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A Neophyte Tackles the FG Extension - Gather Your Weapons

Rating: 3 votes, 3.67 average.
This time Iíll talk about information: Smiteworks online documents and web pages, outside web sites, coding tutorials, and code editors.

Detour: In this and future blog posts I will mark little excursions into off topic or background information with a ďDetourĒ. This time it will be the typical disclaimer: All recommendations made by me, are simply that, mine. They in no way reflect the opinions or policies of Smiteworks nor are they endorsements by Smiteworks.

Fantasy Grounds Site: As mentioned last time, Smiteworks implemented Fantasy Grounds using Extensibility. Additionally, they have provided us with online specifications, documentation and discussion describing that extensibility. If you havenít bookmarked the FG Forums in your browser, now would be a good time to do so. As a new content developer youíll come here often. Take note of the icon in the upper left portion of the window, the three horizontal bars, itís the ďForums MenuĒ.

Fantasy Grounds Wiki: Go to the Wiki using the Forums Menu. In the Guides section, note the Developer Guides link. In the Additional Content section note the Extensions link. There is a wealth of other information here, some of which I may touch on in future blogs.

Ruleset Guides: From the main Wiki page click the Developer Guides. I commonly refer to the two documents: Ruleset Modification Guide and Ruleset Reference. The Modification Guide provides a descriptive roadmap of FG rulesets. The Reference provides specifications of the XML and Lua Elements and Objects that make up a ruleset. If youíre new to programming, you probably have never seen specification documents before. They may seem daunting but they contain very useful information. We wonít touch on them now, but rest assured we will in future blog posts.

Fantasy Grounds Forums: Three Forums that I typically frequent to gain insight into intermediate to advanced topics on rulesets and extensions are: The Workshop, The Tavern and to a lesser degree Armory. There is a vast amount of knowledge in the forums and a lot of fluff too; ferreting out the information youíre starving for will be time consuming. There are two search options available and a recent discussion of them here.

FG User Written Tutorials: Two tutorials that I have worked through and found quite helpful reside in The Workshop. Iím not recommending one over the other, I found them both very worthwhile. I worked through lokiare1ís [Tutorial] Creating a Basic Extension first, because it was shorter. I then continued on, with jreddin1ís Jeffís Excruciatingly Simple Extension Tutorial.

XML Tutorial: If you perused the Ruleset Modification Guide you would have noticed a recommendation for the w3 Schools web site. Itís free, and I believe w3 Schools provides excellent tutorials. A year ago, as a passing fancy I decided to learn HTML and JavaScript. In just three or four weeks Iíd written a game, with graphics, that ran inside a web browser using no more instruction than the w3 tutorials.

Lua Scripting Guide: The Ruleset Modification Guide recommends lua.org as a resource for learning Lua. I read about one-half of the online manual over the course of a day or two and I feel as though I have a pretty good understanding of Lua. I believe the manual to be well written, concise and easy to understand.

Detour: Itís my opinion that one can read manuals and guides, plus walk through tutorials until the end of time and all one does is gain exposure. To learn programming one must do it. And to do it one must have a project. Itís not until you look at that blank page, do you realize, I didnít learn a thing, I donít know what to do! A quick note on writing code. It is not difficult. Writing elegant code can be a challenge. But just getting a computer to behave the way you want is not hard. Youíve learned how to role play, youíve learned how to use FG, youíll learn how to write an extension. Probably not from my blogs alone, youíll need to arm up with the other weapons listed here. But you can and will do it!

Code Editor: The editor you choose must only write text to its output file, no meta characters like formatting information. So a document writing application like Microsoft Word cannot be used. Microsoft Notepad is okay, but not very feature rich. I use Notepad++, available here. Itís free and has some nice features for simple coding. You can search the FG forums or the Internet in general for others if you like.

My Project: On this forum thread, I entered into the discussion of omitting effects descriptions from the chat window. When I think back to the pencil and paper days, my DM never verbalized the numbers that went into the hit or miss of an attack. He or she looked at the d20 roll made some calculations and said, ďHit!Ē or ďMiss.Ē I wondered, can I write an extension to do that? And so my project, crawled up from the abyss.

Until next time keep on role playing.

Attention, Smiteworks and wizards of the forums! If Iíve missed any other resources that you feel should be included here please add a comment to this blog post or PM me.

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Updated May 5th, 2016 at 23:28 by Minty23185Fresh



  1. jreddin1's Avatar
    Thanks for the mention (Jeff's ... Tutorial)!

    As a comment to your Code Editor, I recommend people check out Atom as well as Notepad++. Atom, besides having syntax highlighting for XML also knows lua! It's free like Notepad++, and it's geared more towards being a developers editor. Lots of extensions and customizations to make it work for each individual.

    Keep the blog going, and if I get time to writing part 3 of the Tutorial, maybe I'll get another mention!
  2. Minty23185Fresh's Avatar
    I, for one, would very much enjoy a part 3 of your tutorial. Thanks for the view.
  3. Nylanfs's Avatar
    Personally I like jEdit for doing code work.

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