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Estab Editor XML File Structure

 
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Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/17/2010 3:31:08 AM   
Panther Paul


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Guys,

How would you feel if I made some mods to the current Estab XML file structure?

The way it is structured at the moment is a bit of a pain (open it in a browser to see what I mean).

I would like to add a bit more of a heirarchy to the structure, i.e. have an "images" node with all the images nested under that. It would mean you could then just collapse all the images out of the way with one click.

I would also like to update the Estab Editor to use a new data type for the values which are floating point numbers. It's a pain, and can leed to bugs, with the way it rounds numbers at the moment.

I would also be changing some of the text values for various types used in the file. Nothing major, just to make them more consitant internaly in our code.

This has come about while I was working on a small untility to list all the weapons data in the Estab XML file. I realised if I restrutured the XML as above I could get away with writing a LOT less code, and this is a good thing! For myself and anyone else who wants to manipluate the Estab XML data. (started this utility as a way to verify our data, which is needed for some of the issues reported here).

The original code for the Estab Editor was written in VB.Net V1.0, and it shows! There is a lot more of it than there needs to be and its a bit cluncky and error prone to add/change things.

If the little utility I am writing works then I eventually would like to migrate the Estab Editor functions to it. The code base would be a lot smaller, cleaner and hence easier to maintain/enhance.

What would the impact be:

  • A new Estab XML file structure (version 4).
  • Better able to view Estab data in your browser of choice, or XML editing utility.
  • Ability to write utilities for manipulating/viewing the Estab XML file with the minimum of code.
  • Better handling of floating point values.
  • You would have to convert any Estab XML files you currently have to the new standard.


How would you convert your existing XML files:

  • Using your CURRENT copy of the Estab Editor compile your XML to a .coe file
  • Install a patch that supported the new Estab XML file structure
  • Using your NEW copy of the Estab Editor export your .coe file to an Estab XML file


So, if I went ahead with this would anyone be to upset?



_____________________________

Paul Scobell
Panther Games Pty Ltd
Post #: 1
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/17/2010 4:00:47 AM   
Prince of Eckmühl


Posts: 2453
Joined: 6/25/2006
From: Texas
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Panther Paul

Guys,

How would you feel if I made some mods to the current Estab XML file structure?

The way it is structured at the moment is a bit of a pain (open it in a browser to see what I mean).

I would like to add a bit more of a heirarchy to the structure, i.e. have an "images" node with all the images nested under that. It would mean you could then just collapse all the images out of the way with one click.

I would also like to update the Estab Editor to use a new data type for the values which are floating point numbers. It's a pain, and can leed to bugs, with the way it rounds numbers at the moment.

I would also be changing some of the text values for various types used in the file. Nothing major, just to make them more consitant internaly in our code.

This has come about while I was working on a small untility to list all the weapons data in the Estab XML file. I realised if I restrutured the XML as above I could get away with writing a LOT less code, and this is a good thing! For myself and anyone else who wants to manipluate the Estab XML data. (started this utility as a way to verify our data, which is needed for some of the issues reported here).

The original code for the Estab Editor was written in VB.Net V1.0, and it shows! There is a lot more of it than there needs to be and its a bit cluncky and error prone to add/change things.

If the little utility I am writing works then I eventually would like to migrate the Estab Editor functions to it. The code base would be a lot smaller, cleaner and hence easier to maintain/enhance.

What would the impact be:

  • A new Estab XML file structure (version 4).
  • Better able to view Estab data in your browser of choice, or XML editing utility.
  • Ability to write utilities for manipulating/viewing the Estab XML file with the minimum of code.
  • Better handling of floating point values.
  • You would have to convert any Estab XML files you currently have to the new standard.


How would you convert your existing XML files:

  • Using your CURRENT copy of the Estab Editor compile your XML to a .coe file
  • Install a patch that supported the new Estab XML file structure
  • Using your NEW copy of the Estab Editor export your .coe file to an Estab XML file


So, if I went ahead with this would anyone be to upset?


The downside please.


_____________________________

Government is the opiate of the masses.

(in reply to Panther Paul)
Post #: 2
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/17/2010 6:51:41 AM   
bcgames


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quote:

...if I went ahead with this would anyone be to upset?

Not me. Sounds great!

(in reply to Panther Paul)
Post #: 3
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/17/2010 6:29:32 PM   
gabeeg


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Nows the time to do this type of work...before too many mods and user edits are dependent on the current estab...its only going to get harder and cause more rancor the longer you wait :)

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Harry

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Post #: 4
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/17/2010 6:46:20 PM   
Prince of Eckmühl


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quote:

ORIGINAL: gabeeg

Nows the time to do this type of work...before too many mods and user edits are dependent on the current estab...its only going to get harder and cause more rancor the longer you wait :)


It's so early in the "game" that this shouldn't cause too great a stir. For me, it's the research and accumulating/organizing data that is so time consuming. In the interim, I'll probably just turn my attention elsewhere, maps, research, whatever, until things are squared away. What might send me to a (somewhat) early grave would be to lose the new maps that I've made. Those puppies constitute an exercise in elbow-grease and eyestrain that I wouldn't wish on ANYONE. Which reminds me, I seriously need to back things up!

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Post #: 5
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/17/2010 6:59:07 PM   
TMO

 

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I'd do it now as well. Bye the way, did you pick up on the oddities I noted in

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2479723

and 

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2496260 ?

Regards

Tim

(in reply to Prince of Eckmühl)
Post #: 6
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/17/2010 9:28:28 PM   
Prince of Eckmühl


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Hi Tim,

The soundness of the estab data has been a very tough subject for customers to properly evaluate. In past versions of the game, you just had to take a lot of stuff on faith. With access to the estab editor, however, this has undeniably changed. That said, without any sort of certainty regarding what the developer intended for the values to be, it can still be hard sometimes, to challenge the numbers which appear on your computer monitor. And while all this uncertainty represents an "elephant in the room" of sorts, one that's gone largely unmentioned, I'm absolutely positive that PG is determined to set the values straight.


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Post #: 7
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/17/2010 9:39:46 PM   
DanO

 

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Sounds good to me. Anything that makes it easier to write user tools is all good. Shift some work onto us! :)

What format are you using for your floats? Switching to fixed?

(in reply to TMO)
Post #: 8
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/17/2010 9:55:48 PM   
Panther Paul


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From: Newcastle, NSW, Australia
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quote:

ORIGINAL: DanO

Sounds good to me. Anything that makes it easier to write user tools is all good. Shift some work onto us! :)

What format are you using for your floats? Switching to fixed?


The Estab Editor is a .Net app. It is using "float" as the type but I'm going to convert that to "decimal" (must be the Banker in me).

This should make things accurate to about 4 decimal places.


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Panther Games Pty Ltd

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Post #: 9
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/17/2010 10:08:53 PM   
DanO

 

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Ah right. We use fixed point on platforms without an FPU, like the Nintendo DS, which reduces the range (usually 32 bits split evenly between whole and fractional parts) but has the benefit of removing all those nasty rounding errors. You'll get the best of both worlds. :)

edit: I take it your interest is in the constant accuracy rather than having +/-2^96 of range? Unless you're planning on doing Command Ops: Galactic Empires or something... :D

< Message edited by DanO -- 6/17/2010 10:20:40 PM >

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Post #: 10
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/17/2010 10:47:25 PM   
TMO

 

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Hi PoE

Actually I didn't mean to refer to the number of guns etc., I was referring to how the editor was allocating ammo when the estabs were altered. For instance:

quote:

Something  very odd - if you take the recon unit I was refering to earlier and add one rifle or carbine, the .30 calibre ammo count goes up by 206 rather than (what I suspect to be correct) 60. If you add three rifles or carbines it goes up by 197 per weapon; for an extra 35 the increase is 128 per weapon. Adding six SMGs, the increase is the correct amount of 180 per weapon. Can anyone throw any light on this please?


quote:

As another experiment I've just removed all 0.50 cal guns from all 12 Shermans in B Coy 35 Tank Bn which should also remove all 0.50 cal rds. However instead of zero there are 5802 rds left. Cloned the 0.50 M2 HB - veh weapon and modified it as 0.50 M2 HB - M4 with just 300 rds and issued the Shermans with this. The total of 0.50 cal rds for the unit now stands at 6769 (or 564 rds per gun). Double clicking on the weapon and looking at the performance tab clearly shows Std load as 300. If someone could explain what's going on I'd be very grateful.


quote:

In the tutorial B Bty 489 AAA AW Bn should have (according to the Estab editor) 200 rnds 37mm ammo. In the scenario its Std Load is listed as zero rnds.


Regards

Tim

(in reply to DanO)
Post #: 11
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/17/2010 10:51:21 PM   
DanO

 

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With regards you final point, I think there's a difference between what is listed in an Estab and what is present in the scenario. Scenarios have force lists, which are comprised of units detailed in the Estab. The force list can be reduced in quality from the base value given in the Estab. That's my understanding, anyway, but I can't claim that 100%.

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Post #: 12
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/17/2010 11:02:12 PM   
TMO

 

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Dano

This is also my thinking for this last point - I suspect you are right.

Regards

Tim

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Post #: 13
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/17/2010 11:16:48 PM   
Panther Paul


Posts: 667
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From: Newcastle, NSW, Australia
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quote:

ORIGINAL: DanO

Ah right. We use fixed point on platforms without an FPU, like the Nintendo DS, which reduces the range (usually 32 bits split evenly between whole and fractional parts) but has the benefit of removing all those nasty rounding errors. You'll get the best of both worlds. :)

edit: I take it your interest is in the constant accuracy rather than having +/-2^96 of range? Unless you're planning on doing Command Ops: Galactic Empires or something... :D


Hi,

Yep, the game itself uses fixed point arithmetic (this is so we get the same results no matter the CPU etc, very important in Multi Player games).

And the range should be good enough

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Panther Games Pty Ltd

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Post #: 14
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/18/2010 12:51:04 AM   
Prince of Eckmühl


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quote:

ORIGINAL: TMO

Just had a look at 3RTR HQ (29 Armrd Bgde) in the 'Dinant - Do or Die scenario'. The lone Sherman Firefly in the HQ , if at full strength, should have 35 rds HE and 35 rds AP since it starts with around 100% personel and equipment. Instead it is allocated 25 rds HE and 25 rds AP. Does this mean that it is starting the scenario at full strength but with a low ammo load?


Sorry Tim,

But I responded in that same thread to the comment above. I thought that's the sort of oddity that your were making reference to. I won't quote my response to your question, as you seemed satisfied.


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Post #: 15
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/18/2010 7:24:36 AM   
TMO

 

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Hi PoE

No, it's not the example you quoted as you cleared that one up for me, it's along the lines of this one:

quote:

As another experiment I've just removed all 0.50 cal guns from all 12 Shermans in B Coy 35 Tank Bn which should also remove all 0.50 cal rds. However instead of zero there are 5802 rds left. Cloned the 0.50 M2 HB - veh weapon and modified it as 0.50 M2 HB - M4 with just 300 rds and issued the Shermans with this. The total of 0.50 cal rds for the unit now stands at 6769 (or 564 rds per gun). Double clicking on the weapon and looking at the performance tab clearly shows Std load as 300. If someone could explain what's going on I'd be very grateful.


that I feel something strange is going on in the editor.

Regards

Tim

(in reply to Prince of Eckmühl)
Post #: 16
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/18/2010 5:13:20 PM   
simovitch


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Tim, I'll take a look at this stuff this weekend and see if I can come up with an explanation - or a bug report.

Thanks for your dillegence with this.

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simovitch


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Post #: 17
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/18/2010 9:40:12 PM   
TMO

 

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Thanks Richard, I appreciate that.

Regards

Tim

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RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/21/2010 8:37:05 PM   
Chief Rudiger

 

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Paul/Arjuna

Considering the number of people that seem to be using the estab editor, might it be possible to included a dedicated feature for importing part or whole of another author's estab, such as i suggested in this thread:

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2488722

Leading on from this, might you set up an place that willing modders could upload Estabs to, from where they would be available for years to come, so that other modders can get stuck straight into scenario design, or map making, if estab creation isn't their bag? And vice versa for maps.

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RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/22/2010 1:13:52 AM   
Prince of Eckmühl


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chief Rudiger

Paul/Arjuna

Considering the number of people that seem to be using the estab editor, might it be possible to included a dedicated feature for importing part or whole of another author's estab, such as i suggested in this thread:

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2488722

Leading on from this, might you set up an place that willing modders could upload Estabs to, from where they would be available for years to come, so that other modders can get stuck straight into scenario design, or map making, if estab creation isn't their bag? And vice versa for maps.



Apart from what PG is willing to do in this regard, I'd urge caution. Players might end up importing data that's no good. Picking up a weapon here, and a vehicle there, and a formation, or two, will mean that your estab may not match that of ANYONE else. And, I don't know if PG is going to be willing to provide support for a modded estab if we break someones game. These comments aren't intended to inhibit folks embrace of what you're suggesting. However, WE do need to think through the particulars of how it's implemented. I say that because we want whatever is done to be a positive, something that enhances ownership and play of the game, rather than FUBARs it.

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RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/22/2010 10:30:39 PM   
Chief Rudiger

 

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True, but i feel a lot of games suffer because Mods are hard to install. If 3rd party files were hosted with some kind of peer review and feedback facility would that not give people an idea of whats good and whats not? Also, having comments made of your own files will be good feedback for the creator.

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RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/23/2010 2:19:41 AM   
Prince of Eckmühl


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chief Rudiger

True, but i feel a lot of games suffer because Mods are hard to install. If 3rd party files were hosted with some kind of peer review and feedback facility would that not give people an idea of whats good and whats not? Also, having comments made of your own files will be good feedback for the creator.


What I really want from the developer is some guidance as to how we can do this to the greatest benefit of ourselves and anyone who might be interested in our work. I strongly suspect that nickle-and-diming items into an estab isn't going to provide anything that's significantly superior to what PG can put together for us. On the other hand, doing something more sweeping, like creating a comprehensive estab for some country that's not included in the current BftB estab could/would be of huge import to folks who want to game theatres or periods not covered by what's already available. I readily admit that there's probably a gray-area, of sorts, between those two extremes. At this point, I can't really describe what it might be, but I know that I'll know it when I see it!


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Government is the opiate of the masses.

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RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/24/2010 5:01:21 PM   
TMO

 

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Richard

quote:

Tim, I'll take a look at this stuff this weekend and see if I can come up with an explanation - or a bug report.


Any updates on this?

Regards

Tim

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Post #: 23
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 6/24/2010 6:58:45 PM   
Larac

 

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Anything that lets me see the data quickly and in something like Excel form would be greatly thanked.

Lee

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Post #: 24
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 7/15/2010 10:36:17 AM   
Panther Paul


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Needed a break (from work and bugs) last weekend so spent a bit of time on the new Estab XML file structure.

I have modifed the xeport code to now create a much more programmer friendly XML file structure and used this to create a little viewer application.

So far we have -

An Ammo list window (the simplest!):







Attachment (1)

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Panther Games Pty Ltd

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RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 7/15/2010 10:37:05 AM   
Panther Paul


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Along with a Formation Effects list window:






Attachment (1)

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Panther Games Pty Ltd

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Post #: 26
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 7/15/2010 10:38:59 AM   
Panther Paul


Posts: 667
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From: Newcastle, NSW, Australia
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And the most complex one to date, the Weapons List window:







Attachment (1)

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Paul Scobell
Panther Games Pty Ltd

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Post #: 27
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 7/15/2010 12:12:04 PM   
Panther Paul


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One of the good things with this little tool is that it turns out to be pretty easy to make it into an update tool.

It alread updates Amoo and Formation details and some of the Weapon details. I'm hoping a little bit more effort should see it being able to at least update all existiing data and a bit more effort after that to allow the addition/deletion of new items.

This wont ship with the first patch, but if I can polish it up it might ship with the next update.

(Is this looking like what people would like to see?)


_____________________________

Paul Scobell
Panther Games Pty Ltd

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RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 7/15/2010 3:13:37 PM   
TMO

 

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Paul

This looks pretty good to me. A couple of things to change though: anti-bombard to bombard; calibre of 2.36" Bazooka should be 60mm.

Regards

Tim

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Post #: 29
RE: Estab Editor XML File Structure - 7/15/2010 5:11:06 PM   
RockinHarry


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Panther Paul

Along with a Formation Effects list window:







Following BFTB threads with great interest, although I do not owe this game yet.

I´m a lil bit confused about the "frontage/depth per man" column in your chart. Is this in meters, or rather an abstracted factor? Normally frontage per man was more of 5 meters, at least for germans, with exception of squad weapon teams (LMG). 1.5 looks quite vulnerable to me. Frontages were shorter under low visibility conditions (night, fog, forest, street fighting...) and even higher under conditions, when infantry units need to disperse more, due to effective enemy fire in coverless terrain. Is things like that factored in?

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