Vassal Module Update (V3.43BETA) - Call for testers!

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1 month 2 weeks ago - 5 days 11 hours ago #6709 by RiverWanderer
Announcing V3.43 of the Commands and Colors: Napoleonics Vassal module, now available for Beta test.

V3.43 is intended to be backward compatible, provide a handful of improvements to the current version and pave the way for a future release with many more new features. This release, V3.43 BETA has the following main changes:-
    Ability to view games played in a forthcoming new release (provisionally called "Version 4").
    Automatic selection or rejection of the Tactician Deck at game setup
    Deck counts
    Ability to play a card with Right-Click command (Ctrl/P)
    Automatic stacking of units and leaders (Beta release: needs refresh counters for most standard scenarios - see release notes)
    Some minor scenario tweaks, including a fix for M516 (Orthez, Right) which was missing a Forest tile.
    Incorporation of standardised fan scenarios including some not in the current extension (the Beta version contains a sample of these)
    - the later are structured in a CommandsandColors.net section, classified as on the site.

You can find more details in the Release Notes .

You will need to install Vassal v3.4.6 or later in order to load CCN V3.43Beta module and this is required for the enhanced output features of Version 4 games. Vassal has undergone a major upgrade this year and some of the bug fixes should help all C&C players. I have been using the new releases since April, as they come out and I believe V3.4.6 is stable, at least for C&C Napoleonics.

Please download the V3.43BETA and report any feedback via this thread, including the version tested (the download link will provide the latest beta release; the actual version is reported on the Vassal launcher and when the module loads). Depending on the testing take-up, the next step I plan is to submit V3.43 to Vassal or do another beta release via BGG.

Purpose of Beta testing;
- Validate that V3 games can be played as now, in each of online, solitaire or PBEM modes
- Validate V4 viewer mode, including viewing of V4 games online or via a log file (example log file here )
- Review new features for usefulness and any unintended consequences.
- Suggestions for improvement in the final release.

If you need assistance with any particular tests that you would like to perform, please get in touch on this thread or by private message.

I hope you enjoy the new features and easier access to fan scenarios. Version 4 is undergoing final testing and bug fixes for beta-release and I hope to achieve this soon. This interim release of v3.43 is important as it will allow co-existence of the two versions, whilst v4 is proven and beyond.

Mark
Last edit: 5 days 11 hours ago by RiverWanderer. Reason: link repair
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1 month 2 weeks ago #6710 by Mark-McG
just fiddling about, but when I create the decks, there is a number generated below each deck

Assuming this is a cards left counter, it indicates there is double, triple, or even quintuple number of cards

I have drawn at least 80 cards off the 75 card deck, so I think that the counter is correct

Affects both the Command Card and Tactician card decks, but at different multiples

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1 month 2 weeks ago #6711 by RiverWanderer
Mark,

I think you are seeing what I suspect is a long standing bug, previously hidden because before we did not have deck counts in place. If so, it is less likely to impact real games but not completely unlikely. I have found that it happens when more than one scenario is started without closing the module, especially if a different deck (or none) is used between scenarios. It doesn't matter if it is the same scenario or not.

I documented my findings on the Vassal Tracker http://www.vassalengine.org/tracker/show_bug.cgi?id=13472here .

In summary:

Example-
If blue deck is chosen for any number of games, then the number of cards that appear in each game will be correct (70).
If green deck (75 or 90) is then chosen for another game, the number of cards in that deck will increase in proportion to the number of games previously started with the blue deck. Furthermore, if the red deck is chosen, that will also show an increase and in the same ratio.

Another example, make no deck choice but instead open and close a number of game scenarios... then open a scenario and choose a deck.
The number of cards in the deck will duplicate by the number of times a game was opened and closed.

This must be a bug in Vassal because there is no mechanism in the C&C module itself that clones cards.

The workaround, on seeing the counters too high, is to UnDo. In some circumstances, the deck will disappear and a re-try will succeed. Other times, the UnDo will be completed (button greyed out) but some cards remain - as far as I have found so far, just one deck's worth. Or completely exit the module and retry.

Does this match what you are seeing?

Mark

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1 month 1 week ago #6715 by Mark-McG
With some rather patchy testing I'm thinking that it does

this is bad news

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1 month 1 week ago #6716 by RiverWanderer

Mark-McG wrote: With some rather patchy testing I'm thinking that it does

this is bad news


It is probably the most egregious Vassal error that I've come across in five months of working with it. That said, it is an error that one is more likely to come across in development/testing than actual use, otherwise I think folks would have been noticing and reporting incorrect card counts (2 Short Supplies would get attention from any experienced player).

The workaround is to do a complete module restart before opening a new scenario.

I have not done enough work in any modules other than C&C Napoleonics to know how widespread the problem is. I can't reproduce with the nearest equivalent actions in C&C Ancients v4. The CCA deck is pre-positioned on the game board in that module, which points the bug towards the particular mechanisms that CCN uses. That said, the mechanisms have a lot in common with the normal shuffling that both CCN and CCA do without ill effect.

Occurrence of the issue is obvious from the card counts but I have a warning message already developed that I could add into V3.43.

If anyone has any further information or test results on the topic - from CCN or other modules - I would be happy to coordinate and update trouble ticket 13472 , or feel free to chip in on there or on the Vassal Technical Support forum.

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1 month 6 days ago - 1 month 6 days ago #6723 by grecian formula
Hello Mark, good work on the new module to keep things current. I have a few minor observations (no testing as of yet other than opening various scenarios):

1. There is still no option to hide pieces on the map to see underneath without having to move pieces. Nearly every VASSAL module has it, but it's been left out of CCN and it really shouldn't have been.

2. There are errors on the scanned playaids that could be corrected, such as the INTO modifiers for fordable stream (all should be '-1/0' and actually the cav should be just '-1' because cav can never use ranged fire, but leaving it as '-1/0' would be okay) and the French Militia should have a note ' 3 retreats per flag.' This is obviously not a problem in the module but could be fixed in the module.

3. The icons for Guerilla Action and Iron Will in the corners of the play area have what looks like counters on the map, but I don't see any way to modify them, so they appear to be useless. I hope I'm wrong. If they are useful, then make them easy to use or just get rid of them. One should be able to right click on these icons/overlays and increase or decrease the number of iron wills and/or guerilla actions, but right clicking doesn't do anything?

4. There are now no actual markers for Guerilla Action and Iron Will that used to be piled up near the card decks in every scenario? I notice that they do appear, for example, when loading up a scenario for a Spanish Expansion (Guerilla counters) or a Prussian Expansion (Iron Will markers). Granted these are just clutter when there are no Spanish or Prussians, so that's a good thing.

But I don't see where to just find the plain markers themselves. How do we get these on the map for custom-designed scenarios? There are some split-coalition scenarios that have been made up by fans (e.g. Dresden Left and Right Flank 1813), So I assume there is way to find these markers or get them somehow without having to cannibalize an existing scenario? I'm sure one could go into the guts of the module to get them, but it should be easier than that...

5. VASSAL 3.4.6 has already been replaced by 3.4.7 so I am not sure they are done stabilizing it yet.

again thanks for the improvements/refinements.

Prajñāpāramitā
Last edit: 1 month 6 days ago by grecian formula. Reason: typos
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1 month 6 days ago #6724 by RiverWanderer

grecian formula wrote: Hello Mark, good work on the new module to keep things current. I have a few minor observations (no testing as of yet other than opening various scenarios):

1. There is still no option to hide pieces on the map to see underneath without having to move pieces. Nearly every VASSAL module has it, but it's been left out of CCN and it really shouldn't have been.

2. There are errors on the scanned playaids that could be corrected, such as the INTO modifiers for fordable stream (all should be '-1/0' and actually the cav should be just '-1' because cav can never use ranged fire, but leaving it as '-1/0' would be okay) and the French Militia should have a note ' 3 retreats per flag.' This is obviously not a problem in the module but could be fixed in the module.

Nice suggestions. I had noticed that Hide Pieces was missing and wasn't sure of demand for it but as you say, it is common in other modules. I will look into it. Ditto for updated player aids (not sure that French Militia is incorrect, though - do you have a reference for that?). Also, bear in mind that GMT seem to operate a "1 in, 1 out" policy for errors on these player aids between printings ;)

grecian formula wrote: 3. The icons for Guerilla Action and Iron Will in the corners of the play area have what looks like counters on the map, but I don't see any way to modify them, so they appear to be useless. I hope I'm wrong. If they are useful, then make them easy to use or just get rid of them. One should be able to right click on these icons/overlays and increase or decrease the number of iron wills and/or guerilla actions, but right clicking doesn't do anything?

Those icons are on all the scenarios in the current release (v3.42) and they don't function other than to display the count. I could add an option to delete the icons and delete them where unused in scenarios, but then this opens up the chance of someone accidentally deleting one when it is needed, so I'd then want to address that... not sure it's worth it but I'm open to more feedback. My future version deals with this as part of scenario configuration; icons are only there where needed but any scenario can be edited to add the feature back in.

grecian formula wrote: 4. There are now no actual markers for Guerilla Action and Iron Will that used to be piled up near the card decks in every scenario? I notice that they do appear, for example, when loading up a scenario for a Spanish Expansion (Guerilla counters) or a Prussian Expansion (Iron Will markers). Granted these are just clutter when there are no Spanish or Prussians, so that's a good thing.

In the course of this update, I have been removing unwanted markers from the scenarios, but that does bring me to your next point...

grecian formula wrote: But I don't see where to just find the plain markers themselves. How do we get these on the map for custom-designed scenarios?

For a scenario from scratch, you will find the counters on the "Standard Map (empty)" scenario. They are removed by a right-click command on the relevant deck. I am wondering now if I need to allow for re-introduction when cannibalising an existing scenario...?

grecian formula wrote: 5. VASSAL 3.4.6 has already been replaced by 3.4.7 so I am not sure they are done stabilizing it yet.

Stable was not the right word for me to use; performing reliably without error during C&C games is what I meant. Yes, there is lots of great Vassal development underway at the moment; bug fix releases to v3.4.x and some promising new stuff n progress for a v3.5 release. I plan to release this module on the latest proven version of Vassal; by that time, it might be that some point release of v3.5 meets that criterion.

Thanks for taking the time and for your comments.

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1 month 6 days ago #6725 by Mark-McG
what is the term for a group of Marks? A Markdom? A market? A clusterf..k?
Happens to me quite regularly.

But I digress;
1. There is a mouse hover option that reveals both the unit & terrain in a hex, and over the years I have found this actually more useful, and better than VASL that disappears the pieces and I can't recall the hex of the attacker or defender when drawing LOS.. :blush:

2. Checking the BETA Charts, I'm not seeing this error (except the Cav -1/0). Guess French Militia should have the note added.

3 & 4 are a good step forward in my view, the token only in use when they are, and the Counter doesn't bother me

5. New week, new VASSAL version.. only 5 more till Christmas

Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.
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1 month 6 days ago #6726 by grecian formula

Mark-McG wrote: what is the term for a group of Marks? A Markdom? A market? A clusterf..k?
Happens to me quite regularly.

But I digress;
1. There is a mouse hover option that reveals both the unit & terrain in a hex, and over the years I have found this actually more useful, and better than VASL that disappears the pieces and I can't recall the hex of the attacker or defender when drawing LOS.. :blush:

2. Checking the BETA Charts, I'm not seeing this error (except the Cav -1/0). Guess French Militia should have the note added.

3 & 4 are a good step forward in my view, the token only in use when they are, and the Counter doesn't bother me

5. New week, new VASSAL version.. only 5 more till Christmas


And you, Mark, matched both Marc and Mark in round one of the 2020 open tourney! heh

The INTO error for fordable rivers is on GMTs end, IMO. They are trying to portray that there is no penalty for ranged fire, only melee. Hence the infantry and arty should be marked -1/0, and the cav -1, since it can't use ranged fire. Yes, the retreat for french militia is in the base rules but not and has never been marked on the player aids, for some reason.

The mouse option does not work when scrolling over stacked units (leader + unit) so it's still necessary to move them out of the way. Also, removing all units gives the player a better general overview of battlefield terrain. It's very useful in other games -- maybe not so critical in this game, as there is usually not much terrain clutter. Still, I believe it's an auto-option when creating the module, so it shouldn't be too hard to add -- I think!

I was told on BGG how the counter token works -- how it works is far from intuitive as I would never think of putting markers in a card hand in order to manipulate a counter icon -- but I can see the value of it. Now Mark has explained away this concern about new scenarios, it's definitely fine the new way, as you say.

Thanks for listening and commenting! Marc

Prajñāpāramitā

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1 month 6 days ago - 1 month 6 days ago #6727 by grecian formula

RiverWanderer wrote:

Those icons are on all the scenarios in the current release (v3.42) and they don't function other than to display the count. I could add an option to delete the icons and delete them where unused in scenarios, but then this opens up the chance of someone accidentally deleting one when it is needed, so I'd then want to address that... not sure it's worth it but I'm open to more feedback. My future version deals with this as part of scenario configuration; icons are only there where needed but any scenario can be edited to add the feature back in.


Michael Dippel explained (on BGG) to me how the counters function -- by putting markers into the card hand. I find this uninutitive since people don't hold markers in their hand in real life. However, I can see the advantage because there they are, in your face, whenever looking at your cards. I would easily forget them as the newb that I am.

Thanks for explaining the origin of the markers on the empty map scenario -- and thanks for your detailed reply.

Prajñāpāramitā
Last edit: 1 month 6 days ago by grecian formula. Reason: add detail

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