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Iceman
April 22nd, 2012, 15:56
What programs are available that will accept the XML generated from FGs /exportchar and then validate (or invalidate) the 3.5 OGL character and allow an FG XML export back again?

I still think BASIC character tracking needs to be inherent to FG, like having a totals box at the bottom of the skills list so a GM doesnt have to add up the skills each game session to see if they are accurate. A main GM character approval button would also be helpful, so that when changes/leveling of characters is done those changes would be highlighted for the GM for review at which point he could ACCEPT them again.

As it is the character manaagement within FG and without outside support is a pain!

Moon Wizard
April 26th, 2012, 09:35
There are no tools to do this currently. The character converter utility launching with v2.9 allows a mechanism to import characters from popular character builders, but no way to synchronize back and forth.

I either just set up the characters in FG and manage there; pull in from chargen initially and then manage in FG; or make all permanent changes in chargen and re-import each session. It depends on my mood; I usually just track in FG.

There was actually an effort by Paizo to look at something like this for cross-product standard XML formats. After lots of initial discussion, most of the developers (chargen and VTT) decided that it was not worth the effort to engineer back and forth import/export features, as well as a waning interest in spending lots of time on a standardized character format given the large range of opinions.

I'm looking at making the character converter tool code publicly available, so that the community can contribute to additional game systems or additional modes. Maybe even a back and forth option if you want to reverse engineer the character formats for each character generator. This is something that I have been delaying until v2.9 launch, due to a general lack of time on my part.

Regards,
JPG

Iceman
April 26th, 2012, 14:11
Sounds like making it public is the best option. The trouble with management in FG is that there is no way to tell what the player changed, so you have to review everything, which is very time consuming. Currently I keep two copies of the characters, one to which only I have access. Then I export from FG and use Notepad++ to compare changes. Once accepted I update my copy of the character.
But then I still have to put the info into PCGEN manually to make sure sps and such are correct.

Unfortunately I have NEVER been able to use the PCGEN FG export and successfully import back into FG. Whats up with that?
So a two way highway would save EVERYONE a TON of time and if making it public and enlisting community help is the way to go then I am definitely behind the move!



There are no tools to do this currently. The character converter utility launching with v2.9 allows a mechanism to import characters from popular character builders, but no way to synchronize back and forth.

I either just set up the characters in FG and manage there; pull in from chargen initially and then manage in FG; or make all permanent changes in chargen and re-import each session. It depends on my mood; I usually just track in FG.

There was actually an effort by Paizo to look at something like this for cross-product standard XML formats. After lots of initial discussion, most of the developers (chargen and VTT) decided that it was not worth the effort to engineer back and forth import/export features, as well as a waning interest in spending lots of time on a standardized character format given the large range of opinions.

I'm looking at making the character converter tool code publicly available, so that the community can contribute to additional game systems or additional modes. Maybe even a back and forth option if you want to reverse engineer the character formats for each character generator. This is something that I have been delaying until v2.9 launch, due to a general lack of time on my part.

Regards,
JPG

Trenloe
April 26th, 2012, 15:07
Unfortunately I have NEVER been able to use the PCGEN FG export and successfully import back into FG. Whats up with that?
Have you installed the PCGen export templates that come with the FG character importer and use those for your export from PCGen? Don't use the Fantasy Grounds template that comes with PCGEn.

Iceman
April 26th, 2012, 18:28
I find no reference when searching for "PCGEN export templates" ???


Have you installed the PCGen export templates that come with the FG character importer and use those for your export from PCGen? Don't use the Fantasy Grounds template that comes with PCGEn.

Trenloe
April 26th, 2012, 18:49
I find no reference when searching for "PCGEN export templates" ???
Sorry, I wasn't in front of my PC so I couldn't confirm the exact terminology used.


Run the "Fantasy Grounds - Character Converter" application.
Click on the menu at the top "PCGen sheets"
Select "Install to default location" or "Choose Location to Install" - depending on where you installed PCGen. Wherever you installed PCGen the files need to go in <PCGEN Installation Folder>\outputsheets\d20\fantasy\htmlxml
When you export a character from PCGen (File -> Export -> Standard) make sure you select the new FG output sheet: d20\fantasy\htmlxml\csheet_FantasyGrounds2_pc_3.5. xml

Moon Wizard
April 26th, 2012, 19:11
We have submitted the updated sheets twice over the last year to the PCGen team, and asked them to remove the old templates. If the old sheets are still there and Trenloe's directions fix the issue, then let me know so I can ping them again.

Thanks,
JPG

Iceman
April 26th, 2012, 21:37
Here is what I did:
I went here:
http://www.fantasygrounds.com/filelibrary/FG-Char-Converter.exe

Downloaded and ran that program.
Then I went into PCGEN and exported the character to
...standard
d20\fantasy\html\xml\csheet_FantasyGrounds2_pc_3.5 .xml

Within the newly downloaded converter program I selected
INPUT:
3.5E PCGEN (xml)
and the filename of my freshly exported character.

OUTPUT:
UNchecked XML
Checked Local Import
Checked Campaign Import and selected my campaign

For output options I only selected use modules from the module manager to lookup data.

I converted.

Then I started FG and did
/import
I navigated to the file I had just converted and double clicked the file.
I then checked my character and he was in FG.

We appear to have a good, reproducable one way ticket from PCGEN to FG.
If we can get PCGEN to accept FGs XML output we would just about be there!




We have submitted the updated sheets twice over the last year to the PCGen team, and asked them to remove the old templates. If the old sheets are still there and Trenloe's directions fix the issue, then let me know so I can ping them again.

Thanks,
JPG

Trenloe
April 26th, 2012, 21:53
OUTPUT:
UNchecked XML
Checked Local Import
Checked Campaign Import and selected my campaign

For output options I only selected use modules from the module manager to lookup data.

I converted.

Then I started FG and did
/import
I navigated to the file I had just converted and double clicked the file.
I then checked my character and he was in FG.
You shouldn't need to do the steps highlighted in bold if you have selected Campaign Import (highlighted in red earlier) - this should have imported directly into your campaign and you should see the character there.

Trenloe
April 26th, 2012, 22:13
Just to clarify what the 3 Output options in the FG Character Importer do:

1) XML. This prompts you for the location and name of an XML file. The conversion process will create this XML file for which is in the Fantasy Grounds character format. To use it go into any FG campaign of the same ruleset connect as a GM and type /importchar and then select this XML file - it will import the character into that campaign.

2) Local Import. This will add the character to the local character store on the PC - which is in <FG app data directory>\characters. This is the local player character store - so it is available in manage characters and will be available as a local character when you connect to a campaign as a player.

3) Campaign Import. You are prompted to select a campaign and the character will be imported directly to that campaign as a server character - the GM can see them and players connecting to the campaign will see the character when they connect to the campaign and have the opportunity to select them for play.

You can select any 1, 2 or all 3 of these options as they are quite separate functionality in terms of where the character is imported to.

Iceman
April 27th, 2012, 14:57
I just opened a character from PCGEN with the .pcg extension in a text editor and it looks like a simple text file. Would the person that made the converter.exe tool, and who has all the mappings down between FG and PCGEN be able to write a reverse converter that would take the pcg text and put it into an FG XML file for import?

I would think most of the work has been done at this point??

Trenloe
April 27th, 2012, 15:03
Would the person that made the converter.exe tool, and who has all the mappings down between FG and PCGEN be able to write a reverse converter that would take the pcg text and put it into an FG XML file for import
You mean the other way around? Take the FG XML and make it into PCG text for import into PCGen?

FYI the person who created the character importer was an intern working for Smiteworks last year.

Iceman
April 27th, 2012, 15:52
Yes, that's exactly what I mean. If a GM can export a character from FG and then import it into PCGEN then the GM can check to make sure that skill points and other stuff that always get messed up are accurate.
Then the GM takes the newly approved character in PCGEN and exports it back to FG, which now works nicely.

And then FG doesnt have to concern itself with internal character management, which the devs don't want to do anyways. Currently I waste a LOT of time on character management because I dont know what changes my players made the last time we played and I have to manually update PCGen.

So yes, I think a conversion FROM FG to a .pcg file would solve all the character management problems!


You mean the other way around? Take the FG XML and make it into PCG text for import into PCGen?

FYI the person who created the character importer was an intern working for Smiteworks last year.

JohnD
April 30th, 2012, 04:44
I wouldn't limit this to PCGen myself - HL also sees a lot of use apparently.

A great idea Iceman... I wonder if the resources exist to make it happen.