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RE: When? - 11/15/2011 3:50:02 PM   
Red Prince


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Sadly, I completely agree with you, Klydon. No game can be tested so completely that it can get out the door bug-free. We hope to be able to deal with that as well as or better than most games. And we also hope to have fewer than most games when the time comes.

On another note, I'd like to invite you to express your opinions (if you have any) on the Global War AAR I am running . . . I am actually fairly new to WiF as it is actually played. I read the RAW faithfully twice a year for 15 years before joining the beta-test team, but I had never played an actual game, so I make mistakes that people catch and help me to correct. I'd love as much input as possible.

That goes for everyone, new to the game or seasoned veteran. I am not proud in my play. I have certain goals (for testing reasons), but they are very flexible, so voice your thoughts, and sound the trumpets!

-Aaron

< Message edited by Red Prince -- 11/15/2011 3:51:57 PM >


_____________________________

Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it!
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Post #: 2461
RE: When? - 11/15/2011 6:36:26 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Klydon

Obviously everyone wants it sooner rather than later, but in my mind, there has been proof of significant progress here lately with the two posted AARs. When they start posting AARs, you know the game is up to the point that it is at least in a workable format for the most part. Consider it like a ship being launched from the slip. It is floating, but much work remains to be done before the ship will be ready to go.

Even when this game is released, if any of the other games are to be a measure, there are going to be issues with it, despite the best efforts of the staff and testers (WITP, WITE to name two examples).



For me, undiscovered bugs are more terrifying than things that go bump in the night.

I have numbered reported bugs from way back when beta testers first started working on the game (March 2006). Several times I restarted my numbering scheme because the counts got close to 1000 and I wanted to limit the numbers to 3 digits. My guess is that there have 4000-5000 bugs reported. Now many of the early ones concerned the things I was working on then: graphics for the units and map. Later there were data issues with those same items. Each of the 150 forms has been critqued by the beta testers, which I usually recorded as bugs, even if they were cosmetic. On the other hand, there were a lot of bugs reported that I immediately corrected, without them ever making it to my master list.

These days most of the bugs concern subtleties in the rules, or complex sequences of events. For example: an overrun naval unit is intercepted, a naval combat is fought, aborting units from the naval combat are intercepted on their way back to port, resulting a second naval combat. All the various naval unit movements need to be completed in the correct order and eventually the sequence of play has to return to the land movement phase where the overrun first occurred.

My intension is to reduce reported bugs to zero before releasing the game. To do otherwise seems silly to me. Why sell something that you know will fail under certain circumstances? Conversely, it is perfectly acceptable to simply not implement some of the optional rules or desirable but non-essential features. So if either of those have bugs associated with them, then those rules/features can be delayed for a 'post-release' version of the product.

As Aaron said, everyone has the same goal here: a high quality product ASAP.

< Message edited by Shannon V. OKeets -- 11/15/2011 6:38:08 PM >


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Perfection is an elusive goal.

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Post #: 2462
RE: When? - 11/15/2011 8:46:56 PM   
Klydon


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I should rephrase that Steve as I meant no slight to you guys as you are obviously squashing bugs and doing as much as possible to make sure the product is a quality one coming out.

The simple math would dictate however that when a game is released, it will go from being tested by a smallish group of beta testers (who are working hard to make sure the game is right as well) to being released to a huge pool of people that will also run it through its paces. In that huge expansion, there are bound to be things that got missed or simply didn't come up from beta testing that will get exposed. No fault of anyone except we are all human and do the best we can. They will get caught, improvements made, etc and patches done to make the game even better.

As far as a knowledgeable player of WiF, I have to say I am not. An old player of WiF might be more accurate as I first played with the game in the early 80's and thought it was one of the best games ever done at the time and it still is when it comes to a WW2 strategic scale game. It puts games like Third Reich to shame. I have some of the early expansions, but never got a chance to play them. I think the last I played was 5th edition without any expansions.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 2463
RE: When? - 11/16/2011 12:08:46 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Klydon

I should rephrase that Steve as I meant no slight to you guys as you are obviously squashing bugs and doing as much as possible to make sure the product is a quality one coming out.

The simple math would dictate however that when a game is released, it will go from being tested by a smallish group of beta testers (who are working hard to make sure the game is right as well) to being released to a huge pool of people that will also run it through its paces. In that huge expansion, there are bound to be things that got missed or simply didn't come up from beta testing that will get exposed. No fault of anyone except we are all human and do the best we can. They will get caught, improvements made, etc and patches done to make the game even better.

As far as a knowledgeable player of WiF, I have to say I am not. An old player of WiF might be more accurate as I first played with the game in the early 80's and thought it was one of the best games ever done at the time and it still is when it comes to a WW2 strategic scale game. It puts games like Third Reich to shame. I have some of the early expansions, but never got a chance to play them. I think the last I played was 5th edition without any expansions.

Yes, I agree.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

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Post #: 2464
RE: When? - 11/17/2011 3:39:56 AM   
Grotius


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I've been testing the game for years, and it's been a pleasure to work with Steve and Aaron. Steve lives and breathes this game -- he works seven days a week, 16 hours a day, as far as I can tell. If I post a bug or email him something, I almost invariably hear back within an hour or so. He takes every bug report seriously. (Er, I hope this lavish praise doesn't violate the NDA!)

And yes, it's true that the sheer volume of purchasers will find things we testers miss. MWIF is an extraordinarily complex game, and it takes a good deal of time for me to reproduce just one bug. But Steve is very good at stomping them once we can reproduce them.



< Message edited by Grotius -- 11/17/2011 3:41:24 AM >

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Post #: 2465
RE: When? - 11/22/2011 7:00:46 PM   
von altair


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Back to topic: Any ETA for the game yet??


"Soon" isin't enough anymore, since that it has been for years already :)




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"Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?"

-Axel Oxenstierna

(in reply to Grotius)
Post #: 2466
RE: When? - 11/22/2011 8:04:31 PM   
Centuur


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quote:

ORIGINAL: von altair

Back to topic: Any ETA for the game yet??


"Soon" isin't enough anymore, since that it has been for years already :)




I robbed this quote from last page. It's from Red Prince...

"My point, I guess, is that a decision was made in 2009 not to speculate on release dates, because setbacks can cause quite a bit of anger. Since that time, all that we can really tell you is what you see in the Monthly Reports. They do show a lot of progress, particularly if you try to read them all the way from the first to the most recent (not an easy task, I admit). If you care to make your own estimates from that, you are welcome to speculate, but it is beyond our abilities to tell you any of the following:

The date of the Apocalypse
The year the Cubs will next win the World Series
How many matches AIK will win next season
Exactly when MWiF will first be installed on your computer


I'm sorry about this, but it's just the way things are.

We are doing our best to show you where things stand (Global War AAR, among others), as well as tell you where things stand. But sometimes things get in the way: Steve's eye surgery and kidney stone, my pneumonia, troubles with Delphi . . . . the dog eating our homework . . . you name it.

I swear to you that if I told you right now that this game would be released on Date X of Month Y in Year Z . . . . there isn't a chance that Lloyds of London would give any odds at all. Not because I'm wrong, but beause things are too dynamic. It might end up being Month M insetead, and all would be happy. Or, it could be Year Z+2, and everyone would scream bloody murder. Lloyds wouldn't like that.

Please believe me when I tell you we are all doing our best to get this game on the shelves as soon as humanly possible. To quote once more from that series, Stargate: SG-1: "It's what we do."

End of quote...

So take some popcorn or chocolate and go to the AAR Global War thread and start critizising Red Prince for all the moves he makes (since he's an inexperienced player, I'm really having a ball, watching him ). That's all there is at the moment...

_____________________________

Peter

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Post #: 2467
RE: When? - 11/22/2011 8:11:20 PM   
Red Prince


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I'm a little dumbfounded, really. I'm glad my words had an impression, and thnk you for deeming them worth repeating, Centuur.

As for you having a ball . . .

And I'm glad you're enjoying it. It's teaching me a lot . . . not that it's been helping much, but it is teaching me.

_____________________________

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Post #: 2468
RE: When? - 11/22/2011 8:29:54 PM   
michaelbaldur


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deleted

< Message edited by michaelbaldur -- 11/23/2011 3:40:21 AM >


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I work hard, not smart.

beta tester and Mwif expert

(in reply to Red Prince)
Post #: 2469
RE: When? - 11/24/2011 8:18:05 PM   
brian brian

 

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the Apocalypse failed to come this year.

twice.

the Cubs though, hired a brand-new front office and management team. maybe the owners were rather entranced by Brad Pitt in Moneyball...

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Post #: 2470
RE: When? - 11/24/2011 9:27:08 PM   
michaelbaldur


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quote:

ORIGINAL: brian brian

the Apocalypse failed to come this year.

twice.

the Cubs though, hired a brand-new front office and management team. maybe the owners were rather entranced by Brad Pitt in Moneyball...


are you sure that Apocalypse have not happened.

just see the colts season

_____________________________

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 brian brian)
Post #: 2471
RE: When? - 11/24/2011 9:58:27 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: brian brian

the Apocalypse failed to come this year.

twice.

the Cubs though, hired a brand-new front office and management team. maybe the owners were rather entranced by Brad Pitt in Moneyball...
Warspite1

Genuine Frontier Gibberish

_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty - Horatio Nelson 1805.




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Post #: 2472
RE: When? - 11/24/2011 10:26:36 PM   
Red Prince


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: brian brian

the Apocalypse failed to come this year.

twice.

the Cubs though, hired a brand-new front office and management team. maybe the owners were rather entranced by Brad Pitt in Moneyball...
Warspite1

Genuine Frontier Gibberish

Terrific film!

_____________________________

Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it!
-Lazarus Long, RAH

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Post #: 2473
RE: When? - 11/29/2011 9:17:53 AM   
Svejk

 

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[/quote]
Well, knowing that Steve is married, I think his wife will keep him in check. I know my wife keeps me in check if I'm doing things I shouldn't do...
[/quote]
A clever, now dead, great uncle of mine, used to call his wife 'the brake'. Mind you, I have had two brakes in my time, and I've burnt 'em both out :(

As for the release date of the game. Crikey, I remember back in the day reading a post of Greyshaft, (who I think I might have gone to university with if it's the same Lord Greyshaft). This was back a good way. And I confess I was a doubter. But now years and mountains of work by the developers later there is a real prospect of a release before we all croak. Hooray!



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Post #: 2474
RE: When? - 11/30/2011 1:19:13 PM   
Skanvak

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: von altair

Back to topic: Any ETA for the game yet??

"Soon" isin't enough anymore, since that it has been for years already :)



An heretic! Burn him alive.

PS : we need to fix baku location on the map.


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Best regards

Skanvak

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Post #: 2475
RE: When? - 11/30/2011 3:08:54 PM   
J P Falcon

 

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How about offering the game as a pre-release, perhaps at a few dollars off of what the final price would be, with the understanding that it is still a build so that you have more people working on it? No one can complain, because they knew they were becoming a member of the build team at the time of purchase, and would of course receieve all the updates as well....might help both sides as it sate those who want to try the game now, and have more people finding potential problems....

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RE: When? - 11/30/2011 4:45:49 PM   
Joseignacio


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If I remember well, this was commented and rejected before. Don't remember if because of Matrix or because of Steve but it's all the same, isn't it?

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RE: When? - 11/30/2011 5:38:38 PM   
J P Falcon

 

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I can understand that if it is Matrix because hey have never done that in the past; it was just a pasing thought....

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Post #: 2478
RE: When? - 12/1/2011 7:23:54 AM   
Red Prince


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I don't think I was around for the last time this was suggested, but from where I stand, this would not actually help all that much in terms of "fixing the game" for final release.

As you may know, it's been a rough month for me. Recovering from pneumonia has cut the time I can put in from 9-13 hours daily down to 2-3 hours if I'm lucky. I've been using that trying to get work done on the test game I've been posting in the Global War AAR.

During September and October, after Steve's eye surgery, I was responsible for the tasks of collecting, organizing, and detailing the bugs reported by the beta-testers. From this, I created daily reports for Steve to review and work on. This task alone used up about 4-5 hours of my day, since we are also trying to implement a more efficient and structured system for eliminating the bugs that remain. In fact, new bugs reported in October were only half the number reported in September, so I think a lot of progress was made in that respect. From this experience (which I hope to take up again once I'm fully recovered), I can tell you that running MWiF as an "open beta" version would require a primary team 2 to 3 times the size of what we currently have. Steve would need someone to do the job I was doing (me, when recovered), and I would need several assistants myself.

It's a critical mass kind of thing. Mid-way through 2011, we were overwhelming Steve with bug reports, and he had to split his time between organizing them and programming. When I took over the organizational process, it allowed Steve to focus completely on programming, and that had a significant impact on the amount of work he could get done each day -- even while recovering from eye surgery and a kidney stone the size of Gibraltar. It is my belief (and Steve or Matrix may disagree with me here) that an open beta would put us back into the realm of an overwhelming workload, and that would be counter-productive.

So, whether it was Matrix or Steve who rejected the idea the last time around, it is my opinion (hopefully fairly educated) that this would be a Bad Idea.

I'm sorry if that disappoints you, but I want to be honest.

-Aaron

_____________________________

Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it!
-Lazarus Long, RAH

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Post #: 2479
RE: When? - 12/1/2011 2:24:26 PM   
Scott_WAR

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Red Prince

would require a primary team 2 to 3 times the size of what we currently have. Steve would need someone to do the job I was doing (me, when recovered), and I would need several assistants myself.

When I took over the organizational process, it allowed Steve to focus completely on programming, and that had a significant impact on the amount of work he could get done each day -- even while recovering from eye surgery and a kidney stone the size of Gibraltar.


-Aaron

I just quoted a couple of parts........

maybe it wouldnt be such a bad idea to actually get some more people working on the game. Especially since it seems health issues have affected both of you..............

EDIT- Just wanted to add that everyone has problems,... be it family, health, etc,..so please dont take this as criticizing anyone for having issues,....ESPECIALLY health issues. I am happy to hear that both of you are doing better.

< Message edited by Scott_WAR -- 12/1/2011 2:37:46 PM >

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Post #: 2480
RE: When? - 12/1/2011 2:42:49 PM   
Joseignacio


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Anyway, obviously, this is something up to Steve to decide. There may be contractual matters, his own oipinion about the need itself or about wether he wants to work with a team or not, and also the matter of sharing his profits with more people.

He already said no, so unless he changes his mind, it's no...

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Post #: 2481
RE: When? - 12/2/2011 8:31:43 PM   
PaxMondo


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Red Prince

I don't think I was around for the last time this was suggested, but from where I stand, this would not actually help all that much in terms of "fixing the game" for final release.

As you may know, it's been a rough month for me. Recovering from pneumonia has cut the time I can put in from 9-13 hours daily down to 2-3 hours if I'm lucky. I've been using that trying to get work done on the test game I've been posting in the Global War AAR.

During September and October, after Steve's eye surgery, I was responsible for the tasks of collecting, organizing, and detailing the bugs reported by the beta-testers. From this, I created daily reports for Steve to review and work on. This task alone used up about 4-5 hours of my day, since we are also trying to implement a more efficient and structured system for eliminating the bugs that remain. In fact, new bugs reported in October were only half the number reported in September, so I think a lot of progress was made in that respect. From this experience (which I hope to take up again once I'm fully recovered), I can tell you that running MWiF as an "open beta" version would require a primary team 2 to 3 times the size of what we currently have. Steve would need someone to do the job I was doing (me, when recovered), and I would need several assistants myself.

It's a critical mass kind of thing. Mid-way through 2011, we were overwhelming Steve with bug reports, and he had to split his time between organizing them and programming. When I took over the organizational process, it allowed Steve to focus completely on programming, and that had a significant impact on the amount of work he could get done each day -- even while recovering from eye surgery and a kidney stone the size of Gibraltar. It is my belief (and Steve or Matrix may disagree with me here) that an open beta would put us back into the realm of an overwhelming workload, and that would be counter-productive.

So, whether it was Matrix or Steve who rejected the idea the last time around, it is my opinion (hopefully fairly educated) that this would be a Bad Idea.

I'm sorry if that disappoints you, but I want to be honest.

-Aaron

Having been a beta member for a number of game (different development houses), I would agree with your assessment completely. A Public beta at this time would consume so much resource to just track the input, that it would further delay the release of the game.

Public betas are very effective for "polishing" a product .... not for development. You use them later in the product cycle to track down those last few bugs that show up infrequently and/or unrepeatably (the worst type), so having a large pool of testers gets you data on them that you otherwise cannot collect.

_____________________________

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Post #: 2482
RE: When? - 12/3/2011 2:02:17 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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December 1, 2011 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum
Accomplishments of November 2011

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

Aaron’s bout with pneumonia has sidelined him from maintaining my task list, and from performing numerous other tasks he’s been doing to support MWIF development. Until his health improves, I am back to keeping track of my task list on my own.

But on the positive side, Rolf now has some time to help out with the programming. I just uploaded the current version of the source code for him to work with. Later today I’ll select some of the new bug reports from version 9.02.05 for him to fix.

My health is so-so, which is relatively good news. To prevent a reoccurrence of a kidney stone, I have rather dramatically changed my diet. One element of that is simply drinking 80 ounces of liquids every day, mostly water. But my food intake has also been overhauled. In general, I am unhappy with the dietary changes, but maybe after tweaking it for another month or so, I’ll be able to make it less drab. My eye still interferes with my ability to work long hours; I’m down from 8-10 per day to 6-8 per day (although still 7 days a week).

My long struggle with rewriting the Supply routines this month (detailed below), made me question whether my memory was fading. To check on that I decided to memorize the periodic table of elements. That went pretty fast. After 1 week I had learned the first 5 rows (72 elements). That was all I wanted to learn. Next year I might go back and reread the college chemistry book I bought ten years ago. Understanding the references to individual chemical elements better should make comprehending the text easier.

Hardware and Software
Delphi 2010 is still misbehaving. When time permits, I’ll submit a full report on what is wrong to Embarcadero (which currently owns Delphi).

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.

At the end of the month I purchased an upgrade to the latest version of WordPerfect Office (it was on sale), which I use for all my writing, spreadsheet, and database work. I’ll try to find the time the install it once I finally beat the Supply routines into submission.

Beta Testing
I only released 1 new version to the beta testers this month: 9.03.00 and that only had 9 fixes. I spent the entire month working virtually exclusively on a rewrite of the Supply routines. On the plus side, the beta testers did not find a lot of new bugs. I need to sort through the bug report thread on version 9.02.05 to identify which ones are reports on new bugs and which are new reports on previously reported bugs.

Saved Games
The beta testers are CC’ing me on saved games they send to Aaron for testing and archival purposes. The save and restore code continues to work flawlessly, as it has for months now.

Map and Units
Rob and Jimm send in new and/or updated naval and land unit writeups from time to time. Aaron keeps the master files and sends me replacement files periodically.

Scenarios and Optional Rules
Nothing new.

Rule Precision
At the beginning of the month I had my rewrite of supply working correctly to:
• calculate primary supply sources for major powers (including cooperative major powers)
• calculate primary supply sources for minor countries (including their parent major powers)
• the above includes HQ supply for the turn and the impulse
• calculate secondary supply sources for major powers: HQs and aligned/conquered minor country capitals
• the above includes HQs belonging to cooperative major powers
• calculate HQ secondary supply sources for minor countries (including their parent major powers)
• all of the above could include overseas links using any of the related optional rules.

The problem was that it was taking too long. After a couple of days I was able to reduce the time from 9 minutes to 9 seconds. Presently it takes 5 seconds to execute the above list, regardless of which optional rules are being used. That is when starting from scratch. It should run effectively instantaneously when simply checking whether previous sources and paths are still valid.

I’ve since added the ability to have units trace to supply sources. That took me a couple of weeks to accomplish. The difficulty was that my design for data storage was flawed and I needed to go back and make substantial revisions. Ripping apart code when modifying data structures is particularly difficult. There was one typo I made where a TObject was defined as a TObjectTable. That caused the program to overwrite the executable code, resulting in bizarre fatal errors that occurred in different places at different times. A real nightmare to figure out. Every day I would get up and try to figure out what was going wrong. I did that for over a week before I finally ‘saw’ the error.

Currently I am whiling away the hours delving into why the overseas paths, which are correctly identified, are being stored as several long lists instead of one path per secondary supply source/unit. I found an index that was wrong late last night but making that change this morning only partially alleviated the program’s propensity to route Oslo supply for the Germans through the Med and South China Seas. At least the Allied supply paths are no longer being appended to the path. To repeat, the program finds the path from Oslo to the Baltic to Konigsberg, but then the process of storing that information in the data lists is messed up. It seems to be overwritten by Rommel’s supply route from North Africa and the Japanese HQ’s in China.

If no overseas paths are needed, all the code works - to the best of my knowledge. For instance, the Barbarossa scenario computes supply perfectly using the new routines. It executes the supply determination from scratch in a fraction of a second. But when I apply the heavy duty test using the Brute Force scenario, with the US fully in the war and units scattered all over the map, the overseas routines break down.

The supply code is separated into 4 modules:
• Supply Links, which defines most of the data structures and the routines for identifying supply sources.
• Supply Searches, which has the more complex algorithms for tracing supply from point A to point B.
• Sea Area Supply, which traces supply overseas and pieces together the supply connections from secondary supply source to departure port, first to the overseas path, and finally with the arrival port to primary supply source.
• Supply Sources and Paths, which is the form that displays the sources and paths for review.

The file sizes for those modules are 2050, 2560, 2250, and 1210 respectively. At different times during the month those file sizes expanded and contracted as I made significant mods to the code. All-in-all it is 8,000 lines of code that includes a lot of tables, arrays, indices, pointers, and search algorithms.

You might think that the optional rules are what is causing problems, but they aren’t. At some point I will have to code the search for isolated units (infinite supply paths) which makes me worry about the time it might take to ‘prove’ that a unit is isolated. But since isolation comes up rarely and is usually caused by a unit being surrounded by enemy ZOCs, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get to it execute quickly.

The way the supply searches work is to view each hexagon as the central focal point of 7 hexagons. By computing and recording information on each of the 6 adjacent hexes and hexsides, these TSearchHexes enable the program to compute which of several possible destination hexes is closest and to ‘head’ in that direction. For instance, in the attached screenshot, the potential secondary supply source Tallinn needs to trace a rail path to a primary supply source before it can function as a secondary supply source. The program checks each adjacent hex and marks hexsides 0, 1, and 3 as impassable.

[See the all sea hex in the attached figure for hexside numbers. Hexside 0 is to the west and the other 5 hexsides are numbered clockwise from there. The easy way to remember this is that hexside 2 is at 2 o’clock, 3 at 3 o’clock, and 4 at 4 o’clock. With those in place, figuring out which hexsides are 0, 1, and 5 is easy.]

Of the other 3 hexsides, the program prefers hexside 3, since it uses a rail connection which does not expend one of the limited number of Basic Path Hexes available for a rail path. Then the program evaluates the six hexes adjacent to the new TSearchHex, (38, 49). Hexside 0 leads back to a hex already examined, so that hexside is non-viable. Hexside 1 is impassable. Through hexside 2 is an all-sea hex which is recorded in the TSearchHexes list as non-viable. Of the 3 remaining hexsides both 3 and 4 have rail connections. They are also both 3 hexes away from the nearest primary supply source. But hex (38, 50) is preferred because it is 3 hexes away from 2 primary supply sources (Leningrad and Pskov), while (39, 49) has only 1 primary supply source within 3 hexes (Pskov). The logic continues processing and the rail path reaches Leningrad without expending any Basic Path Hexes. That means it will be viable regardless of the weather conditions.

Here are some of my notes on finding rail paths (secondary to primary). To understand these notes you need to know that a secondary to primary overseas path is composed of 3 pieces: 2ndary to departure port, overseas path, and arrival port to primary. The two land pieces can use up to 3 Basic Path Hexes maximum, since the overseas piece always uses 1 BPH.

1. When failing in a search for an overland rail path from a secondary supply source to a primary, the algorithm identifies all the ports it can reach. So when the search fails, the program stores all the ports the supply source could reach using 3 or less Basic Path Hexes (BPH). Those have the potential for being Departure Ports and are labeled ReachableDeparturePorts (for the given 2ndary supply source) and store the index into the list of port hexes. Also stored is the path used to reach the departure port (so it doesn't have to be recomputed later).

2. Searches for Arrival Ports are performed for a major power or a minor country if (and only if) the country has a secondary supply source that could not reach a primary using an overland route (a.k.a, the supply source is OOS 2ndary), but the supply source has to be able to reach a port. Japan almost always fulfills this criterion because of the captured capitals it controls in mainland Asia.

3. Assuming #2 has been satisfied, sea areas that can be used (i.e., not blocked by the enemy or other overseas supply rules) are then computed for the given major power/minor country. The list of possible Departure Ports is trimmed to only those which connect to the just computed viable sea areas.

4. The list of Failed Arrival Ports is initialized to all the departure ports that could be reached by any OOS 2ndary using 0 or 1 BPH (computed in step #1). We already know those ports can not reach a primary via an overland route using 3 or less BPHs.

5. The full list of ports is then processed looking for viable arrival ports, skipping those in the list of Failed Arrival Ports and those that are not adjacent to a sea area identified in step #3. Also, if an adjacent sea area has been marked with a BPH of 1, the port is skipped (see steps #7 and #8 below). Of course if the port fails any of the other conditions for being used in a supply path, it is also skipped.

6. Processing a potential Arrival Port consists of trying to find a rail path from the port to a primary supply source. If the search fails, then the searched hexes are reviewed, and any port in the search path that could be reached using 0 BPHs is added to the list of Failed Arrival Ports. We already know that these ports can not be connected to a primary using 3 or less BPHs.

7. When processing finds a path from an arrival port to a primary supply source, the adjacent sea area is marked with the number of BPHs used for that connection. The minimum is 1, which counts the overseas path arriving in the port.

8. Successful sea areas identified in #7 are immediately propagated to all other sea areas; which means that the BPH number is propagated. The paths for both the arrival port to primary and propagated sea areas are stored so they do not need to be recomputed.

9. The search for arrival ports continues until all ports have been examined.

10. After all the Arrival Ports have been found, the list of OOS 2ndary are checked to see if their Departure Ports connect to a sea area with a low enough BPH number to satisfy the total BPH limit (which depends on the HQ's hex's weather).

11. The full path for each OOS 2ndary that has succeeded in step #10 is pieced together using 3 links: 2ndary to departure port, overseas, and from arrival port to primary. The full path is stored for the 2ndary supply source.

The advantages of this algorithm are several:

A. HQs that are cut off from reaching a primary supply source overland are not examined if they are unable to reach any port. This is likely to occur quite often in the USSR and China. No searches need to be done for overseas paths for those units.

B. Secondary supply sources that can not reach a port that connects to a sea area identified in #3 do not require processing for overseas routes. For example, if Japan loses control of the sea areas around its home country, no overseas supply computations are necessary for Japan.

C. Ports that can be reached by OOS 2ndary are removed from the list of possible Arrival Ports. This has the advantage of not having the ports in, say, Egypt, trying to reach a primary supply source overland multiple times.

D. Failed searches for Arrival Ports can add numerous entries to the Failed Arrival Port list. For example, if a Chinese HQ, cut off from reaching a primary supply source overland, can reach a sea area (e.g., the HQ is in a coastal hex) then searching all the US and Commonwealth and USSR ports for railway paths to, say, Chungking, only needs to be done once for each rail network. If San Francisco fails as an Arrival Port, then the program knows to skip all the other ports that connect via rail to San Francisco. Each rail network is searched only once for all OOS 2ndary for a major power. Note that the search algorithm searches for ANY primary supply source for the major power. Hence, it is only executed once for ALL primary supply sources.

E. Once a sea area has been found with a BPH of 1, then all the ports adjacent to that sea area are skipped. This means that when a major power controls numerous ports on the same sea area, we only have to find one Arrival Port that connects to a primary at a cost of zero BPH.

F. The propagation of sea areas with a BPH of 1 can have strange, but valid, effects. When searching for an overseas path for Colombo, Ceylon, the program finds a path to Liverpool, ignoring the presence of all the primary supply sources in India. That’s because an overseas link to Liverpool was found earlier and is immediately available, without performing any additional searches.

Finding supply paths for units and tertiary supply sources is vastly simpler, since the maximum BPH is 4 and rail hexes xost the same as other hexes. Note that rail networks are dynamic, since the movement of units can cut supply path connections.

Player Interface
I did a lot of work on the Supply Sources and Path form this month. It now identifies all the supply sources, primary and secondary, and shows how many units are being supplied by each. When you click on a supply source, the actual units are shown in a list at the bottom of the form. For secondary supply sources, the supply path it uses to reach a primary is shown. Clicking on a unit image, causes the supply path for the unit to appear. At some point I want to add a button for displaying all the units that are out of supply: both secondary supply sources (which may include cities) and units.

Internet - NetPlay
Nothing new last month. My work on NetPlay is delayed until I can coordinate with other programmers at Matrix Games/Slitherine. They have a system that they are using for other games and if possible, I want to fit MWIF into the design they already have working. From my preliminary reading of what they have done, that may be feasible. No sense reinventing the wheel.

PBEM
Nothing new.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
I finished checking the names for the Areas of Operation and Land Regions so they conform to the ‘standard’ I set up. The major task remaining is to change the data file for the terrain, adding a digit to the end of the row of data for each land hex. There are 70,200 hexes, each of which has its own row of data. Mercifully, the all-sea hexes do not need to be edited (they use the default value).

Player’s Manual
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 this week.

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

Historical Video, Music, and Sound Effects
Nothing new.

Marketing
Nothing new.

Communications
Nothing new.





Attachment (1)

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Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to PaxMondo)
Post #: 2483
RE: When? - 12/3/2011 11:33:37 PM   
npilgaard

 

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

My long struggle with rewriting the Supply routines this month (detailed below), made me question whether my memory was fading. To check on that I decided to memorize the periodic table of elements. That went pretty fast. After 1 week I had learned the first 5 rows (72 elements).

Not to bad - at all!

quote:

Every day I would get up and try to figure out what was going wrong. I did that for over a week before I finally ‘saw’ the error.

I don't think I've ever 'met' anyone with such a degree of determination and commitment as is shown on this project! I've probably said so before, but I find it truly impressive!


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Regards
Nikolaj

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 2484
RE: When? - 12/13/2011 2:54:52 AM   
Crimguy


Posts: 1345
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From: Cave Creek, AZ
Status: offline
I'm firmly convinced this is the cruelist thread in the world. I've been staring at this progress update for I don't know how many years.

I'm beginning to appreciate Steve Jobs "Surprise" keynotes. . .

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(in reply to npilgaard)
Post #: 2485
RE: When? - 12/13/2011 10:45:30 PM   
Red Prince


Posts: 3686
Joined: 4/8/2011
From: Bangor, Maine, USA
Status: offline
It is not our aim to be cruel. That is just a little bonus we get by posting in this thread.

Just teasing you. I know how you feel, but this is the place to find updates. I'm sorry that it causes you any mental anguish.

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Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it!
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(in reply to Crimguy)
Post #: 2486
RE: When? - 12/14/2011 3:20:56 PM   
micheljq


Posts: 687
Joined: 3/31/2008
From: Quebec
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

December 1, 2011 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Beta Testing
I only released 1 new version to the beta testers this month: 9.03.00 and that only had 9 fixes. I spent the entire month working virtually exclusively on a rewrite of the Supply routines. On the plus side, the beta testers did not find a lot of new bugs. I need to sort through the bug report thread on version 9.02.05 to identify which ones are reports on new bugs and which are new reports on previously reported bugs.



If the beta testers did not find a lot of new bugs lately this is a very good sign.


_____________________________

Michel Desjardins,
"Patriotism is a virtue of the vicious" - Oscar Wilde
"History is a set of lies agreed upon" - Napoleon Bonaparte after the battle of Waterloo, june 18th, 1815

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 2487
RE: When? - 12/14/2011 5:33:45 PM   
Centuur


Posts: 3860
Joined: 6/3/2011
From: Hoorn (NED).
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: micheljq


quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

December 1, 2011 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Beta Testing
I only released 1 new version to the beta testers this month: 9.03.00 and that only had 9 fixes. I spent the entire month working virtually exclusively on a rewrite of the Supply routines. On the plus side, the beta testers did not find a lot of new bugs. I need to sort through the bug report thread on version 9.02.05 to identify which ones are reports on new bugs and which are new reports on previously reported bugs.



If the beta testers did not find a lot of new bugs lately this is a very good sign.


Yes, it is. However, it's only one month... Wait and see what happens during december/january...

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Peter

(in reply to micheljq)
Post #: 2488
RE: When? - 12/16/2011 5:03:58 PM   
rjl518


Posts: 92
Joined: 11/27/2010
Status: offline
i will admit...i have been waiting for this game for years ever since matrixgames was going to develop it...please take your time and make sure you release the best game u possibly can...but when this game is finished and released...it will be the BIGGEST...MOST COMPREHENSIVE GRAND STRATEGY WORLD WAR II COMPUTER WARGAME EVER RELEASED IN HUMAN HISTORY!!!!

this game will replace all other games in its class....take my word for it.



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(in reply to Centuur)
Post #: 2489
RE: When? - 12/26/2011 5:05:16 AM   
NickStone

 

Posts: 13
Joined: 10/28/2004
Status: offline
Hmm,

I think this game will be a good one.... if only it ever came out. I don't think it should be released unfinished, no, but after the long years I've sat waiting for this one, you would think we would get at least a finished product by now. I know people are going to grumble about my complaining but seriously people, this one has been in production for a long time now. Years, what a decade, and I'm starting to think it will never get out.
Another year is passing and the only thing I can can think WIF will be is... vaporware......

Sad, very sad indeed....

(in reply to rjl518)
Post #: 2490
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