Alert when "load as continuation" log isn't a continuation

It has occurred in some PBEM games that a player loads all the logs of intervening players as continuations, then makes their own log, without realising that some of the end and start states of those logs do not perfectly match up. So their new log is based on incorrect information, and so on…

Would it be possible for Vassal to alert a player when the start of a log loaded as a continuation does not match up with the game state currently displayed? This is something I would really like to see in Vassal.

I guess that would mean maintaining some kind of checksum or CRC of the game state and verifying they hadn’t changed on a “Load Continuation…” attempt.

OR, I’ve noticed that when loading a VLOG as a fresh save, that it “works anyway” – puts the initial board position of the VLOG and then lets me step forward through the successive moves. So it’s almost like we should just force-load the initial position on a “Load Continuation…” request?

I guess just jumping to the correct state would be fine too. Even then, some kind of alert would be nice though.

If you just force load the start position, doesn’t this fail to catch the possibility that the user has supplied the wrong file in the first place? For instance, a file from a completely separate ongoing game using the same module?

My guidance to users has long been that the Load Continuation feature is wildly broken and to do everything in their power to avoid using it except with utmost care. Perhaps it’s more reliable in 2P usage, but in larger multiplayer usage it has a terribly high rate of “you’ve irretrievably broken your game state, and probably awhile ago and no one caught it until just now.”

If the game state changes massively and visibly due to loading a different game, the user will probably notice, and if they don’t shrug. I don’t see that as a problem. As it is, using load continuation, the game state might change in subtle and confusing ways that users may miss.

Saying load continuation is broken is fine and all, but the only alternative way to view 4 other player’s logs is to close and load 3 times, which is cumbersome and not something new users will think of. There has to be some way of loading X logs in succession. At a minimum, could you add “load save” as another option from within a game?

Oh it’s very cumbersome, I totally agree. But it’s more likely to avoid the pitfalls of forgetting to load things in the correct sequence, forgetting to load one (or more) of several plays that have occurred that you wish to review, and/or forgetting on one or more of them to play the log back all the way to conclusion. Getting at least one of these sources of error is annoyingly common and results in a group effort to determine where it all went haywire and get back on track.

As an occasional 2-player VLOG user, I think of the primary benefit of Load Continuation as being what Benkyo mentions, which is that it allows you to load a game straight from inside the running game, w/o having to manually “close game” first, etc.

My thinking is that letting “Load Continuation” still function from inside a game, but simply force-load the game state rather than actually attempting to somehow “continue” the current one would provide all the current advantages and none of the present disadvantages.

Probably a rare example but I recently created a continuation file simply to put labels onto a game during set-up. It is generic setup that will work with any instance of the game.

Currently, you do get an alert when “load as a continuation” is used to load a log made using a different version of the module, but you do not get an alert when loading such a log from a fresh start. This is the one way in which loading as a continuation is better (but I can’t think why this alert is not shown when loading a saved game!)