Lesson 15 - VASL Templates Basics

Neal

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Lesson 15: I have a long lesson this week ... VASL Templates Basics. It's part 1 of a 3 part "VASL Templates" series to help you juice up the information shown in your setups. You can skip around in the video using the timestamps posted in the video description or the comment I pinned in the discussion area.

Where to Download - 2:34
How to Configure - 7:53
Basic Block Usage -
11:30
Scenario Setup - 14:46
Notes - 22:08
Victory Conditions - 23:48
SSRs - 25:46
Order of Battle - 27:23
Vehicles & Ordnance - 29:44
Setup - 37:48
Misc - 40:43
 

Pacman Ghost

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Whoa! The 'Ghost likes ? You know you've hit the big-time when ASLInRealTime starts making videos about your work :)

I know some people much prefer video tutorials rather than the printed word, so this is an amazingly useful contribution. Thanks. I'll update the help to point to these.

To address some of the points you raised:

(*) While the basic functionality will work if you don't configure where Java lives, or a webdriver, some of the more advanced features need these. In particular, it's possible to get vasl-templates to automatically create all the labels for you. It's maybe not a bad idea to start off creating labels manually and pasting in snippets (as you show in the video), so that you get an understanding of how things work, but this gets very old very quickly, so in the program menu (in the top-right of the window), there is an Update VASL scenario option that will do everything automatically for you, which is a huge time-saver.

(*) It's not in the version you demo'ed, but the latest beta version recently released integrates with the ASL Scenario Archive, and when you import a scenario from there, it will import things lke the scenario date and location.

(*) The data for the National Capabilities snippets is taken from the divider chart, so hopefully it's complete, but as you suggested, correct is another question :) There's a huge amount of data embedded in the program, and there are surely some misteaks lurking in there, so yes, please check the generated labels and report any errors you might find.

(*) The feature to generate snippets as an image is to make the program useful even if you're playing a FtF game. You can take the snippet images with the vehicle/ordnance info, paste them into a Word document, and print it out, to get a cheat-sheet for the scenario you're playing.

(*) Why doesn't the "analyze VASL scenario" feature automatically set the player nationalities based on what it finds? Because it's complicated :( For example, which nationality goes first? The user might not agree with the choice, so I now have to add a feature that swaps the player nationalities, and all their OB and notes. What if there are counters from 3 nationalities in the save file (e.g. Germans vs. Americans, who have borrowed a few British tanks)? There are a few other corner cases as well, so I just said "sod it, people can configure the nationalities first, then analyze" :)

(*) To keep track of how many PF are left, there is a template in the Extras tab called "Count remaining" that has been designed for this. I like to put it on top of a PF counter, like this:
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The snippet is designed so that, when you go to edit it in VASSAL, if you press the right-arrow key, the cursor will be at the correct place for you to edit the number, making it easy to change during the course of a game.

vasl-templates also gives you a hint on how to calculate how many PF (and THH) should be available (based on the date):
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waltu

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Thank you, thank you, thank you for making these videos. I spent the summer learning to play VASL by email and these videos (and my opponent's help) were invaluable.
 

eaglewso

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These are great videos, but I have a quesiton about how to run the VASL template on a Mac. Obviously I am not able to use the .exe file. What is the way to launch the program on a Mac computer?
 

Pacman Ghost

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Obviously I am not able to use the .exe file. What is the way to launch the program on a Mac computer?
Actually, there are several ways you can run an EXE on a Mac.

If you're moderately technical, the program can also be run via a Docker container. The current release (v1.3) has some functionality missing, but the next version will have everything.

If you're a bit more technical, you can also run it from source (if you don't know what that means, then you probably don't want to try this method).

The program can also be converted to a Mac binary (i.e. EXE-equivalent), so that it can be run directly. I don't have a Mac, so I can't do it myself, but if someone wants to step up and do it, I'll put it up on the website.
 
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