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Old 05-06-2012, 12:59 AM   #1
tantric
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Default Full description of traits

I really hate digging through books when making characters. Invariably while working with GCA I see some odd trait that I might want, then have to go find some random PDF to find the details. It would be AMAZING to have the full trait description in the datafile. I would happily pay for such a data file.

I've been tinkering with Perl to try to create some automated way of reaching in the PDF and grabbing the text and adding it to the datafile, but the whole thing is a hot mess.

Even better, generate an HTML character sheet where I can click on the trait and get the text details. It's not as if you could play the game without the books given this info....

Just thinking.

Last edited by tantric; 05-06-2012 at 01:59 AM.
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Old 05-06-2012, 06:24 AM   #2
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Default Re: Full description of traits

Quote:
Originally Posted by tantric View Post
I really hate digging through books when making characters. Invariably while working with GCA I see some odd trait that I might want, then have to go find some random PDF to find the details. It would be AMAZING to have the full trait description in the datafile. I would happily pay for such a data file.

I've been tinkering with Perl to try to create some automated way of reaching in the PDF and grabbing the text and adding it to the datafile, but the whole thing is a hot mess.

Even better, generate an HTML character sheet where I can click on the trait and get the text details. It's not as if you could play the game without the books given this info....

Just thinking.
We have discussed opening a PDF to the correct page from within GCA. The two main issues are different reading programs and errata might change the page that should be referenced.

I think the different readers could be dealt with by a configuration file that would be updated by the user to put in some kind of formatted string that would take a PDF name and page number. Now people may rename their PDFs so they would need to add a lookup table to the configuration file that would allow them to link their new name to the old name. The directory structure of the PDFs would probably need to be in that table as well as some people may keep their PDFs in different folders. This would be difficult to the non-technical people.

The errata would just require updates. I do not know how much this would change. There would be some confusion on what version of the PDF you have.

As far as putting more text in the files, it would increase the size of them by a huge amount thus slowing GCA down. It would make working on the files harder. These files are built more on a voluntary basis and that would add quite a bit to the work load.

If you check this post, http://forums.sjgames.com/showpost.p...&postcount=207. Kromm says that if there is a new version it would not be a new set of rules, just a new delivery system. I think what he means is that they are thinking about new ways to access the rules. This is not as simple as let’s just do this, as each idea has different ramifications that need to be evaluated.
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Last edited by TorgSmith; 05-06-2012 at 06:28 AM.
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:05 PM   #3
tantric
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Default Re: Full description of traits

I'm not being snotty here, just curious - why is GCA so slow? It is a true monster. My laptop is ancient, admittedly, but it can't have GCA open with several PDF's at the same time, and it takes longer to open GCA than it does to boot WinXP. My mindless perl script that opens the PDF, takes a page, opens the GCA data files, reads all the advantages then writes both the PDF page and all the advantages to a txt file takes half a second.

Believe me, I've worked extensively with the data files, and the whole thing is a nightmare. Whatever bizarre data structure the program uses to represents a GURPS character is beyond my ken. But just slugging around text?

And, for my money, opening the PDF in NOT a solution. PDF's are a way to present books on computers. They are a MISERABLE way to present *information* on a computer. Consider the Dead Sea Scrolls - you can, in fact, make facsimiles of them on paper, which takes lots of paper and effort. Or you can convert them to simple text with an index. If you actually have to work with the info, which do you want?

It just that the idea of GCA spawning legions of Acrobats makes my laptop's chips ache.

Last edited by tantric; 05-07-2012 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: Full description of traits

It certainly would be possible to add text descriptions to the data files. GCA handles text alright, and while the text would increase the memory footprint it probably wouldn't slow down GCA very much at all. The barriers here are two-fold; first, incorporating the text requires someone to go through the PDFs, extract the text, and then convert it to a format amenable to GCA. Given the sheer number of traits (not just Advantages, Disadvantages, and Skills but also Spells, Enhancements, and Limitations as well) this becomes a daunting task. The second barrier is whether or not SJGames would want all of that text made available in a more-or-less plain text format for free or cheap to GCA users. They may be willing to do it, but that's a discussion we haven't had in years.

PDF book/page links, OTOH, are a lot simpler to implement and wouldn't bring in any other serious issues. So, for my money, this makes PDF links the best solution for the desire to be able to quickly and easily access trait text descriptions.
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