Tuesday 26 February 2013


(Yet Another) ASL implementation?

For those on the linux scene (I barely scratch the surface of that wonderful world) there's a common theme - the "Yet Another..." [insert favourite application/utility/idea]  The internet is full of well meaning people who start another unoriginal project, destined never to fully complete it and this little project is going to be another one of those!

There are other implementations out there.  JASL, up until 2004, got mighty far and is certainly the leader in the race for a computer emulation of ASL.  There are without a doubt others out there, I saw a flash based one somewhere, and there are others to be sure. It's a tricky beast, full of rules but the real issue is the exceptions that almost every scenario has via the Special Rules.  It's one thing knowing you have a great specification of the system in the rulebook but effectively breaking those sub-components in every scenario makes creating a workable system immensely hard.

That's a long introduction to set expectations low.  However, it's something I've kicked around for years.  I've always stopped because, quite frankly it's an impossible task.  Trying to squeeze in the SSRs for secret movement DRs, subterranean movement, unique HOB results and the like that two players can (usually) instantly understand and comprehend is just too daunting.

But, like the old saying about eating elephants one bite at a time, I intend to approach the project bit by bit. First, set up an empty board, have a couple of squads on each side, and play a scenario that says last remaining squad wins.  Right there is the essence of the game.  Move, shoot, resolve the scenario.  The rest is "simply" chrome!

So, seeing as we start from the beginning, and this blog is now going to take on a journey of the development pitfalls, here we go.  The first screenshot!

Not much, eh.. But - like a how an artist sees a blank canvas, I see opportunities leaping out at me!

Of course - astute players will already spot the problem of the half hex (even they're a pain in computer ASL, - is it a hex, a half hex, how do we count off-board hexes!?  Urg - all these things that as players, we take for granted.

As you can see, rather than a blank canvas I also see a whole host of UI, programmatic and copyright challenges, but we'll tackle them one bite at a time.

Next up will be the first stab at the basic UI.  We need to show turn number, phasing player and the phase of the turn.  Oh - and maybe a nice zoom function.  Ok - back to work!


  1. I have a vision of you disappearing into this for years only to pop up now and again for cons and the odd Gamesquad post. You have been warned!

    Good Luck Dave, hope you keep the bites manageable.


  2. Take care that you have not sunk your teeth into a Bruhathkayosaurus. :)

    Good luck!