Combat Tracker [OLD]

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Kepli
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Combat Tracker [OLD]

Post by Kepli » Sat Nov 26, 2005 1:45 pm

I didn't see this immediately ... I see a Turn Sequencer, but is there also a place to see some of the following things maybe: how wounded people are (lose in hit points), what spells are one them (mostly cast by others on them), their status (held, sleeping, wounded, healthy, near death, petrified, etc ...), etc. ?
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Post by heruca » Sat Nov 26, 2005 5:25 pm

Well, there's a Notepad to track hit points (exact numbers), and the relative health level (Good/Fair/Crtitical) is indicated by a color-coded halo around each figure (this is optional). Then there's a text labeling system for denoting if a figure is stunned, crouching, kneeling, sleeping, held, etc.

There's also a visual indicator of whose turn it is to act, who is attacking and who is defending (ie, who the target of the attack is), and a rollover popup text box (read Tooltip) that's useful for short descriptions of items and characters.

Many if these things can be seen in the screenshots.
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Post by Kepli » Sat Nov 26, 2005 5:27 pm

Wow ... exellent Heruca ...
This sounds awesome :D
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Post by Steel Rat » Sat Nov 26, 2005 7:03 pm

Is the notepad just that? Or are there separate note areas so one could paste in a stat block for a chaacter, monster, etc? I'm thinking somewhat along the lines of DJ where you right-click a character or monster token and see all their info. I wouldn't expect anything game-system specific, just some fields that are pretty much generic to all game systems, such as Armor, HP (or Life), Status (invisible, wounded, dead, etc, multuple statuses would be needed), and a large text area for anything else the GM wanted to add.
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Post by heruca » Sat Nov 26, 2005 7:15 pm

At the moment, the Notepad is just that, a digital scratchpad. This is one of the areas that will receive a great deal more attention in future versions, once people have had a chance to play with the program and start submitting specific things they'd like in there.

In the future, I envision more of a tabbed window with a template layout and database-like functionality, so that notes can be better organized and more-easily input. But for starters, I'm keeping it simple.

Of course, even with the current simple Notepad, nothing prevents you from pasting in stat blocks, spell descriptions, etc. from some other source, since BRPG will have full support for cutting, copying, and pasting of text.
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Post by Steel Rat » Sat Nov 26, 2005 7:41 pm

heruca wrote:At the moment, the Notepad is just that, a digital scratchpad. This is one of the areas that will receive a great deal more attention in future versions, once people have had a chance to play with the program and start submitting specific things they'd like in there.

In the future, I envision more of a tabbed window with a template layout and database-like functionality, so that notes can be better organized and more-easily input. But for starters, I'm keeping it simple.

Of course, even with the current simple Notepad, nothing prevents you from pasting in stat blocks, spell descriptions, etc. from some other source, since BRPG will have full support for cutting, copying, and pasting of text.
Sounds cool. I like the idea of database functionality. And if you could even get to the point where GMs can create custom forms they could make their own d20 forms, or GURPS, A!S, whatever, and share them with the community. I think that's where the application will stand out more, if you allow the user community to be able to make forms, scripts, etc that they can share freely. Is there a scripting engine?
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Post by heruca » Sat Nov 26, 2005 8:15 pm

Steel Rat wrote:if you could even get to the point where GMs can create custom forms they could make their own d20 forms, or GURPS, A!S, whatever, and share them with the community. I think that's where the application will stand out more, if you allow the user community to be able to make forms, scripts, etc that they can share freely. Is there a scripting engine?
There's no scripting engine, but it should still be possible to do what you describe, and be able to share your "mods" with others (in a future version). I really don't want to have to require users to learn XML/HTML/scripting. I'll have to give some thought as to exactly how this will be implemented. But this is a ways off, still. That said...

How about storing the characters in PDF format? This is probably getting a little too technical for this forum, but my idea is that someone makes a character sheet template as a PDF fillable-form. Then the data entered for a specific character is stored in an external FDF file (you'd have one FDF file for each character). To pull up a character in BRPG, I'd simply add some code that opened the FDF file for whichever character you've selected (the FDF file in turn opens the PDF template and auto-fills all the text fields. It sounds complicated, but it would all happen seamlessly and instantly).
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Post by Halebop » Sat Nov 26, 2005 8:25 pm

heruca wrote:...Many if these things can be seen in the screenshots.
This stuff all sounds great!

I can see their "facing" with the yellow bar, color coding (Green/Amber/Red assuming Good/Fair/Critical) but also white? Presumably a currently active / round sequence indicator? Also not sure what the surrounding numbers indicate? Given they are in the Hexes are they for movement direction?

Attacking vs Defending is also very clear and quite "intuitively" useful for remote communications. Other forms of labelling I assume is just some sort of "free text" function that a DM (or players?) can punch anything into?

On the broader Combat Tracker theme can we for instance insert a spell with say an area of effect into the tracker sequencing so it can count down to expiration in proper order and timing? In GMGen I can have the player cast a spell and add a line into the initiative/combat tracker outlining the spell and timeframe and it counts the spell down each round and pops up a reminder when it expires. It would be real cool to add a transparent spell overlay and then just delete it when dispelled or have Battlgrounds remind me when it expires.

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Post by heruca » Sat Nov 26, 2005 8:27 pm

By the way, with the approach I just described, we might have the benefit that character files would be tiny (under 1K) and thus easily shared over the internet. And with an integrated PDF viewer built into BRPG, we might have all the other benefits of the PDF format (zooming, printing, etc.).

Hmm, now I have to figure out how to support character portraits...
...
...
...OK, that was easy. I'll just auto-sync it like I do all the other pics and audio files.
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Post by heruca » Sat Nov 26, 2005 9:03 pm

Halebop wrote:This stuff all sounds great!
:D
I can see their "facing" with the yellow bar, color coding (Green/Amber/Red assuming Good/Fair/Critical) but also white? Presumably a currently active / round sequence indicator?
Correct on all counts.
Also not sure what the surrounding numbers indicate? Given they are in the Hexes are they for movement direction?
You're on a roll! (once people learn that, they can opt to turn it off)
Other forms of labelling I assume is just some sort of "free text" function that a DM (or players?) can punch anything into?
He's unstoppable! (actually, some common ones are predefined, the rest are free text)
On the broader Combat Tracker theme can we for instance insert a spell with say an area of effect into the tracker sequencing so it can count down to expiration in proper order and timing? In GMGen I can have the player cast a spell and add a line into the initiative/combat tracker outlining the spell and timeframe and it counts the spell down each round and pops up a reminder when it expires. It would be real cool to add a transparent spell overlay and then just delete it when dispelled or have Battlgrounds remind me when it expires.
Probably, some day, but not in the initial release.

For the time being, it's on you to take it off when it's no longer required, just as with a real battlemat.

The rest of this response is for everyone, not just Halebop. I want to take this opportunity to explain to everyone what to expect, and what not to expect, of BRPG.

Keep in mind that BRPG is primarily a virtual battlemat. You've got your map, some virtual minis, a way to move those minis around with an internet connection, and a way to chat with your players. Everything else is gravy. And there's already a good serving of gravy for a 1.0 release. That's not to say that I'm not going to keep adding more, over time. But BRPG will never have all the functionality of tools like GMGen. My recommendation is to have GMGen running in the background, doing the things it does best, and just ALT-Tab when you need it. There are a number of great software tools available to enhance your game in this fashion, and I hope people take advantage of them.
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Post by Halebop » Sat Nov 26, 2005 11:05 pm

That all makes sense to me Heruca and I think given you want the widest possible audience the sensible route is to leave many functions unfullfilled via BGRPG and stick to the most generic of features. There's nothing stopping you coming back and revisiting topics due to customer feedback or demand anyway.

I'm most interested in the "media" elements, particularly visuals. Media like maps, handouts, visual FX, sound FX, music, communications are the most important aspects of remote gaming by LAN and Internet anyway. Beyond perhaps sharing dice rolls we don't really need insitu game support. That's always been the DMs job anyway and as you say there are any number of system specific tools should someone need or want those functions.

As long as functions like Fog of War and Area of Effect can be handled generically but applied specifcally and accurately to rules systems I think you will be on to a winner. In many ways Fog of War functions shared online will actually make the game superior to traditional PnP gaming because it reduces the impact of Meta game interpretations (the players really can see only what their characters can see!).

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Post by heruca » Sun Nov 27, 2005 1:34 am

Great post, Halebop. You've said it better than I could have. Makes me wish I had access to the applauding smilie that's on the DJ forums.
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Post by Steel Rat » Sun Nov 27, 2005 7:22 pm

heruca wrote:There's no scripting engine, but it should still be possible to do what you describe, and be able to share your "mods" with others (in a future version). I really don't want to have to require users to learn XML/HTML/scripting. I'll have to give some thought as to exactly how this will be implemented. But this is a ways off, still. That said...
You would hardly be "requiring" users to learn these things. But for those who do know it, they could greatly enhance the usability of the application, much like ScreenMonkey does now.

How about storing the characters in PDF format? This is probably getting a little too technical for this forum, but my idea is that someone makes a character sheet template as a PDF fillable-form. Then the data entered for a specific character is stored in an external FDF file (you'd have one FDF file for each character). To pull up a character in BRPG, I'd simply add some code that opened the FDF file for whichever character you've selected (the FDF file in turn opens the PDF template and auto-fills all the text fields. It sounds complicated, but it would all happen seamlessly and instantly).
I don't have a way of making PDF fillable forms. If there is a free app that does that, then that's fine, otherwise I don't think it's a viable option. I think a scripted method of doing such a thing is a better approach, then you don't have to worry about Acrobat versions and such.
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Post by heruca » Sun Nov 27, 2005 8:23 pm

Steel Rat wrote:I don't have a way of making PDF fillable forms. If there is a free app that does that, then that's fine, otherwise I don't think it's a viable option.
All it takes is for a few users in the community to have Adobe Acrobat (the full version, not just the free Reader), and they could share their character sheet designs/templates with everyone, in the User Creation section of this forum.
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Post by Steel Rat » Sun Nov 27, 2005 10:09 pm

heruca wrote:
Steel Rat wrote:I don't have a way of making PDF fillable forms. If there is a free app that does that, then that's fine, otherwise I don't think it's a viable option.
All it takes is for a few users in the community to have Adobe Acrobat (the full version, not just the free Reader), and they could share their character sheet designs/templates with everyone, in the User Creation section of this forum.
Yeah, but then you're limiting the potential user development base. Acrobat isn't cheap.
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Post by Halebop » Sun Nov 27, 2005 10:56 pm

Hehe. I'd like both ideas! But I guess we have to be realistic that Heruca is one person with only 24 hours per day to engage himself.

Personally PDF is immediately more useful to me but mostly because I have a copy of Acrobat and use PCGen which exports PDFs too. The only scripting I've attempted to master in recent'ish times was for Neverwinter Nights. While a powerful tool Bioware also received a lot of criticsm because it was beyond the abilities of many neophytes and technophobes, who were none the less excited by the prospect of building CRPGs but dissapointed by the learning curve and work involved in robust implementation.

I say implement only what can be done quickly and comprehensively and park the rest and wait for user feedback/demand. How Battlegrounds handles media and visuals will obviously be it's key strength. Being "game system agnostic" means any gaming tools like scripting will have to be very powerful in order to cater to everyone. Probably not something that should be rushed.

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Post by mudpyr8 » Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:18 am

While I think PDF is cool, I think for creating community modded forms XML is much more preferable.

<stat name=STR base=10>Strength</stat>

This seems much more understandable than working with PDF and can be done with little documentation, especially for the small feature-set you are looking for.
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Post by erian_7 » Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:55 pm

heruca wrote:To pull up a character in BRPG, I'd simply add some code that opened the FDF file for whichever character you've selected
Looks like this answers an item I brought up on a previous post today.

As for creating form-fillable PDFs, you get me the character sheet and I can make it form-fillable pretty quick. The joys of working in an organization that outfits its folks with the right tools! SR, I'll even make you some for free* considering all the work you put into your free image site... :wink:


* Standard price will be determined by how much work you want me to do, and shall usually be paid by running me through a good online game, creating a good DJ object, or just generally being a nice person to somebody else you meet in the same week as I deliver the final product...
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Post by erian_7 » Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:58 pm

For the XML side, I'm part of another upcoming VT community (GhostOrb) that uses XML to craft their character sheets. It's been a major snag for them as the concept doesn't set well with a lot of the users, even though it seems easy to some. We've ended up in the same boat as the PDF option--people with the right resources (in this case knowledge) doing the work for others on request.

I'm on the PDF side because their just nicer to look at...
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