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Questions about ModuleManager

Postby Flint1b » July 16th, 2020, 10:31 pm

What are these icons for in the ModuleManager? They are all same, for every module.

modulemanager-icons.png
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Why does the ModuleManager change my mouse cursor into the "wait" cursor after I load a module and keep it in this state, even though I can still interact with the ModuleManager and start another Player instance or click around in the menus?

Why does the Player not appear in my task manager / alt+tab's application list when it is still in the "wizard" or "load game" state? It's not convenient, if I switch away from the Player when it's in this initial state I have to minimize all other windows to get it back.
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Re: Questions about ModuleManager

Postby Brent Easton » July 16th, 2020, 11:03 pm

That's the module managers icon for a module. The icon for an Extension is a Cogwheel. There where plans to show save and log files in the module manager as well and they would have had some other icon. They are basically place-holder icons I grabbed from the Tango Icon set and no-one has ever been bothered to find or make better ones.

I can't answer the other two questions.
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Re: Questions about ModuleManager

Postby Cattlesquat » July 17th, 2020, 1:06 am

The last question is because the app doesn't have a "main" window yet.
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Re: Questions about ModuleManager

Postby uckelman » July 17th, 2020, 1:11 pm

Thus spake Cattlesquat:
> The last question is because the app doesn't have a "main" window yet.

A great way to fix that would be to replace the Wizard. That would also
have the pleasant side-effect of removing some of the worst code in
VASSAL (WizzardSupport) and a dependency on a library which hasn't been
maintained in ages (wizard.jar).

Seriously, do that. That would be an excellent contribution.

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Re: Questions about ModuleManager

Postby Cattlesquat » July 17th, 2020, 4:56 pm

You hoping for "a better wizard" or "no wizard at all"?
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Re: Questions about ModuleManager

Postby Flint1b » July 17th, 2020, 4:59 pm

Replace it how? With what?

Try to create the same thing with the default Swing API and without the dependency? Write new code for Swing, in 2020?

Or maybe in JavaFX?
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Re: Questions about ModuleManager

Postby Cattlesquat » July 17th, 2020, 5:26 pm

I mean really the flow when you start the Editor, just without the editor window, is "almost good enough" -- you get an app main window with a File menu that has "New Game" and "Load Game" options, both of which work.

The main question is... should we fancy it up with a "Start Screen" that displays the module's "About" logo and has more prominent buttons for "New Game" and "Load Game". Would just involve a certain amount of "graphic design" putting the logo and buttons up in a reasonably professional-looking way and then getting rid of them in favor of the map once the game starts.

Or more minimally we could just put a message saying "start or load a game from the File menu". Might be jarring for players used to seeing the logo of their game come up, but it would be fully functional.
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Re: Questions about ModuleManager

Postby Cattlesquat » July 17th, 2020, 6:08 pm

Here's a mockup of the kind of thing I mean (SCROLL DOWN -- the interesting part is at the bottom). Buttons would just activate the same "action" as the corresponding entries off the file menu, so there is no multi-stage-wizard-stuff going on.

Discussion would be how to allow user to achieve this w/ a "reasonably decent looking result" -- allow them to supply their own button background images, etc? Obviously "we know how to do that". We could also force the chatter smaller while the setup screen is up, etc (or really if it just shrunk to the size it normally shrinks to during play it would be fine -- perhaps it would do that if it had a "SetupWindow" competing with it for layout space). And we'd need to handle things like "Modules with 31 Predefined Scenarios".

This is stuff we can do "with tools we have lying around the house".

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Re: Questions about ModuleManager

Postby Cattlesquat » July 17th, 2020, 6:31 pm

Or I guess we could roll our own wizard.
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Re: Questions about ModuleManager

Postby uckelman » July 17th, 2020, 6:59 pm

Thus spake Cattlesquat:
> You hoping for "a better wizard" or "no wizard at all"?

I'd prefer the latter, because it's entirely redundant with things which
are already there: You can set your name and password from the Preferences,
you can start a new game from the File menu.

However, I suspect if there weren't one at all we'd have a lot of
complaints... Mabye I'm wrong about that?

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Re: Questions about ModuleManager

Postby Cattlesquat » July 17th, 2020, 7:06 pm

Well one does want players "new to vassal" to be able to come in and figure out how to get a game going reasonably easily. Minimizing friction to new adopters is definitely a thing. So if e.g. you didn't have your name and password set and you picked "New Game" and it just rejected you telling you to go off to the right place and set your name and password first, that's a lot of friction. Maybe you're allowed to fall through as "Newbie".

Since posting above I've realized that even the File menu's New Game ends up calling into part of the wizard flow.

So there are various possibilities:
1. Full no-wizard-at-all.
2. Roll some new wizard tech with the same basic "flow -- get rid of the old library, refactor the wizard code, but leave the UI flow pretty much the same.
3. Mitigated no-wizard-at-all (more like my mockup above... maybe some prompting to pick a "Side" and/or a "Map" when you cold start)
4. Some other hybrid approach we come up with.
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Re: Questions about ModuleManager

Postby Flint1b » July 17th, 2020, 7:13 pm

.. I'll just keep doing what I'm good at for now, improving code quality in general, making builds and contributing more convenient etc.

Once we know what kind of wizard we want exactly AND someone is able to convince me that writing Swing in 2020 makes sense, or is willing to take JavaFX into the project, I might see about writing that new wizard.

Or if you want me to grab the axe and chop down the existing code without any replacement, just shout. Removing code is the best kind of refactoring :D
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Re: Questions about ModuleManager

Postby Cattlesquat » July 17th, 2020, 7:22 pm

Hey I think you should totally have a go at a new wizard in Swing. I mean why NOT write it in Swing since the whole rest of the project's in it? Think of it as "maintaining a Swing project".

We could consider dispensing with the "launch screen" part of the wizard as a nod to Joel -- in other words the normal bootup is to a main window either like what you get now when you open Editor or slightly friendlier like my Mockup (with or without the fancy buttons, but in any event the main screen), and only go into wizard mode when player selects to start a new game (so then help player through the steps of pick-your-side, pick-your-password-if-needed, pick-your map, whatever). Also there are some "extra steps" in the Wizard right now like you hit pick "Load Game" and then you have to hit another button to "Select File" before it brings up the file dialog, stuff like that.

I'd be happy to ride along as your "front end" and UI consultant :-)
Last edited by Cattlesquat on July 17th, 2020, 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Questions about ModuleManager

Postby Flint1b » July 17th, 2020, 7:23 pm

Btw I always use the wizard, I know I could do the same from the menu, and have seen an option somewhere to disable the wizard, but it supports the two use-cases I have for Vassal - start a new game, or load an existing save.
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Re: Questions about ModuleManager

Postby Cattlesquat » July 17th, 2020, 7:24 pm

New Swing Wizard! Go! Go! Go!
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