True visual sync- is it possible?

I have just learned that my opponent was not seeing my selection box when I selected a chit. We were using voice over IP so it was easy to ask these questions and get real-time responses. He kept asking where I was selecting, and I was like “don’t you see the red box around my tank in Poland” It was then I was thinking ok I have a problem with my module. So, I just did some testing with others and used my PC to run two separate instances. And it turns out the problem is universal. We had to use PING to point out where we were modifying units. Ugh… here I thought the selection highlight did that for you!

  1. Your opponent does not see your selection box until you move the stack. What if you don’t want to move the stack but only want to change its pip strength?

  2. When a rotate command was used to change pip strength it did not trigger the selection box to show. So once again a PING has to be used. Of course to even do the rotate command you have to select the unit, so if the selection box worked in the first place this would be a non-issue.

  3. When a stack is double clicked to expand it your opponent does not see the expanded state. Nor the selection highlight once again.

These three issues make it very hard to follow what your opponent is doing. If this is typical of vassal and there isn’t something us module designers can turn on, then I think this is priority number one to get this issue fixed. It’s the biggest QOL game play issue my opponent and I had while trying to play Black Swan. I did my best to make playing as easy as possible and then I encountered this rather ridiculous lack of functionality of the selection box. I mean it doesn’t even do what it’s intended to do. Which is to help others see what you are clicking on. I had to constantly tell him where I was using my mouse on stuff.

Here you can see that the selected stack isn’t showing up for the other player. Plus the stack on the left has been expanded. This is also not reflected on the right.

I was hoping for true realtime cloning of the selection box for your opponent. Clearly, this is no where near as useful as it could be. The selection only becomes seen by the other side if the unit was moved. So do we have to move it a tiny bit all the time just to get it to function the way one would expect it too?

Big Question. Is this something that can be fixed easily? Clearly this is a huge and I mean huge opportunity to add a nice QOL into vassal if it’s not already there.

One of the V4 tech demos I wrote last year can do what you’re asking. The amount of work it would take to do this in V3 would be better put toward making progress on V4.

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Yes, there are a number of technical issues involving the V3 design that not only make it a lot of work, but would have undesirable impacts on the operation of V3.

For example, every change of selection and every stack expand would be saved into log files as separate steps that would need to be stepped through in a replay.

So you say V4 will fix this. Great. Hope to see it soon.

I guess what I asked for was probably an old feature request.

While playing today it occurred to me that perhaps it may be much easier in the short term to just allow us to see our opponents mouse cursor. We don’t need to see what is being clicked on and the game states that may change. It would be good enough to just see it on screen. It would eliminate a whole lot of using the ping.

And if that’s not something that can be added in easily, do any of you know of a separate program we could run in the background that would just display the other guys cursor on your screen? I seen years ago a demo of that thing you could turn on to allow another to control your desktop. For IT to help noobs fix their PC’s. That sort of thing, but without the function of interacting with anything on your PC side.

You can use Discord to share your screen…

Ok hmm. Have never tried that. I’m only just using Discord now. I suppose a second monitor would be good for this. I’ll try it. Any other options that may do what I described above to show the other guys cursor?

Skype (my preference) lets you share your screen also.

BTW - I (and I’m guessing most others) DON’T want the functionality you are describing.

Most of the manipulations you are describing are ephemeral and in the noise. I may select a unit, unselect it, select another several times (including right click options) while I’m thinking about my move.

At the end of the day only the “real” move matters.

I also may not want my opponent being able to track my mouse movement as I consider several possible moves as it gives away info…

At best, this should be a configurable option (disabled by default).

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To address this specific concern, the module should report strength increases/decreases to the chat log. You just need a Report action for these two cases added to the counter prototype.

It’s also worth disabling the ability to decrease a unit at minimum strength and increase a unit at maximum strength (grey out increase/decrease).

I’ve done these things in the “Europe Engulfed 3.x” module if you want an example…

I do have reports going on. One can tell from watching the chat log that example arty-3 just repaired 1 step and that he then paid 2PP for this repair. So, I can notice if mistakes are being made. However, I just find it annoying that I can’t readily know where arty-3 is. Even when it gets rotated that does not trigger the red highlight I chose to show picked out units. Only moving them a bit will trigger the red highlight on the others PC. I was told this fix is planned for V4 but maybe in the meantime perhaps rotating a unit could trigger the vassal program to highlight a piece.

What I have resorted to do is either constantly use ping or I just slightly move my piece that I’m currently going to do something with. That small movement triggers the red highlight for the other player.

I hear you about the noise thing, but in this game, I think the convenience of knowing where your opponent is now working outweighs the cons. We both want to be focused on the same spot.

Ah you did EE. Great job. I have looked at that one as I did play it years ago when it first came out. Only a few times. I had issues with the map design on the Eastern Front. Solid game but I always wanted a 2nd edition that fixed the map. I like Black Swan better and I feel this game fires EE. Its nearly the same kind of game but just a bit less complex and focuses more on positional play. Plus, its Eastern Front map is just perfectly designed.

If I recall you programmed in auto paying for units. That’s a bit over my head. I’m not that good at vassal but I am good at finding ways to improve the play experience. Having the system do the banking for you is the last holy grail option I’d like to add in. I’m just not sure it would be worth my time. Doing the simple math is good for the brain matter.

Have you tried this preference and found it to be insufficient? You can set it on a per-module basis. I admit I don’t recall offhand if panning of one’s screen will be triggered by non-movement manipulation of a piece (e.g., rotation).


Another idea might be augmenting certain reports to include location, e.g. just append the location onto a piece repair report.

Indeed, I always include the piece location in every single piece specific report. It doesn’t take you there, but gives you the reference you need to go find the piece if you want to,

I do have center on opponents moves checked. Once an opponent moves a piece it’s not a problem because vassal then highlights the piece. Reread what my issue was. I was basically asking why vassal was not highlighting pieces when your opponent clicked on his. Like what I mean is say I select mine they then have a red outline around the blocks, but on the other PC that is not shown. It would only be shown if you move said piece a bit, and rotating isn’t considered a move I guess. I think that could be a simple fix in the current version of vassal though. Would it not just be a case of telling the engine what would trigger the highlighting? Right now it’s just move. Add in other rotation and other things that make sense.

I don’t use location in my maps other than the default that you place or move a piece on main map. Or say it’s the force pool map etc. It knows them generic locations. UGG if I want that feature to work as you describe I would have to define every area on the map. Probably a 100 areas. Never did that before. Seems like a huge amount of work for little effect.

If it’s not as hard as I think it is point me to a module that does this well and I will study how it’s done.

Yes, it certainly depends on your map as to whether this is feasible. I have mainly worked on straight hex-grid maps with a few additional force pool type zones

Yes, that sounds a reasonable suggestion, that any manually invoked Key Command initiates the selection Highlighter on other clients. I have created an enhancement request for that: Manually invoked Key Command to trigger selection highlighter in other clients · Issue #12908 · vassalengine/vassal · GitHub

I’m so glad this thread has proved beneficial. I can’t wait to see the highlighter get improved to get closer to its intended purpose.

This is a feature I actively oppose, unless there is the ability to disable it.

I specifically don’t want any selections to be visible to my opponent(s) until I actually do something.

So if you are moving forward with this, I suggest:

  1. Module option (disabled by default) to allow
  2. Player preference to allow/disallow selection to be visible to their opponents.
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