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Priority SitRep

4/24/24. I got things working again. I think. I hope. I pray. Email me mark@thebattletechzone.com if you find something messed up.

Day Late. Oh, well

Okay folks. I planned on doing this on the 31st, however a 16-hour work day gets in the way of things like that. Anyway, Roster Builder 5 is released! Download and run the installer and you should be good to go.

Roster Builder moving forward

Busy beyond belief. I don't even have that much time to play BT at all.

The good news is, I wrote a progam for me to automate and simplify the process to "scrape" new units off the Master Unit List website. I did that recently, and I have been paring down the new items. Some don't have BV listed, some are types I don't want to mess with (warships, dropships, wet Navy and the like) and I have to manually scan each of these. I am down to about 1,700 new units, most are actually the "Squad 5/Squad 6" versions of the Battle Armor I already have. While I am about half-way through the process, there are still many more fields to capture.

More good news, I have cleared my personal task list enough that I can see the task for a new set of walk-through videos for RB5. After Witt and Kevin reported a bunch of bugs that I have squashed, I can head into the final Beta Test phase by forcing errors while demonstrating the usage of it.

More good news 2, I have upgraded from a MacBook Air to a MacBook Pro, and a friend is going to remote in this week and get python running on it for me. Once the videos are done and I have confirmed no more bugs, I can toss the code over to the MacBook and get to work on it there. It's all cosmetic for the Mac, because the working code will be 104% by then.

I originally promised "4th quarter 2023" when I started this, and I can see that happening. It will be Christmas, but it's that close.

Roster Builder moving to Beta Testing

Okay Mechwarriors, I think I got this. I have all of the files on the website and ready to go. I will be conducting a full run through from downloading the installer to installed and tested a bit to make sure it doesn't blow up too easily. Once I've don that, you can be a Beta tester by follofing the link below.

You will download a development copy of the application and can earn your name on the app as a Beta Tester. You have to do at least one of these two things:

  • Find at least one bug
  • Offer your honest assessment. What did I do right, where did I mess up, how things could be better.

So look for the text below to turn into a link and go for it! For some reason (Not because my BAC is above 0.2%), I can't get it to download when you click on this. Copy the link below, open a new tab and paste it in to download the installer.

http://thebattletechzone.com/rbf/RB5-Installer.zip

RB 5.0 Progress Update #8

All over the place. I feel like the guy from the 70's variety shows who tries to balance as many spinning plates as possible. I am doing all "back office" and "what-if" stuff.

RB 5.0 Progress Update #7

The biggest part is done. I got the actual roster building functions to work. I have some "fine-tune" issues left to do on them, but they work and correctly

RB5 Update 7

The biggest parts left are moving the data directory, and being able to send email feedback. I am still grokking on the custom mechs (especially the AS stats).

I will soon be asking for volunteers to run roughshod over this app for beta testing.

RB 5.0 Progress Update #4, 5 AND 6!

Crap. I thought I posted this. I go to make today's post and see that I didn't. So, here's three weeks all together.

Yep. Been busy. Missed last week entirely and this week by a day. That's okay. I'm making progress.

RB5 Update 45

Right now I'm in a "coasting phase," as I'm tackling functions that the biggest recode is for the new data format. I fixed the printing of the TO&E, and I'm most of the way through the CBT Roster function, I have formatting to correct and minor bugs to squash. I did put the custom unit import on hold. I have to let my brain grok how to make that work.

New mouseover

Here is what the new mouseover will look like. Since there is a default pilot now (not just when you start making a roster, but as part of your profile) when you build your roster, the mouseover will reflect the actual points you will pay with your default pilot. The heat scale is also in there now. 

 

Update #6. 

I had actually managed to complete the Build a CBT roster, then started working on the Alpha Strike roster, I realized I had to add several fields, so I actually have to go through the TO&E stage all over again. Not today. And it is "revisions" like this that is behind why I planned "4th Quarter 2023" from the start for this to come out. It will be released, because I will see this to completion and I have other things to do.

RB 5.0 Progress Update #3

The status indicator has not changed since last week. I have, however, made progress on several fronts.

When you start Roster Builder, it pings this website to check for the current versions of files. I have made several tables 'external' to the application, like the Gunnery/Pilot matrix to adjust the BV of units with 'buffed' pilots/crews. This allows me to keep you updated so I don't have to release an entire new version just to adjust the multiplier for a 1/6 pilot or whatever. These and others will be automatically updated during the startup process. I have to work out how I can upgrade the application. Still grokking on that process.

Also, if your computer doesn't have internet access (it can't ping), the app will not complain until you have done this several times in a row. That particular counter resets every time it can ping.

As far as the Alpha Strike PV is going, the word is "slow." I have to read and understand a couple paragraphs, then set it down and grok it for a day or two. SSW does the easy half of the work. It's very diffucult with all of this data and yet force it through a logic web ("You multiply this number with that number, except on alternate Tuesdays" thing).

The next function will be how to have your feedback sent to me via email from the app, so you don't have to open your email program.

The last and biggest bite will be the rosters themselves. While most of it is just adjusting the fields that it looks for when building the pool of units by the criteria you sent, there's more and different data to consider and process. Then I get to make and upload the new walk-thru videos. Then beta testing.

RB 5.0 Progress Update #2

RB5 Update 2

 

The main reason why I started this years ago as a spreadsheet was to fill a personal need that no one else had addressed, namely a way to keep track of my inventory and build rosters. And the functionality to add custom/non-canon units was always difficult at best since Roster Builder 1.0. Up until now, I offered no verification to confirm the validity of those units. Frankly, I did not want to spend the coding time necessary to implement verification functions already covered by other apps and services. 

Anyway I finished up on the TO&E entry and editing, and decided this was the best time to tackle this function. As I was getting ready to tackle the redesign of the screen to bring the basic stats, the weapon loadout and the Alpha Strike information into one window, along with developing the AS stats from what you entered.... I came to the realization that Solaris Skunk Werks did most of that work for me. So I am rewriting the "Import Custom/Non-Canon 'Mechs" function as an import of SSW files. Build your 'Mech there and import it into RB and it's all done.

Over the past couple of days, I pulled apart some SSW files and figured out where the information I needed was and how to pull it out. Because SSW files have Battleforce stats which are close to AS, but do not have a total direct translation to AS, I am having to do calculations to reflect the proper PV. I'm not going to do the notes. I'll let you do them. Everything else translates properly.

While I will give another update next Wednesday, don't expect me to have this function done by then. I have to build some external files, write the code and do Alpha testing.

Just as a tease, at some point in the future (5.1, 5.5, etc.) I could be persuaded to import MegaMek files, however those will be more difficult due to them not having all of the data I need to do the AS conversion easily.

I am on-track for a late 3rd quarter/early 4th quarter release. That's the best I can do, since this is "spare time" work. The good news is I'm not anticipating running 425 hours of OT this year, like I did last year...

RB 5.0 Progress Update #1

To provide some accountability for myself and to keep me working on this, I decided to create a color-coded tool so I can keep track of myself and keep you updated on what I'm working on.

The functions under "Profile" were easy, I actually added a couple of data points to a person's profile, like default pilot stats for CBT and AS, plus you can pick how you want to see the "short" names. CGL has them "IS name (Clan name)", however if you're a Clanner, you might want to see "Clan name (IS name)" or you can select just the IS or Clan names.

The "Custom AS Units are going away, as I am combining both CBT and AS stats together in the files and the entry for Custom (formerly Non-Canon) units.

RB5 Update 1

The Windows version will release first, since that's my normal environment. I just got a MacBook Pro so I can do the Mac environment, and the Linux should be quickly after that, since very little modifications from the Mac Unix to "regular" Unix should be necessary.

Still working on it

(I'm telling you this because I'm a big numbers and spreadsheet nerd.)

The work continues apace. In case you didn't know it, the Master Unit List currently has 8,485 listed Canon units. The Database in Roster Builder 4 is 4,594. I don't use many of them for various reasons. I don't have conventional infantry, DropShips, WarShips, Naval units and miscellaneous units like that. There are also many units that don't have BV listed, I do not include Base units for OmniMechs, and stuff like that. Units that would be hard to fit into a "regular" game of CBT or AS.

Since my last post here, I had to comb through my entire database to weed out the inconsistencies before I could do anything. Then I scraped Mordel.net to capture all of their Canon 'Mechs and cross-check my own AS data for all units. That brought me up to 5,226 line items. I rescraped the Master Unit List and I now have 1,770 units new that have been added since my last MUL scrape. Many of these are Battle Armor, as Catalyst decided to separate Battle Armor into [Squad 4], [Squad 5] and [Squad 6] entries.

My plan at this point in time is to get the data for the Battle Armor entries set, since there is very little difference between the squad sizes other than BV/PV. Now that I have the new data format set, I can start updating the code to work with the data. I also have some new features to add. This should take less than six months. I have for a while now been writing this code to handle Windows, MacOS and Linux. In other words, Roster Builder 5 will have apps for all three platforms. The Linux one will be last, because I have very little experience in that environment.

The bad news is, I have to do this after my day job, my family and the various RL house chores and "honey-do's." Unless you want to be my patron and pay me to do this work full time. At 8-10 hours a day, it should take almost no time at all. :-)

Happy 2023!

I am making significant progress on the revamp of the Roster Build database. I have been cleaning up the database, and I have a couple thousand new line items, and thankfully I found a website I was able to scrape and acquire detailed data on old and new units alike.

Version 5 of Roster Builder will have some new features, notably a "scale" on how hot a Mech can get, using the assumption of running/jumping and then firing all weapons. I am also considering some cosmetic features and options, they are still early in their "groking" phase, so quite nebulous at this point.

If there is a feature you want to see, now is the time to send it to me.

Big Roster Builder Update

One word: OUCH.

I am slowly moving forward with Roster Builder 5, including its port to Linux/MacOS. With this version I am seriously looking at restructuring the primary database that has all of the data that I scrape from time-to-time off of the Master Unit List web page. Up until now, I had about 6,000 line items that whittled down for various reasons to 4,600 records. Well, I just scraped the MUL and it's now at over 8,000 records.

Well, SHIT.

What this means is I have to now recomb over the database, update the old records, verify the MUL record number didn't change, then I can start working on the new records. Combined with combining the CBT and AS databases, AND coding the changes, with everything else going on in my life, I'm going to say "4th Quarter 2022" as an attainable goal as to when you can see RB5.

If you just can't wait, you can hire me for a contract job and I'll take a leave of absence from my day job. That would let me work non-stop 40 hours a week, for which I would charge $50/hour, which is about what I'm getting from the day job, factoring in overtime and all that. I should get it done in 1-2 months working on it full time.

Roster Builder 4.0.2

Hey, quick bug fix. If you weren't able to print rosters, or the "Non-Org AS Roster" didn't work, the updates are uploaded. Run Roster Builder and it should download what you need by itself.

Thanks to H2CO3 for finding the AS bug!

I finally did it.

I woke up at 4:30 this morning and decided to just sit down and get this done. So I did just that. Pounded out the code, then fixed what I broke by changing things, fixed a few bugs, compiled it, and uploaded it. Enjoy Roster Builder 4.0!

July 12 UPDATE: If you downloaded Roster Builder between Saturday 7-10 and now, you got RB 3.9, and you also now get my apologies. I have fixed it and you will now get RB 4.

Roster Builder 4 is imminent!

Okay Mechwarriors, my Grokking has achieved fullness. I have solved the issue for a TO&E for The Clans. You will have a choice of 3, 4 or 5 Binary Clusters. You can pair vehicles and aerospace into a single Point. I had to get a shoehorn and a rubber mallet to get everything on one screen/sheet of paper, but it's done.

I also managed to get an Alpha Strike option for building rosters. It works just like the CBT version doing things.

The only thing left is to do a through Beta test and add another hundred or so items into the database. Just so you know, if a unit is missing a major point of information (tons, BV/PV, rules, year introduced, etc. it will not appear in this application, as I can't find it at the appropriate time if it's missing one (or more) of the fields I need.

I'm going to set my deadline for three weeks from now. Pray that I make it. ;-)

RosterBuilder 3.9 update

I managed to find a few ways to save code. I also found a couple hundred errors of the rules levels. I updated the main database, then realized that if/when I update the main database it wasn't updating the profiles. So I fixed that too.

I am working on the Mac version, as well as working out the Clan structure and Alpha Strike functions as well. Hopefully by 3rd quarter.

Roster Builder 3.6

Some updates for Roster Builder:

1. 3.6 is out, so you can build rosters without having to do all of the "Organization" work beforehand. It grabs data directly from the primary database that I use.

2. I made it easier to print rosters.

3. Roster Builder 4 will have two new features: Alpha Strike and Clan TO&E's. I have not grokked fully on these, but the grokking has commenced.

4. Yes, I am still working on a Mac/Linux version of Roster Builder. I am still having some technicial issues with one of the modules, but I'm trying to make it work.

5. I am working on a database of an Alpha Strike master database, I am working on how to integrate it with mine so you don't have to change your TO&E's, you will be able to build CBT or AS rosters the same way and using the same data.

As a side note, I will be doing some product reviews in the near future, look for those.

Roster Builder 3.5 is here!

I have busted my butt to get to the point to write this. Roster Builder 3.5 is on-line!

I have managed to get a few improvements into this version:

  • I have added "All/None" buttons for unit types and Organizations to help with the filtering when building a roster.
  • I "externalized" the Gunnery/Pilot matrix so I can update it when (not if) CGL changes it in the future. It was set in the code before and I would have had to release a new application version to update it. This will do it easily for both you and I because the app checks for and auto-downloads updates when it starts.
  • When building a roster, any unit in the pool who's BV is greater than the BV left in the list will turn red, so it's easier to see who will "fit or not."

I also discovered a lot of missing movement values (400+) in the main database. If you have a unit in your inventory with that issue, please delete it from and reload it into your inventory.

The one future feature I want to put in is a capability to build Alpha Strike rosters. What I am still working out is what information to put in the mouseover window. Please, all feedback on what you want to see would be greatly appreciated. I played AS once, at Adeptcon like 5+ years ago, so I don't remember a lot about it.

Work continues apace on the Mac/Linux versions. I am now writing the code to be compatible with all enviroments, 90% of which is addressing disk operations, the rest being screen formatting. I am momentarily stuck because I discovered a bug in one module about text alignment on a button. I'm stuck until the author gets the fix through the approval process and releases it into the wild.

The new format for the website is up and ready, I am still grokking on if I want to go through with the last feature, which would be to provide a map of players by Zip Code and gaming stores by address. It's already being done, but (to me) it's clunky and you don't have a way to reach out to the other players. My main hurdle is I would have to buy a dating extension for my website and that will run me about $100. Hit the Contact Me page to arrange send cash if you want it to happen. Either way, I'm putting the new website up on NYE.

Roster Builder 3.0.2

Just a quick note, I found and fixed a couple minor issues. Redownload (it should ask you when you run RosterBuilder the next time) and have fun!

Roster Builder 3.0 released!

It's been 6 months since I released Roster Builder 2. Thinking up new features, writing code for it, cleaning up the interface, cleaning up code and way more. But I've finally got it to a point where I'm happy with everything.

Here is the link to the page with the app: Battletech Roster Builder.

Here's the walkthru videos. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy2ZaRpBoAw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10e2jYL5EGg

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