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4e homebrew coding

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4e homebrew coding

Postby Margrave30 » Thu Oct 09, 2014 7:50 pm

In lieu of finding a base homebrew dataset to start with, I'm about to embark upon the task of coding a 4e dataset using the 'Starter Kit' as a beginning. Certain aspects seem to be fairly simple. Skills. Dieties. Other things seem a bit harder (class and racial powers). Other things will need to be extrapolated from existing datafiles (i.e., including Themes, or Primeval Thule's 'Narratives'...). Any suggestions or tips regarding the process or structure?

Also - once the Datafile is complete, I would like to design a set of custom Output Sheets for print, web, and possibly exportable to tablet devices (I use iPad...). I'm in Graphic Design (mostly print...), and I'm, frankly, AGHAST at the quality of pdfs I've seen PCGen produce. Am I nuts, or isn't it just a matter of creating a nicely done pdf form which can import data from characters created in PCGen and saved as character files?

Thanks, all - wish me luck!

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Re: 4e homebrew coding

Postby jamesd » Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:22 pm

Hi Margrave,

Our output process doesn't use PDF forms, but instead uses the FOP process to create PDFs. This is much more amenable to programmatic manipulation.

As a volunteer project we are always happy to have people pitch in and help out. Having someone who can apply their graphic design skills to the output sheets would be fantastic. Would you be interested?

Cheers,
James.
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Re: 4e homebrew coding

Postby Nylanfs » Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:25 pm

Talk to Bahumet Dragon about tips for 4e

And yes the sheets are functional not pretty. Please work on them. For android phones and tablets look up a app called PCGen Character Sheet made by dysfunctional apps


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Re: 4e homebrew coding

Postby LegacyKing » Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:34 pm

Well, data sets exist, I know that for a fact. We just don't supply any cause of the lack of a 1) License, 2) Permission.

However, I would love to take you up on your OS revamp offer. The PDFs are generated by our Code. It's not an import feature but an export feature. However, if you have a better method I am very interested.

Since the PDF is dynamically created, that allows for great versatility. However, we don't have any dedicated OS monkeys willing to invest the time/effort into making the sheets better than what we have today.

Cheers,


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Re: 4e homebrew coding

Postby Margrave30 » Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:55 pm

From what I've read about the FOP conversiion process, a handful of fonts are accessible initially, but new fonts can be added. Pretty neat! And, yes - I'm aquainting myself with xml, xslt and the Apache FOP - but once I've had a chance to poke around and get comfortable with it, I'd be glad to help. I think just getting some good typefaces and graphical elements for the FOP to export into the pdf would mean alot - but utility and intuitive, useful groupings of info (you guys have labeled them 'tokens', yeah?...) will play into it, as well......

Anyway, thanks James!
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Re: 4e homebrew coding

Postby LegacyKing » Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:55 pm

FOP does the processing side, but the graphics and such are pretty much the XSLT portion.

XML - is where we store the output tokens and assign them a variable_value in the form of a unique address. Their unique value or KEY is based upon the hierarchy of the base.xml.ftl file. I believe the xml lingo is nodes. Character is the root node, and then you have sub nodes - like weapons, bio, and such. The XSLT interacts with the nodes to grab the unique value of the output token. We have the visible "character sheets" that the user selects, which then grabs a master configuration xslt file - we name them 'master_xxx', which now grabs the building block files which are the different segments of the character sheet. It used to be all those blocks were stored in the master file, but as we had a larger list of master files, making even a simple correction involved multiple files. As of 6.4, I pulled those sections out into blocks, and it makes maintaining easier. Though we are still debugging some issues.

So as far as PDF goes - Export through FOP to grab the xml file, which is pulled into the "color" and User selectable character sheets, which then determines the layout.

We're still migrating the files over to the freemarker system, converted sheets have ftl appended to the end of the file.

On my wish list, having a Campaign Logo on the sheet was something I had wanted. Eddy Anthony made an html / javascripted character with very nice graphics. The main thing that needs to be understood, any graphic/border has to be flexible to handle the dynamic output our sheets are designed to do. Our initial sheets are modeled after the main 3e style sheets. Since we support a variety of publishers, being able to emulate their custom layouts is what I would like.

Just to give you an idea of the sheets we want and home brews are seeking: *=Systems we openly support
  • *OSRIC - Emulates 1st Edition D&D
  • *Killshot - Completely unique sheet for a custom system by Broken Ruler
  • *Fantasy Craft - Four page spread with unique layout and graphics
  • Fate - normally a single page, simple design
  • Traveller20
  • Shadowrun
  • 4e - Reworked design - ASPECT powers
  • 5e - Reworked design - removes range increments / penalties, spells no longer use the CAST mechanic, but a slot mechanic
  • Dragon Age - removes range increments / penalties, Spells are in more of a 4e format
  • Mutants and Masterminds
  • Call of Cthulhu
  • True20

I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones I'm aware of today. As you can see, a true OS monkey proficient with layout design, and the time to tackle it would be immensely appreciated.


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