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Old 02-07-2007, 06:46 AM
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Ventisly Ventisly is offline
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Default Venty's Vanguard Mapper feedback thread

Ok, here's the official feedback thread for my mapping utility and to start things off, here's a peek at what I'm working on...

Basically my plan is to allow more detailed maps in areas such as cities and dungeons that would automatically zoom in when you entered. This is a screenshot of a little utility program I'm writing that imports location and other information from your logs and then allows you to edit/clean it up. This is only one nights work so there's still a bit left to do but once it's done I'm hoping I can get help from the community to map things out that I'll add to the download of the main application. This image is of the central building in Martok (Orc hometown) and took me about 10 minutes to go around pressing some hotbar buttons that I defined to create a log that contains items such as:

[22:32:00] Could not find game variable named: NPCLoc
[22:32:00] OffTargetName: Warchief Zowb
[22:32:00] PawnHoverNPCTitle:
[22:32:00] Your current location is 28405, 34607, 8713 in Martok (-20, 13).
[22:32:00] You are in: Martok
[22:32:07] Could not find game variable named: NPCLoc
[22:32:07] OffTargetName: General Zewg
[22:32:07] PawnHoverNPCTitle:
[22:32:07] Your current location is 28432, 34778, 8713 in Martok (-20, 13).
[22:32:07] You are in: Martok
[22:32:40] Could not find game variable named: LineStart
[22:32:40] Your current location is 26725, 34707, 8749 in Martok (-20, 13).
[22:32:40] You are in: Martok
[22:32:49] Your current location is 27277, 34723, 8769 in Martok (-20, 13).
[22:32:49] You are in: Martok
[22:32:52] Your current location is 27418, 35259, 8769 in Martok (-20, 13).
[22:32:52] You are in: Martok
....

Many more details will be provided as I refine the process some more. All in all it should be a pretty simple process as long as there's no aggro around

Any feedback or ideas are appreciated,

Ventisly
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Old 02-14-2007, 05:51 AM
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Ventisly Ventisly is offline
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Default Great News!

Well, after a week of hacking away I've got my test app working. Doing what you say? Oh, just grabbing the current, realtime, location of your player, something that has been, as best as I could tell, impossible or impractical to do.

Here's some history...A little more than a week ago I posted a request for some new game vars and other UI changes in the forums at that other interface website (since the Sigil devs appeared to feel more comfortable visiting there). I guess they are busy with other things since they stopped visiting shortly after my post. I was beginning to think that my map program was doomed to mediocrity without any way to track the user's location realtime (well, that and I was impatient ).

Then on VanguardSOH.com they linked to this article on Silky Venom discussing vgdb, a website that uses a program to collect data from the vanguard client in real time and send it back to their database. Needless to say I was elated at the prospects that opened up. They are a much more item/mob/quest centric database but the techniques should work for what I needed to do as well. When first reading the article I was certainly concerned about violating the EULA seeing terms like reverse engineering and data mining. However, since the article was linked from Sigil's own website and especially after I saw the response from Ryan Elam, Sigil's Director of Technology, that concern disappeared.

"Anything that is displayed to the client or logged to the log is considered fair game. Intercepting our network packets, using “packet sniffers”, or using “raw packet data” is considered a violation. If a user has no way to see the data, it is not intended that you should mine it." -- Ryan Elam

Well...5 days later (probably 12 hours total time) I've got the code working that makes calls into Vanguard's DLLs to grab the character location realtime. Since this is information that is easily accessible by the normal client using the /loc command it's not a violation of the EULA and we're off and running so to speak. And as far as the Vanguard EULA is concerned, I may add additional functionality in the future but I will never do it for anything that is not available within the normal Vanguard client. I hate game cheats and gold buyers more than most but if I can make a map that works better than the in-game one for everyone to enjoy, why not.

So give me a few days to get the graphical app tied into the realtime data, get things tested a bit more (like chunk changes and such) and I'll be posting a new map program that should really make things nice while traveling around Telon .

Ventisly
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Old 02-14-2007, 09:27 AM
Anarissa Anarissa is offline
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Default

Very nice Ventisly, I personally can't wait to use it. It does get a little tiring after being spoiled by EQ2Map. You keep up the good work, and I look forward to your release.
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Old 02-15-2007, 11:28 PM
Akentut Akentut is offline
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Default Mapping

Venty, Glad to see this. I have been looking to make a UI that will at least display the /loc in a window much the same as Warcraft mapping.

Hope to see a beta out soon, but if you need a tester, just drop me a line and a file.

I've started to delve into XML and could do with something to trouble shoot with. Not an easy thing to learn at my age since I stopped programming 10 years ago and have since retired.

Tnx
Seragon on Targanor
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Old 02-17-2007, 02:01 AM
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Ventisly Ventisly is offline
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Default Version 1.0.3

I've just uploaded version 1.0.3 that adds the realtime player tracking and has a much better UI design for zooming, panning, compact mode and always on top features among others.

Next up is refining the map making process I mentioned earlier and then modifying the application to incorporate the map importing/editing and auto-zoom features when you enter an area that has a detailed map defined for it (will mostly be for cities, encampments and dungeons). I've also got plans to show group member locations and quest destinations, add searching for NPCs by name or function and a few other fun things.

As soon as I get the map making part working I'll certainly be looking for help to make some maps. If this seems of interest to you (and of course you'll get a mention in the about box of the app), please keep an eye on this thread and more details will follow soon.

Thanks,

Ventisly
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Old 02-17-2007, 02:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akentut
Venty, Glad to see this. I have been looking to make a UI that will at least display the /loc in a window much the same as Warcraft mapping.
Heh, I would have loved to do this in a game window but the UI elements for Vanguard just didn't have the features and there was really no way to display the location short of doing a /loc all the time by hand . That's why I had to go the direct to DLLs route but the end result is a lot better I think and in a few more weeks should be quite fun to use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akentut
I've started to delve into XML and could do with something to trouble shoot with. Not an easy thing to learn at my age since I stopped programming 10 years ago and have since retired.
The XML stuff is pretty easy for me, it's the graphics that I really stink at . There's no UI xml in this mapping program but Mother's interfaces would be a good reference if you are looking to dive in and do some stuff.

Thanks,

Ventisly
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Old 02-18-2007, 06:27 AM
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Ventisly Ventisly is offline
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Default Version 1.0.4

Just posted the 1.0.4 release that adds an information window (screenshots are on the download page) that displays all sorts of information about your character such as distance traveled, current speed and distance to the next chunk.

Have fun with it,

Ventisly
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Old 02-18-2007, 01:31 PM
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Pixi Pixi is offline
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This is pure awesomeness. Great work Ventisly.
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  #9  
Old 02-20-2007, 04:45 PM
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A question from the download comments page...

Quote:
what are the odds of making this into a client/server type application so you could run the server portion behind Vanguard and have the client (the mapper) on a separate PC that connects to the server VIA IP address?
Already working on that actually along with saving the settings and window positions to an ini file and fixing a few bugs.

Overall I'm trying to allow this to be run in 3 different modes:

1: Always on top/compact mode for people with one computer and one monitor. It would basically be similar to the mini-map feature that's already in game but with more features/better look. Must run in windowed mode.

2: Dual monitor setups where you run Vanguard on one monitor and the mapper on another. Advantages are that more information can be displayed and keeps your vanguard display uncluttered. Must run in windowed mode.

3: Dual machine setups where you run Vanguard and a small server on one system and the mapper program connected to that small server on another computer. Advantages are that you can still display all the information similar to a dual monitor setup and it offloads some of the processing to another computer (although it doesn't require too much so that's not a real problem). Can run in windowed or full-screen mode.

Look for this release later this week. Playing around with either a direct TCP connection (hard to configure especially with dynamic IPs and firewalls) or a UDP broadcast (trickier with firewalls but lower maintenance). Right now I'm leaning towards the TCP method but we'll see as I flesh out how much info needs to be transferred and how often.

Thanks,

Ventisly
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Old 02-21-2007, 03:44 PM
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A question from the download comments page...

Quote:
Is this going to turn into the auto-updating map like for EQ2? I hope so, would be nice to have that feature in VG
Yea, EQ2Map was awesome. I'm fine with doing the client side of things but would need some help with the server/web pieces since my time is too limited to do both. So....if there are any aspiring and capable web/server developers as well as a certain web site administrator that would like to offer hosting for a web application and database storage I'm game to take this to the next level. Until then, after I finish the map making piece, I'll probably ask for help from the community to create maps of areas, upload them here and I'll try to keep up with merging them into the main distribution.

Ventisly
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