Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Game Development Status 3/15/06

I was starting to nod off at the office after 5:30pm, so I decided not to do any work on the game this evening. I can implement small features well enough when I am tired, but I tend to make poor design decisions.

I did start some reading on how to create Microsoft Installer packages (.MSI). It looks like I can create an .MSI in notepad. At first look, it seems all I have to do is specify files to be installed, default install directory, ODBC DSN, and registry information regarding DLL's. I can get the DLL reg information by manually installing Eylau on a clean PC (I have a clean XP OS virtual machine at the office I can borrow) and diffing before and after copies of the registry.

This is doable, I think. My next step will be to do a couple of hello world .MSI files: first install a file or two, then an ODBC DSN, then a registry mod. This should take an hour or two, IMO.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Online File Storage

I think we will move into a more active Beta phase later this year. I hope that we can quickly update the Beta as we fix and enhance it.

In order to do so, we'll need a means of delivering updates to the testers. I came across a list of online file storage services. Many of the links on the page seem either bogus or not terribly useful, but I was able to park and retrieve a test file at FileFactory. The downside to using FileFactory is wading through a lot of pop-up ads for services and products targetted at an Indian audience. Oh, well, Yahoo has a 20Mb limit, and we need that space for pictures and reports and forms.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Game Development Status 3/13/06

Monthly Total 7 hours 49 minutes ; Yearly Total 36 hours 40 minutes.

I checked in the code and map for the QB2 Map Demo tonight.

I spent over an hour categorizing the outstanding tasks in my TODO list. I collected all the AI tasks together.

Next I will make a plan to finish the AI, allocate tasks to the plan milestones, and prioritize the current milestone's set of tasks. My first idea is to set milestones corresponding to OK behavior in the divisional fight, corps level games, then multi-corps games. I will characterize each milestone with a mission essential task list (METL) of behaviors I expect of the AI, and map the tasks to those behaviors.

Somewhere in here I hope to find the time to create a Beta install and rebuild my laptop.
Header Change

My header used to be

My rants, ravings, epinions, and snapshots of my life and times. By day a mild-mannered software engineer - by night...yawn...past my bedtime. This includes my log of development activities and observations regarding PC Eylau.
I decided I wanted to make a change.
Game Development Status 3/11/06

Charlie has made the decision for me to continue work on the AI rather than develope a QB2 demo.

So, it's back to the AI.

Depending on how things go, I may spend the odd hour or two on putting together an installation CD for the current Beta. I really want to get the latest and greatest out to the testers.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Game Development Status 3/10/06

Monthly Total about 5.5 hours; Yearly Total over 34 hours.

Last night I spent about 4 hours working first on UI cleanup, then on
importing the ADC Quatre Bras 2 map and countermix into a demo version
of the game.

The UI cleanup went very well. I added menu items and toolbar buttons
for plotting movement, deleting the last plot action, and deleting the
entire movement plot for the selected unit. I cleaned up the Units
menu while I was doing this. I also removed an extra Save Game
toolbar button, and moved another

The I worked on the QB2 map from the ADC2 module. It's the same art
that we saw for the board game at Origins last year (though the
Origins art was a proof). Awesome. The full map is 42 Mb, so I
shrank it to 70 percent of its total size and got it down to 20 Mb –
this also makes the hexes roughly the same size we have now. The full
size map is almost too large for the screen. The best I could do was
display 10 hexes north-south and 22 hexes east-west on my laptop
running at a resolution of 1680 x 1050 with all the status display
windows closed. The 70% map shows 11 hexes n-s by 32 e-w with the
displays open.

Click on the picture below for full size:

One major problem, though: the hexes are laid out in columns, not rows
(i.e. a hex side is at the top of the hex, not a vertex). This will
require major retooling of the game to map properly; somewhere between
20 and 50 hours, because I don't know everything that might be
affected. Once I do this, we'll be able to configure maps from the
database, and we'll be able to handle either kind of map, and
differing sizes of maps…we'll even have some of the work done towards
using different sized maps in the same game (large and small scenario

I'm going to ask Charlie what his priorities are…whether I should try
to work up a QB2 demo for the convention (which will take all the time
I have or more), or whether I should get back to the AI (which
probably won't be that much smarter by the convention).

Chris is on vacation in Florida; he tells me it will probably be the
end of the month before we have more Beta CDs.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Game Development Status 3/9/2006

I did some work tonight on the LOS display code. The game provides Circular and Point-to-Point LOS display functions to the player. The color coding was inconsistent.

I wound up refactoring the code so both functions use the same LOS determination code and the same drawing code.

I have one other piece of work to do before I get back to the AI. I promised Charlie and Ed I would work out how to use Terry Leeds’ art in the game. Charlie sent me a copy of the Quatre Bras 2 ADC2 module last week, which included Terry’s superb art for QB2. I will figure out how to setup the application to use the maps and counter art, which will require that I change the size of the hexes used on the map and counters, and change the number of counters on the map. I plan to collect all the code changes required to make this happen in one place. At this time, I will only convert a couple of counters; in order to do so, I have to take a single counter image from the countermix, copy the image 11 more times, rotating it 30 degrees in each case, and embed all the rotated images in a single bitmap. I will work out a technique for doing so quickly, and leave it up to someone else (Chris?) to do the conversion work on the rest of the counters.

I’m wondering whether we might be able to set up a QB2 version of the game for demo purposes for Origins this year. There may not be enough time, but if we had one, I wonder whether Charlie might find some table space in the dealers' room? News at 11.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Video Capture of PC Eylau Movement Execution

Last year we added Movement Execution animation to the game. This is an example of that, showing a low-res capture of first turn movement to contact in a test scenario.