Aide de Camp 2 Hints and Tips
GAMESET MAKER'S GUIDE TO CARDS
By Richard Wein
The first step is to create a separate symbol set for each set of cards in the game. These must be separate from your basic symbol set, in which you defined your map and piece symbols. I'll refer to symbol sets for cards as "card sets".
It may not be immediately obvious how many card sets you need for your game. All cards in one set will have the same design on the back of the card, so you must have at least one card set for each back design. If the game has two decks with the same back design, and many of the cards are identical in each deck, it's probably best to use a single card set, to avoid duplicating the same card in each set.
I'll take, as an example, an early version of my gameset for Rommel in the Desert. This version had 2 types of cards: supply cards and pursuit cards. (Note: in the final version of this gameset, I replaced the pursuit cards with chits.) The gameset therefore had a total of 3 symbol sets: rommel (containing the board and piece symbols), supply cards and pursuit cards.
In the Symbol Editor, do the following for each of your card sets:
If you need a standard deck of playing cards, there's no need to create it. You can find suitable card sets (with or without jokers) in a directory named Card Decks Here.
If players' hands are to be hidden from other players (which is usually the case), you need to create a player definition (New | Player) for each player, if you haven't already done so. If the game has a variable number of players, I suggest you create player definitions for the maximum possible number of players, otherwise users of your gameset may need to create new player definitions and hands when they start a game.
Before you can play with cards, you have to load the card sets into your game, by creating one or more decks. (You can't load card sets directly into hands.)
After you've created a deck, there are a number of actions you can use to modify it, in the Deck window.
Rename Deck. Pretty obvious what this does.
Delete Cards. Deletes all cards from the deck, but leaves the empty deck in the game. The only way to delete a deck entirely is to select Remove Hands and Decks in the Cards menu.
Add New Cards. Lets you add additional cards from any card set. Also lets you change the visibility of the deck.
Depending on the game, you may also want to shuffle the deck (just in case the players forget), play some cards to the table, or set the order of the cards. By default, the cards will be in the same order as in the card set file.
After you've created a hand, there are a number of actions you can use to modify it in the Hand window.
Rename Hand. Pretty obvious what this does.
Delete Cards. Deletes the hand from the game, along with any cards in it.
Depending on the game, you may also want to put some cards in the hands at the start of the game, using From Deck. For Rommel in the Desert, I went back to the Pursuit Cards deck and dealt all the pursuit cards to the 2 Pursuit Card hands. (I didn't want a deck for pursuit cards, as they are all kept in players' hands, but I couldn't put the cards into hands without creating a deck for them first.)
To delete an individual card, play it to the board, click on the card, and select Remove This Card From Game.
To delete all the cards from a deck, select Delete Cards in the appropriate Deck window. The empty deck will remain in the game.
To delete a hand, along with any cards in it, select Delete Cards in the appropriate Hand window.
To delete all decks, hands and cards from the game, select Remove Hands and Decks in the Cards menu. This does not delete any files. There is no way to delete a single deck from the game, so be sure to backup your .OPS file before you add a deck.
ADC2 creates quite a lot of files for cards. It's useful to know what these files are, so you can be sure to package all the necessary files with your gameset. You may also want to clear up any redundant files that you created by accident.
Here are all the files created for my original Rommel gameset:
First of all, the Symbol Editor creates 11 files for each of the 3 symbol sets (rommel, supply cards and pursuit cards). These are a .set file, a .sdx file, 3 .bmp files for the pieces/cards (u1, u2, u3), 3 .bmp files for the map tile set (t1, t2, t3) and 3 .bmp files for the X-image masks (m1, m2, m3). The last 6 of these are irrelevant to card sets, but they have to be there anyway.
When you create a deck in a game, the Play Game module makes copies of the relevant 5 files of the card set. It does this for every deck you create, even if 2 decks use the same card set. In naming the copies, the program takes the base name from the .OPS file (Rommel in this case), and it adds -C1 for the first deck, -C2 for the second deck, etc. I'll refer to these files as the "C-files". My gameset has the following C-files:
Subsequently, when you load the .OPS file, only the C-files are loaded, so there's no need to include the original card set files in your gameset package. The original files are only accessed when you add a new deck to the game (not when you add cards to an existing deck). So the only files I need to distribute are the following:
Now, if you subsequently save the game under another name, say NewRommel.OPS, things get a bit more complicated. You'll be prompted with the following message:
If you answer Yes, ADC2 makes another copy of all the C-files, named NewRommel-C1.SET, etc. If you answer No, it doesn't, and the old C-files will be used by both Rommel.OPS and NewRommel.OPS.
This raises another interesting question: when you load an .OPS file, how does ADC2 know which map and symbol files to use? Well the answer can be seen if you examine the .OPS file using a hex editor. At the beginning of the file, you'll see the name of the .MAP file, in this case C:\ADC2\Game Sets\Rommel\Rommel.map. The .MAP file in turn contains the name of the main symbol set, in this case rommel (the path is not stored, as the symbol set is assumed to be in the same directory as the .MAP file). The base name for the C-files can be found near the end of the .OPS file. After saving the game as NewRommel, this will be C:\ADC2\Game Sets\Rommel\NewRommel.SET, if you answered Yes above, or C:\ADC2\Game Sets\Rommel\Rommel.SET, if you answered No. (Confusingly, this is not necessarily the name of the main symbol set, as that is stored in the .MAP file.)