LOS tool questions

trailrunner

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I have played exactly one game of VASL, so I'm still learning.

I've come across a couple of issues which probably has a simple solution, but I can't seem to figure it out.

I configured by LOS tool to show different colors when LOS is hindered or blocked. It works fine when I load the map. But if I use a scenario that's already set up by someone else, it won't show a blocked LOS - it's the same color throughout the line, even if the LOS is obviously blocked. If I close the game and start over again with me loading the map, the tool works fine.

The second issue is the "I" LOS tool, located just to the right of the "L" LOS tool. The tip says that this is for a hidden LOS. I've never tried to use this during a game. When I'm just fooling around, and choose this tool, I get a two-segment LOS, but what's worse, I can't seem to turn it off unless I shut down and start again. What is this tool for, and how do I turn it off?

Thanks in advance.
 

Vinnie

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I have played exactly one game of VASL, so I'm still learning.

I've come across a couple of issues which probably has a simple solution, but I can't seem to figure it out.

I configured by LOS tool to show different colors when LOS is hindered or blocked. It works fine when I load the map. But if I use a scenario that's already set up by someone else, it won't show a blocked LOS - it's the same color throughout the line, even if the LOS is obviously blocked. If I close the game and start over again with me loading the map, the tool works fine.

The second issue is the "I" LOS tool, located just to the right of the "L" LOS tool. The tip says that this is for a hidden LOS. I've never tried to use this during a game. When I'm just fooling around, and choose this tool, I get a two-segment LOS, but what's worse, I can't seem to turn it off unless I shut down and start again. What is this tool for, and how do I turn it off?

Thanks in advance.
Often set ups have been done by older vasl iterations do low doesn't work.
 

DougRim

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The "l" LOS tool allows you to check LOS but your opponent won't see the string. Whereas the "L" LOS tool is visible to both you and your opponent. What is a two-segment LOS. Could you post an image?

Which version of VASL are you using. Do you have the LOS thread set to verbose (check preferences - los under File menu when VASL is open)?
 

trailrunner

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Attached is a screenshot of the two-segment LOS that happens when I choose the "I" tool. Even worse, I can't turn this off.

I'm using version 6.4.4. Yes, I have the LOS set to verbose, and it works fine when I load a map in. If I use an already existing setup, it doesn't work.

12656
 

DougRim

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WEll, that's just wierd. Obviously something is wrong. Can't tell what from looking but it is not supposed to do that!
 

DougRim

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Something about the existing setup is messing things up (that is not to say it was improperly created; I am sure it was done properly but probably with what is now an older version of VASL and there is a compatability issue.
 

von Marwitz

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Attached is a screenshot of the two-segment LOS that happens when I choose the "I" tool. Even worse, I can't turn this off.

I'm using version 6.4.4. Yes, I have the LOS set to verbose, and it works fine when I load a map in. If I use an already existing setup, it doesn't work.

View attachment 12656
Hmmm... I remember that such a LOS issue existed several years ago (two LOSes at the same time for the same player). Can't remember which versions of VASL/boards were current back then.

The more recent LOS issues that I have encountered are that LOS 'freezes up' if both players (or spectators) in a VASL room attempt to string LOS at the same time. Sometimes you can 'free up' again if both players do away with their LOS (one of them seemed to be the cause of the 'lock down'). But this did not always work and bytimes it was necessary to restart VASL for the one who was 'frozen up'. I did not delve into this systematically, though, so take my observations with a grain of salt.

What I do not know is whether the LOS issues are keyed to versions of particular boards or rather to particular versions of VASL (or both at the same time). In the first and last case, it might be a good idea to manually download the latest board versions from vasl.info so in case you use VASL offline, you can be sure that the latest boards versions are used and not some older ones that might still survive in your boards folder and which will usually be automatically replaced by the current ones that newer VASL versions pull for a given game from the server.

While I am really not into programming, I would be sort of surprised if these LOS issues are caused by pre-pulled counters of older VASL versions / setups.

One thing that is kind of regrettable with regard to the downloadable setups on vasl.info is that the VASL version with which the setup has been originally created and which has originally been part of the file name has been removed. So what used to be

ASL1 Generic Scenario Name v633

would be found there as

ASL1 Generic Scenario Name

This makes trouble-shooting more difficult without need. Note though, that at least one creator of ready-made VASL setups does include the date and VASL version with which the setup has been created beneath the ROAR information above the weather counters in the area of the turn track. This should indicate a VASL version (and indirectly the VASSAL version, in which you should no issues and also give you an idea when using this setup without re-pulling the counters is very unlikely to cause you any trouble.

It is possible to have various versions of VASSAL and/or VASL installed on your computer in parallel. In this context one needs to know that certain newer VASL versions will not work with older VASSAL versions while some older VASL versions require older VASSAL versions. Basically, there is a 'divide' between VASSAL v3.1.20 and v3.2.17, i.e. the 3.1 and 3.2 variants with regard to VASSAL. With regard to VASL, there is a functional divide - however, please, I am not sure to remember this correctly - between (very old) v5.9.3, v6.0.x, and post v6.0.x. There might also be a functional divide betweeen v6.1.x and v6.2.x. It has already be announced, that there will be, alas, a new functional divide betweeen VASL versions 6.4.x and the coming VASL versions 6.5.x.

With a 'functional divide' I mean that it is advisable to re-pull counters for a ready-made setup.

Even if you have (or want to) re-pull the counters to be on the safe side, doing this based on an existing old full setup can be done much faster than creating a new one from scratch:

It is quite a pain to align counters offboard because there is no usable grid there to which the counters would snap to. So to line up the OoB offboard nicely is quite a laborious process.

To take advantage of a pre-existing setup for which you merely want to replace the counter, I advise the following process:

Pull new counters from the VASL counter tray per type as needed to the playing area, so that they are marked with a "moved" flag. Then place the newly pulled counter atop the stack of the old ones (which will not me marked with a moved flag). Then clone the newly pulled counter to match the number in the stack of the old counters beneath. When done for all counters, delete the bottom old counters not marked by the 'moved' flag. This way you can spare yourself the laborious process of correct alignment. What you can't avoid, alas, is to rename leaders and to label counters, such as for the vehicle ID. This way, you will be able to 'update' a VASL-setup from, say VASL v6.2.x to VASL v6.4.4 within 5 minutes and are not losing the marked setup/entry areas, Turn Track, overlay placements, Weather conditions or board modifications.

And while we are at it, here is some other point that might be the cause of trouble with ready-made VASL setups and a way to fix it or to avoid it:

Some people like to embed a picture (like on the scenario card) into the VASL file by means of a Draggable Overlay which contains some HTML code with a link to some external website somewhere in the internet which hosts that picture.
If, for some reason, this link is unavailable, the VASL file will not open and VASL might hang. Reasons could be that (1) you want to open that VASL file while you are offline, (2) that link is temporarily unavailable because the host is currently unavailable due to connection issues, (3) the target of that link does not exist any more.
This issue can be fixed, if you delete the Draggable Overlay that contains the link to the external picture. The tricky thing is, that you can only open the VASL file in question and access the Draggable overlay which you want to delete if the link is available. This means that it is possible to 'lock yourself out' once the link does not work any more for the listed reasons. So for long-term keeping of VASL setups, do not include links to external picture sources.

Pictures can also lead to another type of issue which confuse people who are not familiar with the phenomenon. If you have a very slow internet connecton or the site where the pictures is sourced sends over the data very slowly or anything on the way is very slow, it will take appropriately long to open the VASL file. Some people then believe that VASL is at fault which it is not.

Bottom line: Pictures within VASL setups are nice but they can have their issues. You simply need to be aware of them. If you create a setup which includes pictures, it is very unlikely that you run into trouble if you play that scenario soon thereafter. As we all know that the internet is shortlived and subject to frequent changes, the probability is greater to run into issues related to pictures when you want to use that same setup after a longer period of time.

All right. Now that was enough play with dollhouses for today.

von Marwitz
 

trailrunner

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I wasn't very clear in my initial description. I had assumed that I was overlooking something simple, but it appears that maybe I wasn't.

1) The regular "L" LOS tool not working properly seems to happen when I load a pre-configured scenario. If I load a board for an offline game, it works fine. I think the consensus is that the pre-configured scenarios may be using old boards.

2) The problem I showed in my screenshot with the "I" LOS tool happens with any board (well, at least the ones I've tried). I could live with it being wonky like that, but the frustrating this is once I use it, I can't get it to turn off, and I can't do anything else unless I close that game and start over. I've learned not to touch that button!

Thanks for the help.
 

trailrunner

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Some more information: Depending on how I bring in the pre-configured scenario, sometimes I get a warning that it was created with version 6.3.3, and asks me if I'm sure I want to bring it into a 6.4.4 version of VASL.

In the log, it will also say that the pre-configured scenario used map v6.0, but that it was converted to v6.1. When I pull in a map without the pre-configured scenario, the log says I'm using map v6.1.
 

DougRim

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What I do not know is whether the LOS issues are keyed to versions of particular boards or rather to particular versions of VASL (or both at the same time). In the first and last case, it might be a good idea to manually download the latest board versions from vasl.info so in case you use VASL offline, you can be sure that the latest boards versions are used and not some older ones that might still survive in your boards folder and which will usually be automatically replaced by the current ones that newer VASL versions pull for a given game from the server.
The answer is Yes to all. It can be the board, VASL, or both. Helpful? Probably not. We should create an issue around migrating/updating setup files.
 

von Marwitz

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We should create an issue around migrating/updating setup files.
Oh yes! If automated updates would work, this could over the time create a whole library of ready-made setups which would become an ever greater asset for the community.

Especially, as with the new version VASL v6.5.x all the old stuff will become obsolete if I understood this correctly.

von Marwitz
 

DougRim

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Oh yes! If automated updates would work, this could over the time create a whole library of ready-made setups which would become an ever greater asset for the community.

Especially, as with the new version VASL v6.5.x all the old stuff will become obsolete if I understood this correctly.

von Marwitz
Obsolete yes, unusable no. Many older saved games will work fine in 6.5; but they won’t be able to use the new casualties bin functionality. Much older games may not work but they probably don’t work in 6.4.4 either.

But allowing games to migrate to newer versions would be great. There was a converter at one point but it is probably obsolete itself. Might be a place to start.

I will create an issue in any event.
 

von Marwitz

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But allowing games to migrate to newer versions would be great. There was a converter at one point but it is probably obsolete itself. Might be a place to start.

I will create an issue in any event.
The converter was not really practical to use.

Here some background:

The 'tool' still shows in teh VASL controls window under Tools, Refresh Counters.

This converter tool would automatically re-pull all counters on- and off-board. However...

It would only work with a 'naked' VASL version, i.e. without any extension installed whatsoever. This made it impractical to use to begin with as I do not know anyone who has not installed at least one extension for VASL. To simulate a naked VASL without extensions, you would have to temporarily rename your extension folder and create another one with the original name (or alternately in the Preferences designate some empty folder as your extension folder). After that restart VASL IIRC.

Then, use the Tool 'Refresh Counters'. This actually works, but...
In the process of Refreshment, all Labels and Names get lost that the counters had originally been designated with. So afterwards, you have to manually redo all Labels and Names (and since you won't remember a dozen suitable Japanese names for Leaders, THH, etc. you'd have to note them down before you 'Refresh Counters'. If you have many vehicles, tanks, and guns, this might entail some more letter-counting. If you place informational counters next to the playing area such as this...

12660

... then you will either have to remember or look up the correct Gun/vehicle designations again and enter them manually.

After you are through with all this, then you have to change the Preference settings for the Extension Folder or rename it back to its original name and to close/restart VASL once more.

This 'automatic' process is not much faster than to do everything manually, and gives you at least the chance to copy/paste the names/labels of the counters.


Now people might say: "That's all playing dollhouse." Many don't care about a nicely laid out setup and don't give a damn about named leaders, lettered AFV, some special rules pointed to in the below manner:

12661

Others do appreciate it, though. And even the ones who don't care are probably lazy enough to use a functioning finished setup before pulling any counter themselves. I have heard the argument: I cannot trust a finished setup, because there might be a mistake in it with regard to the correct number/type of counters pulled. My answer is: Yes, sure there might be mistakes. But it is still quicker to check a finished setup's counters for mistakes compared to pulling all of them yourself. And, of course, they might also make mistakes pulling the counters themselves...


von Marwitz
 
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