One of the questions I’ve seen raised frequently here and on BoardGameGeek is: How should I find opponents for games using VASSAL? The fact that I’ve seen this question asked frequently tells me that opponent-finding isn’t as straightforward as it could be. I’d like to start a discussion here about how it could be improved.
My initial impression is that some people are looking for pickup games to play live immediately, while others are looking for scheduled live games or PBEM games, and that this divide also correlates strongly with game length. There are people looking for pickup games of things like Twilight Struggle, ASL, and various Euro games, but probably not for games which can’t be finished in one sitting. It might be that one solution does not fit both kinds of players/games.
So, I’d like people to speculate here on what an ideal system (or systems, if more than one is needed) for game/opponent-finding would be like. What features would it have? How would people find out about it? How would they interact with it?
I don’t have a comprehensive response, but it’s a great topic. One thing that has occurred to me in the past is that it would be nice to have a general chat lobby that isn’t module-specific (basically mimicking what the Gametableonline service does). Right now the only way you can chat is to launch a module and look for a game online, and even then you’re limited to the group of users that have the same module open. If you see people in the “lobby” for a different game in the Server Status display, you can’t speak to them until you open that module.
On a related note, the ability to check someone else’s profile to see what version of a module they are using is very helpful, but it’s not available until you also have that module open and are looking for an online game. Maybe the module name(s) and version(s) another user has running could be displayed in a mouseover tip? It’s probably non-obvious to many newcomers that you can right-click someone’s name and get this information currently.
So my suggestions (without knowing how feasible they are) would be to have module version checking and chat work in a more general way that isn’t tied to use of a specific module.
“So my suggestions (without knowing how feasible they are) would be to have module version checking and chat work in a more general way that isn’t tied to use of a specific module.”