Importing Data from VR Games

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Revision as of 08:56, 18 December 2014 by Mclean (talk | contribs) (Step 1: Obtain the Query URL)
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VRLogo.gif
This method works for Virtual Regatta games only. It requires VRTool version 2.06 or later. This page is adapted from instructions provided by Didier, who is the skipper of "Le Grand DIC" in VR games.

This page describes how to import boat data directly from the VR game server. Once it's set up the method is completely automatic and reliable. This is the best way to import data from VR games.

How it works

CPBoatData.gif
When your game console needs information about your boat it instructs your browser to send a request to the VR game server. The game server has to know who you are, so the request includes your username as an encrypted string. This means the request is unique to each player (and to each race). If you want VRTool to request data from the server you have to figure out the contents of the request message for your boat. Fortunately you can use the developer tools built into modern browsers to "sniff" out the request on its way to the server.

Once you have found the request string for your boat you can configure VRTool to send the same request to the VR server. This configuration is done in the Boat Data control panel on the Boats tab. The game server responds with the data for your boat (and your friends if you want it). VRTool uses this to generate a track for each boat on the chart.

There are two main steps to establishing a link between VRTool and the Virtual Regatta game server:

Step 1: Obtain the URL that the game console sends to the VR game server to query the boat positions.
Step 2: Configure VRTool to use this URL.

These steps are explained in the following sections.

Step 1: Obtain the Query URL

This is the trickiest part of the process, especially if you are not a little bit "geek". The process depends on which web browser you are using.

Some browsers are continually upgraded, and the developer tools in web browsers change with every update. So it's next to impossible to keep these instructions exactly up to date. The browser version for which the instructions have been tested is shown for each browser.

IconGoogleChrome.gif
Google Chrome
v 39.0.2171.65
IconInternetExplorer.gif
Internet Explorer
v 11.0.9600.17420
IconFirefox.gif
Firefox
v 34.0.5

In your web browser:

  • If your Virtual Regatta game console is already open then close it.
  • In your browser go to the Virtual Regatta page where you can see the ButtonVRPlay.gif button which starts the game. Don't click on it yet.
  • In the top right corner of the browser click the ChromeMenu.gif menu button and select Tools --> More tools --> Developer tools. A window called Developer Tools opens in a separate window.

In the Developer Tools window:

  • On the menu bar click Network.
  • On the toolbar click on ChromeClear.gif to clear any current traces.
  • On the toolbar check that the ChromeRecord.gif Record Network Log button is red. If it's not then click on it to turn it on.
  • Press the F12 key. A new window called F12 Developer Tools opens. If the new windows opens in the game window click on the IEUnpin.gif Unpin tool in the tool bar and drag it clear.

In the Developer Tools window:

  • On the left sidebar click in the IENetwork.gif Network tool.
  • On the top toolbar, if you can see the IECapture.gif Capture button then click on it to turn on capturing.
  • In the top right corner of the browser click the ChromeMenu.gif menu button, then click on FirefoxDeveloper.gif Developer and select Inspector. A window called Inspector opens. If the Inspector opens within the game window click on FirefoxWindow.gif on the toolbar to show it in a separate window.

In the Inspector window:

  • On the top menu bar click Network.
  • Click on Clear at the bottom right to clear any current traces.

In the Virtual Regatta window:

  • Click on the ButtonVRPlay.gif button to start the game console for your game. Log in if you have to. Wait for the game to start.

In the Developer Tools window:

  • The calls made by the game console to the game server are displayed.
  • On the toolbar click on the ChromeFilter.gif Filter tool. In the filter box type "Service" (without the quotes).
  • Scroll down and look for the record that starts with "ServiceCaller.php?service=GetUser&id_user=....". This is the call that the game console used to retrieve your boat information from the game server.
  • Right-click on the record and select Copy link address.

In the Developer Tools window:

  • The calls made by the game console to the server are displayed.
  • In the IESearch.gif search box type "getuser" (without the quotes) and click on the search tool. You should see the details of a request header with a Request key that starts with "GET /core/Service/ServiceCaller.php?service=GetUser&id_user=....". This is the call that the game console used to retrieve your boat information from the game server.
  • In the menu bar at the top click on SUMMARY. In the summary list the selected GetUser record will be highlighted.
  • Right-click on the record and select Copy URL.

In the Inspector window:

  • The calls made by the game console to the game server are displayed.
  • On the bottom menu bar click on Other to show the XML calls.
  • Find the record that starts with "ServiceCaller.php?service=GetUser&id_user=....". This is the call that the game console used to retrieve your boat information from the game server.
  • Right-click on the record and select Copy URL.
  • Now go to Step 2 - Parameterise VRTool.

Step 2: Parameterise VRTool

CPBoatData.gif
  • In VRTool select the TabBoats.gif Boats tab. Open the Boat Data control panel.
  • In the GetUser field at the top, paste the URL address that you copied in Step 1.
  • Click on the CtrlGet.gif icon beside this control to send the GET message to the game server. If it's successful the field on the control panel will populate with your boat data. If you click the icon more than once in a 10 minute server cycle the data returned will a repeat of the previous data and it is ignored with the message "Same or old boat data".
  • Select CtrlCheck.gif Auto update in to make VRTool update the boat position automatically every 10 minutes, and draw the boat track on the chart.
Tip: When you first set up the link, VRTool can't draw the track on the chart or display the boat icon until it receives the second set of data for a different position. So you may see nothing on the chart other than a dot until your boat moves, which is 10 minutes later in a VR game. However you can verify that the link is working by looking at the data on the Boat Data control panel.

The other controls on this panel are explained under the Boats Tab.