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Subject: Vassal? rss

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Keith Anderson
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Any chance of a Vassal module being approved? I've got some local players lined up but I've started looking into Vassal more lately and this game's turn structure seems very well suited to turn based pbm play on Vassal as well as live play.
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Bob
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From day 1 developing Talon, I've wanted to have a Vassal module. It's really helpful for play testing.

I'm OK at designing for Vassal. I was able to trick it into doing some cool automation with the Space Empires: 4X module. However, I'm absolutely stumped as to how to do it nicely for Talon.

In Talon, most of the info is stored on the counter. Shields are marked off, weapons are tracked. It's really tough to do that the right way in Vassal. You can have a counter that marks off shield damage, but it will NOT (at least I can't get it to) rotate with the base ship. So if you turn your ship, you'd have to then reposition all the counters that are tracking things on that ship. There's no dry erase mode for Vassal that I'm aware of so you're left using counters to track things and those counters won't rotate with the ship appropriately.

The only other choice you have is to track the ship stats in a separate window which takes SO much away from the game. Everything on the tabletop version is available at a glance; you're not referencing stuff. For me, it wasn't worth it to design the module where you have to track things separately, so unless somebody has figured out a way to fix the tracking issue, we're stuck without a vassal module.
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Keith Anderson
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Thanks for the response. I had not considered the Vassal design challenges of this particular game. Maybe someone will have some inspiration for a solution. I've only toyed with Vassal design on one occasion for curiosity's sake.
 
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Chris Hansen
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One solution I can think of is to leave the ships static as far as rotation and use a layer with say a red arrow to indicate heading.

Another option would be to not use counters to indicate stats but rather layers. These could be for numbers, or in the case of shields, X's positioned so they cover the shield graphics. If you place the rotate command after the layers, the layers will rotate along with the counter.
 
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Stefano Tine'
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chrono280 wrote:
You can have a counter that marks off shield damage, but it will NOT (at least I can't get it to) rotate with the base ship. So if you turn your ship, you'd have to then reposition all the counters that are tracking things on that ship.


Surely there is a way to do that on Vassal? Use layers instead of separate counters? Or keep separate counters but send global key commands to rotate everything that needs rotating when the base ship is? Alternatively, delete those counters and replace them with rotated versions?

Vassal is arguably very convoluted for any automation purpose, but there are still tons of possibilities, I think.



 
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k. patrick barley
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Yeah, Bob and I talked through some concept options when he was doing the ground work. We found some ways to get a similar effect, but nothing that was clean or even attractive. I have no Vassal programming experience and Bob doesn't know every option, though he can do a thousand times more than probably ever could.

If anyone has any ideas on how to get ship rotation to work without losing counter readability that's our current objective.
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Stefano Tine'
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I haven't read the rules through, yet. Just watched the one video available. Therefore, maybe I am missing some essential detail. But can you start by saying why layers won't work for you? Those, plus a correct positioning of the Can Rotate trait, are the out of the box solution in Vassal for just these issues.
 
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David desJardins
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I wonder if it would be satisfactory to have the ship in a fixed orientation but a facing arrow that shows which of the six directions it's actually pointing. That would take a little getting used to, compared to the physical game, but after a short learning period I think it could work fine.
 
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Stefano Tine'
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DaviddesJ wrote:
I wonder if it would be satisfactory to have the ship in a fixed orientation but a facing arrow that shows which of the six directions it's actually pointing. That would take a little getting used to, compared to the physical game, but after a short learning period I think it could work fine.


Rotating counters (where icons and stuff rotate at the same time) is not a problem in Vassal. Even custom entered text strings can automatically rotate no problem.

But perhaps the real issue with Talon is readability of those custom marked numbers when upside down on a computer screen?

If so, one can simply display those numbers when hovering the mouse over the counter. Or perhaps repeat them in a fixed (not rotating) string just below or above the counter (sligthly enlarging the hexes if need be). Or have a "on/off" button display all those numbers in default facing in big bold font over each counter. Or have those numbers pop up when clicking on the custom string area. Tons of possibilities, I think..






 
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David desJardins
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barbanera wrote:
Rotating counters (where icons and stuff rotate at the same time) is not a problem in Vassal.


Well, that's the problem that was posted above---getting the markers and indications that are added to the counter over play to rotate along with the counter itself. If you have an actual way to do it then you could just share the details.
 
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Stefano Tine'
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DaviddesJ wrote:
barbanera wrote:
Rotating counters (where icons and stuff rotate at the same time) is not a problem in Vassal.


Well, that's the problem that was posted above---getting the markers and indications that are added to the counter over play to rotate along with the counter itself. If you have an actual way to do it then you could just share the details.


Yes, I have: the best option is using layers.

For the record, I already indicated it in my first post. And so did Chris Hansen - ichirou.

If the module designers need help with the technicalities I would be glad to give it. On the other hand, maybe they already discounted using layers for some reason and I was asking why.


 
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David desJardins
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Since he already said he tried hard to do it and can't get it to work, if you wanted to be constructive you could just post a simple example of a module with a counter that you can make marks on and also rotate so that the marks rotate along with the counter....
 
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Stefano Tine'
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Since he already said he tried hard to do it and can't get it to work, if you wanted to be constructive you could just post a simple example of a module with a counter that you can make marks on and also rotate so that the marks rotate along with the counter....


Sure, can do. I can write a guideline at using layers, produce one or more demo modules or I can even take a shot at designing the whole module, if so requested.

But do let whoever has a say in it to actually ask for it. I don't want to presume or patronize anyone just on your say so, because after all I might not know all the facts.
 
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Jim Krohn
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You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
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Bob has tried hard to get it to work. We would love to have a good Vassal mod for Talon. We will take any help we can get!
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Stefano Tine'
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Ok, I will contact you by private msg.
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Mike W
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If additional help is needed, let me know. I would love to have a VASSAL mod for Talon.

FYI, I have made little graphic check boxes that can rotate with units. Not absolutely sure it would scale to the information needed for Talon, but I would be willing to try.

Here is what I did for an ammo counter on units from my VASSAL module for Battle of Adobe Walls.

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Jerry Tresman
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Layers is the way to go and techniques such as the ones I used with DVG's Leader series and the weapons. That would work with marking off shields and energy.

Also used similar techniques with Palytest Fields of Fire and stats on a version of Combat Commander, I think it changed in later modules.

When I have played with the physical game I may brush up my Vasl skills and give it a go.

I have found unless you play physically it just doesn't flow to the design.

I will have a go but not until GMT get round to shipping to England.
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Chris Hansen
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Yes, exactly. These are all fine examples for layers and rotation. The key is where you place the rotation trait in the list of traits for the game piece. This post by Brent Easton on the Vassal site explains it perfectly:

http://www.vassalengine.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=178

Anyway, it looks like barbanera is helping them work out a module for the game...unless we hear otherwise? It seems there are several here willing to lend a hand and build a module for Talon.
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Jim Krohn
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Yep, Barbanera and Bob are working hard on the design. I'll make sure they look here if they need help...
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Stefano Tine'
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Hi, yeah, Bob and I are working hard on it. Yes, we are using layers all over the place. This has the unfortunate side effect of slowing down loading times considerably, unfortunately. Perhaps it's a matter of fiddling with Vassal memory settings. However, game plays should be completely unaffected.

I think we have a solution for most or maybe all issues, but I will make sure to ask here if we get stuck. It's only a matter of time now.
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Jerry Tresman
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barbanera wrote:
Hi, yeah, Bob and I are working hard on it. Yes, we are using layers all over the place. This has the unfortunate side effect of slowing down loading times considerably, unfortunately. Perhaps it's a matter of fiddling with Vassal memory settings. However, game plays should be completely unaffected.

I think we have a solution for most or maybe all issues, but I will make sure to ask here if we get stuck. It's only a matter of time now.


Mage the layer images small and trial and error position. Also use lower colour depth that should help , if you can for filling in the boxes use the same image just in a different position that should help on loading and size.
 
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Bob
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Hey, guys. I really have to apologize. I completely missed all of the responses to this thread (despite being subscribed). That seems to be happening more and more lately, I must be doing something wrong.

Yes, Stefano did get in touch with me and we are both working hard to get the module done. I'm VERY excited about what we have so far but we still have a lot of work to go. There's a lot of ways we could represent the game within Vassal but they'd be so incredibly cumbersome for the end-user. We're doing our best to make the Vassal module as easy to play as on table top. It's just a shame Vassal doesn't let you directly draw on a piece like with a dry erase marker.

Also, I'm no stranger to horrendous Vassal load times. Any of you who have played my module for Space Empires: 4X can attest to that... If we can fix it we will but the most important thing is play-ability.

Thanks again for all the feedback.
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Bob
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The module is nearing completion and we could use a hand working out a few kinks. See:

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/22021498#22021498

Thanks!
 
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Bob
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In case viewers of this thread haven't heard the news yet -- the module is finished!
http://www.insidegmt.com/?p=8298
http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Talon
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Erik Nicely
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Thanks to Bob & the testers for getting the module up & running.

Who's up for a game? Live w/ Skype I'm PDT/GMT -8. I will post on the Vassal matchup geeklist too.
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