What if I made a character generator?

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jackgraham jackgraham's picture
What if I made a character generator?

First off, disclaimer: This is not an official PH project, nor a promise to undertake said project on my own. It's only a testing of the winds.

As some of you know, when I'm not working on EP & other writing projects, I've got a day job in software development. Building a pro-quality EP character generator is something I've kicked around a bit. I have mad respect for the guys who make Hero Lab. It's an amazing product, and I've used it a great deal for my Pathfinder campaigns at home. I'd love it if the Lone Wolf guys decided an EP module for Hero Lab was something they wanted to build, but in the mean time, I do wonder if there's some shut-up-and-take-my-money in building a chargen app for EP... and even in extending it to cover some other systems that aren't currently served by Hero Lab.

So, tell me what you think.

p.s. The survey doesn't mention it, but the best game in town as far as free EP character generators is this awesome Excel sheet by Kindalas. And there are others on this site's Resources page. Maybe that's still all this community needs. If you think so, say so!

J A C K   G R A H A M :: Hooray for Earth!
  http://eclipsephase.com :: twitter @jackgraham @faketsr :: Google+Jack Graham

CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
A professionally developed

A professionally developed generator capable of making rules correct characters easily? Shut up and take my money. Kindalas' sheet is amazing, but my players are lazy assholes. They see a spreadsheet and they balk.

I haven't used Hero Labs, but I did use the D&D 4thE one, and it was fantastic for my players needs. Guided, step-by-step processes with all the math hidden away from the player means that even the most technologically illiterate people can use it.

While I would pay money for a bare-bones generator that did the minimum, I would pay substantially more for a well laid out, pretty as fuck, 'Adam Jury level' type product.

-

Thampsan Thampsan's picture
I second CodeBreaker, i'd

I second CodeBreaker, i'd also like to see a 'Morph' costing sheet as well though. I suggested it to Kindalas in his thread in Homebrew but got no response.

Basically what we need is a sheet that can be quickly thrown together for custom or 'off the rack' bodies, one that calculates credit cost (average) for all implants, etc allows you to specify what attributes the body enhances, traits (positive/negative) and gives a total value of the body (roughly). That way when players begin switching bodies during the course of an adventure Kindalas' excellent character sheet doesn't have a heart attack everytime you change the morph listed.

GreyBrother GreyBrother's picture
Well... i am happy with

Well... i am happy with Kindalas sheet. And i seriously hit everybody with my rulebook when it comes to lazyness because i don't care if they groan. We all use the same sheet or i feel free to misread the sheet :P

In all seriousness: YES a good software chargen, something featuring the choice of which books to include in the options, would be something totally awesome and buyable.
Totally so if there'd be the possibility of an mobile device port and a linux version.

CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
Yeah, if it was usable on

Yeah, if it was usable on mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, Android devices) it would be even better. However it not doing so would not stop me buying it. I would be pay ($5) for a mobile version though.

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Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
what about a cross platform one?

Kinda like the kindle app and software

one pc/Mac software for the desktop/laptop, and an app for ios and/or android
the 'top software would include the adventure design and chargen tools, and the mobile app, clouded with the 'top software, would be used to run the game.
on the mobile app, you make a back up? it's automatically, stats and notes saved on the cloud. if the character dies after the back up and before another one is done, the changes made in between, including the notes, are deleted and the character restored either sleeved or as infomorph

how does that sound?

Q U I N C E Y ^_*_^ F O R D E R

Remember The Cant!

vmv44uwe77o6ktk5 vmv44uwe77o6ktk5's picture
Character Generator

At one point I did some work on a web based eclipse phase character generator. The basic idea was that egos were represented by big random hash URLs, and anyone who knew that URL could fork it. Kinda like github for egos. :) Worked really well to map eclipse phase's backups and forks and what not.

Anyway, that part worked great, but then I got into the drudge work of scripting up all the rules and lost interest. :) Just thought I'd share it in case you could do something with the idea.

Lilith Lilith's picture
As someone that uses HeroLabs

As someone that uses HeroLabs (for several different systems no less), I would be all over a nice Eclipse Phase character generator. While I love Kindalas' Excel sheet, it can still be a pain at times (though maybe that's just because I'm not the best at Excel), plus there's the aforementioned "lazy player" problem. I do love the speed and ease of HeroLab or 4th Ed's Character Builder (though I stopped using that once it went online-only because I felt that was completely BS).

And I would happily pay extra for a pretty-ed up "Adam Jury"esque version, though that's certainly not necessary. :)

Antirrhesis Antirrhesis's picture
This definitely falls under

This definitely falls under "Take my money" for me. :)

Deadite Deadite's picture
Yes, please :D

Yes, please :D

Angry_Ghost Angry_Ghost's picture
I would very much be

I would very much be interested in this. My players love going over character creation, even mid game when morphs are swapped, but they are no so keen on their GM doing it...

Plus it would be an enormous tume saver for npc creation what with me being a busy father. - heck Savage Worlds is a quick enough ststem but I quickly ponied up the cash for the Wild Card Creator, I would get something similar for EP, a much more intricate game, in a heart beat.

The Force will be with you. Sometimes.

prototyper prototyper's picture
Why are we discussing this?

Not to be rude or offensive, but all of this discussion is wasting time you could be using to code this. Make this thing and take my money!! (lol - this would be awesome!! "It must be mine!!" Please make this.)

GreyBrother GreyBrother's picture
(No subject)

kindalas kindalas's picture
If you do do it.

Let me know I'll share my thoughts on beating my head against the wall turning EP rules and descriptions into variables.

But a serious Char-gen program that saves and prints and exports and things would be super cool.

Will

I am a Moderator of this Forum
My mod voice is red.

The Eclipse Phase Character sheet is downloadable here:
Get it here!

FunkBGR FunkBGR's picture
Hell to the Yeah

I would also pay for this, and gladly filled out your survey. I've moved since I had my last stable group, and as a way to keep in contact with various folks schedules, we've been playing online tabletop games using Roll20 and/or Azrapse's Sheet for The One Ring. Something like Azrapse's sheet is just about *perfect*.

http://azrapse.es/tor/sheet.html if you haven't seen it

Chase-san Chase-san's picture
YES PLEASE

I personally would love a character builder, and I have been mulling around building one (and even have a few very basic generators built in Java and C#). But as it turns out, EPs general rule complexity makes it a bit more annoying then I thought.

It feels easy at first, but once you get down to the nitty gritty things get difficult. This is mostly because of the interplay between backgrounds, factions, morphs, augmentations, and traits.

twcrone twcrone's picture
No

I've said it elsewhere...we need content. A character generator is fluff after you have tons of content in my opinion. We need more fully fleshed adventures/missions etc. Lazy players STILL won't play a genre that has no adventures.

lets adapt lets adapt's picture
twcrone wrote:I've said it

twcrone wrote:
I've said it elsewhere...we need content. A character generator is fluff after you have tons of content in my opinion. We need more fully fleshed adventures/missions etc. Lazy players STILL won't play a genre that has no adventures.

That's moreso an issue with lazy GMs than an issue with the genre, in my opinion. There's nothing stopping people from creating their own adventures. With the core and the supplements out, no one can reasonably argue that they're starved for material.

Back on topic, I'd pay infinite dollars for a character generator! Please make this a reality!

GreyBrother GreyBrother's picture
Like lets adapt said. Lazy

Like lets adapt said. Lazy GMs aren't most of the time fit to GM anyway.
We need more fluff pieces, not adventures.

jackgraham jackgraham's picture
Chase-san wrote:I personally

Chase-san wrote:
I personally would love a character builder, and I have been mulling around building one (and even have a few very basic generators built in Java and C#). But as it turns out, EPs general rule complexity makes it a bit more annoying then I thought.

Yeah, not without a dash of daunt do I consider the task. Techie as our setting is, the mechanics make database guys' brows furrow. They're clearly not hierarchical, and coming up with a relational schema would be a maddening task at first. It's doable, but if you compare it to something like OGL, which, it seems likely, was given its structure by someone with a programming background, it's much more complex.

J A C K   G R A H A M :: Hooray for Earth!
  http://eclipsephase.com :: twitter @jackgraham @faketsr :: Google+Jack Graham

jackgraham jackgraham's picture
twcrone wrote:I've said it

twcrone wrote:
I've said it elsewhere...we need content. A character generator is fluff after you have tons of content in my opinion. We need more fully fleshed adventures/missions etc. Lazy players STILL won't play a genre that has no adventures.

Don't worry. This is not something we're going to neglect adventures for.

J A C K   G R A H A M :: Hooray for Earth!
  http://eclipsephase.com :: twitter @jackgraham @faketsr :: Google+Jack Graham

Chase-san Chase-san's picture
Techie I suppose

jackgraham wrote:
Techie as our setting is, the mechanics make database guys' brows furrow. They're clearly not hierarchical, and coming up with a relational schema would be a maddening task at first. It's doable, but if you compare it to something like OGL, which, it seems likely, was given its structure by someone with a programming background, it's much more complex.

I might have a few ideas if you really commit to it. I have had awhile to contemplate possible ways to program it.

twcrone twcrone's picture
thanks Jack. I was going to

thanks Jack. I was going to take offense to GreyBrother's implication that I'm a lazy GM until I looked at his earlier post.

My main point is as I've said before on these forums...Jack, Rob etc. have a MUCH better grasp on this world than I do. We can create characters and track them but that does not matter if I can't keep player's interested with good adventure material. I'm not going to attempt EP again until I have enough material on hand to run for 10-12 sessions and keep them begging for more.

A character generator will be a time sink. I also doubt people will be happy with it in the end and I'm not sure it will bring in much revenue. But if it is something that sounds 'fun' to do, go for it. I used write more of my own material but honestly, my players were more forgiving then and these days I actually enjoy interpreting something done by a RPG professional. I can put my own spin on it as I like but adventures are so much more interesting when it is based on something built by something other than me.

GreyBrother GreyBrother's picture
Good you are not offended :)

Good you are not offended :) +1 respect

The Doctor The Doctor's picture
lets adapt wrote:Back on

lets adapt wrote:
Back on topic, I'd pay infinite dollars for a character generator! Please make this a reality!

This sounds like the ideal application for a Bitcoin Bounty.



Skelshy Skelshy's picture
I made one...
Skelshy Skelshy's picture
oh it's open source too (in

oh it's open source too (in fact re-uses another character generators xml data file) so if you feel up helping, the code is at http://epplayer.codeplex.com

Chase-san Chase-san's picture
Unfortunately I have no plans

Unfortunately I have no plans to migrate to Windows 8 just yet, or get a Windows RT device. I think a number of people have similar thoughts.

So it is great you made such a creator, but it might meet a limited audience.

Skelshy Skelshy's picture
Oh that's fine, that's why it

Oh that's fine, that's why it's open source, if you want to scratch a different itch, it should not be too difficult to port.

Personally I think tablets make great gaming aids; touch is very intuitive for selecting character attributes, and the tablet itself is a lot less obtrusive than a laptop.

lets adapt lets adapt's picture
I grabbed this for my tablet

I grabbed this for my tablet a bit ago and found it to be promising. If I could code I'd give you a hand.

The Doctor The Doctor's picture
jackgraham wrote:Techie as

jackgraham wrote:
Techie as our setting is, the mechanics make database guys' brows furrow. They're clearly not hierarchical, and coming up with a relational schema would be a maddening task at first.

What about a NoSQL back-end, like CouchDB? The if..then..else structure of actions that tends to go into building an Eclipse Phase character might fit the map..reduce operations that CouchDB implements in JavaScript.



Skelshy Skelshy's picture
The model I came up with is

The model I came up with is as follows:

Anything you wish to have is an attribute. Some hold a point value (like Skills), some are merely present or not present (like Traits). Then, there's the concepts of filters. Filters attach to an Attribute so when we compute the effective value, the filter can change the effective value (but not the Attribute value itself).

For example, you add a Fury sleeve, it will attach filters for +5 COO, +5 REF, +10 SOM, +5 WIL, then it will loop though all the Biomods and attach them, when it gets to the Neurachem, it will attach a +1 SPD filter.

So this ends up being a graph with "raw" values at one end and "effective" values at the other. We need the raw values for CP costing, the effective values for game play. Most of the work went into keeping track of the dependencies in the graph, so values down the chain can be updated, and making sure stuff that gets added for free (like morph implants) aren't costed.

Chase-san Chase-san's picture
I had a similar idea once,

I had a similar idea once, but it was annoying to try and implement. Actually I found that a tree model with embedded lists a containing subtrees actually works best. Also has the added benefit to be very easy to export to json as well.

The main goal is to have a non-static structure.

character.morph.maxapt.coo = 30
character.morph.traits[] = {list}
character.ego.apt.coo = 15
character.ego.background = Drifter
character.ego.background.bonus = (subtree with same layout as main tree)
character.ego.traits[] = {list}
character.ego.traits[0].name = Fast Learner
character.ego.traits[0].cost = 10
character.ego.traits[0].bonus = (subtree with same layout as main tree)

character.ego.create.cp.start = 1000
character.ego.create.cp.used = 900
OR
character.ego.create.cp.current = 100

The subtree format gives the structure great flexibility. We just need to keep two copies, a final copy, and a base copy. The `final` copy having all the subtrees superimposed on the main tree.

Of course this requires a little intelligence to combine certain bonuses. But most the complexity issues disappear once we get the model working.

Skelshy Skelshy's picture
Yeah, there's certainly more

Yeah, there's certainly more than one approach. For my next revision, I am going for a single collection of attributes (you can read raw and final value from the same item), since that makes UI coding much easier.

This way, in XAML, you can create and item template and just databind a collection to it, and it will display all the items on its own. If you make it observable (another runtime feature) you don't even have to track what to update.

vmv44uwe77o6ktk5 vmv44uwe77o6ktk5's picture
You don't even need map

You don't even need map-reduce. When I started on an eclipsephase character builder I used couchdb, and the character building itself works just fine with nothing but a JSON document store.

Map functions are only needed for things like "show me the chain of backups for this ego" (as I mentioned, I built my version around the idea that each saved ego was a backup, and rather than modifying the original document I just fork the ego next backup, leaving the original as something that can be branched off of if something horrible happens to the new version, or if someone naughty gets ahold of the old backup and creates an alpha fork).

I also stored morphs and gear separately from egos, and just included a concept of combining this ego and this morph to create a character sheet.

Ohh, the other fun idea I had was that if public egos were searchable GMs could do things like search for an ego that's +X and -Y and come up with a fully fleshed out NPC ready to insert into their game - someone's PC from a totally differnet game, complete with carefully crafted backstory.

Chase-san Chase-san's picture
vmv44, I could see your idea

vmv44, I could see your idea working on a more general level, but I was thinking more on the per character level, the interplay between traits, backgrounds, factions and so forth it probably the most annoying aspect to model. Forking/Backup is a fairly straight forward process.

Vacant Fanatic Vacant Fanatic's picture
What about an open source

What about an open source Ruby/Rails webapp project on GitHub? Reduces the effort required, allows the community to pitch in and isn't platform specific?

jhfurnish jhfurnish's picture
Lazy Players & GM's

I believe that at the end of the day, people should create their own content. I think building pre-packaged adventures is secondary. There are already some, and people are already contributing things like these vignettes. People can create from ideas they steal from movies, short fiction and comic books after all. I used to adapt Asimov's story 'Nightfall' for FASA Star Trek, and I did it from Federation, Klingon and Romulan viewpoints.

Creativity uses a lot of brainpower, especially at its best. Some people don't want to burn that wood. I think the generator will give them more time to do it, perhaps. If certain processes become less tedious perhaps it will help them shovel the coal into that writing process.

jhfurnish jhfurnish's picture
I'm hearing Windows 8 is a disaster.

I'm thinking seriously of switching over to Asus Android Tablets altogether. My desktop PC runs Vista, and I may upgrade to 7, which has sounded like an improvement from everyone I talk to about operating systems.

What's your experience with Windows 8?

Jenssen Jenssen's picture
If you made a character

If you made a character generator, I'd gladly use it and even *pay* for it.

^_^

Ad astra per aspera.

Pale_Enchantress Pale_Enchantress's picture
I love the spreadsheet based

I love the spreadsheet based generator that everyone uses. There is one major flaw I run into with it though and that's that it has no simple option for exporting in a online postable format. I live in a small town, most of my gaming is done through chat and forums. Being able to print a sheet does nothing for me. If i could upload or export in a html friendly format than SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY>

Joe Joe's picture
Print

I don't use the generator, but if you can print it, you can convert it to a .pdf with PDF995 which is free and acts just like a printer to print to a .pdf file... ?

-Joe

Skelshy Skelshy's picture
Funny

I added print support to my own character generator last weekend!

CrankyBolt CrankyBolt's picture
I made an account just so I

I made an account just so I can comment:

While the character spread sheet is nice and all, it does nothing to offset the intimidation that a group of new players getting into the system feel and the prospects of building a new character. Also, it's not exactly pretty. Which, does stand for something. When I make sheets for the group, I want them looking nice.

You create something user friendly and pretty and absolutely will we pay for it.

The time of man is at an end.

Skelshy Skelshy's picture
I made a chargen specifically

I made a chargen specifically to make it easier for first time user. There is a lot of book content coded into it, for example you can read through the gear properties during gear selection. I display a running tally of points spent.

I did character creation with a new group this week and the guy I gave my laptop to with the tool was done in one third of the time. And most of his time was spend digesting options and reading descriptions.

Unfortunately for some it's a touch-friendly Windows Store application (requires Windows 8). I used the opportunity to learn how to write a store app ... it's free here
http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/epplayer/e5794d1d-05cd-47c3-9af7-d03da59efad3

If's open source so if you feel like making a different user interface for it, more power to you :)

Nychuus Nychuus's picture
Two Left testicles

I'd give my two left testicles for a character generator similar to the ones for HERO (only saw the 3rd ed one), 4th ed D&D, Chummer... well, you get the drift.

While I do love Kindalas' spreadsheet (it has saved me a number of times when making pregens for my lazy players, more on that soon), I did find it daunting the first time I saw it and not too knowledgeable on the rules.

When it comes to players, I have plenty in my group (GMs as well). Sadly when it comes to pitch day, my EP campaign gets shortlisted most of the time. Especially when someone pitches an Exalted game. One of the complaints I get is about chargen. Am I somehow missing something here? When did Exalted chargen become easier than Eclipse Phase?

While I'm not a lazy GM, or lazy player, and I do have a host of lazy players, I do think a very well done character generator would help.

I also am, apparently, a lazy programmer as my EP chargen project hasn't been worked on for a while now.

jhfurnish jhfurnish's picture
Nychuus wrote:I'd give my two

Nychuus wrote:
I'd give my two left testicles for a character generator similar to the ones for HERO (only saw the 3rd ed one), 4th ed D&D, Chummer... well, you get the drift.

There's always the PCGen system. That one is mostly used for various d20-based systems but I'm sure you could create a ruleset for EP in there. It's a free system with a serious developer community behind it.

For some reason, this site has been added to my work filter, but I was still able to find the URL via Yahoo: http://pcgen.sourceforge.net

thelabmonkey thelabmonkey's picture
Skelshy wrote:The model I

Skelshy wrote:
The model I came up with is as follows:

For example, you add a Fury sleeve, it will attach filters for +5 COO, +5 REF, +10 SOM, +5 WIL, then it will loop though all the Biomods and attach them, when it gets to the Neurachem, it will attach a +1 SPD filter.

How hard is it to have filters affect other filters? For instance, armor can stack but is not as effective... or if certain bonuses from different gear/traits do not stack? I like the flexibility of the attribute/filter model you are describing.

lets adapt lets adapt's picture
Any tidbits of info for the

Any tidbits of info for the Singularity character generator that you guys can disclose? :3

AdamJury AdamJury's picture
lets adapt wrote:Any tidbits

lets adapt wrote:
Any tidbits of info for the Singularity character generator that you guys can disclose? :3

What questions do you have? :)
lets adapt lets adapt's picture
I'm mainly curious about its

I'm mainly curious about its functionality! Namely, is it going to allow a player to actively change their morph and auto-calculate bonuses? The same with adding and removing implants and the like? I only ask because I've used some generators that merely poop out a character sheet and then you're on your way, leaving you to manually account for changes or generate an entirely new sheet each. I guess I want to see a digital work space a PC can use in lieu of a paper sheet that is both functional and gorgeous. :)

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