refund wroteColonCould you give me a basic step-by-step list of the minimal needed functionality?
Minimally, you'd need to track the location and facing of multiple planes on the back-end, and display it on a hex grid, with the ability to update locations and facings of the planes. You'd need to have some kind of submission form that allowed a user to specify a plane and submit a coded movement order (3L2F, for instance), and update the specified plane's location in the backend data accordingly. Finally, you'd need to be able to display (and track) damage grids for each plane, and allow users to fill in boxes, and have those damaged boxes be retained on the back-end, as well.
This would be enough for players to either work on an honor system or allow a gamemaster to centralize all the rolling, which would still be a good first step in reducing the record-keeping, I imagine.
The next set of features I'd suggest would be to start putting in plane stats, so you can run checks against the input maneuvers to determine whether they're pushing (and make the appropriate rolls), track damage effects (like reduced G tolerances or damaged weapons), create a second form for shooting orders in which users designate a target (which the system verifies is in range/in line of fire) and, if Steady Hand is high enough, a target column location to move damage towards. The system could then automate the damage process, rolling to-hit taking into account pilot stats and target plane size, and then rolling damage location and columns to apply the appropriate caliber damage templates to the target plane. Ideally, you'd come up with a logging format to log all the rolls so people can see why something didn't happen as expected ("Oh, I failed the push roll, and underwent random movement like this...").
Finally, basic user tracking and permissions would round out the tool set. Username/password logins that would then assign permissions to each plane. Giving permissions to multiple users might be handy, particularly if you can time-gate them. If the game has an agreed upon schedule, you could give the owner of the plane permissions to submit orders all the time, and then give his teammates permission to submit substitute orders if the owner's orders aren't in after X amount of time. And then give the game-master permissions to all planes.
That would be a pretty amazing toolset if you got all those features down. Depending on your webspace situation, I could see you setting that up as something you host yourself that can track multiple games (the users feature becomes much more important in this scenario), otherwise you could distribute the code for other people to run their own games on webspace they control.