VASSAL

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I'd like to quickly make a VASSAL mod for Dungeon Command. Ideally have it ready before the end of the weekend (I may cheap out on functionalities, I just want something out ASAP). I have a scanner and all the cards and tiles at home, but I'd like to delegate the scanning so I can get on to the coding. Let me know if you're interested in doing that job.


What I need:


Commander cards
Tiles
Creature cards
Order cards
Miniatures images

I ideally would use official public sources for all of these, I know I can get the minis from the galleries. Card scans should be low res, possible only keeping the information available but the images blurred or deleted. I do NOT want to make them easily usable as proxies. I want to keep this as palatable to the PTBs as possible without making it impossible to play. If you want high res pics you can scan them yourself from your own copies of the game.
hi,

was the Vassal Mod eventually released ?

please advice I' really interested in online games.

thanks
Yes, I've used Vassal often in the past (mostly for SWM, but other games too), and I've even done some coding/programming for it.  If there was a Vassal mod for DC I'd be very interested.  And if there isn't then I'd also be willing to try my hand at creating one.  

But before any of that could happen, I'd probably need to buy my first sets of DC!  lol

By the way, I'm brand new to Dungeon Command, and this is my first post on these forums.  I can't wait to get playing! 
I got on a roll last night and I'm midway through creating a Vassal mod for Dungeon Command.  It'll still be a bit before I'm done, but I'm posting a status update.
I got on a roll last night and I'm midway through creating a Vassal mod for Dungeon Command.  It'll still be a bit before I'm done, but I'm posting a status update.



Amazing news!!!
 
Sorry guys I dropped the ball here as I wanted to do this in my free time and that disappeared like snow in August LOL. The most annoying/longest part of making a VASSAL mod is scanning the stuff you need, and I still haven't unpacked my scanner since my move (but I guess I'm tired of playing Android Netrunner and Star Wars LCG with censored card art so I might get around to unpacking it eventually).

It's good that someone else worked on it, if you need any pointers I've got experience with VASSAL and might be able to help.

One thing that really helped me with the WoW minis VASSAL mod was creating a script to automatically generate miniature and card objects in my mod from a template and a spreadsheet or file containing the stats for those objects. Entering this data through the UI is tedious, and once the spreadsheet is ready you can really easily add new sets by just updating it (of course, considering the likelyhood we won't see more sets for this game, I don't know how useful that will be here).
One thing that really helped me with the WoW minis VASSAL mod was creating a script to automatically generate miniature and card objects in my mod from a template and a spreadsheet or file containing the stats for those objects. Entering this data through the UI is tedious, and once the spreadsheet is ready you can really easily add new sets by just updating it (of course, considering the likelyhood we won't see more sets for this game, I don't know how useful that will be here).

 

Thanks for that.  I've never heard of it before, but it sounds interesting.  I've already finished making all the minis (with all their stats), so it's not a big deal for now.  WoW minis had 72- and 60-mini sets, so the script would've surely been helpful there...but each DC set has only 12 minis (actually 10 and 2 repeats) to input so it's not a big deal at all.


I’ve probably put a good 20+ hours into this project so far. Some of that time has been less productive than I would’ve liked because I’ve been teaching myself how to use the programming better and I’ve done some trial-and-error.  Basically, I decide what I want to do, and then I find a mod that does it well, and then I reproduce the relevant parts in my DC mod.  It’s been pretty fun, actually!  Does that make me a geek?  hehehe


I've even designed my own Commander Cards for the Vassal mod (using MS Excel and then my wife’s Photoshop Elements program), because using a scanned copy of the actual cards would take up too much space on the board/interface.  These commander cards have all of the necessary info (Name, Commander Effect and description, Starting Order cards, Creature Hand), as well as the ability to adjust the Morale and Leadership values during the game.  In addition, these commander cards fit perfectly on an 8x3 space on the board and a player can adjust the card's color-schemes to match his pieces.  This is probably the part of the mod that I'm most excited about so far.  Much of the programming is fairly straight-forward, but this part required a fair bit of creativity.


I have currently included room for up to 5 players at a time (Red, Blue, Cyan, Green, Purple).  I’ve heard of people playing DC with up to 5 players, but not more than that.  I imagine that most of the time this will be used for 2-player games, but I want people to be able to play multi-player games as well.  Should I make room for more than 5 players? 


Connected with that, I’ve also designed a “map” or board specifically for 2 players: it has designated spaces for their Commander Cards and also has some small markings suggesting where the 4 main/big tiles should go in order to fit them easily on the board.  I wonder if it would be valuable to do a similar thing for 3-, 4- and 5-player boards?  Probably not, because there is a large variety of ways to set up the boards with those formats.  Right now I am torn between either having the 2-player board be the default (since it will be the most common), or else having the players choose their map/board every time they start a game.  ...I’d appreciate input or suggestions in this regard.



At this point I have a few tasks remaining:



--Scan all the Order Cards, Character Cards, Tiles and treasure tokens.  Probably Sunday night this week.  Right now most of the interface/prototypes are finished, and all they’re missing is the card images, then they'll be ready to go.


--Build Player Hand decks for each player.  This will allow for easy squad-saving/loading, a good place to store your Order and Creature decks as well as minis, etc.  The WoWMinis and X-Wing mods use this function well and I’ll be implementing parts of that system in this DC mod.  I've done this before for the Star Wars Minis mod (I'm "the Vassal guy" for that game), and I think it will work well for DC too.  This part shouldn't take too long at all.


--Figure out how to make the Order and Creature cards function well.  I’ve already got the “tapping” mechanic sorted out (where the card turns 90degrees, like in WoW).  I've done some Vassal programming before, but it has never involved factors like deck shuffling and random card draws.  I'd like it if someone could point me to another Vassal mod that uses cards and shuffling well, because I'm teaching myself as I go.  As for placement of the cards during a game, my current thought is to have the players place their drawn Order and Character cards on the board beside the map, and have their undrawn card decks held in their Player Hand decks (the WoW Minis mod used these well).  If any of you has a suggestion for how best to organize or arrange the cards during a game, I’d like to hear it.


--Decide on how to best implement the Tapping/Untapping mechanic.  Right now I have a Tapped icon come up on a mini whenever it has moved, and it can be toggled on and off by pressing CTRL-T, and also toggled off by the global “Clear all Tapped” icon.  The rulebook describes Tapping as being signified by turning the cards, but it seems to me that it would be more simple and more user-friendly on Vassal to do that via the minis themselves.  Is there a reason for the character cards to “tap” (turn sideways) if that same function can be shown on the mini itself? 


--Decide on how best to implement “The Stack.”  I’m thinking of designating a spot on the board for “The Stack” to be located.  Would that be valuable?  I don’t want to add extra clutter if it won’t get used.  It would take next to no effort on my part, and I think it could be valuable in-game, but I wouldn’t know for sure since I’ve only played DC with my kids so far, so we haven’t really needed to worry about The Stack very much.


  


I think this covers things for now.  If anyone is so inclined, I’d appreciate any feedback, especially with regards to my questions in bold text.  Cheers!

As someone whose primary opponents do not live nearby, many, many thanks to you "thereisnotry" for tackling this project.  I haven't used Vassal before, but I've used Magic Workstation (MWS) to play with these friends, and to have something similar for this will be amazing!  Feedback in order of your questions:


  • I'd focus on 2-3 players at first, add more later.  I see the most frequently used setup being 2-player, with occasionally 3-player.  If I have 3 friends willing to play, we've agreed that we'd just rather play two different 2-player games.  DC tournaments, such as they are (which seems like few and far between atm) will be mainly 2-player games, so tournament practice games will also like this as default.

  • Make 2-player board the default, with an option to switch to more.  Better to make the most used version easier to get started than make everyone always choose.

  • Don't know other Vassal mods, so can't help with reference for a shuffling version, nor for how to organized cards during game play.  I would point out that MWS has a good interface for online CCG play.

  • I think it would be helpful to both tap the creature card and indicate a tapped mini, as one might think that tapping one and not the other is a bug or oversight.

  • I think an option to view "The Stack" would be very cool and potentially helpful for new players.  If you put it off to the side, or provided an option to toggle the view of it on or off, that would keep it from getting in the way for people who don't want to see it.


Thanks again for tackling this.  Can't wait to give it a try!




  • I'd focus on 2-3 players at first, add more later.  I see the most frequently used setup being 2-player, with occasionally 3-player.  If I have 3 friends willing to play, we've agreed that we'd just rather play two different 2-player games.  DC tournaments, such as they are (which seems like few and far between atm) will be mainly 2-player games, so tournament practice games will also like this as default.

  • Make 2-player board the default, with an option to switch to more.  Better to make the most used version easier to get started than make everyone always choose.



Okay, sounds good, thanks.  I was leaning toward a default 2-player setup myself, so I'll go with that suggestion.

I have a question about 3-player setup though.  I have only played DC with my kids (all younger than 10yrs), so we haven't really focused on "proper" setup.  Is there a link to a site that describes/shows the various "legal" or useful 3-player setup options?  If possible, I'd like to design a 3-player board that allows for all the possible tile layouts...I've already got one like that for the 2 player option.


  • I think it would be helpful to both tap the creature card and indicate a tapped mini, as one might think that tapping one and not the other is a bug or oversight.



AFAIK, there's no way on Vassal to make the card and mini synch with each other when it comes to tapping/untapping, but I currently have the mod set up to allow for the player to tap either card or mini or both.


  • I think an option to view "The Stack" would be very cool and potentially helpful for new players.  If you put it off to the side, or provided an option to toggle the view of it on or off, that would keep it from getting in the way for people who don't want to see it.



Perfect!  Excellent idea.  I can already envision how this will work.  

Thanks very much for your replies.    I've been making some good progress since my last post.  The tiles are all inserted into the mod, and the cards are going in tonight.  I've got most of the mod functioning as it should, with just a few matters that still need action.  I'll keep posting major updates in this thread as I have them. 

The only 3-player board layout I have used is the one pictured in the rulebook in the Advanced Play section on p. 15.  With regards to not being able to synch the mini and the creature card for purposes of tapped status, is there at least a way to mark, label, or otherwise indicate that a creature card is associated with a specific mini for distinguishing duplicate creatures?

Thanks again for doing this.  You (and all other Vassal developers) are providing a great service to the gaming community.  I think that these mods will do a lot to kindle further interest in these lesser known games as it becomes easier to try a game with others who know how to play, rather than having to wait for GenCon or PAX East or some other con to do so.  It could even be another channel for the game manufacturers to maintain excitement between conventions, with some minor tourneys or sneak previews or, dare I say, even playtesting.
The only 3-player board layout I have used is the one pictured in the rulebook in the Advanced Play section on p. 15.  With regards to not being able to synch the mini and the creature card for purposes of tapped status, is there at least a way to mark, label, or otherwise indicate that a creature card is associated with a specific mini for distinguishing duplicate creatures?


Thanks!  I’ll use the layout from p. 15.  I’ll see what I can come up with to fit it.

Yes, there is an easy way to mark the cards and minis so that it is clear which is which.  Now that you’ve mentioned this though, I think I’ll make it even easier to do.


Thanks again for doing this.  You (and all other Vassal developers) are providing a great service to the gaming community.  I think that these mods will do a lot to kindle further interest in these lesser known games as it becomes easier to try a game with others who know how to play, rather than having to wait for GenCon or PAX East or some other con to do so.  It could even be another channel for the game manufacturers to maintain excitement between conventions, with some minor tourneys or sneak previews or, dare I say, even playtesting.



It’s my pleasure!  Oh, I could tell many stories about the value of Vassal for a game!  I started playing Star Wars Miniatures (also by WotC) about 8 or 9 years ago, and never once have I had a local gaming store that had a SWM group.  I tried numerous times to start or find such a group, but it never got off the ground.  I did everything I could…I even showered!   


I would’ve left SWM very quickly if it were not for Vassal.  But with Vassal I was able to keep playing the game non-stop, and I’ve been a hardcore SWM player for years.  I currently own somewhere around 3000-4000 minis.  I even won the National Championship this year at Gencon!  And none of that would’ve happened without Vassal.


Another factor is that playing regularly on Vassal really helps you to improve your game, because it draws from such a diverse field of players (who are often quite skilled).  Often, a local gaming group will develop its own meta, which has not (yet) discovered certain strategies or mechanics, or which tends to really lean toward a certain strategy, thus missing a vital other strategy.  But with Vassal, you’ve got a much wider field from which to draw your meta, and so the mini-meta issues don’t hold you back as much as they might otherwise.


As for the Vassal tournament idea: I’ve played in (and organized) dozens of SWM Vassal tournaments over the years…it’s a piece of cake.  If the players can communicate via Skype, it’s almost-but-not-quite as good as playing in an actual face-to-face tournament.


And as a programmer, I can tell you that it would be supremely easy to equip Vassal for playtesting.  I am one of the playtesters and designers for SWM (it still lives via fan-created stats, despite being dropped by WotC 3 years ago) and we do it all the time.


 


Simply put, it is a HUGE bonus for a game to be available on Vassal!  It allows testing, it keeps the game “alive” for people who don’t have a local gaming group, and it helps players to improve their skill more quickly.  It can only help a game.

Sounds great, just like what I had hoped for!  I'll see you Saturday, and I promise I'll have showered Wink
FINISHED!!!!!

I have to make a quick summary document that introduces people to the basics of how the mod works (maybe I'll make a quick video soon), but the mod is completely done and ready to go.  

I'll be uploading it to the Vassal site soon, but I just thought I'd give a quick update now for those of you who are interested. 
WOOT!  Congratulations and thank you!  I can't wait to talk to you about it at Wild Pig tomorrow and to kick the tires soon. 
Cool!  If you have a laptop computer that can run Vassal, bring it along; I'll bring the mod on a USB drive and we can install it and give it a quick run-through right there at the store.
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