ORIGINAL: Admiral DadMan
Here's something that comes to mind: If you have multiple installs of the game, the current editor that comes with the game won't open in the directory that you start it in. It will open in the directory that you were last in. So you can have multiple installs of the editor also, but it acts as a singular program
For example: If I have two installs, one called \Matrix Games\WitP-Extended and one called \Matrix Games\WitP-Stock. I open editor in Extended\SCEN, work on it and close it. Then I go over to the Stock\SCEN and start the editor, it still opens the Extended\SCEN path, and I have to manually change it to the Stock\SCEN directory.
Can this be written so that if I install it in the \WitP-Stock\SCEN folder and/or \WitP-Extended\SCEN folder and have it automatically know that I want it to work in that folder?
I do not have a definitive answer for you because 1) I'm still in the early stages of working on it and 2) the editor I am working on does not store scenarios as files - it stores the data together in a relational database and then extracts them. Because of that, you choose where you import from and where you import to. If there is a conflict, the editor tells you so and asks you what you want to do. So if you import scenario 55 several times, it will ask you on the 2nd and later imports if you want to overwrite the old scenario or store it in another slot. In my test version right now, I have BTS (Scen 55) imported into slots 55, 201, and 202. I can modify each of those independently and then export any of those versions back to any WITP:AE scenario slot (26-200). The directory it comes from and the directory it goes to are only important when I import or export them.
I first proposed a new editor (http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3088504&mpage=5). As I pondered the request GP made in that thread), I considered tracking files as you describe. I may do that, but it will probably be a later version. I hope for my first version to deliver the following:
1. Editing of data that can be exported/imported using witploadae.exe
2. Much greater ease of use in editing and automation of cumbersome tasks
3. A scenario checker that could "proof" a scenario for common issues - ships missing air groups, devices with incomplete information, unused devices, etc. and potentially fix them all with a single click.
4. A scenario comparison tool that made it possible to produce a report of the differences between two scenarios and merge changes from one version to another.
I expect 3 and 4 to be features that guys that maintain multiple flavors of a single scenario will love.
One feature I left out talking about was a scenario reorg tool. I have given some thought to an automated tool that reorganizes data to collect information together logically. For example, all your ships would be exported to scenarios in sorted order by nation, type, and ship name. Obviously, some items I could not do that with - AV support, etc. are required to be in certain slots, HQ's have to be in certain other slots, etc. To the degree that I could do the above, I thought about doing it. However, I think I decided this would be too little gain given the powerful filtering and sorting in the List screen.
If you look at the screenshots above, you should notice that 1) you can filter by name, side, nation, type, and equipped device as well as special classes. So if I want to find out every plane that has a MAD device, I can choose MAD device from the "Equipped with" drop down, and the only aircraft that appear in the list will be those that equip a MAD device in any of the slots 1-20. Likewise, if I want to see all the attack bombers, I can click on the "Show only Attack Bombers check box" and only attack bombers will show. The filtering allows you to specify multiple criteria as the first screenshot shows. That list includes every IJA Fighter that is equipped with the 20mm Ho-5 cannon (in Scenario 55).
Another item you can see in the screenshot is the sort order. By clicking on the column header, it sorts by that column in ascending order. If you click a second time, it reverses the sort order. If you hold down the Ctrl key and click a second header, it does a multi level sort, so I can filter by nation (IJA) then sort by type ascending and and max speed descending.
With both those features already implemented, the reorg tool seems like overkill or at least a much lower priority for my time.
Some things you should NOT expect from the initial version:
1) AI editing screens. Simply put, witploadae does not expose the AI files to CSV editing and leaves me with 2 concerns: I have to both go to the effort to completely reverse engineer the files and at the same time run the risk of Matrix/Gary/someone raising a legal issue with the editor. I'm hoping at some point that someone official will bless that effort, but in the meantime there is plenty of valuable functionality I can provide to justify the effort.
At some point, I hope to engage Andy Mac with an effort to both improve the AI editing/chain visualization as well as develop some "dynamic" AE scripting. So far he has not responded to a question starting that ball rolling, but the idea would be to translate a scenario's OOB into something more AI friendly (Scenario would have 3 versions PBEM, Allied AI, and Japanese AI), then write programs that took map data and tracker data and dynamically created AI scripts that were able to respond to game conditions. In other words, every month, you'd run a process that takes tracker data and writes out a new set of AI files. My question to Andy was basically if the AI scripts got stored in the save game file.
Anyway, I digress and the wife has dinner ready... the other three things you will not see in the initial release:
2) map editor data
3) graphic file management
4) web based version