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Programming and Gaming (2)

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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.


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  1. Skunkape's Avatar
    Interesting how you can take something as simple as a character sheet and go hog wild with it! Quite a while ago, I started creating websites for each of the games I was running, and with those websites, I usually created a database on the back end that related to the site so that I could store characters, character journals, adventure write ups that I did as the GM, equipment, etc.

    I've even created character creation web pages that work in conjunction with the database, so I know where you're coming from. Funny thing about it though, I don't use a computer while I'm refing, only use it to track campaign info outside of the game! :-)

    Good luck with your programing endeavors!
  2. Freejack's Avatar
    It's a challenge. Heck, filling out a form is simple but managing the information so you know how it affects other aspects of your character and the game is where it gets complicated