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Mac users are on the clock with VASSAL now

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Re: Mac users are on the clock with VASSAL now

Postby Flint1b » July 1st, 2020, 10:37 am

A Java backend that serves dynamic HTML5, JavaScript and WebGL content to browsers would be most suitable. Look at how Freeciv does it https://www.freecivweb.org/.

But Java is not the main problem of Vassal, the main problem is the project management, and what is called the "bus factor" in project management :D
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Re: Mac users are on the clock with VASSAL now

Postby slimy » July 1st, 2020, 11:19 am

Flint1b wrote:A Java backend that serves dynamic HTML5, JavaScript and WebGL content to browsers would be most suitable. Look at how Freeciv does it https://www.freecivweb.org/.

But Java is not the main problem of Vassal, the main problem is the project management, and what is called the "bus factor" in project management :D



I strongly have the impression Joel is seeking to hand over once 3.3.x is stable. It might be an idea if volunteers came forward and they and Joel started working on a handover plan whilst getting 3.3.x stable.
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Re: Mac users are on the clock with VASSAL now

Postby Flint1b » July 1st, 2020, 12:00 pm

I am helping where I can by automating as many things as possible, this whole new CI setup should relieve the whole team of many tedious duties.

But this "bus factor = 1.2" problem will be taken along to the new C++ Vassal from what I understand, nothing will change there. And many other problems that come with developing desktop applications i.e. dependency on GUI frameworks, need to install the application locally, user errors when installing, and there will be a whole new set of problems that have to do with platform dependency of native binaries.
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Re: Mac users are on the clock with VASSAL now

Postby uckelman » July 1st, 2020, 12:07 pm

Thus spake Flint1b:
> I am helping where I can by automating as many things as possible, this
> whole new CI setup should relieve the whole team of many tedious duties.

Which duties? Being on GitHub and using Maven and Travis are improvements,
but they're not time-savers.

> But this "bus factor = 1.2" problem will be taken along to the new C++
> Vassal from what I understand, nothing will change there.

What excactly do you suggest? I've tried very hard to keep things which
need not depend on me from depending on me.

--
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Re: Mac users are on the clock with VASSAL now

Postby Flint1b » July 1st, 2020, 3:58 pm

Well for now you already know for every PR that a) it doesn't introduce compile errors b) it doesn't lead to failed unit tests, and there is more coming up, one of the next steps is failing builds when the formatting is off so you won't have to personally check every PR and tell the contributors to format those elses and catches differently.

How to solve the bus factor issue, that's a difficult question, in fact in most enterprise projects this factor is around 1.2 :D

From a technical perspective, I think the releases should be automated as much as possible so they are only a click on the right button in some web interface, and anyone with the proper credentials is able to do it, and the C++ Vassal should be like that from the beginning. Also all the code for the website and for the backend systems could be published, like VASL has the code for their website published under their Github account.

From an organizational perspective, not an easy question. Short- and mid-term duties, maybe kick some butts and force others to do some of the things that you have to perform now. I mean of course to delegate, that's how this is called in modern project management speech.

For long-term duties and decisions, I've seen some opensource projects use some kind of voting system, but I also know very well how it is if people who have been aboard for a week get the same vote that people have that have known the product inside out since decades. Maybe some kind of weighted voting system.

Another important thing is to actually have developers who you can delegate duties to, and with C++, I dunno.. Some kind of cool modern web-based thing would probably attract more devs, the Java freaks like me would work on the backend, the frontend node.js jquery CSS people would be happy on the GUI side of things. If C++ is really necessary then the core could be written in C++ and served by a Java backend to the browsers.
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Re: Mac users are on the clock with VASSAL now

Postby Cattlesquat » July 1st, 2020, 8:28 pm

As usual take anything I say about *engineering* with a 20-year-old grain of salt, but on the other hand I've worked professionally with web-based platforms for *games* and it has the huge downside of usually-terrible-interfaces and user experiences by comparison with applications. And the two things it does best: (1) allowing hundreds/thousands/millions to play in the same game at the same time and (2) allowing the rules of the game to change and evolve from day to day, really don't apply to the 2-, 3-, and 4-8 player boardgames that we do here. So Java I can work with, C++ I can work with, C# I can work with, but web-based doesn't sound like a good fit for these games.

The "bus factor" isn't going to matter for now unless the bus actually hits. What you can see affecting Vassal right now is more what I'd call a pipeline problem -- enough things are currently bottlenecked with Joel that he's both constantly backlogged and has to push back stuff he'd rather be working on. But the solutions, if they exist, are basically the same ones Yan describes.

Since I'm at heart a designer, in this case of interfaces, modules, and features, I want the usual thing that designers and designer/programmers want on a team which is to be able to keep building a steady stream of new stuff. To the extent I get to weigh in with any suggestions about it, I'm just desperately hoping that Vassal 3 cleanups/small-improvements won't have to come to a halt for the "let's call it a year" that it will surely take to get a Vassal 4 engine to where it would make a meaningful difference to the games I do modules for.

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Re: Mac users are on the clock with VASSAL now

Postby uckelman » July 2nd, 2020, 2:24 pm

I believe all the work I've been contributing to VASL for 3.3 compatibility is finished, as of last night. (At least, there aren't any issues anyone has brought up that I haven't solved...)

That should free up some time for tending to everything else.
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Re: Mac users are on the clock with VASSAL now

Postby Flexin » July 3rd, 2020, 9:28 am

This makes it seem like Java will be fine?
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Re: Mac users are on the clock with VASSAL now

Postby Joelist » July 5th, 2020, 1:10 am

uckelman wrote:I believe all the work I've been contributing to VASL for 3.3 compatibility is finished, as of last night. (At least, there aren't any issues anyone has brought up that I haven't solved...)

That should free up some time for tending to everything else.


Thanks for all you do! VASSAL would be DOA without your efforts.
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Re: Mac users are on the clock with VASSAL now

Postby Joelist » July 5th, 2020, 1:26 am

As to Freeciv, it is nice for what it does but has a big weakness - you cannot play it offline. VASSAL can be played offline and for those of us who have to travel a lot that is a godsend.
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Re: Mac users are on the clock with VASSAL now

Postby Flexin » August 17th, 2020, 2:28 am

It's been a millstone ever since Vassal started...
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Re: Mac users are on the clock with VASSAL now

Postby PaulMcG » November 13th, 2020, 3:17 pm

User Experiences with Big Sur?

Is this a good thread to fork into user experiences with Big Sur?

I usually wait at least a week before installing any new major macOS upgrades, but I find this one more compelling than I do most (at least recently).

I'm more than 100 turns into an Axis Empires game and don't want to do anything that will break the module. If people face challenges after installing Big Sur I'd really like to hear about it.

Perhaps obviously, I'm not running Apple Silicon, but my hardware is relatively new.
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Re: Mac users are on the clock with VASSAL now

Postby marktb1961 » November 13th, 2020, 3:27 pm

I'm not sure that anyone will be able to answer you definitively, so I would be cautious. There was at least one report of a problem installing Vassal on Big Sur beta a few weeks ago. I am not sure how that resolved. Anyway, I will be trying it on a spare machine first.
Platform used:
Vassal 3.4.10
MacOS Big Sur
iMac (27", mid-2020)
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Re: Mac users are on the clock with VASSAL now

Postby PaulMcG » November 20th, 2020, 5:35 pm

The thread started by marktb1961, http://www.vassalengine.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=65030#p65030 "User Experiences with Big Sur" is exactly the kind of stuff I was hoping for.

Seems to be working fine on 27" iMacs. Tentatively the only issue identified was on a smaller screen, and that seems to be resolved by changing a display preference.

Sorry about the clumsy HTML.
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