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Showdown Troop Builder

 
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What would be more useful
Windows Application with little to no printing capability.
70%
 70%  [ 7 ]
Access Database with better usability, but less people can use
30%
 30%  [ 3 ]
Total Votes : 10

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robert4818
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:50 pm    Post subject: Showdown Troop Builder Reply with quote

Im going to begin a project to build a simple, clean troop builder for Showdown.

My question for you is which do you find more useful:

Microsoft Access database, with the ability print off unit cards.

Or

Windows Form Application, without the ability to print off unit cards.



The DB has the advantage of being easier to use, and probably a fuller featured program, but has the disadvantage that not everyone has microsoft access.

The Form Application is much more likely to be useable by people, but solid printing in Visual Basic is something I have yet to master.
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Lord Inar
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For something to supplant an Excel sheet (for me anyway), it should be able to store multiple entities.

Otherwise, the customization of an Excel sheet is just too enticing to pass up.
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robert4818
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been doing some research, I might actually be able to do a windows form that uses the DB background, allowing it to create a printable report (i.e. I might be able to do both)
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Lord Inar
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

robert4818 wrote:
I've been doing some research, I might actually be able to do a windows form that uses the DB background, allowing it to create a printable report (i.e. I might be able to do both)

That would be nice!
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robert4818
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The biggest problem with Visual Basic is that it is a pain to program print functions for. Everything else I believe I can accomplish. I've got little homeowrk this weekend, so I think I'll try to put something together.

My goal is for the program to run something like this:

You open the program and it asks you if you would like to build a new army, or load an existing one.

You choose New.

You'll be given a choice between units or vehicles.

If you choose Units:
It opens a window allowing you to build a figure. This includes pull-downs for stats, weapons, skills and special abilities. You can then change the number of figures that are in that unit. (My first build will only allow non-mixed units. Everything in a single unit will have the same build)

Pull downs for weapons will include a list of pre-made weapons, and an option to build a new weapon, which opens a quick screen for building a new weapon for the game. (This weapon will be saved).

The same goes for armors.

If you choose Vehicles:
It opens a window allow you to build a vehicle, including pull downs for various things. Works similar to the figure window.

Finally an Army Review window. This shows a list of your units, how much each one costs, and allows you to print your army (I Hope).
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Lord Inar
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

robert4818 wrote:
Finally an Army Review window. This shows a list of your units, how much each one costs, and allows you to print your army (I Hope).


Yeah, it's this last line that I'm most interested in!
The sheet I use contains the setting info and the unit info on two different sheets, and I've set it up so clearing one doesn't clear the other.

To help you out, have seen mine since I updated it to the new Showdown?
It's in the Tools section: http://savagepedia.wikispaces.com/Showdown!

It uses the values from SlasherEpoch here: http://www.peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=25989
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robert4818
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Inar wrote:
robert4818 wrote:
Finally an Army Review window. This shows a list of your units, how much each one costs, and allows you to print your army (I Hope).


Yeah, it's this last line that I'm most interested in!
The sheet I use contains the setting info and the unit info on two different sheets, and I've set it up so clearing one doesn't clear the other.

To help you out, have seen mine since I updated it to the new Showdown?
It's in the Tools section: http://savagepedia.wikispaces.com/Showdown!

It uses the values from SlasherEpoch here: http://www.peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=25989


I'm hoping to have a few features there that are useful, even if I don't manage to get printing to work:

-Ability to save armies and load them back into the program.
-Ability to add new weapons and armor to the list. (so you don't have to keep re-creating things)
-The screen for units and vehicles is clean and easily readible to the point that if Printing is not do-able, you can easily copy the information down onto a unit sheet by hand without pain.

Though I should add that this weekends project will be to simply get a working builder that prints. Ability to save (beyond armies, weapons, armor) is not in the cards...
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kronovan
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you need a 3rd choice of "none of the above." Wink As it is I chose "Windows Application with little to no printing capability" because I used Excel to create my own troop builder for Tour of Darkness. I don't think that choice fits though, as Excel actually has decent printing features. The reason I use Excel for RPG support tools is because I like doing my dice rolls right in the spreadsheet via the Excel Random (Rnd) function. As an example, for the personality d20 generation roll, I do it with the simple click of a macro button.

For cells that use common lists of information, I create the lists on separate worksheets, then create dynamic Reference Names and then link them to the appropriate cells as data Validatation Lists. That way I can keep adding new rows to the worksheet and they automatically append to the drop-down lists boxes in the linked cells. For my ToD Troop Builder I created a Military Ranks worksheet, Equipment/Weapons worksheet, Vehicle Worksheet, Edges worksheet and Hindrances worksheet. In terms of the features you listed:

Quote:
-Ability to save armies and load them back into the program.

I did this by creating an XML schema, then save the worksheet as XML data with an appropriate descriptive file name (troop name/type, etc.) and I load it back when I want it. It's a snap to create XML schema maps with the free tool you can download from the Microsoft website.
Quote:
-Ability to add new weapons and armor to the list. (so you don't have to keep re-creating things)

As stated above, I do it with a dyamic Reference Names and link them to the cell(s) as Data Validation Lists.
Quote:
-The screen for units and vehicles is clean and easily readible to the point that if Printing is not do-able, you can easily copy the information down onto a unit sheet by hand without pain.

Since all my lists are on separate worksheets it's very easy to print them off using set Print Areas. Heck I can even copy & paste them into just about any windows app and I can save them to text, CSV files of export them in seconds.

All that said, I'm far more experienced with VisualBASIC or VB.NET database programming - actually quite novice with Excel. I just find doing random dice rolls too be much more of a pain in VB, or MS Access for that matter. I'm also not a fan at all of the quirky/buggy VBA in Access. There isn't many random dice rolls in SW Troop building of character creation, so the benefits of Excel aren't as apparent. Howerver, I created a random mission generator for ToD based on what's in the book, and Excel was invaluable for automating dice rolls.

[Edit]BTW for this particular challenge:
robert4818 wrote:
The biggest problem with Visual Basic is that it is a pain to program print functions for.

A possible solution is to use the 'Write to RTF' VB function - sorry can't remember the exact name. IIRC you can use it to create a nicely formatted file that can be opened in any Windows app that supports Rich Text Format -MS Word, Wordpad, etc. I've only used it once, but I know it's been a lifesaver for my co-workers that have had to code some nicely formatted reports without customers needing to have an expensive reporting tool.
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Thunderforge
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a Mac user, I prefer the Excel spreadsheet because I can use it on Excel for Mac. I'm guessing that both of the things you are proposing would only be available on Windows machines.

As long as the Excel spreadsheet stays, I guess there's no harm in having two things for two different groups of people.
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kronovan
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thunderforge wrote:
As a Mac user, I prefer the Excel spreadsheet because I can use it on Excel for Mac.


Yup, another good reason to use Excel. IIRC you can get MS Access for Mac if you own the Professional edition of Office, but more Mac users just have the Excel which is included with Office Mac.
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Gryffen88
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Joined: 25 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it still in the works I would love to have something simple to use as I'm not a huge program guy. The easier the better for me.
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Lord Lance
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please no Microsoft Office things... Please.
You could do this with OpenOffice spreadsheet or database...
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Lord Inar
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the only thing that doesn't work on Open Office in mine is the "Clear Sheet" macro.

Other than that I think it should be fine.

Drop-downs aren't supported in Google Docs, otherwise I'd use that.
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