Editing the VASSAL module

Link to dropbox folder with all necessary files

Inkscape

GIMP

These are parts of emails exchanged between myself and B.J., the creator of the Pirates module.

a7xfanben wrote:
Do you know what your basic process was to start making a new ship model for the module? Assuming I can figure out how to edit it, that’s the main thing I would focus on, but I’m not sure where to start (though I’ll soon peruse the Designer’s Guide).

 

bj_o wrote:
I started off by tearing apart the old French-made module, and figuring out what I wanted to do differently. My version is a bit of a mess, but I did try to build things piece by piece, as in there’s different parts that plug together to make one ship. For example, each ship piece calls a prototype ship definition, which calls a ShipOps prototype, which also calls a ShipStats prototype. There’s a reason to the madness, and part of it was not duplicating and redefining certain actions many times over. I think there was another reason, but I honestly can’t remember it right now. A lot of it seemed to be necessary to get Vassal to play nice and the way I wanted.

 

a7xfanben wrote:
Do you know if the “observer” category is unlimited? I noticed that I could move things normally even as an observer, so I’d be intrigued to find out if the game could feature more than 4 or 5 players.

 

bj_o wrote:
I have no idea if there’s any “observer” limit. The main drawback that I know of would be that observers wouldn’t have access to a private window, so any coin flips or other formerly private actions would be public. Each of the private windows had to be coded separately, but more could be added fairly easily.

 

a7xfanben wrote:
When you created the artwork/files for the different ship types, did you download or take anything from the French version? There is a 10 mast junk on the French module, and I was able to get it in the correct format, but now I’m realizing it’s more complicated because I’ll need individual file pictures for each mast.

 

bj_o wrote:
I didn’t use anything from the French version. I didn’t want to reuse anyone else’s work without their permission, plus it didn’t work with the scale I picked anyway.

 

a7xfanben wrote:
Do you happen to have any old files that you didn’t end up using? I ask because I found your Photobucket picture with all of the different ship types, and I can see you had begun working on a squid, shark, and serpent. If you had any old files of artwork or anything like that I would try to put it to good use.

 

bj_o wrote:
I actually do have a svg file where I drew those out to scale with the existing ships. The shapes were drawn out in Inkscape, then imported that into GIMP to do the shading/texturing/etc. I usually scaled up to work in 4x scale in GIMP, then reduced back down afterward. (See attached files!) [files are on dropbox]

 

a7xfanben wrote:
I know you used GIMP to create the artwork – did you measure out the scale from real-life ships? Now that I’m actually trying to edit the module I’m even more impressed by how much effort was put into it.

 

bj_o wrote:
I didn’t use any real-life ships because these didn’t always match up to anything real. I used the assembled game ships as a guide and measured those, ending up with a 30px/cm scale, e.g. the cards are ~8.85 x 6.35 cm, so they are scaled to ~266 x 191 px for graphics (L = 252px, S = 174px).

For all the ships, I had been going with a semi-realistic style, and I pretty much hit a wall when I got to the creatures. After a while of trying to figure out a good way to depict them, I lost interest, and that’s where we are now.

 

a7xfanben wrote:
Just to clarify – when you say you drew out the shapes in Inkscape, you mean that you drew the parts out and saved each file separately and then uploaded each individual mast picture file along with the hull to complete the ship type? I can’t download Inkscape or GIMP right now but I’m wondering if I could figure out something with Paint.

 

bj_o wrote:
Not quite. The shapes were drawn in Inkscape, then imported into GIMP. GIMP also converts the Inkscape shapes into paths that I used to finish drawing all the components. For a ship, the hull was created on one layer, and each of the masts were on separate layers. Each layer was then exported to its own image file for Vassal to use.

One thing to understand is that for the “fire” to show up where the center of the masts were, all the mast images and the fire image all had to have the center of the image in the same place. That’s usually the center of the mast. For example, a square rigged mast shows the sails billowing out to the right, but there’s a lot of empty pixels to the left so that the mast is in the middle of the image. I also had to make sure the center of the ship (i.e. the rotation point in Vassal) was in the middle of the hull image.

I’m probably confusing the issue more here. I could probably explain it better visually, but I don’t have the time at the moment. You might be able to experiment with Paint, but it doesn’t support transparency.

 

 

bj_o wrote:
I sent you all the remaining artwork I had, so there wasn’t really anything else beyond the squid and shark that wasn’t used.

But if you have an image you can use (at the right scale), it’s easy to add it to the game. If you go into the editor, expand the item labeled “Ocean [Map Window]”, then expand “[Map Boards]”. Right click on [Map Boards], “Add Board”. Name it whatever, and select your image for the Board Image. You don’t have to tell it a size or anything. Save the module, and you’re done after that, but you’d have to make sure everyone has a copy of your modified module.

Now to start a new game with your map, you’d need to go into the “Build your own” option in the Ocean Layout and select your new map board.

 

a7xfanben wrote:
Out of curiosity, did you create the artwork for the stern flag and the deck/sail details in GIMP as well? (We’re adding a Dutch faction; creating a crew chip was easy but the stern flag will be a bit tougher.) I’m not a fan of doing artwork stuff on a computer, so I’m struggling to make a 10 master look very good lol.

 

bj_o wrote:
I did do it in GIMP, although a lot of it was drawn in Inkscape as shapes first, then imported into GIMP to add textures/shadows/etc.

 

I have edited the module again! Very Happy

This is version “2.1” finished on 3/2/2018 and released yesterday with the start of the Caribbean game. The module size is smaller, and it did take less time to boot up than with the previous module version.

An important aspect of this edit that I should have mentioned in this post:

Page 103 of the VASSAL Designer’s Guide has instructions for deleting unnecessary files. This was important in making the module size smaller when I deleted all the world territory files and replaced them with much less space from the Caribbean territories.

Not the most important thing to keep in mind while editing the module, but something I had to search for a while to get. Deleting files while in “editing mode” on the module itself is not the same as deleting the files permanently by going into the BuildFile.

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