MegaMek Empires - Creating a New Module

Ok, so I have been running a BattleTech campaign using spreadsheets to make various player maps and Empire overheads/an admin map and cumulative data file, and using the MegaMek HQ / MegaMek program so my players can purchase, repair and track damage to their units/personnel separately. However the spreadsheets are slowing us down as I manually have to process all 45 players files each week (a real life week is one turn) and sometimes the spreadsheets corrupt and time is lost reprocessing player turns.

VASSAL seems like THE ONLY program we can find that could seriously help us by cutting down on the administration time needed between turns so we can keep going at our old pace of one turn per week, AND help prevent spreadsheet corruption from occurring as the .ods/.xls formats are having trouble with the sheer size of the map we are using, 1000x1000 grid on one excel sheet, (and moreso) with all of the hundreds of little image icons used to represent light/heavy forest, rivers, mountains, towns, cities, etc. and not to mention player units! Comments are also heavily used and tend to disappear without warning causing more delays. Since every player had their own map it meant I needed separate player maps open and an admin file with another map open to process each file (not to mention I have another admin map to show topography biomes for any tile fights could happen in). Having all these large files open at once was a drain on my computer’s memory since they all need to have the same icons on each tile that has a different terrain type.

Alas, I have next to no knowledge of VASSAL and will likely need some help from your community in the near future with trying to create a module that would address our needs… I have been working on making “the main strategic map” and some of the player pieces, and map tiles, but I am not sure I understand how to make separate player logins that use passwords, how to set up some of the menu options, how to save instances of the game (turns/file/or separate files if needed), if a “fog of war” is something that can be created in VASSAL (ie: players have to move around the map which opens up areas so they can be seen) or how to high one player’s pieces from another until they come into “visual range” next to one another. I also wonder if I can easily layer the following information somehow or allow it to switch between views that show (row/column number in square tiles, a number or number and word to represent the population living in a given tile/a town or city name, the color of the empire that claims that map tile as their territory or unaligned, and a different color that represent the biome of that given map tile.

I would be very thankful for any and all help, or just some guidance as to where to start and look. What features you might recommend or suggest, if there is code out there that I can “modify or use” from other modules, etc.

Videos to show you what we are doing…

So, a bit of an update and some questions here.

I feel I have made a lot of progress on my own, I have a lot ready to go, and problem solved many of my own initial questiosn. I have been reading as much as I can about VASSAL and the various different modules, how they were created, options available, etc I have also watched a number of tutorial vids on a variety of topics, still there are one or two things that I cannot quite grasp and need some help with.

  1. I am aware of the Mask and Invisible traits for pieces. I am aware of Private Windows for players. I have prototypes for all of my various counters, some of which I consider “tiles” as they are to be stacked on the player map to effectively build all the information about a particular grid cell on the map (population counter living there, biome, if a player has claimed the territory and if there are structures or natural obstacles there). What I don’t understand is if I have 30+ players, how can I make a given piece visible to only some of them at a time, those I deem needing the information, if they all see the same map. All of these details are only available to players IF they have units that move close enough to see that terrain (hence a fog of war). I can simply build the map around the player’s units as they move about the map (but I can’t seem to hide these counters/tiles from all other players even if each player is given a “side”).

  2. Can the “Observer” be blinded to any counters on the map?

3)Is there a way to “Hide/Show” only a given palette of pieces on the main map rather than hiding and showing all of them?