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Poll: Playing X-Wing Online

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Posted (edited)

With social distancing hurting a lot of players' ability to play this wonderful game, many have learned to play online.  Today's poll is about which tool you use.  If you'd like to learn more about how to play online, see below!

This thread is for discussion.  Don't vote here, vote on the X-Wing Wiki (sidebar on the right, a page down; or use the direct link if that doesn't work).

Which application do you prefer for playing X-Wing online?

  1. Table Top Simulator (X-Wing 2.0 Unified mod)
  2. Vassal (X-Wing Miniatures Game module)
  3. Fly Casual (no online play, only vs bots or local play)
  4. Other (please specify)
  5. I don't play x-wing online

Multi-selection is enabled in case you use multiple in about equal measure and/or see equal value to multiple.  And if I've missed a product (or you use a totally different mod), you can manually enter it.  I'll post those answers (the serious ones anyway) at the end of the poll.

 

How to Play Online

 

Tabletop Simulator

TTS is very polished and pretty and (IMO) easier to learn, but costs money.  It supports Windows and Mac; I don't believe it works on Linux.

Community

TTS attracts the more casual community, while Vassal has more top players and competitive tournaments.

Instructions

  1. First buy Tabletop Simulator on Steam or Humble Bundle or Fanatical etc.  It's $20 base, but often on sale somewhere for 15-50%.
  2. Second, go here for the mod for Tabletop Simulator.  Just log into Steam and click Subscribe on that page, and you'll have the mod available next time you run TTS.

Updates

From what I've seen using it, the module updates itself automatically.

Other

Go to their Discord channel's #LFG room to find games!  There's also a couple short How-To videos to watch once you've played TTS's tutorial and learned its basic controls.

 

Vassal

Vassal is free but more work to set up.  It isn't as pretty as TTS and only has one camera angle (which you may view as an advantage or disadvantage), and IMO felt harder to use for x-wing simulation.  However it's free and runs on Linux, Mac, and Windows.

Community

Vassal attracts the more competitive community, while TTS has more casual players.

Instructions

Go here for the guide on installing it.  Below is a summary of steps...

  1. Download the Java Runtime Client for free here.  Run the executable to install.
  2. Download Vassal for free here.  Run the executable to install.
  3. Download the latest version of the mod here.  Place it somewhere you can easily find it, e.g. My Documents/Vassal.
  4. In the Vassal Launcher, go to File/Open Module and find it.

Updates

If I remember right from using it, you'll need to update your module manually when it gets new versions.  Make sure to keep on top of that before an important tournament!

Other

TODO: There's probably a discord channel and how-to video for this too!

 

TTS and Vassal: Additional Notes

Both TTS and Vassal support tons of other games, so installing either gives you access to X-Wing and a ton of other games to play online with friends.

Discord seems to be the chat & voice program of choice.  You can install it on your computer or even on your phone (e.g. if your computer lacks a microphone).  Being able to talk directly to the other player(s) speeds up the game a ton, and also helps increase the friendship and empathy players have for each other.  IMO text is terrible at that, but voice reminds everyone that there's another person on the other side of the virtual table, and people are generally nicer.

 

Fly Casual

Fly casual is an x-wing simulator with bots to fight.  Last I checked it said it had online play, but when I asked around people said that isn't quite the case.  (I need someone to confirm)  I've never used it and I'm afraid I don't have much info.  :(

Go Here for releases, or here for the forum thread.

(TODO: more info from someone who uses Fly Casual please!)

Edited by Wazat
adding info

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Posted (edited)

Issue: only one option is selectable at a time. I use two of these...

 

Vassal is more awkward to set up and learn but has a lot of the top players on it of you want competitive play. Some of us lack a good enough monitor screen to use it because it's zoom is limited.

TTS  is a lot simpler to use initially, but lacks some of the automated effects of Vassal. You tend to get more of the casual crowd playing it, and you get to knock stuff over - which can be good or bad news!

Edited by Gilarius

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I use FlyCasual a lot especially for practice with ships.  Ideal because you can play very fast even on a mobile device.

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7 hours ago, Gilarius said:

Issue: only one option is selectable at a time. I use two of these...

 

Vassal is more awkward to set up and learn but has a lot of the top players on it of you want competitive play. Some of us lack a good enough monitor screen to use it because it's zoom is limited.

TTS  is a lot simpler to use initially, but lacks some of the automated effects of Vassal. You tend to get more of the casual crowd playing it, and you get to knock stuff over - which can be good or bad news!

Maybe I should have switched the poll to multiselect from the start... I could do so now since there's only 16 votes so it shouldn't swing the end results by much.

Done -- I can wipe results if needed, but otherwise we'll just continue forward.  Thanks for the heads-up!

 

IMO fighting Vassal is one reason why I put off playing online for so long during social isolation.  I'd played X-Wing that way before and had a terrible time gauging distances and where maneuvers would put me, because I'm used to being at a physical table where I can look around from different angles and get a feel for things isometrically.  It actually caused my to lose pretty hard (in a game I thought I had in the bag) because I misjudged where a 2-turn would put a critical ship relative to an asteroid.  I'm glad I tried out TTS recently though... not only is it a better experience for me so far, it's gotten me back into x-wing when I was really missing the game.  I'd like to get a bunch of local friends together for some multiplayer games.  ^_^

Also, that's cool that the two games have different communities, and I'll count that as another reason why TTS works better for me.  Anyone who knows me won't be surprised I prefer a more casual environment.  My favorite fleets like Wullffwarro War Crimes have no place on the table with a tournament-level fleet.  The competitive, top players going to Vassal means I get to play against more players like me on TTS.  ^_^

I like have a good time against a fellow casual player instead of being used over and over again for some tournament player's practice.  I get that they need to practice, but I don't enjoy being the training dummy.  If the two communities start to split between a more competitive Vassal and more casual TTS, that'd be fantastic for both communities because they each get more of what they want.

 

I'll note the competitive-casual difference in the original post btw.  Thanks!

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Vassal can teach you to think about relative distances, which is incredibly useful if you just tough it out, both on the table with your eyes' perspective view, and of course, on Vassal.

 

Did you know that on the exact same day, Paul Heaver won his first World Championship title at FFG *and* played AND won an extra game against his Vassal opponent in one of the big early tournaments? They were due to play their finals, but as luck had it, they both participated in that Worlds so they just sat down and played it in person. Double champion on that day!

 

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On ‎4‎/‎16‎/‎2020 at 10:59 AM, Mu0n729 said:

Vassal can teach you to think about relative distances, which is incredibly useful if you just tough it out, both on the table with your eyes' perspective view, and of course, on Vassal.

 

Did you know that on the exact same day, Paul Heaver won his first World Championship title at FFG *and* played AND won an extra game against his Vassal opponent in one of the big early tournaments? They were due to play their finals, but as luck had it, they both participated in that Worlds so they just sat down and played it in person. Double champion on that day!

 

When I play in real life - I often find myself trying to visualize the birds-eye view of vassal.   I love the ability to find high quality opponents on line.   One of my favourite experiences was playing in a regional in Montreal and realizing that my opponent and I had played before on vassal - it was like meeting a long lost cousin.   I am looking forward to meeting some of my vassal friends when I go to Montreal to play in nationals

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I’m aware that I keep puttering around complaining about this, but I’ve found TTS a real struggle to get into—to the point where I’m close to giving up entirely. My situation just isn’t very favorable for gaming right now—I have a crappy, underpowered laptop, and only bits and pieces of time to get away from the kids and try to learn the dang thing. It also runs my battery down in notime flat, and I can’t really plug in and play due to house layout & lack of 3-prongs anywhere with a flat surface.

Im hoping that Vassal won’t be as system-intensive, and that maybe the controls will be easier to navigate. Failing that... at least I can theorycraft. 😕

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, CoffeeMinion said:

I’m aware that I keep puttering around complaining about this, but I’ve found TTS a real struggle to get into—to the point where I’m close to giving up entirely. My situation just isn’t very favorable for gaming right now—I have a crappy, underpowered laptop, and only bits and pieces of time to get away from the kids and try to learn the dang thing. It also runs my battery down in notime flat, and I can’t really plug in and play due to house layout & lack of 3-prongs anywhere with a flat surface.

Im hoping that Vassal won’t be as system-intensive, and that maybe the controls will be easier to navigate. Failing that... at least I can theorycraft. 😕

http://xwvassal.info/guide to go step-by-step

CTRL-left click on a ship (it has to be on the map) for the mouse interface
right click on most simple tokens (I don't recommend it for ships, since they are the most complex objects and the ctrl-left-click interface has superseded everything for them), including dice, obstacles, dials, and you learn real quick how to do things yourself.

 

Edited by Mu0n729

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I am really shocked that anyone finds TTS simpler to learn or use than Vassal. I’ve learned both in the last six weeks, but I was playing a full game on Vassal within hours, and TTS frustrated me for days. It’s not at all intuitive or easy to learn, and I still find myself occasionally getting completely stymied by the interface; launching a docked ship, finding and deploying debris with Rigged Cargo Chutes... there’s a ton of really wonky stuff that has to be done manually, and can become tedious. It’s very difficult. And extremely buggy... I find that if you save the game with certain temporary markers and features on, you often can’t get rid of them later, after reloading. Command dials regularly come unlinked from the ship they’re assigned to and must be reassigned. Occasionally and for no apparent reason, I’m sometimes unable to grab an obstacle from the pile. Weird crap like that.

That said, TTS offers a much slicker, much more beautiful, and (IMO) engaging experience. It’s worth the headache of learning the (at first very clunky and confusing) interface. And I’ve learned to work around the bugs by saving often.

Vassal is just easy. The installation is not, I’ll grant that, but once it’s all installed, it’s all just r-clicking and selecting.

I use both, and I like both. But my most regular opponents both prefer TTS, and so that’s where I usually play.

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7 hours ago, Mu0n729 said:

http://xwvassal.info/guide to go step-by-step

CTRL-left click on a ship (it has to be on the map) for the mouse interface
right click on most simple tokens (I don't recommend it for ships, since they are the most complex objects and the ctrl-left-click interface has superseded everything for them), including dice, obstacles, dials, and you learn real quick how to do things yourself.

 

Thank you, that sounds pleasantly straightforward.

5 hours ago, Cpt ObVus said:

I am really shocked that anyone finds TTS simpler to learn or use than Vassal. I’ve learned both in the last six weeks, but I was playing a full game on Vassal within hours, and TTS frustrated me for days. It’s not at all intuitive or easy to learn, and I still find myself occasionally getting completely stymied by the interface; launching a docked ship, finding and deploying debris with Rigged Cargo Chutes... there’s a ton of really wonky stuff that has to be done manually, and can become tedious. It’s very difficult. And extremely buggy... I find that if you save the game with certain temporary markers and features on, you often can’t get rid of them later, after reloading. Command dials regularly come unlinked from the ship they’re assigned to and must be reassigned. Occasionally and for no apparent reason, I’m sometimes unable to grab an obstacle from the pile. Weird crap like that.

That said, TTS offers a much slicker, much more beautiful, and (IMO) engaging experience. It’s worth the headache of learning the (at first very clunky and confusing) interface. And I’ve learned to work around the bugs by saving often.

Vassal is just easy. The installation is not, I’ll grant that, but once it’s all installed, it’s all just r-clicking and selecting.

I use both, and I like both. But my most regular opponents both prefer TTS, and so that’s where I usually play.

THANK YOU FOR POSTING YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH BOTH!!! Seriously, that sounds exactly like mine with TTS, except for the part where you got the hang of it and are using it. I’m sure it’s a fine enough way to play, but I physically do not have time to spend beating my head against a wall trying to learn an interface.

Vassal ahoy!!

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The one big thing is that TTS does not have an up to date guide or wiki for all the functions, which makes it rather hard to learn alone on your own.

Hexiled and GSP have some intro tutorials though - in Hexiled's case there are two compact videos teaching you all the basics you need to play. But for the best experience you need a veteran partner who knows all the tricks and moves really. If you want to stay up to date or need veteran help, then just pretty much have to visit the TTS mod discord server - all the devs and experts are hanging around there, working on features and bugs.

RCC is easy as it gets really once you know how: Assign the drop/launcher token (that's how you launch/drop all devices, RCC, SP in TTS) to the RCC-ship, if not done already. Get RCC from the device pile in middle. Use the drop/launch token to drop the s1 template. Just throw RCC on the template, it will automatically align with the template.

Docked Ships: New feature, so it is still a bit wonky and WIP  - if you spawn a list with a docked ship potential from the console the Mothership will have a shuttle token already assigned to it, else you need to grab one from the middle board and assign it to the Mothership.

Put that token near your shuttle and press sync - both are synced now. If you want to launch / drop your shuttle, you press the corresponding button on the token and the shuttle will align itself with the Mothership's base on the board (looks wonky, but that's intentional as of now). Now you can just use the normal movement dial for the shuttle to choose a maneuver and move away.

Yep, it's a bit tricky but once you properly learned it once, you got it. Also superior to Vassal launching 😄

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, funwok said:

The one big thing is that TTS does not have an up to date guide or wiki for all the functions, which makes it rather hard to learn alone on your own.

Hexiled and GSP have some intro tutorials though - in Hexiled's case there are two compact videos teaching you all the basics you need to play. But for the best experience you need a veteran partner who knows all the tricks and moves really. If you want to stay up to date or need veteran help, then just pretty much have to visit the TTS mod discord server - all the devs and experts are hanging around there, working on features and bugs.

RCC is easy as it gets really once you know how: Assign the drop/launcher token (that's how you launch/drop all devices, RCC, SP in TTS) to the RCC-ship, if not done already. Get RCC from the device pile in middle. Use the drop/launch token to drop the s1 template. Just throw RCC on the template, it will automatically align with the template.

Docked Ships: New feature, so it is still a bit wonky and WIP  - if you spawn a list with a docked ship potential from the console the Mothership will have a shuttle token already assigned to it, else you need to grab one from the middle board and assign it to the Mothership.

Put that token near your shuttle and press sync - both are synced now. If you want to launch / drop your shuttle, you press the corresponding button on the token and the shuttle will align itself with the Mothership's base on the board (looks wonky, but that's intentional as of now). Now you can just use the normal movement dial for the shuttle to choose a maneuver and move away.

Yep, it's a bit tricky but once you properly learned it once, you got it. Also superior to Vassal launching 😄

Thanks! That’s mostly very helpful. Makes no sense to me that they wouldn’t just have a little readme sheet along the table edge explaining all that.

Lando’s Falcon spawned in with the dock token, and I tried assigning it to the ship and throwing it around a little, but couldn’t figure out how to make it work. And the Rigged Cargo Chute debris was nearly impossible to even find... it isn’t a device, why on earth would it be in the devices pile? It’s an obstacle, but it wasn’t there. It’s an obstacle created by a ship, but it isn’t in the pile with Spare Parts Canister tokens, or Buzz Droids. And anyway, once we found it, I had so lost patience with the process that I just grabbed a 1-straight and lined it up myself, because I didn’t feel like learning how to use the “device launcher.”

There’s also little weird things like trying to Daredevil boost with ships that don’t have a 1-hard on the dial, the fact that Arvel Crynyd’s Boosts wouldn’t allow him to bump (though I hear they’ve fixed that)... corner-case stuff that’s hard to do, which shouldn’t be hard to do.

Edited by Cpt ObVus

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Yea, in Vassal and TTS whenever there's something specialized, I don't like to explore obscure docs etc to find the right way to do it.  I'll grab a template and do it manually.  Eventually my more experienced opponent explains the better way to do it.  😄

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Arvel boost may only have been implement in the beta for testing first. If not already, it should find its way into production soon I hope. Keep in mind that both Vassal and TTS are projects serviced by people who do it in their own free time - and especially with TTS you have to work with the tools TTS is giving you. Which are quite capable, but more specialized on board games, DnD and the like I believe - which is why the devs are dependent on using tokens to run the right scripts for bombing for example.

 

As for RCC - it was originally listed on the devices page by the original FFG devs. That got fixed with an RR FAQ last year, but I guess the TTS mod devs didn't feel the pressure to change that on their pile yet. 😄

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(@Cpt ObVus / @Wazat — stupid question here but I can’t find an answer— how do you set up a squad on the table in Vassal? And is there solo play of any kind? I can load a squad from a YASB link, but I don’t see how to put it on the table. I also see a “Solitaire” option but it doesn’t let me even load a squad? I just would like to putter around with this thing and figure out the very basics before I go trying to play online)

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, CoffeeMinion said:

(@Cpt ObVus / @Wazat — stupid question here but I can’t find an answer— how do you set up a squad on the table in Vassal? And is there solo play of any kind? I can load a squad from a YASB link, but I don’t see how to put it on the table. I also see a “Solitaire” option but it doesn’t let me even load a squad? I just would like to putter around with this thing and figure out the very basics before I go trying to play online)

So, in YASB, there’s a row of blue buttons in the upper right corner of the main interface. One of them says something about export to text or something. Click that and there’s a TTS button. Copy that text.

Then you go to TTS, and on the side of the table, there’s a little console. I think you click TTS Spawner and the faction you want to load in, then click the empty box, paste, spawn.

If you want to do that for two different fleets and then change your player color each time you change players, you can probably do a mock solitaire game.

Edited by Cpt ObVus

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30 minutes ago, Cpt ObVus said:

So, in YASB, there’s a row of blue buttons in the upper right corner of the main interface. One of them says something about export to text or something. Click that and there’s a TTS button. Copy that text.

Then you go to TTS, and on the side of the table, there’s a little console. I think you click TTS Spawner and the faction you want to load in, then click the empty box, paste, spawn.

If you want to do that for two different fleets and then change your player color each time you change players, you can probably do a mock solitaire game.

Definitely found that for TTS, thank you! I’m still not getting it for Vassal, though.

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1 hour ago, CoffeeMinion said:

(@Cpt ObVus / @Wazat — stupid question here but I can’t find an answer— how do you set up a squad on the table in Vassal? And is there solo play of any kind? I can load a squad from a YASB link, but I don’t see how to put it on the table. I also see a “Solitaire” option but it doesn’t let me even load a squad? I just would like to putter around with this thing and figure out the very basics before I go trying to play online)

A lot of stuff in Vassal works by clicking and dragging from one window to another. Once you've loaded your squad in, you just click and drag the ships from your player window to the map. Same applies to tokens and obstacles, whether you get them from your player window or the Pieces menu.

Just make sure you're actually in a player seat -- a lot of stuff is disabled when you're an observer.

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