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Old 07-16-2016, 05:01 PM   #1
JHDude
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Default New combat helper program

Hi all!

In my free time (which isn't all that much), I've been poking at making a combat helper program. It's in its very VERY early stages, but I was wondering how much interest the community would have in this sort of program? Additionally, I was wondering what sort of steps I would have to take to keep from stepping on Steve Jackson's toes (legally speaking).

When (if) this gets completed, I intend for it to do, at a minimum:
- Keep track of initiative order, and show whose turn it is
- Handle NPC and player HP levels and status effects (like shock)
- Prompt players and GMs to make rolls (for example, roll to prevent dying when HP too low), and automatically apply modifiers
- Auto-handle jumping checks
- Auto-handle random hit locations, armor values and attacks on various limbs

Basically, it would handle a lot of calculation stuff to streamline combat sections, and allow the GM to focus more on the game than on the numbers. This project was spawned by my absent-mindedness and desire to not have to pick up a rule book every time my players do something completely unexpected during combat turns.

Also, with Steve Jackson's permission, I'd like to have this program be:
- Free. As in, if you own GURPS and want to use this, go for it.
- Free. As in, if you know C# or F#, and want to add some features, go for it.
- Open Source (see above)

Would the community and SJ games find this sort of program useful and interesting?
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Old 07-16-2016, 06:48 PM   #2
Celti
 
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Default Re: New combat helper program

Quote:
Originally Posted by JHDude View Post
In my free time (which isn't all that much), I've been poking at making a combat helper program. It's in its very VERY early stages, but I was wondering how much interest the community would have in this sort of program?
I've got a rudimentary start to two different versions of this of my own (one in Perl, the other in Rust), so I'm at least interested!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JHDude View Post
Additionally, I was wondering what sort of steps I would have to take to keep from stepping on Steve Jackson's toes (legally speaking).
For that, you'll want to thoroughly read the official SJ Games Online Policy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JHDude View Post
When (if) this gets completed, I intend for it to do, at a minimum:
- Keep track of initiative order, and show whose turn it is
- Handle NPC and player HP levels and status effects (like shock)
- Prompt players and GMs to make rolls (for example, roll to prevent dying when HP too low), and automatically apply modifiers
- Auto-handle jumping checks
- Auto-handle random hit locations, armor values and attacks on various limbs

Basically, it would handle a lot of calculation stuff to streamline combat sections, and allow the GM to focus more on the game than on the numbers. This project was spawned by my absent-mindedness and desire to not have to pick up a rule book every time my players do something completely unexpected during combat turns.
I'd be careful about exactly what you automate, here. Implementing something that helps avoid tedium and errors of human memory is great. Implementing something that lets you play GURPS without needing the rules (because it embodies the rules in its code) is not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JHDude View Post
Also, with Steve Jackson's permission, I'd like to have this program be:
- Free. As in, if you own GURPS and want to use this, go for it.
- Free. As in, if you know C# or F#, and want to add some features, go for it.
- Open Source (see above)
The first of these is required by the policy, the other two are well-supported by it (you might use the license terms I released my GURPS Aging Calculator under — I don't think something totally copyleft like the GPL is compatible with the SJ Games Online Policy, but MIT/BSD/Apache/etc. certainly are).

Quote:
Originally Posted by JHDude View Post
Would the community and SJ games find this sort of program useful and interesting?
In summary: heck yeah! I don't really do C# or F#, and will probably continue my Rust implementation, though.
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Old 07-16-2016, 07:29 PM   #3
JHDude
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Default Re: New combat helper program

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celti View Post
I'd be careful about exactly what you automate, here. Implementing something that helps avoid tedium and errors of human memory is great. Implementing something that lets you play GURPS without needing the rules (because it embodies the rules in its code) is not.
Yeah, it's a fine line I'd have to walk. I'm thinking of at least having some options so that users can turn on and off particular automations as a way to get around this somewhat. Don't want it rolling for you? Turn that off. Don't want to use rule XYZ? Turn it off.

So, some examples of how this helper would work:
The party is exploring a smoky ruin. Player "Jim" trips and falls in the smoke, and lands in some fire. The GM tells the helper that Jim has just taken fire damage. If Jim's character isn't put into the helper (Jim wants to use pencil and paper), the helper asks if Jim is wearing flammable armor. If so, the GM can specify the armor type, and where it was hit, and the helper returns both Jim's damage and the armor damage. Or, if the GM doesn't want to track armor damage, he can shut that option off in the config files.

Say some mooks show up. Jim is still dealing with a hot seat, so Bob decides to step in. Bob's character runs forward and stabs at a mook's vitals. Bob's character is in the helper (he likes his techie toys), so the helper tells him what roll he needs to make in order to succeed, and prompts him to either have the helper roll, or enter a number he rolls on the table. After a death glare from Jim, he rolls on the table and the GM puts the number in. The GM also adds in a modifier that he thinks befits the smoke in the room.

Now, if Bob gets lucky, he might just hit that mook. The GM has already created mook templates for the helper to use, and so the helper knows what options the mook can use to defend himself. The helper will indicate to the GM each action the mook can take to defend (block, parry, dodge), and the probabilities of succeeding on said rolls. If the GM wants to be tough on his players he can have the mook make the smartest decision. Or he could play the mook as a total derp.

Basically, I want this thing to wave away a lot of the "boilerplate". All information that players need to do combat is right there in front of them. Useful info always at your fingertips.
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Old 07-17-2016, 03:11 AM   #4
Maz
 
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Default Re: New combat helper program

Other things that would be nice to have automated as well:

Throw distance and damage. Ie. just type in ST and Weight of object then it gives you the values.

Slam damage and fall damage. Again, if you could just type in speed and HP and then get the value.


When you mention "armour and hit location". Then remember to include armour divisor because that's where it starts being really bothersome to calculate on the fly IMO.

Also it would be nice if there was an option to type in damage rolled, as many players like to roll their own damage dies. So the calculator do not roll for you. But at the same time. as a GM it would also be nice for it to make several rolls quickly. Especially if you hit spomeone with a high ROF attack and they are hit 4 times. Then it's nice to just press a button and get the results.


But sounds cool :)

Last edited by Maz; 07-17-2016 at 03:15 AM.
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Old 07-17-2016, 01:40 PM   #5
JHDude
 
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Location: USA
Default Re: New combat helper program

Well that answers that: There's certainly some interest! I'll try to squeeze something out that's partially usable in the next week or so, and figure out how to get it on to git hub (my first open source project, how exciting!)
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Old 07-18-2016, 06:27 PM   #6
JHDude
 
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Location: USA
Default Re: New combat helper program

Ooookay! I have created the initial GitHub repository for this! So far, all I have is a form that looks very "pretty", but does nada. Still, I've got to start somewhere I suppose.

Git is certainly a different animal, though. I'm more used to mercurial.

Anyhoo: the repo is at https://github.com/JHDude/GURPSCombatHelper
There's no installer yet, so only real diehards would be able to twiddle with it. I plan to do a little bit each day after work (like an hour of code per day, since I get home at 6PM, and leave for work at 7AM), which means updates will be a bit slow.

But still! Program! And I think I can get a few useful calculation things added in the coming days, before making an installer so the general public can try it.
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Old 07-20-2016, 06:48 PM   #7
JHDude
 
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Default Re: New combat helper program

A spot of car trouble prevented me from getting a ton of work done, but I have JUST managed to crank out a (horribly inelegant) F# implementation of throw distance. Damage will have to follow a different day... Sorry!

Last edited by JHDude; 07-20-2016 at 06:49 PM. Reason: Clarified what kind of trouble I had (to prevent worrying)
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Old 07-22-2016, 07:25 PM   #8
JHDude
 
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Location: USA
Default Re: New combat helper program

Added in a logging system. I realized it'd be pretty silly for me to do all these calculations without any way of actually responding to the user.

In order to avoid thread necro, this may be the last update for a while. Though I might dig up the thread once I have an installer ready. Unless I should make a separate thread for that?
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Old 07-23-2016, 05:08 AM   #9
Maz
 
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Default Re: New combat helper program

I have no understanding of coding, so just posting to say. I am still looking forward to this :)
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Old 07-24-2016, 01:07 PM   #10
JHDude
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Default Re: New combat helper program

Good news!

I have gotten an installer up and running! As well as having implemented the ability for the program to calculate throw distance and damage!

+To install: Download the Install.zip file from GitHub, run the setup.exe

-To uninstall: Unfortunately, I have not figured out how to create an uninstall file, so you're going to have to go to Add/Remove programs. Look for GURPS Combat Helper, and nuke it.

~To calculate throw distance/damage: Go to Actions -> Throw Object, enter the ST and weight you want, and hit calculate!

It's a small step, but at least I've gotten something out that you forum goers can hammer on for bugs. In the meantime, I'mma take an aspirin. Storm systems moving through here are playing havoc on my sinuses >_>
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