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Feature requests.. simple ones, I think

Suggestions for additional features for the module editor and Vassal engine.

Moderators: uckelman, Tim M

Please vote for the following feature requests

Ability to customize text for standard deck commands (Draw selected / Draw multiple)
6
24%
Ability to hide standard deck commands (Draw selected / Draw multiple / Reshuffle)
4
16%
Ability to hide deck global key commands
7
28%
Option to hide at module/map level the command keys associated with a certain right click command
3
12%
Ability to poll and modify order/values of List sub-components in Turn Counters
5
20%
 
Total votes : 25

Re: Feature requests.. simple ones, I think

Postby anonemous123 » April 7th, 2012, 6:16 am

uckelman wrote:> I know that replacing right click menu with anything else (like a
> context sensitive toolbar
> or sidebar) is a LOT more development work.

The thing which I expect would be frustraing about replacing context
menus with a tool- or sidebar is that these need not be anywhere near
the piece being manipulated, so would require much more mousing than


Dead right. Please do not do that to Vassal. Short cut keys make the program much quicker once you come up to speed and can drop the mouse for some of the functions.

uckelman wrote:>


> page do you see
> "Back CTRL-B", "Reload CTRL-X", "Print ALT-F10" or just "Back",

That's interesting---I'd not noticed before which programs have hotkeys
indicated in context menus and which don't. (I'm checking this on
Linux.) Firefox, evince, eog, gnome-terminal, nemiver, and kcachegrind do


In Windows world there are many programs which don't have good short cut key assignments, which is part of what makes working in Windows world a real pain. Good software has short cut keys there for when you become experienced enough to dump the mouse. I would have actually argued for MORE short cut key assignments, especially in the module editor because that is one place where I am constantly click-click-clicking repetitively.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think barbanera is coming from the Windows perspective, and wants a program where you spend your whole time clicking to get things done. Is this correct? Personally I will give this the big thumbs down and vote against this. We need more short cut keys not less.

Cheers,
Scott
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Re: Feature requests.. simple ones, I think

Postby barbanera » April 7th, 2012, 9:15 am

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think barbanera is coming from the Windows perspective, and wants a program where you spend your whole time clicking to get things done. Is this correct? Personally I will give this the big thumbs down and vote against this. We need more short cut keys not less.


While it's true that in recent years I have been almost 100% Windows based, I don't think that is the real issue here.

After all, what about all the people coming from the Apple perspective? Even much less used to gymnicks such as command key short-cuts than Windows user, I bet!

Any way, the real issue I think is that I am coming from the gaming perspective. Ask any Doom or World of Warcraft or The Sims player if they normally use command key short cuts to play or not. Or if, instead, they are used to click on something, have some window/toolbar/etc popping up, select icon/button/whatever to issue orders etc. I haven't actually played any of the above games but I think you can see my point (I strongly doubt there are combo key combinations to do most things if at all!).

IMHO, it is a matter of playing style or module designing style. If a module follows the typical Vassal tradition of giving a virtual game table and virtual components to players to mess around at will, then combo keys are a must, I guess, and kudos to that and if the developers want to give more fine by me. However, if the module wants to try enforcing rules and give a video/pc game look and feel to the game play, then it should be possible to avoid right click commands and, especially, combo keys.

I don't think it would be too difficult for the developers to give a simple option "turn combo keys off from showing in right click menu" at Global Options level or, even better, at map level (so that in some map one might want to have some combo keys showing, and in some others not).
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Re: Feature requests.. simple ones, I think

Postby anonemous123 » April 7th, 2012, 1:09 pm

barbanera wrote: Correct me if I am wrong, but I think barbanera is coming from the Windows perspective, and wants a program where you spend your whole time clicking to get things done. Is this correct? Personally I will give this the big thumbs down and vote against this. We need more short cut keys not less.



While it's true that in recent years I have been almost 100% Windows based, I don't think that is the real issue here.

After all, what about all the people coming from the Apple perspective? Even much less used to gymnicks such as command key short-cuts than Windows user, I bet!


We could spend long hours discussing the consequences of Apple marketing hype but that probably wouldn't get us anywhere. To be totally honest and looking at Apple users as a group, I doubt that any group who were prepared to spend many $100's for an iPhone or iPad when the Android equivalents are there for a fraction of the cost is actually capable of saying anything constructive about the utility or practicality of software.

The point is, and this has always been true for no matter how many or what kind of Windows or Linux applications I have used, short cut keys are an absolute must. The mouse is a clumsy invention used for finding your way around when you really don't know how to use an application. Once you learn the ways, you can drop the mouse for a lot of stuff. Actually I find that often I am pushing short cuts with my left and the mouse with the right. But if I can reduce some functions down to a quick sequence of control keys, then I am usually happy.

There is no way you can do anything quickly with a mouse. Just doesn't work. The Apple people will pretend they can but then they are good at pretending or they wouldn't be using Apple in the first place.

I do know that for example a right click doesn't exist on Apple. I had to guide an Apple user to find the equivalent recently in an online game. That is a deficiency in Apple world not in the real world.

And for Vassal, well when I replay a log file the other player sent me, it is PAGE DOWN I am pressing not the toolbar symbol. I wouldn't even bother moving the mouse up there in the first place when the PAGE DOWN key is just near my right hand.

barbanera wrote:IMHO, it is a matter of playing style or module designing style. If a module follows the typical Vassal tradition of giving a virtual game table and virtual components to players to mess around at will, then combo keys are a must, I guess, and kudos to that and if the developers want to give more fine by me. However, if the module wants to try enforcing rules and give a video/pc game look and feel to the game play, then it should be possible to avoid right click commands and, especially, combo keys.


Enforcing rules? No, the players enforce the rules. In fact the rules come from the book that came with the game in the first place. Vassal is there just to allow me to communicate my moves with the other guy. Really the game was a board and counters in the box. So, we enforce the rules. In fact I would make a deliberate point as a module designer of NOT enforcing ANY rules of any kind. Give the players the freedom to work this out themselves. You have to remember, out in the real world people play the same game in different ways with different variations. Sometimes we pick up a pen and paper, perhaps some symbols on the blank counters that came with the game. Perhaps some house or local rules. As I said, I make a deliberate point of not enforcing any rules. Just give the players the board, pieces, markers, some space and latitude, and let them decide how they will play the game.

If you want to enforce rules and give a video/pc game look and feel, perhaps you should try Flash rather than Vassal?

Cheers,
Scott
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Re: Feature requests.. simple ones, I think

Postby barbanera » April 7th, 2012, 2:58 pm

(Long blurb about Apple vs being a cool Linux(?) geek omitted)

I couldn't give a dime more than you do for Apple users. I was just making the point if that you seem to be sneering at me for coming from Windows perspective, then imagine whoever comes from an Apple one. Indeed, I tried yesterday a game online vs my nephew who was using a MacBook and right clicking (or even left clicking) was a real pain in the neck.

Enforcing rules? No, the players enforce the rules. In fact the rules come from the book that came with the game in the first place. Vassal is there just to allow me to communicate my moves with the other guy. Really the game was a board and counters in the box. So, we enforce the rules. In fact I would make a deliberate point as a module designer of NOT enforcing ANY rules of any kind. Give the players the freedom to work this out themselves. You have to remember, out in the real world people play the same game in different ways with different variations. Sometimes we pick up a pen and paper, perhaps some symbols on the blank counters that came with the game. Perhaps some house or local rules. As I said, I make a deliberate point of not enforcing any rules. Just give the players the board, pieces, markers, some space and latitude, and let them decide how they will play the game.

If you want to enforce rules and give a video/pc game look and feel, perhaps you should try Flash rather than Vassal?


Well, mate.. first of all you seem to have lost yourself in your own eloquence, ending up distorting the original point.

The point was about having right-click combo keys not showing up in right click menus. That doesn't mean they are not there anymore! Hell, I will surely be happy to provide a chart of all available right-click short cuts for whoever prefers to use them! In my humble opinion, though, a large chunk of players - those coming from a pc/video game background rather than a geek/programmer/mighty-Vassal-geek one - would benefit instead from not having the confusion of combo keys showing up, at least initially.

Lastly, since you went into discussing rule enforcement, then I must say that I object to your absolutistic tone and I feel commited to point out a couple things:

1) if you don't like enforcing rules with Vassal it's just your personal opinion, isn't it? You should probably concede other people, even if a minority out there, might like to actually try enforce rules, at least for certain games where the module designer feels it might make a difference in the enjoyment of the game. As for myself, I decided the game I was interested in would greatly benefit from some form of rule enforcement, turning it from overlong and convoluted to play (real life) to actually enjoyable. Or that was my gamble, at least. Therefore, I decided to work in the framework of the current Vassal engine to try pushing the envelope and enforce rules as much as possible. And, as a matter of fact, I just released version 1.0 of my module where I enforce like 95% of the rules. (The other 5% I could not enforce with current Vassal engine.) In other words, it can be done, no need for Flash, thank you very much..

2) afaik, there are discussions on going by the actual developers on how to do some rule enforcement in Vassal 4. In other words, it is not just humble module-designer-me, but something which is being discussed by those in the know. I don't know what they plan, or even what rule enforcement actually means from a general programming logic perspective, but you might want to check those discussions out and voice your legitimate opinion there.

I was just asking for the option to hide combo keys.. ;-)
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Re: Feature requests.. simple ones, I think

Postby anonemous123 » April 8th, 2012, 12:19 am

barbanera wrote:I couldn't give a dime more than you do for Apple users. I was just making the point if that you seem to be sneering at me for coming from Windows perspective, then imagine whoever comes from an Apple one. Indeed, I tried yesterday a game online vs my nephew who was using a MacBook and right clicking (or even left clicking) was a real pain in the neck.


Yep agreed about the Apple problems. I've been in the same situation before.

barbanera wrote:anymore! Hell, I will surely be happy to provide a chart of all available right-click short cuts for whoever prefers to use them! In my humble opinion, though, a large chunk of players - those coming from a pc/video game background rather than a geek/programmer/mighty-Vassal-geek one - would benefit instead from not having the confusion of combo keys showing up, at least initially.

Lastly, since you went into discussing rule enforcement, then I must say that I object to your absolutistic tone and I feel commited to point out a couple things:

1) if you don't like enforcing rules with Vassal it's just your personal opinion, isn't it? You should probably concede other people, even if a minority out there, might like to actually try enforce rules, at least for certain games where the module designer feels it might make a difference in the enjoyment of the game. As for myself, I decided the game I was interested in would greatly benefit from some form of rule enforcement, turning it from overlong and convoluted to play (real life) to actually enjoyable. Or that was my gamble, .....


My point still stands. Thats how I design the modules and the rational behind it. I think where you are coming from is a different type of game, thats why I made the point about using Flash and I am serious about that. It will do those things for you. In a previous posting you mentioned Doom and other games like that, and I just couldn't see the connection here. Perhaps new games appearing which are Vassal only, or didn't originate as a real paper and cardboard game, might be drawing development in that direction? It is cool if you want to do that stuff, but just be mindful while you guys push the envelope in a different direction, that some of us are using it for traditional board games. And for us, keyboard short cuts are not gymnicks (sic) - your words.

Cheers,
Scott
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Re: Feature requests.. simple ones, I think

Postby uckelman » April 17th, 2012, 11:31 am

Thus spake anonemous123:
>
> "barbanera" wrote:
> > IMHO, it is a matter of playing style or module designing style. If a
> > module follows the typical Vassal tradition of giving a virtual game
> > table and virtual components to players to mess around at will, then
> > combo keys are a must, I guess, and kudos to that and if the
> > developers want to give more fine by me. However, if the module wants
> > to try enforcing rules and give a video/pc game look and feel to the
> > game play, then it should be possible to avoid right click commands
> > and, especially, combo keys.
>
>
> Enforcing rules? No, the players enforce the rules. In fact the rules
> come from the book that came with the game in the first place. Vassal is
> there just to allow me to communicate my moves with the other guy.
> Really the game was a board and counters in the box. So, we enforce the
> rules. In fact I would make a deliberate point as a module designer of
> NOT enforcing ANY rules of any kind. Give the players the freedom to
> work this out themselves. You have to remember, out in the real world
> people play the same game in different ways with different variations.
> Sometimes we pick up a pen and paper, perhaps some symbols on the blank
> counters that came with the game. Perhaps some house or local rules. As
> I said, I make a deliberate point of not enforcing any rules. Just give
> the players the board, pieces, markers, some space and latitude, and let
> them decide how they will play the game.

One of my long-term plans for V4 is to develop a rules description
language, which could be used to validate the legality of moves. It's
not something I intend to be mandatory for modules, and there will be
a checkbox for turning it off if you don't want it. So, yes, I think
rules-enforcement is important; but, I think rules-enforcement as people
attempt to do it now is entirely misguided.

--
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Re: Feature requests.. simple ones, I think

Postby uckelman » April 17th, 2012, 11:50 am

Thus spake barbanera:
>
> I was just asking for the option to hide combo keys.. ;-)
>

Of the ways we could go---always showing hotkeys in menus, never showing
hotkeys in menus, showing hotkeys in menus if the platform does, making
the display of hotkeys in menus a settable preference, or making the
the display of hotkeys in menus settable by the module designer---there
is no way we're doing the last one. It's a recipe for user confusion.
The "do as the platform does" option I see as better than the "always"
and "never" options, as it makes VASSAL fit in where it's running. I
still maintain that there is no good default if you let the user toggle
the display of hotkeys: If the default is "on", you're expecting new
users to turn it off, but I don't see that they'll know the setting even
exists; if the default is "off", then new users won't be aware that
there are hotkeys, for the same reason.

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Re: Feature requests.. simple ones, I think

Postby barbanera » April 17th, 2012, 7:16 pm

Of the ways we could go---always showing hotkeys in menus, never showing
hotkeys in menus, showing hotkeys in menus if the platform does, making
the display of hotkeys in menus a settable preference, or making the
the display of hotkeys in menus settable by the module designer---there
is no way we're doing the last one. It's a recipe for user confusion.


I want to start by saying that this whole argument is really moot. I don't really care if combo-keys will never disappear from Vassal's right click menus. I can live with them and I am happy enough to work with the engine as is and thank you for the good (and free) work to all developers, of course. I just personally believe my own module (I wouldn't presume about everybody else's) would benefit from reduced clutter in right-click menus, but it is not a make or break feature.

I didn't think requesting an option to hide key commands from the right click menu (but not remove: they are still there and I could give a list of key commands in a help page for whoever wishes to use them!) would cause such a crusade on what's wrong and what's right.

Especially, not such strong positions like "no way we are doing it". In other words, you are saying that even if took you (or some other willing developer) just 10 minutes of your time to allow for this feature you wouldn't allow it because you want to impose your own view of what's not acceptable even in my OWN module?

Wow.. :)
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Re: Feature requests.. simple ones, I think

Postby barbanera » April 17th, 2012, 7:44 pm

uckelman wrote: So, yes, I think
rules-enforcement is important; but, I think rules-enforcement as people
attempt to do it now is entirely misguided.


Misguided most likely.

But if results are what matters, and if there is no other option at the moment, than I would just commend whoever managed to do it, not sneer at him.
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Re: Feature requests.. simple ones, I think

Postby uckelman » April 17th, 2012, 8:15 pm

Thus spake barbanera:
>
> "uckelman" wrote:
> > So, yes, I think
> > rules-enforcement is important; but, I think rules-enforcement as
> > people
> > attempt to do it now is entirely misguided.
> >
>
>
> Misguided most likely.
>
> But if results are what matters, and if there is no other option at the
> moment, than I would just commend whoever managed to do it, not sneer at
> him.
>

I'm not sneering at anyone. I'd say the same thing about the Twilight
Struggle or Combat Commander modules as I'd say about somehting like
Google Docs: They are amazing achievements given the available tools;
nonetheless, that doesn't make the available tools the right tools for
the job. (If Michael, the TS module designer is lurking, I think he'd
agree.)

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Re: Feature requests.. simple ones, I think

Postby mkiefte » April 17th, 2012, 9:07 pm

Not sure what I'm agreeing to here, but I think the Twilight Struggle more or less proves that VASSAL is not really up to the task of rules enforcement and by that I mean I had to do an awful lot of custom programming. That's not the same as saying that VASSAL shouldn't make this easier and I'm hoping that it will. I'm looking forward to version 4.

- M.

On 2012-04-17, at 5:15 PM, Joel Uckelman wrote:

> Thus spake barbanera:
>>
>> "uckelman" wrote:
>>> So, yes, I think
>>> rules-enforcement is important; but, I think rules-enforcement as
>>> people
>>> attempt to do it now is entirely misguided.
>>>
>>
>>
>> Misguided most likely.
>>
>> But if results are what matters, and if there is no other option at the
>> moment, than I would just commend whoever managed to do it, not sneer at
>> him.
>>
>
> I'm not sneering at anyone. I'd say the same thing about the Twilight
> Struggle or Combat Commander modules as I'd say about somehting like
> Google Docs: They are amazing achievements given the available tools;
> nonetheless, that doesn't make the available tools the right tools for
> the job. (If Michael, the TS module designer is lurking, I think he'd
> agree.)
>
> --
> J.
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> messages mailing list
> messages@vassalengine.org
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>
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Re: Feature requests.. simple ones, I think

Postby uckelman » April 22nd, 2012, 12:23 am

Thus spake barbanera:
>
> I didn't think requesting an option to hide key commands from the right
> click menu (but not remove: they are still there and I could give a list
> of key commands in a help page for whoever wishes to use them!) would
> cause such a crusade on what's wrong and what's right.
>
> Especially, not such strong positions like "no way we are doing it". In
> other words, you are saying that even if took you (or some other willing
> developer) just 10 minutes of your time to allow for this feature you
> wouldn't allow it because you want to impose your own view of what's not
> acceptable even in my OWN module?

The amount of effort it takes isn't relevant. What I'm objecting to is
that implementing this on a per-module basis would be confusing for
users of VASSAL generally, many of whom will use more than one module.
As a developer, I have to look out for how modifications like the one
you suggest will affect all of our users, not just the users of your
module.

Every line of code in any program imposes someone's view of what's
acceptable on the people using the program. Without that, you have
no program at all.

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Re: Feature requests.. simple ones, I think

Postby barbanera » June 29th, 2012, 1:19 pm

I must be missing something... and people might have hinted about this to me.. or maybe not.. but what was all this argument about hiding right click commands about? Since 3.2.0 now allows the designer a decision if to show or hide them..?!

I was finally trying out 3.2.0 (beta1) for real and I noticed the right click command keys will not show if use named keys (like "foo") instead of actual command keys (like CTRL-F) in just about any trait I tested! Why not tell me that clearly from the start? Or I am really missing something here..

I love 3.2.0 already ;)
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Re: Feature requests.. simple ones, I think

Postby JustaBill » July 20th, 2012, 6:38 pm

barbanera wrote:Why not tell me that clearly from the start?

I think they did.

Anyway, the whole problem here is not that shortcut keys are displayed, it's that they are not presented well. They are jammed right up to the end of the command name without any separation other than a space. Ideally they should all be right-justified against the right edge of the popup menu, or at least spaced over farther or preceded by some kind of punctuation. To me the context menus in Vassal look very "unfinished," and I end up putting an ellipsis (...) at the end of all my command names to make the more readable. (Which of course is quite tedious, especially when using sub-menus.)

And I will agree with everyone else: if you change all of your key commands to named commands just to make it impossible for players to use short-cut keys, you are doing your players a huge disservice. That is flat-out poor design, going out of your way to make your game less playable. Just because you don't use shortcut keys doesn't millions of others aren't using them.
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Re: Feature requests.. simple ones, I think

Postby barbanera » July 21st, 2012, 3:09 pm

I think they did.


Maybe.. but wish you would point me out where.

Anyway.. again, I must repeat myself: the designer is the best placed, imho, to decide how his module should be played. After all we do this for free, and we are not paid to develop modules for somebody else, are we?

I am pretty sure in some modules right click commands are very useful. I can think of situations were you have to do various repetitive "mindless" repetitive actions on a set of units or cards and then right click short cuts are surely a big plus.

However, in my modules there is no need for them. More to the point: they are confusing and nobody would ever need them, as you don't really do repetitive actions like moving units or something, but just specific one shot type operations which need you to right click on cards/miniatures to look at the available options and think about which one you choose. Nothing repetitive you can really bypass by using short cuts.

Therefore, I am happy there is now a way to avoid showing them, even though it came too late for my major project.
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