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Campaign/Character Editing

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Campaign/Character Editing – July 22, 2010 1:21 PM (edited 7/22/10 9:21 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
With the chat UI coming along nicely, it's time to consider the less exciting bits of the UI: the out-of-game editing. For the most part this will consist of a lot of textboxes and such, but we may as well get down what sorts of things there are to edit, and how the pages should look. I've never had a good head for laying out huge pages of textboxes, so I'm all ears here.

Also I'm going to handle this post a bit differently than the chat design doc, since that got to be a bit of a mess. Specifically, I'm going to add features in the order they are actually added, so if you're viewing this post later you can get some idea of what's new without any crazy color schemes. But I'm leaving the list blank for now, because I'd rather get a discussion underway than think about it right now. Sticking Out Tongue

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There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 22, 2010 1:34 PM (edited 7/22/10 9:39 AM)
chaoscat (452 posts) Ambassador of Good Will
Rating: Not Rated
(Note: I see someone has already posted to this thread while I'm busy collecting my thoughts here. Sorry if I end up duplicating ideas then)
Never mind, Dowd just started a different thread. Stupid only-tells-you-what-forum-the-update-is-in-automatically-updating-forum-list.

Seems to me like you'll need at least two different pages for this - a page for setting up the static fields on character sheets and a page for setting up a given chat session. Come to think of it, you'll probably need two variations on the character sheet set up page - one to set up a "template" character sheet that you can use as a baseline for everyone to start with, and one to edit a specific character's sheet, although that may end up being just different save/load options on the same page.

Character Sheet Configuration Page
-- My big requirement is that literally everything have an option to be hidden from the players. I'm thinking in terms of Amber here, where after the start of the game, the players don't even really know their own stats.
-- I'm thinking a live update preview of what the stat box will look like, with an "add element" or "add stat" or something like that button which lets you put in a new stat field. Stat fields should come in, at least, "label with editable value (e.g. your will save)" and "item that can be marked and unmarked (e.g. a daily power)"

Chat Session Configuration Page
-- You'll obviously need some kind of campaign identifier, so you can load up the appropriate characters and chat log.
-- You'll also need a bunch of enable/disable buttons for features like the initiative box, player to player private chat, GM snooping on player chat, player editable stats, etc.
-- Also, you'll need some way to make sure that only the GM for a given campaign can get into the chat room configuration page.

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Syllabic (4:14 PM): tozzi are you like dowd's jiminy cricket
Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 22, 2010 1:44 PM (edited 7/22/10 9:44 AM)
chaoscat (452 posts) Ambassador of Good Will
Rating: Not Rated
Oh, one more thing I forgot - stats should have labels which can then be referenced in macros, preferably by character name. Probably worth starting a doc for the macro language, but I'm thinking something like:

/roll 1d8+<my(str)>
or for the DM

/roll 1d20+<Guimar(spot)>
or even

/all_players roll hidden 1d20+<str>

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Syllabic (4:14 PM): tozzi are you like dowd's jiminy cricket
Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 22, 2010 1:46 PM (edited 7/22/10 9:56 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
Actually a macro language doc is a great idea... great enough that it gets its own thread!

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There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 23, 2010 1:35 PM (edited 7/23/10 9:35 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
I'm thinking for the sake of simplicity keep the character sheet creation simple. Just have it as an editable drop down text box and a text field. The drop down box is where the players enter a stat label. The drop down box would be populated with the most common stat labels, but users can type in custom ones. The text field should allow players to enter numbers. Then you have some kind of button on the bottom of the page to allow a new stat row to be entered. Maybe also include functionality here for a player to upload a pdf/excel/image file of their actual character sheet.

I don't know how you would incorporate 4th ed powers in the functional player character sheet though. What would it be? Just a label and a check box? To what end would that functionality be used in the session GUI? I think support for that would just end up being confusing with not much use.


Editing the campaign to choose which stats to display for player's stat boxes should be a similar layout. One row of widgets to setup the stat to be displayed, and a button on the bottom to add a new row. Each row here should have these columns:
Stat Label Drop Down List
Stat Type Drop Down List
Player Editable Check Box
Hide From Other Players Check Box

The Stat Type Drop Down List would be a static list of options that dictate how the stat should be displayed. So you would have an option "Static Number" which would show a single number (like AC). "Depletable" which would display a current number/max number (like HP). "Text" which would be text information (like class/race). "Boolean" which would show a checkbox (like to display powers used).

Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 23, 2010 1:47 PM (edited 7/23/10 9:47 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: /images/autobot.gif + 1
For the first time someone said something in this particular thread that I felt like I could add something to Smile I don't really use commands in chat much, so I figured I'd mostly leave this up to you guys.

But I think at some level the DM is going to need to be able to create "power templates" that apply to his game. Be it 4E powers, Exalted charms, 3.5 spells or whatever, there's always going to be something beyond basic stats. It would be nice to declare it as a sort of pre-formatted sticky note that players can create for themselves and which could be archived conveniently. This way the DM doesn't need to fill in the details of every power, they could be added by the players as the players acquire them.

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 28, 2010 4:10 AM (edited 7/28/10 12:11 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
I added a campaign settings mockup. The formatting is incredibly basic, but what I'm looking for most here is what settings a campaign actually needs. I included everything I could think of that directly relates to the chat, but not much beyond that. This, then, is the place to suggest general campaign settings that could go on any page, whether the campaign home page, the chat, forums, or whatever.

Note that while I left the formatting basic, I'm not opposed to feedback on it. The simple truth is, I suck at making pretty HTML forms. Optimally I'd probably take this layout and add header bars and nice sections, and color the left side (field names) differently and such, but if there's a better overall design, I'm all ears. I'm particularly wondering if there's a better way to handle checkbox values, or to organize things to waste less space. If you play with settings you'll note that unchecking certain options hides other options reliant on them (especially the character box section, which is why it's colored differently). Is that a good solution, or should these options appear grayed out, or is there some better way to handle all of this?

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There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 28, 2010 11:44 AM (edited 7/28/10 7:44 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Just a really quick observation on the dice rolling mechanics: "Exploding" dice systems are typically not limited to only d6, and is not success based like White Wolf. Typically systems with exploding dice (Earth Dawn, Brave New World, Firefly) has you building your character by buying different dice for each stat. So str would be a d4, int would be d10, char might be d12 + d2. The checks are additive against a difficulty check just like in D&D. If the max number for any die is rolled, you get to re-roll that die again.

Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 28, 2010 12:38 PM (edited 7/28/10 8:38 AM)
chaoscat (452 posts) Ambassador of Good Will
Rating: Not Rated
Shadowrun is an exploding d6 success system. Your rating in an ability is how many d6's you roll, 6's are re-rolled adding the results back on that die. Each die's value is compared against a target number, and the number of dice exceeding the target number is your result. Sorry.

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Syllabic (4:14 PM): tozzi are you like dowd's jiminy cricket
Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 28, 2010 12:50 PM (edited 7/28/10 8:50 AM)
chaoscat (452 posts) Ambassador of Good Will
Rating: Not Rated
With the stat blocks - is there a way that you can make a stat GM visible only? The GM should still be able to edit it, if it's editable, naturally. Also, might be appropriate to have a field that's player visible but GM editable (exp?). Not sure what the best way to represent this is.

For that matter, maybe the whole character box option should have an "include for GM only" and "include for everyone" setting.

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Syllabic (4:14 PM): tozzi are you like dowd's jiminy cricket
Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 28, 2010 12:54 PM (edited 7/28/10 8:54 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Ultimately the GM should have the right to edit everything, and then there should be some stats that are player editable. I think this makes the security profile a little simpler as well.

I'll get back to you w/design comments in a bit.

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 28, 2010 12:56 PM (edited 7/28/10 8:56 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
I'm not sure it's worth the complication to have GM-only hidden stats - it seems like it would be prudent to just put those in the private notes area. However I will add a "gmedit" modifier to the stat tag, which won't visibly do anything until I get to the character edit page.

That brings up another question, actually. There are basically two ways to handle character stat blocks: freely edited, or restricted. Freely edited would mean that characters get the same interface, tags and all, as seen on the campaign settings page. This is the most flexible solution, since it lets players remove stats they don't need, or add stats unique to them. However, it also ruins several aspects of the system, like GM-only edited stats and such. Plus it means the GM can't guarantee all of their stats are there.

The other solution, then, is to only let players edit the numbers. Then the stat blocks become a lot less useful, because you don't have the advantages listed above.

The best solution I can come up with is to split it into a "top" and "bottom" section, the latter of which is freely editable. Anyone have any better ideas?

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There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 28, 2010 12:59 PM (edited 7/28/10 8:59 AM)
chaoscat (452 posts) Ambassador of Good Will
Rating: Not Rated
I kind of like the top and bottom section. I guess my thought on the GM hidden stats instead of the notes section was that you'd still be able to use them in roll calculations (or at least the GM would).

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Syllabic (4:14 PM): tozzi are you like dowd's jiminy cricket
Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 28, 2010 1:01 PM (edited 7/28/10 9:01 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
Can you think of a specific stat you would ever need to use in a calculation, but which is hidden from the players, while other stats aren't?

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There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 28, 2010 1:01 PM (edited 7/28/10 9:02 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
I like having top and bottom sections as well. It will probably result in stat blocks that aren't in the order we're used to, but it will retain a maximum amount of flexibility while also implementing some level of control on the DM's part.

Edit - I'm thinking top and bottom in terms of editability, not visibility.

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 28, 2010 1:22 PM (edited 7/28/10 9:22 AM)
chaoscat (452 posts) Ambassador of Good Will
Rating: Not Rated
Oh, you're saying just have the whole stat block be player hidden? I'd be ok with that. I was thinking if the game master just wanted to keep the mechanics behind the scene - we did something like this in that online campaign with Jim, where you had all the numbers and did all the die rolling behind the scenes and just told us what our characters knew. I wanted to be able to support that type of thing.

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Syllabic (4:14 PM): tozzi are you like dowd's jiminy cricket
Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 28, 2010 1:25 PM (edited 7/28/10 9:25 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
Yeah I figure all-or-nothing should suffice. Unless you can come up with a reasonable reason to have two stat blocks - I don't want to have a more complicated UI than is strictly necessary. That is my #1 priority.

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There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 28, 2010 1:44 PM (edited 7/28/10 9:44 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: Not Rated
Here's the character settings mockup. It's not ready as of this posting, but shortly this will be a link to the GM view of the same.

--
There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 28, 2010 2:00 PM (edited 7/28/10 10:00 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Are you still going to have the ability to upload a PDF/image file on the character setting screen for the full character sheet reference? If so, will you have a stat command to display a link to this file in the stat block?

Re: Campaign/Character Editing – July 28, 2010 3:03 PM (edited 7/28/10 11:03 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
I was thinking more about the dice rolling styles as you have laid out and the problems you'd encounter running a system like Shadowrun with what you have laid out. I haven't played much of Shadowrun, but IIRC, editions 1-3 have a target DC a player needs to roll to hit and a pool of d6. The goal is to hope at least one of the d6's explode high enough to hit the target DC. So if you have a pool of 2, and roll a 5 and a 6, and the 6 explodes to a 5, that's not 3 successes, that's a high roll of 11 against the target DC. Shadowrun 4th ed gets rid of the exploding dice all together and just uses a straight up White Wolf success system (5 & 6 is a success, a pool of %50 1's is a botch). This means that none of the dice rolling schemes you have for your template would work well for either version of Shadowrun.

What I came up with is you change your dice rolling scheme to be two check boxes. One checkbox to toggle additive/raw dice, and one checkbox to toggle normal dice/exploding dice.

If the checkbox is indicating raw dice, no math will be applied to the dice. Just the straight up dice roll results will be shown. If the check box is additive, all results will be summed up.
If the checkbox is indicating normal dice, rolls will be as is. If the checkbox is indicating exploding dice, if the die rolled came up as the max value on the die, roll again and add the new result to the previous total rolled on this die(recurs).

Example rolls:
D&D (Additive/Normal) : 1d4+7+2d8 -> (1+7+3+4) = 15
Exalted (Raw/Normal) : 4d10 -> (2, 4, 7, 9)
Shadowrun 3rd ed (Raw/Exploding) : 4d6 -> (2, 5, [6+1] 7, [6+6+2] 14)
Firefly (Additive/Exploding): 1d12 + 1d4 -> (8 + [4 + 2] 6) = 14


Does anyone know if there is a system where you would add something to each die roll? Like an exalted charm that adds 1 to all dice rolled in a pool?

You may also want to have a card draw tag that can be used in the chat which players can type [draw] and they get a card or [draw 3] and they get three random cards, and the DM can type [shuffle] to make all the cards in the deck available again.

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