º More than 100 chess icons for Windows and Mac.
º Kits for creating high-quality chess diagrams.
º High-definition chess wallpapers and graphics.
º All downloads are freeware for personal use.
New versions of Diagramkit and Diagramkit SE for creating chess diagrams are now available. The main additions are the rotated figurine pieces (mostly useful for displaying fairy chess problems). I have also included three new board backgrounds in Diagramkit - these are more standard-looking boards without gradient colours. The ReadMe files have been revised to provide clearer instructions on how to use these image files in Paint.NET.
I have uploaded two new wallpapers, named Black borders and Brown borders, which you will find on the Graphics page. They are inspired by the poster for Chess, the Musical.
You can now buy merchandise with Virtual Pieces designs from the Redbubble site. A range of clothing styles is available, from T-shirts to hoodies, and there are also mugs, pillow cases, etc. Since all Virtual Pieces graphics are freeware for personal use, you can show your support of this site by purchasing something from there!
The wallpapers on the Graphics page are now provided in two additional sizes: the large widescreen format of 1920x1200px and the smaller but still popular one of 1366x768px.
A new version of the wallpaper Mansfield masterworks, showing three celebrated problems by the great Comins Mansfield, is now available. The boards and pieces are rendered with a relief texture to give a more striking look.
I have revised Classic endings, the wallpaper depicting three famous chess compositions. Besides using the smoother figurines of Diagramkit v2, the new image also involves a more interesting translucent effect where the three boards overlap.
After another long break, I'm returning to the project of improving my earliest wallpapers. New versions of Brown spheres and Blue spheres can now be downloaded. The two images are sharper than before, and I've removed an unnecessary stripe in the design of each sphere. Once again, each new wallpaper also comes in the HD format of 1920x1080px.
The wallpaper Translucent cubes has been given a major revamp. The large middle cube looks more interesting when constructed from a whole lot of smaller ones. I've also added shadows to the cubes and improved the background.
A new version of Nine cubes has been added to the wallpapers section. Ostensibly it’s the same picture, but I’d started over and used the improved figurine design (Diagramkit v2). I also corrected some problems with the cubes’ clarity and perspectives; the result is a noticeable enhancement of the original. The large image format of 1920x1080px is now included as well.
Two more wallpapers on the Graphics page, Dark glasses and Sienna glasses, are now available in the HD format of 1920x1080px. I’ve also revised Sienna glasses - it now has a more vibrant tone.
Some minor revisions are made to the site, to tidy up a few things. The one addition worth mentioning is that the Links page now includes a Users’ Sites and Applications section, for links to sites and programs that make use of Virtual Pieces graphics.
The high-def screen resolution of 1920x1080px is a popular one for monitors nowadays, so it seems appropriate to convert the wallpapers of this site to the large, widescreen format. I have done so with six of the wallpapers, found on the Graphics page.
After taking a long recess from this site, I’m posting a new set of icons, Chequers, based on designs created for the Gold Chequers and Blue Chequers wallpapers.
A very late update, but in November last year my site about Australian chess problem composition was launched. Named OzProblems, it naturally incorporates plenty of graphics from Virtual Pieces. On another note, ActionChess for the iPhone and iPad (see the 08-Jun-09 entry below) is now available for free until the next version comes out. Also, a new iPhone app that utilises Virtual Pieces’ chess figurines has been released. Produced by Princeton Satellite Systems, ChessNotePad is an application for playing and recording chess games.
This site is on hiatus while I’m working on a new site about chess problem composition in Australia.
The images produced by Diagramkit are quite large, the intention being that they can be easily reduced in size by the user, with little change in the picture quality. However, when a diagram is resized to around 50 percent, the figurine pieces start to look a bit blurry, as some of their details get blended. Therefore I have created Diagramkit SE (Small Edition) especially for producing smaller diagrams. The figurine designs have been simplified, and the boards no longer use gradient colours, to maximise clarity. The diagram size of 240x240px, about half of that in the original version, is quite suitable for displaying positions on a website, for example.
Blue chequers, a variation of the previous wallpaper, can be downloaded from the Graphics page.
Lucas Chess is an open source chess program that utilises the figurine pieces from Diagramkit. Check out the site of its author, Lucas Monk, for some nice screenshots of the program’s GUI.
It’s been a while since I last uploaded new material, though during that time I had some site maintenance work to do. To compensate, I have added a new wallpaper, Gold chequers, that could be my best!
Another wallpaper based on the ‘Buttons’ icons can be found on the Graphics page, called Green discs.
A new wallpaper, Blue discs, is available from the Graphics page.
Sometimes I get requests to use Virtual Pieces graphics on websites and elsewhere (permission must be sought, of course), and here are two such instances where the icons are nicely employed. ActionChess, developed by Martin Grider, is an iPhone game that combines chess and Tetris. The game utilises the figurine pieces from Diagramkit. IM Goran Vojinovic’s Chess Lessons site features graphics from Chessicons, and it is created by Elevation Web Designs.
After a break, I have completed a new wallpaper, Transformation - check it out on the Graphics page.
Version 2 of Diagramkit is available from the Diagrams page. The figurine pieces now come in twelve colours - the six new ones are dark/light red, green, and violet. The dark and light blue pieces have also been revised to improve their legibility.
On the Graphics page you will find a new wallpaper, named Transfiguration.
An improved version of Diagramkit can be downloaded from the Diagrams page. Based on the new icons from Chessicons v4, the figurines now have a smoother look. I have also increased the colour contrast of these pieces to make them more legible against the board background. On another note, I recently discovered a nice feature of Paint.NET that should make it faster to set up a diagram. Instead of opening the required figurines one by one in Paint.NET, you can open them all simultaneously by selecting them in Windows Explorer and dragging the selection to the Paint.NET window.
All of the wallpapers on the Graphics page are now available in the widescreen format.
I have uploaded Sienna glasses, a version of the Dark glasses wallpaper. Both are available in the widescreen format as well. Dark glasses has been revised very slightly (mostly to be consistent with the new widescreen version).
A new wallpaper, Dark glasses, has been added to the Graphics page.
Chessicons v4 can now be downloaded as a single zip file from the Icons page. This is a fairly large file, best if you have the latest version of Windows (Vista) or Macintosh (Tiger or later) that makes use of the large icon formats. For visitors whose OSs are older and don’t require the larger images, I have put together Chessicons v3.6. This is a much smaller download without the 256x256px images, and it includes the improved versions of all the icons as found in Chessicons v4.
The ninth set of large icons, Glasses, is now available. This is the final addition to Chessicons v4, and to finish off, a brand new design.
I have uploaded Set 8 of the large icons, Boxes. This is another group that noticeably improves on what was in Version 3.5.
The seventh set of large icons, Folders, has been added.
The large versions of the Borders icons are now available from the Icons page.
The fifth set of large icons, Figurines, can be downloaded. The smaller formats for these icons have been improved as well, with more details shown.
The large versions of the Staunton icons are now added. These are the only ones I did not make from scratch, but are based on digital photos of my chess set.
Another set of large icons, Shapes, has been added. This includes a few spheres that weren’t in the previous version of Chessicons. I created the new 3D shapes using Paint.NET, which made the task far easier, and the final icons are also a huge improvement on what was in Version 3.5.
The second set of large icons, Boards2 & Buttons, is now available. This set involves the figurine designs, and enlarging the images of these individual pieces proved to be quite laborious, since to use a graphics program to resize them automatically would generate figures that look either too jagged or too fuzzy. So there was no avoiding some manual redrawing of these figurines, though once the largest version of each piece is drawn, a program can adequately reduce it to the smaller formats. In fact, an unexpected outcome was that when I automatically resized a 256x256px figurine to 48x48px, the result looks slightly better - smoother - than the original 48x48px icon!
The first set of large icons, Boards (for both Windows and Mac) has been added to the Icons page.
The Mac version of Chessicons v3.5 is available from the Icons page.
The icon format for Windows has changed significantly since a decade ago, when I first began the project of drawing these tiny chess-related images. The early versions of Chessicons, for Windows 95, comprised images of just 32x32 pixels and 16 colours. The icons of the current version 3.5, for Windows XP, are sized 48x48px and involve truecolor and transparency effects. Windows Vista’s new icon format considerably increases the image size to a maximum of 256x256px. Such an image type - not so tiny anymore - requires a great amount of details, making it less practical for non-professionals, like me, to produce good-looking results. Nevertheless, with a few excellent graphical tools, I intend to convert at least some of the chess icons to the Vista variety. These will be released in a number of small packages, rather than as a single set.