Tabletop Games: Saganami Island Tactical Simulator

Virtual tabletop software specifically designed for boardgames, wargames, card games and dice games
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Tabletop Games: Saganami Island Tactical Simulator

Post by boshimi336 » Wed May 05, 2010 8:54 pm

I have been following Battlegrounds for some time now and had been hoping that some of the tabletop functionality would be pursued a bit further. Checking back in I've got a few questions. First off I'll note what the SITS (Saganami Island Tactical Simulator) game (similar in setup to AdAstra's Attack Vector: Tactical tabletop) requires. It is a 3d Newtonian space combat game.

Hex Map
6 Sided Box Mini that can Pitch, Yaw, Roll in 30* Increments
Stacking Tiles to detonate 'hexes above or below the map plane'
Midpoint and Endpoint markers.

It's not too terribly difficult to implement stacking tiles or rotational depictions of a miniature with some form of graphic. The main question I have however is that how the turns can be setup.

If I have two players, myself and another (or more people). 4 Turns happen 'Simultaneously'. Players mark where there ships midpoint and endpoint markers will be at the same time. The next turn has players counting hex distance and writing down missile salvos. The third turn has players 'exchanging' salvo cards and rolling for damage, penetration, location etc (which doesn't have to done in battlegrounds) and marking those hit locations on a separate damage chart (again, doesn't have to be done in battlegrounds). The last turn has players doing damage repair.

So realistically, the only thing that Battlegrounds would have to do is maintain ship orientation markers, midpoint markers, endpoint markers and give the players the ability to set these markers in real time or have an admin set them and send a 'map' file or some sort out via e-mail for players to analyze and pic their next move (if we wanted to run it in an e-mail per turn with a GM).

Are these issues already or able to be addressed at all? Snap to Hex is going to be important as well.

Here are some examples of Ship Movement, ignore that AVID plotting window, that does not need to be done in Battlegrounds. The pictures of the Hex Maps however are a good depiction of what Battlegrounds would be required to show.

http://adastragames.com/downloads/SITS2 ... amples.zip

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Post by heruca » Wed May 05, 2010 11:15 pm

Welcome, boshimi336.

I'm not familiar with SITS, or 3D vector-based games in general.

I am not sure what the best way would be to track pitch, yaw, and roll graphically (though it's a piece of cake to track it in the Turn Sequencer). How high do tile stacks need to go in this game?

There is currently no mechanism in place for simultaneous reveals of information in BRPG. v1.6c will have a feature that may help with secretly plotting midpoint and endpoint markers, but it wouldn't be cheat-proof, if that's a concern.

Is this a two player game, or a moderated/umpired game, where a third participant compares the plotted orders of the two players?

Snap-to-hex already exists, and you can use it beyond the normal 40x46 hex map area. Rotation can be done easily in 15 or 60 degree increments on a hexgrid, so if you do two 15-degree rotations in quick succession, you'll have the 30-degree angles you need.

You could use a multi-token free-floating unit to announce the current turn/phase of the game, if needed. Lastly, the direction "compass" is easily doable with an overlay (or even stand-alone text labels, if you don't have a graphic editing program to cobble together an overlay graphic).
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Responce

Post by boshimi336 » Fri May 07, 2010 12:03 am

Thank you for the quick response! I will respond to each question / point you made in order. Again, thank you for the quick response!
Welcome, boshimi336.

I'm not familiar with SITS, or 3D vector-based games in general.

I am not sure what the best way would be to track pitch, yaw, and roll graphically (though it's a piece of cake to track it in the Turn Sequencer).
You have a rectangle (6 sides) and each side has a denotated marker whether it be a triangle, half circle etc. It's just a matter of taking pictures and withe player hand drawing the ship's pivot, roll, and yaw movements on their AVID marker (outside of Battlegrounds) and picking the correct orientation graphic. At Starting point, Midpoint, and Endpoint the players put down their ship orientation AS THE TURN SEQUENCE moves from Beginning, Mid, and Late. Each player reveals their ship orientation and everyone can see. For example, if we have finished all possible missile salvo's exchanged from the Beginning phase, players move to the Midphase, place their ship orientation marker on their midpoint and go through the process of trading salvo cards. Not too difficult.
How high do tile stacks need to go in this game?
Typically 45 'hexes' above or below the plane of the map is considered the 'map edge' and ships are usually out of bounds at that point. There are tiles that denotate 1 'hex', 4 'hexes', and 16' hexes. White, Light blue, Dark blue. If you're going below the plane of the map, the top hex is always going to be a 'black' hex to denotate below the plane of the map.
There is currently no mechanism in place for simultaneous reveals of information in BRPG. v1.6c will have a feature that may help with secretly plotting midpoint and endpoint markers, but it wouldn't be cheat-proof, if that's a concern.
In SITS, unless there specific 'hidden or delayed' ships given in a scenario, typically all ships locations and 'current (starting, Mid, or End point) orientations', midpoint markers, and endpoint markers are seen by everyone. The only time something would be need to be hidden from ALL the players is if there is a GM running the scenario.
Is this a two player game, or a moderated/umpired game, where a third participant compares the plotted orders of the two players?
Typically it's a two player game where each player may control upwards of 2-4 ships each for skirmishes. However, the game can support upwards of 5-6 players controlling a few more ships or (miniature boxes) all scrapping it out in a skirmish, or a GM can introduce ships and scenario items that both teams or players have to contend with. Typically it's 1vs1, or 2vs2 players.
Snap-to-hex already exists, and you can use it beyond the normal 40x46 hex map area.
This is very good to hear! With many of your 3d Vector games, if everyone is moving at 20Hexes per turn in Direction B or BC, (6 directions corresponding to the hex edges [A,B,C,D,E,F]) we could all fly off the map plane, 'infinitely' so often times for sake of tabletop ease we 'normalize' ship vectors. So if we're all going 20 Hexes in B, suddenly, we're going zero. With 'Linked' maps, can we make 'out of bounds maps' a different color, like RED? Do they mesh together like scrolling between pages in a .pdf or word document, or do they simply 'pop' you over to the next map? Is it 'seamless' or broken?
Rotation can be done easily in 15 or 60 degree increments on a hexgrid, so if you do two 15-degree rotations in quick succession, you'll have the 30-degree angles you need.
Very cool, 30 degree rotations are perfect. Looking top down onto the game mat the ships can rotate within the hex (if you go clockwise or counterclockwise only) in 30 degree increments (i.e. Hex Edge, Hex Corner etc). The game takes care of this in real life with 30* and 60* tilt blocks for roll, pitch, and yaw. It's not too difficult once you take a look at it. There are a few good pictures of this in the linked document in the Original Post.
You could use a multi-token free-floating unit to announce the current turn/phase of the game, if needed. Lastly, the direction "compass" is easily doable with an overlay (or even stand-alone text labels, if you don't have a graphic editing program to cobble together an overlay graphic).
Cool!

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Re: Responce

Post by heruca » Fri May 07, 2010 11:45 am

boshimi336 wrote:With 'Linked' maps, can we make 'out of bounds maps' a different color, like RED? Do they mesh together like scrolling between pages in a .pdf or word document, or do they simply 'pop' you over to the next map? Is it 'seamless' or broken?
BRPG's map window could effectively be considered an "infinite" 2D plane. If ships get REALLY far apart, it could be a problem, since the farthest you can zoom out is 20%. But I imagine that beyond a certain range of enemy ships, combat is probably over anyway.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by boshimi336 » Sat May 08, 2010 11:34 pm

30 hexes give or take is the maximum missile engagement range. Two ships at that range, would they be able to both be seen on the same screen?

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Post by heruca » Sun May 09, 2010 9:16 am

That depends on a lot of factors, but generally yes, if you don't mind zooming out a bit.

Zoom level, screen resolution, screen aspect ratio, and relative ship positions would all be factors.
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Post by boshimi336 » Sun May 09, 2010 10:15 pm

Hmmm, alright, sounds like it might work out fairly well depending on a few things. When I have some time later this week I'll start working on some board markers.

Is there any way to 'snap' pictures underneath other pictures? The reason I ask this is because of the stacking tiles.

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Post by heruca » Sun May 09, 2010 11:47 pm

The Unit Manager is used to set the stacking order of units on a map. Press the hotkey to access the Unit Manager.

It sounds like you may want to tweak the offsets of your block graphics so that they don't stack exactly on top of each other when you move them around with snap-to-grid enabled.
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Post by boshimi336 » Wed May 12, 2010 12:54 am

Definitely. When i get some time to sit down and figure out how to do all of this I will give an update. Might have a buddy of mine helping me out now too. Excitement! :-)

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Post by boshimi336 » Tue May 18, 2010 1:07 am

One big issue we've run into, possibly with some work arounds.

Hex Maps, we need hex maps that are able to have an edge at the top instead of a corner. Basically, we need to rotate the hex map 90 degrees in the game. This can be done by manually editing the grid files, or possibly the background, but the snap to grid does not update. For the SITS game engine and many war games engines, this configuration would be preferably over the one currently implemented.

Hex numbering. This might very well be something you would like to implement. If you have an concerns about how to do it, there are some good programs to reference that are free, don't go paying for stuff, that can aid you in this I believe.

Number of Hex Grids available per map. It would be nice to have a lot more hex columns and hex rows able to be placed on a map. Currently, many maps would have to be drawn up with their own hex numbering and then linked together, not too hard but a hassle.

Zoom levels and Hex sizes. Ideally, when zoomed all the way in Hexes should be bigger than they are, as ship orientation and direction need to be clearly stated (this is 3d so there are quite a few orientations possible for a 'box miniature' or 'rectangle box'. Ideally, zooming in to higher resolution hexes and being able to zoom out further would be ideal. Even if upon the zooming out the hexes simply turned into 'red hexes' or 'green hexes' denoting friendly or enemy hexes (in this case ships).

Synchronous or Simultaneous turns. Players being able to place and move markers at the same time during the same turn. Can this be possible or would the only way to do this to set both players up with 'GM' rights? Again, fog of war is not an issue at all, it isn't used.

I heard mention that a 1.6c is coming out that will have better war gaming functionality, will these issues in some way be addressed?

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Post by pyroknight » Wed May 19, 2010 6:37 pm

This post may answer some of your questions:
http://battlegroundsgames.com/forums/vi ... 698&t=2571


I'll let someone with more knowledge answer the others.

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Post by boshimi336 » Sat May 22, 2010 11:14 pm

any further information from the developer?

Also, is there a way for each player to add custom information on each 2d image they have control of? Basically, you move your mouse over it and you see see the information pop up?

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Post by heruca » Sun May 23, 2010 1:31 am

boshimi336 wrote:is there a way for each player to add custom information on each 2d image they have control of? Basically, you move your mouse over it and you see see the information pop up?
Yes, you could place your units as Figures with "No Base", in order to have access to the Text Labels feature. There's also a way to hide text labels until you select a unit or mouseover it.

Alternatively, you could use the "ToolTip" style notes for a similar effect, even on Objects. Just select the "Edit Notes..." command on the unit whose notes you want to edit.

Does the information need to be available only to the owning player?
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by heruca » Sun May 23, 2010 1:39 am

boshimi336 wrote:we need hex maps that are able to have an edge at the top instead of a corner. Basically, we need to rotate the hex map 90 degrees in the game.
For a space combat game that essentially doesn't concern itself with "terrain", you really don't need this, although I agree it would be nice to have this ability in a future version of Battlegrounds. When I used to play Star Fleet Battles or Starfire in face-to-face tabletop situations, the game was be no less playable if I sat on a side of the table where the hexes weren't "flat side up" in relation to me.

For now, the only readily available solution is to place your own pre-rotated hexgrid into BRPG's "Grids" folder, and disable the snap-to-grid feature in your Encounter (via the Map Settings panel).
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by heruca » Sun May 23, 2010 1:46 am

boshimi336 wrote:Zoom levels and Hex sizes. Ideally, when zoomed all the way in Hexes should be bigger than they are, as ship orientation and direction need to be clearly stated (this is 3d so there are quite a few orientations possible for a 'box miniature' or 'rectangle box'. Ideally, zooming in to higher resolution hexes and being able to zoom out further would be ideal.
I suggest you use multi-token units and swap the current token to denote the current roll/pitch/yaw information. You could also make the token artwork oversized (say, 2x standard size, for easy legibility) but set the Scale of the artwork to 25% (to make it fit nicely in a hex). Then set the Portrait feature to use the current token as the portrait. The end result is that when you select or mouseover the ship/unit, it will appear at its native (2x) size in the upper right corner of the map window, so that, even if you're currently zoomed way out on the map, you can clearly see the roll/pitch/yaw information.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by heruca » Sun May 23, 2010 1:55 am

boshimi336 wrote:I heard mention that a 1.6c is coming out that will have better war gaming functionality, will these issues in some way be addressed?
There's a new feature that might help in games where you need to simultaneously reveal information, or conceal certain information from your opponent/s.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by boshimi336 » Sun May 23, 2010 3:28 am

The Multi-token unit might be useful. I'm mostly concerned in that regard of quality of the token or 'image' being severely affected depending on zoom in or out. Concerning that, is it possible with multiple adjacent maps to zoom out so you can see maybe 80 or so hexes at one time? Also, when zoomed in, will the 2x native image size affect the ability to move the token around the board?

You are technically 'correct' about the 90* rotation deal with hexes, however, as most maps are designed for tables, they are rectangles and not squares. For those of us with wide screen monitors, we have all of this unused space and scenarios now run diagonally accross the screen as opposed to horizontal if it is not 90* to the current lay out. It is not 'impossible' to play by any means with the current setup, just not as efficient as it could be.

Each unit's information 'tool-tip' or whichever needs to be available to all players, much as the fog of war needs to be disabled for all players. Everybody sees everything on the board. The reason it would be nice to have the tooltip feature where the owner's controller can modify the content is that it is an easy way to keep track of the ship's pitch, roll, and yaw which would otherwise be hard to keep track of in a 2d environment.

A bunch of tokens could be made to place and show the correct orientation of the ship if it were pivoting about it's 3 axis in 3d space, however unless there is an easy 'arrow click system to specifically shift between images on those 3 axis (and their combination) it would just take too long.

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Post by heruca » Sun May 23, 2010 9:55 am

How many ships are involved in a typical space combat in this game? If it's just a handful, perhaps you could use free-floating objects tacked along the top of the map window to track each ship's roll/pitch/yaw. These could either be multi-token objects as described before to show the information graphically, or they could be text labels (created with the Draw Tool) that are continually edited to display the current information.

For example...
  • SHIP 1
    Roll: x
    Pitch: y
    Yaw: z
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by boshimi336 » Mon May 24, 2010 1:46 pm

There are typically 2-6 ships though it can be upwards of 10 or 12 depending on the number of players that are involved. A game with that many ships or players however tends to slow down. We're currently working on a program or macro that can help with the 'dice rolling' procedures that are time intensive.

So to recap, 2-6 is the average number. It does make it a bit harder to run with the campaign map 90* of what it should be, simply for the fact that wide-screens (unless turned sideways as some can do!) don't fully show the map due to orientation. That is merely an inconvenience though and does have a work around as you have stated.

I believe the text labels are going to be the best way to go about this and will speed things up a lot.

Again, thank you for your patience and your willingness to answer questions! I think we have enough information that says we can do a version of this game that will be playable concerning record keeping and such, so I am excited. :-) In the next couple of weeks we should have some visuals to work with and we'll go from there. The big thing will be creating and linking all the maps to get the appropriate numbering of hexes and such for a few difference scenarios. Most of the tokens are pretty simple.

Question concerning future idea. Will it be possible, if say we create code for a 3d viewer of a box-miniature (3d rectangle) to incorporate that somehow with battlegrounds? We could make it a stand alone program but I was not sure if this was something you had thought about at all. Don't want to have to do double the work if it's already been done once! The idea would be to 'enhance' the text labels with a depiction of what was going on, almost like a heads up display of the 2d battlefield.

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Post by heruca » Mon May 24, 2010 1:52 pm

boshimi336 wrote:Question concerning future idea. Will it be possible, if say we create code for a 3d viewer of a box-miniature (3d rectangle) to incorporate that somehow with battlegrounds? We could make it a stand alone program but I was not sure if this was something you had thought about at all. Don't want to have to do double the work if it's already been done once! The idea would be to 'enhance' the text labels with a depiction of what was going on, almost like a heads up display of the 2d battlefield.
Possibly, if you can make your 3D viewer in Flash, using ActionScript 2 (not AS3).
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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