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Alternate/Adaptations of AB40K: Path to Prevail?

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Alternate/Adaptations of AB40K: Path to Prevail?

#1  Postby Mettius » Sun Jan 04, 2015 7:22 pm

My current project is to create a set of data files for Heralds of Ruin Kill Team (alternate rules from the GW Kill Team). (Following that perhaps Gorkamorka).

From the discussion on this thread a "built in" path for adapting AB40K data files was scrapped due to AB limitations. However, the AB40K data files should obviously already possess a huge piece of all that someone wishing to create an alternative list should need. I know the maintainers are busy and I'm not looking for hand holding from them, but rather would ask the question to the community at large: What is the best approach for leveraged the official AB40K files for a fork or alternate list?

Anyone who has put serious effort into an adaptation/leverage project, I'd love to hear your thoughts on approach.

--Begin Skippable Fluff --
Mettius' Story so Far
Take 1: Tripping Up on Complexity
For my efforts, initially I started out attempting to mod the AB40K files directly from a full copy. As a newbie to Army Builder Creator, even after a quick read of the Authoring Kit docs I found it just short of impossible for me to follow how AB40K data files worked (let alone edit them) No quick solution or free ride here.
Phase 2. Start from Scratch
I was forced to really start to learn Army Builder data file construction. This time after beating my head on the docs, on this forum, and on Lone Wolf's AB support forum (and much experimentation) things started to click. ABC (Army Builder Creator) was no longer feeling like an alien world. I was starting to "get it" and slog my way through getting my first unit and all his options working.
Phase 3. Well, on second thought, let me just borrow a bit
As my understanding of AB authoring left the infant stage I kept looking more and more at the AB40K files to see how they did things. No longer looking like an alien language, I started emulating them.
Then I realized I should probably just standardize on the same naming conventions AB40K uses for options/etc. (after all the years of evolution, I'd hate to have that "oh poo" moment when I realize why they did it that way and I need to redo my work).
Phase 4. Man, I'm slowly copying one option/script at at time, an awful lot of the AB files...
So now I'm copying one at a time (as needed for the unit I'm working on) options and procedures to my data files. I'm now finding the rabbit hole of all the dependencies the various Procedures/scripts have with each other to be pretty deep (and if fells like I'm just going to end up retyping 80% of the data).
So then I get the bright idea to take the AB40k general7Dat.dat file along with the main .def file and just use those as a base, hopefully not having to make many changes to make my "fork" easier to maintain. (And avoiding much wheel reinvention.)
I converted (i.e. stripped out the XML sections of the .def file which .aug files don't use) the main .def to an .aug and figured I'd now be more quickly able to make progress.
Unfortunately, this approach resulted in files that wouldn't compile. Though I slogged through removing any redundancies (at one point completely removing my own "General.dat" file) and fixing the compilation errors, I still ended up with duplicate reference errors which grep couldn't find... (gn6_SMB_Ch as I recall... being one).
Unable to move forward after two evenings of effort, it looks like I'm going back to the "copy one thing at a time" method. As a plus, I imagine I'll end up knowing the AB40K files reasonably well by the time I finish... :)

-- End Skippable Fluff --

Since I know I'm not the first to attempt to adapt the AB40K files, has anyone had success? What was/is your approach?
Last edited by Mettius on Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:08 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Alternate/Adaptations of AB40K: Path to Prevail?

#2  Postby Homer_S » Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:40 pm

Take a look at these datafiles for WH30K as a "plug in" to WH40K. Try this test, remove them from the folder and then launch AB. NOTE Do this after the next general files release (1.12) since there are some elements referenced out. You should be able to take a similar approach to creating a plug in file set.

hhDat.dat
hhAug.aug

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Re: Alternate/Adaptations of AB40K: Path to Prevail?

#3  Postby Homer_S » Thu Jan 08, 2015 4:33 pm

Check your PM.

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