Tracking Information

Helpful hints on playing the game.

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Tracking Information

Postby Thom » Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:04 pm

Takamo is a very data driven game. Often people feel frustrated because of the vast amount of information coming from each turn. In fact more than a few have quit playing or don't play in the new game because the game does not track the information. To this end we are all more or less hampered by the fact that the game was originally a play by mail game and in 1980-82 when the game was developed and first brought to the play by mail crowd it was not all that uncommon. Most all play by mail games required the player to keep track of his own stuff. Unfortunately the information Takamo could and would flood the player with was overwhelming and continues to be to this day.

To conquer this information overload I wrote a program to keep track of all the data for a player. It was written on the old Atari 8-bit computer and included a search function as well as data displays from information gained from turn results. Now you still had to type in the data as the turn results came back in the form of printed paper but if you keep up with the data flow you would have a nice little program to know everything about your empire and scans. I even offered it for sale for a paltry $25 and sold quite a few. Another player wrote one for the Commodore 64. I'm sure others wrote similar programs. In the play by email game there was another program that we tried to buy to give to the players but the owner never wanted to sell it. Which brings us to today.

While we don't have a record keeping program available there are some work around solutions. A good spreadsheet helps track data for exploration, planet records, fleet records, etc. In fact Excel has a fairly good search function so you can find data entered in cells. Works fair. But what about all that data in your turn results. Many times I find myself going back to the turns to look for some past scan or something. If you put all your turn results in a folder you can use the search function in Windows Explorer or the Mac equivalent. However that only displays the files where it finds the matching text. But there are fairly good solutions.

One program I use is TextCrawler. There are other programs out there but that one seems to work the best for me. I can type in a word or phrase and the program will not only tell me what file the text is found but also display the line of text so I can see what particular turn the important info is in. For instance if I searched for a planet location (MMM11122 for instance) several turns might be found where the planet was interacted with in some way. But you can also see the full line so what happened is also displayed. If you only wanted to find out for instance when was the last time a fleet had shown up over the planet you could see that very easily. After that you can open the turn results directly from the program and read it if the info on the one line is not enough. They also have a pro version that lists lines before and after the text searched so you don't even have to open the file to read the following lines in case the first one doesn't tell you all you need.

At any rate until or if we get some kind of data tracking program built again you can have some control over past data with a program like TextCrawler.

You can get a free copy of version 2.5 here as well as the pro version. I believe version 2.5 is still free but the pro version costs $30.
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