Monday, September 28, 2015

Random Tables Update IV

I was able to connect the Azure site to Google Domains and left it running for a week or two and it worked fine. I have since shut it down the Azure application and removed the Storage files from the cloud. The repos are available on GitHub per my previous post. Development has stopped for the common library and the Web Portal until bugs are reported. I may update the data packs at a later date, but have begun to work on other projects until demand increases.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Random Tables Update III

I have split the repo into three parts:

RandomTablesCommon - portable library imported as a submodule into the other repos.

RandomTablesUniversal - Windows 10 Universal app. It imports RandomTablesCommon as a submodule.

RandomTables - Web Application. It imports RandomTablesCommon as a submodule.

Since I split the modules I went ahead and got a domain name. I'll announce it once I have the site up. I am working on making the Web App work on the Azure platform. This means I had to add yet another string provider. I haven't committed my changes which add Azure features. I am still developing that piece.

Azure has blob storage, and many other cool features. Here is an article I've been reading about the topic:

Here is a NuGet package:

I had a chat with some friends of mine Monday and I might have some content contributors after I get the Web port on the web. After I get things stabilized I might shift focus to community building. Adding creative common content will make this product really useful.

Now time for a small bit about BOM.

Byte Order Mark (BOM) is optionally included on UTF-8 files.

This goes unnoticed until your JSON parser stops working. With my latest development for Random Tables I started yet another implementation of a string provider. The Azure Blob string provider uses a memory stream to read the file.

The Windows 10, and System.IO.readAllText seem to chomp the BOM and it worked flawlessly. Reading from the memory stream it is a bit more manual. BOM's are easy to forget until they "Byte" you.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Carl Burks' Random Tables Progress

I've made a bit more progress on my application.

I am working on adding a feature to support multiple data directories in the web version. This will keep things organized a little better and will make it easier to drop in content packs. I also registered a domain for this application and have researched hosting. After I finish adding the feature I plan to fork the code base and create a repo for each major part:

Portable Library
Windows 10 Port
Web Port

Further I will add a repo for the Creative Commons Share-Alike Attribution Non-commercial data pack.

Next feature will be to add logic for custom attribution display messages for the Web Port and corresponding parsing instructions to the Portable Library.

After these are developed I will hopefully setup the web facing application.

I will then split my time for this project between adding features, adding tables to the CC repo, adding content to the publisher packs which have given permission.

As a side note, Bing seems to hate searching for my name, "Carl Burks", doesn't show any links and shows a bunch of spammy unrelated content. I'm trying an experiment by adding my name to post title to see if that improves things.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Random Table Portable Library, Windows 10 Application, and Web Port in C#

Yesterday, I checked in a project I've spent a few weeks playing with:
This is a utility for rolling random tables with support for connecting dependent tables. If you don't see the purpose you might not have played a pen and paper role playing game. Let's say you were running a space type game and you wanted to see what space craft were near by you might have a table that looks like this:

Tables - Space Craft Encounters (1d6)
1-2   No Encounter
3       Shuttlecraft
4       Some kind of cargo freighter
5       Assault Craft
6       Roll on Unusual Space Craft Encounters

You would roll a standard six sided die and get a result. This is fairly straight forward roll a one or two and nothing happens. Roll a three and get a shuttlecraft. Roll a four and get a cargo freighter. Roll a five get an assault craft. Roll a six, you would need to look at another table and roll on that. Depending on your game system this can be a somewhat tedious process. It is also difficult to organize multiple publishers of books tables and connect them.

My software solves many of these problems. Currently only sample JSON files are included, but I am working on creating useful game system independent data-packs for my utility. I have also contacted several publishers and requested permission to create data packs.

I've contacted AEG, Steve Jackson Games, Fantasy Flights, Troll Lords and Green Ronin. So far I've heard back from AEG and Steve Jackson Games. Both companies were polite and helpful.

AEG indicated if I was not making any money then they were fine with creation.

Steve Jackson Games online policy indicates that they will only allow tables already published.

I plan on adding tables from both provided I have time. I will need to thoroughly research publicly available tables for SJG and that will take some time.

How can I get this program you might be asking yourself. Currently I have a common library that is used by the Windows 10 Application and the Web application. I've currently got some test coverage. Until bugs are reported I plan on spending time adding content in the form of JSON files. I have a few minor features I'm planning on adding, but the core application I believe covers most cases. The application is written in C#. Given time and interest I might make a port to another language. After some additional testing I might look for hosting and deploy the web app.