Fracas 2.0 BETA Progress Page - Updated 10/18/2001 5:37pm

Welcome to the Fracas 2.0 BETA Progress page! Fracas 2.0 has been released, but this page will stay here to show what work has been done since 1.1, and what work will eventually be done on the next version. You can peruse the list of features below, or view my development log here. And as always, you can send me feedback at the Email address below.

Fracas 2.0 BETA Feature List

I've listed the features that were considered for inclusion in Fracas 2.0 below, along with a severity ranking from 1 to 3 and the current status of the change. These are defined as follows:

  • Issues marked 1 will definitely make it. I'll kill myself to add these.
  • Items marked with a 2 will likely be included, but may be demoted to 3 during development.
  • Anything with a 3 is not a priority and will be considered again as I get closer to a release.
  • NYA: Not yet addressed.
Beta testers: If you feel that this list should be updated in any way, please let me know by firing out an Email to the address below. Thanks!

Fracas 2.0 incidents reported:

ISSUE RELEASE STATUS
ACK errors appear very occasionally. 2.0 NYA
Loading a map with no water from Genesis causes an error 9. 2.0 NYA

Beta incidents reported:

ISSUE RELEASE STATUS
Preferences are sent to clients in a network game. Only Options and Terraform stuff should be sent. BETA 2 Resolved.
Some border settings don't work anymore. BETA 2 Resolved.
ACK errors have occured for two people. BETA 2 Added some prevention to the Random Event network code.
The chat dialog should have a taskbar icon so that Alt+Tab works. BETA 2 Resolved.
When moving troops TO a country, the message at the bottom doesn't update properly. BETA 2 Resolved.
Opening message "Choose game parameters..." needs to be updated now that there are no more menu checkboxes. BETA 2 Resolved.
Installer offers an option of 'Start now' or 'Read readme' but there's really only one thing to do: Click Finish. BETA 2 Resolved.
Countries appear unclaimed, yet with HQ stripes. Not sure what's causing this yet. BETA 1.5 Resolved.
The troop totals on the right are sometimes updated incorrectly when an HQ is destroyed. BETA 1.5 Resolved.
Windows 2000 machines seem to have more problems with performance than others. BETA 1.5 NYA
The taskbar is still eclipsed by the Fracas app, but only in 800x600 and 640x480 modes. BETA 1.5 Resolved. Clipped 30 vertical pixels off of the other resolutions too.
Sometimes players don't receive a score at end-game on the statistics screen. BETA 1.5 Resolved.
Oh no! Another error 6 during troop movements. BETA 1.5 Added more prevention, thanks to the next incident below.
An error 9 pops up during the troop reinforcement phase when a computer has only one maxed-out country. BETA 1.5 Resolved.
The main window freezes up if someone wins while the app is minimized. BETA 1.5 Resolved.
You can now resign before placing your first country, which doesn't seem to work all the time. BETA 1.5 Resolved.
At 1024x768, the Taskbar covers up the bottom text line of the main Fracas dialog. If the Taskbar is set to Auto-hide, there is no problem, but we don't want to force users to do this. The window should be vertically smaller to accommodate everyone. BETA 1 Resolved.
Player 6's commentary text doesn't show up at all when playing with manual HQ selection. BETA 1 Resolved.
When selecting the country to move troops from, the number in the box should get the focus so that numbers can be immediately typed. BETA 1 Resolved.
Killing an enemy HQ destroys ports on their countries -- and on the attacking player's countries! BETA 1 Resolved, I think.
A subscript out of range error hits when the computer has only their HQ left and it's maxed out. BETA 1 Resolved.
You should be able to view high scores on the map you just played. BETA 1 Resolved.
Ports do not, in fact, always contain at least one wooden pier. BETA 1 Resolved. Really this time.
Saving a map, then saving a game, and then saving a new map over the old one causes the game to act erratically when the game is loaded because its parent is no longer the same. BETA 1 Resolved.
Stats are lost when reloading a saved game. BETA 1 Resolved.
Need a debug.txt file created with each game so that testers can report exactly what their game settings are. BETA 1 Resolved.
The title screen is not always resized properly when changing resolutions. Sometimes a block of water is left in the upper left. BETA 1 Resolved, I think.
We are updating the 'checked' property of every menu item in one of the form timers. This is causing lots of slowdown and timing problems. BETA 1 Resolved.
We need a "New Game, New Map, but based on an existing map's parameters" option so we don't have to load a map, abort the game, and then start a new game. BETA 1 Resolved.
You shouldn't be able to start a game with no initial troops *and* no troops to place. BETA 1 Resolved.
An error 6 was reported while the computer was destroying an enemy country. Trying to get more info on this. BETA 1 Added some more prevention.
CTL3D32.dll is the wrong version for NT. Need to use Installshield to distinguish between the two versions of these files during installation. BETA 1 Resolved.
We should improve the contrast between dark and light colors where text is concerned. This means in the commentary line and maybe on the countries themselves. BETA 1 Resolved.
Sometimes options in the graphics dialog don't stick when changed. BETA 1 Resolved.
Allow only one instance of Fracas at one time on one machine. BETA 1 Resolved.
If the map fails spec, just silently rebuild a new one with no input from the user. BETA 1 Resolved.
Some serious timing problems between the title screen and the first player's turn have been reported. The game has hung in most of these instances. Might be related to the animation speed setting. BETA 1 Resolved.
When right-clicking, the countries that are highlighted should stay lit while the button is held down. BETA 1 VB forms don't seem to support this, so I'm making the second flash cycle longer. Deferring for now.
Only one sound effect can be playing at one time. The rest are 'clipped off.' BETA 1 Deferring.
Automatic HQ selection should guarantee a country with troops in it. BETA 1 Deferring until new AI comes around.
Alt-tabbing out of Fracas and back stops the water animations. BETA 1 Having trouble getting GotFocus, LostFocus, Activate, and Deactivate events working with other apps. Deferring for now.
Animations should stop if the main Fracas form loses focus. BETA 1 See above.

New features, enhancements, and bugfixes:

ISSUE SEVERITY STATUS
BUG: When placing troops, clicking a country quickly can perform the troop addition multiple times. 1 Resolved.
BUG: When annexing countries, clicking several in rapid succession will claim all of them. 1 Resolved.
BUG: Pressing pass twice in rapid succession crashes the game, reportedly. 1 Not reproduced, but put some prevention in there anyway.
BUG: If the computer has all maxed-out countries (999 troops), troops are placed in other countries that they don't own during troop placement phase. It should just abort the phase and pass the turn. Also need to perform a check for this during human turns. 1 Resolved.
BUG: An Error 6: Overflow error, or Error 9: Subscript out of range error sometimes halts the game unexpectedly. This usually happens on maps with lots of countries. Also reported to happen if you change any options in the options menus. 1 Resolved for now. Found at least one cause of the Error 9 and repaired it. Also added preventative code for the overflow. We'll see how beta testing goes.
BUG: Sometimes the game just freezes with no error message at all. You can still click in the water to make splashes, but the computer will never finish their turn. 1 Resolved at least one cause of this.
BUG: Sometimes the game hangs during Moose's troop movement phase. Moose isn't supposed to make troop movements. May be related to the above crash, though it's been reported that you can't even splash in the water at this point. 1 Resolved. The random event handler had an infinite loop.
BUG: See if I can force the 'Small Fonts' display setting. If something other than this is selected, some of the text won't display correctly until you change it. 1 NYA
BUG: Include the latest common dialog control (Comdlg32.ocx) in the distribution this time! 1 Resolved.
BUG: Closing the app with the X gadget right before the victory dialog pops up will crash the app and reboot your computer. Others have reported hangs after the victory dialog. 1 Spontaneous reboot sounds like it may be drivers or hardware, but still trying to reproduce it.
BUG: Screen savers interfere with Fracas, and leave it in a hung state where turns don't progress. Reported with the 3D Flowerbox screen saver left on for 10 minutes during a human turn. After cancelling the screen saver, could never get out of troop addition phase. 1 NYA
Improved AI, with dialogs to tweak custom AI instead of text files. 1 NYA
Network play over LAN. 1 Resolved!
Calculate a rating for the winner and have a high score list for each saved map. You'd need to select that particular map to be considered for the high score list. Modifying that map's options forfeits your chance at getting on the board. Saving the new map with the new options creates a new high score list. 1 Resolved.
More and better-balanced random events. Also checkboxes to select which players are affected. 1 Resolved. Added a frequency setting, but they will always affect all players for fairness.
Option to save the game in progress. 1 Resolved.
Statistics at end-game (how many times did each player kill each other player, etc) 1 Resolved.
A config file (.ini) to store all menu checkboxes between sessions. Also include animation speed, computer speed, sound, and other non-map related parameters. 1 Resolved. Now an .ini file is created which maintains all menu settings.
Selective sound disabling (the whistles on passing turns annoy some folk). 2 NYA
'Boss' key to instantly close the app. 2 Resolved. The ESC key kills the app now.
Ports should always have at least one wooden pier, especially if they have only one square of coastline. It's hard to see the metal docks in that case. 2 Resolved.
Add an option to turn off explosions for really slow computers (maybe flash the country instead). Also an option to turn off wave animations, since it's been reported that these can cause sluggish performance on low-end machines. 2 Resolved. Country 'flashing' will be addressed in a separate incident.
When right-clicking a country, highlight other countries that it borders (over land and sea). 2 Resolved.
Variable map sizes and/or a resizable window. 2 Resolved.
Have an option for the computer to randomly place all HQs and start the game in round two. Basically, do away with the HQ selection phase if you like. 2 Resolved.
Be able to select any player to start the game, not just the first one. 2 Resolved.
Have an option for a range of country sizes on one map (tiny countries next to continents!) 2 Resolved.
Map templates. A map template contains an outline of the areas where countries could go, and areas where they can't. For example, a template might have a large area in the center where countries could never be placed. This would force a lake in the center of the map, yet the countries around it would still be random from game to game. 2 Pete Holiday's Genesis doesn't do templates, but hey -- we have a map editor!
A map/template editor. This would likely be a separate application. Include some canned maps with the distribution, like famous battlefields, the USA, Europe, etc. If this makes it in, beta testers can contribute! 2 Pete Holiday's Genesis is out there!
Add an option for ports that affects whether they are destroyed or captured when taken over. If the attacker really exceeds what is needed to win the country, the port gets destroyed in the chaos. If it's a smaller victory, just capture the port. 2 Resolved. The magic number is 4. If you have 4 times as many attacking troops as defenders, you'll destroy the port.
Allow a troop movement during the action phase. This could give you two troop movements in a turn, if there's really nothing else you can do. 2 NYA
The troop totals over water are truncated on a per country basis. For example, with 1/10 naval power, 19 troops will get cropped to 1. Troop totals should be added up for all overseas countries and then divided. 2 Resolved.
Add multi-language support. This would affect text in dialogs, the status text at the bottom, and menus. 2 NYA
BUG: Fracas sometimes interacts poorly with NProtect.Exe (Norton Protected Recycle Bin). Occasionally, a second NProtect thread is started which slows Fracas to half speed. Ending this thread returns speed to normal. When Fracas isn't running, the second thread is never created. 3 Update: Other VB6 apps seem to work fine with NProtect. Since NProtect is likely trying to catch a file deletion or something, that's why things go awry. Still need to investigate.
Type troop movements directly into the countries themselves. 3 NYA
'Armageddon'-type quick endgame which instantly tallies troops to determine victory, probably with a penalty to the player who calls it. 3 NYA
More color options for the players, instead of having to be one of the canned six. Also have a selection for unclaimed countries. Maybe do away with the 'multiple shades of green' and have green as a selectable player color. 3 Resolved.
Flash countries when attacked. 3 Resolved.
New border setting: Thin lines that aren't dotted. 3 Resolved.
When turning off borders, make adjacent countries owned by the same player a slightly different shade of color. 3 NYA
Have a toggleable National border, which is a highlight around all of the countries owned by a player. 3 NYA
'Replay' option to watch the entire game step-by-step. 3 NYA
Background 'ambient' music and/or sound effects (toggle on or off separately). 3 NYA
Allow players to name their own countries at will. 3 Resolved.
Add statistics for number of games played, number won, total time spent, total turns taken, total number of countries... 3 NYA
Enlarge the arrows that point to where computers are moving, and/or flash the country or something so it's easier to see where they're moving. 3 Resolved. Arrows will stay as they are, flashing does the job nicely on its own.
Add an option for upgradeable defense levels. For example, sacrificing 10 troops or so from a country will give it a permanent % increase in its defense total, up to a certain level. 3 NYA
Add an option for initial port placement. For example, No Ports, Some Ports, All countries have ports, only islands have ports, etc. Also an option that allows or disallows port building during the game. 3 NYA
Add an option for upgradeable ports! We've already got the framework built for 1/10 strength up through full power ports. Why not make people spend multiple action phases pumping them up? On a map with lots of islands, this could get interesting. Also see about having a cost to upgrade, for example, 10 troops per pump, depending on the initial troop counts. 3 NYA
Add an option to let the size of a country determine the max number of troops it holds. 3 NYA
Have a visible timer to control how long a human player has to make their move. If a player doesn't move within that time, then troops are automatically placed and other phases are passed. Might be good for network games. 3 NYA
Put all Terraform and Options settings in a dialog instead of menus with checks. 3 Resolved.
Various fun graphical additions, such as ships on the water when a port is built (color coded to the player of course), flocks of birds, a flag at the HQ, etc. 3 NYA

Please address all Emails to Jason at jmerlo@austin.rr.com.