Nov 132012

I figured I should let everyone know the status of the update to Civil War Strategy…and I’m going to include some technical details here for those who are so inclined.

1. I ran into issues converting the application directly from QuickBasic into QB64, so I abandoned the attempt to move to QB64 directly.

2. Instead, I began working within QuickBasic on the code. See the code is primarily procedural (do this, then this, then this) and uses outdated structures such as line labels to execute the code. This results in code that is not easy to understand or maintain.

3. So, through multiple rewrites I’ve been going through the code (and have had to start over several times) in an attempt to make the code operate on more object oriented principles, which are also much easier to maintain and update.

4. I think I’m getting close. I’m guessing I’ve put 40-60 hours into these rewrites and I may have another 20-30 before I complete this rewrite.

5. Once the rewrite is completed I will recompile in QuickBasic and make the updated version available via the website. It will still be a beta and there will be no new features, but I will need help making sure that the changes to the code I made didn’t cause any bugs to spring up.

6. Once the bugs have been eliminated (I’m sure there will be some) I’ll work on making some minor changes to the game (adding more leaders, etc.) and I’ll also work on converting it into a Windows application using either FreeBasic or QB64.

7. Once this has been completed I’d like to do another complete rewrite from the ground up. I should have a pretty good grasp on the code and I’ll likely write the application in VB.NET – possibly as an HTML5/CSS/.NET application – we’ll see.

So, that is the plan. If interest is high enough I hope to follow up with each of the other games and then to expand into other games as time goes on…but this is mainly for the fun of it and in my (very limited) spare time…so, it may be a while…but did want to let you know that I am still working on things.

Apr 252011

Yes, I know – I disappeared off the face of the earth. I’m sorry! Really I am. I won’t spend a long time pleading with you for forgiveness, instead I’ll let you in on what’s up.

  • This is the new Hutsell Games’ site. The goal is to have it serve as a central hub for all things relating to W.R. Hutsell’s classic computer wargames VGA Civil War Strategy, EGA Civil War Battleset, Wars of Napoleon, and World War II in Western Europe.
  • The latest versions of each game are available for free download from the site.
  • And the question everyone really wants answered…

Will there be a new Hutsell game?

The answer to this is maybe. Several years ago I (Dave Mackey) commissioned an excellent artist to design new artwork for a new release of VGA Civil War Strategy. I received and still have the artwork…and it is still amazingly beautiful with the passage of time! The breakdown was on my end (surprise?), I just didn’t have the know-how or time to complete the project.

Now, over the last several days I’ve spent perhaps twenty hours working through the code and looking at the possibility of moving ahead with a new game. The truth is, it would be fairly easy to do….but it will take some time. I’d estimate between 100-200 hours worth!

My initial goal would be to rewrite the application in Microsoft Visual Studio as a Silverlight application (which could be run either in the browser or on one’s local computer) that simply replicated the current functionality of VGA Civil War Strategy but in a native Windows environment and with the updated graphics.

From there the goal would be to focus on creating multiplayer functionality which would allow for online rankings and intense competition. I’d leave the AI as is for the time being, b/c with a web-based game, the relative short duration of the games, and the number of potential players, one should almost always be able to find an online opponent.

Once the multiplayer functionality was accomplished I would probably work on creating similar games on the same engine – beginning with World War II in Western Europe and the Napoleonic Wars.

Once the engine has been built once it should be reusable across all time spans (at the strategic level) and I’d like to integrate an editor which would allow users to create their own custom games (with some restrictions).

So that is where I’m at currently…I’ll try to keep this blog updated semi-frequently with the latest reports.

Ohh, and a caveat:

  • Mr. Hutsell is writing games anymore, he has passed the source code on to me. While I intend to be as true as possible to Mr. Hutsell’s initial vision any flaws and failures in this area will rest totally on my shoulders and not Mr. Hutsell’s. I hope to deliver a game which is worthy of standing in Mr. Hutsell’s legacy of excellence, but if I fail, this should be clearly my burden to bear.