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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Version Released

GMs - If you are running a game now, it is SAFE to upgrade to this version. It will not harm your game file. In fact, I recommend upgrading, because of the random number bug I fixed (see below).

I've been wanting to get this release online, but I've been sick the last week. The big bug-fix in this one is to restore the behavior of the random number generator when loading a save game. It used to be (several versions ago), that saving a game would also save the state of the random number generator, thus making it a) impossible to cheat and b) possible to replay a day with the same result (important for GMs). Alas, I broke this functionality when I implemented the new random number generators, and that's something I wanted fixed ASAP.

New in the release is an experimental feature to make board generation more... better? I decided that too often, my online games started with our characters at the Inn, with only one possible way to go, and that way was through a maze of caves and/or a hidden path/secret passage. To alleviate that possibility, I decided that there needed to be a way to "rate" a map, and then have RealmSpeak rebuild the map when it fell below a certain rating.

The rating system I came up with is fairly simple: For every Valley clearing where a dwelling or ghosts would start, start moving down the path in both directions, and count the total number of tiles that can be reached WITHOUT entering a cave, or using a hidden path or secret passage. The total number of tiles that can be reached (including the starting tile) is the rating for that tile. The map rating is simply the worst (lowest) rating of all five Valley tiles. Say for example, a map is rated a "6". This means that in the worst case, you will be able to visit SIX tiles without ever having to enter a cave or use a special road.

With the rating system in place, I then added a control in the game setup options that allows you to select a preferred rating, from 0 to 5, that must be achieved before RealmSpeak will select a map. If you set it to zero (the worst possible rating), then RealmSpeak will take the first map it generates, just like you are always used to. If you set it higher, the maps it allows will be fewer. Remember the more times RealmSpeak is forced to toss a map, the longer it can take to start a game. Keep an eye on the status bar at the bottom of the window to watch it's progress.

Now I can hear some of you already groaning that my algorithm here is too simplistic, and perhaps even favors some characters over others. Also, the logic of rebuilding a map that fails might be the lazy way out, and isn't the most efficient solution. If you have better ideas on how to accomplish "smarter" maps, please let me know. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

By the way, this new rating system works great on the original game as well as the expansion. It does NOT, however, work too great with 2x/3x/4x size maps, as the number of Valley tiles increases, and causes a LONG delay in map building. It took nearly 2 minutes to build a reasonable 2x map, and then all it did was line all the valleys up in one long path right in the middle of the map. :-O

What else... oh, I added a new "export" button in the battle window, that let's you dump the current state of combat to HTML, much like the "Game Export" works. When I was GMing the tournament, I found the most difficult part was relating what was happening, where everybody was, and who had what chits fatigued/wounded where. I'm hoping this new feature alleviates that pain, as it puts everything in a nice navigable set of web pages with everything you could possibly want to see in a combat. It's probably not perfect yet, but it'll get there.

Enough jabber, here's what's new:

  • You can include travelers as hirelings in the battle builder now (so you can test those kinds of scenarios out)
  • Experimental new feature for setting the rating of a map, so you don't end up with crummy starting places. If you don't want to use it, just set the minimum map rating to zero (default).
    • Not recommended for double/triple/quadruple maps (it can take a REALLY long time to build one of these)

  • [1673] - Attackers can be seen in the summary table of the combat frame, instead of only on the combat sheets.
  • [1665] - You can now export information about a battle to HTML, to simplify GMing in a combat situation.
  • [1703] - Transferring a character allows you to choose from a list of names now, instead of requiring case-sensitive typing. Of course, you can still type a name if you like.
  • [1013] - New full featured window memory system (see "Custom Layout" under "Window" menu)
    • Allows you store your favorite window layout in up to seven different slots.
    • Layouts are remembered the next time you play, so if you have something you like, it will default to it.
    • You can name your layouts, so that it is easy to remember which is which. (Witch?)
    • Even the size/position of the main frame is remembered, so spanning multiple monitors is a really easy thing to do now.

  • Fixed a bug that caused an error to be logged when you attack a Giant while carrying the Pretty Rock (Expansion treasure)
  • When deploying a combative traveler (i.e., Dragon Slayer) no longer prompted for a deploy side.
  • Carnoplant box #3 reads "5" instead of "35" now
  • [1713] - Fixed a problem where saving and reloading a game wasn't restoring the state of the random number generator.
  • Fixed an issue where transferring a character didn't always remove the character frame from the player losing the character
  • Fixed a bug where Archeological Dig and Fountain of Health (expansion) could end up in a TWT.

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