Shannon V. OKeets
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
November 1, 2011 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum
Accomplishments of October 2011
I monitored all the threads in the MWIF World in Flames forum daily.
Aaron has been set up as a second moderator for the World in Flames forums (both open and development). Way back in the beginning of this project, Graham was serving in that role but his real world issues have severely limited his availability.
No new surgery for me in October - a good month. My kidney stone is passed and past. I have an office visit with that doc scheduled to determine how to change my diet based on the lab’s urine analysis. The probability of a second kidney stone jumps to 20% (from 10%) after you have the first one. I really want to avoid that, even if it means not eating chocolate ever again. My left eye continues to improve after its surgery, although that doc says it will take another 4 months (at least) until it reaches its new normal. The new normal is likely to be 40% good vision and 60% partially occluded. The occluded vision includes the focal point, which is bad. Right now I have retinal fluid between the retina and the choroid, which causes a flickering image of constantly moving gray amoebas outlined in yellow light to appear in the occluded portion of my left eye. The flickering is also ‘seen’ by my right eye, so reading text is difficult. Once the natural, small ‘pumps’ within the eye remove the fluid, the flickering should go away - that is where the 4 months comes in.
Hardware and Software
Delphi 2010 is still misbehaving. When I get a chance, I’ll submit a full report on what is wrong to Embarcadero (which currently owns Delphi). I have the choice of paying them to fix their product, or merely asking them to do so. The latter choice comes with no guarantees that they will. But then neither does the former really.
The open items for Theme Engine remain unchanged: (1) scroll bars for the detailed map, and (2) its inability to display detailed listings of file directories (i.e., the dates and stuff when opening or saving a file). Neither of these is important. Fixing Delphi has a low probability of fixing the problems with Theme Engine.
I released versions 9.01.06 (27 fixes), 9.01.07 (12 fixes), 9.01.08 (8 fixes), 9.01.09 (11 fixes), 9.02.00 (24 fixes), 9.02.01 (5 fixes), 9.02.02 (10 fixes), 9.02.03 (16 fixes), 9.02.04 (3 fixes), and 9.02.05 (12 fixes) to the beta testers last month. This totals 10 new versions and 128 fixes, which is above my average numbers for a month. My improved effectiveness is due to good health and the help I get from Aaron and the beta testers (a new a capella group?) in fault isolating bugs, reporting them in detail, and providing saved games so I can recreate them.
About half the new bugs are due to recent changes I make. As always I have to decide when to stop reading over the code and quit running tests. I can’t afford to spend excessive time checking my changes or else I would get very little accomplished. On the other hand introducing new bugs is a pain for everyone; “com ci, com ca”.
Most of the remaining bug reports are due to: (1) rigorous testing how the program performs under a variety of obscure circumstances, and (2) going over the rules with a fine tooth comb. See the Rule Precision section below for specific details.
Aaron and the beta testers are building up a large library of saved games for testing purposes - that’s a big help to me.
Map and Units
Rob and Jimm continue to send in new and/or updated naval and land unit writeups. Aaron keeps the master files and sends me replacement files periodically.
Scenarios and Optional Rules
I fixed ancient bugs in setting up game data for Day of Infamy, so New Caledonia now goes to Free France and Vichy France gets French Polynesia and aligns Madagascar. Japan is able to align Madagascar as long as Madagascar is controlled by Vichy France. What was so difficult about getting this code correct (almost a full day) was that Vichy France doesn't officially exist in the scenario. I need to add code for the external/European event of Germany collapsing Vichy France occurring at a fixed point in the game.
I still need to make modifications to the code for the Transfer Pool in the half map scenarios Fascist Tide and Day of Infamy.
I added the +2 penalty when trying to intercept auxiliary cruisers (Convoys in Flames). This was a bear to get correct because of the complexity of the rules concerning search roll modifiers and search numbers.
What the beta testers and myself are spending a lot of time on is ascertaining precise definitions of some WIF FE rules. Here is what we worked on this past month:
• If France is liberated while Vichy France still exists, the major ports previously held by Vichy are undamaged when converted to French control. Usually when a major port changes control from one side to another, it becomes damaged. The problem our rule interpretation avoids is having newly acquired French naval units overstacked in, say, Toulon.
• When the US player has the option to move, or not to move, markers from the Entry Pools to the Tension Pools and there is more than one marker to be moved for an entry option, he has to either move all the markers for the entry option or none. The US player gets this choice when US Entry Options are made automatically after the US goes to war with Axis major powers.
• The movement of Commonwealth naval units out of Northern Ireland, when the US occupies Northern Ireland is a ‘relocation’ to the nearest port, rather than a rebase.
• I changed the test for conditions under which the Nazi-Soviet pact can be broken. Specifically, setting up or moving units within one of the countries listed for breaking the pact (e.g., Turkey, Sweden), no longer qualifies for breaking the pact, regardless of to whom the minor country units are aligned. Basically, as long as the only units you move in the specified minor countries belong to the minor country itself, then the conditions for breaking the pact are not met. But if you move a unit from a different country into one of the listed minor countries, then the other side can break the pact. For example, if the USSR DOWs Turkey, which is then aligned to Germany, and Germany moves the Rumanian HQ into Turkey, then the USSR can break the pact. However, moving an Italian unit into Turkey would not affect the status of the pact, since Italian units are not controlled by Germany. This applies not only while setting up units, but throughout all phases of the game (e.g., including air units returning to base).
• Any carrier air units aboard a captured carrier are destroyed, along with their pilots.
• Allied units in Italy that count towards the conquest of Italy garrison value must be controlled by a country at war with Italy.
• Vichy France can not build pilots or offensive chits.
• Overrun naval units in iced-in ports, although having rolled well and being permitted to escape, are instead destroyed.
• Which major power decides about continuing to fight or abort from a naval combat is redetermined at the end of each round and is awarded to the major power on each side that has the most units still capable of fighting in the sea area.
• The requisite conditions have to be met before the US can occupy Greenland and Iceland even when that US Entry Option is ‘automatically’ selected due to the US going to war with both EuroAxis major powers.
I am still mulling over what to do with Belgian convoys in Brest (Belgium aligned with France) when Vichy is declared. As French controlled units they should rebase to the nearest Free French or Vichy French port - which one is the choice of the major power controlling Vichy France. But if they go to a Free French port they are likely to violate the Foreign Troop Commitment restrictions since they would belong to one minor country aligned to France and be moving into a port owned by a another minor country aligned to France. That almost forces them to move to a Vichy French port, where (I guess) they would become owned by Vichy France. Murky waters.
I created a small new form for the Liberation phase. All it does is ask a player if he wants to liberate, revert, or ‘neither’ when he controls the capital of a country that was on his side originally. The change here is to include the option to revert. Liberation of a minor country means it is aligned to its liberating major power. Reversion means it is aligned to the major power to which it was originally aligned. If you do neither, then it is conquered by the major power controlling the capital. This is a ‘nag’ form, since if you choose neither, then you will be asked the same question again at the end of the next turn. I really dislike having ‘nag’ forms in the sequence of play but I couldn’t come up with another solution and still remain true to WIF FE, where you can liberate/revert a minor country during a later turn if you so desire.
Remaining on my to-do list is figuring out how to visually indicate when a factory has lost a production point.
Internet - NetPlay
Nothing new last month but I will start work on NetPlay this coming week.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Nothing new. I need to finish checking the names for the Areas of Operation and Land Regions so they conform to the ‘standard’ I am trying to establish.
I have a handful of small edits waiting the Matrix Games editor. He should begin working on the Players Manual and the Rules as Coded documents at the end of November. Currently he is busy finishing up editing material for the new games Matrix Games is releasing this Christmas season.
Tutorials, Training Videos, and Context Sensitive Help
Historical Video, Music, and Sound Effects
I have gotten the music and sound effect files from Dave and they look/sound good. I am missing one sound effect (truck engines) and a couple of the music pieces (for China and Italy), but Dave is working on filling in those holes. I should be able to get the sound effects implemented this month. For more details on sound effects, see the attachment below.
Sound Effects for MWIF
The list below are actual files (WAV). In practice they will sometimes be combined and oftentimes run in a loop. The simplest use is a single Click when a player selects/picks up a unit. If he is picking up a group of units, then a single Stack Click is heard.
Looped sounds (i.e., continuous play) occur most often when moving the cursor over the map. Depending on the terrain type and the weather, different sounds are played if there are no units “in hand”. When the player has a unit or units “in hand” and is repositioning them on the map, the sounds depend on the type of unit and phase of the game. Note that no sound is played if there are no units in hand and the cursor is over water. The same is true most of the time a form is open for review or decision making.
When the combat resolution forms are open, the sounds depend on the type of combat and may be combinations of individual sound effect files. For instance, ground strikes combine the dive bombing sound of a Stuka with explosions. I want to spend some time playing around with this to decide on combinations and the duration of each sound segment.
Of course all sound effects can be turned off. Historical videos are used for invasions and paradrops (rare occurrences) and major events (e.g., conquering a country). Once I get the sound working the way I want, I’ll add in the videos and the music.
1. Click Selecting a unit
2. Stack Click Selecting a stack of units
3. Fine Examining non-jungle land hex during fine weather
4. Jungle Examining jungle hex during fine weather
5. Snow Examining land hex during snow
6. Blizzard Examining land hex during blizzard
7. Rain Examining land hex during rain, or sea hex during rain/snow
8. Storm Examining land hex during storm, or sea hex during strom/blizzard
9. Morse Code Sending messages to other players
10. Tanks Moving Armor/mechanized units in hand
11. Trucks Moving Motorized units in hand
12. Boots marching Foot infantry in hand
13. Hoofbeats Cavalry in hand
14. Partisan Attack Partisan in hand.
15. Aircraft Engine Light Aircraft (other than strategic bomber) in hand
16. Aircraft Engine Heavy Strategic bomber in hand
17. Ships Moving Through Water Naval unit in hand
18. Trains Moving Units in hand during rail movement phase
19. Artillery Fire Land combat, ground strike, and ground support resolution if artillery participates
20. Tank Main Gun Firing Land combat resolution if armor participates
21. Machine Guns Land combat resolution with 2 or more units on both sides
22. Rifle Fire Land combat resolution with only one unit on at least 1 side
23. Aircraft Diving Ground strike resolution if no artillery participates
24. Air Raid Sirens Strategic bombardment resolution
25. Bombs Falling Ground support resolution if no artillery participates, port attack, naval air, and naval surface combat resolution
26. Bombs Landing Port attack, strategic bombing, carpet bombing, ground strike, ground support, naval air, and naval surface combat resolution
27. AA Fire Land Anti-aircraft fire resolution over a land hex (not a port attack)
28. AA Fire Sea Anti-aircraft fire resolution at sea and during a port attack
29. Naval Hunting Sub ASW combat resolution
30. Splashes Port attack, naval air, and naval surface combat resolution
31. Dive Dive Dive ASW combat resolution
32. Clanging During production
33. Fanfare Declaration of war and aligning another country
34. Production Orders During production planning
35. Trade Agreements During lending
Perfection is an elusive goal.