RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (Full Version)

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Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (3/2/2017 3:02:57 AM)

March 1, 2017 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
In February, versions 02.03.05.00, 02.03.06.00, and 02.03.09.00 of MWIF were released as Hot Patches. The beta testers received versions 02.03.05.01, 02.03.06.01, and 02.03.09.01 during the month. While testing NetPlay against customers I created versions 02.03.07.00 and 02.03.08.00 which were used in my personal NetPlay sessions - typically for just one day. They were quickly superceded by 02.03.09.00.

I have provided version 02.04.00.00 to Matrix for release as a Public Beta. Expect it in the first week of March. That version is essentially the same as 02.03.09.00. Without constantly increasing the version numbers, problems can arise. The granularity also helps me when debugging, by letting me identify exactly what version of the code a player is using when he/she runs into a problem.

NetPlay
Depending on how cleanly the on-going NetPlay games run, we should be able to have an official release of NetPlay Ready! in April. In my last 5 NetPlay sessions, spanning ~11 hours, we have not found any NetPlay bugs. We simply play the game - but making frequent saves due to paranoia.

Bugs
In February, I continued reviewing and working on newly reported bugs in Tech Support and/or by the beta testers. Sadly, I am still woefully behind in keeping up with emailed Mad Except bug reports, There are only so many hours in a day and I have been testing NetPlay with customer rather heavily. Combined with bugs reported in other recently started NetPlay games, I was spending most of my time on NetPlay: testing, recording bugs, and fixing code.

Working on are bugs related to Peace (Conquest, Liberation, and Surrender), specifically Liberation, followed by Production Planning is at the top of my dusty task list. But NetPlay bugs take precedence. I also have to get my task list up-to-date (all spiffy-doodle) so I can sleep better at night.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
Nothing new in February.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in February.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (4/4/2017 4:35:48 AM)

April 3, 2017 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
In early March, version 02.04.01.00 was released as a Public Beta. The original version number had been 02.04.00.00 but there was one significant bug in that version, so it never saw the light of day. During the month heavy NetPlay testing revealed a serious problem with building new convoys and pilots (see below) so version 02.04.02.00 was made available as a Hot Patch to keep NetPlay testing ongoing. Sadly, fixing the NetPlay bug messed up production gearing limits in Solitaire and Head-to-head play, so the next day, version 02.04.03.00 was posted as a replacement Hot Patch. That version had but one change from the previous version - it fixed the gearing limits for Solitaire and Head-to-head play.

Only version 02.04.03.01 was made available specifically for the beta testers, and that wasn’t until April 2nd. Justifiably so, they complained about this neglect to me.

NetPlay
Continuing my efforts from February, I spent almost 20 hours in March playing two NetPlay games against different opponents. We hit a number of minor snags along the way and I now have 22 NetPlay specific bugs to fix. Of those, 14 are from my games and 8 are from the beta testers’ games. For all of these I have saved games available to recreate the problems. So, the time I spent actually playing MWIF was worthwhile from a program development perspective. But I must confess, I really like playing the game. Now if those pesky bugs would just go away ...

The most serious NetPlay bug was in Production. From the very beginning, I designed NetPlay so both players could do Production simultaneously - a major time savings given that both players need to be on-line for NetPlay. About a year ago I found a problem with the code for saving oil and build points. Both of those actions require the program to create new units that are then placed on the map. Creating a new unit means assigning it the Next Unit Number. But if both players are assigning unit numbers simultaneously, then there is a distinct likelihood that different units will be assigned the same number.

The result is that when one player consumed an on-map oil point, it could result in a different oil point being removed on the other computer. The code change I made was for oil and build points to be recorded during the Production phase as “to be built” and once both players have completed Production, one computer creates all the necessary new units and tells the other computer what unit numbers have been assigned.

This same problem came up in March for pilots, convoys, forts, new factories, and offensive chits. Building any of those ‘unit’ types requires the program to create a new unit and assign a new unit number. Now in reality, most of those units never actually appear on the map. But they do show up in the Production Pools and the same problem happens as had occurred for oil and build points. It took me a long time to figure out what was going wrong, mainly because the units looked correct on each computer, but the Production Pools on the two computers didn’t match. Even more baffling was that the problem wasn’t visible until several turns after the units had been built and it was time to place them on the map, or update counts (e.g., pilots, offensive chits). All in all, it took me a solid week of effort to get all that functioning correctly (but the changes temporarily screwed up the Gearing for Solitaire and Head-to-head play).

I am less optimistic about how soon we will have an official release of NetPlay Ready! Partly that is due to the bugs on my task list, partly it is due to the Solitaire/Head-to-head players clamoring for attention to their hot button bugs, and lastly it is partly due to me traveling to Philadelphia for a week in April for my fifth annual checkup at Wills Eye Hospital on my eye surgery .

Bugs
Because I was spending so much time on NetPlay: testing, recording bugs, and fixing code, players who had complaints about the code for Solitaire and Head-to-head play became more vocal. So, in the last week of March I started devoting time solely to those bugs. So far I have cleaned up the important Conquest bugs, which leaves the rest of the Peace bugs (i.e., Liberation and Surrender), to be followed by Production Planning bugs.

Before working on my old task list of those bugs, I brought my spreadsheet of bugs reported in Tech Support up-to-date and tackled all the items reported since January first. Of those I have knocked the count down to 1 Land Combat bug that I want to fix before turning my attention to the Peace and Production Planning bugs. As is always the case, fixing newly reported bugs means that I found instances already on my task list of the same problem reported earlier. It isn’t always obvious that the reports are for the same bug. Most of the time I only become aware of the duplication after I have fixed one of them.

The immediate goal is to give the beta testers another new version so they can run some tests on my recent changes. After a week, we’ll then release a Public Beta, and a week later, we’ll make an official Update for the game. That should all happen in April.

Then I’ll go back to working on NetPlay bugs for roughly a month.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
Nothing new in March.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in March.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (5/3/2017 3:58:08 AM)

May 2, 2017 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development

April was a short month for working on MWIF since I was traveling to/from or in Philadelphia for 8 days. The good news is that after my fifth annual checkup at Wills Eye Hospital on my eye surgery, they deemed it unnecessary for me make any more annual pilgrimages to see them.

Because of all the changes I was making in Production Planning routines, I was unable to get a functional version of the program out to the beta testers before I left for Philadelphia. While I made progress on those bugs once I got back, there was never a ‘clean’ version for the beta testers until the one I uploaded for them today. That was version 02.04.04.06. There are two more bugs in Production Planning that I want to fix before releasing a Public Beta. The beta testers will have a week to 10 days to work on that version, so the Public Beta should be out around mid-May. If the Public Beta survives without new and/or fatal bugs, we’ll make it an official Update to the game.

Bugs
The bugs I fixed in April were all for Solitaire/Head-to-head and fall into three categories: Peace (Conquest/Liberation), Production Planning, and “other Solitaire bugs”. There were 17 fixes for problems related to Peace, 7 for Production Planning, and 12 other fixes. Here are the more important Production Planning corrections, which took most of my time in April:

- Rewrote the code for routing resources overseas so it always finds a path using the minimum number of convoys. Previously it would sometimes take a circuitous route.

- Fixed a problem with Production Planning when a resource (e.g., a build point originating from Washington D.C.) would add an extra sea area to the beginning of a route because the hex of origination was a coastal hex. Usually starting the overseas route with the adjacent sea area is best but sometimes a shorter overseas route can be found by moving along rail lines to a different port.

- Fixed a problem with Production Planning with choosing which convoys to use in a sea area so that the priority is: (1) receiving country’s convoy, (2) sending country’s convoy, and (3) convoy belonging to another major power on the same side that will permit its convoys to be used. Previously, the USA (while neutral) shipping resources to China, would oftentimes usurp a Commonwealth convoy - ignoring its own convoy in the sea area. Now the USA uses its own convoys first (since China never has any convoys).

- Added code for the Production Planning form’s Route List to show which major power’s convoy is being used in each sea area in the route. For example, when the United States ships the Alaska resource to the lower 48 states to be saved or used in production, the sea area in the Route List is shown as: “USA Gulf of Alaska”. Previously it had simply displayed “Gulf of Alaska” without specifying which major power’s convoy in the sea area was being used. This is especially useful when the Allies have convoys belonging to multiple major powers in a sea area and resources/build points are being shipped through the sea area. Note that this is merely a cosmetic change to provide more information to the players. Older saved games are missing the requisite data and may show Germany as providing a convoy - that gets corrected when a new overseas route is determined.

The items I denote as ‘fixes’ above are the results that are visible to players. I made many other changes to the Production Planning routines that fall under the rubric ‘tidiness’. When I started work on MWIF, the code I inherited for routing resources was mostly functional, so I primarily make improvement patches. Over the last few weeks, I took the time to review and standardize how the code accomplishes the various tasks it needs to perform to make Production Planning execute correctly. After my changes, I better understand what is going on - I added more comments, renamed variables and routines, and in general organized the code so it flows more logically.

I did make some changes that are purely cosmetic, but in retrospect, they should have been part of my original redesign. Below is a composite picture of two screen shots. The big one demonstrates that the Pools form can be expanded horizontally. That has been around for years, but players might not have noticed. What is new in the Pools form is the gearing limits table that appears when the Force Pools are selected from the list in the lower left corner. Reading the Commonwealth gearing limits for the current turn lets the player know that the Commonwealth built 3 Infantry, 1 Ship, 1 Submarine, 2 Air, and 2 Pilots in the previous turn. This is very useful information when playing Head-to-head or NetPlay.

The second screenshot is of the Production Planning form Route layout with a resource selected. The modification is that the overseas portion of the route now shows which major power is providing the convoy in each sea area. Frequently the Allied major powers are using each other’s convoys to route resources overseas. This additional information should help clarify what is happening.

NetPlay
Nothing new in April aside from a couple more bugs I discovered while playing my two on-going games against Finn and Justin.

I should be able to get back to NetPlay bugs in May and hopefully clean them up by the end of the month.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios

Nothing new in April.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in April.

---------------------



[image]local://upfiles/16701/5BAECEDAAF3A4D37A537643C11F157E2.jpg[/image]




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (6/6/2017 6:30:24 PM)

June 5, 2017 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
I thought the Public Beta version 02.05.01.00 would have been released by now. I submitted it early last week and on Thursday approved the executable to be posted in the Members Section of World in Flames. But as of today, Monday, it hasn’t been announced. The plan following the Public Beta is unchanged: if it survives without new and/or fatal bugs, we’ll make it an Official Update to the game.

Bugs
I am keeping a low profile to making changes to the code, less I introduce new bugs and delay the Official Update. So, for the last two weeks I have mostly been catching up with processing emailed bugs reports I’ve received since March 1st. There were 140+ in that queue and I have it down to under 40 presently.

Because many of them are old, I remove a bunch from my task list that have already been fixed. Of the remainder, easily 3/4ths are duplicates. The ones I make code changes for are primarily those that I can’t figure out. What? Yes, the previous sentence is correct.

Emailed bugs reports tell me which line of code caused the failure but don’t give me very much in the way of context: phase of the game, what the player was trying to do, etcetera. But for those that don’t appear to be caused by serious damage to data values, I can insert a few lines of code to get the program to exit whatever it was trying to do and return a reasonable value to the calling routine. For instance, if the program fails trying to validate a list of hexes in a previously saved supply path, I simply have the routine exit without an error message and return that the old path is invalid. Then the program searches for a new supply path.

In the Release Notes you will often find references to “added a check to avoid an error”, or words to that effect. Those are code changes for cases where an inexplicable error occurred but I can check for the fatal condition in advance of executing the invalid line of code, and return a reasonable value to the calling program. None of these have any effect of the execution of the rest of the code, so they are fairly ‘safe’ code changes.

Obviously I’ve also investigated the bug reports from the beta testers for the various versions I gave them prior to version 02.05.01.00. Several critical problems were found by them and I patched the code to fix those bugs. Hence there was an ongoing renumbering of versions as I fixed bugs and submitted new versions for the beta testers to pound on.

NetPlay
As should be obvious from the above paragraphs, I have left NetPlay bugs mostly untouched, aside from a couple “easy to fix” ones I ran into while playing my on-going games against Finn and Justin.

I won’t get back to seriously working on NetPlay bugs until the Public Beta emerges from it’s caterpillar state into an Official Update butterfly.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios

Nothing new in May.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in May.

All the playing experience I am getting against Finn and Justin will help me write the scripts for the AIO. I’m just hoping that these hundreds of decisions I make as a player can be reduced into discrete modules without an enormous amount of effort. For example, many factors go into choosing whether to use air units for ground strikes or ground support while simultaneously deciding how many air missions to allocate to ground strikes versus air rebases. Then there is the question of which hexes should be ground struck and by which bombers - to say nothing of fighter escorts.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (7/2/2017 10:44:19 PM)

July 2, 2017 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
Version 2.5.1.0 was released as a Public Beta early in June. Almost immediately it was obvious that it had at least one serious problem, so I posted a Hot Patch within a couple of days of the Public Beta being available. The Hot Patch was version 2.5.2.0. The beta testers got a comparable version with the Debug capability enabled: version 2.5.2.1.

Bugs
A dozen bug reports or so have been posted and/or emailed to me for the versions 2.5.2.0 and 2.5.2.1. Some of those are duplicates and I believe some of them are because version 2.5.1.0 may have generated damaged saved games. I’ll be working my way through investigating those bug reports.

But first I brought my task list up-to-date with emailed bug reports (caused using a wide variety of MWIF versions) and from disparate posts from beta testers over the past couple of months. Lastly, I am in the process of bringing my spreadsheet on Tech Support posts up-to-date.

Getting everything organized before starting on diligently trying to recreate the reported bugs is crucial for my state of mind. There is a lot of overlap between the three sources of bug reports (emailed, Tech Support, Beta Testers). So arranging them all by “phase of the game” let’s me identify redundancies. Nonetheless, I have already fixed a couple of the reported bugs with the 2.5.2.x versions that had obvious causes and I deemed both critical and easy-to-fix.

NetPlay

I have mostly organized the bug reports for NetPlay. There are a dozen or more and I have saved games from both players for the majority of them. While I would dearly love to clean them all up ASAP, I am forcing myself to ignore them until the Public Beta’s Solitaire play is as clean as possible. Irritatingly, that will take at least one more Public Beta given what is being reported for the versions 2.5.2.x.

I have started a third NetPlay game with S playing the Allied side in Global War. S is in Australia. I want to avoid some of the terrible mistakes as the Axis I made in my game against Zorachus99.

We spent a couple of hours trying to get S logged into the Private NetPlay Forum/Server, without success: “Unable to access the Seeking Opponents Database”. But it turned out that that didn’t matter. Apparently he was able to log in okay, but his user name simply didn’t appear in the list of logged in players. That meant when I started the new game, my computer was unable to ‘find’ him on the list of players logged into the NetPlay Server. However, when he initiated the new game, his computer was able to find my user name in the list of players logged into the server, and the game started normally. That was very bizarre and mind-blowing for me.

S has a Help Request into Slitherine/Matrix that is unlikely to get processed until next week. It would be nice if a rational explanation could be found for what happened. I couldn’t see anything in the MWIF code - so I suspect the problem is with the Slitherine Server code or its database. [Note that I have been proven wrong about this kind of conclusion previously in my like - often.]

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios

Nothing new in June.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in June.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (8/6/2017 5:00:59 AM)

Just a short note.

For the past 3 weeks I have been working on Production Planning exclusively, reading through the 14,000+ lines of code line by line and running the debugger so I can see the values for all the variables as the code executes. That's very time consuming but it was the only way I could identify exactly what was going wrong.

Yesterday I got Modifying Routes to work correctly and today I was able to get Changing the Action (e.g., save/produce/idle) and Destination of the resources to work.

I need to do some more testing to make sure there aren't any (obvious) lingering bugs. If the code looks all right, I'll post a Hot Patch version (and send a comparable version to the Beta Testers).

I'll do a longer status report tomorrow.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (8/9/2017 5:08:17 AM)

August 8, 2017 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
The only version released in July was 02.05.02.05 which was made available to the beta testers in early July. Today (August 8th), I posted version 02.05.05.00 as a Hot Patch, and uploaded to the Development Forum its companion version, 02.05.05.01 with Debug enabled, for the beta testers. Both of these versions solve most of the problems reported with Production Planning: routing resources to destinations and specifying their actions (Production, Save, Idle). The skip in version numbers is because I made some new versions while alpha testing code modifications.

Bugs
To start, my task list was spiffy doodle at the beginning of July, but by the end of the month it had once again fallen woefully out-of-date. Sadly, debugging code, keeping records, and even simply communicating with people seem to be mutually exclusive for me. In July I was almost exclusively working on Production Planning bugs.

Finding the last couple of bugs in Production Planning was very painful. I had to go through the code line by line (14,000+ lines) while running the Delphi debugger so I could track what the values were for the variables as the code executed. Even then it took me over a month to figure out what was going wrong. The last major hurdle was identifying that an End statement was misplaced. Pascal encapsulates blocks of code with Begin ... End. Where the problem occurred the Begin ... End blocks were nested 7 deep and one of the End statements was off by 7 lines. Moving it up 7 lines in the code fixed a whole slew of problems. None of that time spent was any fun and the final victory seemed more Pyrrhic than anything else.

But along the way I found a bunch of minor things to improve in Production Planning, so there were side benefits to spending all that time and effort on one phase of the game.

NetPlay
Nothing much new here. My opponenet in my third Global War game, S, reported that Slitherine/Matrix straightened out the problem he had logging into the Private NetPlay Server.

I am continuing to play 3 games (against different opponents) using NetPlay. There are bugs that we have to work around - including me using Debug tools and even fixing occasional bugs in the code to enable us to keep the games going. Typically we have 1 playing session per week of about 3-4 hours. Regrettably, outside commitments usually cause one of my three opponents to miss a week. So the games are slow going.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
Nothing new in July.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Peter S. has begun work on setups for China. He looked at a couple of ways of randomizing them without having the program choose positions that would be immediately disastrous. Because the Japanese always set up after the Chinese have placed their units on the map, it is difficult to decide exactly where the Chinese should go. Complicating the problem is that there is so much territory to control. To prevent the Japanese from slipping through the lines to vital rear areas, the Chinese need a semblance of a front line. Of course there are never enough units to accomplish that task well. So the decisions are based around what sections of the front line to leave weak.

After thinking about this for a while, my decision was for Peter (and I) to come up with about 10 potential setups. Now because which units are drawn is random, no setup will be precisely the same each time you play the game. In addition, we will most likely give some setups a high probability of being used (the stronger ones), and others (the poorest) a low probability of being selected. Overall, the goal here is to give a reasonable setup for the Chinese while providing the human opponent with some variation as to how he has to place and move the Japanese to crack the Chinese position.

That task is mostly in Peter’s hands. I’m just providing feedback. But I was motivated enough to make some more edits to the TER data file, labeling each hex as to which Land Region it occupies (there are 70,200 hexes in the game). Land Regions are how the AIO will make operational decisions about deploying its units. I had already done the entire European map. This past month I completed the Mideast. Editing the data file is quite mindless and was a good break from endlessly reading through the Production Planning code.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (9/5/2017 8:22:33 AM)

September 4, 2017 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
I almost had this monthly report ready on September 1st but there was a bug I had just created that was removing the second carrier air unit from carriers whenever a saved game was restored. Fixing that took me 3 days. Eventually had version 02.05.05.07 ready to upload for beta testing. Although I had posted in the forum that I would make that version available as a Hot Patch, the problem with the carrier air units made me nervous about inflicting it directly onto customers. Instead I am giving the beta testers some time to put it through its paces. Unless they discover more problems, it should be available as a Hot Patch next week as version 02.05.06.00.

The beta testers received version 02.05.05.02, .02.05.05.03, and the aforementioned 02.05.05.7 in August (actually the last was uploaded today).

Bugs
The main corrections I made to the code the last week of August were to fix one bug in Supply and one bug in Production Planning. Those were the only semi-serious bugs remaining in those phases of the game and I wanted to fix them for version 2.5.5.7 for beta testing.

My task list was current going into the fourth week of August but I have let it slide this past week while I worked on investigating and fixing bugs, That is my normal routine: get the task list up-to-date, and then devote some time looking into all the new bugs reports. Along the way I typically cast an eye over a couple of dozen or so older bugs to see if they still exist. Basically I buff and polish my task list, and then buff and polish the code. Repeat endlessly.

NetPlay
Last week I caved in and fixed some bugs in NetPlay, but only those which affected very few lines of code. For instance, converting Greenland and Iceland to minor countries when Denmark is conquered was only happening on the Allied computer in NetPlay games. I also checked out a couple more reported NetPlay bugs and proved, through testing, that they no longer exist (because of earlier changes to the code for Solitaire and Head-to-head play). I’m still holding back to making any serious changes to the code to fix NetPlay-specific bugs.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
Nothing new in August.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in August.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (10/9/2017 4:33:20 AM)

October 8, 2017 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
I continue to make only minor changes to the code in the hope that I will be able to create a Public Beta, which will become an Official Update version.

That said, I gave the beta testers versions 2.5.5.7, 2.5.5.9, and 2.5.5.11 in September. They keep finding small problems. The same can be said about the emailed bug reports I receive, and the Tech Support problems that have been posted. However, the latest version received at least one “I wouldn’t make this available to the customers because of new bugs” comment from a beta tester. So I am holding off on a Hot Patch and a Public Beta until I can figure out what new grief I have caused myself. Most likely it is old grief/bug come back to haunt me for my various sins.

My chorus had their annual show yesterday and for the 3 weeks prior to that there were a lot of rehearsals and stuff. The day of the show itself was exhausting (12 hours all told). It took me most of today just to get back to feeling normal. Hence the long delay for this monthly report.

Bugs
I need to fix the major problem found by the beta testers (having to do with the interception of overrun naval units that then have to fight a naval combat and abort). The program has trouble getting back to the phase of the game where the overrun occurred. Which could be land movement, advance after combat, conquest, etc. Internally there are 3 nested digressions: overrun, interception, naval abort. Afer each the program needs to return to what was happening immediately prior to the digression. Many possibilities exist and the code for this was difficult to write and even more difficult to debug.

My task lists are mostly up-to-date. I just need to work on eliminating items one by one.

On a similar front, I did spend time early in September going through my master task list for old (prior to 2017) emailed bug reports. That effort removed 50+ items from my task list. Most of them had already had been fixed. Others I cast aside were very old (prior to 2016) with no one else reporting the same problem since the original bug report.

NetPlay
I’m still holding back to making any serious changes to the code to fix NetPlay-specific bugs. However, using Save and Restore when necessary, plus some Debug features on rare occasions, Scott and I were able to play continuously for 9 and half hours two Fridays ago and 8 and a half hours this past Friday. We are up to the start of May/June 1941 in a Global War game that started 3 months ago. We play once a week, but usually for only ~4 hours.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
Nothing new in September.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in September.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (11/2/2017 11:46:25 PM)

November 2, 2017 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development

I made only minor changes to the code in October and was able to release a new Public Beta: 02.06.01.00.

On an even happier note, that version (with a few inconsequential changes) has become version 02.07.00.00, which was made into an Official Update executable. Currently the executable is undergoing testing by the beta testers and myself. Unless something catastrophic happens, it should be available before Thanksgiving (i.e., 3rd week of November).

I gave the beta testers versions 2.5.7.1 and 2.5.7.5 in October. They found things for me to fix. The player community also had access to the Hot Patch versions 2.5.7.0, 2.5.7.2, and 2.5.7.4. They also found things for me to fix. But in the end, the result of all that joint feedback enabled me to generate versions for the new public beta and the subsequent official update.

For your enjoyment, attached is a screenshot of the change I made to the Pools form. The addition is a second checkbox when viewing Force Pools. It lets you chose to see just the next year’s additions, as well as the old choice of seeing all future additions to the force pool. This wasn’t in 2.6.1.0, but is in 2.7.0.0. [Note my tessellation for no Yugoslavian partisans (except on unattached islands).]

Bugs
My task list is completely up-to-date. Sadly, the list is still rather daunting to look at. I’ll be going over it yet again to identify things that deserve to be corrected prior to my assault on the NetPlay bugs. In between making code changes to fix important Solitaire & Head-to-head bugs and working on NetPlay, I’ll upgrade my copy of Delphi.

Delphi is the compiler/interactive development environment (IDE) I use to make changes to the code. It’s been over a year since I installed a new update. I think there are two presently pending. Making changes to the IDE requires me to achieve a zen like state of mind before starting down the long and winding path of uncertainly and confusion that is typical for upgrading Delphi. At least this time I won’t be upgrading the operating system simultaneously. The forlorn hope when upgrading is that Delphi will run better than it did previously. That’s very unlikely. The bugs I find in the IDE never seem to be addressed. Instead the programmers work on new features for databases and Internet applications (e.g., generating and processing HTML files). None of those are used in MWIF.

NetPlay
I’m still holding back to making any serious changes to the code to fix NetPlay-specific bugs. But I am assembling all the notes on bugs and saved games to accompany them.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
Nothing new in October.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in October.

[image]local://upfiles/16701/0FDD3828C0024A3DA541CC4F83FF6938.jpg[/image]




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (12/8/2017 4:29:29 AM)

December 7, 2017 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
Late again. I had a head cold on the first of this month that kept getting worse. The last 3 days were particularly bad. As of this morning things are looking better, so I felt up to writing this report.

Version 02.07.01.00 was released as an official update in November. It can be installed by clicking on the Check for Update button on the opening screen.

After the official update was made available, the beta testers received version 02.07.01.01, which is the same as the official update, but with the Debug feature enabled.

My older, third monitor was going to sleep periodically. Since it was using a port on the motherboard, I replaced the graphics card with a new one which drives all 3 monitors to 3840 by 2160 @60Hz. The card works great but the monitor still kept dozing off. So I replaced the monitor with a Dell UP3216Q. Now all three match. That was enough of fiddling around with program development stuff for a while. I’ll get to upgrading Delphi some time in the next month or so.

Bugs
Once again I have fallen behind in keeping my task list up-to-date. But this time is is not all my fault. The Matrix server which forwards emailed Mad Except bug reports to me was sending them off into the void. Deep in the depths of the internet an address linkage was lost. After some diligent investigation by the Matrix staff, the linkage was restored. I got some of the older ones back but those from the period October 18th through November 11th appear to have disappeared for good.

I’ll get back to working on my task list once I get the Trade Agreements form spiffed up. See the attached screenshot. This is a work in progress at the moment. To solicit comments from everyone, I’ll start a thread on this in the open forum tomorrow.

The change is the addition of the second table at the bottom of the form. For the selected trade in the upper table, the bottom table shows which resources are currently being used to fulfill the trade agreement. So, for the 3 examples in the screenshot, you see the Swedish resources going to Germany, the German resources going to Italy, and the US resources going to the Commonwealth.

One of the players suggested this a month or so ago, I was kicking myself for not having thought of this earlier. Grouped by trade agreement, it gives a nice overview of resources –> destinations w/action. I have several obvious changes to made:
1: Replace Current with Computed.
2: Add a column to display whether the resource line is from Computed, Override, or Default settings.
3: Replace some of the None entries with reasonable values (e.g., build points are from capital to capital).
4: Put some code behind the buttons on the bottom right so they can be used to change values.
5: Add another couple buttons to save the settings for a resource line as Default or Override.
5: Rethink the note at the bottom of the page.

NetPlay
Nothing new in November.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios

Nothing new in November.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in November.

[image]local://upfiles/16701/B2A15CEF839E4C43A056264D365B8603.jpg[/image]




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (1/5/2018 3:15:26 AM)

January 4, 2018 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development


In December (or early January) the beta testers received versions 02.07.02.00, 02.07.02.05, 02.07.02.07, and 02.07.02.09. I am currently working on version 02,07.03.01 and expect to give that to the beta testers by next Monday. Most of the changes I made in December were for NetPlay (as planned).

Bugs
My task lists were up-to-date as of Xmas, but that was over a week ago. They seem to always need my attention to keep them current.

I put work on the new additions to Trade Agreements form in abeyance. It’s just an improvement - not a fix of a critical bug. Getting NetPlay working is more important presently.

There are some other recently reported bugs that seem serious, and I want to investigate them. However, by my rough estimate, about 80% of reported problems are not bugs. Please keep reporting any problems you see. But it would be helpful if you posted them in Tech Support, where other players might be able to help explain what the problem is / is not before I start working on it.

NetPlay
I started a couple more NetPlay games in December and I am now playing 4. Opponents are in Calgary, Houston, Valencia, and Australia. The time difference for those are 3, 4, 11, and 21 hours respectively. Mostly, I am playing 5 times a week now, ~4 hours per session. That has let me personally get to know where the weaknesses are in the NetPlay code.

I brought my NetPlay task list up-to-date and confirmed that I had saved games for 22 reported bugs. A few of those were newly reported in December, but most were from earlier. As of today, that count is down to 10. Once I get it to zero, I’ll post a hot patch so other players can test NetPlay for themselves. There are still other reported NetPlay bugs (mainly from over 6 months ago) that do not have saved games associated with them. As I play my games, I try to identify situations where I can either recreate those bugs or prove that they no longer occur.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
Nothing new in December.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in December.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (2/11/2018 6:06:34 PM)

February 11, 2018 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

I’m late again with this status report. I’ve been busy with other stuff in addition to MWIF,

Program Development

In January the beta testers received versions 02,07.03.01, 02,07.03.03, 02,07.03.09, 02,07.04.0, and 02,07.05.0. Versions 02,07.04.00 and 02,07.05.00 were released as Hot Patches in the forum. So far in February I am up to version 02.07.06.00.

Once we get a version that runs smoothly, we’ll release a Public Beta.

Bugs
My task lists are quasi-up-to-date. I get to the important bugs that were reported recently but my record keeping isn’t up to my standards of completeness. For example, I have cleared 15 reported bugs from Tech Support but have 3 more that should be investigated further. Likewise from the Beta Testers I am pretty much up-to-date, having fixed several of the bugs they have reported in the past couple of months. Emailed bugs reports are lagging behind, but only a couple of those deserve my attention in the near future (others look to be duplicates or generated by players running older version of the program.

NetPlay
We continue to find new bugs when running NetPlay. These almost all involved what I call “single instance variables”. For example, when Germany and Italy both declare war on the USSR during the same impulse, there should be only one die roll for drawing a US Entry marker - instead of two (that was a bug). Similarly, when Japan aligns French Indochina, that only happens once in a game. There are specific variables set when those events occur. In NetPlay, the variables were only being set on one computer, which caused problems later. Note that both of these events happen rather late in the game. There was another problem like this with the US declaring war on both Germany and Italy. I’m fixing these as we encounter them, without much trouble.

More annoying bugs in NetPlay are those that require a long sequence of events/decisions, Naval air combat has a lot of subphases and possibilities for which units participate in the combat and die roll results. Overrunning naval units that then get intercepted and forced to engage in naval combat is also a long sequence of specific player decisions and die rolls. Reproducing bugs in these sequences takes time and requires a second person (my wife) to assist me. I cleared a couple of these in January but there are still a couple more I have to dig into.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios

Nothing new in January.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in January.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (3/4/2018 5:38:42 AM)

March 3, 2018 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
In February the beta testers received versions 02,07.05.05, 02,07.05.07, 02,07.06.07, 02,07.06.09, 02,07.07.03. 02,07.07.05. and 02,07.07.07. There were no versions released as Hot Patches to the forum. However, my opponents in NetPlay games received ‘Release’ versions 02.07.05.08, 02.07.06.00, 02.07.06.04, 02.07.07.00, and 02.07.07.02. That works out to 3 new versions per week in February.

For numbering versions I have fallen into the system of having even numbered versions (e.g., 00, 02, 04) not having Debug enabled and odd numbered versions (e.g., 01, 03, 05) having Debug enabled. The latter are used by the beta testers and myself. The MWIF.exe non-Debug versions are much smaller (36 MB) while the Debug enabled versions run about 61 MB. One of the effects of this numbering scheme is that the numbers go up rather quickly.

I still intend to release a Public Beta once we get a version that runs NetPlay smoothly. It actually seems to be pretty solid at this point. But see the next paragraph below.

Bugs
My task lists are no where near up-to-date. That is my next priority - so I can see what problems players have been having recently. And then fix as many of them as possible for the next Hot Patch.

NetPlay
Because I am playing via NetPlay so much (3 games totaling 4 sessions of about 4 hours each per week), I am devoting my programming time to NetPlay bugs almost exclusively. As we find bugs, I work on fixing them. Now, all the easy bugs have been fixed by now. So, each of the remaining bugs take a lot of my time. Fixing the half dozen NetPlay bugs in Surrendering China to Japan took 8+ hours. Today I finally figured out what was causing a NetPlay bug in Air-to-air combat. That took me 4+ days to nail down. It only occurred if the players returned their air units to base in an unusual order; which meant that most of the time everything was lovely. When it did rear its ugly head, that bug caused the game to simply stop and not respond to any commands on either computer. After going over thousands of lines of code again and again, I determined that the mistake was that a call to a subroutine had a parameter set to True when it should have been False. It’s a wonder that I’m not an alcoholic.

The last major NetPlay bug left on my list is overrunning naval units that then get intercepted and forced to engage in naval combat. It has a long sequence of specific player decisions and die rolls. There are also newly reported NetPlay bugs by players and beta testers that I need to investigate before releasing a Hot Patch in which I will have any confidence.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios

Nothing new in February.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in February.

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

I occasionally find some other small improvement to make to the player interface. This month it was to the Use Oil form. When clicking on buttons to reorganize units, sometimes a player would click on the OK Done button by mistake, before he had finished reorganizing units. So I relocated the placement of that button down to the left, to reduce the chance that it would be clicked by accident.

[image]local://upfiles/16701/258EDB44E9384D37BC5A96CBEB6319C3.jpg[/image]




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (4/4/2018 3:51:53 AM)

April 3, 2018 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development

In March the beta testers received versions 02,07.07.09, 02,07.08.03, 02.07.08.05, 02.07.09.03, 02.07.09.05, 02.08.00.03, 02.08.00.05, and 02.08.00.09. There were no versions released as Hot Patches or Public Betas to the forum. However, my opponents in NetPlay games received ‘Release’ versions 02.07.08.00, 02.07.08.02, 02.07.09.02, and 02.08.00.00, plus some other versions (my notes on this are incomplete). The average was 3 new versions per week.

As stated in last month’s report, versions with even numbers (e.g., 00, 02, 04) do not have Debug enabled, while odd numbered versions (e.g., 01, 03, 05) do, The latter are used by the beta testers and myself.

Today I will be posting a Hot Patch: version 02.08.01.00.

Bugs
My task lists were up-to-date early last week but have lapsed since then. I usually work on them once every two weeks.

Similarly to last month, I continued to work primarily on NetPlay bugs. In particular, air operations have been my focus almost exclusively for the past 2 weeks. The reason air operations are so difficult to code perfectly for NetPlay is that the decision maker switches back and forth between the two sides virtually continuously. To add to the confusion, even simple decisions, like which air unit suffers from an air-to-air combat abort result could need to be decided by either side, depending on whether it was an AA or a DA result. There isn’t a simple decision path, like: “I decide, then you decide”.

Because there are 8 different air mission types plus naval air combat, there has to be separate code for each, to accommodate their slight differences. Naval air combat and port attacks throw in surprise points, with either side potentially receiving them. Using surprise points can occur at different points in the sequence of play, from avoiding combat altogether, to changing the combat factors in air-to-air combat and/or anti-aircraft fire. Each air mission has 8 subphases, naval combat has 28 subphases, and air-to-air combat has 11 sub-subphases. Adding to the level of difficulty for coding all of that is the possibility of multiple combats in different locations: air-to-air, ground strikes, port attacks, naval combat, etc. That means the code has to be able to transition from ending one combat to starting the next.

Yeah, it drives me crazy trying to arrange all the pieces of these puzzles “just so” in order to make NetPlay run smoothly. But I have my little hammer and I keep tapping away at this marble slab in the hopes that a ‘David’ will appear eventually.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
Nothing new in March.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in March.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (5/2/2018 4:57:24 AM)

May 1, 2018 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
In April we released several Hot Patch versions: 02.08.01.00, 02.08.02.00, 02.08.03.00, and 02.08.04.00. Sadly, it took me several tries to make a clean version.

The beta testers received versions 02,08.01.01, 02,08.02.01, 02.08.02.03, 02.08.04.01, 02.08.04.03, 02.08.04.05, 02.08.04.09, 02.08.04.11, and 02.08.04.15. My goal continues to be to get a Public Betas with solid NetPlay code out. As part of my continuing testing of NetPlay (I have 3 games in progress, 4 sessions per week) we keep running into bugs. Obviously that means the code is not yet ‘solid’.

My opponents in my NetPlay games received ‘Release’ versions 02.08.04.06, 02.08.04.08, and 02.08.04.14., The average in April was 4 new versions per week.

Bugs
My task lists are lagging. In lieu of keeping up with posts in Tech Support and via email, I have head my down looking into very complex routines, trying to figure out bugs. The dust on those lists is beginning to bother me, so I’ll get back to spiffing them up this coming week.

After my struggles with air-to-air combat in March I finally broke down and drafted a flow chart for the code’s logic. See below for more details. That enabled me to fix several bugs and I presently am happy with air-to-air combat, for Solitaire, Head-to-head, and NetPLay modes of play.

My most recent quest has been to clean up some Production Planning bugs. In particular I have been able to fix a problem with sending resources from the United Kingdom to the USSR when Moscow has been cut off (or taken by the Axis). They now go to Murmansk and/or Archangel despite there being no factories in either city. However, I still need to work on changing the source factory for resources to China from London so they originate in Calcutta. In the game I am using to test this, London can’t reached Kunming because there are insufficient convoys. Calcutta doesn’t have that problem. This problem only occurs when Chingking has been taken by Japan.

Here are my in-line notes on the Production Compute routine for assigning resources for trade agreements. My hand written version of this shows the 7 nested loops that aren’t apparent in this ‘list’.

// ****************************************************************************
// ProductionCompute.
// AssignTradeResources
// Fulfill_USJapanTradeAgreement
// FindBestResource(trtOil, True); // Major powers only.
// trsOverride, trsDefault, trsUnscheduled, trsLastTurn, trsAny, trsAnySub
// repeat
// for TradIndx := 0 to Count - 1 do
// FindResource(TradeTyp, Search_Type, Majors)
// FindResToFulfill
// for F1stGResIndx := 0 to Map.ResourceList.Count - 1 do
// TryResToFulfill
// trsOverride, trsDefault, trsUnscheduled, trsLastTurn, ...
// FindAnyRoute
// FindRoute(Land or Sea)
// until not FoundAnotherResource;
//
// FindBestResource(trtNonOil, True); // Major powers only.
// FindBestResource(trtOil, False); // All countries.
// FindBestResource(trtNonOil, False); // All countries.
//
// DecideOnResources
// FullSearch(1); // Overland only.
// for Search_Type := tresOverride to tresAny do
// EvalResource
// tresOverride, tresDefault, tresMostRecent, tresLastTurn, tresAny
// FindRoute(Land or Sea is parameter in FullSearch)
// FullSearch(2); // Overseas also explored.
//
// AssignTradeBuildPoints
// AddCapital; // Assign capital as source for each TA BP.
// CreateDummyFactoryHex; // Add cities & major ports as possilbe BP dest.
// BuildLimits; // Set maximum BPs that a major power can send.
// FixBuildPoint; // Set source and destination for all build points.
// FindBestResource(trtBuildPoints, True); // Major powers only.
// trsOverride, trsDefault, trsUnscheduled, trsLastTurn, trsAny, trsAnySub
// repeat
// for TradIndx := 0 to Count - 1 do
// FindResource(TradeTyp, Search_Type, Majors)
// FindResToFulfill
// for F1stGResIndx := 0 to Map.ResourceList.Count - 1 do
// TryResToFulfill
// trsOverride, trsDefault, trsUnscheduled, trsLastTurn, ...
// FindAnyRoute
// FindRoute(Land or Sea)
// until not FoundAnotherResource;
//
// ****************************************************************************

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
Nothing new in April.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in April.

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

The flow chart shown below is for processing Air-to-air Combat. Now this is a skeleton description of the logic flow, and I created it by hand this month, using CorelDraw. All-in-all it contains only a dozen or so of the 8,000+ lines of code that execute air-to-air combats. I also was somewhat cavalier in deciding what to include. For instance, the details of the messages displayed in the form are omitted, with just brief references to them being shown at all. Likewise, the player actions in choosing which units suffer results and returning units to base only get a single line of text - if that.

The light brown boxes are for creating, displaying, closing, and destroying the form itself. Each of the segments of code represented by these boxes perform a lot of housekeeping tasks, mostly initializing variables and the like.

The pale yellow boxes are player actions: deciding about using surprise points to avoid the combat, arranging units prior to combat, selecting which one unit receives the effects of a die roll, and returning air units to base. The large box with a bright yellow outline (Decision Button Click) executes whenever the player makes a decision and clicks on one of the decision buttons in the center of the air-to-air combat form. The five possible button labels are shown with their associated integer values and the branching logic for each.

The large box in the upper left with the blue outline (AirCombatTimerTimer) executes continuously when it is enabled. It uses the case statement for SubSubPhase to do most of its work. In this diagram I show case statements as a series of IF - THEN branches, which is how case statements execute internally. Looking at the code though, they are much easier to read, with each possible value having a single block of associated code. The timer primarily controls what happens during each subsubphase of air-to-air combat. Mostly it cycles through rolling the dice and determining what happens to which unit. Ultimately it gets to the SetDecisionSequence box with a value of 5 and from there either goes to Final Message to look for the next combat or asks each player whether he wants to abort or stay.

The BothDecided box in the bottom center either goes back to SetCombatRound for another round of air-to-air combat, or returns the air units from the current combat to base and sees if there are any more air-to-air combats.

I did the Surprise Query A2A box in red because it short circuits the entire logic flow for a combat, terminating it immediately.

Note that the Final Message box is for the current air-to-air combat. Of course there will be only a singe air-to-air combat processed during a naval combat. Indeed, the next naval combat round might be a surface or submarine combat. But for air missions to land hexes, there can be multiple air-to-air combats to process: one for each targeted air mission hex.

What this flow chart shows is the logic flow after I made several changes to the code. The act of creating the flow chart let me study what was happening using my eyes, instead of having to figure it all out in my head. Doing so revealed several places where the code was redundant, circuitous, or simply wrong. Lastly, I would like to add that the flow chart would be vastly more complex if I included the branching logic for NetPlay. That would have to show separate arrows for the deciding and non-deciding players. I did a bunch of those by hand when I was first modifying code for NetPlay. But they are very ugly, incomplete, out-of-date, and can only be understood (maybe) by their author (me).


[image]local://upfiles/16701/52D7DC12F51543B687F8A52215026EA7.jpg[/image]




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (6/7/2018 4:42:17 AM)

June 6, 2018 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
The Slitherine/Matrix server for NetPlay was down for about a week last month. After they upgraded the server’s operating system, getting out to the Seeking Opponents’ database failed. That meant no one could log into the Private NetPlay Forum until they made corrections to the server software to support the new operating system. None of this was in any way related to the World in Flames executable. Nor did it have anything to do with user names or passwords. It was just a ‘systems’ problem. All is well now and we have been logging into the server for NetPlay games with no trouble for the past couple of weeks.

In May the beta testers received versions 02.08.04.17, 02.08.04.19, 02.08.04.21, 02.08.05.01, 02.08.05.03, 02.08.05.05, 0.08.05.07, 02.08.06.01, and 02.08.06.03. My goal continues to be to get a Public Beta with solid NetPlay code out.

My opponents in my NetPlay games received ‘Release’ versions 02.08.04.16, 02.08.05.00, and 02.08.05.08. For May, the average number of new versions was 4 per week.

Bugs
My task lists are still lagging. Catch up, fall behind, then mutter incoherently is a persistent pattern.

On the plus side, it seems that the major bugs in NetPlay have been fixed. There are still some lingering instances of ‘what?’ occurring. However, stopping the game, reloading a saved game and continuing on works. In some cases we have to turn on Setting Die Rolls so we can recreate exactly what happened before.

At this point in time I just want to fix a Solitaire bug related to creating Vichy France, and then I’ll upload a Hot Patch. If that goes well for a week or so, I’ll make it an official Public Beta for everyone to test NetPlay..

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
Nothing new in May.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in May.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (7/4/2018 4:38:28 AM)

July 3, 2018 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development

Today I made Hot Patch version 02.08.09.00 available. My goal continues to be to get a Public Beta with solid NetPlay code out. But first let’s see how this hot patch performs.

In June the beta testers received versions 02.08.06.05, 02.08.06.07, 02.08.06.09, 02.08.07.05, 02.08.07.19, 02.08.07.21, 02.08.07.23, 02.08.07.25, and 02.08.08.03.

My opponents in my NetPlay games received ‘Release’ versions 02.08.06.04, 02.08.07.00, 02.08.07.07, 02.08.07.09, 02.08.07.11, 02.08.07.14, 02.08.07.16, 02.08.07.18, 02.08.08.00, and 02.08.08.04. For June, the average number of new versions was just under 5 per week.

Bugs
My task lists are current for bugs posted in Tech Support and by the beta testers (in the World in Flames Development forum). My reading through emailed bug reports is hit and miss. If something looks important I add it to my task list. But I haven’t been as rigorous in logging all of them and determining which are new - most of them usually turn out to be duplicates, or for a bug that I have already fixed.

NetPlay is pretty solid in most areas; the exception being naval combat. A single combat runs cleanly, but sometimes a second round veers out of control. Or a second combat in a different sea area gets affected by the previous combat and runs onto a hidden reef. These troubles don’t always occur, but mercifully, they can be reliably reproduced. I have saved games for these problems and I’m working on figuring out what is going wrong [oftentimes it is too many informational messages that clutter up the screen such that a ‘must acknowledge’ form gets lost behind the info messages].

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios

Nothing new in June.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in June.

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

Jason Whitten has created a new website for finding World in Flames opponents and starting ‘rated’ games. See this link to learn more: https://www.gotgamewif.com/




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (8/6/2018 5:01:11 AM)

August 5, 2018 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
I expect the Public Beta version 02.09.00.00 to be released the second week of August. That version will have solid NetPlay code. If it performs then well for 2+ weeks, we’ll release an official “NetPlay Ready” version: 03.00.00.00.

In July the beta testers received versions 02.08.09.01, 02.08.09.03, 02.08.09.07, 02.08.09.09, 02.08.09.13, 02.08.09.15, 02.08.09.19, 02.08.09.21, 02.08.09.25, and 02.08.09.27.

My other opponents in my NetPlay games received ‘Release’ versions 02.08.09.06, 02.08.09.10, 02.08.09.12, 02.08.09.16, 02.08.09.18, 02.08.09.22, 02.08.09.24, and 02.08.09.28.

For July, the average number of new versions created remained at over 4 per week.

Bugs
My task lists are current for bugs posted in Tech Support, by the beta testers in the World in Flames Development forum, and emailed to me (including those automatically generated by Mad Except). I still need to investigate in more detail the emailed bug reports for the past 4 months. After my first couple of passes through that list I have eliminated most of them - duplicates or problems I have already fixed. That leaves less than 40, and more than half of those are for NetPlay.

Despite the emailed NetPlay bugs I need to investigate, the NetPlay code is pretty solid at this point. We’ve been working a lot on naval combat. That’s because all three of my current NetPlay games in are in late 1942 or early 1943 and the US and Commonwealth have a ton of naval units active in the Pacific - picking on (my) poor Japanese navy. My opponents appear to be especially vindictive because China is gone or going in all 3 games and the USSR is pushed past Sverdlovsk in 2 games and coming up against the Urals in the other. Hang on Tokyo, the Wehrmacht is coming!

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
Nothing new in July.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in July.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (9/14/2018 4:36:14 AM)

September 13, 2018 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

I kind of lost track of time at the beginning of this month what with releasing yet another 2 Hot Patches in the first eight days of September. Hurricanes have also been on my mind (besides those passing by Hawaii, my sister lives in Surf City North Carolina - she fled to Philadelphia yesterday).

Program Development
Two Hot Patches were made available in the MWIF Forum in August: versions 02.09.00.00 and 02.09.00.04.
In August the beta testers received versions 02.08.09.27, 02.08.0.31, 02.09.00.01, 02.09.00.03, 02.09.00.05, 02.09.00.07, 02.09.00.09, and 02.09.00.11. My other opponents in my NetPlay games received ‘Release’ version 02.08.09.34.

For August, the average number of new versions created per week dropped to under 3. But a couple of those were Hot Patches, into which I put some extra tender loving care.

I continue to expect the Public Beta version 02.09.0x.00 to be released as soon as a Hot Patch survives without cause for concern in the hands of customers for a week or so.

Bugs
My task lists are current for bugs posted in Tech Support, by the beta testers in the World in Flames Development forum, and emailed to me (including those automatically generated by Mad Except). As always I need to investigate in more detail all the bug reports. But I am mostly on top of the recent ones.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios

Nothing new in August.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in August.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (10/5/2018 1:22:39 AM)

October 4, 2018 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
Today I sent the Public Beta version 02.09.02.00 to Slitherine/Matrix for final approval. It should be available in the Members section of the World in Flames forum sometime next week. To the best of my knowledge, there are no outstanding issues with playing against another opponent (one-on-one) via NetPlay using that version. Of course, the reason it is a public beta is that the possibility exists that we may have missed something in our NetPlay testing.

If all goes well, we will make an Official update to World in Flames (version 03.00.00.00) as NetPlay Ready after the public beta has been in the hands of customers for 4-5 weeks.

Two Hot Patches were made available in the MWIF Forum in September: versions 02.09.01.00 and 02.09.01.04. In September the beta testers received versions 02.09.00.13, 02.09.01.01, 02.09.01.03, 02.09.01.05, 02.09.01.07, 02.09.01.09, 02.09.01.11, 02.09.01.13, and 02.09.01.15. My other opponents in my NetPlay games received ‘Release’ versions 02.09.01.06, 02.09.01.14, and 02.09.01.18..

For September, the average number of new versions created per week was just under 4. But again, like last month, a couple of those were Hot Patches, into which I put some extra effort. To say nothing of the heavy testing the public beta version received.

Bugs
My task lists are current for bugs posted in Tech Support, by the beta testers in the World in Flames Development forum, and emailed to me (including those automatically generated by Mad Except). As always I need to investigate in more detail all the bug reports. But I am mostly on top of the recent ones.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
Nothing new in September.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in September.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (11/4/2018 2:47:14 AM)

November 3, 2018 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
Alas, version 02.09.02.00, which I had hopes of becoming a Public Beta, was flawed. In particular, there were problems with naval interception in NetPlay. Eventually, I had to flowchart the branching logic in the code for naval interceptions, using dual logic trees: one for each computer when playing a game using NetPlay. What fun!

So, the next paragraph should look familiar from last month. “The names have been changed to protect the innocent”.

Yesterday I sent Public Beta version 02.09.04.00 to Slitherine/Matrix for final approval. It should be available in the Members section of the World in Flames forum sometime next week. To the best of my knowledge, there are no outstanding issues with playing against another opponent (one-on-one) via NetPlay using this version. Of course, the reason it is a public beta is that the possibility exists we may have missed something in our NetPlay testing.

If all goes well, we will make an Official update to World in Flames (version 03.00.00.00) as NetPlay Ready after the public beta has been in the hands of customers for 4-5 weeks.

No Hot Patches were made available in the MWIF Forum in October.

In October the beta testers received versions 02.09.01.19, 02.09.01.21, 02.09.02.01, 02.09.03.05, 02.09.03.07, 02.09.03.09, 02.09.03.11, 02.09.03.13, 02.09.03.15, .02.09.03.17, 02.09.03.19, 02.09.03.21, and 02.09.03.23. My other opponents in my NetPlay games received ‘Release’ versions 02.09.03.02 and 02.09.03.04.

For October, the average number of new versions created per week was about 4.

Bugs

My task lists are current through the end of October for bugs posted in Tech Support, by the beta testers in the World in Flames Development forum, and emailed to me (including those automatically generated by Mad Except). As always I need to investigate in more detail all the bug reports.

Next up is to merge the 3 task lists into my master task list. That helps remove duplicates (e.g., a posted bug report for which I also received an emailed Mad Except report). Working from the master task list is more productive since I can focus on one section of code (e.g., Air Operations) at a time.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios

Nothing new in October.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in October.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (12/5/2018 6:36:45 PM)

December 5, 2018 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
Public Beta version 02.09.04.00 was released in November and is available in the Members section of the World in Flames forum.

Since its release there have been a couple of problems reported by the beta testers which I need to investigate. The most important one has to do with the conquest of Italy, which shouldn’t happen any time soon in a newly started game. I expect to post one or two Hot Patches in December - but only for fixing major problems. Mostly, I want to leave the code alone for the rest of the year and only respond to egregious faults.

The plan is to have NetPlay ready released in January as version 3.0.0.0.

Bugs
My task lists are current through the end of November for bugs posted in Tech Support, by the beta testers in the World in Flames Development forum, and emailed to me (including those automatically generated by Mad Except). All three of those lists have been merged into my Master Task List which I have started pruning to remove duplicates and very old bug reports (over two years with no repeat occurrences).

In the future, I hope to take one day a week to keep my Master Task List current with all newly reported problems.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
Nothing new in November.

AI Opponent (AIO)
I want to start looking at prepping for the AIO for Barbarossa. In particular, I want to decide about which optional rules to exclude, include, and leave as ‘optional’ for the player. The idea here is to limit what the AIO has to take into consideration when making decisions. For example, whether divisional units might, or might not, be on the map is a major issue.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (1/7/2019 6:29:33 PM)

January 7, 2019 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
No new versions were released in December - not even Hot Patches.

The plan remains is to have “NetPlay Ready” released in January as version 3.0.0.0.

Bugs
My task lists are current through the end of December for bugs posted in Tech Support, by the beta testers in the World in Flames Development forum, and emailed to me (including those automatically generated by Mad Except). All three of those lists were merged into my Master Task List and I found time in December to start pruning it. I was able to remove a couple dozen items from the list for various reasons.

I also worked on the 14 new bugs posted in Tech Support in December, eliminating 7 of them. Four of those were present in the code I inherited from CWIF in 2004. It just took 14 years for anyone to notice and report them!

In January I expect to continue to work on the Master Task List and the newer bugs posted in Tech Support.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios

I’ll return to working on these items in January. Most likely it will take me 5 months to complete them.

AI Opponent (AIO)
I want to continue to prepare for working in earnest on the AIO for Barbarossa. Last month, with the help of Peter S., I decided to limit which optional rules the AIO will consider part of the Barbarossa scenario. Obviously I want to include most (but not all) optional rules when playing with the AIO, but first things first. Getting the AIO to play Barbarossa decently with a limited set of optional rules would be an enormous accomplishment. Here is what we settled on for the starting optional rule set:

1. Divisions (2)
2. Artillery (3)
11. HQ support (13)
20. Pilots (28)
33. Fractional odds (41)
35. Two 10 sided dice land combat results table (43)
41. Twin engine bombers (53)
42. Fighter-bombers (54)
43. Outclassed fighters (55); renamed as Backup Fighters
46. Offensive chits (61)
49. Siberians (68)

This list can be broken down into several groups:
A No decisions, since the game is only 5 turns long: 20.
B Obvious decision: 49.
C Single point binary decisions: 11, 42, 46.
D Build into combat math calculations: 33, 35, 41, 43.
E Complex decisions for movement and combat: 1, 2.

With any luck at all, I will be working more or less full time on the AIO come July first.

====

You might wonder what happened to June in the above time line. My wife and I will be in Europe for most of June.

We will start in London (assuming Brexit doesn’t interfere) and then take an Azamara cruise of the Baltic:
Greenwich,
Amsterdam,
Kiel,
Copenhagen,
Helsinki,
St. Petersburg,
Tallinn, and
Stockholm.

From Stockholm we’ll fly to Paris for a few days before heading back to Honolulu.






Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (2/1/2019 7:01:15 PM)

February 1, 2019 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
Hot Patch version 02.09.05.00 was released in January. This was the last hot patch prior to version 03.00.00.00. The beta testers received versions 2.9.5.1, 2.9.5.3, 2.9.5.5, 2.9.5.7, and 2.9.5.9 in January.

The question of the month for January was: “When does due diligence become obsessive-compulsive behavior?”. Hence, ...

Two days ago I uploaded “NetPlay Ready”, version 03.00.00.00, for release by Matrix Games/Slitherine as an official update.[sm=character0272.gif] Because of the additional testing they do in-house for an official update, and the publicity we want to produce for the NetPlay Ready! version, it will take 3 to 5 weeks before it will be available to customers. Partially that time is necessary to replace the copies of the game in the warehouse with disks containing the new version.

While version 03.00.00.00 (version 3) is being processed, I will halt work on changing the source code for World in Flames. Instead, I have made a complete copy of all the code (moving MWIF XE8 to MWIF 2019) and will work on getting the 2019 set of code to compile, build, and execute the same as the XE8 set of code. Why this change? It is because I want to start compiling and building the executable using the latest version of Delphi: 10 Berlin. Up until now I have been running Delphi XE8, which is from 2015 and was created to support Windows 10. Version XE8 is roughly 2 years out-of-date.

Delphi 10 Berlin has several upgrades to the Interactive Development Environment (IDE), and while I expect to use less than 5% of its “new and improved” features, it would be nice if they fixed some of the stuff that makes writing and editing the code problematic at times. I’ll find out about that once I start using it. This change in compilers also requires getting and installing the most recent auxiliary libraries I am using in MWIF. For example, the player interface makes heavy use of standard 3rd party library routines for screen display, mouse control, and keyboard responses.

It is always a pain to upgrade the IDE because it involves libraries/software from several different developers and making sure the newest versions from each of them still work together correctly. You might note that I have scheduled a full month to accomplish this objective. That is based on bitter past experience.

Should MWIF version 3 have problems, I will be able to continue making changes to that source code using Delphi XE8. Not having to maintain two sets of source code would be really nice, so I will do my best to not make any changes until I have Delphi 10 Berlin fully operational and generating a MWIF.exe that runs the same as the one created using Delphi XE8.

Bugs
My task lists are current through the end of January for bugs posted in Tech Support and by the beta testers in the World in Flames Development forum. For bug reports emailed to me (i.e., automatically generated by the Mad Except routines) I am am lagging somewhat behind.

In February I expect to halt work on fixing bugs unless they are “game stoppers”. For each of those I will have to decide if version 3 really/truly/absolutely needs to be modified.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
I’ll return to working on these items in March. Hopefully I can complete them before June when I leave for a month’s vacation in Europe. If I can get Delphi 10 Berlin working before March 1st, then I’ll get an earlier start on this stuff.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in January.

====

My wife and I will be in Europe for most of June. Several of the World in Flames beta testers are planning on meeting up with us as we make port stops in northern Europe. In the past, we have met with MWIF players in Provence, France, and also in Australia. If anyone would like to join in these get-togethers, please send me an email (SHokanson@HawaiianTel.net).

Our schedule is (June 2019):
9-12 London,
13 Amsterdam,
14 Kiel,
15 Copenhagen,
17 Helsinki,
18-20 St. Petersburg,
21 Tallinn,
22-24 Stockholm, and
25-27 Paris.





Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (3/6/2019 4:36:35 AM)

March 5, 2019 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Program Development
In February the Matrix/Slitherine production team prepared an executable for NetPlay Ready (version 03.00.00.00), which the beta testers and I ran through some testing for a week or so. We found a couple of things that were troublesome. Having fixed them, I sent Matrix/Slitherine 03.00.01.00. Today I received back an executable from the production team for that version.

I’ll check it out tomorrow. Most likely it will be fine and I’ll give them the go-ahead for releasing it as an official update. They want to time that release with some marketing efforts, so presently it is unclear exactly when version 03.00.01.00 will be available for everyone to use. Coming soon?

Bugs
Because these versions were close to being released, I didn’t make any attempt to work on other reported bugs. In fact, I’ll probably hold off on doing that for a couple weeks after everyone has had a chance to run version 03.00.01.00. The last thing I want to do is take a version that is newly released and start (potentially) creating new bugs when trying to fix old ones.

Should MWIF version 03.0.01.00 have problems, I will be able to continue making changes to that source code using Delphi XE8. Not having to maintain two sets of source code would be really nice, so I will do my best to not make any changes until I have Delphi 10 Berlin fully operational and generating an MWIF.exe that runs the same as the one created using Delphi XE8.

Delphi Berlin (version 10.3)
Working with a complete copy of all the MWIF source code I have been able to get MWIF to mostly compile, build, and execute the same as the XE8 set of code. Presently I have 3 problems: (1) the borders are incorrect on all the forms, (2) when building the application, I get a couple of spurious warnings from the Delphi Berlin Linker, and (3) the Delphi Berlin Linker always crashes after creating the MWIF.exe. The executable seems okay, but having the linker crash is never a good sign.

The conversion to Delphi Berlin was a long and gory struggle in February, but the end seems in sight. The new MWIF.exe ran as expected during the limited testing I have done. It restores saved games, goes out to the NetPlay server cleanly, and runs the game without any issues. Once I get the 3 problems listed above resolved, I’ll give a copy to the beta testers to pound away at. By the way, the MWIF version number is 04.00.00.00 for that MWIF.exe.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
I’ll return to working on these items either in late March or early April.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in February.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (4/1/2019 4:03:42 AM)

April 1, 2019Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Product Releases
Yesterday I approved the Master for version 03.00.01.00 of World in Flames. The Master is what a new customer receives either as a download, or, when he buys the boxed version of the game, on a disk in the back of the Players Manuals. The Update for version 03.00.01.00 was approved earlier in the month. Putting the Master on all the disks in the boxed product takes a few days.

The scheduled release date for both the Update and the New Purchase version 03.00.01.00 is Tuesday, April 9th.

The timing mostly that has to do with a marketing promotion of that version as NetPlay Ready!. To support that I wrote an after action report (AAR) on one of my NetPlay games with G. It runs to 7 ‘chapters’ and includes 40 figures. In general, there is one screenshot per figure but some of them have multiple screenshots. A few have as many as 6 screenshots, where I wanted to show the to-and-fro of the forces on a portion of the map over several impulses/turns.

It took me ~10 days to go through the 280+ saved games I had made during my game with G and write up 24 pages for the AAR. G reviewed my text and contributed his thoughts on the game’s progression. Below is a teaser preview - the first figure in the AAR.

Program Development: Delphi Berlin (version 10.3)
I now have MWIF running cleanly with the MWIF.exe created using the Delphi 10.3 compiler and linker. The problem is that the Delphi Berlin Linker still crashes after creating the MWIF.exe. The executable is okay, but having the linker crash is never a good sign. My trouble report to Embarcadero about this remains to be answered.

The beta testers and I have been running the new version, currently numbered 04.00.00.07. Over this past week, G and I have been playing a new Global War game using NetPlay under 04.00.00.xx and found a couple of small issues related to the conversion from Delphi XE8 to Delphi 10.3. Hence the last part of the version number now being 07. So far we are up to the 2nd impulse of the second turn, The only real problem we ran into was me including an optional rule we had agreed to not use. So we had to restart and I had to set up the US, China, and the USSR a second time. Other than my miscue the program ran flawlessly.

Bugs
Unchanged is my reluctance to work on fixing ‘old’ bugs until version 03.00.01.00 is in customers’ hands and has been in use for 3-4 weeks. Should MWIF version 03.0.01.00 have problems, I will be able to make changes to that source code using Delphi XE8.

In the interim, I am putting in time bringing my task list up-to-date.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
I’ll return to working on these items in April. There is a lot of planning and studying to do before taking an axe to the existing lines of code and grafting in new shoots, in the expectation that desirable additional features will blossom.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in March.




[image]local://upfiles/16701/4C2362B043A041CDB3EA5A46C8C3C0D1.jpg[/image]




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (5/3/2019 9:29:37 AM)

May 2, 2019 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Product Releases
A new Master version of the game was generated and made available to all customers: version number 03.00.01.00. New customers received it in their first copy of the game, whether downloaded or on the disk included in the hard copy Players Manuals. For existing customers, the Check for Update button on the opening screen installs version 03.00.01.00.

The primary improvement in the latest version is that it has been heavily tested and approved for running the game over the Internet (i.e., NetPlay Ready). Playing using NetPlay is limited to two players. As part of the sales push to accompany this new version, Matrix Games offered the game at a steep discount for 10 days. I also generated an After Action Report on a game I had played with G using NetPlay. That AAR was presented as 7 separate posts.

Program Development: Delphi Berlin (version 10.3)

I am now maintaining two copies of the MWIF source code. One for the old version of the Delphi Interactive Development Environment (IDE) called XE8. The second set of source code if for the new version of the IDE: 10.3.

Whenever I make changes to one set of source code, test it, and deem it correct, I then make the same changes to the second set of source code. That’s a pain to do which I hope to eliminate in July by converting over using the Delphi 10.3 IDE exclusively.

The main difficulty with making the conversion (besides my natural suspicions about using updated software) is that it would mean adding a dozen more files to the set of files included with the MWIF.exe. Reversing direction and going backwards (from 10.3 to XE8) would be problematic, so I want to be very careful before taking that step.

Why convert? Well, keeping up-to-date with the current version of the Delphi IDE avoids having to make massive changes in the future if something serious happens. For instance, when Microsoft switched to Windows 10, it became very important to be running a version of Delphi that generated code that would run under Windows 10.

So, I try to keep up-to-date with the newer versions of Delphi every 15-18 months. Doing so more often than that would mean I would be working on the bleeding edge of the technology. Not leading edge - bleeding edge - my blood on the keyboard.

Bugs
My task lists are completely up-to-date and I have added another classification to each entry: (1) Fatal Crash reported by customers or beta testers, (2) Non-fatal Error where the program doesn’t perform as it should (e.g., not in accordance with the official rules for the game), (3) Automatically Generated Mad Except bug reports (usually without any explanation as to when it occurred during game play), and (4) Rules not currently supported by the code.

The first group is composed mostly of bug reports where no saved game is available. That makes them very difficult to reproduce. When they are from more than a year ago, there is a good chance that the problem has already been fixed. But without a saved game to test, they often linger on my task list. I am extremely reluctant to discard any information I receive concerning problems with the game. In that regard I am something of a hoarder. The third group has the same problem: no saved games with which to reproduce the program failure.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
My short list of which optional rules to work on includes several that require fixing existing bugs first. I think of these as having prerequisites. For example, Search and Seizure requires that the Production Planning be nigh on perfect. The impact of search and seizure is on resources and build points being shipped overseas between two major powers. Clearly, what overseas routes are used for every resource/build point has to right before the S & S rules can be applied. Similarly, implementing Isolated Units requires Out of Supply routines to not only be correct but to execute quickly. Checking for Isolated Units will require even more computations - and time.

So, I want to make sure the prerequisites are all performing very well, before activating the code for any dependent optional rules.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in April.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (6/4/2019 3:48:02 AM)

June 3, 2019 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Product Releases
Version 03.00.02.00 was released as a Master Update in May. This contained only one important change from 03.00.01.00: to fix a problem when multiple NetPlay games are in progress, so they don’t conflict with each other.

I expect to be able to make a Hot Patch available before I leave for Europe on June 6th. That will fix a few of the more recent problems that have been reported.

European Vacation
This past month I spent quite a bit of time planning our trip to Europe. My wife has done a lot of the work, but there was a ton of stuff to do. We will be away from June 6th to the 28th. When all is said and done we plan on seeing:

3 plays in London (a musical, a mystery, and a British comedy),
3 maritime museums (Greenwich, Copenhagen, Stockholm),
1 Royal Observatory (Greenwich),
7 art museums (Da Vinci drawings in London, Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Orangery, Quai D’Orsay, Louvre in Paris),
1 botanical garden (Copenhagen),
2 military fortifications (Helsinki and Tallinn),
8 palaces (Buckingham Palace in London, Rosenborg Museum in Copenhagen, Hermitage, Catherine’s, Yurupov’s, and Peterhof in St. Petersburg, Royal Palace in Stockholm, and Versailles in Paris),
1 cathedral (Peter and Paul’s in St. Petersburg),
3 days (of rest) at sea,
5 World in Flames beta testers/players (in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Stockholm).

The reason we can visit so many different places within 3 weeks is because we will be taking a cruise: Greenwich - Amsterdam - Copenhagen - Helsinki - St. Petersburg - Tallinn - Stockholm. While we sleep at night, the ship will take us from port to port. The ship’s crew will take care of many of the incidentals of life, like providing meals and keeping the cabin clean, Most days we will have breakfast before the ship reaches port, have lunch ‘out’, and get back to the ship for dinner. The next day we start again in a different city. The only time we will use other transportation is flying from Stockholm to Paris after the cruise is over.

Another nicety that my wife has discovered is sending our 2 large suitcases a week ahead of our departure, so they will be waiting for us on the ship when we get to London. After we dock in Stockholm, they will be sent back to Honolulu. This means we don’t have to hassle with them going through airports or in and out of hotels (in London, Stockholm, and Paris). Instead, we will just have our small carry-on suitcases and shoulder bags. Our flights to Europe go from Honolulu to Atlanta to JFK (in New York) to London. As an extra fillip to that route, we have planned an 9 hour layover in JFK so we can bop over to Brooklyn and visit my niece and her family for a few hours in the afternoon.

Yeah, it is a heavily planned out itinerary. We already have tickets for most of the places we will visit. There are a few holes in our schedule, but the main breaks will be the 3 days at sea, scattered between stops at the European capitals. We don’t leave Hawaii very often and going around the world to Europe is a big deal for us. Now we have been to Europe dozens of times before, but that was leaving from Philadelphia on the east coast. We usually stopped by to visit my wife’s parents in Geneva first, hit a few other cities, and ended with a visit with my brother in London. All of that was in the 1970's and 1980's. Aside from a trip to southern France in the 2000's, we haven’t gotten back to Europe for a visit since we moved to Honolulu in 1996. So this month we are going all out!

Program Development: Delphi Berlin (version 10.3)
I am still maintaining two copies of the MWIF source code. One for the old version of the Delphi Interactive Development Environment (IDE) called XE8. The second set of source code if for the new version of the IDE: 10.3.

Whenever I make changes to one set of source code, test it, and deem it correct, I then make the same changes to the second set of source code. That’s a pain to do, which I hope to eliminate in July by converting over to using Delphi 10.3 IDE exclusively.

I have ordered a new computer system from Puget Systems (highly recommended). It will be built during June and is scheduled to be delivered July 1st. I will then need to transfer files from my old computer and install a bunch of software packages so I can work on the new computer in the environment with which I am accustomed. Besides running faster and having more capacity, it will give me a virgin computer on which to set up Delphi 10.3. I will then remove Delphi 10.3 from my old system so it is running Delphi XE8 without any interference from the Delphi 10.3 files and settings. At least that is the (delusional?) utopian vision I have. As you might have inferred by now, for much of July I will be mucking around getting all that working spiffy-doodle.

Bugs
My task lists are up-to-date except for emailed bug reports (those are very difficult to keep current). For the aforementioned Hot Patch, the fixes are primarily for bugs reported in Tech Support and by the beta testers. I did try to focus on production planning and supply in preparation for adding in some of the missing optional rules (Search and Seizure and Isolated Units respectively). More remains to be done before those can be tackled with any confidence of success.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
My short list of which optional rules to work on includes several that require fixing existing bugs first. I think of these as having prerequisites. For example, Search and Seizure requires that the Production Planning be nigh on perfect. The impact of search and seizure is on resources and build points being shipped overseas between two major powers. Clearly, what overseas routes are used for every resource/build point has to right before the S & S rules can be applied. Similarly, implementing Isolated Units requires Out of Supply routines to not only be correct but to execute quickly. Checking for Isolated Units will require even more computations - and time.

So, I want to make sure the prerequisites are all performing very well, before activating the code for any dependent optional rules.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in May.




Shannon V. OKeets -> RE: MWIF Monthly Reports (7/5/2019 4:37:32 AM)

July 4, 2019 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Product Releases
No new versions were released in June.

European Vacation
My wife and I packed a year’s worth of new experiences into our 3 week vacation in Europe. After a lot of walking, I have lost 5 pounds, despite endless amounts of fine food being available on the cruise. All those old palaces and most museums lack elevators and escalators. Up and down, up and down, then back to the ship to collapse and rest up for dinner.

After our last cruise (to New Zealand and Australia, 3 years ago) I wrote up a day by day account of interesting things we saw and learned. I will try to do the same for the Baltic Cruise we just completed, but I have over 1000 photographs to sort through. At a minimum it will take me weeks to even begin to get that project underway.

Program Development: Delphi Berlin (version 10.3)
My new computer from Puget Systems (highly recommended) arrived two days ago and I am in the process of making it fully functional with the applications I ran on my old machine. So far I have Windows 10, WordPerfect 9 (word processor and spreadsheet programs), Firefox, and Adobe Acrobat running in the manner to which I am accustomed. Equally important I have installed Delphi 10.3 and made a first pass on compiling and linking WMIF on the new computer. That failed because I still have to move the software development library files over to the new machine.

On the positive side, I have copied all the MWIF files from the old machine to the new. Before I went on vacation, I made a full backup of the MWIF files from the old machine (6 hours). Then I copied them to the new machine (4 hours) once I had that up and running. Next is to identify all the software libraries I need for MWIF and install them on the new computer. That shouldn’t be too difficult. With a little luck and a little pluck, I should be able to build a new MWIF,exe on the new computer using Delphi 10.3 sometime this coming weekend.

Until then, I am still maintaining two copies of the MWIF source code. One for the old version of the Delphi Interactive Development Environment (IDE) called XE8. That currently is on the old computer, which is intended to be relegated to the sole purpose of running Delphi XE8 when necessary.

Whenever I make changes to one set of source code, test it, and deem it correct, I then make the same changes to the second set of source code. That’s a pain to do, which I hope to eliminate in July by converting over to using Delphi 10.3 IDE exclusively. Eventually I will remove Delphi 10.3 from my old system so it is running Delphi XE8 with zero interference from the Delphi 10.3 files and settings.

Bugs

I have done no work on my task list since before I left for Europe at the beginning of June. Once I get the new computer system fully functional, I’ll tackle bringing all my task lists up-to-date. Hopefully that can be done by mid-July. Then I’ll try to get another hot patch out (under Delphi XE8) by the end of July to fix any problems reported by beta testers and/or customers.

Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
Nothing new in June.

AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in June.


P.S. This monthly report was created and posted using the new computer system.




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