Shannon V. OKeets
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
The worst thing I hated about Marinacci's first computer version of World in Flames was the convoying of resources to production and saving oil, or trying to at least. It was so bad I basically gave up playing that game waiting for MWiF to finally get done. The main problem I identified with Marinacci's version was that the program did way too much thinking, and it was poorly programmed thinking that was the bane of that program.
Unfortunately that poor programming was never really fixed and now with the release of MWiF with the Oil Reorganization optional rule turned on it's become a real nightmare for those of us wanting to play with that awesome optional rule. Over the years I've hoped that this feature would be improved, even read years ago about how there were some improvements made in the convoying of resources although I really fail to see them.
When we set default or override settings the program can not override our settings, period. Even if we're wrong, then let us kick ourselves in the behind in the Final Production Planning Phase if we were wrong. I'm sick and tired of having the program give me a run around when I have an extra resource and I want to save an oil point in the home country, not have it sit idle because the Artificial Ignorance won't let me save it even though I have the proper number of unused convoy points to transport it properly.
So the best way to make this resource convoy function smarter is to give it a serious lobotomy. When I'm setting a path of sea areas I don't want the stupid program completely rethinking it back to the ignorant way it was, I only want it to do the port and rail portion of that connection since I can't set it manually. I especially don't want the program recalculating the same illegal convoy route it had prior where there are no convoy points in the sea area yet the program keeps going back to the last turn's settings that are now illegal. Even if the program is somehow allowing this illegal pathing to produce as if the resource did go to the factory.
The other big mistake is that the program forces oil into production before non-oil resources. I can't begin to complain about how many times I've had oil points wasted in production while the stupid program lets non-oil resources sit idle and I can't save any oil because it's being forced to factories by that overly lame over-thinking Artificial Ignorance.
As far as using oil for reorganization goes the biggest problem I see is that I don't see all of my available oil choices, especially those going into production. I know that people playing the board game never worried about whether an oil resource was being saved, only that it wasn't in production and it could be transported to the units needing oil for reorganization. I also want to be able to access foreign traded oil sent to my nation to be able to use that oil point for reorganization if I want to. This is the way the board game was played and this is how MWiF needs to work. No more nonsense about severely and artificially limiting our choice of oil points in the Oil Reorganization screen.
One trick WiF board game players would do is to calculate build points to check for rounding. Why send an oil point into production if that didn't result in another build point? If that oil point could be saved then better to save the oil point for future reference, or oil reorganization, than waste it in production. We should be able to limit how many resources go to factories for production if due to rounding we can let a factory go idle for a turn and not actually lose net real build points. A play gimmick but it also models production and resource usage efficiency.
We should also be able to change what foreign resources we get easier. While the manual says we can change default trade resources and countries I've yet to actually get those features to work for me so I could change what the program does stupidly. I don't want the program deciding that after a few turns of sending the CW's Burma oil point to China that when I add two non-oil resources to the agreement I don't want it then taking saved oil points from Britain to satisfy the new agreement screwing up my resource convoy from Australia to Britain for the Food in Flames extra BP. I should be able to easily change foreign trade resources, even switch them from production to saving for future reference or oil reorganization. Plus I want the program to stop forcing the oil point into production while one of the non-oil resource points goes idle.
When I'm changing some resource pathing or destination I don't want the stupid Artificial Ignorance rethinking other resource pathing, thus screwing up what I want done. When I set something to idle I don't want the program rethinking some other resource-factory connection. As a trade sending nation I want to be able to designate what resource goes in a trade, if the program picks one that's really stupid I want to be able to easily override or default reset that decision. Trade is a real nightmare right now, like the saying that no good deed goes unpunished!
Most of all I want to be able to save oil in the home country, or wherever for that matter, easily if I have the convoy points in the right sea areas. Regardless of how many factories sit idle if I want to save oil for reorganization or future reference then let the factories go idle.
So Shannon or Steve I hope you take this advice to heart, I've thought about it for many years and finally have a chance to share my thoughts on this subject with the programmer. I'm also willing to help beta test making this whole resource convoy - production - oil reorganization function work in a way that gives us players control without too much interference from the Artificial Ignorance. It most certainly has to be a great programming challenge to make this stuff work correctly. I think the biggest problem was to overthink the solution. Get with KISS Theory, Keep It Simple Stupid, and it will work. Trying to make the program calculate the most efficient path using the least number of convoy points should be attainable but not all the time is the shortest route the safest route. However when the program makes a really poor choice and gives us the least efficient convoy route usage then we have to be able to override that nonsense and manually set what we want as well as the path through sea areas.
I've made a set of changes and corrections for Production Planning that you will see in version 220.127.116.11 later this week. Those should solve most of the problems you encountered. In all, these mods required changing a dozen lines of code or so. That is out of ~10,000 lines of code used for production planning. Of course the right lines of code need to be identified and how to change them has to be done oh-so carefully.
December 15, 2013 - Added code to exempt Germany, the Commonwealth, and France from having to obey the rule restricting major powers to only 1 saved oil point per turn while neutral. This enables making production planning decisions during the Setup phase for those major powers in 1939 even though they are technically neutral. Since they will definitely be at war by the end of the first turn, no harm is done by this change. The important benefit is that the saving oil rule restriction for neutrals is not applied while a player is figuring out how to position his convoys during the Setup phase.
16. December 15, 2013 - Added code to enable computing production planning routes while still setting up units. Note that setting up routes is still not possible if the receiving major power has not set up its units.
17. December 15, 2013 - Fixed the problem in Production Planning where routes for resources received from minor countries as part of a trade agreement were not being implemented. For example, the Persian and Venezuelan resources were not being delivered to and saved in Egypt and Canada (respectively) although they had those destinations assigned as defaults.
18. December 16, 2013 - Fixed the problem with override and default routes that went overseas being given a lower priority than overland routes between non-oil resources and factories. Now Overrides and Defaults are all checked first. Only then are unassigned resources routed to factories: first overland and then overseas.
Perfection is an elusive goal.