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  1. #1

    PDF or External FG sheets?

    What (if anything) do you all use for printing or displaying FG character sheets outside of FG?

    We like to have FG be authoritative but then have printable copies for easier reading - I see tools that take an FG export for 5E but wonder if there's anything out there for Starfinder?

  2. #2
    Octavious's Avatar
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    HI, I don't think there is a way to print out character sheets for Starfinder.. I haven't really seen a lot of enthusiasm from anyone to build anything like that for Starfinder. Heck there isn't even a starship combat tracker for it. and I'm wondering if there ever will be... ..
    Last edited by Octavious; October 20th, 2018 at 01:56.


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  3. #3
    It's something I've been wanting from Fantasy Grounds for years! I've had to resort to building duplicate copies of every character in a separate app (PCGen) and printing them from there.
    Last edited by Callum; October 20th, 2018 at 19:58.

  4. #4
    It's a pretty easy development job -- all you need is a well-designed PDF to take the input fields and then a transformer to take the XML and send those values as form fields to the PDF. You could do the same thing with Google Sheets, too, I expect.

    My only hesitation is that XML is slow and clunky nd I'd expect that the next-gen FG engine would use JSON for data storage ... much easier to work with that.

  5. #5
    pindercarl's Avatar
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    FG will continue to use XML and LUA in future versions.

  6. #6
    I understand supporting it to keep backwards compatibility, but why use it for new material?

  7. #7
    pindercarl's Avatar
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    As you point out, for the purposes of backward compatibility, XML is required. There will not be a hard line of "before FGU and after FGU." Existing products must be supported in the new version and new products will continue be supported in the "classic" version of Fantasy Grounds for some time. The question could be rephrased as, "why replace a core and functioning part of the software?" There are many existing libraries that could be exploited in FGU to make the XML more performant and will likely be explored after FGU development is complete.

  8. #8
    Trenloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquitaine View Post
    It's a pretty easy development job -- all you need is a well-designed PDF to take the input fields and then a transformer to take the XML and send those values as form fields to the PDF.
    What's your definition of "a pretty easy development job"? An hour, a day, a week, a month? Remember that there are many different rulesets in FG, all with different character sheet output needs. There are some pretty complex data structures (just look at all those different options on the Actions tab)...

    Here's a framework designed for community members to help out and put something together: https://www.fantasygrounds.com/forum...Printer-for-FG The fact that there is very little produced from the usually very active community suggests that it's a little bit more than "pretty easy" to produce good and accurate external character sheets from FG XML.

    But... I'm happy to be proven wrong! Perhaps I'm missing something and it really is easy. Maybe some community members could get together and produce the required XSL conversion files for Starfinder? Or look into doing this straight into PDF as mentioned?

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  9. #9
    Taking an XML file and populating a PDF is an easy development job, but that assumes you have the PDF ready to go, and that it's already formatted to accept form fields. I've done that sort of thing before and the "easy" really just comes from the fact that PDF manipulation libraries are already out there. take one of those, an XML deserializer, then write a transformer to map the XML fields to the PDF and create the PDF.

    The linked page is if you want to output HTML -- more of a one-stop shop for the whole process. I don't think I'd take that approach, at least for a first pass. If the target format is a printer I'd stick to PDF.

  10. #10
    Trenloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquitaine View Post
    Taking an XML file and populating a PDF is an easy development job, but that assumes you have the PDF ready to go, and that it's already formatted to accept form fields. I've done that sort of thing before and the "easy" really just comes from the fact that PDF manipulation libraries are already out there. take one of those, an XML deserializer, then write a transformer to map the XML fields to the PDF and create the PDF.
    I'm sorry, but that still doesn't sound easy to me.

    As SmiteWorks don't want to make FG a character creation application, I doubt that they would want to assign valuable development resources to something like this. It would take resource away from FGU and would also give the impression that FG is moving into more of a character creation space - otherwise why would they be providing the ability to print out characters for use outside of FG?

    If it's something that you want, and it really is easy as you say, then I'd recommend you go for it - do it yourself, or organize a community group to start putting together what's needed. I'm sure I'd use it!

    FG Con 15 Fantasy Grounds Online RPG Convention - Nov. 8-10, 2019
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    Private Messages: My inbox is forever filling up with PMs. Please don't send me PMs unless they are actually private/personal messages. General FG questions should be asked in the forums - don't be afraid, the FG community don't bite and you're giving everyone the chance to respond and learn!

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