Army Builder

Army Builder is the (unoriginally titled) army builder application developed by Lone Wolf Development. It is a paid-for, closed-source program with what is effectively an optional rolling subscription for upgrades. Despite this, it seems to be quite popular in the gaming community. This is probably in part due to the large collection of data files that exist for different game systems.

Trademark and legal note

It is important to note that the name Army Builder has been trademarked by Lone Wolf Development in relation to their application. They also claim coverage of any phrase using a combination of derivatives of those two words or their base words in relation to army list creation software. As such, WarFoundry and other applications must be called "army creators" or similar and are not allowed to use any descriptive phrase that may be deemed to include "Army Builder" name or derivatives of it (due to the registered trademark) or derivatives of its base verbs and nouns from the English language (due to claims of similarity to their trademark by Lone Wolf Development).

Please keep this in mind when referring to WarFoundry and other army roster and list creation software, as the most meaningful English description has been trademarked and lawsuits (or threats of lawsuits) can and do ensue.

WarFoundry and Army Builder

Being open and created with multiple game systems and file formats in mind, WarFoundry can load data files from any number of different applications as long as they can be mapped to the concepts in WarFoundry. The main example is the Rollcall Plugin, but an Army Builder plugin is also possible. The purpose of this page is to detail what can be done with WarFoundry and Army Builder.

Army Builder - The Files

All of Army Builder's files are a form of XML (albeit what seems to be quite messy XML with lots of what appears to be purely presentational markup within them). These XML files are contained within a .ab file that defines a game system and all of its races. This means two things for WarFoundry:

  1. Once we load a single file it will load our Game System and our Races
  2. We need to work out what the .ab file format is so that user's don't have to get the pre-extracted versions of the files

Details of the .ab file format are on the Army Builder File Format page.

Army Builder - The Files - AB v2

Army Builder version 2 bundles a collection of files in to a single .ab file using a separate command-line executable. These files all have the same file extension, which relates to the game system specification the files were created for. The file is, according to the documentation, compatible with PKZIP but the .zip extension isn't used so that users don't try to extract the files. Tests have so far been unsuccessful in extracting the files and this statement appears to be incorrect.

Army Builder - The Files - AB v3

Army Builder version 3 bundles a collection of files in to a single .ab file as part of a separate GUI application. These files have different file extensions depending on their content, although .dat and .aug can be used instead of many of them. Tests have so far been unsuccessful in extracting the files, but the Army Builder API can currently read the file list and header data.

Army Builder - The Plugin

Currently there isn't any work being done on a plugin for Army Builder files, but that doesn't mean that there can't be. All that is needed is to understand the .ab file so that we can extract the data files, understand the data files so that we can get the data out of them, then convert that data in to WarFoundry objects.

The Army Builder File Format page is already defining the format of the .ab file, and the data files can be read from any text editor. The only step left is to get people signed up who are interested in importing Army Builder files so that we can get an Army Builder plugin made.

Last modified 9 years ago Last modified on 02/01/10 20:11:11