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Development Update

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:44 pm
by heruca
Tomorrow I'll be testing out what I call the "Connection beta" (still shy of being beta 1.0.4). Many of the existing issues with the earlier betas have been addressed already, and multiuser internet/network connections are now possible. I just need to test for issues with firewalls, routers, etc.

It's really shaping up quite well. If tomorrow's testing goes OK, I plan on finishing the multiuser code next, release beta 1.0.4, then start in on Encounter Saving and Fog of War (at which point I'll stop developing betas to focus on the full Demo).

Lastly, it looks like I may be getting some coding help next week, to speed things along even more.

I'm afraid it's not looking too hopeful for CyberCon, however. There just aren't enough days left to get a working client ready. :(

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 9:50 pm
by Halebop
Bummer about Cybercon Heruca but the rest all sounds good!

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 7:47 pm
by Steel Rat
Is there a topic, maybe a sticky, where the latest beta release can be found?

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 7:59 pm
by heruca
The lastest version currently available is beta 1.0.3, which can be found on the Downloads page (that's where the latest version will always be posted):
http://www.battlegroundsgames.com/downloads.html

Beta 1.0.4 is not too far off.

New features will include (partial list only):

Turn Sequencer panel
Unit Manager panel
New figure base options, including large bases
Now runs in windowed mode
Many bugs from earlier betas have been fixed
Many interface tweaks and refinements based on user feedback
Screenshots in the User Manual
New Preferences options
Map scrolling boundaries
Figure movement boundaries
Asks for confirmation before quitting

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 8:01 pm
by heruca
By the way, welcome back, Steel Rat. Missed ya!

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 8:19 pm
by Steel Rat
lol, sorry, too many forums to keep track of.

Question, can I install one beta on top of the previoius? I've only installed 1.01 so far.

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 8:28 pm
by heruca
See the post at the bottom of this page:

http://www.battlegroundsgames.com/phpBB ... c&start=45

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 8:37 pm
by heruca
Once you've installed 1.0.3, I suggest you make a backup copy (duplicate) of the "User Cast.cxt" file, because there is an issue with unit settings not currently being editable after a particular piece of art has already been used before, and there's currently no way to purge artwork you no longer want, so your "User Cast" file will just keep getting bigger and bigger (especially when importing a lot of maps). If this starts causing you problems, you can trash your bloated User Cast file and use the backup file (after renaming it to match).

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 9:39 pm
by Steel Rat
I'm guessing that's a bug being fixed? ;)

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:15 pm
by heruca
Not a bug, really. I just haven't gotten around to adding the capability to purge media, yet, so you can potentially get file bloat after a while.

The ability to change default unit settings (rotation, scale, etc.) has already been added (for the upcoming beta 1.0.4).

Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:55 pm
by heruca
I finally tested the Connection Beta last night with the help of Mind Flayer Monk, Erian, and Halebop. All four of us were able to successfully connect and chat via BRPG, despite a number of intervening routers and firewalls (both hardware and software-based). The only disconnect was when my ISP cut out entirely. I didn't notice any lag to speak of, despite the fact that we were all using Skype voice chat at the same time. In short, this is a very promising first step.

If any of the people that were involved would like to comment, this is a good place to do it.

Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 1:52 am
by Halebop
We got to see and use a number of cool new features in version 1.04 (and identify a number of bugs to squash too). With a prototype FoW now in it's embryonic stages, a complete product is getting tantalizingly close!

At the moment there is a basic chat function allowing party chat and private chat. We discussed other potential functions like dice rolling "chat" i.e. typing 2d6+2 could generate the same random dice roll and emotes. I think Heruca also planned to allow resizing of text although I suspect one or two of us were suggesting resizing of the chat window as well. Chat's not a biggie for me and I prefer a "Keep It Simple Stupid" approach to this and then wait for user feedback. As noted, Skype and BG worked well in conjunction with each other.

Along with a few new bugs we got to see a number of new features and extensions of old ones including...

Larger base sizes (up to 20x20 bases are now supported)

Initiative Queue, a simple list that allows you to adjust the order of names. I'll post some feedback on this one later on in the feedback forum.

A cool unit manager which lists all placed objects and figures on the map and allows the GM to make them invisible or set them aside on the "sideboard" for later use. It was quite cool in it's "genericness" and I think GMs could apply it's functions for a number of purposes.

Sound was now partially supported and we could play sound files, adjust volumes (those bees were loud!) and loop sound continuously.

Most of all it was gratifying to see us linking on a variety of machines, using a combination of hard and soft firewalls. So overall a sucessful 1st test of linking up.

Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 11:51 am
by heruca
Nice recap.

I´d just like to add that another purpose of the Unit Manager is to rearrange the stacking order of units, for determining whether one unit is on top of or beneath another unit (although that isn´t fully implemented yet).

By the way, sound support has been in there since 1.0.0, if I´m not mistaken.

Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 2:47 am
by heruca
Tested beta 1.0.4 tonight, and found a few bugs. If I can fix them tonight and tomorrow, you should be able to download 1.0.4 by tomorrow evening.

Update

Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 8:58 pm
by heruca
Many of you will be happy to know that I've just gone through and resized, renamed, and properly oriented all the sample artwork that comes with BRPG. That means less fiddling with the imaging controls in the program. Of course, some images I kept large, as you might want to use them in a variety of sizes.

It's looking like it's going to be a late-night release of 1.0.4, however.

Re: Update

Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 1:12 am
by masterlurker
heruca wrote:Many of you will be happy to know that I've just gone through and resized, renamed, and properly oriented all the sample artwork that comes with BRPG. That means less fiddling with the imaging controls in the program. Of course, some images I kept large, as you might want to use them in a variety of sizes.
Yay!
~lurker~

Update

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 7:50 am
by heruca
I've been making great progress lately on the multiuser connectivity features. Now when you deploy units in BRPG, they show up on a connected client's screen. You can then remotely move it around, rotate it, and change a number of the unit's settings. The best part is how lag-free and responsive it is. It's all coming together quite nicely.

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:38 am
by Kepli
Excellent Heruca ... :D

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:45 am
by Halebop
Good stuff! Looking forward to trying it out. Still hanging out for FoW too! :pants like a dog:

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 7:13 am
by heruca
Tested my latest build last night with Halebop. It went pretty well, but there are some bugs that will need to be fixed before I can release beta 1.0.5. I figure a couple more days.

The good news is that the connection-crashing bug is gone, and that once a connection is established, it seems to be quite stable.

The bad news is that getting a good connection isn't as easy as it needs to be. There's some voodoo, luck, and trial and error involved. Gonna work on that.

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 8:11 am
by Halebop
Some minor idiosyncrasies but on balance definately a successful test...

We had the GM moving objects and figures around, being hidden etc and displaying through to the client screen

GM assigning control of figures to the client...

...and the client moving the figure around and doing stuff with it.

No stability issues with the connection, although it took two or three goes to get it going.

There were numerous minor display issues where specific functions didn't properly translate from "single player" (that the Beta's have been so far) to "network ready".

I feel a bit like a homeoner watching their new home be built. At first all you see are the "bits" and then suddenly it starts to look like a home. Despite some frustrations tonight we began to see what the "home" looked like. And overall it's looking great! Still hanging out for FoW but Heruca has a few wrinkles to iron out over the next couple of days first. He's been working really long hours to get this thing running right. So I hope he gets some useful support when presales go on offer...

Partly because of how we were using it during the Beta, which admittedly wasn't very natural, I did have some minor issues with the Chat window and usability with other functions but they weren't biggies. I'll post a thread on that in the feedback forum.

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 1:23 am
by Old One
I know locking in an actual release date in software is "death", but is the published date of 2/28 realistic or will it really just be an advanced Beta? I ask because potential users (like myself) are a demanding lot and I would much rather see a delay in release than see a typical Microsoft "get it to market and worry about the bugs later" approach.

I really like what I see on the features/usability side, but haven't downloaded the Beta yet. Maybe over the weekend.

~ OO

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:25 am
by heruca
You asked a direct question, and I'll try to give you a direct answer.

2/28 certainly sounded realistic when I announced it. Now, I'm not 100% sure. :oops:

While I will try to have every bug worked out by the release date (whether that's Feb 28 or early March), it's inevitable that new ones will surface when large numbers of people start using the program at length, on a variety of computers, and in different configurations. This is true of any 1.0 release, even those made by large companies with huge development budgets. However, I will issue free updates to squash those bugs in a timely manner, and I will also be adding many new features that won't make it into the initial release.

BRPG 1.0 will have everything you need to run a complete game session (and then some), but future updates will add some nice extras, like:
¢ Dice roll results shown right on the map window
¢ User-definable dice macros
¢ Die-rolling via the chat window
¢ Typing and AFK indicators in the chat window, for each user.
¢ A new unit movement method that doesn't use hotkeys and allows the GM to approve all or part of a proposed player move

It makes me shudder to be compared to Microsoft, but here's the reality: BRPG has already been delayed a couple of months. if I don't get this to market soon, I will have to go get a real job and development will slow to a crawl. So I need to ship very soon. The advantage of this is that early adopters will get to start playing right away and not have to wait until April or however long it would take me to get all those extra features programmed.

So my suggestion to you and to everyone else is to wait until BRPG's features are worth the purchase price to you. The free Demo will be updated regularly, so that you can make your evaluation with all the latest features and bug-fixes in place.

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:03 pm
by masterlurker
Maybe you should've stolen ID Software's favorite release date, "when it's done".

As long as it connects to the internet, it can't be that big a flop =P And as for the list of future features, only the last two interest me. The dice features are just icing on the cake, as long as it ships with a working dice roller it serves its purpose.

Keep coding! :P
~lurker~

Ready!

Posted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:10 pm
by mako
I purchased e-tools on day one of availibilty, it was loaded with bugs. However, becuase I had to learn to navigate around and deal with them I became much more adapt with the software. I am an accountant with very expensive accounting software, because it has so many issues with the code, i have become the companys (goto guy) when someone has a problem.
Bugs are a pain, but they do make you learn the software faster...if you are like me, and try to work around the issue. If you find a bug, and throw you arms up and stop kind of guy.....then I would wait.

Not me..."I want a goose that lays golden eggs, now daddy......now!" Veruca Salt, Willey Wonka's flick


M :twisted: Mako