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SimPlot by kmart494 download


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I have added map image capability to the program. I still need to test a problem I was having with directories (the program did not always find the map file). I have also added base and airbase units (instead of just using reference points to represent them).


While experimenting with the Somalia map, I came across a ship navigation problem. For neutral ships transiting the map, they needed to follow the shipping lane. That proved to be difficult since I could not easily estimate the headings. Ships could follow preset nav points, but placing new reference points on the map required calculating the locations from the pixel x,y and scale. That seems like too much "pre-game" work, so I have added the ability to use the mouse pointer to add new units/ref points. The procedure is simple: left click on the map location for a new unit/ref point, and them press the F1 key. The location fields will have the map x,y already filled in. They can be overridden if you want to place the new unit/ref point elsewhere.


A new program version will be posted soon.


Edit: I am also working on an undo function.

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Here are some changes I made to SimPlot recently.


1) I added a new status bar function called "Next Movement." This button will display the unit's next location on screen using the heading indicator (the line projected from the unit center) given the current time scale, unit heading, and unit speed. Where the line stops is the next location of the unit when you press the (M)ove key. This will be helpful in deciding which time scale to use at the beginning of a new turn. For example, if it appears that units will come well within detection or weapons range using a 30 minute turn, then the 3 minute turn could be selected instead to get a more precise control over the encounter. Previously, one would have to guess when that will happen.


2) I believe I have solved the load/save directory issue. When loading a scenario or map file, the directory will be the same as the executable file. You can select the exact scenario folder easily from there. When saving the scenario file, the last folder selected will be the first one to appear in the list. It works good on my computer, but your results may vary. :)


3) I added a few "interlocks" to prevent ruining the flow of the scenario. The biggest problem was turn time. Once a turn is in progress, it should remain at the same time scale until next turn. So, at the beginning of a new turn (after you press the (T)urn key), you can change the time scale. But, once you (M)ove the units, the turn time is locked out until you press the (T)urn key again. This will still allow you to transition to longer/shorter turns in the plotting and detection phases. This problem did not really manifest itself until I added the next feature.


4) And now the most requested feature...Undo! This is a two part feature.


First is turn time undo. After you press the (T)urn key, the game clock advances by the turn time. But if you forgot to add aircraft or weapon launches in the last fire phase, or forgot to change unit perception in the last detection phase, just use the undo menu then make the changes.


Second is movement undo. After you press the (M)ove key the units move according to the last orders. But, if you forgot to change either the turn time or unit orders before moving, then just use the undo menu to back up the movement. Also, any units already added after the (M)ove key is pressed will be deleted (they would not have existed before the move anyway). The exception to deletion are non-moving units such as buoys, ref points, and bases (the undo function works using movement tracks--these units have none).


The undo features will only allow one undo at a time. You can back up the current turn, but not the last 5 turns or whatever. If you messed up bad enough to need that much undo, then you should start over. :P


I will need to create a map making tutorial. Also, we may be getting to the point of needing a SimPlot download section so players can share maps. ;)


I may as well post v1.4 while I start mulling over how to make range circles in SimPlot.






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My apologies, as I forgot to add Airbase to the list of units that can be created as a "new unit." The quick fix is to add a Base unit and save the scenario. In the UNITS section of the scenario text file, change the unit ID letter code from "X" to "Y" and reload the file. From that point forward, an Airbase icon will appear on the map instead of a base.

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I like this plotter very much, simple and quick, I'm gonna make this plotter my favorite naval tactical plotter, and I will finally abandon paper and illustrator.
I want to know apart of range circles, what else are you thinking to add to this program?
I don't want to pres you too much, but this is what I think that you should add after maps and undo, obviously is your program and you do what you feel is necessary.
I would like to add advance prior to turning, I mean go 0.xx nautical miles in one direction then turn to a new course, advance 0.xx nm and then change course, (repeat this process as needed till you reach final course, or you expend all your travel distance)
Why Do I say This? I tested the program with a submarine, and once torpedos were in the water, I could turn a ship 180º in a turn, so based on the limitations of the program decided that a 15 sec advance was the solution, I was wrong, at least for me.
If the advance distance is free to be input by the player, (from 0.00 to 99.00 nautical miles) the player will be able to handle ships in line formations, were all units within the formation turns in the same spot even in 30 minutes turns (see attached file).
Other things I would love are: a x200 zoom (when ships are less than 0.5 nautical miles apart range information is just messed one over the next, and..
a ship sunk marker, as you say in your earlier post just change the letter code in the txt file and the ship markers will be a ship sunk marker, remember to give it 0 speed, this way, you wont lost his track of previous turns.
As I say it is your program, and probably introduce this features will be so much difficult, but I just want to give my two cents.
Sincerely, Javier


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The next update will have a 256x zoom feature that I hope will help with the close-in battles.


Regarding ship turning, a few years ago I created a program similar to SimPlot that actually included the ship turning tables from Harpoon4. I cannot use that as of right now since I don't have permission to use any copyrighted rules, but also that would require more input information to use correctly. I suppose I could try your suggestion of having the player input the necessary information at the time of unit creation. Since all units are created using the same routine, I will probably have to wait until a future version that uses separate routines for each type of unit. That would enable me to get specific unit information more easily.


As for sunk ships, for now I recommend setting the speed to zero and changing the unit name to include "SUNK" after the name. I am not sure what a sunk icon would look like, but I do like the idea of preserving that unit's track.

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I have begun work on expanding the readme file to include the recent program changes. I am also making it an Open Office document that I can then convert into a pdf. The readme will likely be a separate file in the Application download category so you don't have to download the whole program to get the latest readme version.

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This is my idea for advance...se attached image.


If you want to add advance for course changes, or make a ship to turn at specific turn during his travel, or make a ship zig-zag in 30 minutes turns, just in F2 Menu press the Add Advance button and the screen will be something like the drawing. Mark "v" for each part to take effect, the last distance in nm that you add will be recalculated based on the time selection you had choosen, It will be necesasry to add data each turn.


I don't have any idea about how to do this, or even if it is possible to be done., just dreaming


In the drawing the time was selected to 30 minutes turns.



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Upon reviewing the Readme file, I discovered a mistake regarding the use of the Turn key and the Turn Time dropdown menu. The current Readme says to use the Turn Time dropdown to select a new time interval before using the Turn key. This is incorrect. You must finish the current turn by using the Turn key (since movement has already taken place) then select the new time interval. This is the paper rules equivalent of invoking longer or shorter turns.

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I have decided not to implement ship advance for SimPlot at this time. Aside from the problem of getting user input data, another big problem is tracking that data from turn to turn--especially if the turn needed to be saved. Right now all units save the same types of data (if even they all don't use it) which makes saving and loading the data very easy. I don't want to modify this simple process right now. Once I migrate away from using simple text files for saving data, I expect the opportunity to add more complex data structures will present itself. This will likely become a future version 2.0 rewrite.


For now I do have a suggestion. Using full 30 second engagement turns, a ship at 12 knots will travel 200 yards. So, to simulate ship advance, plot the turn of heading change and implement a delay. For example, you plot to change heading by 55 degrees at 0930. At the 0930.0 turn, select 30 second turns and move the ship straight (the advance). At 0930,5 turn the ship 45 degrees and move. At 0931.0 turn the ship 10 degrees and move. At the conclusion of that turn, you will be at 0931.5, so finish the move with 30 second turns to get to 0933 (the nearest tactical turn). Ships at higher speeds will have more advance, which is accurate I suppose.

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I discovered an "oopsie" while playing the Indian Ocean Escort scenario. When the Bear-D left the map and was deleted from the scenario, the ESM bearings the NATO player had on it did not automatically delete as well. This caused the program to crash, but I was able to restart by deleting the bearings from the current turn text file. Until this problem is fixed, I suggest first deleting any ESM/sonar bearings related to a unit you intend to remove from the game.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Program Update: Simplot v1.5.0.0 is uploaded. Here are the changes:


- Added range circles. For now the number of circles is limited to 5 per unit. Also, a referee can have some circles remain hidden from the player. This way a ref can use the circles as a distance reminder without letting the players know he's watching for something.


- Changed the ESM/SONAR bearing form. Now you can see all the bearings that currently exist for the unit (as an observer unit). To add more, use the New ESM/SONAR Bearing button and a new "line" of text boxes will appear. Existing bearings can be deleted by selecting "None" from the TYPE column, or delete all of them with the Clear All button. The changes take effect by pressing the OK button.


- Fixed (hopefully) the problem of deleted units still having a reference to them by other units.


- Changed the Blue and Neutral unit colors to make them look a little better. To use them just delete the "colors.txt" file from the SimPlot folder and the program will create a new file.


- Made a few minor cosmetic changes to the on-screen text.



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