VASSAL Engine

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The VASSAL Engine (usually referred to as VASSAL) is a free, open-source game engine that allows playing boardgames online. This can be done as PBF or in a live game, in which player meet online. In VASSAL the whole game board is simulated and players can move all game conponents like on a face-to-face game.

Download

VASSAL

v3.2.13

The current module for TI3 requires VASSAL version 3.2.13 or later (unless otherwise stated), which can be downloaded from their website:

v3.2.8

The old modules for TI3 were designed for VASSAL version 3.2.8. Using newer versions for these modules make cause "Bad Data" warnings but does not seem to cause any game-breaking bugs for now.


TI3 module

To play TI3, one also needs a module:

Current module version

User guide

The user guide outlines how to create extensions that add new races: [1]

Previous module versions

Developed on VASSAL 3.2.8 unless noted otherwise.

6 Players

Note: there will be no further updates to the 6-player module. All of its bugs have been fixed in the most current 8-player module.

8 Players

Please report broken links and corrupt files to Sunchaser.

Tutorial

  • Download and save this log file: sample_action.vlog
  • Open Vassal and the 8-player module (v2.1) and choose "load saved game" to load the log file.
  • Join as player P3.
  • Open the map and position and/or resize the window so you can see the map and the text area
  • Click the "play" button (look like this: |>) several times to follow my sample actions (you can also press the page down button on your keyboard): you should see that Sunchaser (as GM) moves 1 Carrier with 2 Fighters, 2 Ground Forces and a scientist to the Hercalor/Tiamat system
  • After the sample action the log should end and prompt you "End of Logfile. Start new Logfile?"
  • Click "yes" and choose a filename (there will a specific name format later in the actual game, something like "action_r3_t5_hacan"). Add a description (write anything, it's not important).
  • Execute a sample tactical action yourself:
    • Select a command counter from your command pool and place it on the board in the Vega system (drag and drop).
    • Click and move your carrier from the Home System.
    • Move the two Ground forces along and land one each on Vega Major and Minor (land both on a planet first, right click to select quantity - for 1 select the empy option - and create another Ground force on the second planet by dragging one from your reinforcements next to your race sheet).
    • Instead of moving single units one after the other, you can also select and move multiple units at once. Selecting units is done by Shift+Click.
    • The planet cards are in a stack below the board itself. Right click on the planet stack and choose "draw specific planets". Choose Vega Major and click ok. Drag the planet card below your race sheet. Do the same for Vega Minor. You can also draw several specific cards. Selecting multiple cards is done using Ctrl+Click.
    • Usually an action is prefaced by a short description. You can enter message in the text field at the bottom of the contorl window (named "TI3 Shards (8 players) controls").
  • End your log file by clicking File/"End Logfile". It will now be automatically saved. In the actual game you will attach this log file to your forum posting.

That's it. Feel free to play around now that you should be familiar with basics. The interface is pretty intuitive, just click buttons, items. etc. and find out what they do. When something you want to do seems not to work, try Shift+Click.

Setting up a player area

The new module greatly simplified the setup process for each player. To set your player area up, open the log (e.g. sample_action.vlog) and follow these steps:

  • Make sure you are logged in with the player number for the position of your race sheet (P1 is bottom left, player number increase clock-wise.) If you are not prompted to pick a player spot, best retire and pick the correct spot.
  • Hold Shift and Right Click your Race Sheet to select your race.
  • Click the button "Races" in the control window and select your race. In the new window, click "Take items". This moves your items to your race sheet. In addition, it moves your Representatives and Racial Objectives (a variant rule) to your player window.
  • Select all of your plastic units (ships etc.) by drawing a box around them. Right click them to select your color.
  • Place your Home System on its spot. You need to Shift+Click it before you can drag it there.

FAQ

Q: How can find out my current password?
A: The password is saved in a zip file called "Preferences". Update: Newer version of VASSAL save the preferences in text files in a subfolder "prefs" (as described for Windows 8 below).

Its location depends on your OS:

  • Linux: ~/.VASSAL
  • MacOS X: ~/Library/Application Support/VASSAL (Note that this directory could be hidden in Finder. Users should check whether it exists from the command-line.)
  • Windows XP / Vista: C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\VASSAL
  • Windows 7: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\VASSAL
  • Windows 8: see below

Open/extract the file with an archive manager. If your OS does not already recognize the file as a zip archive, make a copy and rename it the "Preferences.zip". Inside the archive there are text files named after each of your modules. Open the file for the TI3 module with a text editor and look for the line starting with "SecretName=". The string after this is your password.
In Windows 8 go to C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\VASSAL\prefs. There are files for each module which can be opened with a text editor. Among other settings, the files contain a line "SecretName=" followed by your password.

Troubleshooting

Windows 8

VASSAL does not start 
Check the Task Manager to see whether "Java (TM) Platform SE Binary" is running under "Processes". Closing this task should fix the issue.