Vassal & Windows 8 & Convertible Laptops

Hi, Does vassal work with windows 8? And, does anyone have any experience using a convertible laptop with vassal while its in “tablet” mode? I’ve been hoping to get a tablet that can run vassal sometime, but one of the convertible laptops would be better for me. I definitely don’t want to invest in anything like that which I cannot run vassal on.



I have been researching this matter myself. I have no direct experience here but, barring something that temporarily breaks Java on Windows 8 or VASSAL not recognizing something in a late release of Java, VASSAL should run on tablets and laptops running Windows 8. VASSAL 3.x hasn’t been optimised for a touch interface so expect the touch interface with VASSAL to operate like any other standard non-touch pre-Windows 8 application: you should be able manipulate standard desktop windows, buttons, etc. by touch but it will be somewhat clunky. For example, some interface elements could be very small to manipulate by touch. Adjusting resolution should help. Also I would have a wireless mouse handy for the tablet just in case. Java 7 Update 10 is the first official version of Java for Windows 8. Note that Java management has to be done from the Desktop in Windows 8, not the Start Screen. See Oracle’s comments on Windows 8 at

However, there is one important clarification to the above remarks. Windows 8 RT appears unlikely to ever have a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) for reasons similar to why the IPad doesn’t support Java: the platform has been closed off by the OS developer. So VASSAL 3.x will not work on any Windows RT device (or Windows Phone for that matter). For VASSAL to appear on Windows 8 RT the VASSAL developers will have to make a decision similar to what they will have to do with the IPad: write it non-Java code (already planned for VASSAL 4) and submit the program to the OS manufacturer’s app store.

To put it more concretely, VASSAL 3.x won’t run on a Surface or a Windows RT convertible laptop (I think that there are a few of these in addition to Windows RT tablets) but it should run on a Surface Pro, a full Windows 8 convertible laptop (these do exist), or standard ultrabook, laptop, or desktop.

Has anyone tested this? My only similar experience so far was using an Android tablet to remote access a Windows desktop running VASSAL. I could manipulate the program but I should have lowered the screen resolution from full HD. The lag of remote access made the concept not very worthwhile (a problem that will not exist with VASSAL actually installed on the tablet/convertible laptop).

Wow, thanks to such a detailed reply. I don’t yet know the difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT, but I now know enough to ask. I’d love to hear from anyone who has tried to use Vassal w/ Win 8, and/or touch screens.




I just walked into best buy and downloaded vassal to the surface 8 pro. It installed java and the game fine. I downloaded ardennes44 and loaded it online. Moved a few counters around, popped up the crt, moved around the map. It looked really good. fine touching small things like the x button in the pop up can be challenging with my big fingers but it worked. I assume with the pen that comes with it, this type of fine touch would make it easier. I only had a few minutes left on my lunch, but looked really promising.


Thanks for the reply. Is the surface pro a tablet, a laptop?


The Surface Pro is the second tablet offering from Microsoft. It is just coming out now. Unlike Microsoft’s earlier Surface tablet it runs the full version of Windows 8, allowing all Windows programs to run (including a Java/VASSAL installation), not just Windows RT programs. However it is more expensive, has a higher resolution display, has more storage (although note that Windows programs and a full Windows 8 installation take more space too), has less battery life, and is slightly thicker than the original Surface.