Archive through May 22, 2008

Star Fleet Universe Discussion Board: Federation & Empire: F&E COMPUTER PROJECTS: F&E with Vassal: Archive through May 22, 2008
By Walter Meyer (Faulkenburg) on Friday, May 02, 2008 - 04:04 am: Edit

Thank You for the VASSAL module.

I just installed it and started it up and it seems to be working fine. I see that it does take a long time to load a saved game. My new computer took about 3 min. to load the general war setup.

My first impression without using it is that I like the intuitive way that your VASSAL module is set up. I was able to figure it out without using a manual and in a few minutes. The one feature that I like better about the Cyberboard map is the larger hexes on the main map.

One question that comes to mind is, would the pretty graphics like the Cyberboard map slow VASSAL down a lot?

I can see that you put some work into this and I intend to try out both to compare them for myself. Once again Thank You.

By Michael H.Oliver (Mholiver) on Friday, May 02, 2008 - 11:33 am: Edit

can you send me (again) a copy of the Module

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Friday, May 02, 2008 - 12:04 pm: Edit

Well... it's hard to define 'slow down a lot' on something that already has loading performance issues. However, I do know that the classic loading problems for Vassal are related to map size. F&E is pretty much unique in having problems because of the number of counters. So, yes, a LSM-style setup would slow things down.

Beyond that practical concern, there's several theoretical ones that keep me from doing that. Cyberboard seems to just see the board as one continuous field, and you can put things anywhere. Vassal can do this, but it also has a very good grid system that I use, which allows you to snap to stacks, and report where things are. I could (now) create a board that reports each large hex as an appropriately named area, and you could either put things 'wherever', or I could have a number of discrete stacks in each 'hex', but that option didn't exist when I started it.

Doing that option would be a lot of work. I might be able to just have a supersized grid that gets used for reporting only, or I might have to build all the areas by hand. Either way, I would have to build an all-new map file, and that is hard, and dangit, I'm proud of my current map.

Also, once that's done, you'd really need to zoom out the map to see much territory. You can manipulate counters while zoomed out, but of course it gets tricker. And Vassal doesn't have Cyberboard's feature of having a separate set of zoomed out images, you just get resized versions of the regular images.

Glad you found Vassal intuitive. :) I've always been happy with it, but I'm at the point where I don't know if it's intuitive, or if I've just been using it that long.

Mholiver: I'll try to send a copy tonight.

By Ken Rotar (Sir_Krotar) on Friday, May 02, 2008 - 03:33 pm: Edit


You sent me a copy of the module on Feb. 27th. Is there an updated one that I could get from you, or is mine still up to date?

Thanks, Ken

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Friday, May 02, 2008 - 05:11 pm: Edit

RC4, listed above, is still the latest (1/13/08).

I think I have done some minor fixes on my personal copy, but I haven't wrapped it up into an official RC4r1 (or 1.0).

Any time there is an update, I post a notice of it here.

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Saturday, May 03, 2008 - 02:12 am: Edit

Mholiver: Module sent!

By Michael H.Oliver (Mholiver) on Saturday, May 03, 2008 - 01:21 pm: Edit

Got it Thanks

By Walter Meyer (Faulkenburg) on Monday, May 05, 2008 - 10:13 pm: Edit


Thanks for answering my questions. I see why you have done things in the way that you have and I very much like the way your map works. For example, I didn't notice, the first time I looked at the map, that all the units in a stack are shown when you select it. I think that is a very useful feature and eliminates the need for a larger hex since you don't need to flip through a stack of units to find what you want.

Very Nice. Please continue the good work!

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Tuesday, May 06, 2008 - 01:13 pm: Edit

Glad you like, and I'm always happy to answer questions.

Actually, it doesn't show it when you select it, but when you hover over it for a couple seconds. Also, pay attention to the little text tag that appears above the stack display, that gives all the SE stats and such. (Someday, I may actually try to see if I can program the fleet counters to update as things are put into/out of their boxes. Someday. Maybe when I no longer have hair to pull out in frustration.)

Another feature that's new to Vassal 3.0 is that when you're moving a stack, it'll remember what you have selected (as long as you don't select anything else) so that you can move one stack over/through another without picking up the new counters along the way. I'm still getting used to it after the old way of doing things, but it's a really nice change.

By Rick E White (Rilord) on Friday, May 09, 2008 - 06:54 pm: Edit


Can someone send me the Vassal Module and note if your interested in playing?


By James Lowry (Rindis) on Monday, May 12, 2008 - 01:47 pm: Edit

Argh. Forgot about that all weekend. I'll try to remember to check this and send out the module tonight.

As for interest... I have plenty of interest, just not a lot of time at the moment (see not remembering to do this all weekend...).

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Monday, May 12, 2008 - 10:02 pm: Edit

Module sent!

And in other news, the first beta of Vassal 3.1 has been released.

Here's my initial benchmarks:

Vassal 3.0.17
Load: 0:00:09
Start F&E: 0:03:37
Load GW Start: 0:06:34
Finish Load: 0:09:46
Close: 0:12:53

Vassal 3.1.beta1
Load MM 0:00:06
Start F&E: 0:00:08
Load GW Start: 0:00:28
Finish Load: 0:00:48
Close: 0:00:51

Holy Cow! That's a 3/4 minute load on my system from a 10 minute load! I still need to put it through its paces to make sure it performs internally, but I think the load problem is solved.

By Michael Parker (Protagoras) on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - 09:26 am: Edit

Oh wow. I gotta try this now! Once I get work beat into submission I want to try the new Vassal!

By Michael H.Oliver (Mholiver) on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - 01:33 pm: Edit

Module sent you send last week or so it the Vassal 3.1.betal

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - 02:25 pm: Edit

The program and the module are separate things. Effectively, the module is just a type of saved file that you load with the program. There shouldn't be any compatibility issues with the module (they try not to introduce any of those outside of major revisions), so you just need to go to the link I gave and select the appropriate installer, and then load my existing module in that.

Which brings up a point: The new Vassal has some changes. It uses an actual installer, instead of just scripting itself in through Java, but is still a Java program. Also, it's front end has changed a bit. It now initially loads a "Module Manager (MM)" which will list known modules/extensions (done by loading it once manually so far).

And it is a first beta. There will be problems. Given what the focus of 3.1 is, they'll probably tend to be OS/UI related problems.

By Ken Watanabe (Watank) on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - 06:51 pm: Edit

Holy cow... it's like night and day on my 2.4 GHz ModBook running 10.5 - GW start file loaded in <10 secs (Vassal itself loaded in a flash)... The Mac version is an application bundle on a disk image, so a simple drag-n -drop install.

Definitely going to play with it on the commute home :D

By Ryan Opel (Ryan) on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - 07:00 pm: Edit


I hope you're not driving.

By Jason E. Schaff (Jschaff297061) on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - 07:12 pm: Edit

Mother of pearl!

Someone on the Vassal team deserves major kudos. Not quite as fast here as you guys are reporting, but still only took about 1:45 to go from cold start to finishing the load of the GW scenario. (PowerMac G5, dual 2 GHZ, OS 10.4). Firewall settings may have slowed things down a little.

By Lawrence Bergen (Lar) on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - 10:12 pm: Edit

So it loads as fast as CyberBoard now?

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 - 12:18 am: Edit

Getting close. I just shipped the module off to one of the main developers (who did the optimization for the current miraculous boost), and he'll probably try to make things even better in 3.2. (There's enough on the plate for 3.1, trust me.)

And loads infinitely faster on a Mac or Linux box than Cyberboard does. :D

By Lawrence Bergen (Lar) on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 - 07:07 am: Edit know I am just playin'. Competition usually breeds a better product. I am glad to see the improvement.

What I really am hoping for though is that Scott B's new system will be great and the new way to go in non-FTF games.

By John Robinson (John_R) on Thursday, May 15, 2008 - 08:09 pm: Edit

I look at this as a Coke vs. Pepsi thing. And like the Pepsi people, the Cyberboarders are just wrong! :)

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Friday, May 16, 2008 - 01:03 pm: Edit

Now now, no need to bring religion into this. :)

(Though, yeah, Coke and Vassal are both superior products.)

(Slaps self. No! Bad! Bad!)

Lar, not a problem, I know what you mean. I just hope you understand when I say I'm looking to take away some of your userbase. ;)

As far as Scott B... well, I don't envy him writing an engine from the ground up. I'll stick with letting someone else write all the 'heavy lifting' parts.

By Mike Ryan (Mikeryan) on Thursday, May 22, 2008 - 11:38 am: Edit

James, could you please email me the current version of the module when you get a chance? Thank you.

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Thursday, May 22, 2008 - 01:21 pm: Edit

Sure, just need to remember to check this tonight. Out of curiosity, what version do you have currently?

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