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Thread: AAR and User's Guide to SoG Tracker App (Windows)

  1. #1
    Midshipman
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    Default AAR and User's Guide to SoG Tracker App (Windows)

    So I wanted to kill two birds with one stone... I've had a request for a users manual for the software in the title and I through the best way is to walk through an action. For this instance I used a scenario out of the vanilla game where two french AI ships are trying to cross the map and two British ships starting in the center must prevent this. This thread will take some time to build as it is 40ish screenshots long. I will dump the photos on here first 10 at a time and then I will fill in the text of the users guide. I did not play the scenario out to the finish as the thread would get too long. I stopped at the first french ship that strikes her colors.

    Enjoy and I hope this helps others try out this software and garner interest in the physical copy of the game!

    Cheers!

    (the software itself can be found in the General Discussions forum - posted under my user name)

    Note: The software does not require this mode the be used. You can use it strictly to track the rules while using the physical ships. This guide targets the virtual play where the ship positions are tracked on screen.
    Last edited by Aaron; 12-16-2017 at 13:04.

  2. #2
    Midshipman
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    Default

    (Note the associated text will be above the accompanying illustration)

    The first 10 illustrations will cover sailing the ship by hovering the cursor and selecting a move card.

    Here were are before the start of the game indicated by Turn 0. At this stage the ships can be moved by clicking on the ship then clicking on the desired location and then a third click outwards to point the nose. This was not required as the scenario already places the ships. Clicking Next Phase will start the game. The other buttons are for zooming and unzooming. 'Strd' is standard zoom and 'Close' is a close view, these are preset zooms in other words. 'HideUI' will remove the fence around the ships. The view can be translated in two ways. Clicking in the ocean area will move that spot to center. Also, hovering your cursor near the edges will slew the view over. Lastly, clicking in the Gray area but not on a button will cause the menu and ship stats to minimize. Clicking in the same area will restore it.

    A quick note on stats: The name of the ship is displayed along with the current firepower. The 2 sets of green status lights show Hull and Crew slots remaining repectively. Green is good and undamaged. Red is freshly destroyed. Yellow is freshly damaged but not destroyed. Grayed Out is destroyed in a previous turn.

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    The Next Phase button has been pressed and the game has officially started (no more moving the ships freely about). Since two of the ships are AI controlled the movement cards have already been selected. The player controlled ships now need to make their selection. (Note: If you do not select a move card and press Next Phase, a straight move card is automatically selected. If this happens the game will stay in planning mode to allow you to adjust more. A further press of Next Phase will advance the game.) When a ship has selected its move card the wind gauge indications are removed (great way to determine who hasn't selected yet)
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    Here is a zoom up of a ship that is about to have its move card selected. Note the red, orange, and green indications on the ship base. This is used in conjunction with the pennant flying off the main mast to determine performance.
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    To select a card just hover the cursor over a ship and wait for the three 'green' placards to appear. This represents Left, Straight, and Right movement card sets. (unless a mast is lost or taken aback, then it just shows cards directly)
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    Clicking the green placard now shows the available cards to choose from. Click the card you wish to choose. This can be tricky if the ship is more vertically facing as they may disappear but some handy work of the mouse can finally make the selection. I am working on a better method.
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    Once the card is selected the ship's wind gauge is removed from view. Now its time to adjust actions if necessary.
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    Selecting actions requires clicking inside the base of the ship to 'select' the ship. You know if the ship is selected because at the top left of the display you see the name of the ship after the words "clicked". This is all standin for debugging purposes. (Note the green placards appear again but you do not need to reselect them)
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    Once a ship is 'selected' a followup click will popup the action menu. Here you will see a preselected set of actions but these will not always be ideal. You can remove actions by clicking on them and adding them back by doing the same. If you over commit it will give you a prompt saying so.
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    Now that the actions are squared away, hit the Next Phase button (Note that the AI ships have chosen their random path as per the rules). Now most of the time the action phase and movement phase is automatic and requires no further choices. If a repair or a grapple attempt is made then the game will stop at the appropriate phase and prompt the user (this will be shown demonstrated further below). Notice that there isn't anything to do in this particular combat phase as the ships either are too far away, not in a firing arc, have no orders to fire, or the cannons are empty. All of this is automatically determined for you. If there is a potential chance to fire then the ship will have a red dotted circle indicating this ship has a target and loaded cannons and can fire.
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    Now the next planning phase is upon us. Note the wind gauges are back on the player ships (not the AI ships as they have already determined again what their move will be)
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    The next series of illustrations in the succeeding replies will show how to select a target, select which arc to use, and fire away.
    Last edited by Aaron; 12-16-2017 at 12:13.

  3. #3
    Midshipman
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    Default action continues

    (I went through another round of planning and movement to hurry up and get to the first chance to fire).
    We are now fresh into the combat phase and see red circles highlighting 3 out of the 4 ships on screen. This is a visual reminder for the user that these ships have targets and further action is necessary if a shot is to be taken. (You can easily advance and not shoot but what fun is that?) Even though the ships are AI you will need to assign their targets as that part is not coded yet. Ok, so how do we assign targets?

    I wanted to minimize clicking during this phase so this part is not intuitive at first. To make your target selections you first hover over a ship. This tells the game engine that you are assigning targets for 'side A' or 'side B'. You will be shown range lines from each battery of the ship but the target has not been selected; it is only giving you all possibilities this phase.

    To actually make a selection you then move the cursor over to one of the potential targets. Once you do this the lines will change to only show this target but still showing the possible batteries that can fire. Typically the full broadside is selected first if possible. If you want to change the selected battery then click on the target and it will 'rotate' with each click.

    Once you are satisfied you can move the cursor to the next ship "on the current side" that is selecting for its target lines to potential ships (no clicking required). If you want to jump over to the opponents side then you must first click out in "open ocean" to clear the "Side Lock". Once you click out in open ocean the game engine is now waiting for you to hover over a ship to lock on that particular side again. Once you are aware of this behavior then selecting targets goes really fast without any clicking of the mouse. I landed on this method when I had to select targets for a 20 on 20 ship fight and mouse clicking got really old.

    Also, if you wanted to change targets during target selection you can simply move the cursor to another ship with a red outlined base and that ship is now shown as the target. If you want to clear out the target you can move the cursor back to the firing ship and it will return to the all potential targets stage. (i believe clicking or hovering both works)
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    As explained above, here is the ship once you hover over it, showing a 'yellow' long range shot from the forward battery. This is the only potential shot this ship has as only one line is shown.
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    Once the cursor is hovered over the target a bold red line now shows this is the target and is originating from the battery that will fire to the main mast. (raking determination rules would not allow a rake as it isn't from middle arc)
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    Here is the other british ship showing off his target rich environment. He can choose to fire on either french ship and also has multiple battery choices.
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    Shown here is the ship's target and battery selection. I will now hover the cursor over the other ship to demonstrate a target change.
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    Now the other ship is targeted by simply moving the mouse.
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    Say I do not choose to fire, I hover back on the firing ship or click on it and it will default back to no target selection but showing potential shots.
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    Once you click out in empty ocean you can select for the other side. Note that this ship has no targets as his bow is towards his enemy (shame).
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    Click "Next Phase" and combat phase resolution happens. Shown is firing cannons, smoke, etc. Any demasts, flooding, and fire is shown on the ships directly. (Note that the bottom french ship has lost his mizzen mast)
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    Now the reloading phase is here. Most of the time nothing is needed as solid shot is automatically chosen. But if you wanted other ammo you would select the type during the following phase when it is time to choose it. You do this by clicking on the ship and using the popup prompt to make your selections. You can click on the battery and the ammo type will be highlighted if it is loaded.
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    Last edited by Aaron; 12-16-2017 at 12:03.

  4. #4
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    Default

    So the basics are now explained above. Here are some special instances below which include continuous fire, repairs, and grappling

    We are now back at the planning phase and we want to switch to continuous firing since we are in good position.
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    Clicking on the ship to select it and then clicking again to get the actions now shows the default actions loaded. We wish to change this.
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    Here the reloading order is canceled. Now note that the continuous action is now shown where it wasn't before. The action selections are mostly smart and only show you actions that make sense to do it.
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    Now we have continuous fire selected which halves the firepower rounded down but you can fire on the current phase with reloaded cannons. Also you must choose the type of ammo to fire continuous with.
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    Showing ships that can fire this turn (note ship with continuous fire is shooting)
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    Target selection, no obstruction rules enforced. Must manually choose the front arcs to follow rules (will be programmed later)
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    Showing reload phase 3 nothing to do here
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    Showing an entangled ship
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    Showing the effects of the broken mast
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    Planning a boarding party and loaded continuous grape shot
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    Last edited by Aaron; 12-16-2017 at 13:01.

  5. #5
    Midshipman
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    Here we have a single sided boarding action declare (spoiler: it didn't pass)
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    Here is combat with choosing targets: (note the entanglement line.. hard to see on compressed jpeg; but not on screen during game)
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    Target Selected (red lines during target selection are half distance B chits shots. Once target is selected it’s just a bold red line)
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    Showing Repair Action is delayed [matured] for upcoming choice. (Note delayed actions cannot be removed or canceled)
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    Choose which repair to perform; I chose the mast (note: it takes a double click to select)
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    Example showing a ship firing multiple batteries
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    Here is a duel sided grappling declare (not the ships are still entangled from before)
    Firing has already occurred and now the start of the grapple fight
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    Mid Fight (keep clicking green fight button for each attempt) - french look to be losing here)
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    Grapple fight is over - no more crew willing to fight it seems.
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    Showing the first french ship to strike (white circle)
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    Ship log showing fight is lost.
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    The end.
    Last edited by Aaron; 12-16-2017 at 15:28.

  6. #6
    Ordinary Seaman
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    Wow!!! Aaron - I have been away from the Anchorage for about a year, and man is this amazing. I will give this a spin.

    To everyone at the Anchorage - I have filled my shipyards with one of every ship in the SoG lineup (minus the new release). I did get 4 of the new releases that the Admiral has wrapped as gifts for the holidays! I hope to follow the 2018 campaign. Also, I did get to play SoG at a wargaming convention in San Diego last month (using all rules) it was great.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMDCM Weisen View Post
    Wow!!! Aaron - I have been away from the Anchorage for about a year, and man is this amazing. I will give this a spin.

    To everyone at the Anchorage - I have filled my shipyards with one of every ship in the SoG lineup (minus the new release). I did get 4 of the new releases that the Admiral has wrapped as gifts for the holidays! I hope to follow the 2018 campaign. Also, I did get to play SoG at a wargaming convention in San Diego last month (using all rules) it was great.
    Excellent! Just remember it’s still in “progress” and still lacks its copper plating ;)

  8. #8
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Good to have you back from leave Jerome.
    Hope to bring you even more to enjoy here in the new year.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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