The rumble of our publishing agreement with Matrix Games still echoes on the far reaches of the air/nav wargaming community (thanks to everyone for your support!). The Command dev team has taken a much needed holiday break and things have generally quieted down. It is thus now a suitable time to cater to a recent request from our forums and present a sneak peek on our under-construction in-game database viewer.
We decided to adopt an HTML-style presentation for the DB data in order to employ both a flexible flow layout and to facilitate easy hypertext-style navigation (e.g. click on weapon, jump to weapon info page).
First, a sample of the USN F-35C (click image for full size):
(Yes, it has quite a few loadout options)
This image was collaged from numerous successive screenshots since normally the information text is too large to fit on a single screen and the user scrolls through the page just like when using a web browser.
Also notice the “Type”, “Class” (keyword search essentially) and “Country” filters which make it significantly easier to search for a specific platform.
Next, the page for the SA-23 / Antey-2500 (improved SA-12):
This demonstrates another strong feature of the DB viewer, which is the optional inclusion of descriptive text and images for each platform. This is also another example of the dev team actively listening and responding to community feedback. The initial plan was to not include any such elements both for size/effort/portability reasons and also because of IP/copyright concerns. However it was made clear to us from forum discussions that it would be highly desirable to have the ability to include such elements even on an optional basis. We therefore included the ability to add such text & images on a per-platform basis while still keeping them out of the DB files (they are stored on sub-folders inside the main DB folders, as text and image files numbered to correspond to the DB indexes of the platforms). This makes it very easy for players to build their own caches of images & text descriptions and freely exchange and distribute them without IP/copyright concerns (since they are given free and not sold with the game).
Astute observers will probably notice that some elements are still missing, for example propulsion & fuel details or listings of air facilities. These are currently being added as the DB viewer is still under construction. One other very important element being continuously worked-on is the integration of this DB viewer with the rest of the game. For example click on an identified contact’s class name and the DB viewer pops up with the unit’s page already pre-selected. Likewise for sensors, weapons etc. This is a protracted process because of the numerous “entry points” (ie. there are a lot of windows/forms where you may want to click on such an element and get the viewer functionality). Our ultimate goal is to make it as easy & transparent as possible for players to understand the abilities and limitations of their own forces as well as those of allies and adversaries alike – and put this knowledge to good use in the game.
We wish everyone in the community a happy 2013!