Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Empire Wars Chronicles

We did play again Sunday night in the Mess. Chris Q brought along Chris D, who also had played EW several years ago when it was first made. We played a good game until fatigue from a long day's work (and only a few short hours until Chris D had to get up again). The administration slowed things down and Chris Q doesn't have the same head for math that Chris D has (or my innate knowledge of the game). Chris Q suggested laptops running Excel to take over the administration which turned out to be an excellent idea.

After waking up at the crack of noon today I puttered around the house for a bit before going to Calhouns with a laptop and a mission. I ended up spending about 5.5 hours there, and produced a fully functional Empire Assistant beta. It's not the prettiest thing, but one excel workbook has all the system reports, damage assessment forms, master fleet reports, and intelligence forms an aspiring galactic ruler needs. All the math for the damage assessment forms is done internally by the spreadsheet, and includes predicted damage rates for all the possible die rolls. While it renders Chris D's ability to calculate faster than a calculator obselete the rest of us are going to be very greatful for it.

Happily, this Empire Assistant beta has everything I need to show a real computer programmer the features I want in a more advanced product. So while we aren't quite at networked Palm Pilots, Empire Wars has taken a major step forward today. I'm even able to call this an "honest day's work", and if I could always be this productive while drinking coffee and listening to my iPod I think I could make a go at being a Famous Game Designer *tm*.


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