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First trial by fire with PCGScry and my throughs on the experiance.

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  • Josh Handel
    So last night I used PSGScry to manage my character at my local D&D campain and here are my thoughts and were I ran into some issues. 1) KICK ASS: in many ways
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 6, 2002
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      So last night I used PSGScry to manage my character at my local D&D campain
      and here are my thoughts and were I ran into some issues.

      1) KICK ASS: in many ways this made life so much easier.. Looking up spells
      especially..man does this make that part of life SO easy

      2)Spell book management (like wand charges) would be way way way useful.. I
      ended up using the character notes and writting my spell book there.. then
      when I cast anything I had to bounce inbetween spells and my notes.. Not too
      bad compared to pencil and paper + book but could be MUCH better with some
      tweekage.

      3) App seams VERY slow to load.. it takes upwards of 2 - 3 minutes for the
      application to start up.. I don't know if this is just my cassiopia or if
      this is a global thing.. (when is the spell list loaded? That could have
      something to do with it..)

      4) Notes.. Saving notes good... Not being able to alter fields on the
      "Money" tab bad.. I found myself taking DM notes for all of the things that
      I wanted to be "two click" changes on the money tab.. Like adding money,
      adding misc items, changing the description of misc items.. etc....

      5) Notes screens don't resize when keyboard/writing recognition pad is out.
      I found myself having to write in an area I could not see (or adding a bunch
      of enters to the end of notes to force them to scroll) because the notes and
      DM notes text areas dont scale when I turned on my writing interface (for me
      it's the handwriting recognition.. but the mini keyboard takes up the same
      amount of space).. this make sence with the "view only" screens. But kinda
      hurts on the "Notes" screens.

      6) Doesn't Calculate DC for Spell focus or greater spell focus. This one is
      kinda a "bitch" I have with PCGen too.. especially sence my spell DC is
      kinda wack with Spell casting prodigy.. I sometimes forget that my spell
      focus and greater spell focus are not applied.. (it's pretty simple business
      logic to add me things.. hence the reason I am mentioning it)..

      All and all the app KICKED ASS.. I really enjoied using it.and it made the
      game much less "bookish". (now if I can only get my GM to let me use a dice
      roller..). Please note that all of my comments are very much "nitpicky"
      kinda things.. regardless of if the ever get incorporated or not I still
      think this is a GREAT tool.. and thanks for all of the hard work put into to
      making this app happen :-)

      Laters
      Josh Handel
    • Ross Carlson
      Hi Josh, I m glad you re enjoying the app and finding it useful. I ve ... Much easier than flipping through the PH huh? Now I just need to include the spells
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 6, 2002
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        Hi Josh, I'm glad you're enjoying the app and finding it useful. I've
        responded to your suggestions below:

        > So last night I used PSGScry to manage my character at my local D&D
        > campain and here are my thoughts and were I ran into some issues.
        >
        > 1) KICK ASS: in many ways this made life so much easier.. Looking up
        > spells especially..man does this make that part of life SO easy

        Much easier than flipping through the PH huh? Now I just need to include
        the spells from the various supplemental books such as Tome & Blood, etc.

        > 2)Spell book management (like wand charges) would be way way way
        > useful.. I ended up using the character notes and writting my spell
        > book there.. then when I cast anything I had to bounce inbetween spells
        > and my notes.. Not too bad compared to pencil and paper + book but
        > could be MUCH better with some tweekage.

        I've had a lot of requests for this. I'm going to brainstorm a few
        different ways to handle tracking memorized spells. I'll post them to this
        group for discussion.

        > 3) App seams VERY slow to load.. it takes upwards of 2 - 3 minutes for
        > the application to start up.. I don't know if this is just my cassiopia
        > or if this is a global thing.. (when is the spell list loaded? That
        > could have something to do with it..)

        2 or 3 minutes is a bit excessive. It takes 20 seconds or so on my iPAQ.
        Are cassiopia's notoriously slow among the handhelds?

        The program is written in Embedded Visual Basic, which is a compile-on-
        demand scripting language, so it takes some time to compile at startup, but
        loading and parsing all of the spell files takes the majority of the
        startup time. Only the spell names are loaded initially, but that still
        requires parsing all of the XML files. The actual spell data and
        descriptions are only loaded at the time you view a given spell.

        How long does it take to load a character file on your device?

        > 4) Notes.. Saving notes good... Not being able to alter fields on the
        > "Money" tab bad.. I found myself taking DM notes for all of the things
        > that I wanted to be "two click" changes on the money tab.. Like adding
        > money, adding misc items, changing the description of misc items..
        > etc....

        I do plan to enable adding/subtracting coins so you can track treasure
        found and money spent during your sessions. As for adding misc. items, I
        don't think I'll be adding that. I always use the notes page,
        then "purchase" the actual items in PCGen when I get home and update my
        character file after a session. I try to avoid duplicating the
        functionality of PCGen wherever possible, since PCGScry is primarily a
        character viewer and gaming tool.

        I think that your current coin amounts are a dynamic-enough thing to
        warrant having a quick way to manage them in the program, but in general
        your inventory doesn't change much, and when it does change, it doesn't
        require math (as does managing coin levels), so it seems to me that using
        the notes field as a temporary scratch pad until you get back to PCGen, is
        sufficient. Your thoughts?

        > 5) Notes screens don't resize when keyboard/writing recognition pad is
        > out. I found myself having to write in an area I could not see (or
        > adding a bunch of enters to the end of notes to force them to scroll)
        > because the notes and DM notes text areas dont scale when I turned on
        > my writing interface (for me it's the handwriting recognition.. but the
        > mini keyboard takes up the same amount of space).. this make sence with
        > the "view only" screens. But kinda hurts on the "Notes" screens.

        Yeah, this one has bothered me since I started writing the application. I
        am looking for a way to detect when the user opens the keyboard so I can
        programmatically resize the notes/dm notes fields. Look for this bug fix in
        the next version.

        > 6) Doesn't Calculate DC for Spell focus or greater spell focus. This
        > one is kinda a "bitch" I have with PCGen too.. especially sence my
        > spell DC is kinda wack with Spell casting prodigy.. I sometimes forget
        > that my spell focus and greater spell focus are not applied.. (it's
        > pretty simple business logic to add me things.. hence the reason I am
        > mentioning it)..

        This one bugs me too. My main character is a Sorcerer with several
        different feats and magic items that boost his DCs in various spell
        schools. I may add the ability to track whether or not the character has
        spell focus/greater spell focus and in which schools, then apply the
        appropriate bonus to the DCs when a spell is clicked on. What I'm afraid of
        is adding a "half-baked" feature. In other words, if I modify DCs based on
        spell focus, then I really should be modifying DCs based on any other magic
        items, spells, etc that would affect DCs. I guess the jury is still out on
        this one.

        Thinking out loud here, one way to do it would be to have a page for
        miscellaneous bonuses, where you could enter a bonus for DC to each school
        of spell, plus other bonuses like movement, resistance, etc. Seems clunky
        though.

        >
        > All and all the app KICKED ASS.. I really enjoied using it.and it made
        > the game much less "bookish". (now if I can only get my GM to let me
        > use a dice roller..). Please note that all of my comments are very much
        > "nitpicky" kinda things.. regardless of if the ever get incorporated or
        > not I still think this is a GREAT tool.. and thanks for all of the hard
        > work put into to making this app happen :-)

        Glad you like it ... please keep the great suggestions coming! Enjoy.

        -Ross Carlson
        http://www.metacraft.com/PCGScry/
      • cergorach
        Hi there! Just returned to being player again, using you app on my ipaq sure helps a lot! There are still some things that need improvement though, but more on
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 7, 2002
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          Hi there!
          Just returned to being player again, using you app on my ipaq sure helps a lot! There are still some things that need improvement though, but more on that later. I have a gaming session in an hour or so, thus i will not go into detail to much, on the other hand i'll have subjected your app to a combat trial ;-)

          > Much easier than flipping through the PH huh? Now I just need to include
          > the spells from the various supplemental books such as Tome & Blood, etc.

          I can handle the adding of the spells, many i have allready lying around OCRed, thus it's now just adding them as xml. Looking at the xml files that shouldn't be to difficult. Anything special you want me to add to non SRD spells? We really don't want to see you waste your expertise on such menial tasks as adding spells ;-)

          > I've had a lot of requests for this. I'm going to brainstorm a few
          > different ways to handle tracking memorized spells. I'll post them to this
          > group for discussion.

          Yes please, add this. Makes live a lot easier. I have some ideas, i'll edit an image in Photoshop to show you what i mean, i'll post it later...

          > I do plan to enable adding/subtracting coins so you can track treasure
          > found and money spent during your sessions. As for adding misc. items, I
          > don't think I'll be adding that. I always use the notes page,
          > then "purchase" the actual items in PCGen when I get home and update my
          > character file after a session. I try to avoid duplicating the
          > functionality of PCGen wherever possible, since PCGScry is primarily a
          > character viewer and gaming tool.
          >
          > I think that your current coin amounts are a dynamic-enough thing to
          > warrant having a quick way to manage them in the program, but in general
          > your inventory doesn't change much, and when it does change, it doesn't
          > require math (as does managing coin levels), so it seems to me that using
          > the notes field as a temporary scratch pad until you get back to PCGen, is
          > sufficient. Your thoughts?

          There are some other things that require editing in game, such as AC and Initiative. I really like the popup screen for AC, if you could add an editing fuction it would be bliss.

          Maybe the Temp fill in positions could be popup screens as well, that way you could specify where the temp bonus(es) would come from.

          I was wondering, how do you handle it when your character gets polymorphed? I'm often walking around in the form of a troll or giant or a dragon or a... Well you get the idea ;-) Any way to add polymorph templates?

          Overall, an excellent app, much appreciated!

          --Cergorach (aka. Remy D.M. van Vliet)
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