Shannon V. OKeets
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
October 1, 2012 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum
Accomplishments of September 2012
My body is getting in the way of me working on the game - arrgh.
I missed 6 days working on the game traveling to Philly for an annual followup on my eye surgery to treat my melanoma. Then I lost another 5 days due to headaches caused by muscle pain in my neck and shoulder. Pretty much a lost month as far as the beta testers are concerned.
My health, in short:
• My kidneys are fine, with a September sonogram showing no sign of new kidney stones.
• My heart is fine; but the healing from the bypass surgery on my breastbone aggravated a 25 year old injury (broken clavicle) which caused the neck and shoulder pain. I have 3 sessions scheduled this month with a physical therapist which hopefully will abate that discomfort and provide me with exercises to avoid having it reoccur.
• The melanoma in my left eye is dormant and has less than a 5% chance of reoccurring. But a cataract completely blurs my vision in that eye. Wills Eye Hospital in Philly gave their go-ahead to get the cataract removed, so I have that scheduled here (in Honolulu) for October 24th.
Hardware and Software
Matrix/Slitherine Games programmers made more revisions to the code at the NetPlay server end. I haven’t tested those changes yet.
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).
I did not upload a new version for the beta testers in September. That is a first since beta testers began working on MWIF in early 2006. I should be able to do much better this month.
Map, Units, and Scenarios
I received some more naval unit writeups from Warspite.
I spent all of my working time this month on supply. In pondering possibilities I discovered several unusual situations:
• An HQ could be out of supply, yet still act as a secondary supply source. The obvious example here is Gort supplying Egyptian territorial units by tracing a path to an Egyptian city.
• A secondary supply source might use multiple paths to reach primary supply sources. For instance, if von Leeb were cut off from primary supply sources in Germany, he might be able to reach cities in Rumania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. In that situation, he could serve as a secondary supply source for Rumanian, Bulgarian, and Hungarian units, but he would need to use 3 different supply paths.
• Besides supplying minor country units, a secondary supply source might use multiple paths to supply major power units too. Here the example is Clark in southwestern France tracing paths to a French city and a British city. Clark, although unable to trace a path to the US, could supply US, French, and Commonwealth units, but would need to use two separate supply paths for the units belonging to the cooperating major powers. Assuming that the Axis had control of Cape St. Vincent, US naval units in Malta could trace to Clark and from there to a French city. But Commonwealth naval units in Malta would be out of supply since the supply path would have to go overseas twice.
• A tertiary supply source might also need multiple paths. For example, if von Leeb is cut off from primary supply sources in Germany, he might be able to reach Antonescu and Mannerheim, both of which could reach a city in Germany. In this circumstance, von Leeb would be in supply and capable of supplying all German, Rumanian, and Finnish units. But he would not be able to supply Italian or Hungarian units. Note that to supply the Rumanian and Finnish units, von Leeb would need to use different supply paths.
• Another odd instance is where German units could trace to Bucharest (secondary: capital of aligned minor country) and from there to Trieste (primary: city belonging to cooperating major power), even though Italian units could not use Bucharest and Rumanian units could not use Trieste.
To accommodate all the above, I had to add some variables to store multiple paths for secondary supply sources. I also renamed some variables to make their purpose easier to understand.
Besides straightening out multiple paths, I worked on eliminating supply path searches. That is the only big problem remaining with supply: reducing the time required to calculate all supply paths from scratch. What I have done is consolidate all the searches for railway supply paths from a secondary-to-primary to just one search for each secondary supply source. The search starts by looking for an overland path to a primary supply source for the major power (M) which controls the secondary supply source. If that succeeds, then no more searches are necessary, since the secondary can then be used to supply all of M’s units, as well as units belonging to major powers that cooperate with M (if they cooperate with the secondary), and units belonging to minor countries aligned with M (if they can make use of the secondary).
But if that search fails, then a quick review is made of all the hexes that were just examined, looking for primary supply sources belonging to cooperating major powers and aligned minor countries. If any are found, then those paths are stored. This followup to failed searches eliminates the need to search later for possible uses for the secondary supply source. In fact, minor countries do not need to perform any searches for secondary-to-primary paths, since any secondary that they might use was already been checked when the search was performed for its controlling major power.
Lastly, failed searches also initiate a further review of all the hexes that were just examined, looking for ports. Ports might be used for extending the search overseas. There are other routines that perform the overseas searches and combine the three links (overland, overseas, and overland) into a single path. Exactly the same as for the overland routes, overseas routes might require storing multiple paths. But the key point here is that for each secondary supply source, only one search is conducted trying to find a railway path to a primary.
Still left to do is:
• read through the code for determining tertiary supply for major powers and seeing if that code can simultaneously make the same determination for minor countries (this is what I did for secondary supply as described above),
• write a routine to determine if a supply path, that was previously valid, is still valid; this will drastically reduce the time required to recalculate supply,
• check and evaluate when supply is calculated/recalculated during game play (the beta testers have reported instances when it hasn’t been recalculated when it should have),
• check if the time required to calculate supply the first time (i.e., from scratch) is now acceptable.
Internet - NetPlay
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Nothing new: both the Players Manual and Rules as Coded are in the hands of the Matrix Games graphics person, who is doing the final layouts for how those will appear as PDFs and in print.
Tutorials and Training Videos
I still have one bug to fix for the tutorial on Production (so production can be performed for multiple countries within the tutorial). Otherwise the tutorials are done.
I need to re-record the 6th and create the last three Training Videos: 10th, 11th, and 12th. The 6th (main form and drop down menus) needs redoing because I have seriously modified some forms since I recorded that video in December of 2009. The last 3 training videos are for naval movement, naval combat, and production/politics.
Historical Video, Music, and Sound Effects
I now have all the files I need as WAV files. What’s needed is for me to insert calls into the sequence of play to activate these glitz elements.
< Message edited by Shannon V. OKeets -- 10/4/2012 2:04:40 AM >
Perfection is an elusive goal.