It’s been sometime since we wrote our last post and make an update to Tank Inspector, but that doesn’t mean the project is muted or dead. In fact, as you might already heard, we are busy working on a new project, namely Tank Inspector PRO.
We started the Tank Inspector project about a year ago. Initially, Tank Inspector was intended to be a light-weighted tool to help people to study tank models and stats, so all the features are fitted into a simple and compact framework. Soon the program became really popular, many kind and practical suggestions were proposed by users all around the world. At the same time, we realized it is more and more difficult to extend the program to bring new features. That’s why we made the proposal to recreate the Tank Inspector.
The Tank Inspector PRO development has been launched in June. We have released several internal test versions which we called as Technical Previews. These preview releases are actually very incomplete and unstable, so we didn’t make them public. While we are looking forward to make a public release ASAP, in the meantime, we would like to share our progresses with all our audiences, just to tell whoever is concerned to our product, you are not waiting for nothing.
Although with many technologies inherited from Tank Inspector, the PRO version shares nothing in common visually. We have built a new UI framework from scratch, which, while working with the new structure, giving Tank Inspector PRO a great accessibility and infinite extensibility.
If you are familiar with some professional software like Visual Studio, you are automatically familiar with this one. The main UI features a docking view, with its layout fully customizable by simply dragging and dropping the panels.
This picture above presents a stat view of the new German light tank Ru 251. The stats view gives even more detailed information than it did in Tank Inspector, and we’ve made it more media-friendly: the stat view is document based, so you can easily copy its content and paste to anywhere you like, or save to RTF documents for further use.
Another improvement is, you can now toggle between base values and instance values.
Base values are those written in the game client, they are static without being affected by crew proficiencies, skills/perks and tank equipment; in contrast, the instance values are real-time calculated with the deep understanding of game mechanisms. You can change tank and crew configurations with the panels on the right (see the main UI) to see how they affect the stats.
Another feature, which would be favored by fansite editors, is the supporting of template.
In brief, templates allow you to show tank stats in different ways. You can create custom templates with minimal XAML knowledge. In the picture above, we created a simple template mimicking the way our favorite fansite FTR introduces new tank stats.
There are two panels doing the navigation job: the Game Client Explorer, and the Tank Museum.
The left one is the Game Client Explorer. It lists all the tanks, pre-processed datum and file system structure of all imported game clients – yes, Tank Inspector PRO do support multiple game clients, we will cover this later.
The Game Client Explorer also enables easy access to tank related files and direct access of package files, which would be helpful for mod-makers.
The right one on the first picture of this section is the Tank Museum. You can find tanks here with keywords and filters.
You can also use the Tech Tree to find tanks.
Clicking on any tank entry on these navigators will bring out the corresponded command menu to access all aspects of this tank.
Tank Inspector allows you to specify a benchmark tank. which will be compared with your current tank. Many users suggested that we should implement multi-tank comparison, however the framework of Tank Inspector did not allow us to do that, because it’s basic design principle is everything is centered to the current tank. However, thanks to the new framework, we can eventually bring this feature to Tank Inspector PRO.
Say, after the introduction of T49 and Ru 251, I was wondering how the tier 8 light tanks perform comparing to each other. So I filtered out all the tier 8 light tanks of 9.3 CT client in the Tank Museum, added them to a comparison. I added all the aspects of my concern – firepower, maneuverability and scoutability. The best values are shown in bold. Then I would like to see how the tanks perform comparing to Ru 251, which I was going to unlock, so I set the Ru 251 as the benchmark tank. The differences are soon shown by arrows, green is better (than the benchmark tank), red is worse. Finally, I decided to show this to a friend, so I exported the comparison result to a csv file, which could be opened by any spreadsheet program.
I guess that’s good enough, right? Actually, there are more little sugars, like you can change tank configurations in bulk, or swap rows and columns to enable a different view. And don’t forget the LiveStats(http://www.vbaddict.net/wot.php) – they are all comparable, too.
As we’ve mentioned above, Tank Inspector PRO supports multiple game clients.
You can import all your WoT clients, give them aliases and change marker colors – the markers will be shown wherever version identification is needed.
With such support, you can do some interesting things, like comparing the stats of a tank in different versions. What’s more important is, it allows us to introduce the Patchnote Generation feature.
The Patchnote Generator compares two game clients to unveil all the tank stat changes, as well as potential armor scheme changes (by simply comparing the collision models), and output them into a well-formatted document. The feature and its usage are really simple, but it would be a great one for people who don’t want to miss any tiny bit of updates.
That’s all for the first part. Next time we will talk about the model features, which we are currently busy working on. Thanks for reading, and thanks again for your patience of waiting for such a long time – we promise it will worth the while.