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SimPlot 2 Update Coming Soon


kmart494
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It has been a while since I worked on an update due to life and diversions, but I have a new inspiration so a new update will be out in a few weeks at most.

The big inspiration moving this forward is Larry Bond's acceptance of my offer to use SimPlot to referee a scenario at the Origins Game Fair in June.  Each of the sides (USSR and NATO) will have a paper planning map made from my new SimPlot GIUK map (not yet uploaded to Harpgamer).  Larry and I will then take orders from the players and run the turns in SimPlot.  Players will update their paper maps accordingly and make decisions.  This is a "hybrid" game idea, which blends a computer with a live convention setting.  Even miniatures will be used to depict aircraft and ship formations.

The scenario will be Dance of the Vampires (Abridged) just like at Cold Wars.  The scenario is slightly different this time, but the objective is the same--to test new air defense rules.

Some of the changes coming to SimPlot include:

  • Using JSON files for saving turn data.  I tried XML but the files grew too much in size due to data tags.
  • Adding exception capturing in many places to prevent the program from crashing when something doesn't go right.  Now a message box will pop up instead of closing the program.
  • More CWS symbols will be added.  Chris Carlson and I talked about using professional symbols at Cold Wars.
  • Range Arcs will be added to compliment Range Circles.  They can be used to show the arcs and distances of weapon mounts, directors, radar cones, or threat sectors.
  • A button bar at the bottom of the map will allow players to turn on/off map display options instead constantly hitting F9.
  • MacOS versions will be uploaded in a signed .dmg format.

Kevin

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Sounds like some nice developments. I have not yet had to opportunity to try and use SimPlot just yet. I do look forward to giving it a go in the near future. 

Pete

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  • 5 months later...

A new update for SimPlot2 is in the works.  I was waiting since May to hear back from the folks at Xojo about a problem I was having with container controls not working properly.  I sent them my entire SimPlot project for analysis.  They have recently released a new version of the IDE/Compiler, which fixed the issues I was having.  They also fixed so much other stuff that I had to make 2,400 changes to my project (mostly depricated Xojo.Core method name changes).

Anyway, here are the things I am working on:

  • Implemented Container Controls for the various unit windows.  This allows the sharing of common controls so I only need to make one change to a container and it will automatically update any unit window using it.
  • Instead of tracking everything (unit positions, perceptions, bearings, circles, etc.) as an update-able singular state (using arrays),  I am now saving the entire state in a separate object that essentially "archives" the turn state.  When the Move button is pressed, the current state is copied to a new object and the game continues using the new one (effectively cutting off the old one).  This way, the last turn state is a reflection of the game state at the plotting phase.  This important change paves the way for...
  • Turn replay!  Yes, I can now view the previous turns by cycling each saved turn object through the graphics routine.  It is still a bit rudimentary, but for now I can view the game progress at 1 second intervals for each previous turn.  I will add a pause function.  One important point is that no previous turn can be modified, only the "current" turn object can be changed.
  • All scenario information will be contained in a single file that encompasses the entire turn data/structure.  For multiplayer games, that means three files will be saved (referee, blue and red).  No more individual turn files cluttering up the folders.  Map files will work the same for now.
  • I am going to bring back the original SimPlot Range/Bearing button.  When a unit is selected, and the RNG/BRG button is active, the ranges and bearings to all other units will be displayed on screen below the symbols.

So far, the replay function is working well, even when displaying Red only or Blue only (using unit perceptions).  There are a few niggles, but I am working them out.  Also, I have not yet implemented the new turn save/load routines.  Because I am already using JSON for turn files now, I think it will be relatively easy to do (except for the time--heh).  I am hoping this may also be a way to implement live network play.

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  • 2 months later...

The promised update is almost ready.  I want to do a little more testing, as I have discovered a bunch of small bugs.  My time lately has been focused on reviewing the upcoming H5 data annex volumes (USA/Russia ships and aircraft).  Work will resume on SimPlot this weekend.

Kevin

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  • 2 weeks later...

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