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Old 09-20-2016, 12:26 PM   #1
Joseph Paul
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Default Templates -Breaking the Wall of Words

I am one of those in the minority that looks at the alphabetized list of advantages, disadvantages, and skills and my eyes water. Trying to make sense of what is actually there (one...two...three...no, four weapon skills) is difficult as well as sorting out what happens if I make a change.

What I would like is some technical know how on reformatting a template so that it makes more sense to me and hopefully players. Essentially lift the verbiage onto Excel (other options?), have it treat it like data that is being unpacked. The data is looked over and compared to some standards (array formulas?) and reformatted into categories of my choosing. Melee Skills, Business Skills, Physical Skills, Repair/Science/Technical Skills, etc.

tl,dr - i would like to petition the hive-mind for ideas on automating the reformatting of GURPS templates.
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:21 PM   #2
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Default Re: Templates -Breaking the Wall of Words

I Am Not a Programmer, but basically every option in a GURPS template has its price written in brackets, so the first thing I'd have an automated system do would be to separate things out using that - everything after one ] and up to and including the next ] would be made into its own line. Next have it look for lists - the form "n: " shows the start of a list, and so long as the next is "n+1: " it's part of the same list; if you have the next part after a period (.) not follow this form, that's the end of the list. For other parts where the player has a choice, I think they all start with "N points chosen from...", so set up to recognize that. Those are set off with a symbol or a return (new line), so you should be able to use those to set your bounds there. Some of your traits are going to be in the form of "Animal Handling (any), Disguise (Animals), Hidden Lore (Elementals, Faeries, or Nature Spirits), and Weather Sense, all (A) IQ-1[1]", so you'll have to set it up to recognize and separate those out. Once everything is separated out into individual traits and the choices are configured correctly, you could rearrange them based on name for what category (combat, survival, etc) they fell under.

Sounds like a heckuva lot of work, and you probably wouldn't be able to share the results without violating SJGames' copyright. Once you have the program/script/whatever that can parse through existing tables, however, that might be shareable. It certainly would be useful to have.
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: Templates -Breaking the Wall of Words

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Originally Posted by Joseph Paul View Post
I am one of those in the minority that looks at the alphabetized list of advantages, disadvantages, and skills and my eyes water. Trying to make sense of what is actually there (one...two...three...no, four weapon skills) is difficult as well as sorting out what happens if I make a change.
What world do you live in?
Seriously, the majority of people find it hard to read and at least one GURPS author uses the term "makes my eyes bleed".

It is absolutely easier to write up an easier to read template than the standard one. The trouble is easier to read directly competes with conciseness and lower word count.
Give every skill and advantage its own line and it is MUCH easier to read, but takes up more of the page and with lots of wasted space.
Filling that space with art, boxes or other layout tricks costs more money.

I am eager to see the change Kromm made for the new templates in the DF box.

For what its worth here is what I do for my own games.
I break things down by major category and list them in alphabetical order or or if its a long list by imporance.

So Stats up top.
Combat: Sword (DX+2) -16 [n]; Knife (DX)-14 [n], etc
Combat Reflexes [15]
Social: Diplomacy (IQ) -12 [n]; Fast Talk (IQ) [n]
Charisma 1 [5[; Rep (good guys +1, Bad guys -1) [n]

Long lists may just list each skill or advantage in narrower sub groups or on their own line.
My Traveler GM lists it all line by line in alphabetical order which is very easy to read but takes up 2 pages.



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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
I Am Not a Programmer, .... (sniped a pretty good parsing explanation for someone who is not a programmer)

Sounds like a heckuva lot of work, and you probably wouldn't be able to share the results without violating SJGames' copyright. Once you have the program/script/whatever that can parse through existing tables, however, that might be shareable. It certainly would be useful to have.
Yeah I bet the script could be shared free of charge with SJG permission.
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Old 09-20-2016, 02:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: Templates -Breaking the Wall of Words

Rexx has some spiffy string processing power, so if I was to do such a thing I'd probably use Rexx

While I am a programmer, my desire to program drops off immediately after work
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Old 09-20-2016, 03:06 PM   #5
Joseph Paul
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Default Re: Templates -Breaking the Wall of Words

Kalzazz - I think I know someone that has some familiarity with that.... Thanks for the recommendation.

Refplace - Mostly concerned about my internal world building/game play so spending column inches isn't the problem it would be for publication. And ultimately templates get copied to character sheets and I think I could arrange a page of inputs on the variables for a template, slap in answers and have it kick out the sheet. Alternately creating a pdf file of a couple of hundred templates (Alien Species #1 Soldier, Alien Species#2 Soldier, Alien Speci...you get the idea) and letting players look that over after making it more readable and grouping skills into categories so that they have a better idea of what the template does would be good.
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Old 09-20-2016, 03:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Templates -Breaking the Wall of Words

The Big Book of Templates - would people pay for just those?
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Old 09-20-2016, 03:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: Templates -Breaking the Wall of Words

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The Big Book of Templates - would people pay for just those?
I would prefer something more like Who's Who or profession style books like Wizards. They can be good for worked examples AND ready made NPCs.
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Old 09-20-2016, 03:37 PM   #8
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Default Re: Templates -Breaking the Wall of Words

Yeah - Templates Basic, Templates for Fantasy (from several books), Templates for SF, Templates for Now (Paul Jaquay's ears burn), etc.
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Old 09-20-2016, 04:13 PM   #9
Andrew Hackard
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Default Re: Templates -Breaking the Wall of Words

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There are lots of things in the forums where you are reading along and suddenly your brain is going "OMG! I would not have thought to do that with those advantages!" or some subtle wording allows very different conclusions to be drawn.
Unfortunately, the poster you replied to was a spammer. Content-free replies from a brand-new account should be considered suspect until proven otherwise.
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Old 09-20-2016, 08:37 PM   #10
starslayer
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Default Re: Templates -Breaking the Wall of Words

honestly this seems like something that should be a simple as:
Code:
sed s/]/]\n/ <wallotext.txt >newline.txt
You still need to get the template out of the pdf in order to do this, and that is perhaps where more of the rub is. Manually extracting each template to wallotext.txt and then running the script to turn it into newline.txt is going to take only trivially less time then just reformatting the template in the first place.

I had the same problem with the dungeon fantasy treasure tables- so much awesome information, but way too cumbersome to use routinely (fortunately some other people either figured out how to effectively copy the tables out of a pdf, or just did the manual work required)

Actually, looking at the templates, they always end an absolute with a ';', and a choice with a ','. Thus, I would go with something more like:
Code:
sed s/;/;\n/ <wallotext.txt >newline.txt
sed s/],/    ],\n/ newline.txt
This would cause things with the semicolon to go to a new line, and things with a , (choices like 'choose 15 points of' to be indented 4 spaces and proceed with newlines as well.

Last edited by starslayer; 09-20-2016 at 08:42 PM.
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