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Old 10-07-2007, 05:00 PM   #11
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Default Re: GCA4 FAQ - GURPS Character Assistant 4 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I've e-mailed a data file, character file or character sheet file to someone and now it it either won't load in GCA or is giving me errors when I attempt to load it. What's going on here?

A: GCA uses a plain text format for all of its saved files. This is to improve the usability of these files for the average person and make them editable with just about any text editing program. Unfortunately, because they are plain text many e-mail programs will mangle the files when you attempt to send them (autowrapping lines, removing spaces, etc). It is usually best to use a program such as the free 7-Zip (or Windows XP's built in ZIP routine) to compress the files before you send them through e-mail.

Last edited by ericbsmith; 08-26-2011 at 12:33 AM.
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Old 10-07-2007, 05:01 PM   #12
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Default Re: GCA4 FAQ - GURPS Character Assistant 4 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: So you say the files GCA uses are plain text. What does it take to edit the files? What issues should I be aware of?

A: Any text editing program can open, edit, and save the files. Windows comes with Notepad and WordPad, which can be useful for most purposes. Be wary of using word processing suites, such as Microsoft Word, to edit these files. Word processors often have auto-formatting, auto-correction, and other features built into them that will insert non-standard characters or correct punctuation formatting to be grammatically correct, but will be incompatible with GCA. If, for some reason, you do use a word processor make sure to turn off these auto- features.

Editing GCA Data Files (.gdf) will be discussed in further detail below; normally you will not want or need to edit GCA Character files (.gca4). GCA Character Sheet files (.gcs) are written in VBScript, so if you know how to program with VBScript you will be able to modify and write these. If not, you would need to learn (I'm told that VBScript is an extremely easy programming language to learn).

If you wish to modify the official files it is best to do so by saving them under a different name. The official files are prime candidates to be overwritten by future updates.

When saving a new file for the first time (or an existing file under a new name) you should always use the Save As command so you can specify the file extension - .gdf for Data Files or .gcs for Character Sheets. That is, you would specify the name to be something like My File.gdf

You also want to make sure to always save in plain text format (Text Document within WordPad). If you save in Word, Rich Text, or any other format besides plain text, GCA will not be able to read the file and will give you errors if you try to load it in GCA. Whenever possible you will want to save in UTF-8 (without BOM) encoding; in Notepad there is an encoding option below the file name in the Save As dialog.

Last edited by ericbsmith; 08-19-2017 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 10-07-2007, 05:01 PM   #13
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Default Re: GCA4 FAQ - GURPS Character Assistant 4 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I've read the previous section. I think I'm ready to make my own data file. How do I start?

A: All data files follow the same basic layout, and almost anything that can be done with a data file has already been done in one of the official data files. The best way to get a grip on the layout of data files is to open up one of the official files and look it over.

For a lot more information on file structure I recommend going to the GCAWiki.


The first two lines *MUST* be:

Version=3

* The version information above MUST be the first line of the data file

Following that the data files are divided into sections. Each section starts with the section header in brackets:

[Author]

[Advantages]

[Skills]

etc...


Most sections will be divided into sub-sections (such as skill categories or spell colleges). Each sub-section starts with the sub-section header in angle brackets:

<Mundane Mental>

<Combat Techniques>

<Meta-Spells>

etc...

Each individual item is formatted with a name followed by a cost (for advantages, disads, modifiers) or type (skills, spells) followed by one of many tags. Tags are specific information contained within parenthesis. Each of these must be separated by a comma. Example:

Absolute Timing, 2, page(B35), cat(Mundane, Mental)

Absolute Timing is the name of this advantage. It costs 2 points. The page number is held within the page() tag. The cat() tag is used to specify which categories this advantage will fall into. It might be found in a data file like this:

[Advantages]

<Mundane Mental>

Absolute Timing, 2, page(B35), cat(Mundane, Mental)

It is often easier to format items within GCA so they take up multiple lines; this makes it much easier for the human eye to read and for you to pick out errors in a particular item. GCA uses two characters as a line wrapper, a regular comma or an underscore. A comma is used to line wrap after a closed tag(), an underscore is used as a line continuation of a single tag.

Last edited by ericbsmith; 08-19-2017 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 10-07-2007, 05:02 PM   #14
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Default Re: GCA4 FAQ - GURPS Character Assistant 4 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I distribute the data files I create for GCA?

A: Yes!!! Fans are welcome to create GCA Data Files, GCA Character Sheets, or GURPS Characters created with GCA and to host online collections of those files, provided the provisions of our Online Policy are followed. We ask that no one post a file unless they are willing to have it hosted in others' collections, and we ask that those who host collections have the courtesy to credit the original creators.

One such collection is The GCA Repository, maintained by Thomas Michael Edwards. At that site you may browse and download files, and if you create an account you may upload your own files to share. There is also a discussion thread in this Forum about the Repository if you wish to peruse it.

Last edited by ericbsmith; 05-15-2010 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 10-07-2007, 05:06 PM   #15
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Default Re: GCA4 FAQ - GURPS Character Assistant 4 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When I print or print preview with GCA why do I sometimes get weird text formatting in the printout?

A: There are a variety of things that can cause printing issues. The printing routines used in GCA are a bit sensitive to memory issues, especially in Win95/98/ME. All the standard advice applies here:
  1. Reboot the computer when experiencing issues
  2. Make sure your printers drivers are fully up to date
  3. Shut down background applications, especially those that might use large amounts of memory
  4. Try changing your default printer, e.g. by installing a virtual PDF printer driver.

Last edited by ericbsmith; 07-23-2011 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 10-07-2007, 05:31 PM   #16
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Default Re: GCA4 FAQ - GURPS Character Assistant 4 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is there a way to sort Spells by College, or Skills by Category, or Advantages by Type?

A: Yes! If you look carefully at the top of each of the Trait Tabs there is a drop-down menu which will allow you to filter out each trait type by category. This doesn't work in the Quick View Tab, but will work in the pop-up windows which open from the Quick View Tab buttons.

Q: What about on the printout?

A: Some character sheets do support printing different trait types by category. You can look to turn on these features (and many others) in the Character Sheet Options under Tools.

Last edited by ericbsmith; 10-10-2007 at 01:23 AM.
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Old 10-07-2007, 05:36 PM   #17
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Default Re: GCA4 FAQ - GURPS Character Assistant 4 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is there a way to get GCA to do Ritual Magic (Spells as Techniques) or Clerical Magic (Spells have no defaults) instead of the default magic system?

A: You need to load the alternate Data Files for GURPS Magic - i.e. GURPS Magic 4e - Ritual Magic.gdf or GURPS Magic 4e - Clerical Magic.gdf. Read about how to load Data Files in a new Data Set in Post #8 of the FAQ.

Q: How come Magery isn't adding to my spell skill levels when using these variants?

A: You will want to look for the advantages Ritual Magery and Power Investiture for Ritual Magic and Clerical Magic, respectively.

Q: Can I have a character that uses more than one of the Magic systems?

A: Yes, you can create a character that uses spells from more than one of the different Magic Systems, with Magery, Ritual Magery, and Power Investiture giving appropriate bonuses to their respective spells.

You will need to get the latest Program Patch and Data Updates for this feature to work - at least program v4.0.371 and the 15 AUG 2008 Data Update. Previous versions of the program and data files didn't allow you to mix the Magic Systems on a single character.

Last edited by ericbsmith; 05-12-2010 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 10-07-2007, 05:48 PM   #18
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Default Re: GCA4 FAQ - GURPS Character Assistant 4 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I add the same trait (advantage, skill, equipment, etc.) more than once?

A: Right click on the trait and select Duplicate Selected. This will duplicate any modifiers you've added to the trait, so you will want to duplicate it before you've started personalizing the trait. Note that duplicating traits which give differing bonuses with each level (e.g. Wealth or Appearance) can cause problems, but most traits can be duplicated without issue.

Alternatively, you can select the trait and click on Edit then change either the Name or Name Extension. This will allow you to add the original version of the trait without issues.

Last edited by ericbsmith; 05-26-2008 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 10-07-2007, 06:02 PM   #19
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Default Re: GCA4 FAQ - GURPS Character Assistant 4 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does the blue d, red P or Exclamation Mark ! in a Yellow Circle mean?

A: The blue d means that the skill is defaulting from another skill, either at the default level or being bought up from the default.

The red P means the trait is missing a Prerequisite. You can see which prerequisites are missing by right clicking on the trait and selecting Needs or by selecting the appropriate Needs from the top menu.

The Exclamation Mark ! in a Yellow Circle Means that the trait is currently failing a taboo check - that is, you have two possibly mutually exclusive traits loaded on the character or the racial template/meta-trait normally doesn't allow a particular trait on the character. An example of this might be a character that has both Blindness and Acute Vision. Note that sometimes mutually exclusive traits are perfectly fine to have together, such as a character that has Mitigated Blindness with Bionic Eyes which also provide Acute Vision. The taboo check is just a warning, not an automatic prohibition against taking mutually exclusive traits. This warning has no effect other than to alert the user of a possible conflict - feel free to ignore this warning if you wish.

Last edited by ericbsmith; 05-12-2010 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 10-07-2007, 06:17 PM   #20
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Default Re: GCA4 FAQ - GURPS Character Assistant 4 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I export my character to a format I can easily edit (for posting on forums, writing articles, etc.)?

A: From within GCA4 go to File -> Export. From there you can select an Export Filter and export the character to Plain Text, RTF, HTML, or a couple other formats.

Last edited by ericbsmith; 10-10-2007 at 01:25 AM.
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