HC2002 GOLD EDITION PLATFORM EDITOR

 INTRODUCTION

Harpoon Classic now has its first ever, user-editable database. What follows is an outline that will help you understand and utilize the Platform Editor that Jon Reimer so graciously and effectively designed for us. 

The Platform Editor allows you to manipulate existing data and add new items to the database for the EC2003 Battlesets as of this writing. Other Battlesets may be enabled in a future revision.

***CAUTION:  Never, NEVER, delete a Major Annex entry in your database. Doing so will almost certainly cause HC2002 GOLD to crash after exporting the database to the Game Engine (GE, henceforth). Major Annex entries are Aircraft, Ships, Submarines, Weapons, Sensors, Mounts, Installations and Text Descriptions (all the editable choices found in the Main Menu of the Editor).

Modifying data will affect performance in game play upon successful export, and usually this is the desired outcome. But deleting data outright, especially the Major Annex entries, can be very hazardous to the health of HC2002 GOLD. Should you find this has occurred, there is a way to recover the lost data. So don’t panic, just keep reading below<G>.

1.                  Viewing Data in the Editor  

Enter the Platform Editor (PE) via the “Platform Editor” icon in the Harpoon Classic Start Menu Group or by opening your HC2002 GOLD root directory and clicking on “pfBuild2002.mdb” 

Upon first using the PE, some versions of MS Access will show you two radio buttons and you will need to choose one. Please choose the bottom one for now (Open Database). 

After a moment or two, you will get a message that says “Automatically linking to…” followed by the location and filename of your pfData2002 file.

Click OK and the Main Menu screen will open. You are now ready to browse around the PE.  For now, please stick to the upper part of the menu, selecting the entries under Platforms and Components. “Other Tasks” in the lower half of the screen can adversely affect game play and should be avoided until they are more fully examined below. 

2.                  Modifying Existing Data 

This is pretty straightforward. As you browse through the fields and buttons in the PE, you will find values and ID#’s. 

Values are either numerical or string entries.  Modify numerical entries by simply replacing the current value with a new one.  Modify string entries via the dropdown menu by clicking the Down Arrow to the right of the current setting. 

ID#’s are used to associate items that belong together in a game engine component.  As you browse the buttons for Aircraft, Ships, and Subs, you will find items like LOADOUTS, MOUNTS, SENSORS, and MAGAZINES. 

Clicking these buttons will unveil a dropdown that includes the various subcomponents for that item. The subcomponents are listed by ID# and double-clicking the > (right side pointing arrow) to the left of the ID# will open a new window, detailing that particular subcomponent. 

Now go back to the previous window. To the right of the subcomponent ID# you will see a string value for its nomenclature, and immediately to the right of that is a Down Arrow.  A single click there opens a dropdown that offers the “allowable” selections for that particular subcomponent. Choosing one of them will automatically update the ID# to the left. 

IMPORTANT:  To ensure your changes are accepted by MS Access, move to the next record. Assuming no error messages, your edit is now saved. 

3.                  Creating New Entries  

Two very important facts to keep in mind: 

1)     ALWAYS APPEND, NEVER REPLACE A RECORD.

2)     DO NOT ENTER ANY ID#. The PE will assign the appropriate ID# as you move through the remaining data fields. Be very careful to enter all required data in the remaining data fields. Failure to do so will cause the SE and GE to choke upon export of your new data.  

Mechanically speaking, creating new entries is otherwise similar to editing existing data described above.  

4.                  Exporting an Edited Database to the HC2002 GOLD Game Engine 

When you are ready to try out your edited database, CLOSE BOTH THE GE AND SE if you have them open.  Return to the Main Menu and click on EXPORT DATABASE under Other Tasks in the bottom half of the screen.  This step will take some time, and you will know it’s finished when you see a DOS screen open, and soon thereafter close. At this point your Database is now ready to try out in the GE and SE. 

5.                  Importing Databases from the Game Engine (Commondb.res)  

This feature is particularly useful if you are using someone else’s commondb and want to view and edit it in the PE.  Sharing the commondb will be the primary mechanism for playing user created scenarios that were created using a different database than the one you are running. 

Again, CLOSE BOTH THE GE AND SE if you have them open.  Click on IMPORT DATABASE under Other Tasks in the bottom half of the screen. This takes some time to complete, depending on the speed of your system. On slower machines it may even appear to freeze the Editor for a period of time. This is normal. Upon completion you will be able to edit the database in the PE as outlined above. 

6.                  Managing multiple Commondb files 

We plan to automate this so that when you load a scenario, both the GE and SE will seek out the correct commondb in your directory and load them into the game.  Until this feature is ready, we recommend you do the following or something similar: 

1)     Place all scenarios you create with a given commondb in a separate folder, along with a copy of the commondb.res file the scenarios need to use. 

2)     Rename this commondb.res file to something that will help you identify it in the future. For example, commondb_orig.res might be your choice for the file needed to run scenarios created for the first commondb.res file.  Similarly, you might use commondb_my_first.res for the scenarios you create using the first db you edit yourself. 

3)     You are now ready to swap out databases. To do so, rename the existing commondb.res file in your game root directory in order to preserve it, in a manner consistent with the convention described above. Next, create a new folder in your game root directory called Current_DB. Locate the commondb_whatever-you-named-it_.res file (the one you are about to use, not the one you just renamed) and Copy/Paste it into the Current_DB folder. This helps you remember which commondb you are using because the final step is to also paste it to the game root directory and rename it to  commondb.res. You are now ready to run the scenarios created for the commondb you just installed. 

7.                  Recovering from problems 

If you encounter errors in the PE, please post a message to the HGSL support list during the public Beta and early stages of CD-ROM release. The address is: hgsl@teuton.org 

Should this not work for you, please post a message to the HULL at: HULL@teuton.org 

IMPORTANT:  Taking a screenshot of the error message and saving it for our future review will be your best bet for helping us track down the cause of the problem. 

If you encounter errors in the GE using a newly created commondb, you will need to revert to a previously working version of commondb.res and invoke the Start_edit.bat file in your game root directory (by double-clicking on it) to make it run properly.  Invoking the Rest_cdb.bat file will restore the most recent “official” commondb to the root directory.

 

Bruce Fenster and Tony Eischens

HC2002 GOLD Development Team

Rev. 1.0     July 5, 2003