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Subject: Solitaire gaming aid rss

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Tobias
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Hi folks,

just wanted to let you know I am working on a solitaire gaming aid for Black Cross / Blue Sky. Finding an opponent alone seems to be challenging for a lot of people, including me. That's why I had the idea to create a simple "AI" to simulate opponent moves and (maybe) even win. It is aptly called "Empty Skies" (ES), based on JAVA and intended for personal use only.

It is NOT a game, but only allows to compute opponent moves. It also requires a copy of Black Cross / Blue Sky to play, as no rules or stats are included. BCBS is a great game, or I wouldn't do this anyway. I especially like the fantastic counters, they are even printed double-sided!

I am currently play-testing a first version of ES, which still lacks some features of the basic rules set. Below find a screen shot of the work-in-progress version. If that's interesting to you, I will give some updates here in this thread.

Cheers, Tobi

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Ian Smith
United Kingdom
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This would be fantastic, I am fed up of playing both sides! Good Luck!
 
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Tobias
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Update: I just finished an initial, functionally incomplete version of the tool. I consider this a preview version. So far, only two scenarios are included (the solitaire one and the first standard scenario), as are three types of aircraft. Not all maneuvers possible in BCBS have been implemented so far. I will also probably only include the basic rules set.

Nevertheless, I ran a first test of the prototype and summarized the test run in a following PDF document. If your are interested, you can find it here (external link):

http://www.tobiasboehler.de/docs/emptyskies_demorun_01.pdf

There are still a number of changes to be made to the program before it will be completely usable, but so far it looks promising. Let me know what you think of it!

Cheers, Tobi
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Tobias
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Update: here comes another play test using the same scenario (The Lone Wolf). This time I made some further changes and fixed some bugs. The PDF file summarizing the test is located right here:

http://tobiasboehler.de/docs/emptyskies_demorun_02.pdf

Next will be a test run for the first regular scenario (The Opening Shots), which has a larger formation of Ju87s opposing three Hurricanes.

Cheers, Tobi
 
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Ian Smith
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I really appreciate this project, keep up the good work Tobias!
 
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Tobias
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Hi everyone!

Update: here comes the third (and probably final) demo run for my handcrafted play aid. This time I played a vic of three Hurricanes against nine Stuka dive bombers in the first standard scenario (The Opening Shots):

http://tobiasboehler.de/docs/emptyskies_demorun_03.pdf

This review has some 8mb and might take some time to download. In case you are wondering what the tool looks like right now I attached some screen shots below. There are only some small issues remaining to be fixed before it will be fully usable.

Cheers, Tobi

 
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Jesse LeBreton
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I was thinking of getting this game. However, I doubt any of my gaming friends would play it with me. This project may get me to pull the trigger since I really don't like to play war games solo.
 
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Tobias
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Hi everyone,

it took me somewhat longer than expected but, finally, I am releasing a first version of the solitaire playing aid for Black Cross/Blue Sky. In a nutshell, this is a Java-based application that allows you to move playing pieces (flight stands + aircraft) on a game board like you would in BC/BS. Furthermore, it simulates the moves and attacks of a virtual opponent. For each piece the current status can be set, e.g., attitude, altitude, hits, and so on. Once your pieces have been moved, the program computes your opponent's actions.

It is mandatory to own a full copy of BC/BS, as the tool is merely an implementation of the game board and not a full game. It does, however, move playing pieces and compute their attacks. It also includes a set of random number generators for rolling the D6 and D10 dice. Knowing the game rules is mandatory!

Currently, only two scenarios of the "approach" type are included, with one being the original solitaire scenario. The number of aircraft is also currently limited to Hurricanes, He-111s and Ju-87s.

The tool can be downloaded here: http://www.tobiasboehler.de/public/download/EmptySkies_v1.0.... (MD5 hash = 356da6c3220bec3690709cf7ac833d8e).

Feel free to send me any comments or software bug (yuk) reports. Hope you like it! Thanks to John for BC/BS and allowing me to make this tool.

Tobias
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John Stanoch
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Tobias,

Your tool is great and will definitely help solo players enjoy the game.

Good work!

-John
 
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Evan
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Hi there Tobias, I just found this, and am intrigued to use it! I cannot figure out how to trigger the enemy simulated moves though? And it seems like it will allow me to make illegal moves, moving right from one side of the map to another in 1 turn. I must be missing something
Thanks again
 
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Tobias
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Hi!

Sorry for the late answer...

Yes, the tool has no restrictions whatsoever when it comes to movement, momentum, etc. - it is really meant as a solo playing aid. That is, you play your turns and whenever you need to make a decision for your opponent, you can refer to the software. However, you need to input your own moves and stats manually. And as you said, illegal moves are possible (as on the real gaming board). On the other hand, it will move the AI's aircraft own at a time.

You can right-click the enemy units at any time to trigger their decisions for movement or fire. By default, the units will move, accordingly. Have a look at the panel to the right to see the unit status, e.g., its momentum. There are also dice buttons at the bottom right, so its perfectly possible to play the game without the original game board.

I've stopped working on the prototype some years (!) ago, but seeing it being used, I might pick up the code and at least improve its usage a bit.

Cheers, Tobias
 
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Derek Davis
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Hi Tobias,

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to create this program.
I've just acquired BC/BS and will be definitely making use of this tool.

Thanks again.

Cheers,
Derek
 
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