Author Topic: Why are character sheets so hard to emulate in office software?  (Read 1746 times)

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Offline Zhaleskra

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Why are character sheets so hard to emulate in office software?
« on: December 11, 2011, 12:42:32 PM »
This isn't really aimed at any particular system. With the possible exception of HARP, I find it quite difficult to produce a custom character sheet that meshes with the feel of the official one.

Right now this may be because I'm working on mash up of a d20 system setting and using BESM d20 elements. Which leads to another question: what's wrong with "ugly" sheets if ugly gets the job done?
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Offline rdanhenry

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Re: Why are character sheets so hard to emulate in office software?
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2011, 02:00:56 PM »
Use the spread sheet for character design. For PCs or very major NPCs, copy the information into the beautiful character sheet of your preference for use at the table.
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Offline markc

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Re: Why are character sheets so hard to emulate in office software?
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2011, 02:21:23 PM »
  I have no problem with ugly sheets but now a days with Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Publisher and I think advanced Adobe Acrobat you can do a lot more to make your sheets look professional.
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Offline Phil

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Re: Why are character sheets so hard to emulate in office software?
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2012, 06:53:13 AM »
I can't think of the last time my group used character sheets designed by a games company. They invariably have too much information on them - useful as character generation work sheets, but not to capture the feel of the game.

I passionately believe that for players the character sheet is the GUI. Sure, some players are happy with unix or DOS, but most of us like a pretty GUI that gives us the information we need and keeps all the complex stuff hidden away. For example, in game I don't usually need to know Rank bonus, Stat bonus, special bonus, item bonus, cultural bonus and racial bonus. I just need to know the bonus. So take the other stuff off the character sheet, as long as it's somewhere it can be accessed if you really need it.

A well designed character sheet will give only the essential game stats, and really help to capture the feel of the game. This is especially important in my group, as we change both GM and game system on a regular basis, so you can't assume that any or all of the players have even played a given game before.

It's one area where the industry really needs to up its game imho.Players who visual, creative thinking styles can really struggle with the data-heavy character sheets so beloved of RM and D&D.

Offline markc

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Re: Why are character sheets so hard to emulate in office software?
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2012, 10:26:58 AM »
Phil,
 You could make a cover PC sheet that fits your group. Most PC sheets are designed with better programs than the average Joe has access to. Better program better control on where you want stuff to go, etc.
  To make a PC sheet in Word or something would reduce the info as you do not have the ability to use space as effectively.
  So I would give a try and create you own. I bet a few people would love to have or use what you come up with.
MDC
Bacon Law: A book so good all PC's need to be recreated.
Rule #0: A GM has the right to change any rule in a book to fit their game.
Role Play not Roll Play.
Use a System to tell the story do not let the system play you.

Offline Keen_Man

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Re: Why are character sheets so hard to emulate in office software?
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2012, 11:15:38 AM »
Personally I like creating the character gen in a spreadsheet then create the sheet in a word processor and have it fetch the wanted data from the sheet. Also I sometimes just create an extra page in the spreadsheet with a nice character sheet on it that just fetches the needed data.

Offline Phil

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Re: Why are character sheets so hard to emulate in office software?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2012, 01:47:04 AM »
Phil,
 You could make a cover PC sheet that fits your group. Most PC sheets are designed with better programs than the average Joe has access to. Better program better control on where you want stuff to go, etc.
  To make a PC sheet in Word or something would reduce the info as you do not have the ability to use space as effectively.
  So I would give a try and create you own. I bet a few people would love to have or use what you come up with.
MDC
Er. That's my point. That's exactly what we do! And Excel can do 99% of what I want - it's not just boxes and formulae, you can also use the drawing tools to create pretty decent looking sheets, and then either use transparency on drawing objects to allow cell contents to show through, or even call on macros to populate textboxes within drawing objects. A bit of complexity, but the basics are easy as pie.

Offline arakish

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Re: Why are character sheets so hard to emulate in office software?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2012, 10:28:03 AM »
  I have no problem with ugly sheets ...
MDC

I am the same way.  I am more of a DOS/UNIX person.  I could care less at how fancy the sheets look as long as it has the info I want.

That's not to say I don't like some of the nice looking and fancy sheets such as this one:

Char Sheet Booklet

It is just that I think as long as I can find the info, the prettiness of the sheet is irrelevant.

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— RMF Runyan in Sci-Fi RPG session (GM); quoted from the PC game SMAC.