76121File - Welcome
- Apr 1, 2004Welcome!
What is PCGen?
PCGen is a character generator and maintenance program aimed at supporting any
RPG material we can get our hands on. Currently our focus is on material
released under the Open Gaming License (OGL). A secondary goal is to support
as many houserules as possible. PCGen is meant to be easy to modify to suit
your own campaign, and users are encouraged to share their creations.
Where is Wotc's non-SRD material?
The System Resource Document (SRD) can be found at
It's basically a subset of what's in the PHB, DMG, MM and PsiHB, the real
difference being that some spell names are changed. The non-SRD material
(Defenders of the Faith, Sword and Fist, Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, etc. all
TM of Wizards of the Coast) requires a special license and is available from
the folks at www.codemonkeypublishing.com
Will PCGen include everything that it can?
We sure plan on it! It takes a lot of time to complete the data for a book,
but it's time well spent. :) We ask publishers for their permission before
we include anything, and those of you who are familiar with the OGL know that
this formality isn't required. However, we at PCGen wish to be courteous to
the publishers and respect their wishes - if a publisher doesn't want us to
include their material (or just a specific book) then we won't include it. As
long as we comply with the OGL we could legally include anything that is OGL
without needing the publisher's permission, but that goes against the
long-standing policy we've had for PCGen.
For D20 and OGL Games Publishers:
Please read our OpenLetter to all D20 Games Publishers at
We'd love to convert your material for use with PCGen. We have a publisher
liason team (Michael Beaver and Paul King) who are the ones to contact about
getting your material into PCGen. They're also the team that will seek you
out about getting your permission, and will send you the files for your
approval before we include it in a production release. If you have anything
declared as product identity, we can mark it clearly as such within PCGen or
not include it. This is a free way for your material to get widespread use
without without giving out so much detail that purchasing the material is no
longer necessary. Email me (merton_monk@...) or post on our yahoo
message board if you'd like more information.
Where are the official releases of PCGen?
Currently PCGen is released at http://pcgen.sf.net
How often are releases?
We try to put out a beta release every week. We put out a production release whenever we reach a significant milestone in terms of functionality and we certify that the release is stable after rigorous testing.
What does the Board of Directors of PCGen do?
A few people have asked about the Board of Directors (BoD) and their
role in PCGen, so I thought I'd try to come up with a short and
The BoD is a group that brings together the leaders of every team
(Code, Data, Docs, Publisher Liason, OGL/Licenses, Output Sheets and
Special Projects) to make sure that inter-group communications are
working. It also decides on general policies to guide the project in
general. One example is that we're currently discussing if we should
put the Documentation under a special open-source type license. We
also discuss what kinds of requirements we might have on any 3rd
party group that would want to claim compliance with PCGen. Another
issue is where to host data - the preferred place is in the official
releases, but there are a couple of situations that would preclude
that from happening: if a publisher wants to host the data
themselves and not include it in an official release (we'd require
that the data be free) or if a special license was required then the
publisher or some other site that was compatible with that license
would need to host the data - in all circumstances the data would be
free. The BoD also discusses any key issues for each group -
like "What does the data team need from any of the other teams to
finish off book X?". The BoD does not assign anyone to book X or to
fix the bugs/features related to that book. The BoD simply helps
facilitate discussion between the teams so the team leads can then
decide who they want to assign to those tasks. This is a volunteer
project, so someone who is assigned to something doesn't have to do
it, but hopefully the volunteer will tackle it out of a desire to
see book X completed, or out of pity for the team lead! :)
This is an open source project, and as a community project, this
means that everyone is giving their time and talent to improve a
product for the entire PCGen audience. The BoD helps direct the
project by providing groundrules and policies to keep things running
smoothly. In return for the volunteer's aid and compliance with
those policies, the BoD promises to make it's policies transparent
and fair as possible. This way there are no surprises for anyone on
any team. The BoD recognizes that it's policies aren't perfect, and
is very willing to accept suggestions!
When will you support my favorite book?
We try to get everything in that we can as quickly as we can. We've made our process more formal as our project has matured, so now we have "data monkeys" who test the data, then send it to the publisher for their approval before it gets included in our releases. This takes a bit of time and we only have so many monkeys working on the data, so if you want to jump in and help out on the book(s) you're specifically interested in, post a note about it on the message board and we'll put you to work!
Where can I discuss PCGen and interact with the developers?
If you login to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pcgen you can check out the PCGen
page from which you can view and post Messages. If you have any questions about
PCGen, that's the place to send your question. Most of the developers hang out
there on a regular basis, and a number of other very involved non-developers
are also available to answer any questions you might have.
Where/How do I report Bugs or request features?
You can submit a bug either by posting a message to the yahoo group with [BUG
REPORT] in its title, or by going to Bug page at the sourceforge site and
entering a bug there directly. We commonly refer to the feature requests as
FREQ for short, and you can either post a message with [FREQ] in the title or
enter it directly in the FREQ list at the sourceforge site. In both cases, the
more detailed a bug/FREQ is, the more likely it will be addressed in the near
future. We prefer FREQs be posted at the yahoo group initially so others can
help iron out any details or brainstorm on how to improve the functionality.
What do I need to run PCGen?
PCGen requires Java JRE 1.3 (this can be found at www.sun.com), which means it
will run on any OS that supports that version of Java. This means that Max OS
8 & 9 users will need to have Virtual PC since those OSes only support Java
1.1.8. There are 3 zip files which make up a PCGen release. Unzip all three
files into the same directory and you're good to go. Java 1.4 is now
available from Sun for most platforms (except Mac OS X), and it seems to run
java better, so we recommend that for users. Development is currently being
done using java 1.3, so you can use that if that's what you already have. We'll convert our development to use java 1.4 once Mac OS X also supports it.
What's available at the yahoo site?
In the Files page there are a number of folders you should know about - there's
Campaign+Central folder where lots of user added Campaigns are available.
There's a folder for new character sheet templates that aren't
included in the standard releases, and there's a folder for Character PCG files
when users have problems that they need help diagnosing. Users who want to send
in corrections or updates to anything that's included in the official releases
of PCGen should upload those files to http://sourceforge.net/tracker/?atid=450173&group_id=36698&func=browse where one of us, including our very own
Portal to the Negative Plane, will make sure it gets included in the next
Is there an "on-line" version of the documentation?
Yes - at
There's a "Troubleshooting" guide there if you have any trouble getting PCGen
Thanks, and welcome aboard!
Bryan McRoberts (merton_monk@...)
Benevolent Dictator of PCGen
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