First Reports

Steve Mitchell:

“The good news is I have made much progress in the early part of February on the planned ‘reports’.

I can flag each of 40 domains to generate a report .html file containing information about the settlements, leaders, provinces, regions and domains in a manner similar to the original game.  I am working with just the original game’s LOD (level of detail) for now, later I can make reductions in detail and eventually, one day, a GUI.

One of the more tricky parts of the return was keeping track of leaders as they passed through each region. Although in the original game you were not guaranteed to see other leaders your regions did report the current leader present and the last leader to pass through.  Now I have more memory I am creating a set of leaders who have passed through which is reset every ‘turn’. A ‘turn’ being 14 half days or ‘phases’, i.e. a turn is a week in game time.  In theory 160 leaders may pass through or be present in any region – hence in the 1980’s I wrote a limited 2 leader buffer which was flushed as the next leader passed through.

The bad news is I have done very little in the last two weeks of February (other than a bit of testing).  That testing did reveal three regions which were not in provinces (bad) and a few other typos in the data (e.g. an upper/lower case “I” confusing two settlement references).

It was fun using my test console to send leaders marching across Bernicia and battling each other for the testing of “last and current leader in region” reports.  That reminded me that you are not supposed to be able to kill your own aligned leaders… oops.  Well, things like that will be address once I have developed the ‘returns’ (the webpage that you complete and submit to make things actually happen rather than just a large .html page of textual data).

below is a tiny clip of just one province (you normally start with four). I would normally hide what the region grid references are, but there was more than one map in the original game and I am going to work on a “randomizer” to distort maps in the future.  Really a random map generator will be needed too (it will use British names and have a mixture of water and land, but other than that locations will shift) – but that will be looked at after everything else is done.

I have picked a ‘detailed’ report extract for just once province in the Anglo-Saxon domain of Bernicia, Lord Ceolmund’s main province rather than one of his three underlings.

[This is about 20% of a typical report data and does not include any of the summaries, domain and financials, combat reports or return elements.  I should note that the “sixty oar” is a vessel type, I may need to capitalize unit names to avoid confusion.  Also, I have tinted and italicized to differentiate it from the body of the post.  Don’t forget the detail level will be adjustable, this is the verbose example of just one of the 160 provinces which are divided between the 40 players.]

Cheviot (allied to Bamburgh)

The Commander of your modest borough Bamburgh, situated in Central Cheviot [1517], relates that the people number two thousand, that food stored totals nineteen thousand five hundred and sixteen units of food and that there are numerous wooden walls protecting. The militia, whose morale is specified as very high, is built up of three hundred and eight peons, one warrior archer, fifty seven churls, sixty three bow men, one hero and three warriors. The local fleet comprises five curraghs, five longboats, eleven transports and three sixty oars.

Lord Ceolmund of Bamburgh, you are presently at home in the town of Bamburgh in the region of Central Cheviot [1517]. Your military, whose morale you have cause to believe is excellent towards you, comprises twenty nine archers, thirty two provincials, one thane and eighty peasants.

The Geographer describes the province of Cheviot as follows:-

North Cheviot [1469] with its pathetic infrastructure and flat wooded environment has a Norseman Heathen people who number one thousand four hundred and ninety six in total. Their level of spirit is noted to be rebellious whilst economic production rates of the region are absent for gold and silver, average for ores, not too good for stone, normal for wood, normal for food, disgracefully low for utensils, normal for fabric, normal for livestock and nowhere for luxury articles.

The highlands woodland region 1468 borders to the west. The rolling woodland region 1420 borders to the north west.

The gentle hills wooded region of West Cheviot [1516] with its better than average road network has an Anglo-Saxon Christ believing populace of one thousand and eight, whose level of spirit is deemed to be zelous. The economic production rates of the region are void for rare metals, average for ores, acceptable for building materials, better than average for timber, typical for crops, normal for tackle, acceptable for leather and woven stuff, not too good for livestock and absent for luxuries.

The hilly moor region 1564 borders to the south west. The hilly moorland region 1515 borders to the west.

The flat land coppiced region of Central Cheviot [1517] with its typical road and river system has an Anglo-Saxon Christ believing people who number one thousand five hundred and twelve, whose level of spirit is specified to be enthusiastic. The resources rates of the region are void for rare metals, poor for metals, quite normal for building materials, quite good for timber, acceptable for food, reasonable for implements, not at all bad for material, more than average for livestock and more than average for luxuries.

Thane Ceolmund is currently here.

South Cheviot [1565] with its improved road and river system and gentle hills thicketed environment has an Anglo-Saxon Christian population who number seven hundred and fifty in total. Their level of spirit is noted to be indifferent whilst economic production rates of the region are nowhere for rare metals, inadequate for metals, below average for building materials, run of the mill for wood, woefully inferior for harvest, poor for tools, woefully inferior for textiles, typical for livestock and void for luxury articles.

The flat land wooded region of East Cheviot [1566] with its abysmal road and river system has an Anglo-Saxon Christian people who number one thousand two hundred and fifty three, whose frame of mind is termed as being typical. The resources rates of the region are void for gold and silver, acceptable for metals, normal for masonry, run of the mill for timber, acceptable for harvest, normal for tackle, not at all bad for cloth, better than average for livestock and void for luxuries.

You will see that I have added neighbouring region reports. These only report a non-owned neighbour once. Players used to use this data to map out what type of land regions were immediately adjacent to their domain, handy if you wanted to avoid marching into the sea when exploring.

Actual scouting reports were more detailed, but you needed a ‘special’ for that. I will be developing ‘cards’ to replace ‘specials’ (more on that in a future post) that you will be able to keep.

I will dedicate my spare time in March to the interactive forms that will let you give commands, that is the final step needed to be able to start doing basic multi-player testing. After that it’ll be fixing issues and tuning the combat and related reports along with the economy (which is broken at the moment). Although not directly to do with gameplay I will then be moving onto ‘player messages’, game ‘turn news’ feeds (we had both on paper before) and finally those ‘special’ cards. ”