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Re: New Member seeks understanding of the tool.

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  • RobertD
    James, Many thanks for your response and the speed of it. You may allot yourself a huge merit for being in a select set of perhaps as little as 1% of
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 1, 2013
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      Many thanks for your response and the speed of it. You may allot yourself a huge merit for being in a select set of perhaps as little as 1% of share/freeware projects I have written to that deigned to respond. And you're the only one in recent memory who wasn't just responding to flame me. :) Huge sincere thanks!

      > > Leaving aside the incorrect English, this error message helps me not in the least. So what do I have to go on? The word campaign suggests something the app understands so I look for it. No top level menu back in the app has any reference to the word campaign. Dead end.
      > Yes that message could be more helpful. The terminology should be
      > consistent (as an aside we have struggled with names for these and they
      > have been called sources, campaigns, and datasets in the past). How
      > about this for a replacement (taking Ultimate Combat as an example)?
      > "This source cannot be selected yet as it relies on other sources:

      Awesome. Absurdly accurate! <--- Humor

      > /at least 1 of ( at least 1 of BOOKTYPE=Core Rules must be already
      > selected, at least 1 of BOOKTYPE=Complete Core must be already selected )
      > /
      > You can also see these requirements for the currently clicked source in
      > the 'Source Info' section below."
      > Note: The "at least..." text is automatically generated, I'll discuss it
      > a bit more below.

      So I did find this after you pointed it out. Why was it so hard for me? Here are the myriad reasons:
      1) My un-maximized PCGen window has a very very squeezed Info sub-frame. All I saw was the top of the picture of the book in question.
      2) SINCE all I saw was a picture of a book I assume it was a link to buy type deal and my paranoid of others' reasons and jaded self isnt going further down that path (I assure you).
      3) Your error message above should include the solution, I insist. Instead of a pop up error and seemly unrelated info field, Have the error occupy its own dedicated screen area with solutional help in another under it hierarchically. Also de-programerify the text of that solution. Here is an example:

      There is one reset action and two requirements you must complete in order to choose this selection and they should be performed in this order:
      0) - Reset action - remove all sources from the right window of chosen sources.
      1) Requirement - You must already have a source chosen whose BOOKTYPE is Core Rules.
      2) Requirement - You must already have a source chosen whose BOOKTYPE is Complete Core

      > > I assume that this bad error message means that a source which is a prerequisite for this source has not been included yet so this one cant be. Where is a dialog choice that offers this" Include them? Yes button, no button? So simple!
      > Actually it isn't quite that simple :) Again taking Ultimate Combat you
      > have a couple of options:
      > * Paizo - Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook;
      > * Pathfinder RPG for Players - Advanced; or
      > * Other core rules packages to be introduced in the future.
      > So we have to defer to the user at this stage and let them choose the
      > right option.

      I disagree. I see your point. But that point is lesser in value to getting a new unfamiliar user up and running with your application. Make a default case that uses Paizo (nominal)and work from there. Get it WORKING. A clever user can change it after that. An unclever user will still have more fun with your tool to start with.

      > Now looking at the message above there are a couple of problems - how
      > does the user know what "Core Rules" or "Complete Core" are? They could
      > search for those in the box at the top but in both cases they don't get
      > a result - the search for core gets the right result at least :)
      > So some actions from there:
      > 1. Add book type to the text searched;
      > 2. See if the requirements can be recoded to always have a specific
      > suggested book name (this one is for the data team); and
      > 3. Try and simplify the automatically generated requirements display
      > text a bit by reducing common cases e.g. "at least 1 of single
      > choice must already be selected" becomes "single choice must already
      > be selected".

      As stated de-programerify your text instructions. Logic > Technese. Orderly steps in plain English = win.

      > > In frustration, I try including random sources guessing which it might be that is needed. None seem to work or to de-red the one I want. Dead end again.
      > Yeah that's not what we want people to do!

      But it is human nature. Heck, I'm a programmer myself and I did it.

      > > Admittedly, this is a hard line position to take, but I do. I learn by doing and by being taught. I detest research and a tool is only useful if it is intuitive and leads you through its successful use, especially software. You, the experts, are presumably well aware of what is wrong. Instead of telling me in a way that helps me use your tool effectively, you give me bad English error messages that offer me no choices and point me in no app specific direction. I am a developer myself with over 30 years experience so I am at least vaguely aware of the situation here.
      > After using a product for a long time (10 years+ here) you do start to
      > make assumptions, so it is incredibly helpful to have someone come along
      > without those assumptions and provide their insight. We've come a long
      > way from the early days where you needed to know a lot about the data to
      > use the program, but obviously there is still room for improvement!
      > > You can better than that. Even for freeware.
      > >
      > > Can anyone please tell me what is wrong without referring me anywhere else?
      > While I have detailed some things I'll be doing above, the immediate fix
      > for you would be to
      > 1. Use the 'Advanced' tab on 'Select Sources' as you have;
      > 2. Add the "Paizo - Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook" and
      > presumably "Paizo - Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Player's
      > Guide" first and second;
      > 3. Click on the source you want to add and if it is in red, then look
      > in the info panel below for the requirements section and choose the
      > sources you need to satisfy those.
      > 4. You may also want to click "Save Source Selection" once you are done
      > and give the set of source a name "Roberts Pathfinder Game" which
      > will appear on the basic screen in future. This is really only
      > needed if you have more than one game, so you can quickly switch
      > between them. PCGen remembers the sources you used for each
      > character and will load them up when you load the character.
      > Thanks for the feedback and hopefully the above is helpful in getting
      > you going.
      > Cheers,
      > James Dempsey
      > PCGen Code Silverback

      All of that was what eventually got me to what I suspect (I don't know yet) is a working set of sources. Here are some other observations:

      1) As listed the instructions failed! But I did read the info sections to follow the 'logic' included there. That revealed a problem. Disinclusion logic is ... notorious. Although I didn't know what I had included that was stopping my source selection, I know had a clue that was the problem. I did my reset step from above and it worked. BOOM. So, what was the issue? Something called:

      Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Character Traits Web Enhancement

      was loaded on the right BY DEFAULT. That little jewel along with the core rules forbid the choice of the APG. An arguably niche default that caused disinclusion of some fairly basic stuff - not good.
      2) I had thought I wanted traits so I was a bit miffed at removing them. I was surprised to find traits still available on the sheet in the app. I surmise that the web stuff is somehow different than this base trait set.
      3) The stated logic of our second requirement from my list above, even as I understand it given what you have explained, is bogus. Why do I say this? Because there is only 1 item on my default download list of sources with BOOKTYPE=Complete Core. That is something called:

      Pathfinder RPG for Players Advanced

      In any combination of including the core rules and the APG(supplement) this item never is enabled. Following its own stated info block logic leads me nowhere as the 'logic' is, as far as I can tell, a nonsequitur. It is:

      less than 2 of ( at least 1 of BOOKTYPE=Core Rules must be already selected, less than 1 of Pathfinder RPG for Players - Advanced must be already selected ) and less than 1 of Paizo - Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Player's Guide must be already selected

      As far as I can tell that is aneurysm talk!

      Hope all this helps somehow ... feedback being what it is.

      Thanks for your help and as I use the tool I will possible send you other 'helpful' suggestions.
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