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When? - 7/27/2005 4:17:42 PM   
hbrsvl

 

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Hi-Is there any info as to when WIF will be available to general public? Also, will it be a download or in a box, or both? Thanks, Hugh Browne
Post #: 1
RE: When? - 7/27/2005 5:23:58 PM   
werwolf

 

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I am waiting since 1999 r may be more. Since now I have seen only the Beta version. Personally I do not think Matrix Games want to develop anything about........

(in reply to hbrsvl)
Post #: 2
RE: When? - 7/27/2005 5:50:16 PM   
Froonp


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quote:

ORIGINAL: werwolf

I am waiting since 1999 r may be more. Since now I have seen only the Beta version. Personally I do not think Matrix Games want to develop anything about........

One could think the contrary since the last weeks were quite busy with Steve taking the project.

(in reply to werwolf)
Post #: 3
RE: When? - 7/27/2005 7:07:47 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Froonp
quote:

ORIGINAL: werwolf
I am waiting since 1999 r may be more. Since now I have seen only the Beta version. Personally I do not think Matrix Games want to develop anything about........

One could think the contrary since the last weeks were quite busy with Steve taking the project.


Froonp, thanks for the vote of confidence. First let me say, I have been waiting since 1996 and I am very happy to now be able to do something to make it happen. I work on this 50 to 60 hours a week. My current phrase about the project is "I continue to push onward, trying to shove this very large elephant down a path that it has refused to travel for over a decade.”

I give David Heath at Matrix Games weekly status reports on things accomplished for the past week and things planned for the next week. As I promised before, I will post monthly summaries of those status reports in the forum. Since this thread has been started, I guess this is as good a place as any. My first report to the forum will be at the end of this week (the end of July). But to answer the question directly, we have MWIF scheduled for release as a download in the spring of 2006.

There are some who say that degree of optimism just proves I am out of my mind. Actually, I am shooting for early spring 2006, but even I concede that depends on a whole lot of things not going wrong. If the date does drift, I will let you know here. In any event, I will be keeping you informed as to progress every month right up to the game's availability.

The more people are involved in these forums, letting me know their opinions and ideas, the better the final product will be. It will also help me finish MWIF faster by preventing me from going down blind alleys and wasting my time dong things wrong and later having to correct them. I thank you all for your support.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to Froonp)
Post #: 4
RE: When? - 7/28/2005 12:26:34 AM   
Greyshaft


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
...we have MWIF scheduled for release as a download in the spring of 2006.


Northern hemispere spring?

Either way (singing) "Springtime for Hitler in Germany..."



_____________________________

/Greyshaft

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 5
RE: When? - 7/28/2005 3:33:00 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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Ooo, I just got a 6 month extension if I go with the Southern hemisphere. I guess that means if things look desperate in Januray, I could always move to New Zealand.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to Greyshaft)
Post #: 6
RE: When? - 7/29/2005 12:19:20 AM   
c92nichj


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

quote:

ORIGINAL: Froonp
quote:

ORIGINAL: werwolf
I am waiting since 1999 r may be more. Since now I have seen only the Beta version. Personally I do not think Matrix Games want to develop anything about........

One could think the contrary since the last weeks were quite busy with Steve taking the project.

But to answer the question directly, we have MWIF scheduled for release as a download in the spring of 2006.


It's great to hear that your plan to release the game is as early as in the spring, working as a projectmanager in the IT-industry I am always a bit cautious about estimates done by the developer, however I am very optimistic about this game and I sincerely hope that the project will complete on time.
I enjoy being part of this forum and I rellay like that you involve the user community in the design of the game. Me and others will do what we can to assist and help you with the project.

Keep up the good work!

- Nicklas



(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 7
RE: When? - 7/31/2005 5:12:29 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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Here is my first monthly report to the forum community on MWIF.

-----------------------------------------
August 1, 2005 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Accomplishments of June & July

Project Management
Signed a contract with Matrix Games. Received and read through the Matrix Games’ Developer’s Kit. Created a project plan (task list with interdependencies and schedule) for MWIF.

Communications

Established a good working relationship with Rob Crandall. Established an excellent working relationship with Chris Marinacci. He and I exchange emails daily. Established a good working relationship with Rob Armstrong of Bull’s-eye Graphics who will be doing the graphics for the game: map, units, interface, animations, etcetera.

Introduced myself to the MWIF forum members. Started forum threads on the map, units, team play (choosing sides), play balance in China, and hardware players will be using. Started 5 threads on PBEM. Monitored all the threads daily, answering questions from forum members. Established a working relationship with several forum members for future MWIF play testing.

Posted a notice on the Yahoo WiF Discussion group announcing the threads in the Matrix Games’ World in Flames forum

Background on MWIF
Received a dozen or so emails from Rob C. which included all his notes and the software for MWIF work-in-progress. Printed out, read through, and extracted important comments from all the emails concerning MWiF in the Matrix Games’ forum prior to starting any threads of my own.

Rules
Downloaded the most recent version of the rules (RAW 7) which includes the current combat results tables. Found copies of the WIF scenarios on the Internet and downloaded them so I can compare what CWIF uses to what WIF Final Edition says. This will also let me add the 8 missing scenarios. Created a single table that covers all the optional rules, where they are referenced in RAW 7, their status in CWIF, and their current status in MWIF. I still have some questions about whether some of the optional rules will or will not be included in MWIF version 1.

Software Development Tools
Ordered and installed Delphi 2005 Professional Upgrade from Borland. Purchased books on Delphi to supplement documentation Borland provides. Converted CWIF from Delphi 7.0 to Delphi 2005 and generated a clean compile and execution (8 days of agony).

Downloaded DirectX version 9.0c from Microsoft and printed out the relevant parts of the documentation. Investigated using DirectX (version 9.c) as the software base for displaying the map and units but decided against it for various technical reasons. The primary reason was I want MWIF to run as a Windows application that can simultaneously coexist alongside other Windows applications. DirectX has that capability but it requires a lot of coding to make it work well. This means MWIF will be written as a Windows32 MDI application which will run on all Windows operating systems from Windows 98 on up to the present.

Decided on using TCP/IP as the communications protocol for the Internet, LAN, and client-server communications between players in both 2 player and multi-player games. Purchased and read an up-to-date book on TCP/IP. Read up on using WinSock (Borland’s implementation of Microsoft’s routines for TCP/IP) with Delphi. Purchased and read documentation on Indy10 (the independent software package that makes developing client-server applications easy) and decided on using it for both Internet play and PBEM.

Purchased a book on assembler for Intel 80X86 processors (I think I threw out my old copy the last time I moved).

Purchased ThemeEngine 5.5.1 for developing a ‘skin’ for the Windows interface comparable to what Rob C. used in Flashpoint Germany.

CWIF Conversion
Separated the Editor (for map and units) source code from the game source code. Began the long process of reading through and commenting the CWIF code (less than 2% of what I started with was commented). Understood how CWIF stored the map and units and rendered them on the screen. This includes all the routines to zoom in and out on the map. Coded a routine to write the terrain and unit data out to comma separated values (CSV) files. Understood how CWIF saved the game and began designing a replacement that is more in keeping with my own standard programming practices. Understood how CWIF set up Internet play using DirectPlay. I should have little trouble replacing that code with calls to Indy10.

Found a way to speed up the execution of calculating valid hexes when rebasing planes. This solution should also speed up determining unit supply and transferring resources over rail lines and sea routes to factories.

Map and Units
Decided to go with a unified map. The map visuals will be dramatically changed from CWIF and I am working with Rob Armstrong on the details. Decided to use the unit renderings as they appear in WIF Final Edition. We decided that MWIF would be designed for 16 bit color (not 8 bit/256 colors) and 1024 by 768 resolution with 96 pixels per inch. It will support other resolutions and look even better at higher resolutions but may be unsatisfactory at 800 by 600. Separated the discussion on the unified map problem of Play Balance in China to its own thread.

Multiplayer Design
Developed the conceptual design for team play with multiple players on both sides and posted it on the MWIF forum for review and comment. Closed out the discussion on the design of team play over the Internet in the forum after it had been inactive for 2 weeks. This part of the MWIF design is complete.

Saved Games
Started designing the structure for saved games. This has to include who the players are, their passwords, and which countries they are playing, as well as the dynamic data on game status (turn, phase, international relations, and units). To prevent cheating by the players when the Fog of War option is being used, I will encrypt all this data.

Play by Email (PBEM) Design
Learned how to code the PBEM system by reading the Indy10 documentation. There are two protocols used: SMTP (System Mail Transfer Protocol) and Pop3 (Post Office Protocol, version 3). With the help of the forum members, made good progress on identifying the problems and feasible solutions for PBEM. Wrote the first complete draft for the PBEM system.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Captured on paper my current thoughts on programming the AI which I update weekly. Began recruitment of interested parties to critique and otherwise participate in the design of the AI.

International Versions of MWIF
Learned from Chris that Borland has a very convenient way of translating all text in a program from one language to another. Essentially all the English words go into a DLL which can be replaced with other DLLs for different languages. The program simply asks the user which language (i.e., DLL) they want to use. Of course someone has to do all the translations to create the alternative DLLs, but at least the programming effort is virtually nil.

Other
Tied by best round of golf ever (1 over par 5 years ago) twice in back to back rounds.
==============================================
June & July summary: All in all, not a bad start.
==============================================

Tasks for August

Project Management
Revise the project plan based on new information and progress to date. This will happen every month.

Communications
Continue monitoring the forum threads. Start new threads in the forum on: interface design, animations, sound, and historical detail.

Rules
Finalize which optional rules will be included in MWIF version 1.

Software Development Tools
Learn how to use ThemeEngine to develop the interface ‘skin’.

CWIF Conversion
Continue documenting code. Replace the random number generator.

Map and Units
Develop mock ups of the map and units with Rob A.. Hopefully go through several iterations of same. Validate the unit manifests.

Multiplayer Design
Code the new design for the multiplayer system using Indy10, removing the calls to DirectPlay.

Saved Games
Finish the design for saved games (including encryption) and code it.

PBEM
Revise the draft PBEM design. Begin putting more flesh on the bare bones of the current Standing Orders.

AI
Get several other people (AI types) involved in the design of the AI. Firm up the structure for the design, if not all the details, and write specific rules for a couple of situations to see how it will work.

Other
Keep my marriage intact.
============================================
August summary: Ambitious, but not hopelessly optimistic.
============================================


_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to c92nichj)
Post #: 8
RE: When? - 8/1/2005 6:41:22 PM   
jinks


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Oh man its nice to see somthing going on at last...THANKS!

I have been waiting for this game since 1995-96....man 10 years...sheees. ADG made some realy nice boardgames and WIF is still the game that was the best, rules, maps and the units all came together pefectly I realy loved it alot. I have to say I gave up on it ever coming out as computer game, but now that Matrix games got its hands in play my confidence that it at long last will be born into the world is restored to full.


(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 9
RE: When? - 8/1/2005 7:54:54 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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I am aggressively asking for comments on and ideas about the design of MWIF. If you would like to add your 2 cents worth as to how the game should look and play, pick one of the threads I have started and tell me what you think.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to jinks)
Post #: 10
RE: When? - 8/1/2005 8:17:14 PM   
macgregor


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I'm impressed Steve. I know you want this game as bad as I do (certainly now alot more) and I can see you still need another milestone or two before you can predict a release. This 'spring' talk is more a goal than a prediction, right? Of course as always I'd rather not see this thing snagged on a particular game asset, though it appears you're making progress on all fronts(what else is new). BTW,you haven't been playing golf that long, have you?

(in reply to jinks)
Post #: 11
RE: When? - 8/1/2005 8:31:36 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: macgregor
BTW,you haven't been playing golf that long, have you?

I played golf as a teenager every so often and then stopped playing for 30 years (no money, no time, bad weather). When I moved to Hawaii 8 years ago, I started playing again and have gradually gone from playing once a week to playing 3 times a week. I walk and carry the bag because it is the only exercise I get. Working at a computer just doesn't seem to burn very many calories - just brain cells.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to macgregor)
Post #: 12
RE: When? - 8/5/2005 8:59:26 AM   
AaronTPV

 

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I'm glad to see WiF getting some attention again as well. This is an amazing game and it'll make a helluva Pc game.

-Aaron

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 13
RE: When? - 8/31/2005 7:12:25 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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Here is my monthly status report to the forum.

===============================
September 1, 2005 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Accomplishments of August

Communications
I monitored all the threads in the MWIF World in Flames forum daily. I started forum threads on the Game Interface, PBEM Standing Orders, AI for MWIF, animations, sound, and historical detail, .

I established a working relationship with Harry Rowland.

Rules
I received an (almost) full set of WIF add-ons. Using this, David Heath and I were able to define exactly what would be in MWIF Product 1. This let me finalize the optional rules for MWIF Product 1. If MWIF Product 1 sells well, there will be a MWIF Product 2.

Software Development Tools
I practiced working with ThemeEngine 5.5.1 for developing a ‘skin’ for the Windows interface comparable to what Rob Crandall used in Flashpoint Germany. I am now waiting on Rob Armstrong’s design for the MWIF skins. Rob A. did them for Flashpoint Germany.

CWIF Conversion
I successfully wrote out the map and unit data from CSV files. Once I get the routines debugged that read them back in, I will have eliminated any need for the old CWIF data files: WIF.dat and Units.dat. I finished neatening 134 of the 141 Pascal files (60,000+ lines of code) in the main call sequence of CWIF. 7 to go! This makes the code much easier to read and understand.

Map and Units
There was an error in my report last month: MWIF will use 24 bit color. Work with Rob Armstrong on the graphics was slow to get started.

Patrice reviewed all the MWIF unit data against WIF Final Edition and provided me with lists of corrections for the air, land, and naval units. I validated the CSV files by loading them into databases and writing reports that linked them into a coherent whole.

The Play Balance in China issue received some enlightenment from Harry Rowland. That issue is settled except for: (1) writing up the text for the unlimited divisional breakdown and (2) where and how many cities will be added to China. Play testing might cause this issue to be revisited.

I compared the CWIF European map to the WIF Final Edition European map hex by hex and sent a list of differences to Harry Rowland. He passed them along to Michael Fisher for final review. Michael is validating the rest of the CWIF world map and is going to make suggestions for the new cities in China.

Game Interface
Patrice took screen shots of all the windows/forms in CWIF (roughly 100) and put them in a PDF file. I reviewed a printout of that PDF file and marked it up where the windows/forms need changes/improvements.

Game Play Record Log
I finished the design specifications for 180 types of entries for the game record log. There will be about 240 of these when they are done. They are the basic communication blocks for saving games, internet play, and PBEM.

Saved Games
I continued designing the structure for saved games.

Play by Email (PBEM) Design
I finalized the design for the PBEM system, except for Standing Order (SO) details. I defined the 24 SO locations and finished the interface specifications for 21 of 24.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
I recruited 7 people to critique and otherwise participate in the design of the AI.

Other
I am down 27 pounds from February. I still have 23 more to lose. Sigh.
==============================================
August summary: I accomplished about 70% of what I had hoped.
==============================================

Tasks for September

Project Management
Revise the project plan based on new information and progress to date.

Communications
Continue monitoring the forum threads. Start new threads in the forum on the help system and the tutorials.

Rules
Modify the code on optional rules so it includes those, and only those, selected for MWIF Product 1.

Map and Units
Develop mock ups of the map and units with Rob A.. Hopefully go through several iterations of same.

CWIF Conversion
Finish debugging the routines that read in the map and unit data from CSV files. Replace the random number generator.

Game Interface
Begin developing replacements for the 100+ windows/forms.

Software Development Tools
Develop a small program for Internet communications using Indy10 to test the design for multiple players over the Internet.

Multiplayer Design
Code the new design for the multiplayer system using Indy10, removing the calls to DirectPlay.

Saved Games
Finish the design for saved games (including encryption) and code it.

PBEM
Finish Standing Orders for the PBEM system.

AI
Firm up the structure for the AI Assistant and AI Opponent design, including all the details. Write specific rules for 6 game situations to see how the design will work.
============================================
September summary: Definitely ambitious. Too optimistic?
============================================


_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 14
RE: When? - 8/31/2005 10:15:42 PM   
Froonp


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From: Marseilles, France
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

Communications

I established a working relationship with Harry Rowland.

Best new of the week regarding MWiF, at least from my point of view

quote:


Other
I am down 27 pounds from February. I still have 23 more to lose. Sigh.


it seems quite good !!!
Best Regards

Patrice

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 15
MWiF2 ??? - 9/1/2005 12:47:43 AM   
Greyshaft


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
If MWIF Product 1 sells well, there will be a MWIF Product 2.


<Whoa there Neddy! Let's poke in here for a while and see what answers we get>

MWiF2?
* Days of Decision?
* Fatal Alliances?
* Firefighters in Flames?

poke... poke...


_____________________________

/Greyshaft

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 16
RE: When? - 9/1/2005 3:32:02 AM   
Manack


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
...
I am down 27 pounds from February. I still have 23 more to lose. Sigh.


I knew developing MWif would be a draining experience but who would have thought it would take that much out of someone.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 17
RE: MWiF2 ??? - 9/1/2005 3:37:54 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Greyshaft

quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
If MWIF Product 1 sells well, there will be a MWIF Product 2.


<Whoa there Neddy! Let's poke in here for a while and see what answers we get>

MWiF2?
* Days of Decision?
* Fatal Alliances?
* Firefighters in Flames?

poke... poke...


The most promising follow on is Programmer in Flames.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to Greyshaft)
Post #: 18
RE: MWiF2 ??? - 9/10/2005 4:39:52 AM   
Larry Smith

 

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It has been mentioned before, but I'm sure the thread is well buried by now. The resource path sub-routine in CWiF tends to break down, sending resources all the way around the world, rather than taking a better path. This problem occurs with the convoy lines. We need the option for complete human override with convoys paths, so that if the AI starts to act funny, we can correct it manually.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 19
RE: MWiF2 ??? - 9/10/2005 5:30:28 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Larry Smith

It has been mentioned before, but I'm sure the thread is well buried by now. The resource path sub-routine in CWiF tends to break down, sending resources all the way around the world, rather than taking a better path. This problem occurs with the convoy lines. We need the option for complete human override with convoys paths, so that if the AI starts to act funny, we can correct it manually.


Its on my list of things to fix. Both correcting the automated procedure and providing a manual override.



_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

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Post #: 20
RE: MWiF2 ??? - 9/10/2005 6:27:29 PM   
Larry Smith

 

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Woo hoo! ( Me dancing around with wife and kid wondering if they need toget the straight jacket out again)

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Post #: 21
RE: MWiF2 ??? - 9/19/2005 11:42:12 PM   
Mistura

 

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I am looking forward to this game. Keep up the good work because I'm buying 2 copies. Just in case one breaks.

_____________________________

Your views on life change forever when reality backhands you in the face.

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Post #: 22
RE: When? - 9/25/2005 11:25:07 AM   
amwild

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
But to answer the question directly, we have MWIF scheduled for release as a download in the spring of 2006.


This brings me to the question of MWiF's availability as an off-the-shelf boxed product. With the talk on this forum about animation and similar extra content, this looks like it will be a pretty hefty download. I have several friends who have said that they would definitely be interested, but with their 56k dialup internet accounts on single phone lines, they would not be willing to purchase a download of the size this promises to be.

So, will MWiF be available as a boxed product at any stage?

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 23
RE: When? - 9/25/2005 8:45:34 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: amwild
quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
But to answer the question directly, we have MWIF scheduled for release as a download in the spring of 2006.


This brings me to the question of MWiF's availability as an off-the-shelf boxed product. With the talk on this forum about animation and similar extra content, this looks like it will be a pretty hefty download. I have several friends who have said that they would definitely be interested, but with their 56k dialup internet accounts on single phone lines, they would not be willing to purchase a download of the size this promises to be.

So, will MWiF be available as a boxed product at any stage?


The short answer is that I do not know. How the product is distributed is David Heath's decision. I want to sell as many copies as possible since that is only way I see any money (royalties only).

You are right about the size of the download. I do not have any numbers on the memory requirements for the historical detail (archival footage might require a lot), but I do know that the map is going to need a lot of disk memory. I am currently working with the graphics artist on bitmaps for individual hexes. I expect there to be well over 5000 of them and they are 136 wide by 152 high in 24 bit color. For those of you with a calculator, that is 5200 x 136 x 152 x .75 x 3 bytes. The .75 is because we are using a hexagon, not a rectangle, and the 3 is the 24 bit color converted to bytes. These will be compressed of course, and terrain data like this has a very high compression level. Still, that's a lot of bytes just for the raw data for the map image.

The large number of unique bitmaps is because we want each coastal hex to be (potentially) unique. The only place where we are going to compromise on that design element is for the anonymous single hex islands scattered out in the middle of the oceans. All the continental shorelines and all the larger island chains will look hand drawn. Not actually be hand drawn, just look that way. I leave understanding the difference up to your imagination.

For those of you who have played CWIF, the map will start out with the 200% resolution zoom level. As you zoom out to 175, 150, 100, ... 25% resolution, the quality of the individual hexes will deteriorate, but it should still look great down to the 100% resolution level and probably down to the 75% level. The higher number of pixels per hex (up from 68 by 76 for CWIF) and the 24 bit color (up from 8 bit color) let's the artist make the coastlines very detailed and the overall map image very pretty. When I have samples to show to the forum, I will.

The basic terrain for each hex will match that of CWIF in 99.9% of the cases. There are a few corrections I have found and we intend to add a few more cities in China.

Getting back to the coastlines, CWIF had the computer draw in the coastlines and they all were identical. CWIF also worried about hexsides indicating 2 types of country boundaries, weather boundaries, sea area boundaries, as well as the rivers and coastlines. The end result of trying to accommodate all these different types of hexside lines was a hexside line that could be as wide as 23 pixels in a hex that was only 68 by 76. MWIF will: (1) always show sea area boundaries, (2) let the player toggle between country boundaries, weather zone boundaries, or neither, and (3) draw the rivers and coastlines as part of the basic terrain in the hex. There are other odd ducks like lakes, alpine, and straits hexsides, that are being accommodated too.

Now I need to get back to dividing the global map into segments that are small enough to ftp the bitmap images over the internet in a reasonable amount time.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

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Post #: 24
RE: When? - 9/26/2005 2:38:31 AM   
Captain Cruft


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All I can say is good luck and a wise move not using DirectX.


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Post #: 25
RE: When? - 9/26/2005 1:08:57 PM   
Froonp


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quote:

Now I need to get back to dividing the global map into segments that are small enough to ftp the bitmap images over the internet in a reasonable amount time.

Does this mean that we will soon see pictures of this ?

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 26
RE: When? - 9/26/2005 6:35:31 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Froonp
quote:

Now I need to get back to dividing the global map into segments that are small enough to ftp the bitmap images over the internet in a reasonable amount time.

Does this mean that we will soon see pictures of this ?


It depends on how you define 'soon'. I refer you to the use of the word in the title of this forum group (see immediately below).

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to Froonp)
Post #: 27
RE: When? - 10/1/2005 1:31:24 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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October 1, 2005 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Accomplishments of September

Project Management
Revised the project plan based on starting graphics work with Rob Armstrong, and other progress to date. The target date of spring 2006 hasn’t become hopeless yet.

Communications
I began working with Rob Armstrong on the graphics.

I monitored all the threads in the MWIF World in Flames forum daily. I started forum threads on the Help System, Tutorials, and AI Assistant.

I began working with a group of forum members who are helping me develop the AI opponent.

Continued in almost daily contact with Chris Marinacci via email about how CWIF gets things done.

CWIF Conversion
I successfully debugged writing out and reading back in the map and unit data from CSV files. This eliminated any need for the old CWIF data files: WIF.dat and Units.dat. I started work on replacing the Saved Setup files encoded in binary, with ones written as CSVs. I finished neatening all of the 141 Pascal files (60,000+ lines of code) in the main call sequence of CWIF. This makes the code much easier to read and understand.

Map and Units
Work with Rob Armstrong on the graphics is still slow getting started. I broke the global map into 32 segments so that Rob can draw in the coastline for all the land masses. There are over 5000 coastal hexes in the game and each will be individually drawn within a 24 bit color, 136 pixel wide by 152 pixel high rectangle. I have included a JPEG file of the segmented map in this report, just for your amusement. It has no role in playing the game and is only a development tool. We are putting a lot of effort into the coastlines because we believe that it is a crucial element in making the map look pretty.

I have not implemented the corrections to the units that Patrice produced. That has a lower priority than getting the detailed map drawn on the screen and the user interface developed. It will be very easy to do using the CSV files, once I get around to it. For example, I made some changes to the map using the CSV files and they were easy to do, took almost no time, and worked right the first try.

Game Interface
I have developed a new screen for starting a game and included a screen shot of it in this report. It is the first screen that comes up when you start the program. Now don’t get all upset about the colors; they will get revised by Rob. Indeed, all aspects of the window template will be replaced with a new ‘skin’. I also haven’t modified the Optional Rules portion of the screen to reflect the changes from CWIF to MWIF. And the bottom two panels about assigning players to countries are mere place holders at the present. My main objective has been achieved though: the program starts by letting you select a saved game or a new one, and in the latter case, you can make all the decisions about the new game on one screen. In CWIF, these decisions were made using a sequence of forms which I found confusing (and I am certainly no novice to WIF or computerized war games).

I have decided to start from scratch on the software for scrapping units. I was unhappy with the screen/form for that function and its interface design in general. Along with that I will rewrite the Save Setup routines so they are CSV files that the players can examine off line should they so desire. In CWIF scrapping units and saving setups were intrinsically intertwined. Revisions to both are works in progress.

Game Record Log
I finished the design specifications for 353 types of entries for the game record log. The number of these just keeps growing, and I have most of the optional rules yet to do. My current estimate is that there will be close to 450 unique entry types when I am done. As I do more of these I learn more about what I want them to contain, so I keep going back over them and making refinements. What that entails is rereading the rules word by word and making sure the entry type specifications capture everything that happens during a game that changes the game state.

When I get these completed, I will post a sample of them on the forum and make a PDF available of the entire list.

The refinements I have been making to the game record log entry definitions have to do with letting the players extract information from the history file about every combat that happens in a game. That includes: where it occurred, which units were involved, the actual combat values for the attacker and defender, any modifications to the die roll, the die roll(s) themselves, the results from the combat table, and the units affected by the results. This is for air, land , and naval combats. My vision is that players will be able to analyze all the attacks Germany made in Poland, France, Russia, and so on. It might seem like extra glitz, but it isn’t that hard to do. Of course, the design has to be done right, and that takes time. In the end, I expect it to be a very attractive feature for both the grognards and the novices.

MWIF Project Overview
I have begun to think of the program as being composed of 6 large sections of code:
(1) static data - map and units (virtually completed),

(2) dynamic data - current locations of units and various game state variables (needs serious review and additions for new optional rules),

(3) the actions a player takes to change the game state - the game record log entries (in design, related code needs serious review and additions for new optional rules),

(4) restrictions on what the player can do when - the rules (related code needs serious review and additions for new optional rules),

(5) the game interface - how a player reviews the game state, performs actions, and learns about any restrictions currently in effect (needs complete revision from design to code, but not that hard to do given the Delphi development system and other development tools), and

(6) the AI opponent (developing the design is in progress but no code has been written).

I see PBEM as part of section 3 and 5 with a few pieces of it as additions to section 4. The multiplayer capability is exclusively in section 5, and solitaire play is exclusively in section 6. The historical detail, animations, and sound are all part of section 5. I have been working on and making progress on every one of these sections except 4. Once I complete the design for the actions players can take in the game (#3), I will use it to review how the rules are implemented (#4), identify the dynamic data for saved games (#2), and make revisions to the interface (#5).

Help System, Tutorials, and AI Assistant
Some ideas were provided by the forum members but not very many, especially when compared to the input they provided on historical details, animations, and sound.

Saved Games
This lay fallow all month..

Play by Email (PBEM) Design
I finalized the design for the PBEM system, including Standing Order (SO) details.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
With help from the AI group, I began developing detailed specifications on Air Marshall tasks. I also created a valuation system (i.e., currency) for the value of units on the map and in production, objective hexes, resources, factories, activities (e.g. air missions), time, and the cost of getting things done. I have made good progress towards applying that system to the value of individual hexes in the front line and immediately to the rear of same. The valuation system is needed to complete detailed specifications for most of the Decision Maker tasks.

Other
Both golf scores and weight need further reduction. On the bright side, I bought new irons for the first time in 8 years and my relationship with same, though still in its early stages, shows great promise.

==============================================
September summary: Where did the month go?
==============================================

Tasks for October

Communications
Continue monitoring the forum threads.
Work with Rob Armstrong on all aspects of rendering the map and units on the screen.

Rules
Modify the code on optional rules so it includes those, and only those, selected for MWIF Product 1.

Map and Units
Create starting segments of the map in bitmap form which indicate the basic terrain in each hex. Send same to Rob Armstrong. Hopefully he will complete work on some of those segments and send me back bitmaps with detailed coastlines. I will then use the revised bitmaps to replace portions of the existing detailed map.

CWIF Conversion
Replace the Scrap Units routines. Replace the Save Setup routines. Replace the random number generator.

Game Interface
Continue developing replacements for the 100+ windows/forms.

Historical Detail, Animations, and Sound
Begin working with people at Matrix to define exactly what will be included in the game on these topics.

Help System, Tutorials, and AI Assistant
Finalize the design for all three of these areas.

AI Opponent
Firm up the structure for the AI Opponent design, including all the details. Write specific rules for 6 game situations to see how the design will work.

Software Development Tools [November]
Develop a small program for Internet communications using Indy10 to test the design for multiple players over the Internet.

Multiplayer Design [November]
Code the new design for the multiplayer system using Indy10, removing the calls to DirectPlay.

Saved Games [November]
Finish the design for saved games (including encryption) and code it.

============================================
October summary: Definitely optimistic but necessary.
============================================





Attachment (1)

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 28
RE: When? - 10/1/2005 1:34:08 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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Only one jpeg per post. Here is the second one.

The colors indicate which WIF FE map the land mass will come from. The light green is the European map(s) perfectly matched hex by hex. The dark green is the Pacific map(s). The white is America in Flames, the red is Africa Aflame, the gray in Scandinavia, and the yellow are portions that are not part of WIF FE. [I know, New Zealand in partially on the Pacific map.] The hex numbers refer to those in MWIF (also CWIF for those of you with a copy of that).




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Shannon V. OKeets -- 10/1/2005 1:40:23 AM >


_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 29
RE: When? - 10/17/2005 2:34:29 AM   
ETF


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Impressive work indeed!!

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Post #: 30
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