Shannon V. OKeets
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
April 1, 2020 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum
I posted two new Hot Patches (versions 03.01.00.02 and 03.01.00.03) to the World in Flames forum in March. There were a couple of problems with the first of those versions, hence the second. If the latest doesn’t generate any new bug reports, we’ll make it a Public Beta in roughly a week. The beta testers received 3 new versions, the most recent being 188.8.131.52, which is comparable to Hot Patch 03.01.00.03
I really want to switch over completely to using the latest version of Delphi to compile and build the MWIF executable (MWIF.exe). It has been about 9 months that the beta testers have been running versions created using Delphi Rio (10.3), so it definitely generates a stable MWIF.exe. Up until now, all the versions released to customers have been created using the older Delphi XE8. Indeed, the glitch with my first attempt at uploading Hot Patch version 03.01.00.03 (internally it displayed the version number as 03.01.00.02) was caused by my updating the code on two separate computers. Turning off the old computer once and for all would be quite pleasant.
Hopefully in April, I will be comfortable enough with the code to switch all World in Flames customers over to version 04.01.00.00, created using Delphi Rio. That will have to be as a Public Beta, since the MWIF.exe will be accompanied by a new set of BPL files (a.k.a., DLLs). Installing the new BPLs deserves to be handled automatically by the Matrix/Slitherine installer, which is what the Public Beta versions use. Asking each individual customer to deal with the niceties of installing BPLs, would not be wise. Letting the installer do them all is best.
I remain up-to-date with the 3 bug report streams: via email, in the Tech Support forum for World in Flames, and reported by beta testers. Aside from a couple of bugs in version 03.01.00.02, nothing in particular stood out as serious this past month.
During March I looked back on all the bug reports from Tech Support since July 2019. I reduced the open bug reports from that list down to 6 - just counting those with saved games that can be used to reproduce the bugs. I want to merge my 3 spreadsheets/Word Perfect files into my Master Task List, which hasn’t been fully updated since the fall of 2019. Then I can prune redundancies therein and delete items for bugs that have since been fixed. A common occurrence is that I get the same bug report from different people and/or from different sources. There is nothing wrong with that. I prefer to have duplicate reports rather than not know about a bug. But it does mean that I need to spend some time reducing my master task list to just the “good stuff”. Or is that just the “bad stuff”?
Annoyingly, I didn’t get time to work on the last item on NetPlay Naval Combat bugs. What I want to fix (completely) is when the result of a naval combat (during a normal Naval Combat phase) causes units to abort through a sea area where they are successfully intercepted and forced to fight (a second naval combat), with the naval units eventually forced to continue aborting to a friendly port.
There are several different points in those two naval combats (the original one and the naval interception combat) where units are placed in the Naval Abort Queue. Getting the program to process through the Queue in correct order when playing over the internet (i.e., NetPlay) fails at times. Both sides can have naval units to abort from both combats. I have 3 saved games where this problem has arisen (all different in some particulars) that I need to run through step by step, monitoring the Naval Abort Queue number for each aborting unit, to make sure the queue is processed correctly, and completely - until it is empty.
Last week I did fix an Abort Queue Processing bug from solitaire play. That correction applies to all modes of play, so at least I won’t have to deal with it as a NetPlay specific bug.
Missing Optional Rules & Half Map Scenarios
Nothing new in March.
AI Opponent (AIO)
We should have a new sub-forum (AI Opponent) added to the World in Flames main forum in the next week. What I want to do is gather all the AI Opponent threads scattered throughout the main forum and move them into the AI Opponent sub-forum. Then everyone can put in their opinions and advice on developing the AIO.
A ton of work has already been done by Peter (Pesk-Pesk) and myself on the AIO. Our next goal is have the AIO play either side of the Barbarossa scenario, using a fixed rule set. What rules, you may ask? Well, that is one topic for discussion in the AIO sub-forum.
Perfection is an elusive goal.