I've been competitive chess for about 13 years now (retired OTB and currently working on my ICCF IM title). I recently purchased Pure Chess for the PS3 and found the graphics to be incredible. Unfortunately from a features standpoint, Pure Chess is quite lacking in the basic accoutrements. After an evening of playing around with the software, I was able to set a new world record on the beginner tournament of 41 seconds, but have since started playing one of the top 'Play by Mail' players a game of CC. Anyway, I'd like to suggest some improvements, both in design and features:
1. Provide a basic 2D diagram as an optional display. The checker chips just don't work for me. The best 2D diagram style pieces are "Fritz", and anyone can do some googling to see what they look like.
2. Provide time control options for the "Play by Mail" games. Stuff like 3 days per move, 10 moves in a week, etc.
3. There's a bug when setting the "random color" option for "Play by Mail" games. The message sent still claims the opponent will be taking white.
4. There are some serious load time issues in "Play by Mail". Last night, it was taking Pure Chess several minutes just to load the current turn of a game, and it would often crash back to the previous menu without loading.
5. I notice the "Play by Mail" interface is what I call 'touch-move" fixed. This means accidentally moving the wrong piece cannot be retracted, even though the actual reply has not been sent yet. This might be fixable in the options, so I will check on that, but it shouldn't ever be 'touch-move' in CC. Only when the reply is sent should it count. I ended up having to play an inferior line of the Sicilian in one of my games because of not being able to correct a move before sending it.
6. Please add in a notification jingle noise when a new CC move arrives in the mail. It's easier for me to hear that while I'm playing than to suddenly notice I was sent a new move many minutes ago.
7. An extra-nice option for "Play by Mail" would be for a basic conditional string. This means a player is able to list his opponent's likely reply and have his own automatically set in response. The string should be long enough to handle most any circumstance, and I figure a 50 move string limit should be plenty.
8. Although I've not checked for this, please make sure to allow claims of draws by 3-fold, 50-move rule, and insufficient mating material (e.g. opponent only has a knight or two and nothing else) in all game formats.
9. I'm not really worried about it, but as others have requested, a live chess interface would be fun. Here again, make sure all the bases are covered with the various draw rules, and also allow for fixed time controls like game in ten minutes and whatnot.
10. DO NOT get involved in prize tournaments. People will cheat using engine software on their computers. I was a victim of this a few years back on the PSN "at home" virtual reality interface, where I went undefeated until a prize tournament came up and my first opponent used chess software to beat me (which I confirmed later when I reviewed the game on my computer). If you hold any tournaments at all, there are to be no prizes, and the expectation that "anything goes".
Well that's all I have for now. I'll write a few more notes and suggestions as I play more of the game. Thanks for your time!