Shannon V. OKeets
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
October 1, 2011 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum
Accomplishments of September 2011
I monitored all the threads in the MWIF World in Flames forum daily.
My eye is gradually getting better from its surgery for a melanoma, but I had a kidney stone (6.7 mm) removed last month. That was a somewhat drawn out process with a week of confusion where I thought I had indigestion from having eaten bad food, to a trip to the ER where a picture of the stone was taken. Then there was a 10 day hiatus before the lithotripsy surgery. The surgery itself didn’t go as planned because the stone had moved during the intervening 10 days so instead of use an external parabolic sound blaster to break the stone apart, a laser was used (going in through the urethra). The week post surgery was the most painful period, partially because of the stent that had been inserted in my left ureter. Urine is generated in the kidney, passes through the ureter (~8-10 inches) to the bladder and exits through the urethra). Removal of the stent occurred two days ago and I’m gradually coming out of the drug haze I have been in for the last week or so.
All-in-all my kidney stone experience can be summed up as piss, pain, pills, and blood for color. I lost half of September mucking around with that health issue. This pattern of a surgical operation each month is something I hope to put an end to immediately.
Hardware and Software
Delphi died on me about a week ago, which halted all work on debugging until I could reload it from scratch. In the process of getting that done, I established a contact at Embarcadero (which currently owns Delphi) and he gave me some advice on how I could perhaps fix the problems I have had with Delphi over the past 20 months. I’ll test out his ideas next week.
The open items for Theme Engine remain unchanged: (1) scroll bars for the detailed map, and (2) its inability to display detailed listings of file directories (i.e., the dates and stuff when opening or saving a file). Neither of these is important. Fixing Delphi might fix the problems with Theme Engine. Or, the problems with Theme Engine might be what is wrong with Delphi.
I released versions 9.00.07 (13 fixes), 9.00.08 (19 fixes), 9.00.09 (6 fixes), 9.01.00 (18 fixes), 9.01.01 (3 fixes), 9.01.02 (10 fixes), 9.01.03 (10 fixes), 9.01.04 (24 fixes), and 9.01.05 (14 fixes) to the beta testers last month. This totals 9 new versions and 117 fixes, which is back up to my average number of fixes for a month, but a quite higher daily average after allowing for my health problems. That is almost entirely due to the help I am getting from Aaron and the beta testers in fault isolating bugs, reporting them in detail, and providing saved games so I can recreate them immediately.
I enabled the beta testers to change many of the optional rule settings on-the-fly. This will not be part of the released product but it gives the beta testers help in setting up saved games for testing how the game performs with various optional rules On/Off.
See the section Rule Precision below for some insight on what bugs I have been fixing recently.
Aaron continues to be aggressive in building a library of saved games for testing purposes. I have found them to be of tremendous benefit in recreating and debugging problems reported by the beta testers.
Map and Units
Rob and Jimm continue to send in new and/or updated naval and land unit writeups. Aaron keeps the master files and sends me replacement files periodically. I corrected the last known bug in calculating land movement costs: moving from a desert hex to an all lake hexside during snow.
Scenarios and Optional Rules
I made an adjustment to the Production form for Barbarossa - there is no lend lease for that scenario. I have also started making corrections to the code for the odd rules associated with the half map scenarios: Fascist Tide and Day of Infamy. In particular, I intend to use the Azanian Sea (for Fascist Tide) and the Eastern Med (for Day of Infamy) as holding areas for the “Transfer Pool”. This way when a naval combat has to occur in the Transfer Pool, the players will be able to see the units therein just as for any other naval combat. After making changes this month, the victory cities for those two scenarios are now correct and so are the lists of which countries are ‘legal’ when playing those scenarios.
This is a new section (replacing CWIF and MWIF Game Engine). What the beta testers and myself are spending quite a lot of time on recently is making sure the rules are being implemented correctly. That often resulted in a need for a more precise definition of WIF FE rules. Here is a sampling of the items we worked on this month:
• Imposed a setup restriction on the Communist Chinese units so they have to be within 9 hexes of a Communist controlled city. The number of hexes is greater than what is stated in WIF FE because of the change in scale for China.
• Vichy France can be hostile to and/or at war with Allied major powers. I revised the Relations form so those conditions are shown accurately.
• Fixed a bug in declaring Vichy France when non-French naval units are forced to rebase. This is the one place in the rules where ‘overrun’ naval units have to rebase to the nearest port, but can be intercepted when doing so. In all other cases the units either can not be intercepted or else they have the freedom to choose any port within twice their range.
• Fixed a bug where liberating France while Vichy France still exists wasn’t converting all Metropolitan Vichy France hexes to French control.
• Fixed a bug so Vichy units can only move into hexes controlled by Vichy or by a country with which Vichy is at war.
• Changed the production form selection of repaired Auxiliary Cruisers so which one is repaired is randomly selected. In all other cases, the player can choose which naval unit to repair.
• Land units can only be loaded on air transports if they are organized (Harry Rowland clarified this rule).
• Changed the code so when the US claims Greenland/Iceland/Northern Ireland, units belonging to other Allied countries therein are relocated to the nearest hex, rather than rebased. As part of claiming Northern Ireland, the US is permitted to place convoy reinforcements in Ireland - but not any other type of unit.
• Fixed a bug where the US was being permitted to DOW another major power after failing in an attempt to DOW a major power during the same impulse.
• When the US DOWs both Germany and Italy in the same impulse, two separate die rolls for US Entry are made. Furthermore, those die rolls and the mandatory movement of US Entry markers from the Entry Pool to the Tension Pool are made prior to the implementation of the optional movement of markers due to the automatic execution of US Entry Options. The automatic execution of US Entry Options only occurs if the US is at war with both Germany and Italy (or those countries have been completely conquered). This is another instance where Harry Rowland clarified the rule. There are a couple of more subtleties to this rule which are now coded correctly in MWIF.
• Implemented the following rule interpretation: Unit U is not permitted to fly to a naval combat sea area if:
(1) U's controlling major power is surprised by all the enemy units in the sea area, or
(2) all units friendly to U in the sea area are neutral or surprised [by all enemy units in the sea area].
• Fine tuned the code so land based air units that voluntarily abort from a naval air combat are handled differently from those that abort under any other circumstance. If they voluntarily abort from an air-to-air combat, then they return to the sea box section from which they entered the naval combat. If they otherwise abort, they must return to base (i.e., to a land hex) where they are disorganized.
• Removed the ability of land attacks being declared against a hex containing only enemy supply units.
• Enabled conducting ground strike and carpet bombing missions against a hex containing units with which you are not at war, if the hex is controlled by a country with which you are at war.
• AA units that fire during the ground support phase are not disorganized until after the Advance After Combat subphase.
• Fixed a bug where attacked partisan units were able to receive ground support from countries other than their controlling major power.
As you can tell from the above list, many of the ‘bugs’ now being reported by the beta testers are due to 2 things: (1) they are rigorously testing how the program performs under a variety of obscure circumstances, and (2) they are going through the rules with a fine tooth comb.
Added some graphics to visually indicate that captured red factories are not producing. I still need to figure out how to visually indicate when a factory has lost a production point.
Internet - NetPlay
Nothing new. My health keeps interfering with me starting work on this.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Peter sent me his final list of Areas of Operation and Land Regions. I was able to partially review and modify those. Currently there are 126 AOs and 320 LRs. The Sea Area Groups are now complete and Peter is turning his attention back to Strategic Plans for France.
I have a couple small edits for this which I need to forward to the Matrix Games editor.
Tutorials, Training Videos, and Context Sensitive Help
Historical Video, Music, and Sound Effects
David Heath has uploaded the music and sound effects files to the Matrix Games FTP site, but I still haven’t been able to locate them.
Aaron continues to work with Sean Drummy of Matrix Games on updating the World in Flames screenshots displayed as part of the game’s description in Matrix Games’ list of products.
Perfection is an elusive goal.