How difficult is it to create a vassal module for a non programmer?

Hi everyone,

That thread title says it all. I would like to see a vassal module for AHs Trireme & West End Games Junta. I was thinking of trying to create them myself. I have some minimal experience with visual basic but that’s about it. I admit that I haven’t searched out any of the documentation on module creation - just thought I would ask here first and see if anyone would offer some advice one way or the other.


If you don’t want to get fancy and automate various functions of the board game, you shouldn’t need any programming skills at all. The wiki has some helpful documentation to get you started…just be aware that while the Designer’s Guide PDF has a lot of useful information, it is also woefully out-of-date…use the Reference Manual to look up details for the various traits.


OK thanks I will look at the documentation.

It’s a common misconception that programming knowledge is required. It can be a little daunting to acquire the mental model of how all the component parts of a module come together, but with enough time and careful review of the documentation, you can do quite a lot. The YouTube series is a good place to start. You might find that you spend nearly as much time in an image manipulation program getting your map, boards, and pieces all prepared if you are starting without already having those.

If bare-bones basics suffice as a starting point–the map, all the pieces in a palette for pulling out onto the map, and any other boards/displays all present–you could get up and running pretty quickly. But as you start adding features–e.g., wanting pieces to be able to flip over, wanting to send pieces somewhere when destroyed, tracking status values of various kinds–that’s where the complexity goes up.

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Just to share an experience a friend had last summer during lockdown - he was super lonely and missed all his gaming groups. I told him about VASSAL and he looked it up and was super excited and then really bummed when the game he played didn’t have a VASSAL module already created. I told him it didn’t take much: a high-res map image and some counter images and that was enough for people to play the game.

He called me up twice during the process but about a week later he had a totally playable version of the game up and running and spent the whole summer playing it with friends around the world. I did a couple of updates using parts of VASSAL I knew and could show him how to do it for another game later but other than that he did it. 95% of the work was creating and resizing the game images and loading them into the game. HTH, jas…

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Awesome…thanks for the encouragement everyone.

I started a Junta module and managed to load a board (I cobbled it together on paint with 4 scans of the board) and it looks not too bad. I actually found a module for Trireme on BGG. It is functional but somewhat unpolished so I asked the creator if he minded if I tried to improve it and he said OK…we will see what I can do. My fingers are crossed LOL.