Unlike other on-line wargaming application, iWARSIM1 provides a seamless interface for playing, developing, and playback capabilities of its games. While you play a game, you can edit it without closing it. In order to keep users from getting confused, iWARSIM1 displays which mode you are in, by the color of its menu bar, as is shown the following illustrations:
When you launch iWARSIM1, it looks like this. This is an initial status of iWARSIM1. A user can open a game (.gme) to play. All your moves are automatically recorded in the program. You can save your moves as a play file (.ply). Unlimited numbers of "Undo" are available. You can transfer your movement data to your opponents too.
When you click the "Film-Strip" button, iWARSIM1 is switched to "Browse Mode". In "Browse Mode", you can not manipulate any game counters by any means in terms of movement or elimination of counters, or add and change their attributes. Instead, you can go back to any stage of the gaming session to play back. Clicking the "Film-Strip" button brings you back again to "Play Mode". You can't "Undo" any counter movements in "Browse Mode".
iWARSIM1 automatically switches from "Play Mode" to "Edit Mode" when you drop an image file into the empty Main Map window. In "Edit Mode", you can create game units and set their attributes. However, in "Edit Mode" no movement data will be stored. The program only records the current location of all units as an initial setting of the game. To go back to "Play Mode", select "Exit Game Editor" from the "Game" menu.
How to create a game (for version 1.2)
Images of maps and units for a game file should be self-created by users. Those images must be saved by jpg or png format on your hard disk, prior to start creating a game by iWARSIM.
The image file for a map should be saved as a single image file. Each unit should also be a single file too. Examples of files are shown in below:
The resolution of image files is normally 72 dpi (screen resolution). Names of each file is not a matter since you can rename them later on. Dimension of each unit should not always be identical (i.e., some units are 55 X 57 dpi, while the otters are 75 X 80 dpi.)
Create a game:
1. iWARSIM can handle png transparency.
2. The program always treats the initial image added as a map. Subsequently added images are considered units. (So don't add a unit image first.)
3. You can select multiple unit images from the folder to drop onto the map.
4. As soon as images are dropped, iWARSIM internally duplicates them to store in the game file (.gme). Once you drop image files into the "Main Map" window, you can delete original images from the source folder.
Game Editor mini:
What you can do with Game Editor mini:
- Create backside of unit to flip it.
- Place constraints on units. (i.e., you can't move opponent's units and vice versa.)
- Create custom pop-up menu
- and more.
This feature allows you to create a reverse side of the unit. To do that, select two units on the map, then click "Combine". The 2nd unit you select will become the reverse side image of the first unit.
To restore a combined units back to their original state, select the unit then click "Restore". The combined unit will separate in to the two original units.
When you click this button, the selected units will be duplicated (you need not load a unit image twice). You can select more than one unit to duplicate at a time.
This button will delete selected units from the map. You can select more than one unit to delete at a time.
When you add a unit by drag and drop, the name of the unit is its file name. To rename it, select the unit and click "Rename". You can select more than one unit for renaming at a time.
When you drag and drop unit images on to the map, units can be moved and eliminated by all participating players during a game session. By setting any unique name for "Control" for units, the units will only be controlled by the players who declare the control of the same name at the beginning of a game session.
The following is an example of the Control dialog box which will be displayed when you start playing a game. In this example, the units are assigned by either control in Game Editor or Game Editor mini, "German" and "British".
In the above example, when you select only "German", you can move all units which have been assigned "German" control, but not ones assinged "British". When you select both control names in the dialog box, you can move all units on the map. "Control" is one of unit's hidden parameters so that you can not change it once you start playing the game.
To set the control of units through "Game Editor mini", select units and click "Assign Control". The dialog box will appear to prompt you to enter a new control name.
The default setting for a unit's control is "All", meaning that the units can be controlled by all players during game play. If any custom control name exists in the editing game, the names will appear in the "Control" drop-down list. It is recommended to limit yourself to as few "Control" names as possible and to make the names as simple as you can. You can have up to 12 names for controls in one game.
It is important to note that in "Game Editor Mode", you can move all units regardless of what controls you have set. (otherwise you can not set their location to their initial place to start the game). Place constraints only work in "Play Mode".
Click "Example" to see how it works. In version 1.2, you can have only one set of attributes per one game.
The following functions are not implemented in version 1.3.
iWARSIM has a built-in "Game Editor" to allow you to enhance your game settings and its components, depending on how deeply you want to get into the program.
Through Game Editor, you can create and edit the units database with your graphic information. Location database is automatically updated whenever you change units database through Game Editor. You can also enter scenario information if it is needed.
How to use Game Editor:
To open Game Editor, select "Game Editor" from "Edit" menu.
What you can do:
- Create 2nd map window.
- Make unique name for each window.
- Add and delete map images. (when you have mistakenly added a wrong map file or you want to store more than one map image. In the future version, iWARSIM can have up to 5 map windows. In the current version, you can have up to two map windows.)
Create 2nd map window
To import an additional map images, click "Load" button to select an image file.
Select the file name and click "OK" button of the file dialog. The thumbnail of the image will be shown in Game Editor and 2nd map window will automatically open to display the image you import if there is no more than one map images in iWARSIM.
Click the item you want to rename in the column under "Window Name" in the map list. An orange field will appear to prompt you to enter a new name. Type any name and hit Enter key or click anywhere on the map list to update.
Select the name from the map list, then click "Clear" button to delete it. When you click "Clear", the program not only erases the image from the window but also deletes it from internal data. Note that once you delete it, there is no way to restore it unless you import it again from your hard disk.
Normally, the "Featureless" function should be off.
When the "Featureless" check box is on, the window will not keep information about labels and attributes of units in it. When units with a label or attributes are dragged and dropped from a "Feature" window to a "Featureless" window, their labels and attributes will be lost. "Featureless" is convenient for creating a unit holding window which is used for keeping items such as reinforcement or eliminated units.
"Recreate thumbnail" button will recreate the thumbnail image shown in Game Editor according to the size you enter in the numeric entry field to the top right of the thumbnail image. However, thumbnail images have nothing to do with playing the game. Thumbnail images are only used for your previewing in Game Editor.
What you can do:
- Add, duplicate and delete units
- Create back side of units
- Change names of units
- Designate who controls the unit
- Input combat strength or any other information (for future use)
- Implement "fog of war", such as,
making units invisible from your opponents
making units' attributes invisible from your opponents
making units "unable to be flipped" by your opponents
("fog of war" will be available in a future version.)
Add, duplicate and delete units
To add a unit, click "Load" button to import a image file from your hard disk. The unit will appear both in the unit list and on the Main Map. Once the image is imported, you can delete an imported file from your hard disk.
When "All images in folder..." check box is on, all jpg and png images in the selected folder will be imported to Game Editor. The name of the folder is used as their "Control" name.
To duplicate a unit, select a unit on the unit list, then click "Duplicate" button. (You need not load the same image twice.)
To delete a unit from the unit list, select it on the list, then click "Clear". The unit on the map will also be deleted. "Clear All" will delete all units from data.
Create back side of a unit
To create back side of a unit, simply drag the unit from "Front" to "Back" column as is shown below illustration. When you drop the unit, the dragged image will become back side of a newly dragged raw of the unit. At the same time, the dragged unit will be deleted from the unit list and be shown in the back image list which locates underneath of the unit list.
Once the image is in the back image list, you can drag it to any numbers of "Back" column of units in the unit list, to have them the back image you dropped.
Optionally, you can drag a unit on the unit list and drop it on the back image list. The dropped unit will be deleted from the unit list as well as from the map windows, since it is no longer a unit.
Delete back image in the unit list
Select the raw in which the back image you want to delete is. While holding down Ctrl-key (Command-key for Mac), click "Clear".
Delete back image from the back image list
Click to select the back image in the back image list. Then click "Clear".
The first column of the unit list is "ID". They are automatically numbered when you import images. They are internal use only.
Names of units are only for historical flavor. To edit a name, click on the name which you want to edit. An orange field will appear to enter a new name. Type any name, hit enter-key or click anywhere in the unit list to update.
When "Control" column is empty, the unit can be moved and eliminated by all players during a game session. By entering any name in "Control", the unit will only be controlled by the players who declare the control of the same name at the beginning of a game session. The following is an example of the Control dialog which will be displayed when you start playing a game. In this example, the user have made two controls in Game Editor, "German" and "British".
It is recommended to limit yourself to as few "Control" names as possible. And to make the names as simple as you can. You can have up to 10 names of controls in one game.
Combat strength and any other information
You can input up to 15 categories of information for each unit.
To set them up, simply click any column to the right of the column 6th. An orange field will appear to enter a new value. However, in version 1.0, those this information can not be used in play. They are for use in a future version.
Fog of war
Those functions are not implemented in version 1.0.
In iWARSIM, it is a basic concept that all units in Game Editor must be somewhere in the map windows. But for advanced users, during anytime before game play begin, you can delete units visually from map windows which will still be maintained as existing in Game Editor.
To delete units from map in this way, click "Advanced" button, select units in the window, then click "Clear Selected".
To bring the deleted units back into the map window, click "Advanced" button, select units in the units list of Game Editor, then click "Add selected". The unit will appear the top left area of the "Main Map" window. When you select the unit in the unit list, and if the unit exists in any map window, nothing will happen when you click "Add Selected", since the unit is already in some of the windows. This manipulation is only effective in the current scenario you are working on.
(to be continued)
How iWARSIM works:
iWARSIM is a relational-database which interacts with graphic information developed by the user. Three database are linked and mutually communicate in iWARSIM. They are respectively:
Units database - storage of names of units, graphic data, combat strength etc.
Location database - All units' status and whereabouts.
Time-line database - A resource to update Location database. Every time you manipulate units during your gaming session, a new time-frame is generated in the time-line database. One move becomes "one frame" in the database.
For example, when a user moves a unit on the map in iWARSIM, the program sees Units database to identify which unit is about to be moved, to check if it is a valid manipulation. If it is valid, the program writes that information onto the time-line database, then updates Location database. Those transactions take less than 0.01 second. The program finally redraws the screen according to the updated database information.