer.  He's a Tasmanian.

Received when you've used the shout command as confirmation that FIBS processed the request.

message The text of the message.

TOC

CLIP You Whisper

Synopsis:

18 message

Example:

18 Hello and hope you enjoy watching this game.

Received when you've used the whisper command as confirmation that FIBS processed the request.

message The text of the message.

TOC

CLIP You Kibitz

Synopsis:

19 message

Example:

19 Are you sure those dice aren't loaded?

Received when you've used the kibitz command as confirmation that FIBS processed the request.

message The text of the message.

TOC

Logging In

The standard way of logging in for a client program is shown below. This puts your login with FIBS into client mode instead of telnet mode.

If you need to create a new user you have to use a guest login which is in telnet mode.

TOC

Standard Log In

Logging in with an existing user ID consists of making a TCP/IP connection to the FIBS server, which will display a bunch of banner lines, a date line, then the login prompt. eg:

WELCOME TO THE
            _______   _          ______            _____
           |  _____| | |        |  __  \          / ____|
           | |___    | |        | |__|  |        | |____
           |  ___|   | |        |  __  <          \____ \
           | |       | |        | |__|  |          ____| |
           |_|irst   |_|nternet |______/ackgammon |_____/erver

         If something unexpected happens please send mail to:
                 marvin@fibs.com (Andreas Schneider)
                      Bug reports are welcome.

       This server is on the net to meet people from all countries.
     All sorts of racists and fascists are not allowed to login here!
        Rude language will not be tolerated on this server. Be nice.

              LOGIN AS guest IF YOU ARE NEW TO THIS SERVER!
                     One account per person only!

Thursday, January 02 01:27:27 MET   ( Thu Jan  2 00:27:27 2003 UTC )
login:

Note that the last line with the login prompt does not end with a carriage return/line feed character sequence, but does have a single space at the end.

When logging in using telnet, you normally just specify your user ID, wait for the password prompt, then enter your password. For a client program to log in it uses a special login format at the login prompt to indicate it is a program that expects to communicate with FIBS in client mode [2]:

login client_name clip_version name password
client_name A string of a maximum of 20 characters with no whitespace that identifies your client program.
clip_version Tells FIBS which version of the CLIP interface your client understands. The latest version as of January 2003 is “1008”.
name Your user ID.
password Your password.

For example:

login MyClient_v0.1 1008 myself mypassword

If your login is incorrect for any reason (eg invalid user ID or password, or the client name being longer then 20 characters) then you will simply get another “login: ” prompt (again, without a carriage return or line feed).

Recommended best practice is to terminate the TCP/IP connection and try again. A failed client login puts FIBS into a funny state where you can start receiving asynchronous CLIP messages such as Who Info and Shouts, preceded by a prompt (“”).

If your login was successful, you will get the following sequence of information:

Thus, a full example would look something like this:

** Warning: You are already logged in.
1 myself 1041253132 192.168.1.308
2 myself 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 2396 0 1 0 1 3457.85 0 0 0 0 0 Australia/Melbourne
3
+--------------------------------------------------------------------+
| It was a dark and stormy night in Oakland.  Outside, the rain      |
| came down in torrents.  Winds of 40MPH+ pounded at the windows,    |
...
| Thanks to all of the generous FIBSters who bought the UPS and      |
| made this possible!                                                |
+--------------------------------------------------------------------+
4
9 someplayer 1041253132 I'll log in at 10pm if you want to finish that game.
5 mgnu_advanced someplayer - 1 0 1912.15 827 8 1040515752 192.168.143.5 3DFiBs -
5 someplayer mgnu_advanced - 0 0 1418.61 23 1914 1041272421 192.168.40.3 MacFIBS someplayer@somewhere.com
...
5 anotherplayer - - 0 0 1439.79 1262 410 1041251697 somehost.com - -
5 myself - - 0 0 3457.85 2396 12 1041253132 192.168.1.308 MyClient_v0.1 -
6

It would not surprise me if you could get a few other asynchronous messages like CLIP Shouts or responses to any toggles or other commands you may have sent in amongst all that.

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Guest Log In

Guest logins are solely used for creating new accounts.

Login starts the same as a standard login with banner lines, a date line, and a login prompt. When you simply login with the user name of “guest” you will then get the following:

Welcome to FIBS. You just logged in as guest.
Please register before using this server:

Type 'name username' where name is the word 'name' and
username is the login name you want to use.
The username may not contain blanks ' ' or colons ':'.
The system will then ask you for your password twice.
Please make sure that you don't forget your password. All
passwords are encrypted before they are saved. If you forget
your password there is no way to find out what it was.
Please type 'bye' if you don't want to register now.

ONE USERNAME PER PERSON ONLY!!!

>

The last line is a prompt that has a greater-than symbol and a single space. It does not have a carriage return or line feed on the end.

You could use the client login format to login (ie “login MyClient_v0.1 1008 guest guest”) but this doesn't really gain you much. All that happens is that you don't get the “” prompt lines, and you start receiving asynchronous clip messages like Who Info.

At this point the only really useful commands are “name” to create a new user ID, or “bye” to log out and close the connection.

To create a new user ID you want to use the command:

name user_id

If the user ID you specified already exists, you get the message:

** Please use another name. 'user_id' is already used by someone else.

You will get the same message for reserved user IDs (like “guest” for instance).

If you specify a user ID which is not valid, you get the message:

** Your name may only contain letters and the underscore character _ .

If you avoid the mine-field and happen the pick one that is valid and does not already exist, you'll next be prompted for a password:

Your name will be user_id
Type in no password and hit Enter/Return if you want to change it now.
[255][251][1]Please give your password:

Again, the final line ends with a space and has no carriage return or line feed. The values in square brackets are the ASCII values of characters that do not have a printable representation. They are attempts by FIBS to tell a telnet session not to echo the characters the user types in next.

If you just send a carriage return and line feed at this point, you get the response:

[255][252][1]** No password given. Please choose a new name
>

The last line is a prompt that has a greater-than symbol and a single space. It does not have a carriage return or line feed on the end.

At this point you can either try the “name” command again, or send “bye” to log out.

If you do send a password, but it is less than four characters you get the message:

Minimal password length is 4 characters.
Please give your password:

The last line ends with a space but no carriage return or line feed.

If you have managed to enter a valid password, you get prompted:

Please retype your password:

The line ends with a space but no carriage return or line feed.

If you fail to enter the same password as at the first prompt, you get:

** The two passwords were not identical. Please give them again. Password:

The line ends with a space but no carriage return or line feed.

If you entered the same password again correctly, you get:

[255][252][1]
You are registered.
Type 'help beginner' to get started.
>

Yet again, the final line ends with a space and has no carriage return or line feed. The values in square brackets are the ASCII values of characters that do not have a printable representation.

At this point it is probably a good idea to send the bye command or close the connection and then do a standard login as you are logged in in telnet mode, not client mode.

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Invalid Commands

Whenever you send an invalid command to the FIBS server, you get the response:

** Unknown command: 'command'

Where command is the name of the invalid command that was received.

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Chat and Settings For Other Players

Commands for sending messages back and forth with other players, or stopping them as the case may be.

TOC

Shout

When you send a shout command:

shout message

You get back a CLIP You Shout line:

17 message

Or, if you have silent togged on you get the following message and the shout isn't sent:

** Please type 'toggle silent' again before you shout.

TOC

Kibitz

When you kibitz during a game:

kibitz message

You get two lines back. First a CLIP You Kibitz line, then a line telling you how many users heard you:

19 message
** 1 user heard you.

Or:

19 message
** n users heard you.

Where n is the number of users that heard you (opponent plus watchers).

If you kibitz while not watching or playing a game, you simply get back the message:

** You're not watching or playing.

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Tell

When you send the command:

tell name message

If the recipient meets all of the following criteria:

  1. Is online.
  2. Is not yourself.
  3. Has not gagged you.
  4. You have not gagged them.

then, you get back a CLIP You Say line:

16 name message

If the person you are trying to send a message to is not currently logged in or doesn't exist, instead you get the message:

** There is no one called name

If the person you are trying to send a message to has gagged you, you get back the message:

** name won't listen to you.

If you try to send a message to someone you have gagged yourself, you get the message:

** You can't talk if you won't listen.

If you try the tell command with yourself as the recipient you get back:

You say to yourself: message

TOC

Say

When you say during a game:

say message

You get back a CLIP You Say line:

16 message

If you use the say command while not playing a game, you simply get back the message:

** 'say' can't be used outside a game

This is true even if you are watching a game. The say command is only useful while you are playing a game.

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Whisper

When you whisper during a game:

whisper message

You get two lines back. First a CLIP You Whisper line, then a line telling you how many users heard you:

18 message
** 1 user heard you.

Or:

18 message
** n users heard you.

Where n is the number of users that heard you (the number of watchers).

If there is nobody watching your game, or you are the only one watching, you get:

18 message
** But nobody heard you.

If you whisper while not watching or playing a game, you simply get back the message:

** You're not watching or playing.

TOC

Message

When you use the message command to leave a message for a user such as:

message someplayer I'll log in at 10pm if you want to finish that game.

You get back either a CLIP Message Delivered line if the user is currently logged in:

10 someplayer

Or a CLIP Message Saved if the user is not currently logged in:

11 someplayer

If you specify an unknown user, you get back the message:

** Don't know user user.

If you specify a user, but no actual message, such as:

message someplayer

You get back the error message:

** usage: message <user> <text>

If you specify the message command without any arguments, you get either:

There are no new messages for you.

Or one or more CLIP Message lines showing all the messages you've received since you've logged in.

You can send a message to yourself, but it is usually delivered straight away.

TOC

Waitfor

When you the waitfor command without any arguments you get either:

You are not waiting for any players.

Or:

You are waiting for user

Or:

You are waiting for the following n players:
  user1, user2...

! I have no idea if it will word wrap if the list of users is too large, but it probably doesn't.

When you specify one or more users with the waitfor command, you get the following message for each user specified:

** You'll receive a message when 'user' logs in.

Or, if you specify a user that does not exist:

** There is no user called 'user'.

If the user is already logged in, then you get:

** 'user' is already logged in.

If you specify yourself, you get:

** Look behind you. Maybe you are waiting there.

See the section on asynchronous messages for waitfor for what happens when one of the users you are waiting for logs in.

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Gag

If you specify gag without any arguments you get one of the following:

** Gagged users: none
** Gagged users: user
** Gagged users: user1,user2,...,usern

NOTE: With the last one that contains multiple users, it will always be on one line, but you may have two or more commas in a row or one or more commas at the end of the line. I'm not sure why, but I suspect it has something to do with line wrapping which isn't being done.

If you specify gag with a user name you get one of:

** There is no one called 'user'
** You gag user.
** You ungag user.
** You talk too much, don't you?

Depending on if the user is:

  1. Currently logged on.
  2. Not already gagged.
  3. Already gagged.
  4. You.

If you use the gag command with more that one argument on the line, only the first argument is processed.

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Blind

If you specify blind without any arguments you get one of the following:

** Blinded users: none
** Blinded users: user
** Blinded users: user1,user2,...,usern

If you specify blind with a user name you get one of:

** There is no one called 'user'
** You blind user.
** You unblind user.
** You can't read this message now, can you?

Depending on if the user is:

  1. Currently logged on.
  2. Not already blinded.
  3. Already blinded.
  4. You.

If you use the blind command with more that one argument on the line, only the first argument is processed.

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Between Game Actions

Commands you can use between games to do things like watch other games, start a new game or log out.

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Invite

Note that any use of the invite command will toggle your ready status to on if it isn't already. If this is done, you will also receive a CLIP Who Info line for yourself.

If you specify invite without any arguments you get:

** invite who?

If you try and invite a user who either doesn't exist or is not currently logged on you get:

** There is no one called user

If you invite someone who is not ready you get:

** user is refusing games.

If you invite someone who is already playing you get:

** user is already playing with someone else.

If you invite someone who is ready, but you specify a second argument which is not a valid match length number or the word “unlimited” you get:

** The second argument to 'invite' has to be a number or the word 'unlimited'

If you invite a ready user to an n point match, you get the response:

** You invited user to a n point match.

If you try to invite someone to a match greater than 9 points and your experience is not high enough to appear on the rating list, you get:

** You're not experienced enough to play a match of that length.

If you invite someone to an unlimited match, you get the message:

** You invited user to an unlimited match.

If you invite someone to resume a saved match, you get:

** You invited user to resume a saved match.

Unless of course there is no saved match with that player, in which case you get:

** There's no saved match with user. Please give a match length.

If you try and extend an invitation while you are already playing a game, you get:

** You are already playing.

If you extend an invitation to a ready user who currently is away, in addition to the notice showing that you've issued the invitation, you also get a blank line followed by:

user is away: message

Where message is the message they specified when they set their away status.

If you try and invite yourself to a game you get:

** You can't invite yourself.

!I'm pretty sure there is no timeout on invitations, but you can only have one invitiation at a time. If you issue a second invitation it will cancel the first.

See Start or Resume a Match regarding what happens when the invitee accepts the invitation and you start playing a match.

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Join

If you specify join without any arguments and you are not already in a match you get:

** Error: Join who?

If you try and join a user who is not ready you get:

** user is refusing games.

If you try and join a user who is already playing you get:

** Error: user is already playing with someone else.

If you try and join someone who didn't invite you (or has issues another invitation, cancelling yours) you get:

** user didn't invite you.

Finally, if you join someone who did invite you and is still ready to play you get:

** You are now playing a n point match with user
Starting a new game with user.

Or for an unlimited match:

** You are now playing an unlimited match with user
Starting a new game with user.

If you are resuming a saved match, you get:

You are now playing with user. Your running match was loaded.

If the saved game was corrupted for any reason, upon trying to join both you and the invitee get the following message and the game is not started:

** ERROR: Saved match is corrupt. Please start another one.

If you try and use the command while in the middle of a game (except to start the next game), you get:

** You can't play two games at once

See Start or Resume a Match regarding what happens when you accept an invitation.

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Watch

Note, if you are currently watching someone and you use the watch command at all, you get this message before any other response for the command:

** You stop watching user.

Also, whenever you start or stop watching someone, you are going to get the appropriate CLIP Who Info lines to reflect the change in state.

If you specify watch without any arguments you get:

** Watch who?

If try to start watching a user that doesn't exist or is currently not logged in, you get:

** There's no one called user.

If you try to start watching someone who has blinded you, you get:

** user doesn't want you to watch.

If you try to start watching someone and their opponent has blinded you, you get:

** user doesn't want you to watch.

However, if you start watching someone who has no objections, you get:

You're now watching user.

Additionally, if they are not playing a game at the moment you get:

user is not doing anything interesting.

If you are vain enough to try and watch yourself you get the response:

** Use a mirror to do that.

When the user you are watching starts a game with another player, you'll get:

user1 and user2 start a n point match.
Starting a new game with user1.

Or, for an unlimited match:

user1 and user2 start an unlimited match.
Starting a new game with user1.

Or, for resuming a saved match:

user1 and user2 are resuming their n-point match.

Or:

user1 and user2 are resuming their unlimited match.

If the person you are watching starts a game with a user that has blinded you, you get:

user1 and user2 start a n point match.** You can't watch the match between user1 and user2.

If you try and use the watch command while already playing a game you get:

** You can't watch another game while you're playing.

See asynchronous watch messages for messages you can receive while watching if the user or their opponent blinds you.

See Watching a Game for details on what you start getting when the user you are watching is playing a game.

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Unwatch

Note that whenever you start or stop watching someone, you are going to get the appropriate CLIP Who Info lines to reflect the change in state.

If you specify unwatch while watching a player you get:

You stop watching user.

If you are not currently watching anybody you get:

** You're not watching.

See asynchronous watch messages for messages you can receive while watching the user or their opponent blinds you.

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Look

If you specify look without any arguments you get:

** Look at who?

Otherwise, if you look at a user that is playing a game you get a board state.

If the user is not currently playing a game you get:

** user is not playing.

If you try and look at a player and either they or their opponent has blinded you, you get:

** user doesn't want you to look.

If you try to look at yourself, you get:

You look great.

Note that the players themselves do not get any sort of notification when you look in on their game. This command also works while you are playing a game yourself, which could end up with you receiving conflicting board state.

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Oldboard

If you specify oldboard without any arguments you get:

** usage: oldboard <name>

If you specify a user with whom you do not have a saved or recent match (including yourself) or doesn't exist you get:

** There's no saved match with a player called 'user'.

Otherwise you get a board state representing the current state of the game.

If you try and use this command while playing a game you get:

** You can't do this while playing.

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Oldmoves

If you specify oldmoves without any arguments you get:

** usage: oldmoves <name>

If you specify a user with whom you do not have a saved or recent match (including yourself) or doesn't exist you get:

** There is no saved game with user.

Otherwise you get the moves for the current game in the saved match, which will look something like this:

Score is 2-2 in a 3 point match.
someplayer is X - myself is O

O: (5 1) 13-8 24-23
X: (6 5) 1-7 12-17
O: (5 3) 8-3 6-3
X: (5 4) 1-5 19-24
O: (5 5) bar-20 6-1 6-1 23-18
X: (4 5) 19-24 17-21
...
X: (1 5) 9-14 9-10
O: (4 4) can't move
X: (3 2) 12-14 12-15
...
O: (5 2) 21-16 16-14
X: doubles
O: accepts
X: (2 1) 1-2 19-21
...
X: (6 4) 21-off 21-off
O: (6 2) 1-off 1-off
O: wins

The numbers in parenthesis represent the roll of the dice.

If it was an unlimited match, the start of it would look like:

Score is 2-2 in an unlimited match.
someplayer is X - myself is O

This command will also work while in the middle of playing a game.

Note that I have not documented all the possible moves you can see here. Things like resignations and their acceptance or refusal would have special messages. The identifying factor is that they would all start with either “X: ” or “O: 

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Away

If you specify away without any arguments you get either:

None of the users is away.

If no one is away, or:

The following users are away:
user1: message
user2: message
...
usern: message

With at least one user listed.

Note that if you are away, and you type the away command without any arguments, instead of displaying your user login ID, you actually get the string “You”. e.g.

The following users are away:
someplayer: Be back soon.
You: Out to lunch.

If you specify away with any arguments it sets you into the away state, with the arguments as the message other users see. You also get back:

You're away. Please type 'back'

You will also get this back whenever you send something to the FIBS server (see Asynchronous Away Messages). You do still get back the results of the command you sent, you just get this line after it as well.

TOC

Back

If you specify back while you are away, you get:

Welcome back.

If you were not away to begin with, then you get:

** You're not away.

Any extra arguments to this command are ignored.

TOC

Bye

The bye command also has the following synonyms, all of which behave the same: adios, ciao, end, exit, logout, quit and tschoe.

When you use this command you may get one or two more Asynchronous messages before the logout message. The logout message could be any sort of text, but as of January 2003 it is:

                             Goodbye.
                If you find bugs please report them to:
                         marvin@fibs.com

      As no one seems to type 'about' - here is what it says:

If you enjoyed using this server please send picture postcards,
brownies (ask traveller for her recipe), homemade wine or beer to:
                 or even Sun-Workstations to:

                      Andreas Schneider
                      132 Vanguard Building
                      18 Westferry Road
                      London E14 8LZ
                      England

Thanks for the postcards I've received over the last few months
                      Keep them coming....

After which the TCP/IP socket connection is closed.

TOC

Wave

The first time you send wave you get:

You wave goodbye.

The second time you get:

You wave goodbye again and log out.

Followed by the logout message (see bye) and closure of the TCP/IP socket.

TOC

Settings Commands

Various commands related to setting certain user information and game behaviour. In particular the double and greedy toggles can be use to make game play more efficient.

TOC

Toggle

If you issue the toggle command without any arguments, the output will be as follows:

The current settings are:
allowpip        YES
autoboard       YES
autodouble      NO
automove        YES
bell            NO
crawford        YES
double          YES
greedy          NO
moreboards      YES
moves           NO
notify          YES
ratings         NO
ready           NO
report          NO
silent          NO
telnet          YES
wrap            NO

Naturally the individual settings will be “YES” or “NO” as based on each individuals settings.

If you specify toggle with an invalid argument you get the message:

** Don't know how to toggle arg

Where arg is the argument you specified.

You can toggle multiple settings by specifying multiple arguments to the toggle command at once. You will get a response line for each setting that was toggled.

TOC

Toggle Allowpip

Command:

toggle allowpip

When toggled on:

** You allow the use the server's 'pip' command.

When toggled off:

** You don't allow the use of the server's 'pip' command.

TOC

Toggle Autoboard

Command:

toggle autoboard

When toggled on:

** The board will be refreshed after every move.

When toggled off:

** The board won't be refreshed after every move.

Although the command reference [4] says this is only useful for players using the command line interface (telnet), I've seen some clients toggle this back on if you try and toggle it off which is probably a good idea.

TOC

Toggle Autodouble

Command:

toggle autodouble

When toggled on:

** You agree that doublets during opening double the cube.

When toggled off:

** You don't agree that doublets during opening double the cube.

TOC

Toggle Automove

Command:

toggle automove

When toggled on:

** Forced moves will be done automatically.

When toggled off:

** Forced moves won't be done automatically.

TOC

Toggle Bell

Command:

toggle bell

When toggled on:

** Your terminal will ring the bell if someone talks to you or invites you

When toggled off:

** Your terminal won't ring the bell if someone talks to you or invites you

When this is set on, you receive the bell character (ASCII value 7) on the end of the invitations and messages. It is probably a good idea to toggle this off if you see it get set. Also note the setting for this toggle is persistent across logins. It is probably also a good idea to program your client to be able to ignore this character if it is received from the server.

TOC

Toggle Crawford

Command:

toggle crawford

When toggled on:

** You insist on playing with the Crawford rule.

When toggled off:

** You would like to play without using the Crawford rule.

TOC

Toggle Double

Command:

toggle double

When toggled on:

** You will be asked if you want to double.

When toggled off:

** You won't be asked if you want to double.

This is reset to “YES” every time a game is started or reloaded.

TOC

Toggle Greedy

Command:

toggle greedy

When toggled on:

** Will use automatic greedy bearoffs.

When toggled off:

** Won't use automatic greedy bearoffs.

This is reset to “NO” every time a game is started or reloaded.

TOC

Toggle Moreboards

Command:

toggle moreboards

When toggled on:

** Will send rawboards after rolling.

When toggled off:

** Won't send rawboards after rolling.

This is pretty darn useful for client programs, so if you see it toggled off you probably want to toggle it back on.

TOC

Toggle Moves

Command:

toggle moves

When toggled on:

** You want a list of moves after this game.

When toggled off:

** You won't see a list of moves after this game.

TOC

Toggle Notify

Command:

toggle notify

When toggled on:

** You'll be notified when new users log in.

When toggled off:

** You won't be notified when new users log in.

Probably another good one to toggle on if you ever see it toggled off.

TOC

Toggle Ratings

Command:

toggle ratings

When toggled on:

** You'll see how the rating changes are calculated.

When toggled off:

** You won't see how the rating changes are calculated.

TOC

Toggle Ready

Command:

toggle ready

When toggled on:

** You're now ready to invite or join someone.

When toggled off:

** You're now refusing to play with someone.

In reality, after the ** line you'll receive a CLIP Who Info line to signal the status change. So what you'll really see coming back from the server will look more like this:

** You're now ready to invite or join someone.
5 myself - - 1 0 1418.61 23 21 1042191690 192.168.43.186 3DFiBs -
6

Thus, in writing your client you can pick up the ** message to detect the server changing your ready state, or look for the CLIP Who Info line with your login name in it. I would always check the ready state in incoming CLIP Who Info lines with your own login name at any rate because inviting someone to a game sets your own ready state on without giving the ** line.

TOC

Toggle Report

Command:

toggle report

When toggled on:

** You will be informed about starting and ending matches.

When toggled off:

** You won't be informed about starting and ending matches.

See game reports for a list of the messages you receive when reports are toggled on.

TOC

Toggle Silent

Command:

toggle silent

When toggled on:

** You will hear what other players shout.

When toggled off:

** You won't hear what other players shout.

TOC

Toggle Telnet

Command:

toggle telnet

When toggled on:

** You use telnet and don't need extra 'newlines'.

When toggled off:

** You use a client program and will receive extra 'newlines'.

Despite the message, this setting appears to have no discernible effect whatsoever when in logged into FIBS in client mode.

TOC

Toggle Wrap

Command:

toggle wrap

When toggled on:

** The server will wrap long lines.

When toggled off:

** Your terminal knows how to wrap long lines.

This can be safely ignored when logged into FIBS in client mode. It has no effect.

TOC

Set

If you issue the set command without any arguments, the output will be as follows:

Settings of variables:
boardstyle: 3
linelength: 0
pagelength: 0
redoubles:  none
sortwho:    login
timezone:   Australia/Melbourne

If you specify set with an invalidate setting you get the message:

** Invalid argument. Type 'help set'.

TOC

Set Boardstyle

Command:

set boardstyle

Response:

Value of 'boardstyle' is value

Command with a valid argument:

set boardstyle value

Response:

set boardstyle value

Command with an invalid argument:

set boardstyle bad_value

Response:

** Valid arguments are the numbers 1 to 3.

If you see this set to anything other than “3” you probably want to set it back.

See Board State for details on what the board looks like for a board style of 3.

TOC

Set Linelength

Command:

set linelength

Response:

Value of 'linelength' is value

Command with a valid argument:

set linelength value

Response:

Value of 'linelength' set to value.

Command with an invalid argument:

set linelength non_number_value

Response:

Value of 'linelength' set to 0

Command with a number out of range:

set linelength bad_value

Response:

** Valid arguments are the numbers 0 to 999. Use 0 for no linelength.

This setting has no effect when logged into FIBS in client mode.

TOC

Set Pagelength

Command:

set pagelength

Response:

Value of 'pagelength' is value

Command with a valid argument:

set pagelength value

Response:

Value of 'pagelength' is value

Command with an invalid argument:

set pagelength non_number_value

Response:

Value of 'pagelength' set to 0.

Command with a number out of range:

set pagelength bad_value

Response:

** Valid arguments are the numbers 0 to 999. Use 0 for no pagelength.

This setting has no effect when logged into FIBS in client mode.

TOC

Set Redoubles

Command:

set redoubles

Response:

Value of 'redoubles' is value

Command with a valid numeric argument:

set redoubles num_value

Response:

Value of 'redoubles' set to num_value.

Command with a valid string argument:

set redoubles str_value

Response:

Value of 'redoubles' set to 'str_value'.

Command with an invalid argument:

set redoubles bad_value

Response:

** Valid arguments are 'none', 'unlimited' and the numbers 1 to 99.

TOC

Set Sortwho

Command:

set sortwho

Response:

Value of 'sortwho' is value

Command with a valid argument:

set sortwho value

Response:

Value of 'sortwho' set to value

Command with an invalid argument:

set sortwho bad_value

Response:

** Unknown value 'bad_value'. Try 'login', 'name', 'rating' or 'rrating'.

TOC

Set Timezone

Command:

set timezone

Response:

Value of 'timezone' is value

Command with a valid argument:

set timezone value

Response:

Value of 'timezone' set to value

Command with an invalid argument:

set timezone bad_value

Response:

Can't find timezone 'bad_value'. Try one of:
Africa/Abidjan, Africa/Accra, Africa/Addis_Ababa, Africa/Algiers,
Africa/Asmera, Africa/Bamako, Africa/Bangui, Africa/Banjul, Africa/Bissau,
...
Pacific/Pago_Pago, Pacific/Palau, Pacific/Pitcairn, Pacific/Ponape,
Pacific/Port_Moresby, Pacific/Rarotonga, Pacific/Saipan, Pacific/Tahiti,

For a new user the timezone is initially set to UTC.

Note that according to [4] the timezone setting effects the commands who, date, last and time.

When logged into FIBS in client mode, the lines returned by the who command always come back in the form of CLIP Who Info lines so it doesn't really effect them. The other commands are not especially essential to client programs.

TOC

Address

Command:

address

Response:

** You didn't give your address.

Command:

address myself@myisp.com

Response:

Your email address is 'myself@myisp.com'.
5 myself - - 0 0 1418.61 23 63 1042199053 192.168.43.186 MacFIBS myself@myisp.com
6

Command:

address myself@myisp.com extraneous rubbish on the end

Response:

Your email address is 'myself@myisp.com'.
5 myself - - 0 0 1418.61 23 63 1042199053 192.168.43.186 MacFIBS myself@myisp.com
6

Note that when you set your address, you will also get a CLIP Who Info response.

Extra arguments on the end of the command are ignored.

TOC

Password

Command:

password

or:

password bad usage

Response:

** usage: password <old password>:<new password>:<new password>
** NOTE: The character between the passwords is now a colon!

Command:

password old_password:new_password:new_password

Response:

Password changed.

Command:

password wrong_password:new_password:new_password

Response:

** Sorry. Old password not correct.

Command:

password old_password:new_password:diff_password

Response:

** Please give your new password twice.

TOC

Save

Command:

save

Response:

Settings saved.

Any arguments to the command are ignored.

TOC

General Info

Commands to get information about what users are logged on, playing games and stuff like that.

TOC

Help

The help command produces lots of free form text. Your GUI client probably will not be able to process this easily.

TOC

Show

Command:

show

Response:

** show what?

Command:

show invalid_command

Response:

** Don't know how to show invalid_command

TOC

Show Games

Command:

show games

Response:

List of games:
someplayer      -          myself (1 point match 0-0)
anotherplayer   -       player_aa (unlimited match 2-6)
...
YetAnotherPlayerWithAReallyLongName -       player_bb (1 point match 0-0)

There are 15 characters for the players' names plus a space on each side of the hyphen. If a player's name is longer then 15 characters then it will still be their full name and a space (or the space first if they are on the right of the hyphen).

! I have no idea what response you'd get if there were no actual games in progress.

TOC

Show Saved

Command:

show saved

Response:

  opponent          matchlength   score (your points first)
 *someplayer              3                1 -  1
...
**anotherplayer           1                0 -  0
  yetanotherplayer   unlimited             4 -  2

If the other player is logged in, then there are two asterisks before their name in the listing. If you are actually playing the saved game, there is only one asterisk preceded by a space. Otherwise there is just two spaces before their name.

Or, if there are no saved games you get:

no saved games.

TOC

Show Watchers

Command:

show watchers

Response:

Watching players:
someplayer is watching anotherplayer.

Or, if there are no watchers:

Watching players: none.

TOC

Show Max

Command:

show max

Response:

max_logins is nnn (maximum: nnn)

TOC

Who

The output of the who is usually a set of lines as detailed for the CLIP Who Info messages. eg:

5 mgnu_advanced someplayer - 1 0 1912.15 77827 8 1040515752 192.168.143.5 3DFiBs -
5 someplayer mgnu_advanced - 0 0 1418.61 23 1914 1041272421 192.168.40.3 MacFIBS someplayer@somewhere.com
5 anotherplayer - - 0 0 1439.79 1262 410 1041251697 somehost.com - -

However there are some special cases.

If you send the command “who user” and the user is logged in, you'll get a single line 5. If the user specified is not currently logged in or does not exist, you'll receive:

** There is no one called user.

If you specify a command such as “who away” and there is no one matching that criteria, you'll receive the following line:

No  S  username        rating   exp login  idle from

Which is basically the header line for displaying a user list when logged into FIBS as a telnet user instead of as a client using CLIP. If there are one or more users matching the criteria you'll receive the CLIP Who Info lines.

Note when using the who command you tend not to get the end marker line (a “6” on a line by itself after all the lines starting with “5”). You do always get it for the rawwho command however.

TOC

Where

The where command displays the host name in a form such as:

user from ip_address
(host_name)

Example:

someplayer from 192.168.143.5
(somehost.com)

If the host name is unknown, then the IP address is displayed again instead. eg:

someplayer from 192.168.143.5
(192.168.143.5)

If you do not specify an argument for the where command is displays the details for yourself.

If you specify a user who is not currently logged in, you get:

** There's no one called user.

TOC

Rawwho

The output of the who is a set of lines as detailed for the CLIP Who Info messages. eg:

5 mgnu_advanced someplayer - 1 0 1912.15 77827 8 1040515752 192.168.143.5 3DFiBs -
5 someplayer mgnu_advanced - 0 0 1418.61 23 1914 1041272421 192.168.40.3 MacFIBS someplayer@somewhere.com
5 anotherplayer - - 0 0 1439.79 1262 410 1041251697 somehost.com - -
6

Note that unlike the who command, you always get the end line marker (the “6” on a line by itself).

The only exception is if you send the command “who user” and the user is is not currently logged in or does not exist, you'll receive:

** There is no one called user.

If course if the user is logged in you'll get the single line for that user starting with “5” followed by the single line with a “6”.

5 mgnu_advanced someplayer - 1 0 1912.15 77827 8 1040515752 192.168.143.5 3DFiBs -
6

If you specify a command such as “who away” and there is no one matching that criteria, you'll receive the following line:

6

Which is the end line maker for the CLIP Who Info lines.

TOC

Whois

If you specify whois without an argument, you get:

** please give a name as an argument.

If you specify whois for an unknown user, you get:

No information found on user user.

Otherwise, you get six or seven lines of information back in the form:

Information about user:
  Last login:  date from host
  last_login_details
  play_status
  (away_status)
  Rating: rating Experience: experience
  email_address

Note that each line except the first starts with two spaces. There are also two spaces between “Last login:” and the displayed date.

The away_status line is only displayed if the user has used the away command.

Lets take each part piecemeal and then show some examples at the end.

date

Of the form:

Tuesday, January 14 20:27 EST

Date is given in your local timezone if set.

host

The host or IP address the user last logged in from.

last_login_details

If the user is currently logged in, it is:

Still logged in. ss seconds idle.

If the user has been more than a minute idle then you get:

Still logged in. hh:ss minutes idle.

If the user is not currently logged in you get:

Last logout: date

Where date is in the same format as for the login date.

play_status

If the user is not currently logged in:

Not logged in right now.

Otherwise you get one of the following combinations:

user is not ready to play, not watching, not playing.
user is ready to play, not watching, not playing.
user is not ready to play, watching another_user, not playing.
user is ready to play, watching another_user, not playing.
user is playing with another_user.

away_status

The away_status line is only displayed if the user has used the away command. It takes the form:

user is away: msg

Where msg is the message the user left when they used the away command.

email_address

If the user has not set their email address:

No email address.

Otherwise:

Email address: someuser@someaddress.com

Examples:

Information about someplayer:
  Last login:  Friday, January 10 12:12 EST from 192.168.143.5
  Last logout: Friday, January 10 13:15 EST
  Not logged in right now.
  Rating: 1912.15 Experience: 827
  Email address: someplayer@somewhere.com

Information about anotherplayer:
  Last login:  Tuesday, January 14 20:14 EST from 192.168.40.3
  Still logged in. 4 seconds idle.
  anotherplayer is not ready to play, watching mgnu_advanced, not playing.
  Rating: 1418.61 Experience: 23
  No email address.

Information about myself:
  Last login:  Tuesday, January 14 13:05 EST from 192.168.1.308
  Still logged in. 10:04 minutes idle.
  myself is not ready to play, not watching, not playing.
  myself is away: Back in a tick.
  Rating: 3457.85 Experience: 2396
  No email address.

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Ratings

If you specify ratings without an argument, you get the top twenty entries:

 rank name            rating    Experience
    1 NIHILIST        2295.11     7274
    2 sue             2223.18    15625
    3 Biggles         2201.53    11720
    4 otaku           2180.23     1533
    5 loner           2128.04    16818
    6 Kraftwerk       2055.30     1286
    7 grepster        2054.96     4328
    8 mloner          2054.22    97764
    9 reno            2027.95     2221
   10 garyKay         2021.00    14096
   11 mloner_II       2010.78    140276
   12 melzi           2007.19     6543
   13 dage            2006.96     5275
   14 mgnu_zp         2001.41    329354
   15 LeSinge         1990.50     2753
   16 Zorgtwo         1989.92      236
   17 MariosSoup      1988.94    17264
   18 erick           1982.49     5096
   19 themaz          1979.74    29816
   20 alydar          1977.11    29132

Note that the header line has one space at the start.

If you specify a user which doesn't exist, you just get the header line:

 rank name            rating    Experience

If you specify a user who does exist, you get just their details:

 rank name            rating    Experience
*4431 someplayer      1418.61       23

Note the asterisk at the start. I don't know why.

If you try and specify two players such as ratings someplayer anotherplayer you get:

** Please use only one of the given names 'someplayer' and 'anotherplayer'.

If you try and specify more than two players then you get the above message with the first two arguments.

If you specify a range such as ratings from 21 to 30 you get the ratings for that range. eg:

 rank name            rating    Experience
   21 afendi          1968.79    15453
   22 the_drew_boy    1966.76      188
   23 norek           1963.75      222
   24 mpgnu           1963.22    104465
   25 Jellio_Blots    1962.76      933
   26 reima           1962.01     8593
   27 Schicks         1961.97      720
   28 Mads_P_J        1960.43     1840
   29 gnu_tutorI      1959.49    10961
   30 tommyh          1957.83     6242

If you specify a positive range greater than the total number of users on the system you get just the header line.

If you specify a range with the to number less than the from number, such as ratings from 20 to 15 you get:

** invalid range from 20 to 15

If you specify a range that is too large, such as ratings from 1000 to 2000 you get:

** range currently limited to 100.

If you specify just a from range, such as ratings from nn with no “to” range, the server assumes the “to” value is 20 (as if you had entered ratings from nn to 20) and behaves accordingly.

If you specify just a to range, such as ratings to nn with no “from” range, the server assumes the “from” value is 1 (as if you had entered ratings from 1 to nn) and behaves accordingly. It is recommended not to put large numbers in in this form!

If you specify a negative number, zero, or anything else which is not a positive number for the from or to value you get one of the following messages as appropriate:

** Please give a positive number after 'from'.
** Please give a positive number after 'to'.

If they are both bad, it will just complain about “from”.

Me, myself and I

If you appear in the rankings list at all (theorectically you should if you have more than 50 experience points, but that doesn't always appear to be the case) then your own ranking should always appear in every valid ratings response. eg: for “myself”:

 rank name            rating    Experience
   21 afendi          1968.79    15453
   22 the_drew_boy    1966.76      188
   23 norek           1963.75      222
   24 mpgnu           1963.22    104465
   25 Jellio_Blots    1962.76      933
   26 reima           1962.01     8593
   27 Schicks         1961.97      720
   28 Mads_P_J        1960.43     1840
   29 gnu_tutorI      1959.49    10961
   30 tommyh          1957.83     6242
 3054 myself          1453.28      400

! There seems to be some debate is to if your own entry is preceded by an asterisk or not. It seems to be for some people and not others. Other people with the required experience points do not seem to show up in the ratings list at all anyway. Any definitive insight into FIBS's behaviour on this would be appreciated.

TOC

Last

If you specify last without an argument, you get the last twenty entries:

The 20 last logins/logouts:
Wed 11:08 UTC: someplayer drops connection.
...
Wed 11:12 UTC: anotherplayer logs in.

If you specify last with any arguments at all you get:

** Please use the 'whois' command.

TOC

Time

The command date is a synonym for time (or vice versa?)

If you specify time without an argument, you get the current time, both in your nominated timezone and in UTC. eg:

Wednesday, January 15 22:18:35 EST   ( Wed Jan 15 11:18:35 2003 UTC )

If you specify time with a timezone you get the current time in that timezone and in UTC.

If you specify an invalid timezone you get a an error message like this:

Can't find timezone 'bad_value'. Try one of:
Africa/Abidjan, Africa/Accra, Africa/Addis_Ababa, Africa/Algiers,
Africa/Asmera, Africa/Bamako, Africa/Bangui, Africa/Banjul, Africa/Bissau,
...
Pacific/Pago_Pago, Pacific/Palau, Pacific/Pitcairn, Pacific/Ponape,
Pacific/Port_Moresby, Pacific/Rarotonga, Pacific/Saipan, Pacific/Tahiti,

TOC

FIBS Info

Information about the FIBS server itself.

TOC

Motd

See CLIP Motd for an example of the output from this command in client mode.

The server ignores any extraneous arguments on the end of this command.

TOC

About

Displays the about text with no markers to indicate the start or end of it. The about text is currently:

The first Internet Backgammon Server is on the net since July 19, 1992.
After using a site in Germany it moved to a site in Sweden on
December 3, 1993 and finally to this site on June 16, 1996.

If you enjoyed using this server please send cookies, picture postcards
homemade wine or beer to:

     Andreas Schneider
     132 Vanguard Building
     18 Westferry Road
     London E14 8LZ
     England

If you have comments or bugreports please email them to:

                  marvin@fibs.com

The server ignores any extraneous arguments on the end of this command.

TOC

Average

Displays the average number of users by time of day. An example of the output is:

Time (UTC)  average min max    Time (UTC)  average min max
00:00-00:59 115.1    72 153    12:00-12:59  72.0    55 100
01:00-01:59 108.5    84 137    13:00-13:59  77.6    54 103
02:00-02:59 100.7    74 121    14:00-14:59  89.4    62 122
03:00-03:59 102.5    77 125    15:00-15:59  98.8    70 140
04:00-04:59  95.0    67 117    16:00-16:59 111.9    84 144
05:00-05:59  82.2    62 105    17:00-17:59 115.2    87 140
06:00-06:59  77.0    51 101    18:00-18:59 115.8    93 136
07:00-07:59  63.1    38  83    19:00-19:59 119.8   100 140
08:00-08:59  57.4    36  75    20:00-20:59 123.8    72 150
09:00-09:59  56.3    37  76    21:00-21:59 121.5    52 149
10:00-10:59  58.3    40  77    22:00-22:59 126.5    68 165
11:00-11:59  63.9    45  81    23:00-23:59 128.2    71 158

The server ignores any extraneous arguments on the end of this command.

TOC

Dicetest

Displays the results of several test that are performed on all the rolls of all the players after a restart of FIBS. An example of the output is:

*** running dice test:
*** Rolled 3329664 times with 2 dice
1-1  92359  1-2  92773  1-3  92231  1-4  92889  1-5  92358  1-6  92623
2-1  92849  2-2  92587  2-3  92658  2-4  92503  2-5  92041  2-6  92172
3-1  92924  3-2  91843  3-3  92011  3-4  92312  3-5  91946  3-6  92111
4-1  92713  4-2  92698  4-3  92654  4-4  92578  4-5  92644  4-6  92946
5-1  92905  5-2  92898  5-3  92003  5-4  92087  5-5  92274  5-6  92583
6-1  91859  6-2  92615  6-3  92581  6-4  92816  6-5  92637  6-6  92983
unit n-sphere tests for n=1,2,3:
number:             PI/4         PI/6     PI*PI/32
calculated:     0.785101     0.523326     0.308347
real value:     0.785398     0.523599     0.308425
Distribution of runs of n identical rolls:
n:       1      2      3     4    5   6   7  8 9 10 11 12+
1:  771847 128352  21467  3595  567  78  25  4 0  0  0  0 S:1110842
2:  771010 128702  21218  3527  637 111  20  6 1  0  0  0 S:1110224
3:  769696 127919  21304  3480  629  94  22  7 0  0  0  0 S:1107285
4:  771801 128848  21346  3554  591  91  19  3 1  0  0  0 S:1111418
5:  771218 128001  21236  3494  607 102  13  1 0  0  0  0 S:1108650
6:  770763 129048  21352  3639  539 101  16  2 1  0  0  0 S:1110909
S: 4626335 770870 127923 21289 3570 577 115 23 3  0  0  0 S:6659328
T: 4624533 770756 128459 21410 3568 595  99 17 3  0  0  0
Done.

The output of this command can be captured by looking for the first line, “*** running dice test:” then capturing everything between that and the final line of “Done.”.

The server ignores any extraneous arguments on the end of this command.

TOC

Version

Synopsis:  ** Version version info
Example:  ** Version 2.071 (Linux) Revision 1 Feb 8 2002 04:29:50 (PDT)

The server ignores any extraneous arguments on the end of this command.

TOC

Stat

Displays system usage information about the server. An example of the output is:

The server is running since Tue Dec 31 21:17:01 UTC.
351589535 bytes sent.
96065824 bytes received.
351370973 bytes sent immediately, 218562 delayed, 0 discarded
9944895 bytes would block
415 accounts (196 with 0 experience) deleted by cron.(0s)
13285 registered users. Highest user number 13699.
248488(126097) saved games checked by cron.
 (207201 running, 38790 over, 2497 too old, 0 corrupt) (0s)
 old: 2497 oldest: 61
 kept 207201 out of 248488.
 currently checking 'games/p'
last full:19999 ; 1st empty:12790 ; entries:13285 ; last empty:19641
Messages to you:
31518 bytes sent immediately, 0 bytes delayed, 0 bytes discarded.
Password file saved 5896 times.(0s)
0 ratings saved. reset log 5896 times.

There appears to be a blank line after the end of the stats.

The server ignores any extraneous arguments on the end of this command.

TOC

Other Commands

Here are some commands that you'll never use.

TOC

Cls or Clear

This sends a special ASCII sequence to try and clear the screen. It would only ever be used in telnet mode. The sequence is:

ESC[;HESC[2J

It is followed by the expected carriage return and line feed. The “ESC” symbol represents the escape character (ASCII 27).

TOC

Erase

This is an administrative only command. If you try and use it all you'll get back is:

** Permission denied

TOC

Shutdown

This is an administrative only command. If you try and use it all you'll get back is:

** Permission denied

TOC

Undocumented Commands

What follows are some largely useless and undocumented commands that some cunning soul has discovered and informed me about:

port

Or “po”. When you issue this command you get back:

The server is running on port 4321.

Presumably if FIBS was running on a different port, it would report that port instead.

name

Or “na”. When you issue this command you get back:

** You're not supposed to change your name.

co

When you issue this command you get back:

** Permisson denied

ne

When you issue this command you get back:

** Permisson denied

ye

When you issue this command you get back:

** Permisson denied

TOC

Various Asynchronous Messages

This section details various asynchronous messages that you can receive from FIBS that are not directly associated with actually playing a game of backgammon.

You may also want to look at the section on RepBot detailing it's asynchronous messages.

TOC

CLIP Messages

The following CLIP messages can be received asynchronously at any time:

* Okay, technically you really only see these two during a game, but they fit in nicely with all the rest of the chat related messages. Work with me here.

TOC

Invitations

When you receive invitations to a game from other players, you get a two line message which takes one of the following forms:

user wants to play a n point match with you.
Type 'join user' to accept.

user wants to play an unlimited match with you.
Type 'join user' to accept.

user wants to resume a saved match with you.
Type 'join user' to accept.

If you already have a saved game with this player and they are inviting you to a new game, you get the additional message:

WARNING: Don't accept if you want to continue the saved n point match!

Or for an unlimited match that was saved:

WARNING: Don't accept if you want to continue the saved unlimited match!

TOC

Waves

When a user uses the wave command the first time you see:

user waves goodbye.

When a user waves the second time you see:

user waves goodbye again.

Which is usually closely followed by a CLIP Logout line.

TOC

Timeout

If the FIBS server receives nothing from the client after about an hour, it will automatically close the connection with the message:

Connection timed out.

TOC

Waitfor

You can ask FIBS to signal you when selected users log in using the waitfor command.

When one of the users you are waiting for logs in, you receive the message:

** FINALLY!!! user logs in.[7][7][7]

Where “[7]” is the ASCII value of seven (the bell character). You get them even if you have bell toggled off.

Meanwhile, at the same time the user you were waiting for receives the line:

** user is waiting for you to log in.

TOC

Watch

Note that someone can start watching you, even if you are not currently playing a game. It may not be particularly interesting for them, but there you are. I've documented the messages you get when someone is watching your opponent during a game here for the sake of completeness of the subject.

When someone starts watching you, you get:

user is watching you.

When they stop watching you, you get:

user stops watching you.

When someone starts watching your opponent during a game, you get:

user1 starts watching user2.

Where user1 is the person doing the watching, and user2 is your opponent.

When they stop watching your opponent, you get:

user1 stops watching user2.

If your opponent blinds the watcher while you are playing, you get:

usre2 bans user1 from watching.

If you a watching another player, and they or their opponent blind you from watching the game, you get the message:

user bans you from watching.

If the user you are watching logs out, you'll receive one of the following depending on their method of departure:

user logs out.. You're not watching anymore.
user drops connection.. You're not watching anymore.
Connection with user timed out.. You're not watching anymore.

Note that if someone is already watching you or your opponent before you start the game you get no notification that they are watching. You may however notice the number of users who hear when you Kibitz or Whisper.

TOC

Away

This isn't so much an asynchronous message as something you keep getting anytime you send a command to the FIBS server. If you have set your away state, you get:

You're away. Please type 'back'

TOC

Game Reports

If you have toggled reports on, you get the following notifications when matches start and end:

user1 and user2 start a n point match.
user1 and user2 start an unlimited match.
user1 wins a n point match against user2  n-n .
user1 and user2 are resuming their n-point match.
user1 and user2 are resuming their unlimited match.

Note that you get no notification when a match is saved or dropped, only when started, resumed or completed.

TOC

Game Play

From a computer's point of view, a game of backgammon can be seen as a reasonable sized finite state machine. You move from state to state depending on whose turn it is, if a player doubles, when a player makes a move and who many pieces remain on the board afterwards.

Each state has its own set of messages and expected responses. At a high level these play states are:

Inside the player's or opponent's turn of course there is the possibility of doubling, redoubling or resigning, so it makes for a lot of states.

Of course this can be interrupted at any time by one player or the other dropping or leaving the match, at which point it is saved to play again another day.

Another central piece of information a FIBS client receives from the server is the board state. This is a capsule snapshot of the state of the game from the number of pieces on each point on the board, to what dice were rolled, the state of the doubling cube and the score within the match so far.

Of course there's always a spanner in the works to make life more interesting.

The board state is detailed first as it is central to everything in game of backgammon on FIBS. After that each of the above play states are discussed, then the commands that are used during a game.

TOC

Board State

The board state is described by a line starting with “board:” and followed by a lot of fields all separated by colons. Here is an example board state line for the start of a game with an initial roll of 6 and 2 in a three point match:

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0

Which represents the board:

+13-14-15-16-17-18-------19-20-21-22-23-24-+ X: someplayer - score: 0
  | O           X    |   |  X              O |
  | O           X    |   |  X              O |
  | O           X    |   |  X                |
  | O                |   |  X                |
  | O                |   |  X                |
 v|                  |BAR|                   |    3-point match
  | X                |   |  O                |
  | X                |   |  O                |
  | X           O    |   |  O                |
  | X           O    |   |  O              X |
  | X           O    |   |  O              X |
  +12-11-10--9--8--7--------6--5--4--3--2--1-+ O: myself - score: 0

  BAR: O-0 X-0   OFF: O-0 X-0   Cube: 1  You rolled 6 2.

Lets go through this section by section.

Player Names

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0

The player's name and the opponent's name. If you are playing a game the player's name is always the string “You”. If you are watching a game the player's name is the name of the person you are watching, and the opponent's name is the person they are playing against.

Match Length

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0

The length of the match or 9999 for unlimited matches.

Current Match Scores

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0

The player's and opponent's scores in the match so far.

Board

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0

26 numbers giving the board. Positions 0 and 25 represent the bars for the players. Positive numbers represent 0's pieces and negative numbers represent X's pieces.

Turn

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0

One of the following:

-1  if it's X's turn.
if it's O's turn.
if the game is over.

Dice

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0

The player's and the opponent's dice rolls (two numbers each). If it is not the person's turn, or they haven't rolled yet then both numbers are zero.

Doubling Cube

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0

The current value on the doubling cube. A value of 1 indicates that neither player has doubled yet.

May Double

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0

Whether the player and the opponent are allowed to double.

May double.
Not allowed to double.

Was Doubled

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0

1 if your opponent just doubled, zero otherwise.

Note I have yet to see this field be anything other than zero. I don't think it is especially useful anyway.

Colour

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0
-1  If you are X.
If you are O.

Direction

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0
-1  If you play from position 24 to position 1.
If you play from position 1 to position 24.

Home and Bar

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0

Home is 0 or 25 depending on direction, and bar is the opposite. (Obsolete but included anyway.)

On Home

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0

The number of pieces already removed from the board by the player and their opponent.

On Bar

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0

The number of pieces on the bar for the player and their opponent.

Can Move

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0

A number between 0 and 4 representing the number of pieces you can move. This token is valid if its your turn and you already have rolled.

Forced Move and Did Crawford

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0

Do not use these tokens.

Redoubles

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0

The maximum number of instant redoubles in unlimited matches.

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Start or Resume a Match

A new match begins when one player makes an invitation with the invite command, and the other player accepts with the join command. If you did the inviting you see one of the responses below:

** Player user has joined you for a n point match.
Player user has joined you for an unlimited match.

If you are accepting an invitation you will see one of:

** You are now playing a n point match with user
** You are now playing an unlimited match with user

If you invited a player to resume a match and they accepted, you get:

user has joined you. Your running match was loaded.

If you are accepting an invitation to resume a match, you get:

You are now playing with user. Your running match was loaded.

In either case, this is followed by a quick synopsis of the state of the game which is the same for both players and looks like this:

turn: user.
match length: n
points for user1: n
points for user2: n

Or for an unlimited match:

turn: user.
unlimited matchlength
points for user1: n
points for user2: n

Note that when starting or resuming a match, the server does not always send you a board state update immediately, so it might be prudent to send a board request when detecting the start of a game.

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Start a Game

Upon starting a new game, be it the first in a match or the 100th, you get:

Starting a new game with user.

After that you have the roll if the dice each. And the declaration as to whose turn it is. If you rolled the higher die then it looks like this:

You rolled a, user rolled b
It's your turn to move.

Otherwise you see:

You rolled b, user rolled a
user makes the first move.

If both you and your opponent have Autodouble toggled on, then if the first roll was a double you would see something like this:

You rolled a, user rolled a
The number on the doubling cube is now 2
You rolled b, user rolled c
It's your turn to move. / user makes the first move.

Obviously if the second roll was also a double then you would see the doubling cube go to 4, and so on until a non-double was rolled.

In any event, all this will then be followed by a board state.

If you rolled the higher die, then we move onto the player's turn where you issue a move command to move your pieces (you do not get the option to double for the initial turn). Otherwise it is the opponent's turn.

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Player's Turn

At the start of your turn, if you are able to double and double is toggled on, then you get:

It's your turn. Please roll or double

At this point, you use either the roll or double command. The back and forth that occurs during doubling (and redoubling) is detailed in the sections on doubling and redoubling below.

When the dice are rolled - either automatically or is response to the roll command - you get:

You roll a and b.
board:You:user:...
Please move n pieces.

Which tells you what dice were rolled, gives you a board state and tells you how many pieces can be moved. At this point the server is waiting for a valid move command. Make your move, after which it goes on to the opponent's turn.

If you cannot make a valid move, then instead you get:

You roll a and b.
board:You:user:...
You can't move.

And then it goes on to the opponent's turn.

If there is only one possible move and you have automove toggled on, then you would see:

You roll a and b.
board:You:user:...
The only possible move is d-e ... j-k .

Showing between one and four pieces moved. After that it goes directly to the opponent's turn. The d, e, j and k values can be the numbers 1 to 24 indicating what point the move was from or to, “bar” to indicate a move from the bar, or “off” for bearing a piece of the board.

If you have greedy toggled on, and there is a greedy bearing off move to be made, you get:

You roll a and b.
board:You:user:...
Bearing off: c o ... f o

Showing between one and four pieces moved off the board. After that it goes directly to the opponent's turn. The d and f values will be either the numbers 1 to 6 or 19 to 24 (depending on your direction of play on the board) indicating what points the pieces are moving from.

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Opponent's Turn

Moving to the opponent's turn will always start with a board state.

At this point the server is waiting for your opponent to roll or double. The back and forth that occurs during doubling (and redoubling) is detailed in Doubling and Redoubling below.

If they elect to roll (or they had no choice) you then see:

user rolls a and b.
board:You:user:...

Which tells you what dice were rolled and gives you a board state. At this point the server is waiting for your opponent to make his move.

When the player makes his move, you get:

user moves a-b ... g-h .
board:You:user:...

Showing between one of four moves for the opponent, then it goes on to your turn.

If there is only one possible move and your opponent had automove toggled on, then you would see:

The only possible move is a-b ... g-h .
board:You:user:...

Showing between one and four pieces moved. After that it goes directly to your turn.

If your opponent has greedy toggled on, and there is a greedy bearing off move to be made, you get:

Bearing off: a o ... d o
user moves c-d ... i-j .
board:You:user:...

Showing between one and four pieces moved off the board. After that it goes directly to the your turn.

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End of a Game

When you reach the end of a game because one of the players moved all their pieces off the board the winner gets one of the following:

You win the game and get 1 point. Congratulations!
You win the game and get n points. Congratulations!

Meanwhile, the loser will get one of:

user wins the game and gets 1 point. Sorry.
user wins the game and gets n points. Sorry.

If one of the players doubles, and the other rejects, then the winner gets one of:

user gives up. You win 1 point.
user gives up. You win n points.

Meanwhile, the loser will get one of:

You give up. user wins 1 point.
You give up. user wins n points.

If one of the players resigns, and the other accepts, then the winner gets one of:

You accept and win 1 point.
You accept and win n points.

Meanwhile, the loser will get one of:

user accepts and wins 1 point.
user accepts and wins n points.

If it is not the end of the match, players then receive a summary of the match scores so far, which looks like one of:

score in n point match: user1-n user2-n
score in unlimited match: user1-n user2-n

Then a prompt to start the next game in the match:

Type 'join' if you want to play the next game, type 'leave' if you don't.

If you are the first player to send the join command (no arguments required), you will then get:

** Please wait for user to join too.

Once both players have sent the join command you go back to the start a game state.

If it is the end of a match, you go on to the end of a match state.

So an example of a typical end of a game could look like this:

You win the game and get 1 point. Congratulations!
score in 3 point match: myself-1 someplayer-0
Type 'join' if you want to play the next game, type 'leave' if you don't.

And now the tricky bit...

If you have moves toggled on, then at the end of the game you get a dump of all the moves for the game. This dump is identical to what you see with the oldmoves command.

The wrinkle is this: the moves dump occurs between the first and second lines you'd normally see above. What's more the first line of the dump is joined with the first line you normally get. So using the example from above and adding the fact that moves is toggled on, you would instead see something like this:

You win the game and get 1 point. Congratulations!Score is 1-0 in a 3 point match.
someplayer is X - myself is O

O: (5 1) 13-8 24-23
X: (6 5) 1-7 12-17
O: (5 3) 8-3 6-3
X: (5 4) 1-5 19-24
...
X: (6 4) 21-off 21-off
O: (6 2) 1-off 1-off
O: wins
score in 3 point match: myself-1 someplayer-0
Type 'join' if you want to play the next game, type 'leave' if you don't.

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End of a Match

The end of the match is fairly simple. If you were the winner you see:

You win the n point match n-n .

If you lost the match you see:

user wins the n point match n-n .

Of course this is far too simple. Thus, you have the option to toggle ratings on to make is much more complicated. When ratings is toggled on the above line is preceded by the ratings calculations. Here is an example:

rating calculation:
rating difference D=155.634835
match length      N=3
Experience: myself 2761 - someplayer 187
Probability that underdog wins: Pu=1/(10^(D*sqrt(N)/2000)+1)=0.423029
P=0.423029 is 1-Pu if underdog wins and Pu if favorite wins
K=max(1 , -Experience/100+5) for myself: 1.000000
change for myself: 4*K*sqrt(N)*P=2.930831
K=max(1 , -Experience/100+5) for someplayer: 3.130000
change for someplayer: -4*K*sqrt(N)*P=-9.173502

myself wins the 3 point match 3-0 .

The bits in blue italic are variable (ie they change from match to match) while the rest is static text.

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Doubling

The following is for normal matches or unlimited matches where redoubling is not allowed. You can only redouble in unlimited matches if redoubles is set to something other than “none”.

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Player Doubles

When you double you see the message:

You double. Please wait for user to accept or reject.

If your opponent accepts, then you see a message indicating the new value of the cube, followed by your roll (see Player's Turn).

user accepts the double. The cube shows n.
You roll a and b.
board:You:user:...

If your opponent rejects the double, then that is the end of the game and you get a message such as the following, and then start a new game.

user gives up. You win n points.

See End of a Game for full details.

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Opponent Doubles

When your opponent doubles, you get the message:

user doubles. Type 'accept' or 'reject'.

If you accept, then you get a message indicating the new value of the cube, followed by your opponents roll (see Opponent's Turn).

You accept the double. The cube shows n.
user rolls a and b.
board:You:user:...

If you reject the double, then that is the end of the game and you get a message such as the following, and then start a new game.

You give up. user wins npoints.

See End of a Game for full details.

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Redoubling

You can only redouble in an unlimited match if redoubles is set to something other than “none”. If it is set to “unlimited” then redoubling can go on forever, otherwise you can only redouble a certain number of times, the last looking like a standard doubling.

If the initial double is accepted by the other party, then the message is the same as for doubling.

Player initiated:

a) When you do the initial double you will see the message:

You double. Please wait for user to accept, reject or redouble.

b) If you opponent redoubles, then you get back the message:

user redoubles to n. Type 'accept', 'reject' or 'redouble'.

    Or if you have hit the upper limit of redoubling:

user redoubles to n. Type 'accept' or 'reject'.

c) If you redouble any more times you will see:

You accept the double to n and redouble.
Please wait for user to accept, reject or redouble.

    Or, if it is the last possible redouble:

You accept the double to n and redouble.
Please wait for user to accept or reject.

    If your opponent redoubles again go back to b).

d) If you accept the redouble, you will see a message indicating the new value of the cube, followed by your your roll (see Player's Turn).

You accept the redouble. The cube shows n.
You roll a and b.
board:You:user:...

e) If you reject the redouble, then it is the end of the game, same as for doubling.

    See End of a Game for full details.

Opponent initiated:

a) When your opponent does the initial double you will see the message:

user doubles. Type 'accept', 'reject' or 'redouble'.

b) If you redouble, then you get back the message:

You accept the double to n and redouble.
Please wait for user to accept, reject or redouble.

    Or if you have hit the upper limit of redoubling:

You accept the double to n and redouble.
Please wait for user to accept or reject.

c) If your opponent redoubles any more times you will see:

user redoubles to n. Type 'accept', 'reject' or 'redouble'.

    Or, if it is the last possible redouble:

user redoubles to n. Type 'accept' or 'reject'.

    If your opponent redoubles again go back to b).

d) If your opponent accepts the redouble, you will see a message indicating the new value of the cube, followed by your opponents roll (see Opponent's Turn).

user accepts the redouble. The cube shows n.
user rolls a and b.
board:You:user:...

e) If they reject the redouble, then it is the end of the game, same as for doubling.

    See End of a Game for full details.

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Resigning

Opponent Resigns

When your opponent wants to resign, you'll see one of the following messages:

user wants to resign. You will win 1 point. Type 'accept' or 'reject'.
user wants to resign. You will win n points. Type 'accept' or 'reject'.

The number of points depends on the value on the cube and the type of resignation that is offered (normal, gammon, backgammon).

If you accept the resignation, then you see one of the following messages and it is the end of the game.

You accept and win 1 point.
You accept and win n points.

If, on the other hand, you reject the resignation you will see:

You reject. The game continues.

Player Resigns

When you offer to resign, you see one of the following messages:

You want to resign. user will win 1 point.
You want to resign. user will win n points.

The number of points depends on the value on the cube and the type of resignation that you offer (normal, gammon, backgammon).

If your opponent accepts, then you see one of the following messages and it is the end of the game.

user accepts and wins 1 point.
user accepts and wins n points.

If your opponent rejects the resignation you will see:

user rejects. The game continues.

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Dropping or Leaving the Game

The game can be interrupted for a number of different reasons:

leave

If you use the leave command, then you see:

** You terminated the game. The game was saved.

If your opponent uses the leave command, then you see:

** Player user has left the game. The game was saved.

bye and wave

If you use the bye or wave command to log out, then you see the following message in addition to the normal logout messages:

Your game with user was saved.

If your opponent logs out, then you see:

user logs out. The game was saved.

Dropped Connection

If your opponent drops their connection with FIBS, you see:

user drops connection. The game was saved.

Time-out

If you were actually patient enough to wait for your opponent to be idle long enough to time-out, you would see:

Connection with user timed out. The game was saved.

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Watching a Game

Watching a game has a few differences from playing a game.

Board State

The board state has the player you are watching instead of “You” in the first field. eg:

board:someplayer:anotherplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:0

Starting or Resuming a Match

When starting a match, the message will be one of:

user1 and user2 start a n point match.
user1 and user2 start an unlimited match.
user1 and user2 are resuming their n-point match.
user1 and user2 are resuming their unlimited match.

These are the same messages you get for game reports if you have toggled reports on.

Starting a Game

Upon starting a new game you get:

Starting a new game with user.

Where user is the opponent to the player you are watching.

Then the initial roll:

user1 rolled a, user2 rolled b
userx makes the first move.

Where userx is the user with the higher roll.

Each Player's Turn

The messages for both players' turns look exactly the same as for an opponents turn. ie:

someplayer rolls 5 and 6.

Instead of:

You roll 5 and 6.

End of a Game

The end of game message will be one of the following depending on if the game ended by a player bearing all their pieces off the board, refusing a double, or accepting a resignation:

user wins the game and gets 1 point.
user wins the game and gets n points.
user1 gives up. user2 wins 1 point.
user1 gives up. user2 wins n points.
user accepts and wins 1 point.
user accepts and wins n points.

If it is not the end of the match, you'll then receive a summary of the match score so far, which is the same as when playing and is one of:

score in n point match: user1-n user2-n
score in unlimited match: user1-n user2-n

You don't receive anything else until the start of the next game.

FIBS does not appear to show the moves for a game you are watching, even if you have moves toggled on.

End of a Match

At the end of a match, you receive a simple report of the winner:

user wins the n point match n-n .

FIBS does not appear to show the rating calculation for the match you are watching, even if you have ratings toggled on.

Doubling and Redoubling

The messages you can see for doubling and redoubling are:

user doubles.

user accepts the double.

user redoubles.

user accepts the redouble.

Resigning

The messages you can see for one or the other player resigning are:

user1 wants to resign. user2 will win 1 point.
user1 wants to resign. user2 will win n points.

user rejects. The game continues.

Dropping or Leaving the Game

As an observer, you get no messages when one or the other of the players drops or leaves the game.

TOC

A Spanner In The Works

On occasion, an asynchronous message can be appended to a game related message without the expected carriage return and line feed separating them. This can produce an unusually long line such as:

board:You:someplayer:3:0:0:0:-2:0:0:0:0:5:0:3:0:0:0:-5:5:0:0:0:-3:0:-5:0:0:0:0:2:0:1:6:2:0:0:1:1:1:0:1:-1:0:25:0:0:0:0:2:0:0:05 anotherplayer - - 0 0 1439.79 1262 410 1041251697 somehost.com - -

Which has a board state and a CLIP Who Info message appended together.

According to the documentation for the FIBS Cookie Monster [3] these malformed messages only occur on the end of a board state line, and on the message when an opponent accepts a double.

eg:

someplayer accepts the double. The cube shows 2.13 anotherplayer Anybody for a 5 point match?

Clients should detect this, separate and process the two messages correctly.

TOC

Game Commands

The commands that can be used during game play.

TOC

Roll

If you do not have possession of the doubling cube, or you have double toggled off then FIBS will roll the dice for you automatically. Otherwise it will prompt you to use the roll or double command. When you roll you get:

You roll a and b.

If you try and use the roll command after you've already got a dice roll and FIBS is waiting for your move you get [sic]:

** You did already roll the dice.

If you try and use the roll command during your opponent's turn you get:

** It's not your turn to roll the dice.

If you are not playing a game:

** You're not playing.

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Move

When you make a valid move FIBS goes straight to the opponent's turn.

If you try and use the move command during your opponent's turn you get:

** It's not your turn to move.

If you try and move while FIBS is waiting for you to roll or double then you get:

** You have to roll the dice before moving.

If you specify any invalid arguments for you move then you get:

** first move: legal words are 'bar', 'home', 'off', 'b', 'h' and 'o'.

If your not playing:

** You're not playing.

The rest of the messages you can get all relate to specifying an invalid set of moves.

If you don't specify enough moves, you get one of the following as appropriate:

** You must give 1 moves.
** You must give 2 moves.
** You must give 3 moves.
** You must give 4 moves.

If you specify too many moves you get one of:

** Please don't give more than 1 moves.
** Please don't give more than 2 moves.
** Please don't give more than 3 moves.
** Please don't give more than 4 moves.

(Yes, that is the plural “moves” on the first message.)

If the point you are trying to move from is not valid, you get one of:

** You can't move from n in your first move.
** You can't move from n in your second move.
** You can't move from n in your third move.
** You can't move from n in your fourth move.

If the point you are trying to move to is not valid for the dice roll, you get one of:

** You can't move n points in your first move.
** You can't move n points in your second move.
** You can't move n points in your third move.
** You can't move n points in your fourth move.

If you try and move a piece to a point that is blocked by your opponent you'll get one of:

** You can't move to n in your first move.
** You can't move to n in your second move.
** You can't move to n in your third move.
** You can't move to n in your fourth move.

If you have pieces on the bar you have to move them first. If you try and move another piece first you'll get one of:

** You have to remove pieces from the bar in your first move.
** You have to remove pieces from the bar in your second move.
** You have to remove pieces from the bar in your third move.
** You have to remove pieces from the bar in your fourth move.

If you try and do and invalid move off the board you'll get one of:

** You can't remove this piece in your first move.
** You can't remove this piece in your second move.
** You can't remove this piece in your third move.
** You can't remove this piece in your fourth move.

If you try and move backwards you'll get one of:

** You can't move home in your first move.
** You can't move home in your second move.
** You can't move home in your third move.
** You can't move home in your fourth move.
** You can't move n-home in your first move.
** You can't move n-home in your second move.
** You can't move n-home in your third move.
** You can't move n-home in your fourth move.

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Off

The off command can be used at the same times that the move command can be used.

When you can bear off pieces with the off command you get:

Bear off: n o n o

Which looks suspiciously like what you get during your move when greedy is toggled on.

If you can't bear off pieces with every number you have rolled you get:

** You can't bear off with every number you have rolled.

If your not playing a game:

** You're not playing.

If its not your turn to move:

** It's not your turn.

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Board

When you are playing or watching a game, you get a board state line back.

If you are not playing or watching then the board command returns:

** You're not playing.

If you are watching someone but they are not in the middle of playing a game you get:

** user is not playing.

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Pip

If you are playing a game, the pip command yields the pip count for you and your opponent:

Pipcounts: You nnn   user nnn

If you are watching a game, then you get the pip count for each player:

Pipcounts: user1 nnn   user2 nnn

If you not playing or watching, you get:

** You're not playing or watching.

If you opponent has allowpip toggled off, then you get the message:

** user doesn't allow this. Ask user to 'toggle allowpip'

Note that you get this even if you also have allowpip toggled off.

If you have allowpip toggled off and your opponent doesn't then you get:

** Type 'toggle allowpip' first.

Note that the allowpip toggle has no effect when watching a game. You can always get a pip count for the two players.

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Double

When you use the double command at a valid point in the game you get:

You double. Please wait for user to accept or reject.

See Player Doubles for what happens after this.

If you try and double after you have already rolled the dice you get:

** You can only double before you roll the dice.

If you try and double during your opponent's turn you get:

** Please wait until user has moved.

If you do not have possession of the doubling cube and you try and double you get:

** It's not your turn to double

Note that you also get this if you have doubled and the opponent hasn't accepted or rejected yet.

If you are not playing a game:

** You're not playing.

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Accept

You use accept to accept a double or a resignation from your opponent.

See Opponent Doubles and Resigning for the messages you get when using accept in these cases.

If you're not playing a game:

** You're not playing.

If you use the accept command during the game, but not at the point when your opponent has doubled or resigned you get:

** user didn't double or resign.

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Reject

You use reject to reject a double or a resignation from your opponent.

See Opponent Doubles and Resigning for the messages you get when using reject in these cases.

If you're not playing a game:

** You're not playing, so you can't give up.

If you use the reject command during the game, but not at the point when your opponent has doubled or resigned you get:

** user didn't double or resign.

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Resign

See Resigning for what you get back for valid uses of the resign command.

If you use the resign command without an argument, or with an invalid argument you get:

** Type 'n' (normal), 'g' (gammon) or 'b' (backgammon) after resign.

If you try and resign again before your opponent has accepted or rejected you get:

** You already did that.

If you're not playing a game:

** You're not playing.

If you try and use another game command before your opponent has accepted or rejected your resignation you get:

** user hasn't accepted or rejected your resign yet.

If your opponent has offered a resignation and you try to use a game command other than accept or reject you get:

** user wanted to resign. Type 'accept' or 'reject'.

TOC

Leave

When leaving a game you get:

** You terminated the game. The game was saved.

If you are not in the middle of a game:

** Error: No one to leave.

TOC

Redouble

See Redoubling for examples of valid use of the redouble command.

The redouble command can only be used in an unlimited match. If you try and use it in another type of game you get:

** Instant redoubles are only available for unlimited matches.

If you have reached the limit of redoubling allowed (see set redoubles) in an unlimited game, and you try and redouble again you get:

** You are not allowed to redouble.

You also get the above if you try and use redouble when you are not in the middle of a doubling or redoubling with your opponent (ie If you should be making a move or waiting for the opponent to have their turn).

If you are not playing a game:

** You're not playing.

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Beaver

The beaver command can be used for the first redouble only. You can use it in place of the redouble command in this case. In addition to all the messages you can get for the redouble command, you can also get one of the following messages if you try and use it for the wrong redouble:

** This redouble is not a beaver. Please type 'raccoon' or 'redouble'.
** This redouble is not a beaver. Please type 'otter' or 'redouble'.
** This redouble is not a beaver. Please type 'redouble'

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Raccoon

The raccoon command can be used for the second redouble only. You can use it in place of the redouble command in this case. In addition to all the messages you can get for the redouble command, you can also get one of the following messages if you try and use it for the wrong redouble:

** This redouble is not a raccoon. Please type 'beaver' or 'redouble'.
** This redouble is not a raccoon. Please type 'otter' or 'redouble'.
** This redouble is not a raccoon. Please type 'redouble'

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Otter

The otter command can be used for the third redouble only. You can use it in place of the redouble command in this case. In addition to all the messages you can get for the redouble command, you can also get one of the following messages if you try and use it for the wrong redouble:

** This redouble is not an otter. Please type 'beaver' or 'redouble'.
** This redouble is not an otter. Please type 'raccoon' or 'redouble'.
** This redouble is not an otter. Please type 'redouble'

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Panic

This is a special command to use while playing a game if you find a bug. If you are actually going to use this command, please check the help for it in the FIBS server by using the command help panic first.

When you use this command during a game you get:

Your game was saved in the panic file.

If you are not playing a game:

** You're not playing.

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RepBot

Most of the information here has been gained from looking at the source to RepBot [6].

RepBot is a non-playing bot on FIBS which records and shows information about players. It's main features are reporting the number of saved games any player has and that person's “reputation” as voted by others.

You communicate with RepBot by using the tell command and receiving replies via CLIP Says messages.

Some notes from Avi Kivity, one of the authors and maintainers of RepBot:

The RepBot protocol is not well suited for machine consumption, as evidenced by the many forms replies can take (for example, there are three different forms for saved game information). It may also change as RepBot evolves (as it has changed several times in the past). Avi has drafted a specification for a stable graphical client oriented protocol, but currently lacks the time to implement it (volunteers welcome!). Until this protocol is implemented, graphical clients may break if RepBot is modified.

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General Info

Note that all commands to RepBot are case insensitive.

Common Error Messages

Most RepBot commands require a user name. If you do not specify a user name, or you specify too many parameters, then you'll get the response:

ERROR: try 'tell RepBot command <username>'

Where command is the command you sent.

If the user is not known on RepBot you get back the response:

ERROR: user user does not exist on FIBS.

If you specify an invalid command, you get:

I don't understand you. Try 'tell RepBot help'.

Saved Game Info

Many of the responses from RepBot include saved_game_info. This takes one of the following forms:

no saved games
1 saved game
n saved games

Where n is the number of saved games.

User Lists

Many of the responses will also include lists of users. This could be a list of complainers or vouchers or other users. This user_list usually appears in square brackets with each user separated by a comma and a space. If the user in the list has a saved game with the user in question then an asterisk is appended to their name. See the friends and list commands for examples.

Ask

This is for asking the general opinion of a player. A request takes the form:

tell RepBot ask user

The reply will be one of:

User user has no complainers or vouchers (saved_game_info)
user's reputation is nnn(GOOD) (saved_game_info)
user's reputation is nnn(BAD) (saved_game_info)

Where nnn is a positive number for a good reputation, or a negative number for a bad reputation.

Some examples:

myself's reputation is 515(GOOD) (2 saved games)
someplayer's reputation is -90(BAD) (no saved games)

In the case of an error on RepBot's part you get:

Internal error, my apologies

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Friends

This is for asking the your friends opinion of a player. RepBot considers a friend anybody you have vouched for. A request takes the form:

tell RepBot friends user

The reply will be one of:

user has no complainers or vouchers (saved_game_info)
user complainers: [user_list] vouchers: [user_list] (saved_game_info)

An example:

myself complainers: [] vouchers: [someplayer, anotherplayer*, yetanotherplayer] (1 saved game)

In the case of an error on RepBot's part you get:

Aiyyy! an internal error has occured

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List

This lists all the complainers and vouchers that the user has, plus all the complaints and vouches the user has made. A request takes the form:

tell RepBot list user

If the user has no complainers or vouchers, and has not made any complaints or vouches, then the response will be:

user has no complainers or vouchers (saved_game_info)

Otherwise the list of opinions will take either a single-line or multi-line form. If the total number of complainers, vouchers, complaints and vouches is less than 15 you get the single line form:

user complainers: [user_list] vouchers: [user_list] complaints: [user_list] vouches [user_list] (saved_game_info)

The multi-line form returns several CLIP Says lines in the format:

list of complainers
list of vouchers
list of complaints
list of vouches
user has saved_game_info.

Each of the lists for each role can take one or more lines, depending on if they have more than 15 users within them.

For an empty list, you get:

user has no role.

For the first (and possibly only) line for a role you get:

user's role: user1, user2 ...

For the second and following lines you get:

user's role (cont'd): user1, user2 ...

Some examples:

myself complainers: [] vouchers: [someplayer] complaints: [anotherplayer, someotherplayer] vouches[] (no saved games)

myself has no complainers.
myself's vouchers: someplayer, ...
myself's vouchers (cont'd): anotherplayer
myself complaints: anotherplayer, someotherplayer
myself has no vouches.

In the case of an error on RepBot's part you get:

Darn it! an internal error has occured

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Complain

This command registers a complaint against a user. Use sparingly. A request takes the form:

tell RepBot complain user

If the registration of the complaint was successful, you get:

complaint registered

If you have already complained about this user you get:

You have already complained about this user

If you have already vouched for this user you get:

You have already vouched for this user

In the case of an error on RepBot's part you get:

Internal error, sorry

Note that if you are feeling especially honest, you can complain about yourself.

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Vouch

This command registers you as a voucher for a user. Use generously. A request takes the form:

tell RepBot vouch user

If the vouch was successful, you get:

voucher registered

If you have already vouched for this user you get:

You already vouched for this user

If you have already complained about this user you get:

You already complained this user

If you try and vouch for yourself, you get:

You can't vouch for yourself (try complaining, though)

In the case of an error on RepBot's part you get:

Internal error, oops

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Withdraw

This command withdraws a complaint or voucher you have for another user. A request takes the form:

tell RepBot withdraw user

If the withdrawal was successful you get:

withdraw successful

If you have not complained against or vouched for the user in the first place you get:

You have no complaint against or voucher for user

In the case of an error on RepBot's part you get:

Internal error

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Alert

This command will report on or toggle the alert status. If toggled on, RepBot will send you a CLIP Says message whenever a user you have a saved game with logs on. See Asynchronous RepBot Messages for the messages you can receive from RepBot when alerts are on.

To find out the current status, send the command:

tell RepBot alert

You will get back either:

RepBot will alert you when saved games opponents log in.

Or:

RepBot will not alert you when saved games opponents log in.

You can set alerts on with the command:

tell RepBot alert on

And you'll get the response:

RepBot will alert you when saved games opponents log in.

You can set alerts off with the command:

tell RepBot alert off

And you'll get the response:

RepBot will not alert you when saved games opponents log in.

If you specify something other than “on” or “off” you get the error message:

I don't understand you. Try 'tell RepBot alert', Try 'tell RepBot alert on', orTry 'tell RepBot alert off'.

In the case of an error on RepBot's part you get:

Failed setting alert status for user

While RepBot's alert command is useful for users, graphical clients can achieve the same functionality with greater reliability by using the show saved command, and by either monitoring the CLIP Login messages or using the waitfor command.

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Asynchronous RepBot Messages

Alerts

If you have alerts toggled on, upon login you may receive one or more CLIP Says messages from RepBot of the form:

user, with whom you have a saved game, is logged in.

If a relevant user logs in while you are online, you get the message:

user, with whom you have a saved game, has just logged in.

News

RepBot may occasionally send you news items as they are added by the RepBot administrators. It will never send the same news item more than once.

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Miscellaneous

RepBot has a “help” command which just returns free form help textual information.

RepBot will also respond to courteous talk such as “hello” or “thanks” with appropriate replies.

RepBot will also occasionally respond to shouts with the word “RepBot” in it.

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Player Profile Protocol

The Player Profile Protocol [7] is a way of encoding player information in the client field. It was designed by Peter Nevalainen, the author of JavaFIBS 2001 who has kindly given me permission to repeat it here.

The characters in the player profile protocol are divided as follows:

Char 1 - Identified this protocol and holds the gender of the player.

01111 xy 
----- -- 
 |    |  
 |   specifies the gender (00 = male ">", 10 = female "<", 01 = computer "=", 11 = unknown "?")
specifies that this protocol is used (60) (along with a string length of 20).

Chars 2-3 - The player's country which is specified by the (capital) two letter country code.

eg. “SE” for Sweden, and “US” for USA.
The country should be “NT” (Neutral Zone) if not specified.

Chars 4-19 - The player's name.

The first letters in the first and last name must start with a capital letter and only A-Z, a-z and the underscore character _ (simulates space char) are allowed in the name.
To not waste a character for a space between first and last name the first letter in the last name is subtracted with 30 so it becomes a non letter character but stays in the range of printable characters. The first non letter character is added with 30 to become a letter again when parsing the client field. Unused positions must be filled with the underscore character “_”.

Char 20 - Specifies the client using this protocol.

Currently the ASCII range 33 (“!”) to 39 (“'”) is reserved for JavaFIBS (currently only using “!” for version 1.x). If it is outside this range then it is some other client.
Mr. Nevalainen has indicated that he has been thinking of changing the last character to something more useful as only JavaFIBS is using the protocol. Perhaps putting platform and operating system information there instead.

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References

[1]  First Internet Backgammon Server
http://www.fibs.com/

Andreas Schneider

[2]  CLIP Specification V1.008 - 08 Mar 1997
http://www.fibs.demon.co.uk/CLIP/clip.html

Andreas Schneider

[3]  FIBS Cookie Monster
http://www.fibs.com/fcm/

Paul Ferguson

[4]  FIBS Command Reference
http://www.fibs.com/CommandReference/index.html

[5]  The “help rawboard” command when logged into FIBS

[6]  RepBot
http://repbot.sourceforge.net/

Dana Burns and Avi Kivity

[7]  Player Profile Protocol
The file “JavaFIBS2001/docs/playerprofileprotocol.txt” distributed with the JavaFIBS 2001 client.
http://www.fibs.com/~cthulhu/
Peter Nevalainen

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