From: King's Landing
ORIGINAL: Erik Rutins
You missed our press release, eh? We hope there will be more coming, it would be great to see VASSAL as a real platform for game delivery.
No. I should clarify. I got the press release, but was unaware that there were self-contained VASSAL titles available for purchase BEFORE this new arrangement.
I'm still only now aware of DVG games being the only example of this but I had not previously known they were available as VASSAL titles (Not being much of a frequent visitor to the vassal site).
VASSAL is not at the point, nor that close to it in my opinion, that those who possess a good deal of programming skill would even consider it. However, there is little out there to fill the gap for those that do not possess such skills, but still wish to design a wargame etc. and may well be skilled at doing so.
The problem, as I would see it, would be trying to sift through an onslought of efforts to try and pick those worthy enough to invest art or other resources in. I would perceive that to be a difficult enough task for regular games.
A recent revist to the VASSAL site has shown considerable progress since my last. But many of the same problems exist. While I think progress has been made in easing the installation of VASSAL, more needs to be done. The average interface is also still very tacky and the ability to use games with multiple window needs lacking. So to is setup of the games generally difficult and Ive yet to figure out if its possible to play any of the games in a hot-seat fashion on one pc (for eval, learning, whatever). I simply don't get very far with most modules, and thats even if they work at all.
The above is mainly critical of many of the freebie efforts which I realize are often half complete to begin with or strickly make near-to-illegal reuse of a boardgames artwork in terms of direct scans with little more meat added.
This is actually what impresses me a lot about a title such as Hornet Leader II (well at least from looking at it and reading about it). It seems to have been relatively well conceived and implemented within the restrictions of the Vassal environment.
I just wonder how much talent that would actually take to mirror (Not having ever tried myself) and whether or not there are those out there who would possess it (Not being all that impressed by many of the freebie modules) and how much added java coding is still required as well to achieve it. And whether such a person would find value in vassal vs coding an alternate way.
I do not propose to have answers to any of these questions, or even opinions. And I admit full ignorance of VASSAL as I know very little about it. I do feel it fills a specific niche now (PBEM/Network Play aids for purchasers of boardgames) and personally can't see how the added benefit of Matrix's involvement could be a bad thing.. But that said I'm curious if it will turn out to be a good solution for many would be wargame developers.
Here's to hoping it will. God knows we can always use more of them..