Hammer's Slammers: Game aid Technology - Computer Aids

The presentation also included movie clips
One of the notable things about the game for those who have seen it - and certainly one area that gleans considerable comment - is the degree of apparent computing power being expended on the game. We have four computer monitors and two lap tops at a show which sometimes sets people back a bit. The reality, however, is that none of them are being used to actually 'run' the game but are simply 'aids'.

One laptop runs a monitor which is, effectively, a computerised leaflet. It runs a presentation which loops continuously and, with pictures, words and video clips, explains the game, who the forces are, what sort of weapons they carry and what their objectives are. Essentially it provides a cut down version of what is available on this web site and is, osteopath bills aside (it runs on a very heavy 21 inch monitor) a very useful demonstration and explanation tool to have at a game show.
This was part of the "Commander's Eye View" of the battlefield from the inside of his tank

The other lap top usually runs three monitors all linked up via a splitter box to show the same product. This is essentially an 'aide memoire' for the umpire. The Rolling Hot games we run at shows are far bigger than anyone would normally want to run at a regular club meeting: there are far too many players and vehicles, the table is way too big to even shout over and it all takes a bit too long. After trying to use a megaphone at Salute 99 we have switched to using headset radios and laser pointers to make communication (in a 24 foot table in a noisy hall) bearable. But the problem with the long complex games is that umpiring became a nightmare as one easily loses one's place in the phase chart.

The battle preogresses
So the second lap top simply runs through a sequence of the turns and phases in order, every time a key is hit. However, that would, on its own, be a bit boring, so the interface is designed to look like the controls of the inside of a vehicle and, whilst reminding the umpire and players (everyone around the table should be able to see a screen) of what's going on, other pre-programmed events appear to the players at the appropriate time. Vehicles lying in ambush and buildings hidden in the trees can all be 'revealed' by the 'sensor screen' of the players vehicles.
Orders from 'HQ' and terrain features 'appear'
The Presentation and 'Aide Memoire' were created using Corel Draw, Xara, Photoshop and similar tools and assembled in Microsoft PowerPoint 97. These computer aids are valuable with the demonstration game but, obviously, less useful in a 'club night' scenario.
Photography and site development by John Treadaway.
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