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-   -   Campaign games (http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=52649)

ErikCumps March 4th, 2021 05:14 PM

Campaign games
 
Hello all,

You may know the War Cabinet program, for campaign and battle tracking. In the summer
of 2020 I added support for winSPWWW2 and today I am working on adding support for
winSPMBT as well.

While doing so I noticed something strange and I would like to ask a question about it.

It's a fairly technical question, so maybe it is best answered by the creators of the game.

So, on to my question. It is about the campaign games. Not the "Long" or the "Generated"
campaigns, but the campaigns on the campaign list, like "RoundHammer: Normandy 1943".

It should be possible to add and track savegames for battles of these campaigns to a
WarCab campaign dossier, but unfortunately they are not recognized as campaign games.

The question now is why?

Currently WarCab uses the data in the savegame data block #37, to detect if a savegame
is a campaign game or not.

In that data block, there are some values that relate to campaigns:
  • Campaign mode flag
  • Campaign battles fought
  • Campaign max battles
  • Campaign start date month
  • Campaign start date year (-1900)
  • Campaign end date month
  • Campaign end date year (-1900)
  • ...

This information is used to determine if a savegame belongs to a campaign and, by using
the "Campaign battles fought" value, to give each battle a unique index so that different
battles in the campaign can be sorted in the correct order, even when two or more battles
of the campaign happen in the same month and year.

For "Long" and "Generated" campaigns, these values are filled in like so:

Campaign flag? : 1
Start date : 1936/07
End date : 1945/08
Battles fought : 17 of 60
Decisive victories : 16
Marginal victories : 1
Losses : 0

Battle index : 17


But for the campaigns on the campaign list, only the campaign mode flag is set to 1
and all the other values are still 0, like so:

Campaign flag? : 1
Start date : (empty date)
End date : (empty date)
Battles fought : 0 of 0
Decisive victories : 0
Marginal victories : 0
Losses : 0

Battle index : 65535


Is warcab missing some data from the savegame to allow it to make a correct determination
and detect the savegame as a campaign savegame? Is this information recorded in some
other place, some other data block? What mechanism do winSPWW2 and winSPMBT us
to treat these savegames as part of a campaign?

Please, I don want to appear to be stepping out of line.

In all honesty, I am just asking this question to have a shot at further improving the value
of War Cabinet for these games.

And, to be clear, I am not asking anyone to spill any programming technical details or
other sensitive info of the winSPWW2 or winSPMBT applications here in the forum, sending
me a private message is fine.

Thanks for your consideration,
Erik Cumps

DRG March 4th, 2021 05:18 PM

Re: Campaign games
 
Scripted Campaigns are not campaigns in the same way that Generated or Long Campaigns are.

They are a series of individual scenarios linked together to simulate a series of battles or a series of stages in one battle.

ErikCumps March 4th, 2021 05:38 PM

Re: Campaign games
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DRG (Post 849734)
Scripted Campaigns are not campaigns in the same way that Generated or Long Campaigns are.

They are a series of individual scenarios linked together to simulate a series of battles or a series of stages in one battle.

a quick reply before I wrap up the day

Thanks DRG,

I figured as much, the question is how I can convince warcab to treat these as a campaign,
that is to say: to allow tracking core units across battles.

For savegames from Generated or Long campaigns, WarCab is able to extract enough
information from them to make a reasonable guess that two different savegames belong to
battles in the same campaign and to track the units in them.

But with the information I have today (found by reverse engineering and trial-and-error), it
cannot do this for these regular campaign savegames.

Well, actually, maybe it could, but it would run into trouble as soon as it was faced with
two savegames from two different battles that happen on the same date. It wouldn't be able
to tell which battle comes first and which battle comes second. It would risk switching these
in time and messing up the unit tracking.

However, winSPWW2 does not have this problem when it loads the savegame, because it
knows, when the battle is finished, which next scenario should be loaded, so I am assuming
this information is recorded somehere in the savegame and so I am hoping that, if WarCab
could access this information, it could be able to perform the same logic as winSPWW2 does
and figure out things like where this battle fits on the campaign timeline...

Anyway, have got to run now, but thanks again for your first quick reply already!

Erik

Imp March 4th, 2021 09:49 PM

Re: Campaign games
 
Just a thought what would distinguish them if you could find it is the file(s) that control the campaign. Press edit Campaign on the Campaign screen to see what I am referring to.

ErikCumps March 5th, 2021 04:27 AM

Re: Campaign games
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Imp (Post 849738)
Just a thought what would distinguish them if you could find it is the file(s) that control the campaign. Press edit Campaign on the Campaign screen to see what I am referring to.

Hello Imp,

I think I see what you mean: those are the files in the "Campaigns" subfolder of the winSPWW2 installation, right?

Let's see what these are:
  • "UCAMPiii.txt" - text file with the campaign description
  • "UCAMPiii.dat" - binary file containing the campaign definition and rules
  • "Uiii?jjj.txt" - text descriptions for use during the campaign
  • "CiiiSjjj.dat" - scenario files for the battles in the campaigns
The interesting information is probably in the "UCAMPiii.dat" files?

Unfortunately, these are binary files, using a file format that warcab does not understand.

And, even if warcab could understand these files, it is not clear to me how it would be able to relate savegames
with battles in the campaign.

Looking at the "RoundHammer: Normandy 1943" campaign, I noticed most of its battles take place in july and
august 1943. Because winSPWW2 and winSPMBT only keep track of the year and the month for battle dates,
using the battle date will not suffice to distinguish these different battles.

It is clear that the game itself is able to do this. It can figure out (after loading a savegame) to which battle in
which campaign it belongs.

I would like very much for warcab to be able to do the same, but it seems I am missing some essential
information to be able to do this.

Erik

Imp March 5th, 2021 07:26 PM

Re: Campaign games
 
Hi Erik if you really want to add them perhaps the way to do it is add a check to the end of battle save or a button "New Battle" for the user.
Button would be easier first save in a new battle it could compare dates with previous save & amend.

Warcab then adds a hidden symbol to the date till the end of this battle to differentiate it.


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