Author Topic: Monbvol's AToW sheet and other related projects  (Read 10518 times)

monbvol

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Monbvol's AToW sheet and other related projects
« on: 25 January 2011, 22:51:25 »
Warnings about usability:
All intended user entries are shaded yellow.
Each file is one character only so be sure to keep a blank version handy.
Currently my spreadsheet does not correctly follow the rules for repeating modules.
There is a print tab so you don't have to print out pages and pages of mostly blank crap but it does require some sorting to do so.  My attempts at automating the sort have failed to date.  Also some know how for setting print ranges is required.
There are plenty of drop down menus to help prevent typos and ensure everything works correctly.  Some are hidden until certain character options are selected.
Due to certain limitations mostly on my part some modules will not match AToW's listed XP costs.  This is likely because of free XP or having a multiple choice option associated with the module.
There are helpful comments in the file to help guide you.
Leave the modules blank if making a point buy character.
Be sure to use the first available module entry when making a module method character.
Some of the short comings of my sheet are somewhat intentional to make people still have to rely on having AToW available to them in some form as primary reference to ensure character creation is done by the rules(like remembering details about who needs Citizenship for what or making sure they follow the special cases for previously required modules like University), others like the flexible XP and any "Choose one of the following" are limitations of my ability with spreadsheets.  After all it is a supplement, not a replacement.
I can't think of much else off the top of my head.

I did think of one thing to clear up.  When I first developed this spreadsheet it was not fully compatible with MS Office.  It should be usable in MS Office now.

I'm pretty happy with where it is now and probably won't be doing any further development on it but knowing me and the things I have learned in doing this I might think about eventually doing another major rewrite moving it up to version 4 of the sheet.

Next I'll do the standard disclaimer:

A Time of War is the property of Catalyst Games Labs.  This spreadsheet is intended as a game aid only.  It does not replace their fine product.  Use of this spreadsheet is at your own risk.

Get it here.

Now with additional aides!  Check out the first attachment to this post for a list of 200 questions to help you think about the fluffy bits of your character!  The second is a quick and somewhat dirty table that shows all the XP to skill rank conversions for all the traits that impact said conversion!
« Last Edit: 07 February 2014, 21:03:55 by monbvol »
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #1 on: 26 January 2011, 19:20:55 »
What would it take to get working in Office then?

monbvol

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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #2 on: 26 January 2011, 21:22:58 »
Probably a redesign from the ground up.

I'm not sure why it acts so funky for some of the formulas/calculations I use though I do know why my validation rules don't work though I have learned of a MS Office compatible function that I could use in such a redesign.

Of course it would probably be even better if I could dig up a more recent copy of MS Office than 2001 to develop a new version in.
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #3 on: 26 January 2011, 21:59:32 »
Your call of course.  It would be a very valuable resource if you did get another creative hankering.

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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #4 on: 26 January 2011, 22:49:53 »
Yeah it's one of those things.

I want to put it on my to do list and I have the time, I just have trouble making myself since my current version does work albeit with a software suite I have a love hate relationship with.

It depends on how much longer I stay unemployed.  Which could be a while since I theorize I may not be employable in the current economy and that is unlikely to change.  Worst part is I do have enough evidence to support this speculation that it may be moving into theory territory.
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #5 on: 27 January 2011, 08:03:28 »
Honestly, I think setting up something like this for Google Docs is much more valuable because then you know that everyone has access to it. You don't have to worry about what spreadsheet every possible user has installed on their system and you don't have to worry about which version of Office they're using or any of that crap. Google Docs is free and if they have internet access (to this forum for instance) they have google access.

Sure, some people won't like it because they're emotionally attached to something else, but that's true no matter what you use. At least this way, you know it will work for everyone.
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #6 on: 27 January 2011, 08:16:07 »
I have had issues with things working right in Googledocs and I think the usability of the sheet is higher if users nab their own copy that they can tinker with if desired.
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #7 on: 05 February 2011, 16:44:38 »
Finally downloaded Libre and tried it.  It looks really powerful, but hard to decipher.  I see dropdowns for affiliations, sub affiliations, and modules.  I see column sets for skills, traits, and attributes.  I'm also seeing XP denoted in Pool, Bank, and Starting.  Can you clarify the first two?  I can't make things add back up to 5000.

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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #8 on: 05 February 2011, 17:27:56 »
Pool is basically what you start with accounting for the whole +/- 100 for each year past 21.  Bank is what is currently left of the Pool.  The Starting is a GM override if say you want to run a campaign with 6000 XP characters instead of 5000.  So ideally the bank should equal as close to 0 as possible.

The drop downs are to prevent typos.

I keep trying to save a Macro to the thing that will organize the Print sheet for the user but it doesn't seem to stick so for now the end user is on their own for sorting the Print sheet into something useful.

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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #9 on: 05 February 2011, 20:27:57 »
Hmm, I'm probably being thick, but the starting xp is 5000.  Pool is 3000.  Bank is 2150.

3000 + 2150 + 850 != 5000.  Something somewhere is adding in an extra 1000xp mysteriously or I don't understand the book well enough.

I tried changing it to 4000 and it came up with 2000 + 1150, which is correct.

@ 6000, I get 4000 + 3150, which is 1000 over again.
« Last Edit: 05 February 2011, 20:30:19 by Bedwyr »

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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #10 on: 05 February 2011, 21:10:44 »
At 1 year old(what I have the minimum set at currently) with a Starting pool of 5000 will result in a Pool of 3000.  The Bank of remaining XP will then equal 2150.

Here is the math one step at a time.

To get the each year before 21 we start with 1-21 = -20.

Multiply that by 100  -20*100 = -2000.

Subtract from the Starting allotment 5000-2000 = 3000.

Now account for the mandatory investments 3000-850 = 2150.

So even though the Starting pool is 5000 because the character is only one year old until modules are selected or the age advanced the Pool will only be 3000.  The Bank is how much XP is left to be spent.

I know technically it is an optional rule but I like it.  It wouldn't be hard for me to add another GM entry cell to put that in compliance with the rules.

Oh yes because I forgot to mention it because of the whole module thing and optimization I did not code in any sort of maximum negative trait limit.  I also forgot to mention since I couldn't think of a good way to handle the situations where you have to choose from multiple skills or traits in a module it does not correctly handle those.  I also defaulted some of the fields and modules to certain skills and as such tracking the XP costs for some of those can be a bit of a pain.

I have also discovered an error in the Gremlins, Tech Empathy, Slow Learner, and Fast Learner skill rank calculations.  I can fix most of that but somehow I missed Computers is also effected by Gremlins and Tech Empathy.  This could be problematic because of the highly complicated nested if statement structure I have set up to handle skill calculations.

I have started thinking about a new version and I am frankly tempted to deep six the Spreadsheet implementation.  So sort of a good news bad news situation there.  I have VB 6, C++, SQL, and a Java book either all sitting on my shelf or readily obtainable.  I am slightly leaning toward Java because I do already have a SDK for that and it'll skip the whole problem of compiling for different OSes.  Problem is I haven't seriously coded in Java in years and even then I barely got to the GUI stuff.  C++ has actually been longer, didn't even get to the GUI stuff at all, and I'm not sure if the compiler I have will even work on Windows 7.  VB 6, well it's what I got but I'm not sure how that venture would work especially with modern .Net structures and OSes.  SQL I would need to get a lot of things for and even then I'm not sure how well it would actually handle something like a Character Generation aid.

Oy.  Now the old headaches are coming back.
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #11 on: 06 February 2011, 06:58:36 »
Ok, I think I get what it means.  If it does mean that then the Pool field isn't all that useful.  It's the other field you monitor to see how close it's getting to 0.  Anyhow...



Hmm.

Actual programming would be a difficult and long row to hoe.  If you do go that way, I'd go with java and rely on people like Skyhigh and Taharqa for advice and help.  Those opposed to installing java runtime are also fewer than those who can't/won't use .Net.

Since Excel is probably not in the cards (don't recommend doing anything on less than '03), I'd go for a freshening up of the existing spreadsheet.

My suggestions:

- Offload some of the stuff to script (I believe Libre uses javascript, yes?).  It'll make life easier on you.

- Obviously whatever leftover bug fixing needs to happen.

- Do a worksheet usability re-design.  While I like the amount of automation that you did compared to the more manual attempt I made awhile back, it's not very user friendly.  Some things don't really serve a purpose to the user (ID# or the pool I spoke of).  Other things are confusing or need more explanation (Lkp, rank in negative numbers, etc).

I can send you pack some comments and mockups on what might help if you like.

- Not sure I'm jiving with the XP pool thing.  I sort of get the math

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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #12 on: 06 February 2011, 09:14:36 »
Well the pool is useful because say instead you have a 31 year old character.

31-21 = 10.

10*100 = 1000.

5000+1000 = 6000.

It is there to handle the +/-100 XP for each year over/under 21 while Starting gives the baseline.

As to hiding the ID#s and lookup cells I thought about it and I probably should do it.  Anyone with enough skills to tinker with what I've done for their own ends probably also has enough skills to un-hide them.

As to my approach for the next design yeah I'm considering my options still.  I don't have the money for a newer MS Office than the 2001 sitting on my shelf and actually coding something this ambitious is going to take a rather long time.  Possibly in the years time frame considering how much I'm going to have to relearn.  All said and done though I am pretty well almost at the limit of what I can make automated with my skill set with a Spreadsheet and to make this useful for a larger set of users will require a redesign from the ground up what ever I choose.

Things now on my to do list that I can implement:

Add another cell somewhere to allow for the optional part of the +/-100 XP
Finish reworking the calculation errors for Fast and Slow Learner.
Hide the unneeded stuff.
Lock the not data entry cells so users can't change the wrong things.

Something I'm not sure how to do without adding to the monster nested if statement:

Figure out a way to get Computers to behave properly with Tech Empathy and Gremlins.
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #13 on: 06 February 2011, 09:36:54 »
Well yeah, but I don't have direct influence over the pool.  I'd recommend re-labeling it something like: "XP Pool (based on current age)" so it's clear.  That's the kind of thing I'm getting at for the average user.


Quick questions:

- Why am I getting negative numbers and value errors in Rank?

-- For instance, cryptography has 30 final points and it has a -1 value. 
-- Forgery has 20 points and a -1 value.
-- Interest/any has 30 points and a 0 value.


- The print tab shows acting on the first line, then value errors, then nothing.  Should there be more skills showing up?

-- I thought it might be getting hung up on administration (10 points, threw a value error, reduced it to 0, no change on the print tabe BUT, admin does show up if I raise it to 20 points... no other skills show up)


- What are the strange negative numbers next to final attribute scores?
« Last Edit: 06 February 2011, 09:59:09 by Bedwyr »

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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #14 on: 06 February 2011, 10:23:36 »
If you don't have enough XP in a skill to have a skill rank my sheet tosses an error out.  I suppose I need to add another comment there.

Negative Ranks in a skill happen because I automatically add in the Attribute bonus(or penalty in this case) to the skill rank.  Comment added to clear this up.

And special thanks to Bedwyr for being the first user to actually give input on this dang thing to make it more usable!
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #15 on: 06 February 2011, 10:27:50 »
Almost forgot if you need to remove the protection the password is the page number with the aging effects table.

Also for some reason despite me telling it to hide the ID#s and lookup stuff it seems it actually hasn't.  This is getting to be a pain.
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #16 on: 06 February 2011, 14:39:19 »
Almost forgot if you need to remove the protection the password is the page number with the aging effects table.

Also for some reason despite me telling it to hide the ID#s and lookup stuff it seems it actually hasn't.  This is getting to be a pain.
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #17 on: 06 February 2011, 17:58:36 »
I probably will for the next version.

I am growing weary of this whole developing it in one suite makes it not behave the same when using another suite thing that Spreadsheets give.
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #18 on: 06 February 2011, 18:11:21 »
I have started thinking about a new version and I am frankly tempted to deep six the Spreadsheet implementation.  So sort of a good news bad news situation there.  I have VB 6, C++, SQL, and a Java book either all sitting on my shelf or readily obtainable.  I am slightly leaning toward Java because I do already have a SDK for that and it'll skip the whole problem of compiling for different OSes.  Problem is I haven't seriously coded in Java in years and even then I barely got to the GUI stuff.  C++ has actually been longer, didn't even get to the GUI stuff at all, and I'm not sure if the compiler I have will even work on Windows 7.  VB 6, well it's what I got but I'm not sure how that venture would work especially with modern .Net structures and OSes.  SQL I would need to get a lot of things for and even then I'm not sure how well it would actually handle something like a Character Generation aid.

*glances at his copy of visual studio*

hmm... C++, C#, Java, VB6... I need a chalk board. And flow charts. Gotta start thinking about flow charts.
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #19 on: 06 February 2011, 19:03:24 »
Well I'm still early enough in the decision cycle to take input from potential users.

Hopefully I'll get more than last time I sought some.

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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #20 on: 06 February 2011, 20:02:10 »
Again, Java will serve the most users and you've got ready resources in the developers for help on GUI design.  Also Eclipse is a really good (and free) IDE.  Better than NetBeans in some peoples' opinion.

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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #21 on: 06 February 2011, 20:33:07 »
Geez I'm getting absent minded these days.

I just realized I forgot to mention that I do have my non-canon affiliations for my AU in my spreadsheet.  I also have all the old proto states that would later become the factions we know today.  So if you see affiliations you are not familiar with this would probably be them.

I may see about reposting some of my AU stuff that I do have worked up.  I have super short faction write ups to go with RPG data for them.  I have some short stories as well.  Plus a more detailed faction write up for one of them.  Of course with the board wipes I may also take the opportunity to rewrite some of this.  We'll see how creative I'm feeling.  :P

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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #22 on: 19 February 2011, 00:05:02 »
It seems that people interpret the starting xp and age thing differently.  As a result I'd like a switch that uses a set baseline of exp and does not attempt to adjust the exp pool for the character's age.


For our goup we set a 'baseline' age and used that as the starting exp..   in our case age 25 (figuring a merc company wants folks with a bit of experience, on average) so starting exp of 5400


No matter how old you build, 18 or 31  that's your exp.  (plus aging effects if you cross those thresholds)


The basis for doing it this way is this line in the rules



Quote
a character’s actual age may not conform to the XPs allotted to
his “baseline age”. This is perfectly legal, so long as the allotted
XPs are properly accounted for. After all, experience is more
than a measure of years.


we also felt this method was more equitable and didn't penalize someone who wants to build some young attribute heavy phenom verses someone else's skills heavy grizzled vet  (and i also tends to prevent a group composed of almost entirely 30 somethings created because everyone wanted that extra thousand or so exp for the extra 100 per year.
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #23 on: 19 February 2011, 00:53:06 »
Which is why I gave a few GM option cells so that you can go with or without the optional rule of +/-100 per year above or below 21 for a Spheroid and 18 for a Clanner in my last revision.
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #24 on: 19 February 2011, 01:16:36 »
Oh since I'm still awake from horrible insomnia from breaking my months long spell from drinking something with caffeine in it a progress report on my next version.

I have sketched out a flow chart for the first time in years just to give myself something of an idea how this will work.

I'll probably be spending the rest of my insomnia reading one of my Java books to start think about taking this from flow chart to execution.

Thanks to the flow chart though I am starting to get ideas on how to handle certain elements when they come up.

So for now things are progressing reasonably well for how many years it's been since I last coded in Java but I doubt it'll be anytime soon before I have much more than sketches and mock-ups.
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #25 on: 19 February 2011, 06:57:55 »
The best way to program.

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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #26 on: 19 February 2011, 12:39:59 »
Let me see your flow charts when you get a chance, I'll help with the work.

Damnit, I need a chalk board.
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #27 on: 26 February 2011, 15:21:14 »
I haven't gotten to any coding yet.  I have way too much Java to relearn for any progress on that front to be made anytime soon.

What I have managed to get done is a currency conversion spreadsheet for my alternate universe.  I need to add some notation then I just might share it.

I've finished a Random Allocation Table for Driving/Ground for my alternate setting's first era.  I'm debating just calling that good overall though just so I don't have to worry about overdoing something that is probably going to see very little usage.  I lost track of where I left off for stating the entries that need them but I'm probably 75% done in that regard.
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet
« Reply #28 on: 06 March 2011, 22:01:28 »
Shoot this is turning into a think tank thread isn't it?

Progress is frankly slow on relearning Java.  I keep finding myself working on other projects rather than cracking open one of my books to start wrapping my head around the actual coding.  Though I still manage once in a while.

What work I've managed to get done on it is mostly layout and procedural stuff.  I've pretty well determined that the final output will almost certainly be a two page affair for printing.  Probably three.  One for biographical data and if we can pull it off maybe even have a section where a picture can be put on there for the artistically inclined or those who have a reference picture they'd like to use.  I would also like to put the Attributes, Modules chosen, and any fields the character possesses on this page as well.  The rest we'll have to see how many pages will be needed.

Since my AU Affiliations are in my spreadsheet I may have to repost what little I have for write ups and what not.  I have the Terran Dominion on my HD now and part of the Belarus Alliance.  I have to admit even though I have given myself a fair amount of stuff to do despite the free version of Minecraft eating hours and World of Tanks doing a decent job of hogging time too I seem to be getting a fair amount done.

I'm making good progress on other projects.  One I am not going to disclose because it is for the use of myself and my gaming group only.  I have cobbled together a Mercenary Contract creator for my AU of a sorts.  I think it still needs work but it is getting there.  I only have maybe 20 vehicles or so left to stat for my AU design archive.  I have at least a dozen mechs left to recover.  I'm debating how much more to recover before I give my alternate setting another whirl for an RPG campaign.  I like to do that once in a great while because it is a good test to see what I need to work on still to flesh out the setting more.  I figure I may be able to get my Random Allocation Tables to a satisfactory level for the campaign I have in mind with not much more effort.  Depends on how evil my players want to be to me for how evil I am going to be to them.
« Last Edit: 15 March 2014, 07:34:37 by monbvol »
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Re: Monbvol's AToW sheet and other related projects
« Reply #29 on: 10 March 2011, 21:42:01 »
Since I've been forced to step up my efforts on recovering my AU stuff I haven't been getting as much done on my coding re-education.

I'm within probably 30 mechs or so of recovering everything that I can/care to in that regard and have probably a couple dozen combat vehicles that need stats still and untold numbers of ASFs and battle armor.

I haven't forgot all the other things I need to get cracking on.

Let's see I've got about a dozen projects going on these days and I'm only really close to finishing up two of them.
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