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POLL: Pencil-and-paper character creation?


Old school or software?  

36 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you use a pencil and paper to make your Champions characters, or do you use software?

    • Pencil-and-paper method (includes any manual method, like Notepad and a PDF of the rules, Calculator app)
    • Software (HeroMaker)
    • I mostly use pencil-and-paper but a bit of HeroMaker
    • I mostly use HeroMaker but some pencil-and-paper.
    • About 50/50 manual and software
    • Other (explain below)


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2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

I don't hate myself either.

 

Just a joke, man. 🤷‍♂️

 

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I see no reason at my age to have to develop a whole new skill set-- a quick look through the HD sub forum suggests it's anything _but_ plug-and-play-- just to do something I can do in ten or fifteen minutes with a pencil, and enjoy myself the whole time I'm doing it.

 

 

Personally, I've been using HD since the early days of its life, and while there have been a few glitches here and there I've never had a significant problem w/ it.

 

As a more serious answer, I used earlier products before HD came along, Hero Maker and Creation Workshop if memory serves, and made some export templates for CW...so it has been a very long time since I wrote Hero System characters out by hand. Even in its first version HD blew the doors off of CW for me; I switched and never looked back.

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To be clear: I am not knocking it for anything else, but the last thing I wrote any code or script for was pre-internet.  :lol:  reading through the HD help forum suggests HD is a bit more user-surly than I need something to be these days.  I don't want to have to stop and  learn Java to do something I can already do in ten or fifteen minutes.  For me, it's an inequitable exchange. 

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19 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

I don't hate myself either.

 

I see no reason at my age to have to develop a whole new skill set-- a quick look through the HD sub forum suggests it's anything _but_ plug-and-play-- just to do something I can do in ten or fifteen minutes with a pencil, and enjoy myself the whole time I'm doing it.

 

 

Well I am a dinosaur too and these days I avoid the HD Sub-forum. 

I found that HD as delivered is very easy to use.  The only issue I had was figuring out how to print out character sheets.  I didn't know that print templates were called "export formats".  I just don't have the skill set to create my own "export templates" but in addition to the ones that come with the software there are 50 free ones for download on the Hero site with new ones being added by Herodom.  At $25 it is simply the best system specific chargen software out there. 

 

edited to include your other response 😁

 

HD required zero knowledge of anything programming'wise to use.  All that JAVA stuff is just the tinkerers. 

It is like buying a car, I buy it and drive.  I have no need to supercharge my turbo or whatever:think:.  I just drive :ugly:

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12 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

I don't want to have to stop and  learn Java to do something I can already do in ten or fifteen minutes. 

 

I'm not sure what you mean "you have to stop and learn Java".

 

HD is written in Java but it's an executable GUI; you don't need to learn Java to use it any more than you need to learn any programming language that any particular application you use is written in. 

 

Maybe you mean "figure out how to install the java runtime on my computer"?

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16 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

 

I'm not sure what you mean "you have to stop and learn Java".

 

HD is written in Java but it's an executable GUI; you don't need to learn Java to use it any more than you need to learn any programming language that any particular application you use is written in. 

 

Maybe you mean "figure out how to install the java runtime on my computer"?

 

I can't directly speak for Duke B of course, but when I first bought HD I hit a point that I couldn't figure out how to print.  Drove me crazy because they used technobabble instead of Print Format or Print Template.  They said Export Format.  I made the mistake of going to the HD forum and got thoroughly confused with a vast humongous helping of incomprehensible technobabble.   Then someone said "oh, you need an export format".  Once I could print it was off to the races. 

 

But be warned.  If you are just a normal person that wants to use HD, avoid the HD forum like the plague.

 

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As far as "technobabble", I make a good living as a software engineer so my idea of "technobabble" is likely a bit different than yours. "Export..." is a pretty common concept...particularly in the era when HD was introduced. Even those touting using spreadsheet software as their character creators of choice might be familiar w/ "export to csv" or "export to..." and while I don't have perfect recall of the software that proceeded HD (Creation Workshop) I do know it had a facility to select custom print templates as well because I wrote a few of them.

 

So, I don't think "Export" having something to do with outputting character data to other formats it is too much of a logical leap and I think it was reasonable for Dan to choose that terminology for what is in my opinion one of the core features and primary value propositions of HD. All of the character sheets on my site are exported directly from HD using various custom formats, for instance. Personally, I have used HD more like a desktop publishing tool, utilizing the export format feature. It's a best-in-class feature in my opinion.

 

image.thumb.png.aa5152811e735d5c4e30dc772aa4b03f.png

 

Pro tip: you can use CTRL+E to export the file to disc or ALT+E to immediately preview it...in the case of an html export template this will pop up a tab in your browser of choice. I do this a lot; I typically do a visual check of the character and then (if I want a hard copy) print it using my browser of choice's print dialog. 

 

Super easy.

 

image.thumb.png.83ced5d7ba23d0724bf960f6d9f6224a.png

 

Since my browser of choice also supports print as PDF, I can also save or print to PDF if I wish for those who prefer that format. 

image.png.99c5227e6afcb9dddaef2b4eada2633b.png

 

Murgatroyd.pdf

 

However, I prefer to directly publish them as web pages to my site (such as this slightly earlier version of this same character: http://www.killershrike.com/HereThereBeMonsters/Characters/Durzan/Murgatroyd/222/Murgatroyd.HTML )

 

-----------------------------------

As far as the user forums for HD are concerned, I'm sorry if you've had a bad experience but my experience has been different. The few times I've had comments, questions, or a request for feature over the years I've been able to get speedy resolution.

 

But, if you don't want to use the forum so be it...fortunately the software documentation is very thorough. Specifically on the subject of export templates, in the preamble it mentions them specifically as so:

 

image.png.0f7916fdf164f2935d72d3d6f5ad5736.png

 

And printing characters gets a full page and a half of documentation starting on pg 31 and all of page 32, under the heading "Previewing, Exporting, And Printing A Character".

 

If you don't find the value proposition of HD to be meaningful enough to you, I respect that. And I get that you appear to have a grievance / had a bad experience with the app or the user forums or some combination thereof. But I can't really empathize as the thing you cite as a problem (exporting) seems pretty straightforward to me.

 

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11 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

No.

 

I mean specifically learn Java.

 

Read through the posts in the help forum.  There are a shocking number where the answer is "write some custom code" to do relatively innocuous things.  


Could you cite an example or two, drop a link perhaps?

 

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If I had meant "figure out how to install it," I would have said something more along those lines.  Considering how everything has "how to install this" instructions packed in, that's pretty [admin edit]

 

Thanks.

 

Well, the intent wasn't to insult you but to figure out what you mean. Your assertion seems odd to me because I've been using HD for many years and while I know C, C++, C#, Rust, and a variety of other programming languages, I don't program in Java (I can read it much like many spanish speakers can read portuguese but I don't program in it) and more to the point I've written zero lines of custom code for HD and yet still somehow manage to use it for a wide variety of things.

 

But, if you'd rather feel insulted than engage in a dialogue that is of course your prerogative. 

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Egad--

 

I'll have to ask you to forgive the F-bomb.  I quite literally type faster than I speak.  When I get incensed, things end up in there that I am thinking, but don't actually mean to put into print.  I'm generally better at catching the worst offenders.  

 

Again, I do quite sincerely apologize for that.  You weren't swearing; I hadn't meant to.

 

As to the rest:  

 

Yes; I would prefer to feel insulted, given the offered option is to have a dialogue about something that I have been quite clear on having no interest in using, even if the only reason is that I _like_ doing it by hand.  As my engineer buddy at work says: "it's a part of my process, and I enjoy my process.  If you don't like my process, then use your own."   :lol:

 

 

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I understand that.

 

On the other side of the coin, I wouldn't want them to buy it thinking that weren't going to have be more computer savvy than the think the will have to be (like Spence and myself, and who knows who else), or that things will be like what they are used to working with: print buttons that say "print," or that they will have everything they need like export formats or simple tools for making or customizing them, either.

 

I would strongly encourage them to read through the help forum _before_ they buy it-- deeply into it, so they get an idea what Simon's like on an off day, given that he may well be having one when they need a bit of help, and see the number of times "write a script" or "track this down" or "no; it won't do that" is the answer.

 

Pretending these things are not true doesn't do them any favors, either.

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41 minutes ago, Killer Shrike said:

As far as "technobabble", I make a good living as a software engineer so my idea of "technobabble" is likely a bit different than yours. "Export..." is a pretty common concept...particularly in the era when HD was introduced. Even those touting using spreadsheet software as their character creators of choice might be familiar w/ "export to csv" or "export to..." and while I don't have perfect recall of the software that proceeded HD (Creation Workshop) I do know it had a facility to select custom print templates as well because I wrote a few of them.

 

So, I don't think "Export" having something to do with outputting character data to other formats it is too much of a logical leap and I think it was reasonable for Dan to choose that terminology for what is in my opinion one of the core features and primary value propositions of HD. All of the character sheets on my site are exported directly from HD using various custom formats, for instance. Personally, I have used HD more like a desktop publishing tool, utilizing the export format feature. It's a best-in-class feature in my opinion.

 

I guess I came off as harsher than intended. 

I fully understand that HD and it's lingo are good for it, and I certainly didn't mean to imply that Dan did something wrong. 

I was referring to the understanding curve of us old fogies that have no modern programming skills. 

 

I currently can use the modern PC and am fairly good at networks.  But the last time I was actively involved with the actual program, punch cards, mag tape and directly entering data and commands using 32 bit binary octal via a control panel where each data bit was displayed by a illuminated switch/indicator was normal. 

 

The actually think that the current programming types really don't fully grasp just how far they have come compared to the 80's.  And how far they have left some of the older generations behind.

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8 minutes ago, Spence said:

The actually think that the current programming types really don't fully grasp just how far they have come compared to the 80's.  And how far they have left some of the older generations behind.

 

I've been slinging code in some capacity or another on and off for 40 years, starting at age 5 on BASIC; did it as a hobby until my early 20's and entered the industry during the dot com era. I think Dan is of a similar vintage. I manage a large team of software engineers of different flavors, ranging in age from a bit older to me to fresh out of college with most being in their late 20's and 30's. You are not wrong; these new whippersnappers (so to speak) have no context for "how things used to be". But I think to an extent that is for the best. The field is evolving so rapidly and some part of that is due to not being too encumbered by tradition. Every now and then I or one of the older devs get to have a "wise old man person" moment and re-introduce an old idea or technique that is still relevant but most of the tech of the past has been obsoleted for good reason.

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41 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

I understand that.

 

On the other side of the coin, I wouldn't want them to buy it thinking that weren't going to have be more computer savvy than the think the will have to be (like Spence and myself, and who knows who else), or that things will be like what they are used to working with: print buttons that say "print," or that they will have everything they need like export formats or simple tools for making or customizing them, either.

 

The problem with a "print button that says print" is the complexity and sheer number of different kinds of characters that can be made using the Hero System. Unlike some games where all characters have more or less the same structure and level of complexity, for instance. The export feature complements the "build virtually anything you can imagine" ethos of the Hero System, the differing needs of genres, vehicles, bases, computers, general aesthetics, desire to output data for use in combat managers or spreadsheets or to directly publish to forum software or a website, and so on. 

 

It's a feature.

 

But sure, for Joe Average User with their one character for the one campaign they play in it is overkill. My general advice over the years is that HD is best for GM's and a small subset of players who are particularly keen on making characters in bulk. 

 

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I would strongly encourage them to read through the help forum _before_ they buy it-- deeply into it, so they get an idea what Simon's like on an off day, given that he may well be having one when they need a bit of help, and see the number of times "write a script" or "track this down" or "no; it won't do that" is the answer.

 

A consumer should always do whatever due diligence they feel is warranted before making a purchase. HD only costs $25 however, so the risk vs reward is pretty good there. As far as Dan S., I'm aware that some people have gotten their feathers ruffled here and there by his directness, but I have a different perspective. As an established software engineer, it is very unusual to directly interact with actual end users on a day to day basis. Even interacting with less technical colleagues gets irritating quickly for most developers. I've remained continuously amazed that he has the patience to do it at all. I would never do it; I'm a reasonably patient person but I'd rather walk a mile on broken glass than do direct technical support for a week much less the many years he's been helping people out on HD. 

 

So, different perspectives. 

 

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Pretending these things are not true doesn't do them any favors, either.

 

I see the export functionality as a major feature, so I would never pretend that it isn't true. And I as far as the unheard of ability to get free technical support (from the principal engineer no less) for a $25 pay once app? Also seems like a feature to me. 

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This is the screwiest thing I have ever seen:

 

 

There are things with this software that are squirrelly as hell for a non-savvy consumer.

 

Let's justify them!

 

 

 

Good Grief, Man.   Justifying a problem -- or perhaps a _potential_ problem-- Does _NOT_ make it one single iota less of a problem:

 

Honey!  Come home quickly!  The house is on fire!

 

Oh, that's no big deal.  When we rebuild, we can select a different color.

 

 

There are boards missing from the rickety rope bridge!

 

Yes!  We find the hopping across the spaces provides a bit of exercise and excitement for the consumer.  It's a _feature_!

 

 

This is silly.    I mean, I _understand_ that no one likes to admit that there are problems, no matter how small they may or may not be, with something they like.  Branding them as not problems, however, doesn't make them go away.  At best, it shines light into interesting and scary places.

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1 hour ago, Duke Bushido said:

This is the screwiest thing I have ever seen:

 

There are things with this software that are squirrelly as hell for a non-savvy consumer.

 

In your opinion. 

 

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Let's justify them!

 

Good Grief, Man.   Justifying a problem -- or perhaps a _potential_ problem-- Does _NOT_ make it one single iota less of a problem:

 

I'm not justifying anything. You stated your opinion and I countered with mine. I provide facts and examples to back up my opinion, you provide things like the following bizarre statements to back up yours...

 

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Honey!  Come home quickly!  The house is on fire!

 

Oh, that's no big deal.  When we rebuild, we can select a different color.

 

Well, if you think having the ability to select more than one output format in a character generation app is equivalent to your house being on fire...

 

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There are boards missing from the rickety rope bridge!

 

Yes!  We find the hopping across the spaces provides a bit of exercise and excitement for the consumer.  It's a _feature_!

 

Uh huh. 

 

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This is silly. 

 

Yes, yes it is. 

 

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I mean, I _understand_ that no one likes to admit that there are problems, no matter how small they may or may not be, with something they like.  Branding them as not problems, however, doesn't make them go away.  At best, it shines light into interesting and scary places.

 

I know that no one likes to admit that there are drawbacks to doing something manually without taking advantage of more advanced tools when they like doing it that way; branding modern technology as a problem does not make it go away however. At best, it shines light into ones own inability to keep up with the times.

 

You are more than welcome to continue to grind out your characters by hand with pencil and paper, 1974 style. No one is coming to your house to take away your pencil and force you to use an app. 

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