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View Full Version : Future of the 4E_JPG and D20_JPG rulesets



ddavison
January 8th, 2010, 14:59
Now that John is one of the owners of SmiteWorks, many people wanted to know what the future plans for the popular 4E_JPG and D20_JPG rulesets would be. He and I talked this over quite a bit before bringing him on board. We toyed with the idea of releasing a basic and a premium version of the ruleset or just outright selling it as another commercial ruleset, just like Rolemaster, Savage Worlds and the other rulesets. Many people consider it to be one of the best, if not the best, constructed ruleset to date. In the end, we have decided to release this for free as a built-in ruleset. We will replace the current 3.5E ruleset with the D20_JPG ruleset and the 4E_JPG ruleset will be an additional installed feature.

Updates to these rulesets will be handled by the built-in update engine. We may end up changing the name of the ruleset before publishing it, but since this would affect all existing campaigns, we would need to create a conversion tool along with the release.

We have notified Wizards of the Coast of our intention to release these officially and we do not believe there is any material that infringes upon their Intellectual Property. Wizards of the Coast have been very amiable to us so far and we hope to work with them in the future to release library, adventure and accessory modules compatible with these rulesets. Our rulesets will not include any of the data for 4E or non-SRD data for 3.5 unless we can secure licenses to do that.

John has some significant upgrades to his ruleset that have not yet been released. These are in the final testing phase and once complete, they will be rolled in to our first official package. I have asked him to comment here if he would like.

Hye Jedi
January 8th, 2010, 15:55
That is very exciting news! I want to thank you for all that you are doing to improve this application which is in my opinion the best VTT on the market today!

Spyke
January 8th, 2010, 17:25
That's good news, however be aware that this can have an impact on other community-created rulesets.

I have based the GURPS ruleset off the original Smiteworks d20 ruleset, and have subsequently updated it for changes made in the move to Foundation and the associated 3.5E extension. In particular I (and possibly other designers) monitor updates to Foundation and 3.5E, and then build those changes into my custom ruleset for subsequent release. This means that improvements and bug fixes to the core FG ruleset are reflected in, for example, the GURPS ruleset wherever possible.

By switching out the existing Foundation/3.5E pairing for John's excellent D20_JPG this link is broken. You are basically saying that development on Foundation/3.5E is being ended. This would be a shame as it would make it harder to maintain consistency between developers.

Related to this, the SVN tools for monitoring version changes to the Foundation and 3.5E code are excellent, and again very helpful for custom ruleset developers. Will you be continuing with these with D20_JPG and 4E_JPG?

Spyke

Moon Wizard
January 8th, 2010, 20:19
To add to Doug's statements,

My plans prior to joining the SmiteWorks team was to release v2 of the 4E_JPG ruleset in basic and premium versions, and sell the premium version in the store. So, I feel that having them released for free is a great win for the community.

With regards to the foundation and the d20_JPG, we are still discussing the future of those rulesets.

Cheers,
JPG

drahkar
January 8th, 2010, 20:25
Realistically I don't see any reason for the foundation ruleset to disappear since in many ways ts a reference ruleset for others who are looking to build rulesets.

Can completely understand the re-evaluating the D20 and 3.5E extension however.

Porpoise
January 9th, 2010, 00:38
Cool is about all I have to say. I'm really looking forward to whatever these new features are, and I'm glad that I don't have to pay more for them (although in truth, I probably would.)

Brenn
January 9th, 2010, 05:56
Glad to hear it, but I certainly hope Foundtation stays.
In truth there is alot in the JPG that could be part of Foundation. Part of what makes the JPG rulesets so great are some of the fundamental design concepts, and those are not game specific. It would be better for someone starting out with ruleset creation to have some of that underneath them- I certainly wish I had.

It would also be more welcoming to some if one of the stock rulesets were non-WotC related, but that's not really on subject for this thread.

Bidmaron
January 9th, 2010, 12:20
John, are you taking inputs on the d20_jpg future? I know there is a pervasive belief that 4e is more used than 3.5, but I still think there are enough of us that will never go for 4e that the d20_jpg should continue to be developed. Or, better yet, adapt it to Pathfinder, a supported ruleset by Paizo.

rom90125
January 9th, 2010, 23:21
John, are you taking inputs on the d20_jpg future? I know there is a pervasive belief that 4e is more used than 3.5, but I still think there are enough of us that will never go for 4e that the d20_jpg should continue to be developed. Or, better yet, adapt it to Pathfinder, a supported ruleset by Paizo.

This is a second vote for continued support for d20_jpg. We are about to start our first FGII campaign and we have decided to use the d20_jpg ruleset until the official Pathfinder ruleset is released.

Grey Mage
January 9th, 2010, 23:40
This was good news all around I think. And I would like to second Bidmaron's comments. As a personal preference (so that it does not offend others who might take issue) I prefer the 3.5 over 4e version and hope to see continued development of this ruleset.

Thanks and keep up the good work guys.

Moon Wizard
January 12th, 2010, 07:40
After considering many of the possible alternatives, here is some information on our plans for the 3.5E, d20_JPG and Foundation rulesets.

3.5E and d20_JPG Rulesets
We have decided to merge the 3.5E and d20_JPG rulesets into single ruleset. The goal is to create a ruleset that is backward compatible with both current rulesets. Additionally, we are looking at mechanisms to migrate existing campaigns from d20_JPG to 3.5E once the merge is complete.

Foundation Ruleset
The foundation ruleset will remain unaffected, since the 3.5E ruleset code line was forked off the foundation ruleset and is not dependent on it at this time.

Timing
My primary focus right now is finalizing the 4E ruleset release, so the work on the 3.5E ruleset will be primarily done after the next 4E ruleset release.

Cheers,
JPG

drahkar
January 12th, 2010, 08:56
Sounds like a solid plan! I look forward to seeing the results.

Spyke
January 12th, 2010, 09:53
OK. Makes sense.

Cheers,
Spyke

Valarian
January 12th, 2010, 10:53
I'd like to see the Foundation merged in to, and replaced with, a solid base from either of the JPG rulesets. I think these offer more functionality to use as a basis for development.

Spyke
January 12th, 2010, 12:08
I'd like to see the Foundation merged in to, and replaced with, a solid base from either of the JPG rulesets. I think these offer more functionality to use as a basis for development.
If this happens, which is a good idea, can it be done methodically with documentation on what's being changed? This would make it easier to reflect any changes in customer rulesets currently based off Foundation (like GURPS).

This could be as simple as making sure that we can use the existing SVN facility to track the changes (with useful comments on each internal revision).

Spyke

drahkar
January 12th, 2010, 12:14
Actually I think most of the D20 functionality is already in the Foundation ruleset. While not all the graphics are, I have yet to find a situation where the functions aren't.

Spyke
January 12th, 2010, 12:17
Actually I think most of the D20 functionality is already in the Foundation ruleset. While not all the graphics are, I have yet to find a situation where the functions aren't.

But I think there are updated functions in d20_JPG. If this is being merged with the full 3.5E ruleset, then it's likely that changes will get made to functions that are also covered by code in Foundation. If Foundation is then updated to match these changes (which would be helpful to keep everything consistent) I'd also want to reflect those changes in GURPS. That way I'd know that new functionality added to 3.5E was based off the same underlying code, and could be adapted for GURPS where relevant with less risk.

Spyke

Valarian
January 12th, 2010, 13:18
Actually I think most of the D20 functionality is already in the Foundation ruleset. While not all the graphics are, I have yet to find a situation where the functions aren't.
Combat tracker works and there's more options available in the preferences. I've only recently had a look at the JPG rulesets. I've not played d20 other than Mongoose's Babylon 5 for years and haven't needed to use them.

Valarian
January 12th, 2010, 13:20
This could be as simple as making sure that we can use the existing SVN facility to track the changes (with useful comments on each internal revision).
WinMerge is a very good tool for this. You can compare two sets of files, even at the directory level, and get the differences between them.

Spyke
January 12th, 2010, 18:06
WinMerge is a very good tool for this. You can compare two sets of files, even at the directory level, and get the differences between them.
Yes, I've got WinMerge and agree. But I'm using TortoiseSVN to review the Foundation and 3.5E versions as per this thread in the Foundry (http://www.fantasygrounds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9403), and the logs report revision notes at each stage which are useful.

Spyke

Bidmaron
January 14th, 2010, 04:40
I am concerned that we will lose functionality in d20_jpg. Right now, it has a lot of the improvements in 4e, and I'm concerned that merging d20_jpg with 3.5E will be a step backwards in functionality. Can you assure us that we won't lose any of the functionality we currently have?

Moon Wizard
January 14th, 2010, 06:26
My goal is to bring as much of the functionality of the d20_JPG ruleset as possible into the 3.5E ruleset without sacrificing backward compatibility of either ruleset. I might pepper in some of the improvements from 4E_JPG as well.

Regards,
JPG

DMJBone
January 18th, 2010, 09:28
Fantastic news! I'm a huge fan of the 4E JPG ruleset and look forward to it's updates being 'built in' to FG.

Thanks and keep up the great support.

RebRob
February 3rd, 2010, 18:11
My goal is to bring as much of the functionality of the d20_JPG ruleset as possible into the 3.5E ruleset without sacrificing backward compatibility of either ruleset. I might pepper in some of the improvements from 4E_JPG as well.

Regards,
JPG

My group is very VERY interested in the 4e ruleset being onboarded. Do you have any kind of a timeline for that to happen (I'm sure it's dependent upon WOTC approval and such)?

EugeneZ
February 3rd, 2010, 23:18
My group is very VERY interested in the 4e ruleset being onboarded. Do you have any kind of a timeline for that to happen (I'm sure it's dependent upon WOTC approval and such)?

It's already in the test version (see The Laboratory forum). Smiteworks does not believe the ruleset itself infringes on WotC property. I'm guessing after some thorough testing, it'll be in the next version of FG2.