Archive through November 26, 2008

Star Fleet Universe Discussion Board: Federation & Empire: F&E COMPUTER PROJECTS: F&E with Vassal: Archive through November 26, 2008
By James Lowry (Rindis) on Thursday, September 25, 2008 - 10:01 pm: Edit

Got your email last night too. :)

Module sent!

By Chris LaRusso (Soulcatcher) on Friday, September 26, 2008 - 06:00 am: Edit

Thanks! I'll have a good look at it this weekend.

By John W. Lawton (Kyloth) on Wednesday, October 01, 2008 - 03:58 pm: Edit

Hi James:
Here is an update in regards to adding the SITS to all the counters in F & E. I am halfway through the Tholians and still have the Hydrans and the Lyrans left. It is taking longer than I expected, but still I am pleased with how it looks. A couple of questions.
1. What year date should I use for SB and Bases etc that recieve PFs?
2. What year do the Kzinti get ther Heavy fighters?

By Pete Keller (Pete_Keller) on Friday, October 03, 2008 - 10:16 am: Edit


could you possibly change the name of this to "Play by VASSAL", or "F&E by VASSAL"?


By James Lowry (Rindis) on Friday, October 03, 2008 - 01:21 pm: Edit

That'd probably be a good idea at this point. Or, to mirror the other thread, "F&E Vassal Development".

John: For PF-equipped bases, I would use the date where PFs become available for that race.

The Kzinti start deploying heavy fighters on Turn 20, Spring Y178.

By Alan J Hanson (Jfaron) on Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - 05:04 am: Edit

Can I please get the Vassal module?

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - 10:35 pm: Edit

Module sent!

By gherardo chiancone (Gherardo) on Thursday, October 30, 2008 - 05:25 pm: Edit

Any chance to get the Vassal module?
I own the "monstre" and played it with a mate for an entire year! Now (TEN years after) I would try to start another game, but too bad I haven't anymore an empty table and the space to unfold the map (and leave there).

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Friday, October 31, 2008 - 01:53 pm: Edit

Module sent!

By Jason Langdon (Jaspar) on Sunday, November 16, 2008 - 06:23 pm: Edit

James, I think I emailed you the other day via the website and you sent me the module.

Question on how to use Vassal.

How do you go about setting up the board initially? How do you then make all your moves and do combat?

Is it all done via email? Or do you end up chatting online and making the changes live?

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Monday, November 17, 2008 - 12:00 am: Edit


Initial set up is done by pulling the counters. The zip includes a file that has all the bases in position, one that has all the forces pulled for the beginning of the General War, and one for the beginning of the Four Powers War.

For moving, just move the counters from hex to hex, the module will report where they're moving, so your opponent can follow along. This can either be done on-line, or you can record a log file, which your opponent can play back when you mail it to him.

By Jason Langdon (Jaspar) on Monday, November 17, 2008 - 03:10 pm: Edit

How do you load the files with the bases and other forces?

So its more of a live game than a PBEM? Or does it work equally well both ways?

The game starts with Y168 C, but you would still go ahead and place all the starting units for both sides, then begin the moves?

It has all the different phases (economic, repair, etc.)... can this all be done in the game? Or are you doing those separately on spreadsheets and then chatting via the game and telling the other guy what youre doing?

One further thing: even the starting fleets have massive stacks. How do you easily tell what is in each stack?

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Monday, November 17, 2008 - 05:23 pm: Edit

Start the module, select 'load game', pick the appropriate file. The included HTML file has a guide to what everything in the zip is.

Vassal is designed to work for PBeM and live on-line. For a game like F&E it would be best to do combat live, and movement/reaction would be easier that way. Everything else can easily be done as a log file that is just sent to your opponent when you're done.

Go ahead and do the all the setup you want. The turn tracker is purely (like anything else in Vassal) there for player convenience/tracking and is manually operated. The only other effect it has is it will advance all the captured/devastated markers one turn whenever it hits the Econ segment.

Pretty much any phase has things that take place on the board, and therefore in the module (such as placing newly-built ships). Also, the module includes a die roller, so you can easily log your survey rolls for your opponent to see later. The actual economy cannot be handled in-module, and I would suggest either just telling your opponent what's being done, or emailing a spreadsheet back and forth, or the like. Whatever works best for you.

If hover over a stack for a couple seconds, you'll get to see everything that is in that stack (unless it's so big that it goes off the screen...). Also, above this there will be a line that gives all the statistics for that stack (see - fourth from the bottom).

You can reduce the on-map clutter by moving the ships to fleet counters--much like the real game. There are menus for "Klingon fleets" et al. Selecting one of the entries there opens up a small window that should (in a saved game) already have a matching fleet marker in it. Move the marker to the map, and the counters to the window, arrange however you like. The Four Powers setup uses this from the start. Note that the fleet markers do not report the stats for what's in them, so you're back to counting by hand, though I hope to figure out how to fix that someday.

By Peter Hill (Corwin) on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 - 08:43 am: Edit

If I want the Vassal F&E module do I just ask here?
If so, can I have a copy please?

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 - 11:54 am: Edit

Asking here works. I'll try to remember to send it when I get home tonight.

By Peter Hill (Corwin) on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 - 12:06 pm: Edit


By Jason Langdon (Jaspar) on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 - 06:26 pm: Edit

Had another fiddle last night and worked out how to set up the Fleet counters. Very cool.

If Im playing Live with someone and I make a change to my fleet, does it automatically update his version as well?

Do we still need to save files and send them back and forth?

Or only once we finish playing live and return to a PBEM style of play?

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 - 06:49 pm: Edit

If you play live, you both connect to the Vassal server (look for the button with two arrows pointing in opposite directions). You will then need to create a 'room' for the game (fairly obvious in the interface). One of you will need to have the game file loaded. Then (and this is the inobvious part) the other player right-clicks on the name of the one who has it loaded, and selects "synchronize". The other player will see a 'sending game data' message in the chat window. The player who did this will now load the other player's game file, and whenever one person does anything with it, the other will see it happen.

Yes, this works for any number of players. People can even pop in and observe (etiquette is that you ask before doing that), though they could then muck around with the game themselves.

You can then either just save the game at the end of the on-line session for further use, or you can record a log during the session to keep for posterity (both is probably a good idea).

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 - 02:34 am: Edit

Peter: Module sent!

By Peter Hill (Corwin) on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 - 05:03 am: Edit

Thank you!

By Peter Hill (Corwin) on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 - 06:06 am: Edit

The Vassal maps and counters looked constructed (vector graphics) rather than scanned! Are they? =:-O

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 - 12:15 pm: Edit

The map was built in CorelDraw and Photoshop. The bulk of the counters were done in... MSPaint. It's great for pixel twiddling, and that's how all the ship counters are done--open a counter with the same hull, modify the text, save off. I've played around looking for a better system, but it can be hard to keep text clear at that size. The other counters (fleet markers, et al.) are generally done in Photoshop, since the text can be larger.

By Peter Hill (Corwin) on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 - 12:49 pm: Edit

Thanks for the details.

So the counters are all bitmapped! They seem to zoom quite well!

By James Lowry (Rindis) on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 - 02:41 pm: Edit

Vassal does not internally support vector graphics. The map is technically built with them, but the final render used in the module is bitmapped.

The Vassal zooming utility is quite good, but it's gotten a fair amount of love recently. It's not as good as ZunTzu (a recent program in the same space as Vassal and Cyberboard), which allows smooth real-time zooming and rotating, but I believe the Vassal team is planning to 'borrow' anything they can from that project. :)

By Ryan Opel (Ryan) on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 - 10:44 am: Edit


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