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Great taste, less filling

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  • Artus Faucon
    I ve been trolling around for a good character generator and manager and naturally tried PCGen. I tried it years ago, but went with Crystal Ball
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 19, 2008
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      I've been trolling around for a good character generator and manager and naturally tried
      PCGen. I tried it years ago, but went with Crystal Ball (www.crystalballsoft.com), which i
      found just plain easier to use. Crystal Ball development is slow, however, so I've reneed
      my search to see if there is anything better out there.

      I play mostly D&D3.5, but I'm excited about the new Pathfinder RPG from Paizo
      (www.paizo.com). I also like House Rules, so naturally I want something with the 3.5 SRD
      built-in, but with the option to modify some of the rules to make a custom set.

      What I like about PCGen:
      - the ability to load custom rulesets with ready-made "blocks" to build my character with.
      - the fact that it tracks almost all the math I can think of, and even has a somewhat
      interactive on-screen character sheet that not only displays the stats, but allows me to
      *use* them by doing skill checks, etc. right on the sheet.
      - Inventory, equipping, container and encumberance tracking. Nice.
      - I like that, although it does track limits like gold, skill points, etc. I can generally override
      them manually.
      - there is an integrated GM tool with Initiative (combat) manager, that uses data from open
      characters.

      What I dislike about PCGen:
      - I *MUST* load rulesets with the blocks to build a character out of. Makes sense from a
      flexibility point of view, but makes it really hard to figure out what the heck I'm supposed
      to do for a first-time user.
      - I am limited to the choices available in the lists. It's gotten a lot easier since earlier
      versions to modify those lists (adding custom skills, for example was relatively painless),
      but I still can't just add a blank item to my inventory and add custom attributes later. I a'm
      limited to choosing something from the list, and I couldn't quickly figure out a way to edit
      those (not in the "List Editors" window).
      - The interface is bit busy. I sort of prefer having a clean interface for presenting my
      character stats, then using dialogues for adding things from a list, or especially adding
      blank entries that I can fill in with custom data, if I want to add something not on the list.

      The equipment area is both powerful, but limiting for me. I like that I can put things into
      containers, equip sets, etc., but it drives me bonkers that I can't easily add a custom item
      to my inventory. It's equipment! I should be able to pick up "a gnarly stick" if I wanted,
      without having to buy it from the gear list. I want to be able to add it's weight, whether
      it's a container or weapon, etc. after-the-fact, on my own.
      Same for spells, and feats, and probably other list-type things (skills are less of an issue
      in this regard and are already quite useable for me).
      Also, the ability to drag a graphic file onto the portrait area would be sweet.

      Being able to export PCGen data to MapTools token properties (www.rptools.net) would
      also rock. I think there are home-grown conversion tools in existence, but are not
      necessarily easy to use.

      PCGen has a great framework and system built-up, but until it gets easier to use, I think
      I'm going to stick with my Crystal Ball :( ... for now. in the meantime, I will follow PCGen
      development with interest.

      Happy Gaming!
    • Martijn Verburg
      Hi Artus, ... You ll be pleased to know that this upcoming release cycle (5.16.0) will be adding support for Pathfinder ... , thanks! Always nice to
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 19, 2008
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        Hi Artus,

        > I've been trolling around for a good character generator and
        > manager and naturally tried PCGen. I tried it years ago, but went
        > with Crystal Ball (www.crystalballsoft.com), which i found just
        > plain easier to use. Crystal Ball development is slow, however, so
        > I've renewed my search to see if there is anything better out there.
        >
        > I play mostly D&D3.5, but I'm excited about the new Pathfinder RPG
        > from Paizo (www.paizo.com). I also like House Rules, so naturally
        > I want something with the 3.5 SRD built-in, but with the option to
        > modify some of the rules to make a custom set.

        You'll be pleased to know that this upcoming release cycle (5.16.0)
        will be adding support for Pathfinder

        > What I like about PCGen:

        <snip>, thanks! Always nice to hear those things :)

        > What I dislike about PCGen:
        > - I *MUST* load rulesets with the blocks to build a character out
        > f. Makes sense from a flexibility point of view, but makes it
        > really hard to figure out what the heck I'm supposed to do for a
        > first-time user.

        Again you'll be please to know that this is being addressed in 5.16.0,
        some hefty discussion are taking place on out pcgen_experimental Y!
        group if you want to chime in!

        > - I am limited to the choices available in the lists. It's gotten
        > a lot easier since earlier versions to modify those lists (adding
        > custom skills, for example was relatively painless), but I still
        > can't just add a blank item to my inventory and add custom
        > attributes later.

        This is an outstanding code feature request (to build items purely
        from scratch), I'll be totally honest with you and say it's not likely
        to happen soon (it's actually quite complicated to support that)

        > I'm limited to choosing something from the list, and I couldn't
        > quickly figure out a way to edit those (not in the "List Editors"
        > window).

        You can choose any object from the list and right click on it to
        customise the item. There are several 'blank' base items you can use
        to build common items from scratch.

        The lack of obvious button to customise the item is also being
        addressed in 5.16.0.

        > - The interface is bit busy. I sort of prefer having a clean
        > interface for presenting my character stats, then using dialogues
        > for adding things from a list, or especially adding blank entries
        > that I can fill in with custom data, if I want to add something not
        > on the list.

        Connor Petty is leading a UI overhaul project to simply the PCGen UI,
        please do let him know your thoughts either here or on pcgen_experimental

        > The equipment area is both powerful, but limiting for me. I like
        > that I can put things into containers, equip sets, etc., but it
        > drives me bonkers that I can't easily add a custom item
        > to my inventory. It's equipment! I should be able to pick up "a
        > gnarly stick" if I wanted, without having to buy it from the gear
        > list. I want to be able to add it's weight, whether
        > it's a container or weapon, etc. after-the-fact, on my own.

        See above, again there are some code freqs out there that we're hoping
        Connor can tackle, but no promises until he figures out what is doable
        in the current code base.

        > Same for spells, and feats, and probably other list-type things
        > (skills are less of an issue
        > in this regard and are already quite useable for me).
        > Also, the ability to drag a graphic file onto the portrait area
        > would be sweet.

        Cool idea, I'm sure Connor will pick this up.

        > Being able to export PCGen data to MapTools token properties
        > (www.rptools.net) would also rock. I think there are home-grown
        > conversion tools in existence, but are not necessarily easy to use.

        I _thought_ we had an rptools output sheet, if we don't then I'm very
        sure that we have a OS freq covering it, Chuck Pint our OS 2nd has a
        bit more time this cycle, hopefully he can tackle it.

        > PCGen has a great framework and system built-up, but until it gets
        > easier to use, I think I'm going to stick with my Crystal Ball :(
        > ... for now. in the meantime, I will follow PCGen development with
        > interest.

        Thanks very much for your post, this is exactly the sort of info we
        want back from our users, happy gaming and I hope we can entice you
        over soon!

        K
      • Eddy Anthony
        ... We had an export sheet for RPTools InitTool program, their combat tracker. The problem is that RPTools is a highly active group of developers, the Token
        Message 3 of 6 , Jun 19, 2008
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          Martijn Verburg wrote:

          >> Being able to export PCGen data to MapTools token properties
          >> (www.rptools.net) would also rock. I think there are home-grown
          >> conversion tools in existence, but are not necessarily easy to use.
          >>
          >
          > I _thought_ we had an rptools output sheet, if we don't then I'm very
          > sure that we have a OS freq covering it, Chuck Pint our OS 2nd has a
          > bit more time this cycle, hopefully he can tackle it.
          >

          We had an export sheet for RPTools InitTool program, their combat tracker.

          The problem is that RPTools is a highly active group of developers, the
          Token properties feature did not exist when I completed the sheet for
          InitTool and the version that it does exist in is still a development
          version. It's looking like MapTool will see a new production version
          soon and as a user of RPTools programs I'm quite interested in it and
          it's likely you will see a sheet for this from me in this next
          development cycle.

          --
          ~ Eddy Anthony (MoSaT)
          ~ Chair Second, PCGen Board of Directors
          ~ Data Content Second, Doc Chimp, OS Tamarin
        • Eddy Anthony
          ... Opps, meant to say we HAVE a sheet for InitTool. I know it works for version 1.0.b23 but I haven t kept up with the development versions because they moved
          Message 4 of 6 , Jun 19, 2008
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            Eddy Anthony wrote:
            > Martijn Verburg wrote:
            >
            >
            >>> Being able to export PCGen data to MapTools token properties
            >>> (www.rptools.net) would also rock. I think there are home-grown
            >>> conversion tools in existence, but are not necessarily easy to use.
            >>>
            >>>
            >> I _thought_ we had an rptools output sheet, if we don't then I'm very
            >> sure that we have a OS freq covering it, Chuck Pint our OS 2nd has a
            >> bit more time this cycle, hopefully he can tackle it.
            >>
            >>
            >
            > We had an export sheet for RPTools InitTool program, their combat tracker.
            >

            Opps, meant to say we HAVE a sheet for InitTool. I know it works for
            version 1.0.b23 but I haven't kept up with the development versions
            because they moved to java 6 and I don't have access to that yet.
            > The problem is that RPTools is a highly active group of developers, the
            > Token properties feature did not exist when I completed the sheet for
            > InitTool and the version that it does exist in is still a development
            > version. It's looking like MapTool will see a new production version
            > soon and as a user of RPTools programs I'm quite interested in it and
            > it's likely you will see a sheet for this from me in this next
            > development cycle.
            >
            >


            --
            ~ Eddy Anthony (MoSaT)
            ~ Chair Second, PCGen Board of Directors
            ~ Data Content Second, Doc Chimp, OS Tamarin
          • Artus Faucon
            Thanks for the replies. If I have time, I ll go look for an appropriate place to voice suggestions. In the mean time, I will explore the things you
            Message 5 of 6 , Jun 21, 2008
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              Thanks for the replies. If I have time, I'll go look for an appropriate place to voice
              suggestions. In the mean time, I will explore the things you mentioned.

              And all of this certainly highlights the need for a UI overhaul in PCGen. Not easy, I know,
              but apparently needed. But you already knew that ;-)

              *lurk mode re-initialized*

              --- In pcgen@yahoogroups.com, "Martijn Verburg" <martijnverburg@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hi Artus,
              >
              > > I've been trolling around for a good character generator and
              > > manager and naturally tried PCGen. I tried it years ago, but went
              > > with Crystal Ball (www.crystalballsoft.com), which i found just
              > > plain easier to use. Crystal Ball development is slow, however, so
              > > I've renewed my search to see if there is anything better out there.
              > >
              > > I play mostly D&D3.5, but I'm excited about the new Pathfinder RPG
              > > from Paizo (www.paizo.com). I also like House Rules, so naturally
              > > I want something with the 3.5 SRD built-in, but with the option to
              > > modify some of the rules to make a custom set.
              >
              > You'll be pleased to know that this upcoming release cycle (5.16.0)
              > will be adding support for Pathfinder
              >
              > > What I like about PCGen:
              >
              > <snip>, thanks! Always nice to hear those things :)
              >
              > > What I dislike about PCGen:
              > > - I *MUST* load rulesets with the blocks to build a character out
              > > f. Makes sense from a flexibility point of view, but makes it
              > > really hard to figure out what the heck I'm supposed to do for a
              > > first-time user.
              >
              > Again you'll be please to know that this is being addressed in 5.16.0,
              > some hefty discussion are taking place on out pcgen_experimental Y!
              > group if you want to chime in!
              >
              > > - I am limited to the choices available in the lists. It's gotten
              > > a lot easier since earlier versions to modify those lists (adding
              > > custom skills, for example was relatively painless), but I still
              > > can't just add a blank item to my inventory and add custom
              > > attributes later.
              >
              > This is an outstanding code feature request (to build items purely
              > from scratch), I'll be totally honest with you and say it's not likely
              > to happen soon (it's actually quite complicated to support that)
              >
              > > I'm limited to choosing something from the list, and I couldn't
              > > quickly figure out a way to edit those (not in the "List Editors"
              > > window).
              >
              > You can choose any object from the list and right click on it to
              > customise the item. There are several 'blank' base items you can use
              > to build common items from scratch.
              >
              > The lack of obvious button to customise the item is also being
              > addressed in 5.16.0.
              >
              > > - The interface is bit busy. I sort of prefer having a clean
              > > interface for presenting my character stats, then using dialogues
              > > for adding things from a list, or especially adding blank entries
              > > that I can fill in with custom data, if I want to add something not
              > > on the list.
              >
              > Connor Petty is leading a UI overhaul project to simply the PCGen UI,
              > please do let him know your thoughts either here or on pcgen_experimental
              >
              > > The equipment area is both powerful, but limiting for me. I like
              > > that I can put things into containers, equip sets, etc., but it
              > > drives me bonkers that I can't easily add a custom item
              > > to my inventory. It's equipment! I should be able to pick up "a
              > > gnarly stick" if I wanted, without having to buy it from the gear
              > > list. I want to be able to add it's weight, whether
              > > it's a container or weapon, etc. after-the-fact, on my own.
              >
              > See above, again there are some code freqs out there that we're hoping
              > Connor can tackle, but no promises until he figures out what is doable
              > in the current code base.
              >
              > > Same for spells, and feats, and probably other list-type things
              > > (skills are less of an issue
              > > in this regard and are already quite useable for me).
              > > Also, the ability to drag a graphic file onto the portrait area
              > > would be sweet.
              >
              > Cool idea, I'm sure Connor will pick this up.
              >
              > > Being able to export PCGen data to MapTools token properties
              > > (www.rptools.net) would also rock. I think there are home-grown
              > > conversion tools in existence, but are not necessarily easy to use.
              >
              > I _thought_ we had an rptools output sheet, if we don't then I'm very
              > sure that we have a OS freq covering it, Chuck Pint our OS 2nd has a
              > bit more time this cycle, hopefully he can tackle it.
              >
              > > PCGen has a great framework and system built-up, but until it gets
              > > easier to use, I think I'm going to stick with my Crystal Ball :(
              > > ... for now. in the meantime, I will follow PCGen development with
              > > interest.
              >
              > Thanks very much for your post, this is exactly the sort of info we
              > want back from our users, happy gaming and I hope we can entice you
              > over soon!
              >
              > K
              >
            • Artus Faucon
              Right, so I found a found a way to create a new custom item, but this is something I expected to find in my character inventory, not the gear database. It
              Message 6 of 6 , Jun 21, 2008
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                Right, so I found a found a way to create a new custom item, but this is something I
                expected to find in my character inventory, not the gear database. It seems counter-
                intuitive to me to have to right-click on a base item in the database to build my custom
                item, rather than build one from scratch in my inventory. I first looked for this by right-
                clicking in my inventory area, and had to re-read your instructions to realize I had to
                right-click on an existing item in the database. Confusing, but there is definitely potential
                there once the UI has been improved. PCGen definitely has the right approach in terms of
                the underlying mechanics, it's mostly the UI that gets in the way.

                And btw, yes RPTools has a very active community and pump out development builds
                surprisingly often. I've seen quite a bit of discussion about bridging PCGen with their
                tools, but I'm not sure where that will go with the development of their CharacterTool
                (which I can't currently get to run on my Mac).

                Thanks,
                Artus

                --- In pcgen@yahoogroups.com, "Martijn Verburg" <martijnverburg@...> wrote:
                <snipped for brevity>
                > > - I am limited to the choices available in the lists. It's gotten
                > > a lot easier since earlier versions to modify those lists (adding
                > > custom skills, for example was relatively painless), but I still
                > > can't just add a blank item to my inventory and add custom
                > > attributes later.
                >
                > This is an outstanding code feature request (to build items purely
                > from scratch), I'll be totally honest with you and say it's not likely
                > to happen soon (it's actually quite complicated to support that)
                >
                > > I'm limited to choosing something from the list, and I couldn't
                > > quickly figure out a way to edit those (not in the "List Editors"
                > > window).
                >
                > You can choose any object from the list and right click on it to
                > customise the item. There are several 'blank' base items you can use
                > to build common items from scratch.
                >
                > The lack of obvious button to customise the item is also being
                > addressed in 5.16.0.



                >
                > > - The interface is bit busy. I sort of prefer having a clean
                > > interface for presenting my character stats, then using dialogues
                > > for adding things from a list, or especially adding blank entries
                > > that I can fill in with custom data, if I want to add something not
                > > on the list.
                >
                > Connor Petty is leading a UI overhaul project to simply the PCGen UI,
                > please do let him know your thoughts either here or on pcgen_experimental
                >
                > > The equipment area is both powerful, but limiting for me. I like
                > > that I can put things into containers, equip sets, etc., but it
                > > drives me bonkers that I can't easily add a custom item
                > > to my inventory. It's equipment! I should be able to pick up "a
                > > gnarly stick" if I wanted, without having to buy it from the gear
                > > list. I want to be able to add it's weight, whether
                > > it's a container or weapon, etc. after-the-fact, on my own.
                >
                > See above, again there are some code freqs out there that we're hoping
                > Connor can tackle, but no promises until he figures out what is doable
                > in the current code base.
                >
                > > Same for spells, and feats, and probably other list-type things
                > > (skills are less of an issue
                > > in this regard and are already quite useable for me).
                > > Also, the ability to drag a graphic file onto the portrait area
                > > would be sweet.
                >
                > Cool idea, I'm sure Connor will pick this up.
                >
                > > Being able to export PCGen data to MapTools token properties
                > > (www.rptools.net) would also rock. I think there are home-grown
                > > conversion tools in existence, but are not necessarily easy to use.
                >
                > I _thought_ we had an rptools output sheet, if we don't then I'm very
                > sure that we have a OS freq covering it, Chuck Pint our OS 2nd has a
                > bit more time this cycle, hopefully he can tackle it.
                >
                > > PCGen has a great framework and system built-up, but until it gets
                > > easier to use, I think I'm going to stick with my Crystal Ball :(
                > > ... for now. in the meantime, I will follow PCGen development with
                > > interest.
                >
                > Thanks very much for your post, this is exactly the sort of info we
                > want back from our users, happy gaming and I hope we can entice you
                > over soon!
                >
                > K
                >
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