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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Version 0.20.1 Released

A quick update to fix (primarily) a problem with attack spells. Seems my change to the logic for fame/notoriety of transmorphed monster heads/clubs broke the attack spell logic. Casting any attack spell with v0.20 will leave you with a frozen game. This version will fix that.

  • New Menu Item in the Help menu: Spur Game. If the game seems to freeze, try selecting this item to "spur the game" back into action

  • Fixed problem where attack spells were freezing game (a side effect of fixing the fame/notoriety bug of monster heads!).
  • Fixed issue where natives would "lose" the ability to lure denizens during combat.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Version 0.20 Released

I'm hoping to play some Magic Realm this weekend, and wanted to get the optional character abilities in place. These are done, along with the last of the character special abilities (Swordsman can "Choose his turn" now).

Also new in this release, is the ability to play RealmSpeak as a local application, instead of a host server. This should enable those of you that have had difficulties with your firewalls to play solitaire games without trouble.

Anyway, here's the official list of changes:

  • Swordsman's special ability to choose when he takes his turn is implemented. Note the new "Postpone Turn" button in the turn panel.
  • Character Optional Abilities (all optional, of course!):
    • Wizard ignores SPX; uses a MAGIC III2* instead of one MOVE M5 chit
    • Captain rolls one die for all HIRE rolls
    • Woodsgirl uses one die for all HIDE, SEARCH, and MEETING rolls in any Woods Clearing (not just tiles)
    • Magician's alerted MAGIC chits don't fatigue at Midnight (become active again)
    • Druid doesn't summon monsters from Site chits. Also, immune to curses.
    • Elf must choose between Light Elf, or Great Elf. Affects which chits can be played during the game.

  • Advanced Ambush rules (4.2)
  • Can now run RealmSpeak locally, without connecting to the network. Let's you avoid dealing with your firewall.

  • Added a delay to the server's initial connection: hoping this will kill the bug Dan F has been seeing when doing a network game.
  • Can no longer "Hang Out" between clearings. You MUST move to a clearing on your turn.
  • Fixed issue where killing a monster with a transformed monster head/club was not scoring any fame or notoriety.
  • Native group inventory hold radiates magic

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Version 0.19 Released

Yes, another release in under a week. Why? Two reasons: a) I didn't want to do a v0.18.1 bug patch (but really needed to), and b) I wanted to release some new spells that were very close to being finished. As such, I feel there is enough new stuff here to warrant a new release number.

In any case, who cares about the numbers!! Here's what's new:

  • New Spells:
    • Control Bats
    • Guide Spider/Octopus

  • Action Panel is default to "shown" when switching frames during recording actions phase

  • Fixed alerted MAGIC chit bug (weren't getting speed zero during combat)
  • Fixed behavior of Familiar/Phantasm on the board: they no longer cause chits to flip
  • Transmorphed monsters don't fatigue when looting the CAIRNS
  • Added a button in the Combat Window for using color chits to energize inert spells (too many people confused about how to do this, so I made it really obvious... I hope!)
  • Fixed the behavior of turn ordering when the Familiar or Phantasm was in play
  • Fixed the "sense" of the spell target chooser - added a "Select All" button
  • Removed the extra image of the incantation chit on the combat sheet for attack spells
  • Fixed bug where battle would stop after respawining a dead character
  • Fixed bug where absorbing a Red-Side up monster would crash the game
  • Fixed bug where combat was not being reset after death

Friday, November 18, 2005

Two Little Bugs

I'm glad there are people who have already tried RealmSpeak! Unfortunately, two bugs have come to light.

The first one is a rule-interpretation bug: The familiar (and phantasm) shouldn't turn chits face up. I didn't know this, but a discussion over at the BGG Forum makes this problem clear.

The second one is a bit more annoying: alerted spell chits don't get the benefit of zero-speed! I likely broke this behavior when I added support for the spell Elvin Grace.

I'm not going to fling out a version 0.18.1 this time. I want to get some other bits in place, and maybe a few more spells, and do a v0.19 release. I'll make these two bugs top priority, but I want to make the download worth your trouble!

Update: I've fixed both of these bugs. I should be able to do a v0.19 release this weekend, provided all goes well with the new spells I'm working on. (Anybody want to try and Persuade me?)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Version 0.18 Released

This is it! I'm calling it the Spellcaster's delight for several reasons:
  • Lots of new spells
  • Fixed all casting bugs from v0.17
  • Two words: Absorb Essence

I've really given this one a workover, and playtested it more than any previous release. I really wanted this one to be fully playable, unlike v0.17. I'm pretty confident everything is working this time, so give it your best shot!

Oh, important note: You're going to need to download a new resource pack (available in the usual place). Without this, RealmSpeak WILL complain (a new feature), and prevent the game from launching. Why a new resource pack? I added some images to support the Witch's Familiar, the Sorceror's Phantasm, and the future Transform and Melt-into-Mist spells. I'm not doing a patch this time, so you'll need to download the entire 4.5 Megs. If you are running on a modem, and really don't want to do the download, drop me an e-mail, and I'll see what I can do to get you the changed files in a smaller package.

Here's what's new:

  • RealmSpeak now checks for the images folder - if not found, it reports the problem, and exits.
  • When moving, you can opt to leave behind followers that haven't yet found hidden enemies
  • Support for Day/Combat/Permanent spells
  • New Spells:
    • Witch's Brew
    • Fairie Lights
    • Elemental Spirit
    • Unleash Power
    • Elvin Grace
    • Blend into Background
    • See Hidden Signs
    • Sense Danger
    • Absorb Essence
    • Dissolve Spell
    • Phantasm
    • Cancel portion of Remedy works
    • Exorcise now kills all spells in the clearing

  • The Witch's familiar is implemented
  • Replaced the "Give" button with a "Trade" button, for doing 2-way character trading (inventory and gold)

  • Fixed problem where doing a PEER ADJACENT CLEARING would use the destination clearing as a reference, rather than your current clearing
  • Better information in table for "Discover Chits" result on MAGIC SIGHT table
  • Fixed a new problem from v0.17 where spell casting options were not getting refreshed. (Hopefully the last bug fix from the so-called "optimization")
  • Fixed a bug where the Witch King was able to MOVE with L inventory
  • Fixed a problem with the GUI where the Deploy/Charge step was shown every time, regardless of need
  • Fixed a bug which would crash RealmSpeak when a character was respawned after being stripped of all his/her inventory, and no new inventory was available
  • Adjusted the length of the Woodfolk HQ Bow from 14 to 16, as per Richard Hamblen's comment on Nand's magic realm site
  • Fixed a problem where prowling monsters moving to a clearing where a character ended his/her turn were not being blocked.
  • Fixed a bug where underlings following a hired leader vanish after becoming unhired
  • Can no longer "peek" at native items during TRADE, and press cancel

Special Note - I gave Absorb Essence a LOT of my time, so its virtually perfect in every way. That said, there are going to be a few rules-issues I'm sure. For one thing, if you record a turn as a character, and stumble through some magic and transform, it will still let you play out your turn as the character. I realize this is wrong, but rather than work on the problem, I decided to let it slide this time. The spell is solid (its not going to crash your game!), and will do what you expect 95% of the time. Try it out and see what you think. I'll get the minor issues worked out in a future release.

Have fun!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Spellcasters Delight

The last release (v0.17) was rather buggy, and severely hampered the spellcaster side of things. So buggy, in fact, that I think most of you have stuck with v0.16, for which I don't blame you. That's what I get for rushing a release!

I'm trying to make that up with v0.18: Lots of new spells (11 at last count), and plenty of playtesting. I played a game tonight with the Witch that went fairly well. The Witch let her familiar explore the tiles ahead of her, while she strolled leisurely through some early treasure site finds. She absorbed a Giant (probably not the best monster to absorb...), and kicked some serious butt. At one point, she faced down both Tremendous Land Dragons, and beat them! I was fairly amazed (and probably really lucky).

I've played the Amazon, Witch-King, Elf, Witch, and Druid with very few bugs to report. I'm very close to wrapping up the last few bugs with Absorb Essence (man that's a fun spell!). I should have v0.18 out in the next couple of days, assuming my evenings aren't totally consumed this week! At the very least, there will be a Sat PM or Sun PM release.

Thanks for all your support, and I hope you will enjoy v0.18!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Absorb Essence

I've got this spell mostly done. You can absorb any monster, move/fly around the board as that monster, fight (clubs and heads included), and let it go inert. Still don't have a way to charge a permanent spell by fatiguing color chits yet, but that wont be very hard to complete.

I had hoped on getting v0.18 out this weekend, but seeing as it is late on Sunday, I doubt this is going to happen. I'm really playtesting this version hard, because I don't want there to be any game-killing bugs this time around. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ugly Spell Bug

This bug is soooo ugly, it needs mention here!

When I optimized the combat portion of RealmSpeak, I opted to "reuse" the combat frame, rather than spawn a new one each time. Because of this, I need to reset some of the parameters each time it is reused. Unfortunately, I forgot to reset one of the parameters, and its causing some rather unpleasant game play.

When you cast a spell for the first time, you'll get a realistic set of spell options: spells to cast, chits to use, etc. Unfortunately, these same set of spell options come up each after that, for every magic user in the game! Yes, you keep seeing the same spell, and same chits each time. (sigh)

This problem has been fixed in v0.18, and is quite possibly the last major bug from my optimization work. I do apologize to those of you who have been encountering this problem, but this is the very nature of a program that is a "work in progress". I try very hard to get working versions out, but the last several releases have been a bit buggy. Hopefully v0.18 will be more stable, and enjoyable to play.

As a follow-up to my previous post, I did finish "Absorb Essence". I'm still juggling what to work on next, but my short list looks like this:
  • Enchant Artifact
  • Absorb Essence
  • Broomstick
  • Control Bats

No promises yet though!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


That's what I decided to call the critters that are controlled exclusively by a particular character. This includes the Witch's familiar, and the Day spell Phantasm. Both of these are finished, and will be included in v0.18. I even made some new icons for these two things, so this means a new resource pack will become available to go with it.

Side Note: I've never really used the familiar or phantasm in any live games. They were always such a pain to deal with, that I often neglected or forgot to use them, and they were wasted. In RealmSpeak, its a cinch to record actions for both, so I can see how these abilities are useful! I even played the Sorceror with multiple Phantasm spells. This is a cool way for the Sorceror to scout out territory!

I'm finishing up the spell "Unleash Power", and thinking about turning my attention towards "Absorb Essence", and "Broomstick". Yes, v0.18 is going to be a Witch's delight!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Long Duration Spells Working

I finally got some time this evening to work up some longer duration spells: Day, Combat, and (drum roll please) Permanent spells. That is to say, the logic is in place. I've worked up a few spells, with many more to follow very soon. Here is what I got so far:
  • Witch's Brew
  • Fairie Lights
  • Elemental Spirit
  • See Hidden Signs
  • Sense Danger
  • Blend into Background

Sense Danger is the only Permanent spell so far, but it works correctly: it goes into effect during the evening, it goes inert at midnight, and reenergizes as soon as it is in the presence of Purple magic. I don't have the logic in for energizing an inert spell with a magic chit yet, but probably will before version 0.18 is released.

How many total spells yet to do? I counted 30 (damn this game has a lot of spells!), so I've still got my work cut out for me! Version 0.18 will definitely pack a punch!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Version 0.17.1 Released

Okay, let's try this again! I played a v0.17 game last night with a friend of mine, and everything went well until we hit our first combat. Though I had never seen any in-game combat problems before, the !@#$ hit the fan when there were multiple players. Suddenly, we were deluged with 1-4 combat windows at once, and stages were getting skipped left and right. It got to a point, where combat stopped, and hung altogether. Bad news!

Looking into the code this morning, I had realized I made a dumb mistake. I had forgotten to take out a line of code I put in for some firewall testing, and it caused everything I had worked so hard to get right, to fall apart. I removed the line of code, made a couple of tweaks (I noticed during our game, that it was no longer describing the combat stages in the player list window), and tried it again with our save game from last night. Looks good this time, and nothing freaky going on.

I sincerely apologize to those of you that downloaded v0.17 and have to redownload v0.17.1. I took the link down as soon as I saw the problem, but I know it was too late for some of you. At least its not that big of a file to download (assuming you are on cable/DSL).

Just a few things, but they are worth mentioning:
  • Fixed display of character status during combat (was only showing "In Combat"!!)
  • Fixed multiple combat frame spawning (this is THE reason for breaking the link online!)
  • Added a new menu item to restore games from the autosave file

Jumping the Gun

I may have jumped the gun with the v0.17 release. I tried playing an online game last night, and we ran into a game killing bug (happens during combat). Before too many people did the download, I decided to break the link. If you've tried to download, you have probably noticed the broken link by now. If you managed to get it before I did that, I recommend tossing it, and rolling back to version 0.16.1.

I'm really sorry about that! I did the release so my friend could get it, and we could play. I'm going to see if I can fix it today (not a lot of time today though....) and get it back online.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Version 0.17 Released

I put a lot of effort into this release to get all the little bugs surrounding natives and hired leaders resolved. I also did some optimization work, to resolve some issues with speed (see this entry).

Finally, I added a bunch of options to the Option Menu, and made these options persist from game to game. Yes, that means you won't have to tweak these anymore! Once you get them where you like, they should stay until you change them. This includes the location of your last load/save file (some of you, I know, will rejoice!)

I'm playing a game online tonight, so hopefully I'll hit any game killing bugs before you do. I've got my fingers crossed that v0.17 isn't a repeat of v0.16, where I seemed to break everything!!

Okay, here's what you are getting this time around:

  • Warning if you press send before recording all your phases (option can be turned off)
  • Menu options to set default "Daily Combat" setting for each new character
  • Menu options to turn warnings off (heavy inventory, incomplete phases)
  • Menu options and frame size are "remembered" from game to game
  • Last Save folder for RealmSpeak is "remembered" from game to game
  • Button in character chooser to select a random character

  • Several speed optimizations
  • Fixed bug where combat would sometimes "hang" when there were a lot of participants
  • Character curses are now reset after death
  • Magic chit effort is calculated correctly again (alerted AND non-alerted)
  • Character token on frame doesn't appear "green" anymore when loading a game where the character is hidden
  • Can unalert a weapon in combat (why? Example: Pilgrim with alerted mace speed 3, might want to use FIGHT M2 chit!)
  • Reading Runes on Book with all spells awakened, allows a choice of spell to learn
  • Stumble rolls now include the number of attackers
  • Change Tactics roll not done on boxes containing ONLY Tremendous monsters or native horses
  • Clarified INSULT and CHALLENGE result windows to identify the natives and character affected
  • Fixed problem where a monster with a weapon was being counted as TWO attackers, and thwarting automatic assignments
  • Fixed issue where monster and weapon/head were getting repositioned into the same box
  • Fixed issue where unhired natives could be placed in the same box with their horse
  • Hirelings following a hired leader are used in combat
  • If you run from combat with hirelings, the hirelings will finish the battle.
  • "Show Card" button is disabled on hired leader frames
  • Cancel illegal MOVEs without blocking character turn
  • Can FOLLOW a hired leader now
  • Hired Leaders can no longer drop their horses in the clearing!!
  • Shows interactive character when combat windows are displayed (guarantees correct character is shown when asked to buy drinks for natives)
  • Suicide and Transfer buttons are not enabled on on Hired Leaders
  • Tweaked the positioning stage a bit:
    • You position your own hirelings on any sheet
    • You position denizens only on your own sheets
    • For monster sheets, the monster's target gets to move denizens
    • You NEVER position hirelings that aren't your own

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

RealmSpeak Optimization

I spent some time this weekend working to optimize RealmSpeak. The reason for this, is that some people had reported having problems with 5 or more characters. As a test, I set up a game with all 16 characters, and RealmSpeak slowed to a crawl. The first combat to appear, caused the whole game to crash. Bummer!

Since the whole point of RealmSpeak is to allow any number of players to join, I really needed to get this fixed. After playing around with some code profilers, I was finally able to locate some of the problem code. I'm happy to say, that RealmSpeak is flying at about 3-times the speed it used to, and this is good for everyone, even if you are only playing a couple characters!

During this stage of coding, I also located and removed a bug that would sometimes cause RealmSpeak to hang during combat. A number of you have reported this behavior, and though the autosave allows you to quit and restart where you left off, it wasn't a desirable thing to do. I can hardly wait to get v0.17 out (this weekend, for sure), and see how this works for everyone.

Oh, I retried the 16 character game... and it worked normally! Yes, it was a pain clicking endlessly through all the stages, but they are fast now, and combat doesn't hang. Wheee!!

Now maybe I can start knocking those bugs off the bug tracker!