Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Weird Wars Rome finally done and submitted

Back around the middle of February I decided I was going to convert the +Pinnacle Entertainment Group  Weird Wars Rome setting into a module for +Fantasy Grounds, simply because I wanted to open the library section and only see story entries related to whatever adventure I was running. Now Fantasy Grounds actually makes it quite easy to create modules - you just need to have an understanding of this thing called XML. Which at that time I only had a basic of knowledge...I knew what it is and that it had not a whole lot. If you haven't read it, there is a whole thread about it on the forums.

As some of you readers are aware, modules in FG are basically renamed ZIP files. I unpacked the Savage Worlds rules - both Players Guide and GM's Guide. I looked them over for a bit and thought to myself "I got this, I can do this." So away I started working. I started by just following the format and copy/pasting info from the Rome PDF into Notepad++. Four or five days later and I am up to around 1500-1600 lines or so. Finally I decided to take a look at what my efforts would look like in the client. So I zip up my work, drop into the module folder, start up FG and go looking for my work.....its nowhere to be found!

For about a week I re-zipping my work, checking FG and whole bunch of angry moments. My frustration level was through the roof. I knew I had made an error somewhere, just couldn't see it. Re-wrote whole sections of what I had already done two or three times. I checked all the threads I could find looking for that tidbit of info that would point out my error or errors. +Eric Lamoureux  and +Damian Hupfeld  both offered advice and help in the thread I started. Damian finally says pm it to me and "I'll take a look at it" so I did...and he did... Less than five minutes later I had the file back, and a list of about 15 or so syntax errors I had made (improperly closed elements) that I had missed while going through it for the 100th time. I open up his file and mine side by side and correct all the errors. His version worked fine in FG, mine still didn't.

So I vented a little bit, still confused I posted again. damned politely informed me I was an idiot and had been doing it zip up the files and not the folder....duh....right, how did I not see that before?

There was a bit of a break...about 2 weeks...spent alot of time playing Grim Dawn on Steam, then I started back at it pretty steadily. For about two weeks solid I worked on it everyday, and posted about it frequently in that thread I mentioned. A few days I had multiple updates. I was essentially finished doing the XML at the end of March. I didn't realize that the hard part was to come.

Getting the tokens sorted out for the mean and creatures in the beastiary would prove to be my bane. Eric mentioned using the Figure Flat products they offer. So I emailed Pinnacle... +Jodi Black  emailed me back pretty quickly (I'm talking a couple of hours) and said talk to Doug he owns the SW license for FG. So I send Doug an email about it..his response..."I'm gaming the Pinnacle folks on Friday, I'll talk to them and get back to you."

At this point I am thinking...."If he gets to game with the people that created one of my favorite systems I am in the wrong job....and he is one lucky ^$#@*%#"

Doug gets back to me and says go ahead use those figure flats, so off I go to the Pinnacle website and buy them (they were the only thing produced for WWR that I don't own, other than the soundtrack). It doesn't take me long to realize that those PDFs aren't going to be as useful as I thought. They only have humans, and none of the setting specific monsters. For about two weeks I was beating my head off the wall trying to create or find open source tokens for everything. I had tokens of three different styles and it looked an awful mess.

It was another conversation with Damian that pointed out I was being an idiot again... (he is good at that apparently)'re over thinking just grab art from the book and run with it. I was staring at the PDF cover at the time and a new idea dawned on me. One token for each of the three categories in the Bestiary. One for all the creatures, one for all the human enemies of Rome and the third for Men (Romans and allies).

The 8 pre-generated characters collectively use a pool of 4 tokens drawn from the Figure Flat Heroes of Rome PDF.

The two mod files were sent to Doug on the 18th of April. So two months of real time - of that two weeks was spent on another game entirely, 14-18 days or so of actual work on the XML file, creating the images - the rest spent in frustration over the tokens.

What fantastic learning experience. I have come to really enjoy working on the XML files, and I find it kind of relaxing. Yes, there are frustrating times, but it is disgustingly easy to get me frustrated right now.

Now, its just anxious moments waiting for +Doug Davison to say "Yea" or "You need to change this."

Oh, and I already have about 5 hours of real work into my next project. Was in a conversation with +Eric Lamoureux and I hinted I would love to do the FG conversion Winter Eternal...he basically said have at it!