Well folks it seems like forever since the Peninsular campaign I ran using my online system earlier this year ended. Since then I’ve not been idle, and have gutted the system to improve a lot of the set up issues, and to incorporate (hopefully) better user interface. Now bearing in mind that I’m not a web developer by trade, I am pretty pleased with what I’ve ended up with and we’re not finished by any manner of means. However, we are close to being in a playable state once again, and I know Matt, Richard and Mike are as equally excited at the prospect as I am. However, Peter doesn’t want to take part in the campaign this time and with more commands this time, I’m hoping to recruit a few new players to help us play.
Anyway, the intention of this post is to (re)introduce you to the Campaign system as it currently stands, and to go over a few of the improvements. One of the things I wanted to try to achieve when I set out to revamp the system was to make it more modular in approach, so that the settings could be changed on the fly and easily by someone NOT a programmer. This I hope will allow others to download the system and with a little bit of effort run their own campaigns using the “software”. We’re not quite at a releasable state but it would be helpful to see what others think of it now.
The system has a 3 tier security system. Those not logged in, those logged in and not allocated a command, and those logged in with a command. Those not allocated a command will have a limited menu, with a map showing the current positions of all units so giving this access to an “observer” who doesn’t want to play but wants to keep in the loop prevents players having access to information they shouldn’t have.
The following screenshots are from a partly set up campaign, so some things are not displaying correctly, for example the weather and the date. Please click on the screenshots to make them legible!
A couple of bits of feedback from the original system showed that finding information from messages was difficult at best. One of the improvements I’ve made is to incorporate a suite of code from the internet (why reinvent the wheel!?) for the message screens, which now allows having multiple messages open at the same time, and most importantly includes a search box which will filter both message and sender for specific keywords. Want to find all messages which refer to “Lisbon”, well now you can!
Another improvement has been to the unit order screen, incorporating the tree view from the Unit details page with check boxes to select that unit is to receive the move order.
New Admin Options
This bit has seen the bulk of the work done and follows the ideas laid out in this post campaign-system-design-thoughts-pt1
Here the admin can set what type of roads are represented, their road limits, and also the weather effects. It also allows the setting of road limits to either “men” or number of units, or indeed switch them off.
The admin can select what unit levels are orderable within the system. This allows you to model the orbat to a more granular level than you want to move strategically. So, here a brigade is lowest level, but these brigades are made up of Regiments, Battalions and Companies so if a brigade meets another brigade, you might want to play a lower level ruleset than say Principles of War, or Grande Armee!
This is where the admin can dictate what unit types are in the game, whether they count for movement limits and also what their base movement is. This allows the map to be scaled how you want.
Mainly on/off type settings, here the admin can dictate the feel of the campaign, can couriers be captured, are there guerillas and which side will they attack etc.
This is a shot of the unit details screen, which as you can see goes down to a much lower level than the unit orders, and also shows the current strengths of the units.
And lastly, this shot shows the lines of supply page. I hope to be able to add a map to this page to show the lines as they get amended as this is a difficult thing to remember or necessitates multiple windows being open.