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IMPORTANT: State of the Game and Future Plans as of June 2016

 
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IMPORTANT: State of the Game and Future Plans as of Jun... - 6/11/2016 12:16:22 PM   
pzgndr

 

Posts: 2444
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Hello, I am Bill Macon (pzgndr) and I will be helping Marshall Ellis with EiANW code development. I've long been an advocate for this outstanding Napoleonic wargame and I've been helping with the game manual updates since around v1.05. My intent is to continue development where Marshall left off and help improve the game. I've monitored the forum discussions and arguments over the years, often getting into arguments myself for better or worse (I apologize!), but always with a desire to help improve the game. Marshall is still around but just way too busy with real life. I am not taking over, just helping. This is purely an unpaid hobby enthusiast effort on my part and I have my own busy real life. As a reality check, I offer the following comments to let everyone know where we stand and what's going on:

1. EiANW was originally programmed using Borland C/C++Builder. After the v1.08.07 official patch in 2012, Marshall migrated the code to the newer CodeGear C++Builder 2007 compiler. The latest compiler is Embarcadero C++Builder 10. Migrating the code further along the Borland-CodeGear-Embarcadero line or completely updating the code to a different language or compiler (e.g., C#, Visual Studio, etc.) would require significant effort and not likely to happen anytime soon. For the foreseeable future, the priority will on maintenance of the current code to resolve long-standing issues and implement modest improvements and enhancements. Hopefully without introducing new bugs.

2. The Mantis bug tracker still contains useful information but its continued reliability is questionable. Del recently updated Mantis to fix error messages so it should continue to function. However, in lieu of trying to introduce a new bug tracker program/database and transferring old data, I have copied the ~150 or so open issues in Mantis to a document and will be manually tracking/updating this as issues are resolved. There are already plenty of documented bugs and suggestions to work off as time permits. As new patches get released for public beta testing and official release, please use the Tech Support forum to post new bug reports related to new issues in the updates.

3. There are about 16 major bugs related to loaned unit behaviour, naval issues, lending money, Poland, guerrillas, and AI that warrant priority resolution. Beyond that, there are over 100 other minor issues related to: game bugs, PBEM bugs/enhancements, rules deviations, AI bugs/enhancements, user interface bugs/enhancements, and other game enhancements. All of these are already captured in the bug tracking and probably about 90% of them could/should be eventually resolvable. Some game enhancements related to implementing new game features and other issues requiring significant effort are not likely, but perhaps possible down the road.

4. There is strong demand for a classic EiA map and order of battle, we all know that. A new and separate EiA map may fall into the significant effort category and may not be likely in the near future but perhaps possible down the road. Regardless, the map differences themselves are not too significant but the EiH minor country statuses are noticeably different and these can be adjusted accordingly. What should be doable is to at least create new and separate data files and setups for the 1805 campaign for both classic EiA v3.1 and for alternate EiH v4.0; this should be acceptable for most players to use for the foreseeable future and/or further edit themselves. Some additional work is still needed on the scenario editor and the game code to implement the 1812 scenario (for both classic EiA and alternate EiH) and other custom scenarios, but this should also be doable down the road.

5. There is also strong demand for online play for faster games, either TCP/IP or via a server like NetPlay. Based on other forum discussions for the World in Flames wargame and noting the challenges of implementing NetPlay capability for that game over the past couple of years, this item probably falls into the significant effort category and is not likely to happen unless Marshall Ellis or another programmer gets involved. Sorry.

OK. We are where we are and I assume EiANW players still want to continuing moving forward towards a better game. The plan is to complete a v1.21 official release in 2016 to build upon the work already done for v1.20 and v1.21, and also to tackle some of the major bugs and several other minor issues. This should also include new setups for EiA v3.1 and EiH v4.0. Beyond that, subsequent patches will tackle the remaining issues; at this point there are no estimates for what or when. A LOT depends on learning/understanding the legacy code structure and carefully deciding how best to proceed forward, so this will be time consuming for the first several months but should get easier as time goes on. Please be patient. Thank you.



_____________________________

Bill
Empires in Arms Development Team
Post #: 1
RE: IMPORTANT: State of the Game and Future Plans as of... - 6/11/2016 1:37:33 PM   
pzgndr

 

Posts: 2444
Joined: 3/18/2004
From: Maryland
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I just posted the v1.21.01 hotfix and information about that. Please give it a go and provide feedback.

My near term plan is to work on a v1.21.02 version for a new public beta installer. This will include any resolutions for pbem and AI ship building, plus new data files for the classic EiA and Alternate EiH campaigns. I expect this will take a couple of months.

Based on feedback from v1.21.02, I will then resolve any issues and prepare an official release package. Unless there are surprises, I hope to wrap up all this by end of summer and then move on to a v1.22 update.

Out of about 150 issues on the old Mantis bug list, I have already worked off about 20. I could have simply moved Marshall's v1.21.00 along for release, but I really wanted to wait until I managed to accomplish a few significant changes. The loan money issue and AI builds both took a couple of weeks to work out, and along the way I also tackled some other low-hanging issues. I expect that I may be able to tackle another 20 or so issues along the way this summer, with a focus on combat and PP issues.

So. We are back in the development game and I hope players will return to enjoy the game some more. I know there has been a LOT of frustration; I Know! Please understand that the EiA development train has left the station and is picking up steam! (No, not THAT Steam, so behave...)

Like BASF, I did not make the game you play, but I try to make it play better. Onward!

_____________________________

Bill
Empires in Arms Development Team

(in reply to pzgndr)
Post #: 2
RE: IMPORTANT: State of the Game and Future Plans as of... - 6/11/2016 4:25:33 PM   
DonCzirr


Posts: 367
Joined: 10/3/2014
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Wow - your goals are quite ambitious.

I wish you well.


If you can get this great old board game into good shape for computer play, I will definitely throw down some money for it.

Good Luck !

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(in reply to pzgndr)
Post #: 3
RE: IMPORTANT: State of the Game and Future Plans as of... - 6/11/2016 10:14:59 PM   
Kai

 

Posts: 148
Joined: 12/12/2005
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Awesome.

Glad to see you on board.

(in reply to DonCzirr)
Post #: 4
RE: IMPORTANT: State of the Game and Future Plans as of... - 6/14/2016 3:56:21 PM   
Pans


Posts: 126
Joined: 11/22/2004
From: Germany
Status: offline
Hi Bill,
great to hear this. I am still running my last out of seven online EiA games with seven Players.
It would be a great pleasure to Keep this game going.
cheers
Pans

(in reply to pzgndr)
Post #: 5
RE: IMPORTANT: State of the Game and Future Plans as of... - 6/15/2016 12:37:21 AM   
pzgndr

 

Posts: 2444
Joined: 3/18/2004
From: Maryland
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Pans

Hi Bill,
great to hear this. I am still running my last out of seven online EiA games with seven Players.
It would be a great pleasure to Keep this game going.
cheers
Pans


Pans,

If I could get confirmation from you guys that pbem and loan money works ok in v1.21.01, just for some simple turn exchanges through an eco phase or two, I'd really appreciate that feedback. And if you have any comments about how to better describe the pbem file exchanges involving sim dip, I will update the manual. I'm missing something in my limited pbem testing. I *think* it should be working ok but I cannot convince myself.

This game will keep going. Perhaps not as fast or as far as some want, but I will keep chipping away at the bug list as best I can.

_____________________________

Bill
Empires in Arms Development Team

(in reply to Pans)
Post #: 6
RE: IMPORTANT: State of the Game and Future Plans as of... - 9/12/2016 3:12:39 PM   
NeverMan

 

Posts: 1722
Joined: 2/24/2004
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So are you continuing development? Do you have experience with large code bases?

When is Matrix going to abandon this game and make it open source so that we may finally make it good!?

(in reply to pzgndr)
Post #: 7
RE: IMPORTANT: State of the Game and Future Plans as of... - 9/27/2016 7:42:22 PM   
obsidiandrag


Posts: 181
Joined: 3/22/2008
From: Massachusetts, USA
Status: offline
I think pzgndr has already made an impact on the game. I am enjoying it longer into the game!!

Before, you usually stomp France and one or two other major powers by 1807 and coast to a VP win by late 1809-1810.. so I started adding 100 victory points.. this meant I didn't win until 1812 but had decimated most of Europe by then and I was just taking turns knocking out EVERY MP in turn.. Now, I have gotten into 1809 and it's still a close race, took 2 years to topple France the first time as Austria. Better AI moves, and purchase/placement has come a long way. Still some ways to go, but it's getting there. Thanks for the work!!!

I look forward to seeing where it goes next (maybe IP eventually..)

(in reply to NeverMan)
Post #: 8
RE: IMPORTANT: State of the Game and Future Plans as of... - 1/1/2017 8:58:12 AM   
Franciscus


Posts: 491
Joined: 12/22/2010
From: Portugal
Status: offline
Thank you Bill for your continuing effort in fixing this. To support you I bought EiA in current sale. Most impressed in having an updated manual up to latest version

Best regards

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RE: IMPORTANT: State of the Game and Future Plans as of... - 1/1/2017 9:52:32 AM   
76mm


Posts: 3185
Joined: 5/2/2004
From: Washington, DC
Status: offline
Just bought this game, hope I like it! Where can I find the updated manual?

(in reply to Franciscus)
Post #: 10
RE: IMPORTANT: State of the Game and Future Plans as of... - 1/1/2017 10:09:57 AM   
Franciscus


Posts: 491
Joined: 12/22/2010
From: Portugal
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm

Just bought this game, hope I like it! Where can I find the updated manual?




Not straightforward, maybe Bill could optimize it...

In \Empires in Arms\Manuals, the manual is for version 1.20

But in \Empires in Arms\Data\docs you will find a manual updated to version 1.21 from September this year.

Regards

(PS: Also note that under Windows 7 the sound was buggy. I had to change the properties of the game Exe (EiANW.exe) to make it run compatible with Windows XP (Service Pack 3). IIRC the need for this in some systems is mentioned somewhere in the documentation)

< Message edited by Franciscus -- 1/1/2017 10:30:02 AM >


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RE: IMPORTANT: State of the Game and Future Plans as of... - 1/1/2017 2:51:27 PM   
pzgndr

 

Posts: 2444
Joined: 3/18/2004
From: Maryland
Status: offline
Happy New Year! Thank you for your support guys!

Yes, the game still needs to be run in Windows XP (SP3) compatibility mode. The old Borland/CodeGear C++Builder2007 only goes to Vista and there's a problem with the game's databases working right under Vista compatibility. I now have the latest Embarcadero Berlin C++Builder version and I've started working through various compiler errors. Once I get this latest v1.21 officially released, I will devote more time to getting the game code ported to the latest compiler. Hopefully it will run well under Win7/8/10. Keeping fingers crossed!

I do still need confirmation from several players that the public beta installer works ok and the game is working ok. So please provide some feedback. I have worked off a couple of issues regarding port guns firing without a garrison and the interpretation of Separate Peace, and these may make it into the official release or as a hotfix later. If there are other reported problems with the public beta then I will try to resolve those before we go official. But I really would like to finalize this long-awaited update and then move on to another update in 2017.

_____________________________

Bill
Empires in Arms Development Team

(in reply to Franciscus)
Post #: 12
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