A Java Virtual Playing Board
for PBEM Wargaming

Last updated 2001-February-17


Click here to download JV_Map



Latest News


JV_Map 0.10.8: minor fixes (the counter was being redrawn with an extra pixel, which made the right and bottom borders look too thick; new windows which open for very small maps will now be sized appropriately).


JV_Map 0.10.6 released. This one represents a huge change in JV_Map, and an addition of a large amount of code. What's new?

Older news


What is JV_Map?

In short, a playing board for wargames or any board game, allowing you to play over E-mail. It was written in Java on a Linux box by Rob Knop. You can contact me by sending E-mail to rknop@pobox.com.

Do you have trouble finding opponents to play your wargames with? Has a longtime gaming buddy moved to a different city, state, or country? Do you want to be able to search the entire world for gaming opponents? In that case, you should consider PBEM Gaming. PBEM = "Play By E-Mail." For the case of roleplaying games, where games in person involve a mostly a whole lot of talking, it's pretty easy to see how you could play over E-mail. When you require a game board and counters, however, you have to have some way of sending that information through the mail.

Todd Zircher wrote a program entitled V_MAP, which runs on Windows PCs, that lets you load in a computer image of a game board and move counters around on that game board. You can then save the state of the game board to a very small standard text file, which is easily sent through E-mail. Your opponent, who already has the map/counter set receives the text file in E-mail, and reads it into his copy of V_MAP, and can make his move.

I wanted to try to play these sorts of games over the internet. Unfortunately, I don't have a PC that runs Windows. (Rather, I run Linux on my PC, and AmigaOS on my Amiga.) To recitfy the situation, I wrote JV_Map, a program much like V_MAP, in Java. In principle, one could run this anywhere, although you must first get a Java virtual machine running on your system. (With Linux, it was easy; I've heard it said that it works on the Mac and I believe on Windows as well. If you have any experience with it, let me know!)

JV_Map is not entirely a port of V_MAP. It is intended to serve the same purpose, but it doesn't have as many options. Todd's current program includes options for die rolling and so forth which JV_Map doesn't include. However, the VMP files written out by JV_Map are completely compatable with the version 1.5 VMP files written out by the current version of V_MAP (1.7 as of this writing). Todd and I have been playing a couple of games of G.E.V. over E-mail, him with V_MAP on his Windows box, me with JV_Map on my Linux box. Although part of the purpose of this has been debugging, we have had no interoperability problems.

As of version 0.10, JV_Map supports the VMP 2.0 file format. V_Map doesn't yet support this, but Todd and I developed the format together, so presumably a version of V_Map which supports it will come out soon. In the mean time, JV_Map is still capable of reading and writing VMP 1.5 files.



Status of JV_Map

Unimplemented features:

Bugs and Unintended Features:


Download JV_Map

JV_Map is made available under the GPL.

See the Installation Instructions and Manual to figure out what to do with the JV_Map .zip file once you've downloaded it.




Counter Sets and Game Support Pages

These are counter sets and game support pages I have online here. See the links section for place to find many other counter sets and specific game support pages.

Compact Combat and other man-to-man games

A counter set I've created, along with a trivial grid and sample VMP file, for Compact Combat from Microtactix. This gameset is suitably generic that it could be used for any man-to-man fantasy combat game.

Counter set for Itty Bitty Battles (IBB_vmp.zip)

Itty Bitty Battles is a free microgame written by Walt O'Hara of the PBEM Emporium. There, has the rules online in PDF format.

Ogre and G.E.V.

V_Map includes in its archives maps, counter sets, and VMP files for GEV and Ogre. On Unix, you have to download the version 17b beta (file v_map17_b.zip), uncompress that with "unzip", and then uncompress the CAB files with cabextract in order to get at the actual BMP and VMP files. (Gotta love those proprietary Microsoft archive formats.) I have no clue how you get at them on a Mac.


PBEM Wargaming Links

Other pages of interest


The PBEM wargaming aid that inspired JV_Map, and whose save files JV_Map is compatable with. A place to download this program if you have a Windows PC, and a repository of counter sets and maps that should work with both V_MAP and JV_Map.

The Play By Email Emporium

Information about the PBEM Wargaming community. It has archives for many different gaming systems, including V_MAP, Cyberboard, Aide De Camp 2, and SMS.

Strategic Map Simulator (SMS)

Another system like V_MAP for playing wargames over E-Mail. While the save file format is different, the image files used by SMS are compatable with JV_Map.

Free Generic Wargame Maps

The maps here are compatable with JV_Map.

Generic Universal Boardgame

Yet another system written in Java to allow E-mail wargaming, which is no longer being maintained.

The Q Universal Boardgame

QUB is a program by the same author as GUB (Stephem Beal), written to use Qt, the toolkit availble on Linux with KDE (and, doubtless, elsewhere as well).

Last updated 2001-March-19

This page is copyright 2001 by Robert A. Knop Jr. (rknop@pobox.com).