Shannon V. OKeets
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
September 6, 2019 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum
One Hot Patch (version 220.127.116.11) was released in early August for customers. Meanwhile, the beta testers received a lot of new versions. We are now up to version 18.104.22.168 for them testing MWIF compiled using Delphi Rio (version 10.3). I am presently working on creating another Hot Patch for customers using the old version of Delphi (XE8). That will be version 22.214.171.124. A comparable version (126.96.36.199) will be available to the beta testers compiled with Delphi Rio.
If those two versions run cleanly for a week or so, I’ll send off version 188.8.131.52 (created using Delphi Rio) to Matrix Games for release as a Public Beta for customers. My expectation is that will appear for all players in mid September. It will require players to install a set of BPLs besides the usual MWIF.exe. But because it will be a public beta, the installation of the additional files will be handled automatically as part of the install.
In addition to fixing a bunch of bugs in the game, I added the 2 Die 10 Land Combat Results Table to the Help menu. See the screenshots below.
Program Development: Delphi Rio (version 10.3)
My new computer system remains fully functional except for a couple of rarely used applications still on my old machine.
The Delphi Rio Interactive Development Environment is still a little flaky. I have learned that if I merely do a full compile - and NOT a full build - the IDE creates an accurate MWIF.exe without trouble. The difference between the two ways of creating the MWIF.exe, is that a build also creates all the BPLs for the MWIF specific libraries. BPLS, are Borland’s file extension for what Microsoft labels DDLs. Basically, they are binary library files that the primary program (i.e., the executable - MWIF.exe) accesses when it executes. I only have to make changes to the MWIF specific libraries once every couple of years, so leaving the BPLs unchanged is perfectly fine.
I am hoping that the public beta version 184.108.40.206 runs cleanly and I can put Delphi version XE8 firmly in my rear view mirror, never to be used again.
For the first two weeks of August, I focused on fixing bugs reported in Tech Support and by the beta testers. I was able to clear more than 20 of those, which was roughly 2/3rds of those reported in the past 4 months What remains are either obscure bugs or quite difficult to reproduce. For the following 3 weeks I spent all my time on NetPlay bugs. Some of those were way more difficult to resolve than I would have preferred. Here is one fix:
Substantially modified the routines for naval air combat, specifically for the air-to-air combat dice rolls. By splitting some routines into their component parts, I was able to better control when messages (i.e., Game Record Logs - GRLs) about dice rolls and other events are sent from one player to the other. The main problem these changes corrected was that at times the computer wasn’t rolling the dice for the attacking player (the defending player rolls first) - or rolling twice for a player. Other fixes include: (1) correcting the program halting after the first player decides whether to Abort or Stay in an air-to-air combat, (2) eliminating a spurious second prompt for a player to decide whether to Fight or Abort after a round of naval combat, and (3) getting rid of an occasional extra display of the Anti-Aircraft Fire form (the player owning the attacking bombers should always decide which bombers suffer the damage of the AA fire - and only once).
For a short period of time in August, the Seeking Opponents data base in the NetPlay Private Forum was working correctly again. But when Slitherine modified the overall appearance of their web site, it again became inaccessible. I need to send them some information so they can get that back in working order. For now, everyone can continue to able to play NetPlay games normally. It merely requires ignoring a single message when starting about being ‘Disconnected’, which only applies to the Seeking Opponents database.
Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
Nothing new in August.
AI Opponent (AIO)
Nothing new in August.
Perfection is an elusive goal.