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Re: [pcgen-xml] Re: It lives! And is reborn! [Using defacto standards]

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  • Devon Jones
    ... Ok, my position on this is that we probably shouldn t. By being xml, we are being open, and we can certainly build xslt to transform to other formats, but
    Message 1 of 19 , Oct 3, 2005
      andargor wrote:

      >I would strongly suggest that the character should be saved in a
      >format based on a "de facto" XML standard for the sake of not
      >reinventing the wheel, and interoperability. I have been citing
      >OpenRPG for some time. (get it here:
      >http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=2237&package_id=2193&release_id=201695))
      >
      >Look in the OpenRPG\orpg\templates\nodes\d20character.xml file for the
      >format they use.
      >
      >It could be another format, such as Twin Roses' or DMGenie, it doesn't
      >really matter, as long as tools out there can support the format.
      >
      >I realize that PCGen might need "internal representations" or
      >additional info within the character just for PCGen. This is where the
      >power of XML comes in: you just add a <pcgen version="x.x"> section
      >and include whatever extra "mechanics" are needed by PCGen. The other
      >tools that support OpenRPG will simply ignore it, and use the common
      >OpenRPG data to import.
      >
      >Please let us be truly open, and allow PCGen to finally be able to
      >work with other tools.
      >
      >As for data sets, that's an entirely different discussion, but we'll
      >get to that eventually. I suggest you look at Frugal's stuff in this
      >list. He is in the process of revamping his XML based character
      >generator, and some ideas could be reused or expanded upon for the
      >future of PCGen.
      >
      >Needless to say that I'm excited about this... :)
      >
      >Andargor
      >
      >
      >
      Ok, my position on this is that we probably shouldn't. By being xml, we
      are being open, and we can certainly build xslt to transform to other
      formats, but we need more and different information then these programs do.

      Section 1 is absolutely necessary. period.
      Section 2 is not
      Section 3 is IMHO utterly necessary, as I intend to drive our Sheet
      exports off of it, and it makes a perfect interchange format, as it will
      literally contain *all* the final data about a character, with zero
      information that is driving the pcgen program.

      Having looked at OpenRPG's format, their format is purely an internal
      program representation, and (IMHO) not useful for really anything else -
      it depends on things that are basically internal needs of their
      program. What I intend with section 3 is essentially a representation
      of a character that is utterly complete, and would result in the
      capability of transforming into really any other data format that uses
      xml. Furthur, if we *find* something that it can't be transformed to, I
      would see us as adding to out format to make it capable of that kind of
      transformation.

      Finally, with this kind of transformation capability, we could finally
      add the ability to save characters in these other formats, much like you
      can save as rtf in word. The problem here is that these other programs
      (OpenRPG, DMGenie and Twin Rose) were not designed as interchange
      formats, and were designed with their programs in mind. I want to break
      this model, and design a format that can function as a full interchange
      format (section 3), and have sections designed in this format for other
      usage (section 1 and 2). That being said, I would seriously consider a
      section 4: external Apps. An optional section (since all the sections
      are optional) that can contain the character, already transformed for
      OpenRPG, DMGenie, Twin Rose, etc.

      This is getting somewhat stream of consciousness now, but I could see us
      developing one top level format that is intended to embed any number of
      other formats, and then consider sections 1-3, and any other formats to
      each be their own xml format, that is embeddable in the upper level
      pcgen xml document.

      Devon
    • Brass Tilde
      ... Ah hah! Now I get it. If this was explained earlier, I apologize for not understanding. Put this way, it makes excellent sense, though I might prefer it
      Message 2 of 19 , Oct 3, 2005
        > Section 1: this is designed to tell pcgen how to build a character.
        >
        > Section 2: This is a log, and as such is mostly useful as a debugging
        > tool.

        > Section 3: This is for export, as well as import. This section allows
        > us to show a complete character, sans lst data, and sans decisions.

        Ah hah! Now I get it. If this was explained earlier, I apologize for
        not understanding. Put this way, it makes excellent sense, though I
        might prefer it if the presence of the second section were a
        configuration option. I don't feel very strongly about that, though.

        In your design, I'm assuming that it would be possible to generate a
        "section 3" from any set of levels in section 1, e.g. if I have 10
        levels, but I want a sheet that shows what the character looked like at
        level 9.

        Good stuff. I wish I had more time to help with it.
      • Brass Tilde
        ... the ... we ... programs do. Honestly, I don t think you two are that far apart on this. andargor s element is Devon s section 1 .
        Message 3 of 19 , Oct 3, 2005
          > > andargor wrote:
          >
          > >I realize that PCGen might need "internal representations" or
          > >additional info within the character just for PCGen. This is where
          the
          > >power of XML comes in: you just add a <pcgen version="x.x"> section
          > >and include whatever extra "mechanics" are needed by PCGen.

          > From: "Devon Jones" <soulcatcher@...>

          > Ok, my position on this is that we probably shouldn't. By being xml,
          we
          > are being open, and we can certainly build xslt to transform to other
          > formats, but we need more and different information then these
          programs do.

          Honestly, I don't think you two are that far apart on this. andargor's
          <pcgen version="x.x" /> element is Devon's "section 1".

          > > andargor again.

          > >Please let us be truly open, and allow PCGen to finally be able to
          > >work with other tools.

          This would be Devon's "section 3". The end product of all the
          calculations and other stuff that PCGen does, in a format that can be
          transformed to virtually anything anybody else needs. If a piece of
          info isn't there, it can be added (as long as PCGen processes that
          information).

          Publishing the schema to section 3 enables other programs, should they
          wish to do so, to publish transforms that can be used to use that data
          in whatever way they want.

          Brad
        • Devon Jones
          ... Section 2 will take a long time, and may never be fully realized. Section 2 may not appear it, but it s *hard* ... Precisely, we can even contain if we
          Message 4 of 19 , Oct 3, 2005
            Brass Tilde wrote:

            >
            >Ah hah! Now I get it. If this was explained earlier, I apologize for
            >not understanding. Put this way, it makes excellent sense, though I
            >might prefer it if the presence of the second section were a
            >configuration option. I don't feel very strongly about that, though.
            >
            >
            Section 2 will take a long time, and may never be fully realized.
            Section 2 may not appear it, but it's *hard*

            >In your design, I'm assuming that it would be possible to generate a
            >"section 3" from any set of levels in section 1, e.g. if I have 10
            >levels, but I want a sheet that shows what the character looked like at
            >level 9.
            >
            >
            Precisely, we can even contain if we wish, more then one section 3, and
            if we can get the code fast enough, that may end up defaulting to that
            for each level. If not, it'll be optional.

            >Good stuff. I wish I had more time to help with it.
            >
            >
            >
          • Brass Tilde
            ... I ll reiterate someone else s point here though, that some things are *not* necessarily level dependent, such as one s possessions. It *is* true that most
            Message 5 of 19 , Oct 3, 2005
              > > In your design, I'm assuming that it would be possible to generate a
              > > "section 3" from any set of levels in section 1, e.g. if I have 10
              > > levels, but I want a sheet that shows what the character
              > > looked like at level 9.

              > Precisely, we can even contain if we wish, more then one
              > section 3, and if we can get the code fast enough, that
              > may end up defaulting to that for each level. If not,
              > it'll be optional.

              I'll reiterate someone else's point here though, that some things are
              *not* necessarily level dependent, such as one's possessions. It *is*
              true that most people gather those things over the course of their
              careers, so a strict "point in time" snap-shot section 3 would show
              different equipment for each level.

              However, in the case of losing one or more levels, the equipment would
              need to be retained, and displayed for the new lower level. Not a
              showstopper by any means, and not terribly difficult to implement I
              imagine (I can think of at least one way to do it right now). The whole
              thing implies a sequence to the character, even if part of that sequence
              is going backwards!

              Again, good stuff. Keep up the good work.

              Brad
            • Fred Drake
              ... They were right, of course. Sections 1 and 2 are strictly level-based information; possessions or other point-in-time information ( broken arm ) is
              Message 6 of 19 , Oct 3, 2005
                On 10/3/05, Brass Tilde <brasstilde@...> wrote:
                > I'll reiterate someone else's point here though, that some things are
                > *not* necessarily level dependent, such as one's possessions. It *is*
                > true that most people gather those things over the course of their
                > careers, so a strict "point in time" snap-shot section 3 would show
                > different equipment for each level.

                They were right, of course. Sections 1 and 2 are strictly level-based
                information; possessions or other point-in-time information ("broken
                arm") is separate. I don't know if this really belongs in section 3
                or not, but seems parallel. Points in time also don't generally
                correspond to level transitions. (If you require training in-game to
                learn/advance skills, then levelling up earns skill points, and the
                decisions on spending them happen outside the levelling process.)

                I suspect that full point-in-time rollback should reasonably be
                considered out-of-scope for the data format. This sort of
                functionality is easily enough implemented using copies of the data
                files, either directly on the filesystem or using an external revision
                control system.

                Which is not to say that it's a bad idea to included other timestamped
                information: "Noon, 12 Octember 2345, -1 STR damage (permanent) from
                cursed ray gun." But that's game time; real-world time should still
                be handled externally. There's a lot of messy interactions between
                game time and real-world time, and more tricks to pull if the game
                world isn't on the Gregorian calendar.


                -Fred

                --
                Fred L. Drake, Jr. <fdrake at gmail.com>
                "Society attacks early, when the individual is helpless." --B.F. Skinner
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