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Show HN: Chess and Video Chat, no login required (rootshirechess.glitch.me)
124 points by shireboy 87 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 69 comments

I'm excited that we developed the same thing so close together. I'd be curious what your inspiration was, because maybe it was similar :) We found an article that showed a grandma facetiming to play chess.

We'd recommend checking out Janus webrtc. It worked well for us, and will work on mobile/firefox. We've used it for years, and it's well developed. Video rooms up to 6 people too, so you could have more options for games

Just made it so my kids stuck at home for quarantine could play with grandparents and friends. Will definitely check out Janus. Jitsi was easy to drop in, but mobile would be great.

Had a shower thought today for a video conferencing dating app, to meet people and have virtual dates with activities (like chess? or watching synchronized youtube together? i don't know, what do people do for fun?).

That sounds exactly like what my service does!


There was once ChatRoulette

These platforms are quickly taken over by nudity. I just tried chat roulette, 3 out of 6 videos were dicks, that gets boring very fast.

Maybe like a bunch of different drinking games? Or maybe a deck of a bunch of questions you can ask each other?

The heights seem to be broken on firefox developer edition. I don't have Firefox installed to test on there, but I assume it'd be the same.

The chess board and the camera space are about 100 px of height.

Yeah, Chrome only atm. The chat software it uses (Jit.si) doesn’t work in FF either..

Jitsi has some issues with Firefox, but "doesn't work" is a bit much.

Neither the chess nor the video work on Chromium in Debian linux.

There are a bunch of error messages in the developer console, it seems to start with permission denial to read localStorage.

Version 80.0.3987.149 (Developer Build) built on Debian 10.3, running on Debian 10.3 (64-bit)

It seems like you had the same motivation as me, connecting with the family. For quite some time it has bugged me how bad the UX on some things are, like photo sharing or video calling. Try to explain to your grandmother how to see shared photos on an iPad, and then try to do look at the same picture while on a call. Impossible!

I voiced this to a friend and he suggested to just create a simple webpage that has a controller and viewer, nothing fancy. Tied together with Shortcuts I was hoping to make a one-click button that initiated a FaceTime call and opened the webpage in fullscreen. The latter part seems harder, due to limitations in Shortcuts, but so far I've successfully been able to have her press the Home-button and then click the bookmark for this service to open the viewer. Perhaps a Jitsi Meet integration is just what I need.

Being able to view pictures this way has been truly amazing. My dad has digitized a lot of old pictures, and it's so engaging for her to explain what farm a given picture was taking on, and who is in the picture. Things like that. She really enjoys it. I don't understand how this isn't built into FaceTime or something similar. Seems like such an obvious thing.

Shameless plug, and be warned it's quite bandwidth intense, in true disruptive start-up fashion it lacks everything, like optimization and security: https://github.com/vegardx/abuela

For that use case this might also work https://ba.net/screen-share-party

Too complicated I think. Needs to be an easy install AND run on a raspberry pi.

Takes two minutes to install if you know what you're doing.

The whole point here wasn't to make a slick single click install, but a prototype that works. And then iterate from there.

Not exactly the same, but checkout Tabletop Simulator. It's a 3d play environment which can play very many board games, card games etc. The steam workshop must have tens of thousands of popular board games created within it.

It won't even load the root page at all for me (the connection times out), although if I want to play chess I can just use any communication, even just by telephone. I do not even have a camera on my computer and I don't use video chat, but even by IRC, telephone, radio, anyone, you can easily play chess by computer. However, card games (such as poker) are more difficult to do.

I might later make a telnet service for playing a card game (including also tarot cards, mahjong, Fanucci, etc), so that you can play a card game too, rather than only a chess game.

I open a video call on Skype or Jitsi when playing with friends on boardgamearena. I don't play chess, I play go and never opened a video call when playing with a friend. Of course no video call with strangers. Yet a video call with a large field of view could help to prevent cheating. The setup to gey help from a bot becomes more complex.

Interesting, why did you use a canvas for the chess board? I would probably have used svg/html and mouse events

It’s just an embedded board from chessbase. I just dropped their embed in and didn’t write that part. If it looks like there’s interest I may write my own that is more mobile friendly.

Good work!

You may whant to set this override on the iframe API: https://github.com/jitsi/jitsi-meet/blob/master/interface_co...

Nice. That confused some users. Will definitely be doing that. Thanks!

My kids entered the same room and can see each other but when the first person selects a blitz game type it automatically matches them against a random person.

So they're playing two different games while watching each other.

The room name is sufficiently long and unique. What might we be doing wrong?

Oh no. That's not how it's been working last week! It looks like rooms are being combined now at chessbase??? Will have to figure that one out!

Edit: Looks like either a change at chessbase or a misunderstanding on my part that didn't manifest until the world hit it :/ I've put a message on the site and plan to roll my own based on socket.io and chessboard.js soon. Thanks for letting me know!

Hey, thanks again for reporting this. I _think_ I have it sorted now. I wrote my own chess room.

Awesome! It worked for us today. Thanks for putting this together :)

I want to create a similar one with multiple videos for poker. Would this be possible with Jitsi?

My friends and I played euchre at Playok.com and then just made our own Euchre room on Jit.si. We even had a main room and then sub rooms 00, 01, 02 and you'd just join the main room, get assigned a table and jit.si room and then just join both.

Will it scale if a lot of people start using? Is the video P2P or via a server?

We’ll see :). The chat is jitsi’s hosted service. The chess is chessbase’s embedded app. So all server work is 3rd parties who are used to some load. The site itself is just a client side webpage hosted at glitch.me. Could put a CDN in front if it took off.

Can I make a request here ...

Does anyone know a good app or website for private poker games?

Must support up to 12 players.

I know of pokerrr2 and apparently pokerstars had something (but requires facebook ugh).


Thanks!, will check it out.

My son is playing chess with his grandfather by sending SMS photos of the board to each other.

Yes there’s any number of chess apps. This felt more personal and real.

How the times have changed! I used to play with my grandfather but we played chess-by-mail using special chess postcards where you can write your move and the board position!


Made one similar a few days ago.


It requires login, and is based on webrtc.

Free for up to 6 people.

The home page has no information about which games it supports and how it works. You could screen record a session, post it to YouTube and embed it in the page.

Thanks! We'll def do that. Do you have any suggestions on what games should be added?

I'm not 100% sure about how it works but I guess that you can't include a board game ff you don't have any kind of agreements with either the authors or the publishers. Traditional games should be fine.

Maybe if your video technology is good you can work at an agreement with the sites that already have them. A video chat could be something they could pay for.

Thanks! Yes we were only looking at public domain games at first.

A partnership would be great, since we could cross promote, and I'm sure a lot of people are looking to try new games.

Hearts, spades, cribbage, speed

Great, thanks! We've also heard cribbage before

I'd love to try out the poker option but rather not have to pay just to test it out.

Also .. does "billed yearly" mean you have to pay at least 12 months worth?

Hey, everything should be free right now while we're building, since there's bugs.

There's a monthly and yearly, but likely we'll end up charging less for this when it actually launches. How much would be appropriate like $2/m? We want to make the video rooms free up to 6 people, and only charge for developing extra premium games.

Will definitely check this out. I did think about trying to roll my own no-timer version and possibly add other “low tech” games like checkers, etc.

Say thanks! We've heard feedback about the timer too, so we're implementing more options and other board games too.

Ours works in firefox/mobile for video chat no problem, but still may have some bugs.

Curious if the 6 people is a limitation of WebRTC? I'm building a video chat app on it now and would love to hear about your experience.

6 is a limit for Janus webrtc( https://janus.conf.meetecho.com/) but webrtc itself can handle up to 12 it seems at 720p. It really is dependent on the bandwidth each user can support, unless you add in some backend concatenation like Zoom. (I helped with this)

That isn't just a limit of the demo app to make it easier and is not a limit of Janus.


Is this by invitation only? Sign-up is asking for a referral code.

no referral code needed


Would love to see this for card games

Idea: video chat and just a deck of cards, without tying the rules.

My product Kosmi does exactly this, mentioned above.

Spun my CPU's up to high when playing this in Safari.

Don't get me wrong, I love chess, but I really can't see the chess and video chat demographics overlapping much. I mean I think there is a reason why ICC never added such an option to their client.

Hah, maybe not. But My dad and daughter used it to play today, and my kids have used it to play with cousins. Maybe not competitive play, but for quarantined folks, I wanted to replicate playing at a park bench.

That makes a lot of sense. I can see it working well in those scenarios and sounds like it is already a hit. Kudos! :)

I see your point, but I believe it would be exceptionally useful for training, both for newbies and professional that want personalized lessons.

I suggest the author try to experiment with adding some extra features allowing chess teachers to draw moves on canvas (arrows showing piece movements, highlighting cells via keyboard combos, drawing by hand, etc.)

Good to see demo on how far can we go with Jitsi

Yeah, pretty sweet to be able to drop in video chat with just a few lines of javascript. I just wish it worked better in Safari and FF.

Why does this remind me of a certain other game...

Doesn't work properly in mobile Edge.

How is this different than lichess?

one-to-one (no login required, just a shared room name), no rankings, includes video chat. Simpler and more personal.

Video chat works across all browsers mobile or PC as of today, author seems to have been asleep for long.

in a room called chess lets try it

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