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making xboard pretty:
Plain Xboard using the Xaw-libs

Plain Xboard using the Xaw-libs

This is the default look of xboard when you start it with no xresources set. A few years ago the white pieces had no black borders, so the appearance was not very satisfying. That's why I started to improve the look. You can link the program at compile-time to other widget-sets like Xaw3d, neXtaw or XawM. This way buttons are getting a more 3D-ish look. The first thing you may want to do is to tweak the overall appearance of the Xaw-widgets, here is a great tutorial for it: Notes on customizing Xaw

You can use "editres" to change the buttons, fonts, background and foreground colors very easily. Start xboard and editres, in editres go under "Commands" and select "Get Tree", the cursor change to a cross-hair, click with the mouse anywhere in the xboard-window and you get the complete tree in editres. Now in editres go under "Tree" and select "Select Widget in Client", again the cursor turns into a cross-hair, select say for example the "File" button in xboard, editres update his view and show you the "File" button. Here the fun begins :-)
Go under "Commands" and click on "Show Resource Box". A new window pops up with all the values you can change. Click for example on "background" and enter a value in the box at the bottom like "pink" :-) Click on "Apply" and the "File" button in xboard turns to pink. Experiment with it, and I'm pretty sure you come up with something you like. You can save your changes in a file with "Set Save File" and after every value change with "Save and Apply".
Then you can paste the saved values in your ~/.Xdefaults file to make these changes permanent. Here is my xboard section like it looks at the moment.


Xboard with custom colors

Xboard with custom colors

So since the old xboard pieces didn't look that good I replaced them with pixmaps from a commercial windows program called chessbase that I used since 1991 on Atari ST. Then around September 2000 Tim Mann the author of xboard changes the old pieces with the set you can see in the screenshot at left. Which in fact made my pieces obsolete because they looked better :-) I only changed the square colors to be more woody. Here is a really nice site where you can find more color-schemes you can try out Configuring WinBoard to your own personal taste.


Xboard with a pixmap theme

Xboard with a pixmap theme

Around September 2001 I found another program called eboard which I tried out a couple of times, but came to the conclusion, that I liked xboard more. But I liked a few of the themes they had, so I played with them a little bit, taking the pieces from one set and the square bitmaps from another and the result looks like another popular ICC-interface called BlitzIn. I really liked it and used it ever since. The only drawback with pixmap-themes is that they are a little bit slower in animation than the default set. You may not notice this at normal games, but when you playing 1 minute games on ICC it may be disturb our game flow. If you want to try them out here they are: dyche2.tar.bz2. All you have to add to your ~/.Xdefaults is something like this:
xboard*pixmapDirectory: ~/.chessfig/dyche2
This, of course, overrules your color schemes settings.


Xboard with another pixmap theme

Xboard with another pixmap theme

This is a set I made in November 2001, just to have some fun with gimp. I take the default set from xboard and add drop shadows to them. The squares are the result of 2 or 3 layers I put together to get some kind of a light metal effect. They are looking quite nice and they are even slower than dyche2 because the shadows of the pieces giving xboard a hard time :-)
I named them just blue
Have fun with it :-)


Xboard with another pixmap theme

Xboard with a nice color scheme

Got bored in my holidays and made a new color scheme which is pleasant to the eyes.
The section of my .Xdefaults looks like this:
xboard*boardSize: 54,01
xboard*whitePieceColor: #ffffd7
xboard*blackPieceColor: #1d1d1d
xboard*lightSquareColor: #ffcc99
xboard*darkSquareColor: #aa5555
xboard*highlightSquareColor: yellow

If I get some more free time, I like to make a pixmap theme with these colors.



Vico aka Vincenzo Colosimo vico at kleinplanet dot de

Last Modified: 2006-12-16 21:08:08 CET