What's missing

Hi,
first, much props. This engine is amazingly versatile and well thought out.

I find what’s really missing (probably the only thing) though is an instruction manual. I’m sure when I learn the basics, I’ll be flying through this thing, and look back and laugh at how I knew so little, but I’m not at that stage yet.

As a beginner, I’ve been trolling the forums here trying to find the answers to my problems. Some I’ve found, but they have only led me to more questions. For example, I needed how to add a trigger that happens when a piece is placed on the map.

The answer I found (in a thread about playing a sound for the same reason) says "Yes. In the Map properties add a key to apply to all pieces that end movement on the map (lets say CTRL X). "

Well that’s fine, and helped the poster, but as a newbie, I’ve found no mention in the help tutorial about how to assign to the key the condition “apply to any piece that ends movement on the map”. I assume one would have to type something into the “matching properties” box, but what?

I would further assume that this is done using a predefined variable (or vassal set constant), but I can’t find a list of these anywhere.

So I guess my questions are…

  1. is there a more detailed instruction manual available yet? Especially one that a user doesn’t have to be a programmer to understand. Anything better than the help menu outline, especially as this seems to be missing a few descriptions, and its “answers” are sometimes recursive.

  2. Is there a list of these constants and variables that I can get?

  3. Be honest, does one have to be a Java programmer to REALLY use the system? If so, I’ll just come back in a few months when I’m done learning. But if that’s the case, perhaps you should take away the “no programming needed” moniker.

  4. If there is no manual or help guide, especially one geared towards laymen, would anyone mind if I make a start of one? Can’t promise I’ll finish, but I do make it a habit of recording what I do to accomplish a task when using proggys like this.

Much appreciated, and much respect to both the programmers, and to the Vassal module makers.

Hi,

I’m the documentation guy for Vassal. We currently have a User’s Guide included in all Vassal downloads accessible from the help menu, intended for players, not designers.

However, the Module Designer’s Guide is in progress right now. This will be a manual-type document like the User’s Guide, collecting all the useful information in one place. I’m expecting it to be finished before the end of the year. It will definitely be written for non-programmers and will include, among other things, a list of properties (variables) for easy reference.

You really don’t need any Java programming skills to create and edit modules. I’m not a developer, and have probably created 40 or more modules. You only need Java skills if you want to add custom functionality that is not included in the basic toolset. But, as is, the basic Vassal tools can be used to enable a huge range of games.

Aside from the forums and the existing help, another good way to learn more is to find a module for a game that’s similar to the one you want to make. Open it in the editor and examine the settings for each component. It’s a good way to figure out how all the bits fit together and what they do in actual practice.

(BTW, I’ve answered your specific question about triggering actions on pieces in the original thread.)

Thanks for the reply. I’m glad to hear things are progressing with the manual.

I’ve also noticed the wiki pages have a lot in their tutorials, etc. Combine this with the help menu guide, etc. There’s a lot of info available, but it’s a little jumbled for learning. Your guide should really help with that.

I am very impressed with this project. Not only is it a great system, but it seems it is being handled extremely well also. It’s not often you find a project that features both of these traits.

I’ll now slink back into the learning woodworks.

BTW, [looks into camera] I am NOT smarter than a Vassal designer. :smiley:

Thus spake “Shalbatana”:

There’s a lot of outdated stuff in the wiki at present, so you know.
Hopefully we’ll be to the new site before the year is out, and at that
point we’ll be in need of help with updating all of it. Can we count
you in?

Thanks for the praise. :slight_smile:


J.


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Don’t know how much good I’ll be since I’m still a real beginner, or how much time I’ll have, but I can try.