New program to help set up VASL scenarios

Pacman Ghost

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I play a lot of VASL, and I like to take a bit of time to set up the scenarios so that they look nice, and have useful game-play information e.g. the stuff from the back of vehicle/ordnance counters, PF hit tables, etc. I had text files with templates for the various bits of HTML, but I got sick of manually creating the HTML snippets, especially for the vehicle/ordnance data, since it was time-consuming, and often repeated from scenario to scenario.

So, I wrote a program to do it all for me, and I've made it available here. You just enter the scenario details into the UI, and it will generate the HTML snippets for you, which can then copy into your VASL scenario. This is a screenshot of everyone's favorite, Hill 621:
hill-621.png

A few more examples here.

Another screenshot of the program in action:
ob_setup.png

The full user guide is here.

It's actually a web application (i.e. something that runs in a browser), but I haven't (yet) put it up online, so you have to run the web server program yourself, then connect to that in a browser. If you're on Windows, you should get the pre-built version, everyone else should check the installation instructions. If there's enough interest, I'll put it up online, and people won't have to worry about installing anything, they will be able to just connect to it directly.

The HTML snippets are all generated from templates, which can be customized, so if you don't like my labels, you can create your own. Again, if there's enough interest, if I put the thing up online, I'll add something so that you can upload and share your templates.

There are still a few features I want to add, but this'll do for a first cut. In particular, there's currently only vehicle/ordnance data for Germans and Russians; you can still create scenarios for other nationalities, you just won't be able to generate the informational tables for their vehicles/ordnance.
 
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Yarlis

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I've used your application to set up some scenarios and is just wonderful!!!
Thanks a lot for sharing.
 

Pacman Ghost

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I've used your application to set up some scenarios and is just wonderful!!!
Thanks a lot for sharing.
Cool, no worries :) I'm just glad you managed to get it going. I wrote the wrapper desktop app to help the non-technical folks out there, but it's a bit finicky, especially on Windows, so it's good at least one person is using it :happy:

I've got a few more features coming up that'll make it even better. I've just had a bit of a disaster with my computer, so I've been busy trying to fix that up, but stay tuned...
 

Yarlis

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I am using the Windows pre-built version. Extremely easy to install and very intuitive. You just manage how to deal with it in minutes.

Thanks again.
 

holdit

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It's working great now I've "educated" my AV. Fantastic program, many thanks. I like that if you make a typo you don't have to create the label again; you can just edit the label instead.

Any idea when the other nations' armour and ordnance information will be included?
 

jrv

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I like that if you make a typo you don't have to create the label again; you can just edit the label instead.
You don't have to create the label anew in VASL. If you mess up a label and you don't have it selected (black box around it), use shift-left-mouse-click to select it and edit it normally (ctrl-L or ctrl-2 for first or second line). You can edit at any time.

JR
 

holdit

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You don't have to create the label anew in VASL. If you mess up a label and you don't have it selected (black box around it), use shift-left-mouse-click to select it and edit it normally (ctrl-L or ctrl-2 for first or second line). You can edit at any time.
Yes, I know. :)
 

Pacman Ghost

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Any idea when the other nations' armour and ordnance information will be included?
Maybe 2-3 weeks for the British and American data. It's slow going since I'm importing the entire table for each nationality from Chapter H (I have ideas for some other programs :)), and those nations have complicated date-based capabilities e.g. M1 57mm AT Gun = NT, QSU, HE7(J4E)/7(5)†, D4(J4+E)†. The program needs to understand what all that means, so that it can know what it should show for HE and D i.e. I've just added a new field for the scenario theater, since the program needs to know if it's in the ETO or not
 

BruceC

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I've seen these layouts and they are very nice, but during installation my AVG did not like one of the files in there. Can you tell me why AVG would kick to quarantine, and what is Generic IDP?

Thanks!
 

Pacman Ghost

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Can you tell me why AVG would kick to quarantine, and what is Generic IDP?
IDP apparently means ID Protection. To understand why AVG (or any other virus checker) might flag this, you have to understand how they work. For specific viruses, they explicitly look for them in the program code, but virus checkers also do more general scans for things that look perhaps suspicious. However, they sometimes get it wrong and incorrectly flag something that is actually OK i.e. a false positive. These AVG support forum posts suggest that updating AVG, and/or its definition files (the things that describe what "suspicious" means) might clear the problem:
https://support.avg.com/answers?id=906b0000000DvETAA0
https://support.avg.com/answers?id=906b0000000DwSTAA0

As I mentioned above, I did a full offline scan of the machine I created the EXE on, and it came up clean, so I'm confident that the EXE is OK, and the warning is a false positive. The program opens what's known as a server socket (so that you can connect to it in a browser), something that malware often does, so that might be what AVG is not liking.

I realize there's nothing I can say or do to alleviate someone's concerns if they're worried about warnings like this, but if you don't want to run the EXE, you can still run the program from the source code. For anyone reading who doesn't know what that means, a computer program is a long list of instructions to the computer, telling it what to do. This gets converted into a more efficient format (the EXE file), that lets it run faster, but EXE's are where viruses live. However, in this particular case, I've made the program instructions available, and you can run the program directly from that, bypassing the need to run an EXE. It's possible that I've written some malicious things in the program instructions, but since it's freely available, it can be audited.

The other thing to consider is that I've written programs that have been used by 100's of thousands of people, if not millions by now - if I were looking to spread a virus, I'd target a user base a bit less niche than this one :)
 

Lawrence3106

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It's definitely a false positive :)

You can always run it from the source code, even on Windows; the EXE is simply provided as a convenience for non-technical users.
Norton flags it and deletes it as it is being downloaded on my system. Don't even get a chance to tell Norton that it is okay.

Lawrence3106
 

Pacman Ghost

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Norton flags it and deletes it as it is being downloaded on my system. Don't even get a chance to tell Norton that it is okay.
Good grief :mad: Thanks for letting us know, I'll try to find a mitigation for the next release (in a few days).

For now, most A/V programs have a switch that lets you temporarily turn them off, so you can do that to at least be able to download the file, then you can whitelist it.
 
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