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<![CDATA[Pen & Paper Games - Blogs - Freejack]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/blog.php/2965-Freejack Pen and Paper Games hosts a very powerful, but easy to seach and join database of players and game masters in the United States and Canada. Our forums are also a great place to find the most recent news, product releases, tips, and rpg discussion. en Tue, 23 Oct 2018 03:41:47 GMT vBulletin 60 http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/pnpg_style/misc/rss.jpg <![CDATA[Pen & Paper Games - Blogs - Freejack]]> http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/blog.php/2965-Freejack Programming and Gaming (2) http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/821-Programming-and-Gaming-(2) Wed, 28 Oct 2009 12:20:14 GMT Ok, so you're probably wondering. "Why is Freejack talking about programming?"

Fair question.

If you recall from the prior postings, I started with computers because of gaming so programming is integral to and supports my gaming. Without gaming, I might never had started programming and I wouldn't be here today (or perhaps not at this point anyway).

Today, I'll give you a quick run down of where I am now, in the 21st Century.

You recall my Computerized Dungeon Master. It has a listing of characters with light and time management. It also popped up relevant tables for whatever class you were. So a Thief would pop up a thief table if I needed it.

When I got back into gaming, Shadowrun was the reason. I unpacked gear getting ready to sell and when I opened the Shadowrun box with all my books, I just couldn't sell it and here I am.

But it has been a while since I gamed and I was really a DM with AD&D. While on dumpshock, I found a link to pavao's site and the cheat sheets he has available. They really helped get me started with the more complex tests. Melee, Ranged, Drone, Matrix, and Astral combat along with a few of the more complex tests.

While I liked the sheets, they were lacking in one thing that would help a newbie like me: page references. It's all well and good to have a cheat sheet but nothing explained what "DP" meant. I had to hunt around until I found it (Damage Points). As I hunted around, I wrote down page numbers in the margins. I also found a couple of minor mistakes.

Ah but I like to program too. So while I was using the sheets, I was thinking back on TCDM. One of the things I did with TCDM was learn new programming languages.

I've been mucking about with php for 4 years now I guess and the same with mysql. I've dabbled in css longer in trying to get my picture site looking nice. More recently I've been doing some dabbling in javascript.

So I started creating Javascript pages using css to take the simple cheat sheets and turn them into computer based cheat sheets.

I incorporated the modifiers as checkboxes or radio buttons, added fields for character (both attacker and defender) stats, and even added page references to back up the program.

It worked real well. I know a bit more about combat especially and other tasks (spells and matrix work). But about this time I started thinking about the next level. I needed a quick comparison page because of the new Runner's Companion with Karmagen options and whipped up this page.

It's a simple character creator. No bells and whistles. It doesn't save anything. It just takes the items that are calculated for build points and karmagen and shows you the work. But it's frigging humungous. Since I didn't fully understand javascript yet, I used my old programming and scripting skills to get the page created but it's not right.

Back to my idea. I wanted to create a Commlink program. Just a program that simulates the commlink. I have several ideas for it and it's just about time to start poking at it.

Next though is I wanted to create a test sheet. This sheet would list out all the tests you make in Shadowrun all nice and neat, with page references and such.

But of course I need to be able to enter character stats. Ahh again, back to TCDM.

First off I created a few data files which have the sample characters from the book. Then used a script to create the main page and populate it with the character data. Then started adding in the Skills, Attributes, and Qualities.

Then the Commlink.

I got a little wrapped up in creating the commlink section. The programs are listed. I snagged some graphs for the lights and created a bogus computer screen startup based on my computer knowledge.

The Shadowrun Game Manager

This is where I am now. I'm working on creating a mysql back end to store the data but it will create the page shown above. Then you, as a player or GM can save the page (and the associated javascript) and should be able to run a game from a computer without the need for internet access.

No it doesn't fully work. With the mysql work I'm doing, I'm also thinking on the next phase of the program.

Freejack ]]>
Freejack http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/821-Programming-and-Gaming-(2)
Programming and Gaming (1) http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/804-Programming-and-Gaming-(1) Mon, 19 Oct 2009 03:40:45 GMT There has to be a purpose, a reason for writing a gaming tool. People don't generally just start writing software. There's a perceived need, something missing or just a personal need to create.

Much like gaming adventures or sourcebooks. Someone, a Ref for example, spends time running a game and decides to clean up the adventure and make it available.

I'm not sure what sent me into the programming realm though. I see all the tables for Car Wars spread throughout the various books. I compiled them into a single sheet (which I still have, by the way). Then after looking at it, I figure "hey, this would be easy to program" and a bit later I have a vehicle generation program.

But what started it all? My Dad was a computer person in The Navy. Naval Tactical Data Systems officer (I didn't know what that meant for a long time). He said that there wasn't any future in computers. Computer techs would simply be janitors.

I studied Architecture and Mechanical Drafting in High School. I was a Graphic Artist in The Army, but more of a line artist than someone who can draw freehand. I did well with charts and graphs. Layouts were a breeze. Heck, I was commended and even used for special projects that required straight black lines (it's not as easy as it sounds).

From there though, I got into computerized typesetters. I used the one at work to create personal stuff and had an 8" disc to myself. I created D&D characters sheets. Fighters, Wizards, Thieves, and Clerics. I had a Multi-Class sheet and an NPC sheet. It had different fronts but the back of the sheets were the same. It was a lot of layout and keyboarding to get things where they belonged and looking right.

I suspect a combination of gaming and the typesetter along with the board I was using to keep track of characters in game and the availability of the Sinclair computer gave me the impetus to begin this journey. It was a key pivot point in my history where it all came together. ]]>
Freejack http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/804-Programming-and-Gaming-(1)
Programming and Gaming http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/796-Programming-and-Gaming Sun, 18 Oct 2009 02:08:38 GMT I'm a programmer from way back. Heck, it was because of gaming that I started learning how to program back in 1979 or so.

At the time, I was running AD&D three times a week. I had a 2'x3' sheet of stiff cardboard with a quarter inch grid. I covered the board and taped down three sides so I could slide the grid paper out if needed. As a graphics artist, I used some rub-on letters and numbers to create a header, drew some lines and used a grease pencil to keep track. I also had a light grid on the left for torches which left me with a big spot to keep rough notes.

I learned programming to convert the light portion over to my Sinclair. It was a simple menu of common tables (the Potion Miscibility table was the best though :) ). Hitting Enter would advance the counter for light and I could let the party know that torches were going out.

That program was changed quite a bit as I went from the Sinclair to the Color Computer then to the IBM PC. Same with programming. I've moved it from the Tokenized Sinclair Basic to CoCo basic then to IBM Basic. From there I tried MegaBasic and then to C.

About the time of Windows 3.1, which defeated my efforts to learn how to program in that environment, I also started bailing on gaming, at least table top.

Lately I've been working on a similar tool and using my old program as an idea platform to create a similar Shadowrun program. This time in Javascript, again in an effort to learn how to program in it.

Javascript makes the program a bit more portable since all you need is a browser. There are certainly some hurdles in getting the program working as I envision it but it's all fun and really does help me learn new stuff.


It's been about a month since I started working on this based on my first attempts. It's getting to the point where I've overcome the really hard stuff and now it's just some simple programming and data entry to get done.

I'm a professional Unix Admin but you know, I really do like programming.

Carl ]]>
Freejack http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/entry.php/796-Programming-and-Gaming