May 142017
 

After many false starts over the years, I’ve (Dave Mackey) managed to release Civil War Strategy 2.0. I already see a few minor items I need to correct – but nothing that inhibits gameplay, in fact I’ve played several games with my wife without issue!

The new version’s greatest improvement is that it now runs on Windows natively – there is no need to run it via a DOS emulator like DOSBox as has been necessary up until this time. There have been a number of other small changes but nothing too exciting. The goal for 2.0 was simply to get the game up and running on Windows. The source code has had numerous lines changed in the process to make it compatible with a Windows compiler (QB64).

If you find any bugs, please let me know. A helpful README.txt file is included with the game, please take a minute to read it over. It includes information on the third party libraries that were utilized in the creation of the game as well as a more detailed note on the changes between versions.

I wanted to get this game out as soon as possible because it has brought me so much enjoyment over many years and I know that it has done similarly for others. I wanted to see it experienced by new generations and moving it to Windows is a first step.

In the future I have a number of enhancements in mind, but I intend to keep the game quite true to Hutsell’s vision. Enhancements currently under consideration include:

  • Fixing a few areas that have been broken since the old versions from what Mr. Hutsell’s intent as indicated in the game manual was.
  • Making it so that armies that cannot be drilled do not appear in the list of armies to drill.
  • Fixing the random events so that they display again.
  • Improving the display for modern monitors.

It is my humble opinion that this game is still extremely playable after so many years…I hope that it will perhaps attract those who have enjoyed pixel based games in more recent years, as well as the immensely popular Minecraft.

You can download the game here.

Nov 132012
 

I figured I should let everyone know the status of the update to Civil War Strategy…and I’m going to include some technical details here for those who are so inclined.

1. I ran into issues converting the application directly from QuickBasic into QB64, so I abandoned the attempt to move to QB64 directly.

2. Instead, I began working within QuickBasic on the code. See the code is primarily procedural (do this, then this, then this) and uses outdated structures such as line labels to execute the code. This results in code that is not easy to understand or maintain.

3. So, through multiple rewrites I’ve been going through the code (and have had to start over several times) in an attempt to make the code operate on more object oriented principles, which are also much easier to maintain and update.

4. I think I’m getting close. I’m guessing I’ve put 40-60 hours into these rewrites and I may have another 20-30 before I complete this rewrite.

5. Once the rewrite is completed I will recompile in QuickBasic and make the updated version available via the website. It will still be a beta and there will be no new features, but I will need help making sure that the changes to the code I made didn’t cause any bugs to spring up.

6. Once the bugs have been eliminated (I’m sure there will be some) I’ll work on making some minor changes to the game (adding more leaders, etc.) and I’ll also work on converting it into a Windows application using either FreeBasic or QB64.

7. Once this has been completed I’d like to do another complete rewrite from the ground up. I should have a pretty good grasp on the code and I’ll likely write the application in VB.NET – possibly as an HTML5/CSS/.NET application – we’ll see.

So, that is the plan. If interest is high enough I hope to follow up with each of the other games and then to expand into other games as time goes on…but this is mainly for the fun of it and in my (very limited) spare time…so, it may be a while…but did want to let you know that I am still working on things.

Jun 142012
 

Hey Folks,

So it has been a long time since I last posted and I wanted to provide an update on the current situation. I still am working towards providing rewritten versions of the games but I am extremely busy…I work two jobs and have a wife to spend time with and a house to maintain. I also do freelance IT consulting on the side…so you can see, there aren’t enough hours in the day.

The one way I could expedite development is if I can get some folks to throw some cash my way. If you’d be willing to do that, leave a comment and a ballpark of what you could leave. If I’m making some cash from working on rewriting the games then I can scale back on some of the consulting. I’d want to get around $500 promised (at least) before I started working on things. I charge $100/hr. for consulting, but Hutsell’s games are also a labor of love for me…so I’d be willing to work at $50/hr. on Hutsell’s games…meaning $500 would last 10 hrs.

If you think this is a horrible idea, that is okay…I’ll continue to work on the games as I find spare time to do so…it’ll just take longer. 😛

Respectfully,

Dave Mackey

Dec 172011
 

Well…I’ve been saying it for years and years and now I finally have something to show for it – albeit not much to show.

I’ve created a rough working beta of Hutsell’s classic VGA Civil War Strategy compiled as a Windows application. You can download it using the link below:

Civil War Strategy Game 1.58 BETA

I’ve included a bunch of notes below, but I’ll try and offer a brief summary of what this means for now and what it means for the future:

  • My goal is simply (initially) to port the games to Windows and to expand, optimize, and reorganize the code.
  • The first will allow individuals to quickly play the games on Windows without using DOSBox, the second is in preparation for an even larger undertaking once the application has been fully and successfully ported to QB64 and native Windows compilation – the creation of new written from the ground up games.
  • I could use help beta testing the game. Please give it a try and let me know if you run into anything that doesn’t work correctly. This is the first beta, so I expect there to be a number of issues…more hands to the shovel, the easier the task.
  • I’m doing this in my spare time (which isn’t much). I hope to release a new beta release once a week at least…even if it contains only the most minor changes. A lot of that will depend on how much feedback I receive providing insight into issue areas.

What’s Changed:

  • Runs as a native Windows application, no more necessity for DOSBox.
  • Removed mentions of DOS.
  • Removed links to 32-bit batch files that won’t work with 64-bit Windows.
  • Removed old extraneous files.

Known Bugs:

  • Music at beginning of game doesn’t play correctly.
  • You cannot save games.

Technical Notes:

  • The code has been compiled in QB64.
  • This removes the file length issues previously present in QuickBasic 4.5 and PDS 7.1, allowing for the consolidation of all code into one code file.
  • Minor code changes were made throughout – some removal of duplicate code between files, change of code to operate correctly within QB64, and so on.
  • Significant work has gone into (though not completed) expanding code using more verbose and clear techniques and to standardize code operations.
 Posted by at 4:43 am
Apr 252011
 

Yes, I know – I disappeared off the face of the earth. I’m sorry! Really I am. I won’t spend a long time pleading with you for forgiveness, instead I’ll let you in on what’s up.

  • This is the new Hutsell Games’ site. The goal is to have it serve as a central hub for all things relating to W.R. Hutsell’s classic computer wargames VGA Civil War Strategy, EGA Civil War Battleset, Wars of Napoleon, and World War II in Western Europe.
  • The latest versions of each game are available for free download from the site.
  • And the question everyone really wants answered…

Will there be a new Hutsell game?

The answer to this is maybe. Several years ago I (Dave Mackey) commissioned an excellent artist to design new artwork for a new release of VGA Civil War Strategy. I received and still have the artwork…and it is still amazingly beautiful with the passage of time! The breakdown was on my end (surprise?), I just didn’t have the know-how or time to complete the project.

Now, over the last several days I’ve spent perhaps twenty hours working through the code and looking at the possibility of moving ahead with a new game. The truth is, it would be fairly easy to do….but it will take some time. I’d estimate between 100-200 hours worth!

My initial goal would be to rewrite the application in Microsoft Visual Studio as a Silverlight application (which could be run either in the browser or on one’s local computer) that simply replicated the current functionality of VGA Civil War Strategy but in a native Windows environment and with the updated graphics.

From there the goal would be to focus on creating multiplayer functionality which would allow for online rankings and intense competition. I’d leave the AI as is for the time being, b/c with a web-based game, the relative short duration of the games, and the number of potential players, one should almost always be able to find an online opponent.

Once the multiplayer functionality was accomplished I would probably work on creating similar games on the same engine – beginning with World War II in Western Europe and the Napoleonic Wars.

Once the engine has been built once it should be reusable across all time spans (at the strategic level) and I’d like to integrate an editor which would allow users to create their own custom games (with some restrictions).

So that is where I’m at currently…I’ll try to keep this blog updated semi-frequently with the latest reports.

Ohh, and a caveat:

  • Mr. Hutsell is writing games anymore, he has passed the source code on to me. While I intend to be as true as possible to Mr. Hutsell’s initial vision any flaws and failures in this area will rest totally on my shoulders and not Mr. Hutsell’s. I hope to deliver a game which is worthy of standing in Mr. Hutsell’s legacy of excellence, but if I fail, this should be clearly my burden to bear.