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VASSAL System

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VASSAL System

Post  hammurabi70 on Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:33 pm

Mention has been made elsewhere on this. Can anyone with knowledge of it expand on what it is about and how to use it?
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Re: VASSAL System

Post  B Betts on Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:08 am

hammurabi70 wrote:Mention has been made elsewhere on this. Can anyone with knowledge of it expand on what it is about and how to use it?
bounce confused

Hello,
I am no expert on vassal but it is a utility where you could make up maps, units, markers etc for an umpire to use for a PBEM game. Units can be hidden by the umpire so he could just send out his updated map each turn with the appropriate units hidden for each side.

Bill

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Re: VASSAL System

Post  hammurabi70 on Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:00 am

Thanks. It certainly sounds very useful. scratch
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Re: VASSAL System

Post  Lugnakh on Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:42 am

hammurabi70 wrote:Thanks. It certainly sounds very useful. scratch

I posted this in the other thread...
I've contemplated making a Kriegsspiel module for VASSAL off and on but never got round to doing so.
I think it could work, for an email game, or even a live session over tcp/ip, though it would be slower than the real thing and perhaps difficult for multiple umpires to coordinate things. I was thinking you would need a good multi-channel voice commo program to really make it work.
You can set things up so that units are hidden from specific, pre-defined "sides", so you could have an umpire side, and multiple "sides" for the two teams I think. So the umpires could have a map with everything on it, and the players would have a map with only those units the umpires made visible to them on it.
Shouldn't be too hard to get a rough version together, VASSAL mods aren't all that hard to put together, the biggest chore is assembling all the necessary graphics files for your project. If I get the spring brush clearing under control soon I'll see if I can't take a stab at making a mod. Or if anyone else wants to give it a shot I'd be glad to help if you get stuck with anything.


Basically, VASSAL is a Java based platform for playing boardgames over the internet. It was designed originally to play ASL, but Rodney eventually expanded it to be a generic platform, and several other programmers have jumped in to add features and keep it rolling. It is intended to be a virtual tabletop in the truest sense, a board and pieces. It has dice rollers and such, but is not written with the intent of enforcing game rules like a typical computer wargame for example.

I've done several modules for various games, it is pretty easy to pick up. I'm no programmer, so if I can do it...
That said, a little scripting knowledge would seem to be useful, I've been able to hack my way through some things but I tend to try to keep my modules fairly simple, where some folks try to automate as much as possible.
The best way to get a better idea of what it is and what it can do is to download it, and one or two modules and just mess around with it and see what it can do.
As mentioned above, the hardest part of making a mod is getting the graphics together. The actual mod making process consists mostly of adding in the images and then defining properties for them as game pieces and map boards.

VASSAL can do hidden movement, and you can define a large number of "player sides" so you could have an Umpire side, and multiple Red and Blue teams, and you can set a property on each unit to define who is allowed to see it. So it could handle the basic KS concept. If you did it as a play by email, with turns once a day or week or whatever, you could do all your commo via email. If you wanted to do it live, you would need a good voice commo program with the ability to set channels and sub-channels, I don't think the text communication available in VASSAL would be sufficient.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask. I will try to answer if I can. Or you can ask over on the VASSAL forums, most of the guys there are friendly and quick to respond, especially the developer types Wink

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Re: VASSAL System

Post  B Betts on Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:39 pm

Just to add comment, as a practice vassal module, I uploaded the maps from the Mega Game Operation Market Garden, and made up my own unit counters in Paint with the ability to add text to each counter (to track casualties etc). The maps loaded directly and the unit counters were trial and error to get the correct size for unit frontages. All of this was easy and I have no background/skill with any kind of programming.

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Re: VASSAL System

Post  hammurabi70 on Sun May 01, 2011 10:22 am

Looks interesting; I must find some time this summer to investigate this. bounce
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Re: VASSAL System

Post  JLancaster on Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:02 am

I really like this idea. I am willing to work on this with whoever is interested. I can do graphics, and history for some periods if we were to do some scenarios. I also have some minor programming skills, but no Java. Doesn't seem like that big of a deal though.

Another option might be to make a mod of MegaMek : http://megamek.info/. It is similar to Vassal and would probably allow more automation of kriegspiel mechanics. In particular, automation of the umpire's tasks would make for a nice system.

JD

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Re: VASSAL System

Post  B Betts on Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:46 am

Hello,
I have built a vassal module using topo maps from here
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ams/eastern_europe/
I then added a 2km square grid and built appropriate sized counters in paint. The module builder allows adding rows and columns for maps and I currently have Mogilev, Orsha, Smolensk and Rosavl. So Smolensk July 10 to ?,1941 could be played using the whole second panzer group (3 CORP, 9-10 divisions) in attack. Add two maps to the north and the whole 9th Army is available.

The maps are 1:250000, but work well...ish. Alternatively, I also traced out the main roads, rivers, towns, woods, hills using inkskape for a less busy map, something resembling the maps used in the mega games.

Bill


Last edited by B Betts on Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:48 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling, agggh!)

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Re: VASSAL System

Post  Ike on Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:56 pm

For a multi-channel voice commo system, TeamSpeak (or Ventrillo if you prefer; though TS is a bit more clear) can't be beat. You can create a channel for each side, barring the other side from entering (by name), make a channel for each player to the umpire for game mechanics questions, etc. Use Vassal's 'chat' for your courier messages - maybe no, as I don't recall if the message system can be open for one player and closed for all others. With patience, you can get a good real-time game system going, even a good Kriegsspiel set up using it. Use the maps from Too Fat Lardies for your battles; cut and paste in upaint or GIMP or whatever you like best to fit the size requirements of Vassal. Use a set of the tiles from Photon Cutter Studios, aka Tom Evans, as the prototypes for your Vassal unit counters; a metric ruler works best of course and make the counters in GIMP (or whatever you like). Don't forget, if visibility or ID #'s on the pieces is a problem, you can re-size the map and counters up a bit just making sure that both are the same amount larger. Good luck, gents! I'm involved in our Gettysburg Group, trying desperately to figure out how to mod the SOW:Gettysburg game. Embarassed
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