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Armin 05-10-2021 01:19 PM

GCA5 Beta Preview available now [FOURTH release out now!]
GURPS Character Assistant 5 is available now as a beta preview. This means that the software is unfinished and almost certainly has bugs that may crash the program. Features included now may be removed or significantly altered before release.

You DO NOT have to upgrade to GCA5 at this time. The beta version is available to those that wish to try it out and provide feedback or bug reports. I would love for you to give it a try, as I think it's a significant improvement, but I understand beta software is not for everyone. I believe that the GCA5 beta is complete enough and stable enough to replace GCA4 in your daily use, but you can make that decision for yourself if you try it out.

The beta preview is available now. You can find the installer available for download here:

If you want to validate the ZIP after download, there is a PAR2 file here:

The GCA5 installer is within the ZIP file.

You do not have to uninstall or reinstall GCA4, and you can run both versions on your computer at the same time (but please do not install them into the same folder on your computer).

I will be running the beta through a Google Group <>. Google Groups are basically mailing lists that have a forum-like web-access mode. This is a public group, so it should be open to everyone who wants to join, but you *do* have to join the group in order to view or post messages. You can set in your preferences that you do not wish to receive emails if you only want to use the forum mode.

Please direct all bug reports, loves, hates, and any other appropriate commentary to the Google Group. I want to hear what you think of new features, missing features, broken features, and all things GCA5, but please remember that we are all human, and please be polite and kind to all the other participants.

Armin 05-10-2021 01:22 PM

Re: GCA5 Beta Preview available now
Please continue to use the normal GURPS Character Assistant forum here for issues or discussions about GCA4.

Some more info about the GCA5 Beta Preview Google Group:

If you want to report a bug, please check the existing threads first to see if someone has already reported the issue you are having. If so, please respond in that thread to let us know you also have that issue, and to provide additional information if you have it. Please also check inside the thread to see if we've responded that the bug has been verified or reproduced by us; if so, there's no need to post again as it will get fixed.

If there is no existing bug report, please make a new post. Please include "[Bug]" at the beginning of your title, and make the title as short and clear as possible. Please be sure your post includes the steps needed to reproduce the bug, if possible. It can be very difficult to track down bugs if we can't reproduce them.

Aside from bugs, if you love a new feature, miss an old feature, or otherwise want to discuss something else *directly* related to the GCA5 beta, then feel free to post about it. Off-topic posts are not welcome.

Some additional notes on GCA5:

* GCA5 requires Windows 8 or later, Windows 10 is recommended. (Technically you should be able to run it on Windows 7 or Windows Vista, also, but it hasn't been tested on those versions, and you'll have to find, download, and install the .Net Framework 4.X files for them.)

If Windows 10 blocks the installation "for your protection," this is because I haven't paid the extortionate amounts required to digitally sign my installers.

This article has a clear explanation of how to work around that problem: <>, or you can search for something you like better. I believe if you're running as an administrator that avoids the issue, but I'm not positive.

* GCA5 can read GCA4 save files, but can not save back to the GCA4 save file format. GCA4 can not read GCA5 save files at all. Data files written for GCA4 should work fine with GCA5.

* Print and export sheets written for GCA4 are not compatible with GCA5. If you wrote them yourself, you may be able to update them to the new format, which uses .Net code instead of the previous VBScript. The sheets included with GCA are available in code form for your reference. (They are found in "C:\ProgramData\Steve Jackson Games\GURPS Character Assistant 5\plugins" by default, or look in your install directory's plugins folder if you installed 'just for me'.)

* The most significant data change that may affect you immediately is that Languages and Cultural Familiarities are now in their own lists, not included as Advantages. This required changing data files, and changing prefix tags from AD: to LA: or CU:. This will affect your characters because things like Language Talent may not work correctly any more for GCA4 characters loaded into GCA5. GCA5 automatically moves Languages and Cultural Familiarities into their new lists when loading a character saved from GCA4. Please Resynchronize everything on your newly loaded GCA4 characters to correct for data issues. Resynchronizing may create its own data issues if you aren't using a lot of standard traits, so please be on the lookout for that.

Angel Darkover 05-11-2021 11:34 AM

Re: GCA5 Beta Preview available now
I think that I speak for many people when I emphatically say thank you, your work is greatly appreciated.

Armin 05-11-2021 02:13 PM

Re: GCA5 Beta Preview available now
Thank you. I hope people like it.

Kesendeja 05-12-2021 09:19 AM

Re: GCA5 Beta Preview available now
I love your work.

Armin 05-12-2021 11:42 AM

Re: GCA5 Beta Preview available now
Thank you very much!

Armin 05-12-2021 11:49 AM

Re: GCA5 Beta Preview available now
Somehow, at some point during the very long build process for GCA5, I accidentally set the 'Check for Updates' period of time to 0 by default, so it's effectively turned off for everyone.

Just as an FYI, you can change that setting in Options, and GCA will check for updates before running GCA every X days, depending on what you set.

I have now updated some of the supporting files for the public beta.

You can manually check for these updates using Check for Updates on the Help menu (save your characters first). That will close GCA and launch the Package Updater, which will then check for the updates. Click OK to install the updates, and once that process is done, click OK to close and return to GCA.

The Updater also includes Optional Updates on a different tab, so check there for optional things that you might want to include, if you feel like it. There's not much there at the moment, but Eric's Symbol images are pretty cool.

bjork 05-14-2021 01:51 AM

Re: GCA5 Beta Preview available now
Great to see this!

pestigor 05-14-2021 02:23 AM

Re: GCA5 Beta Preview available now
Just pulled it down and updated. It looks really good and I'm liking what I've seen. Going to give it a full test character this weekend and try to "kick the tires" when I'm not about to crash.

Armin 05-14-2021 12:47 PM

Re: GCA5 Beta Preview available now
I hope everyone likes it!

We have had some bug reports so far, and surfaced some mistakes I made in the book data.

I make the book (and plugin) fixes available whenever I have them fixed. You can get those through the Update system.

The next build of the program that addresses reported bugs will happen at some point in the future (maybe next week or the week after).

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