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RE: When? - 9/16/2010 7:32:50 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 18356
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
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quote:

ORIGINAL: karnack

quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

I made massive changes to the Production Planning form. It now includes the option to toggle between the detailed and global maps for the form’s insert map. This is crucial for players using one monitor since they need to be able to see where the used and unused convoys are when reviewing and modifying convoy routes.



YIPES!!  You are kind of setting a standard for most people to have two monitors to play this game??!?

Just curious... I am using a 36" LCD TV as my monitor... I don't think I wanna mess with another one in my tiny one-room apartment (which is the primary purpose of playing WiF on a computer for me... that and no one to play with nearby)

Anyway, great job so far it seems.

-K


Welcome to the forum.

Actually I am going to great lengths to keep MWIF playable using a single monitor with resolution of 1024 by 768.

However, the map is gigantic (70,200 hexes) and there are 150+ forms. For land movement, the detailed map works fine on the small screen, and I am now happy with how it works for setting up units at game start (the setup tray take up room so there is less map visible).

But for naval movement the screen size is an impediment. Basically there are many naval units that can move 6 sea areas and that means they can cross the Pacific, leaving California and arriving off the coast of Japan in a single move. So, a player would like to be able to view the entire Pacific at a glance, in order to 'see' where he wants to move his naval units. I've added several features (that were not in CWIF) to address that problem: a double size global map, the Naval Review Detailed and Naval Review Summary forms, and Flyouts. But still I am not entirely pleased, since a 15 inch monitor simply isn't large enough to duplicate a tabletop that 3 feet by 5 feet (which is what the paper version uses).

Every form, on the other hand, fits within the 1024 by 768 boundary and is, more or less, self-contained. That is, the information you need when making decisions using a form is all visible on the form (or accessible via a button click). I'll give some examples:

1 - the Scrap form shows you where all the units of a similar type are when you are deciding to scrap a unit. That includes, which are on the map, in the force pools, in production, in construction, and in the future force pool (the last has a filter to add 1, 2, 3, or 4+ out years).

2 - the Air units Lend Lease form shows all the air units that can be lend leased, across all major powers, and their corresponding units. The air units are grouped by which ones can be "lend leased" for each other.

3 - the Air-to-air Combat form shows all the extant air-to-air combats, letting the player select which one to resolve next. All the air units on both sides are visible, including those that have been shot down, aborted, and cleared through. There is a mini-record of what the die rolls and results have been for each round of air-to-air combat and the current odds when deciding whether to stay or abort. Because the results of a air-to-air combat can be confusing (e.g., "the player who rolled the die chooses which of the enemy air units to destroy"), there is a popup results box for each die roll. So what the player sees is: "Germany chooses whether to destroy the front Allied bomber or the front Allied fighter. Click on the the large images of one of those two units to indicate your selection." That is all within a 1024 by 768 pixel form which wasn't easy to do.

4 - the Land Combat Resolution form is as complex as the Air-to-air Combat form, what with the chioces about Assault/Blitz, die roll modifiers, column shifts, and fractional odds. Throw in implementing the results (destroy, disorganize, retreat) and there is a lot to show the player and many buttons to let him implement his decisions.

5 - numerous other forms with either a lot of information and/or unique decisions: Pools (e.g., force pools, production circle), Relationships between all the major powers and the 100+ minor countries, the setup tray, US Entry options, naval combat, anti-aircraft fire, ...

I am happy with all the forms at this point (although I am currently working with the beta testers to improve the Production Planning form for routing resources overseas to factories).

Nonetheless, 2, 3, or 4 monitors would be nice to have. But that is universally true. I wonder how many Bill Gates has on his main computer system?

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to karnack)
Post #: 2131
RE: When? - 9/16/2010 7:54:03 PM   
michaelbaldur


Posts: 3773
Joined: 4/6/2007
From: denmark
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets


quote:

ORIGINAL: karnack

quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

I made massive changes to the Production Planning form. It now includes the option to toggle between the detailed and global maps for the form’s insert map. This is crucial for players using one monitor since they need to be able to see where the used and unused convoys are when reviewing and modifying convoy routes.



YIPES!!  You are kind of setting a standard for most people to have two monitors to play this game??!?

Just curious... I am using a 36" LCD TV as my monitor... I don't think I wanna mess with another one in my tiny one-room apartment (which is the primary purpose of playing WiF on a computer for me... that and no one to play with nearby)

Anyway, great job so far it seems.

-K


Welcome to the forum.

Actually I am going to great lengths to keep MWIF playable using a single monitor with resolution of 1024 by 768.

However, the map is gigantic (70,200 hexes) and there are 150+ forms. For land movement, the detailed map works fine on the small screen, and I am now happy with how it works for setting up units at game start (the setup tray take up room so there is less map visible).

But for naval movement the screen size is an impediment. Basically there are many naval units that can move 6 sea areas and that means they can cross the Pacific, leaving California and arriving off the coast of Japan in a single move. So, a player would like to be able to view the entire Pacific at a glance, in order to 'see' where he wants to move his naval units. I've added several features (that were not in CWIF) to address that problem: a double size global map, the Naval Review Detailed and Naval Review Summary forms, and Flyouts. But still I am not entirely pleased, since a 15 inch monitor simply isn't large enough to duplicate a tabletop that 3 feet by 5 feet (which is what the paper version uses).

Every form, on the other hand, fits within the 1024 by 768 boundary and is, more or less, self-contained. That is, the information you need when making decisions using a form is all visible on the form (or accessible via a button click). I'll give some examples:

1 - the Scrap form shows you where all the units of a similar type are when you are deciding to scrap a unit. That includes, which are on the map, in the force pools, in production, in construction, and in the future force pool (the last has a filter to add 1, 2, 3, or 4+ out years).

2 - the Air units Lend Lease form shows all the air units that can be lend leased, across all major powers, and their corresponding units. The air units are grouped by which ones can be "lend leased" for each other.

3 - the Air-to-air Combat form shows all the extant air-to-air combats, letting the player select which one to resolve next. All the air units on both sides are visible, including those that have been shot down, aborted, and cleared through. There is a mini-record of what the die rolls and results have been for each round of air-to-air combat and the current odds when deciding whether to stay or abort. Because the results of a air-to-air combat can be confusing (e.g., "the player who rolled the die chooses which of the enemy air units to destroy"), there is a popup results box for each die roll. So what the player sees is: "Germany chooses whether to destroy the front Allied bomber or the front Allied fighter. Click on the the large images of one of those two units to indicate your selection." That is all within a 1024 by 768 pixel form which wasn't easy to do.

4 - the Land Combat Resolution form is as complex as the Air-to-air Combat form, what with the chioces about Assault/Blitz, die roll modifiers, column shifts, and fractional odds. Throw in implementing the results (destroy, disorganize, retreat) and there is a lot to show the player and many buttons to let him implement his decisions.

5 - numerous other forms with either a lot of information and/or unique decisions: Pools (e.g., force pools, production circle), Relationships between all the major powers and the 100+ minor countries, the setup tray, US Entry options, naval combat, anti-aircraft fire, ...

I am happy with all the forms at this point (although I am currently working with the beta testers to improve the Production Planning form for routing resources overseas to factories).

Nonetheless, 2, 3, or 4 monitors would be nice to have. But that is universally true. I wonder how many Bill Gates has on his main computer system?


just a note to what Steve wrote.

I have been a beta tester for a long time ... and I have Always uses single monitor. it works really well

_____________________________

Peyton manning is a God and the wif rulebook is my bible

I work hard, not smart.

beta tester and Mwif expert

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 2132
RE: When? - 9/18/2010 3:43:26 AM   
SewerStarFish


Posts: 304
Joined: 5/7/2007
From: Reading, Pa. USA
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: koontz
The biggest problem is...2012 tick tac tic tac...worlds end
according to Maya calender...
-



Man, I'm really going to miss the Mayans.

_____________________________

Why choose the lesser evil: Vote Cthulhu.

(in reply to koontz)
Post #: 2133
RE: When? - 9/19/2010 9:12:37 AM   
Skanvak

 

Posts: 573
Joined: 4/3/2005
Status: offline
No, every one has misundertood the Mayans.The Mayans calendars call for the end of a circle and the begining of a new one. Thas is the end of paper Wif and the beginning of MWif :D So the Mayans actually predeicted the date of completion of MWiF.


_____________________________


Best regards

Skanvak

(in reply to SewerStarFish)
Post #: 2134
RE: When? - 10/1/2010 10:16:28 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 18356
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Status: offline
October 1, 2010 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum


Accomplishments of September 2010

Project Management
I monitored all the threads in the MWIF World in Flames forum daily.

Hardware and Software
Theme Engine is still disabled, but I have hopes of reinstalling it this month.

Beta Testing
I released versions 5.02.02 (12 fixes), 5.02.03 (7 fixes), 5.02.04 (14 fixes), 5.02.05 (20 fixes), 5.02.06 (17 fixes), 5.03.00 (23 fixes), and 5.03.01 (9 fixes) to the beta testers last month. This totals 7 new versions and 102 fixes which is under my previous 2 month averages for fixes (116).

Fatal errors continue to decrease in frequency and I can usually fix them in a few minutes. Most of the bug reports this month concerned Production Planning which I had completely revised and whose player interface details needed both debugging and refinement.

Saved Games
Saving and restoring games is stable although I continue to make revisions to the format from time to time. With a little care, I keep old save games playable. But I am not anal about that. Sometimes there were bugs which caused GAM files to be fatally flawed. I do not spend time trying to make old GAM files playable - just as long as the newly created GAM files restore perfectly.

Map and Units
Rob sent me updates of the naval unit writeups. Patrice sent me some minor changes to the map data.

I enabled moving from Colon (at one end of the Panama Canal) through the Panama Canal and into the Gulf of Panama. This works the same as for Panama City at the other end of the Panama Canal.

Units can now set up in Eritrea. The WIF FE setup booklet didn’t specify that, but Patrice checked with Harry Rowland, and MWIF conforms to Harry’s clarification.

Scenarios and Optional Rules
Added code to restrict how many saved build points in each hex can be used. CWIF didn’t worry about this but I want MWIF to follow WIF FE as closely as possible.

I wrote the code for Food in Flames. It remains to be tested, but was fairly straightforward.

I made some changes in how the specialized subs in Convoys in Flames are handled. In particular, Milchcow subs are now restricted to the zero section box. I have occasionally done bits and pieces of the rules for Convoys in Flames, when I see something that is wrong and easy to fix. There is still a bunch of work to do (e.g., add another subphase to naval submarine combat), so I have not yet reached the point where I can sit down and finish it in a couple of days.

I linked the use of the optional rules Synthetic Oil Plants and Factory Construction & Destruction. WIF FE, as written, requires both of these to be in effect before oil resources can be destroyed by strategic bombing. This is another case of bringing MWIF into line with WIF FE, where CWIF deviated slightly.

I finalized the design for Unlimited Breakdown, with the help of the beta testers (especially Paul). At the end of this report is the section from the Players Manual describing this new optional rule.

MWIF Game Engine and CWIF Conversion
Nothing new on the game engine. As for CWIF conversion I have now converted all the forms except Overstacking. I’ve made a tentative pass at that but I want to see more bugs resolved before messing around with something that pops up at odd places in the sequence of play. MWIF handles resolving overstacking as a digression.

Player Interface
I created a new form for debugging naval moves. It lists all the sea areas and ports to which a selected group of naval units can move, showing how many movement points each move uses. If is astonishing how many ports are available. For instance, a Japanese unit could only move to 8 sea areas, but has over 50 possible ports available! This will not be part of the released product because it is rather crude.

I made more massive changes to the Production Planning form. For the summary panel, I added hints and filters for each of the 35 statistics. The hints help to explain what the numbers mean. Then when you actually click on a number in the summary panel, the list of resources and factories is filtered to show the resources that make up that number. For instance, if you click on non-oil trade received, just the non-oil resources that are being sent to the current major power are listed. This works for Idle Factories, Convoyed Oil, and all the other statistics too. The code uses the same filter for calculating the numbers and for modifying the list of resources and factories displayed. That was very useful for development/debugging and has the added benefit of being useful to the players. I also added entries to the summary panel for production points received through Food in Flames and for convoys on map and idle. When convoys idle are zero, it is a good idea to build more convoys.

I reduced the number of layouts for the Production Planning form from 4 to 3: Summary, Expanded, and Route. The 4th layout, for Default and Override values, is now incorporated as a standard part of the form and is visible in all 3 of the layouts.

I added the ability to display the overseas route for a single resource on the global map. This lets you go through each of your resources that are using convoys and see the route it is using. Conversely, you can click on a sea area and have the resource list filtered to show the resources that are routed through the sea area. Sometimes major powers use convoys belonging to their allies. To identify those situations, when clicking on a sea area is used to filter the resources, whose convoy the resource is using is also shown. The general thrust of the design for production planning is to let you see both summary and detailed information on resources, factories, and convoys. The filters let you focus on subsets of them. These changes enabled me to delete the old CWIF Convoy Info form.

I streamlined the process of modifying routes for resources shipped overseas. The way it works is you select a resource, select its destination, and click on the series of sea areas in the route you want the resource to use. When necessary, the program finds a departure port and a rail link from the resource to the port. Likewise, when you reach the last sea area in the pipeline, you just click on it a second time (to indicate it is the terminus) and the program finds an arrival port and a rail link to the destination. This is very fast to do and I can reroute all the Commonwealth resources from scratch in less than 5 minutes.

The program stores player specified routes as either Default or Override. Defaults are what you use most of the time; they are saved from turn to turn for automatic reuse. Override routes are for when you want to make a change for just the current turn. They take precedence over the default settings. After the turn is over, override routes are deleted, while the default routes remain available for the next turn. All routes are shown both as table entries and also on the global map, which makes reviewing them easy to do.

Internet - NetPlay
My redesign of the SOP in 2007 added a Game Record Log where all the transformations of the game state are recorded as a series of encoded entries. These are used by both PBEM and NetPlay to keep all computers up-to-date with changes to the game state. They are currently used for Solitaire and Head-to-head play, but 110 record types still need to be converted from CWIF Windows messaging code to MWIF Game Record Log code. By the way, the total number of unique record types is ~550.

PBEM
I reviewed the 20 forms needed for entering the 22 PBEM Standing Orders. Forms for 4 of the standing orders are done, 6 have been started and 12 have only dummy stub ends in place. I remain focused on fixing bugs, but PBEM is next on my task list once I get the bugs beaten into submission.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The AIO decisions are primarily made using scripts written in LAIO (Language for Artificial Intelligence Opponent). This is a rule based language which I created for MWIF. LAIO is fully defined and dozens of test scripts have been written by Peter Skoglund, with help from me.

The test scripts are for setting up units for each of the minor countries in the game, from a single unit for Persia to the more complex setups for Poland, Spain, and Turkey. Peter has also created a script for setting up France in the Global War scenario. These scripts are quite sophisticated, taking into consideration which major power declared war on the minor country, the type and location of enemy units, and possible support from allies. For instance, the script for setting up the single Persian unit has logic for threats from land, air (e.g., paradrops), and sea (e.g., amphibious assaults) from all directions.

To convert the LAIO scripts into actions to be taken by MWIF, (on behalf of the AIO), requires a parser. The parser reads a script and generates a set of commands comparable to what a human player enters using the mouse and keyboard. I’ve written about 80% of the parser code, and debugged that much using the scripts created by Peter. I need to finish the last 20%, but more importantly, I need to have the parser ‘recognize’ ~300 function calls. For example, when a script references a unit’s type, the parser has to ‘fetch’ the unit type datum which is stored internally. There are numerous characteristics of units, unit stacks, hexes, and countries which the program already stores internally. For each of them, LAIO needs a symbol/string defined and the parser needs to translate the symbol, when it occurs in a script, into a function that returns the internal value.

There are 143 decision points in the sequence of play where the AIO needs to decide what to do. 122 of these use universal logic, in that they do not depend on which major power is making the decision (e.g., rail moves, strategic bombing, naval interceptions, placing partisans). For the other 21, the logic does depend on which major power is making the decision. Examples of those are: strategic plans, declarations of war, production plans, and trade agreements. I have 200 pages of text describing strategic plans. Each major power has their own section and the plans are well organized. For the French, I’ve started encoding their strategic plan as data.

The AIO makes decisions using either LAIO scripts (preferred) or by using a routine hard coded in Pascal, but data driven. Which is used depends on the expediency of writing the code. For example, there are a lot of unique decisions that do not deserve spending the time to write a LAIO script. USSR territorial claims, US entry option choices, and routing resources to factories can be handled better by Pascal code than by LAIO code. On the other hand, moving units and deciding about attacks are best done using a LAIO script. That way we can add and remove portions of a script while MWIF is executing and immediately test the effect of the changes. MWIF can parse a revised script “on the fly”, which isn’t possible for Pascal code.

For the 122 ‘universal’ decision points, I start by writing plain text that describes how the decision is to be made. I’ve done 73 of them as plain text so far. The second step is to translate the plain text into a LAIO script. All of that work remains to be done.

Once all 143 decision points have either Pascal code or a LAIO script, the AIO can execute autonomously. In practice, we will introduce the AIO decisions one at a time, evaluating how good each decision is and modifying the script/code until we are happy with it.

Player’s Manual
I finished the text for the Production Planning form. It runs to 12 pages. Here is the opening paragraph:

The Production Planning form enables you to:
• review resources, factories, and convoy pipelines,
• review the build points available for production,
• choose resource destinations.
• modify convoy pipelines,
• decide whether oil resources/points are to be used in production or saved, and
• choose which resources fulfill trade agreements.

To accomplish this the form has 3 layouts and dozens of filters. Key elements of the form are:
• A list of resources and factories belonging to a selected major power.
• Major power flags to change the selected major power.
• A Summary layout which shows statistics on resources, factories, and production and build points.
• An Expanded layout which doubles the viewing area for the list of resources and factories.
• A Route layout, which shows the hex by hex route for a resource from its hex of origination to its destination.
• An insert map, detailed or global. Both maps display the location of resources and factories. The global map can be used to review and modify convoy routes.
• Filters for displaying a subset of the resources and factories (e.g., those that are idle, traded, or use convoys).
• A default/override table for reviewing the current default/override destinations and actions (i.e., production or saved) for a resource. This table can be used to specify the default trade country for a resource.
• Radio buttons for selecting the default/override destinations and actions for resources.

The current PDF of the draft Players Manual is 368 pages long.

Tutorials, Training Videos, and Context Sensitive Help
Nothing new.

Historical Video, Music, and Sound Effects
Nothing new.

Marketing
The MWIF fan site still looks good.

Communications
Nothing especially new.

=====================================

9.3.8 Unlimited Breakdown
This optional rule modifies the restrictions on: (1) breaking down corps/army sized units into divisions, and (2) reforming corps/armies from divisions. When this optional rule is in effect, rather than use the division units in the counter mix for breaking down divisions, 2 new division units are created (out of thin air) when a player breaks down a corps/army unit.

This rule only applies to the major powers. Minor countries, even those that have a division unit as part of their force pools, are still unable to break down corps/army units into divisions or reform divisions into corps/armies (as is the case in WIF FE). During the Breakdown phase you can break down into divisions an on-map, organized corps or army unit that isn't in an enemy ZOC. Only the following unit types can break down into divisions:
• Infantry,
• Cavalry,
• Paratroop,
• Marine,
• Mountain,
• Armor,
• Mechanized, and
• Motorized.

Division Unit Types
When a corps/army is broken down using the optional rule Unlimited Breakdown, two (brand new) division sized units replace the corps/army unit (the parent unit). The 1st division is of the same type as the parent and the 2nd is either an infantry or motorized division (the owning player chooses).

Combat Factors
The sum of the combat factors of the two divisions is half the combat factors of the parent, rounding up. For example, a 4 strength parent unit breaks down into two divisions with combat factors of 1 each. A parent 5 breaks down into a 1 and a 2; a parent 6 breaks down into a 1 and a 2; and a parent 7 breaks down into a 2 and a 2. When one division has more combat factors, then it is the 1st division that gets the extra combat factor.

Movement Factors
The 1st division has the same movement factors as the parent.

The 2nd division’s movement factors are the same as its parent’s, with the following modifications:
• When the 2nd division is infantry:
• if the parent is INF, PARA, MAR, or MTN, same as parent.
• if the parent is MOT or CAV, same as parent, minus one.
• if the parent is MECH or ARM, same parent, minus two, but never less than 3.
• When the 2nd division is motorized:
• If the parent is INF, PARA, MAR, or MTN, same as parent, plus one.
• If the parent is MOT or CAV, same as parent.
• If the parent is MECH or ARM, same as parent, minus one, but never less than 4.

When a corps or army unit is broken down, it is not returned to the force pool (as it would be under the standard rules for breaking down units). Instead, it is placed in a separate pool, called the "BreakDown Pool". MWIF maintains a record of which divisions were created when a corps/army was broken down and will not reform the corps/army unless two identical divisions are used. They do not have to be the same divisions, just identical in type and combat factors (i.e., a 1-4 infantry is a 1-4 infantry is a 1-4 infantry).

When destroyed, divisions created by breaking down corps/armies are placed in the BreakDown Pool. Divisions that are part of the standard counter mix, and therefore either part of setup or built by the player using the normal production rules, are returned to the force pool when destroyed.

Reforming a Corps/Army from Divisions
Players can only reform corps/armies that are in the BreakDown Pool. This is a major change from the standard rules where you can reform on-map divisions into corps/armies that are drawn from the Force Pool. Units in the BreakDown Pool remain there until either: (a) they are selected as the corps/army to replace 2 division units that are reformed into a corps/army, or (b) 2 division units that were created when a corps was placed in the BreakDown Pool are destroyed. You can basically think of the later situation as the two destroyed division units reforming as a corps sized unit that is then returned to the force pool. Units in the BreakDown Pool can never be built during the Production phase while they reside there! To avoid misuse of this rule by players, if two divisions in the BreakDown Pool can be reformed into one of the corps/armies in the BreakDown Pool, they the player must do so. However, he has the choice of which corps/army is reformed. This mandatory reformation occurs during the BreakDown phase.

Because MWIF has a record of which divisions were created when a crops/army was broken down, it permits a player to reform the exact same corps/army from those divisions (or identical divisions). This is a pleasant change from the standard rules because it lets players who reform corps/armies get the exact same unit back that they had originally broken down. Under the standard rules, the process of breaking a corps/army down and later reforming it can generate a weaker corps/army than the player had at the start.

So, here is the revised rule on reforming divisions into a corps/army:

• If, during the reform phase, 2 organized divisions are stacked together on map, not in enemy ZOCs, and their factors match the factors of the original divisions that were created from a corps/army in the BreakDown Pool, the player can reform them into that corps/army.

• If more than one corps/army in the BreakDown Pool satisfies this criteria, the player gets to choose which one is reformed.

• Divisions in the BreakDown Pool can also be reformed, with the same restrictions as for on-map divisions. Indeed, they must be reformed during the BreakDown phase.

Effects on Game Play
One effect of this optional rule is that the division units included in the counter mix are only available to the player: (1) by building them or (2) when specified as part of a scenario’s setup. They are never used when units are broken down into divisions nor can they be used to reform corps/armies. Indeed, when a division unit from the counter mix is destroyed, it is treated differently from one created through breakdown. Those from the counter mix go back into the force pools, while those divisions created when a corps/army is broken down go into the BreakDown Pool when they are destroyed. Whenever divisions are used to reform a corps/army, the divisions are removed from the game.

However, for all other game play purposes there is no difference between the division units from the counter mix and those created when a corps/army is broken down into divisions.

The effect this rule has on play balance is uncertain and controversial. On the one hand it removes a somewhat artificial restriction on breaking down units that was imposed by the counter sheet limitations of WIF FE. On the other hand, it enables the Japanese player, for example, to generate a lot of divisions, place them on SCS units and invade numerous islands and other hexes in the Pacific simultaneously. Note that doing so makes the total strength of the Japanese army units much less, but that is only temporary, until they can be reformed back into corps/armies.

This change also enables the major powers to use divisions more readily for taking casualties during land combat. But that applies to all the major powers, both on offense and defense. Again, breaking down corps/armies will reduce the total combat strength of the forces in the front lines. And one last use for this increase in the number of divisions is the opportunity to hold individual hexes with less expensive division units. This can be of use to Germany in Norway, and Japan for holding islands in the Pacific, as just 2 examples. It also has potential for helping to defend the somewhat porous front line and exposed supply lines in China.


_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to Skanvak)
Post #: 2135
RE: When? - 10/2/2010 12:11:44 AM   
nanorider426


Posts: 18
Joined: 6/1/2009
From: Denmark
Status: offline
Hi Steve.

Thanks for the report.
It's really nice to hear about progress for the AI, especially how you are putting it together and how it functions.

Keep up the good work buddy.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 2136
RE: When? - 10/5/2010 6:40:51 PM   
npilgaard

 

Posts: 165
Joined: 5/3/2006
Status: offline
Steve

As always, I am genuinely impressed by your efforts - and capability - to tirelessly push this behemoth of a project forward.
For years you have spent so many, many hours on this, each and every day. Not many people can keep interest in such a long lasting and demanding project the way you have done it.

I think you once mentioned that the reason you took on this project in the first place was to get to do the AI. Glad to hear that you are now finally getting to do some of the fun stuff

Keep going!

_____________________________

Regards
Nikolaj

(in reply to nanorider426)
Post #: 2137
RE: When? - 10/5/2010 7:46:00 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 18356
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: npilgaard

Steve

As always, I am genuinely impressed by your efforts - and capability - to tirelessly push this behemoth of a project forward.
For years you have spent so many, many hours on this, each and every day. Not many people can keep interest in such a long lasting and demanding project the way you have done it.

I think you once mentioned that the reason you took on this project in the first place was to get to do the AI. Glad to hear that you are now finally getting to do some of the fun stuff

Keep going!

Thanks. A rough estimate is that I've spent 13,000 hours on this.

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Perfection is an elusive goal.

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Post #: 2138
RE: When? - 10/6/2010 5:39:00 AM   
norvandave


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets


Thanks. A rough estimate is that I've spent 13,000 hours on this.


Put another way that is about 6.5 man years of labour. Wow. I am hoping it will be the masterwork that you intend it to be. All I can say is thanks.

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Post #: 2139
RE: When? - 10/11/2010 5:42:25 AM   
rhondabrwn


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I agree, the Mayans predicted the ultimate release in 2012

And then there will be a new cycle for playing the monster :)

Gotta love those Mayans

Looks good Steve

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Post #: 2140
RE: When? - 10/18/2010 6:28:30 AM   
Commander Cody


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Steve: Just letting you know this looks like an incredible game. I've soured on the whole HOI thing for Grand WWII, but this looks fantastic.

It may take a while longer, but I'm sure I'll be buying it once released.

Cheers,
CC

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Post #: 2141
RE: When? - 10/24/2010 7:41:18 PM   
winky51

 

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well I would make as many things optional as possible because WIF is very exploitive. Like letting all units breakdown into infinite divs is a problem IMO. I have already thought of creative ways to exploit that vs an opponent.

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Post #: 2142
RE: When? - 10/25/2010 12:01:39 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: winky51

well I would make as many things optional as possible because WIF is very exploitive. Like letting all units breakdown into infinite divs is a problem IMO. I have already thought of creative ways to exploit that vs an opponent.

How?

I haven't added an upper limit (yet) to the number of INF divisions a major power can create. Instead of just a flat number, it could be a function of the major power and/or the number (or percentage) of corps/armies the major power has on the map.

We've thought of several ways to 'exploit' this rule, but I am interested in others - I do not want MWIF to play substantially differently from WIF FE.
===
From the MWIF Players Manual:

Effects on Game Play
One effect of this optional rule is that the division units included in the counter mix are only available to the player: (1) by building them or (2) when specified as part of a scenario’s setup. They are never used when units are broken down into divisions nor can they be used to reform corps/armies. Indeed, when a division unit from the counter mix is destroyed, it is treated differently from one created through breakdown. Those from the counter mix go back into the force pools, while those divisions created when a corps/army is broken down go into the BreakDown Pool when they are destroyed. Whenever divisions are used to reform a corps/army, the divisions are removed from the game.

However, for all other game play purposes there is no difference between the division units from the counter mix and those created when a corps/army is broken down into divisions.

The effect this rule has on play balance is uncertain and controversial. On the one hand it removes a somewhat artificial restriction on breaking down units that was imposed by the counter sheet limitations of WIF FE. On the other hand, it enables the Japanese player, for example, to generate a lot of divisions, place them on SCS units and invade numerous islands and other hexes in the Pacific simultaneously. Note that doing so makes the total strength of the Japanese army units much less, but that is only temporary, until they can be reformed back into corps/armies.

This change also enables the major powers to use divisions more readily for taking casualties during land combat. But that applies to all the major powers, both on offense and defense. Again, breaking down corps/armies will reduce the total combat strength of the forces in the front lines. And one last use for this increase in the number of divisions is the opportunity to hold individual hexes with less expensive division units. This can be of use to Germany in Norway, and Japan for holding islands in the Pacific, as just 2 examples. It also has potential for helping to defend the somewhat porous front line and exposed supply lines in China.


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Post #: 2143
RE: When? - 10/25/2010 3:23:27 AM   
brian brian

 

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I think there was a thread for this somewhere?

I don't think lots of mostly 1 factor divisions will make as much difference as it seems at first. The Japanese can grab more minor port bases, sure, but they won't be able to hold them very well if they dilute their total quantity of corps/army sized units too much as they never have enough of those in the first place. Either way, it is still best Japanese play to grab the outer edges of the perimeter first and deal with interior objectives second. Creating a bunch of divisions to both simultaneously might weaken their land forces a bit too much. Perhaps if you are concerned about this as the Allies, I would suggest playing with limited overseas supply and many of these advanced Japanese outposts will never be in supply and easy prey for the USMC corps, who already usually have plenty of divisions accompanying them for losses. Hint: no one says the USMC has to approach the Greater East-Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere from the east, since WiF makes it very easy, logistically, to operate in the Indian Ocean.

For increased loss-taking units, I think any armored power will appreciate having more motorized infantry divisions to take as loss units, but usually if you are good at managing your force pools while on the attack you don't run out that often. On the defense, a third unit in a hex is important in that it requires the attacker to get an S result to take the hex on assault. But there is one flip side...if the third unit is a flipped/disorganized 1 factor division, the defense of the hex is actually weaker. For that reason an artillery unit of some sort usually makes a far better "topper" unit to be the third piece in the hex.

I know where I will exploit with extra divisions ... as the Russians fighting the Japanese, with lots and lots of cavalry divisions running around on the big new map, with wonderful logistic bases in the Siberian wilderness to do this from. In China I don't think it will be an issue as the theater is still actually a little small. Any 'raiding' divisions are easily taken out by corps/army sized units, unless carefully backed with long-range aircraft (or if you leave all those optional new Chinese cities all over the place, then the Japanese are screwed by Chinese cavalry divisions taking them near the end of the turn). And Japan needs their long-range fighters out in the Pacific for the most part. Is Isolated Reorginasation still an optional? I've played with it for so long (since 4th Edition as a House Rule) that I don't even think of it as optional. Anyway isolated re-org makes far-flung divisional raids not as hard to deal with on the defense as you can just cut the raiding division's supply line. (And the obvious counter-move there is to build an ATR).

Move - Counter-move.....what makes WiF a great game.

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Post #: 2144
RE: When? - 10/25/2010 10:01:33 AM   
Joseignacio


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Problems with this:

- Above all: Invading is a different game, specially in the mediterranean.

How many times I have wished having a couple more of divisions to invade from cruisers, at the early years of the game, when there are no marines in the british/Commonwealth pool... Two or three divisions, additiona to the one/two existing ones, can make the war at the Mediterranean completely different, Gibraltar would be more at danger Italy could not be almost totally empty, the units at the desert could be faced from both sides after successful invasions (i.e. El Agheila area)...

- Loss taking unit as stated above, for attacker and defender.

- Possibility to reinforce stacks with a third unit, as stated above.

- In the Pacific, once invaded the most interesting hexes, they can be reinforced with militias or garrisons and make them much more resistant, there is expansion but no need to dillute the power. Besides, once occupied most of these hexes with garr + mil, you can rebuild the original units to defend the rst of the hexes.

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Post #: 2145
RE: When? - 10/25/2010 3:26:52 PM   
Extraneous

 

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(78) Unlimited Breakdown (MWIF addition)

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Post #: 2146
RE: When? - 10/25/2010 9:22:25 PM   
coregames


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quote:

ORIGINAL: brian brian

I think there was a thread for this somewhere?

I don't think lots of mostly 1 factor divisions will make as much difference as it seems at first. The Japanese can grab more minor port bases, sure, but they won't be able to hold them very well if they dilute their total quantity of corps/army sized units too much as they never have enough of those in the first place. Either way, it is still best Japanese play to grab the outer edges of the perimeter first and deal with interior objectives second. Creating a bunch of divisions to both simultaneously might weaken their land forces a bit too much. Perhaps if you are concerned about this as the Allies, I would suggest playing with limited overseas supply and many of these advanced Japanese outposts will never be in supply and easy prey for the USMC corps, who already usually have plenty of divisions accompanying them for losses. Hint: no one says the USMC has to approach the Greater East-Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere from the east, since WiF makes it very easy, logistically, to operate in the Indian Ocean.

For increased loss-taking units, I think any armored power will appreciate having more motorized infantry divisions to take as loss units, but usually if you are good at managing your force pools while on the attack you don't run out that often. On the defense, a third unit in a hex is important in that it requires the attacker to get an S result to take the hex on assault. But there is one flip side...if the third unit is a flipped/disorganized 1 factor division, the defense of the hex is actually weaker. For that reason an artillery unit of some sort usually makes a far better "topper" unit to be the third piece in the hex.

I know where I will exploit with extra divisions ... as the Russians fighting the Japanese, with lots and lots of cavalry divisions running around on the big new map, with wonderful logistic bases in the Siberian wilderness to do this from. In China I don't think it will be an issue as the theater is still actually a little small. Any 'raiding' divisions are easily taken out by corps/army sized units, unless carefully backed with long-range aircraft (or if you leave all those optional new Chinese cities all over the place, then the Japanese are screwed by Chinese cavalry divisions taking them near the end of the turn). And Japan needs their long-range fighters out in the Pacific for the most part. Is Isolated Reorginasation still an optional? I've played with it for so long (since 4th Edition as a House Rule) that I don't even think of it as optional. Anyway isolated re-org makes far-flung divisional raids not as hard to deal with on the defense as you can just cut the raiding division's supply line. (And the obvious counter-move there is to build an ATR).

Move - Counter-move.....what makes WiF a great game.


It will make a huge difference when the Japanese use two SCS to drop off two divisions, then recombine them to gain a corp without the use of a TRS. It works so well over-the-board that it surely will be even more effective with unlimited DIV breakdown.

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Post #: 2147
RE: When? - 10/25/2010 11:02:27 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: coregames


quote:

ORIGINAL: brian brian

I think there was a thread for this somewhere?

I don't think lots of mostly 1 factor divisions will make as much difference as it seems at first. The Japanese can grab more minor port bases, sure, but they won't be able to hold them very well if they dilute their total quantity of corps/army sized units too much as they never have enough of those in the first place. Either way, it is still best Japanese play to grab the outer edges of the perimeter first and deal with interior objectives second. Creating a bunch of divisions to both simultaneously might weaken their land forces a bit too much. Perhaps if you are concerned about this as the Allies, I would suggest playing with limited overseas supply and many of these advanced Japanese outposts will never be in supply and easy prey for the USMC corps, who already usually have plenty of divisions accompanying them for losses. Hint: no one says the USMC has to approach the Greater East-Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere from the east, since WiF makes it very easy, logistically, to operate in the Indian Ocean.

For increased loss-taking units, I think any armored power will appreciate having more motorized infantry divisions to take as loss units, but usually if you are good at managing your force pools while on the attack you don't run out that often. On the defense, a third unit in a hex is important in that it requires the attacker to get an S result to take the hex on assault. But there is one flip side...if the third unit is a flipped/disorganized 1 factor division, the defense of the hex is actually weaker. For that reason an artillery unit of some sort usually makes a far better "topper" unit to be the third piece in the hex.

I know where I will exploit with extra divisions ... as the Russians fighting the Japanese, with lots and lots of cavalry divisions running around on the big new map, with wonderful logistic bases in the Siberian wilderness to do this from. In China I don't think it will be an issue as the theater is still actually a little small. Any 'raiding' divisions are easily taken out by corps/army sized units, unless carefully backed with long-range aircraft (or if you leave all those optional new Chinese cities all over the place, then the Japanese are screwed by Chinese cavalry divisions taking them near the end of the turn). And Japan needs their long-range fighters out in the Pacific for the most part. Is Isolated Reorginasation still an optional? I've played with it for so long (since 4th Edition as a House Rule) that I don't even think of it as optional. Anyway isolated re-org makes far-flung divisional raids not as hard to deal with on the defense as you can just cut the raiding division's supply line. (And the obvious counter-move there is to build an ATR).

Move - Counter-move.....what makes WiF a great game.


It will make a huge difference when the Japanese use two SCS to drop off two divisions, then recombine them to gain a corp without the use of a TRS. It works so well over-the-board that it surely will be even more effective with unlimited DIV breakdown.

Good point. TRS and AMPH will be reserved for use only by units that can not break down and be transported by SCS.

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Post #: 2148
RE: When? - 10/25/2010 11:10:22 PM   
paulderynck


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets


quote:

ORIGINAL: coregames


quote:

ORIGINAL: brian brian

I think there was a thread for this somewhere?

I don't think lots of mostly 1 factor divisions will make as much difference as it seems at first. The Japanese can grab more minor port bases, sure, but they won't be able to hold them very well if they dilute their total quantity of corps/army sized units too much as they never have enough of those in the first place. Either way, it is still best Japanese play to grab the outer edges of the perimeter first and deal with interior objectives second. Creating a bunch of divisions to both simultaneously might weaken their land forces a bit too much. Perhaps if you are concerned about this as the Allies, I would suggest playing with limited overseas supply and many of these advanced Japanese outposts will never be in supply and easy prey for the USMC corps, who already usually have plenty of divisions accompanying them for losses. Hint: no one says the USMC has to approach the Greater East-Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere from the east, since WiF makes it very easy, logistically, to operate in the Indian Ocean.

For increased loss-taking units, I think any armored power will appreciate having more motorized infantry divisions to take as loss units, but usually if you are good at managing your force pools while on the attack you don't run out that often. On the defense, a third unit in a hex is important in that it requires the attacker to get an S result to take the hex on assault. But there is one flip side...if the third unit is a flipped/disorganized 1 factor division, the defense of the hex is actually weaker. For that reason an artillery unit of some sort usually makes a far better "topper" unit to be the third piece in the hex.

I know where I will exploit with extra divisions ... as the Russians fighting the Japanese, with lots and lots of cavalry divisions running around on the big new map, with wonderful logistic bases in the Siberian wilderness to do this from. In China I don't think it will be an issue as the theater is still actually a little small. Any 'raiding' divisions are easily taken out by corps/army sized units, unless carefully backed with long-range aircraft (or if you leave all those optional new Chinese cities all over the place, then the Japanese are screwed by Chinese cavalry divisions taking them near the end of the turn). And Japan needs their long-range fighters out in the Pacific for the most part. Is Isolated Reorginasation still an optional? I've played with it for so long (since 4th Edition as a House Rule) that I don't even think of it as optional. Anyway isolated re-org makes far-flung divisional raids not as hard to deal with on the defense as you can just cut the raiding division's supply line. (And the obvious counter-move there is to build an ATR).

Move - Counter-move.....what makes WiF a great game.


It will make a huge difference when the Japanese use two SCS to drop off two divisions, then recombine them to gain a corp without the use of a TRS. It works so well over-the-board that it surely will be even more effective with unlimited DIV breakdown.

Good point. TRS and AMPH will be reserved for use only by units that can not break down and be transported by SCS.

I'm not sure that's a good idea. Nor does it address the real issue with unlimited breakdown. By itself, it may be OK, but combined with SCS transport of INF class Divs, probably will have the biggest impact in terms of changing the WiF paradigm.

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Post #: 2149
RE: When? - 10/25/2010 11:20:46 PM   
Froonp


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quote:

ORIGINAL: paulderynck
quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
Good point. TRS and AMPH will be reserved for use only by units that can not break down and be transported by SCS.

I'm not sure that's a good idea. Nor does it address the real issue with unlimited breakdown. By itself, it may be OK, but combined with SCS transport of INF class Divs, probably will have the biggest impact in terms of changing the WiF paradigm.

1) I am with Paul. I'm not sure this is a good idea.
Unlimited division breakdown are really not that much unlimited, they are limited indeed. That exploit from coregame sounds good on the paper, but it will sound less good on the map. a) Not all DIV are capable of being SCS transported. b) Instead of having to escape 1 interception attempt, it will have to intercept 2. c) the destination place will have to only have 1 unit prior to that operation.

2) Those who fear exploits just have not to use the option.

3) Why not a new thread to talk about this ?

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Post #: 2150
RE: When? - 10/26/2010 12:07:30 AM   
lomyrin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Froonp

quote:

ORIGINAL: paulderynck
quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
Good point. TRS and AMPH will be reserved for use only by units that can not break down and be transported by SCS.

I'm not sure that's a good idea. Nor does it address the real issue with unlimited breakdown. By itself, it may be OK, but combined with SCS transport of INF class Divs, probably will have the biggest impact in terms of changing the WiF paradigm.

1) I am with Paul. I'm not sure this is a good idea.
Unlimited division breakdown are really not that much unlimited, they are limited indeed. That exploit from coregame sounds good on the paper, but it will sound less good on the map. a) Not all DIV are capable of being SCS transported. b) Instead of having to escape 1 interception attempt, it will have to intercept 2. c) the destination place will have to only have 1 unit prior to that operation.

2) Those who fear exploits just have not to use the option.

3) Why not a new thread to talk about this ?


Is he perhaps saying that AMPH's and TRS's will only be used by units that cannot breakdown to be sailing on SCS's as a result of being able to use SCS's?

So not as a rule but as a players usage consequence.

I do not think that either Japan or the USA has enough units to break down without severely limiting their offensive or defensive capabilities in general.


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Post #: 2151
RE: When? - 10/26/2010 12:35:39 AM   
Taxman66


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If it bothers you that much (and I could see why) turn off the option allowing SCSs to transport Divs. I'm not sure how historical that really is, and if it was I don't think it was done all that much.

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Post #: 2152
RE: When? - 10/26/2010 12:44:04 AM   
BallyJ

 

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To recombine divisions you need an infantry and a motorise infantry.
I thought that SCS could not transport motorised divisions??

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Post #: 2153
RE: When? - 10/26/2010 4:10:40 AM   
paulderynck


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quote:

ORIGINAL: BallyJ

To recombine divisions you need an infantry and a motorise infantry.
I thought that SCS could not transport motorised divisions??

In WiF yes. With Unlimited Breakdown in MWiF you need two Divs of the same type and combat factor as were received from the breakdown. Since you have the choice with INF corps to receive two INF Divs, you can get twice as many as you have INF corps plus one for every other corps you are willing to break down.

True SCS can only transport INF class Divs.

...and yes, this should be in a different thread...



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Post #: 2154
RE: When? - 10/26/2010 4:19:34 AM   
brian brian

 

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very good point BallyJ

I'm guessing Steve meant players would tend to reserve TRS/AMPH for moving corps/army size units as they play, not that MWiF would change the rule that TRS can transport one or two divisions.

I don't think SCS transport always represents loading infantry onto naval combat ships, though the Germans did this at Narvik and I think the Japanese also used destroyers for this purpose on rare occasion. I just wif-zen the idea as moving a smaller infantry unit with a few small transports, rather than moving multiple divisions in a large convoy represented by a TRS counter — like the Tokyo Express moving a regiment per night down The Slot to Guadalcanal using some barges and some light patrol craft close escorts, with a Heavy Cruiser providing additional cover a little ways off. It just gives the player a little more flexibility commanding his forces at a finer scale than the counters represent. I've used the rule with no regrets ever since it came out.

I think some of the theoretical conversation here is overestimating the combat power of divisions. As the Japanese, I'd rather have three INF and a good MIL in an attack than 2 INF, 2 divisions and a MIL. In other words, keeping your MIL pool built out gives you more combat power as you use those for attritional loss-taking at only .5 BP more expense than using an infantry division created by break-down (perhaps the MIL are cheaper over time as higher attacking factors create less attacker losses?). So don't play like Hitler, always building shiny new units at the expense of the traditional replacement system, which I like to think the MIL counters represent in part. (Manstein's great complaint if you have ever read his book).

Also, by themselves divisions have a hard time landing successfully in a major power home country, for one. And it is not super easy to recombine them into the best corps sized units. You can't fool with divisions with GARR or MIL units, and those make the best island garrisons anyway.

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RE: When? - 10/26/2010 4:30:03 AM   
brian brian

 

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I don't get the point of requiring matching combat factors and unit types from the break-down to re-create corps however. Why over-complicate the procedure for the player? Though come to think of it, I don't think I have ever re-built a corps sized unit anyway.

Perhaps a really good use for additional divisions will instead be the ability to create an armored division when you need one. Pure armor divisions really help on both attack and defense when you want to pick the combat table, but they are hard to work into your build plans due to gearing limits.

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Post #: 2156
RE: When? - 10/26/2010 6:47:15 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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Please create a new thread for the discussion on Unlimited Breakdown.

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Post #: 2157
RE: When? - 10/26/2010 7:39:12 PM   
paulderynck


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will do

...done, if you want to delete posts 2142 through 2158 here, go ahead.

< Message edited by paulderynck -- 10/26/2010 7:56:31 PM >


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Post #: 2158
RE: When? - 10/27/2010 8:27:37 PM   
JonBrave

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
Once all 143 decision points have either Pascal code or a LAIO script, the AIO can execute autonomously. In practice, we will introduce the AIO decisions one at a time, evaluating how good each decision is and modifying the script/code until we are happy with it.

That will take quite some time, then

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Post #: 2159
RE: When? - 11/1/2010 4:26:28 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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November 1, 2010 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Accomplishments of October 2010


Project Management
I monitored all the threads in the MWIF World in Flames forum daily.

I have attached a JPG of the current version of the spreadsheet I created to visually track what has been done and what needs to be done. When I get all (or most of) the pale blue items transformed into dark green, I will return to working on more interesting things: new code for optional rules, PBEM, NetPlay, and AIO. If you want to know why MWIF has taken so long, count the number of dark green cells.

Hardware and Software
I reinstalled Theme Engine, which appears to be functioning correctly. When I first upgraded Theme Engine for Win7, it was a disaster. It added bitmap graphics to every button so they could be animated. Because MWIF is close to tapping out Windows graphics resources, the addition of thousands of new bitmaps for buttons caused out-of-memory errors at random places in the code. That was when I was lucky enough to get an out-of-memory error instead of some other mysterious program crash. The reason it works now is because I removed all (over 1000) TTeButtons in MWIF and replaced them with TTeSpeedButtons, which do not have animation capabilities (i.e., no bitmaps).

In the process of getting MWIF to work with Win7 I replaced all the assembler code with Pascal code (I did that back in the spring). That took some time and had to be done very carefully. My motivation for making that conversion was the number of anomalous crashes I saw that pointed to the failure occurring in the assembler code. I don’t see those crashes any more, though I can’t be certain that the assembler code was entirely to blame. On the other hand, I still don’t see those crashes after having reinstalled Theme Engine - pointing the finger of guilt more ominously at the removed assembler code.

After reinstalling Theme Engine I recompiled the MWIF custom library routines to make sure they used the most recent Theme Engine object modules.

I still need to convert the main menu and popup unit menu from standard Windows style to Theme Engine.

Beta Testing
I released versions 5.03.02 (22 fixes), 5.03.03 (27 fixes), 5.03.04 (19 fixes), 6.00.00 (26 fixes), and 6.00.01 (22 fixes), to the beta testers last month. The change in numbering from the 5.xx to 6.xx numbering was because of the reinstallation of Theme Engine. This totals 5 new versions and 116 fixes, which is slightly over my previous 3 month average for fixes (111).

Besides the normal wide range of bug reports, I spent significant time improving the Production Planning form. As the beta testers hammered on it, more flaws in the code were revealed. In particular, keeping all the pieces of the form synchronized was difficult (e.g., the resource list, the filters, the route table, the default settings table, the maps, and the various radio button group boxes). Its looking solid now but I still have a bunch of mostly minor complaints from the beta testers to investigate.

This month I went through a lot of old bug reports, tracking down all the pieces related to them and trying to reproduce them. There can be 3 pieces: a post by a beta tester, an emailed MadExcept report from the beta tester, and a saved game received a beta tester. I keep a master file of bug reports and tying all three of these inputs together isn’t always easy. My reward for this housework was the elimination of ~20 bug reports that were no longer valid (they had been fixed at some time over the past year).

Fatal errors occur occasionally, but I can fix them quickly.

Saved Games
Saving and restoring games is stable though I continue to make revisions to the format from time to time. Old saved games can still be restored going back to version 0.0.12.00.

Map and Units
Rob sent me updates of the naval unit writeups. Patrice sent me some minor changes to the unit data (to correct the spelling of Italian ship names).

Scenarios and Optional Rules
Added code to impose limits on the number of saved build points that can be used from a hex. This is a rare rule but it can be important when Murmansk gets cut off from the rest of the USSR. CWIF did not impose any limit; but MWIF now conforms to RAW. Corrected CWIF code for tracking whether a neutral major power can save an oil point. To do this I needed to create a new variable to be written out to the saved game. The rule the program enforces is that a neutral major power (e.g., the USA and the USSR) can only save one additional/new oil point per turn.

Starting writing code for the USSR-Japan Compulsory Peace optional rule. The program now identifies when the players can invoke that rule. Implementing it (changing hex control and forcibly relocating units) still needs to be coded.

MWIF Game Engine and CWIF Conversion
I updated some CWIF code concerning US Entry Options. That code appears to have been written for an older version of the rules. I reviewed the code for all those rules since I had found some that were obsolete.

I standardize the Weather phase so it has its own module. Only the Setup phase is scattered about in several different modules, with the logic flow non-standard (as inherited from CWIF). All the other 59 phases of the game have their own modules. However, there are two new phases to be added to the sequence of play - discussed next.

Having gotten Production Planning running smoothly, I discovered that finalizing those decisions before the phases for units staying at sea/returning to base presented problems. According to RAW, players should be able to make adjustments after the latter phases have occurred. Furthermore, I found the CWIF had no code for enabling players to effect Search and Seizure. After a short discussion with the beta testers, I decided on adding two more phases to the sequence of play. The new sequence of play is:
.
.
• Preliminary Production Planning
• Stay At Sea A
• Stay At Sea D
• Return To Base A
• Return To Base D
• Use Oil
• Final Reorganization
• Break Down
• Final Production Planning (new)
• Search and Seizure (new)
• Naval Repair
• Production
.
.

From a programming point of view there is no difference between the two production planning phases. We wanted to give the players an opportunity to plan their use of resources (e.g., oil) and routes to destinations before making the decisions about units staying at sea or returning to base. The second production planning phase let’s the player make adjustments after perhaps losing convoys that got tangled up in naval combats during the return to base phases. Most of the time, the players will have nothing to do in the second production planning phase and will just click on Ok - Done.

Search and Seizure, according to RAW, occurs during the Production Phase. In reality it occurs before production decisions are made, since events during Search and Seizure can reduce the number of build points available for production. Therefore, I have made it a separate phase - of its very own. By the way, the Naval Repair phase occurs only when playing the Guadalcanal scenario and takes the place of the Production phase.

Player Interface
I added code to track from which carrier a carrier air unit originates when it flies an air mission to a land hex (e.g., a ground strike). When one of these units is aborted, the program returns it to its carrier of origination automatically - which saves the player the trouble of figuring it out. Because a carrier can not be damaged when one of its carrier air units flies those missions, making the return automatic is ok. During naval air combat making the return automatic isn’t possible; since the carrier might have been destroyed in the combat.

Modified the Player Interface Settings so players can elect to skip the Peace phase every turn. According to RAW, a player may sue for peace at the end of each turn. I’ve never heard of someone doing such a thing, but the rules say it should be permitted. Therefore I have added a mandatory phase to ask each major power that is at war whether they want to sue for peace. That will get very tedious very quickly. Hence the new player interface setting for skipping the phase/question. Since I was making changes to this anyway, I merged two separate forms (Disable CAP Phases and Disable Phases) so all three settings concerning disabling phases appear on a single form.

I streamlined the process of loading units from coastal hexes by eliminating a form. This had always bothered me (as a player) and when a beta tester reported some bugs with how it executed, I took the opportunity to rewrite (and simply) the code.

Added a button to the Setup Tray so a player can see his reserves with a single mouse click. This is useful when setting up Germany and France, where holes are often left in the front line - to be filled by reserves when they arrive in the second impulse. Obviously this is a minor issue but it only took 20 minutes to code and test.

Internet - NetPlay
Nothing new.

PBEM
Nothing new.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Nothing new.

Player’s Manual
I updated the Rules as Coded PDF, which is now on version #35. These were clarifications for: Colon’s access to the Gulf of Panama, US Entry options, and that MWIF has the Commonwealth occupy the Faeroes Islands at the start of some scenarios. Those islands aren’t shown on the WIF FE maps, so we based this decision on the historical occupation.

I revised the text for the Production Planning form based on small changes to how that form looks and is used. Having reinstalled Theme Engine I retook several dozen screen shots of forms that have changed over the last 6 months. After some minor editing for the changes for Disabled phases, and descriptions of modified forms, the current PDF of the draft Players Manual is now 363 pages long. That includes screenshots for all the sections; I threw in a screenshot at the beginning of a few sections which had been pure text.

Tutorials, Training Videos, and Context Sensitive Help
I took the changes I made to the Players Manual and converted the text into help messages that can be called up during game play. This mostly concerned Production Planning, which is a dozen pages in the Players Manual. That text is available with the click of the Help button on the Production planning form. That’s very useful because that form has a lot of moving parts and how to use them all isn’t intuitively obvious to the casual observer.

Historical Video, Music, and Sound Effects
Nothing new.

Marketing
The MWIF fan site still looks very good.

Andy Johnson (who did the work to develop the MWIF fan site from nothing) has health problems and is unable to continue maintaining it. We are looking for someone to volunteer to take it over. The site is not part of Matrix Games, but some of the material on the site is copyrighted by Matrix Games and/or Australian Design Group, so there are restrictions on what can be shown and made available to the general public.

Communications
Nothing new (that can be reported).





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Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

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