amnesiack: (uber die)
[personal profile] amnesiack
I got my iPhone 4 yesterday. This may make me seem like a crazed gadget junkie, but in my defense, this is the first smartphone I've ever owned, and it's only been a year and a half since I got my first cell phone, period. So there, non-existent person to whom I feel compelled to justify myself!

This also marks the transition for me and Lesley into full-fledged cell phone independence. I've been riding on a friend's family share plan (thanks!), and she's been on her parents' plan up until now. We've now got our very own family plan, with just the two of us. Independence is expensive.


I've been playing around with D&D character apps for the iPhone, since updating character sheets sucks and having a bulky laptop on the table is the pits. There are two that seem pretty good, though neither is the 100% perfect machine. Both allow you to upload Character Builder files to the web and then access them via the phone in a cool, streamlined capacity.

* Translates the character builder files very well, so you have to do little or no any after-the-fact tweaking.
* It has a built-in die roller both for general rolls and on a per-power basis with all mods calculated in advance.

* It's a web app, which makes it slower, and means it's constantly using up data capacity and battery life at a quicker rate.
* Powers don't include the effect descriptions beyond attack mods and damage; you have to follow a link to the Compendium for that.
* Manual tweaks are impossible for most parts of the character.

* Power entries are more robust in their information, and there is a description field that will let you fill in any information that you want, so there is no need to check the books/compendium.
* It's a native app that just downloads characters from the i4e server when you ask it to, so it's not using up bandwidth or a lot of battery life while in use.
* Virtually everything in the character can be tweaked manually if you desire.

* Only the bare skeleton of the character gets imported from the character builder files, so you end up having to do a lot of manual updating and tweaking before the character is playable. This is a huge pain.

I'll be playing around with both, since we've got a game coming up on Tuesday, and I'll probably learn pretty quickly which I prefer.

Date: 2010-06-25 06:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Neat, I look forward to seeing it in action tonite or Sunday.

I got an iPad some time ago, and one of my hopes for it was that I could use it for character sheets. I've been disappointed by the lack of useful RPG tools for it. Part of me wishes that I had the spare time to code one up for myself, and part of me wants to rope together some unholy combination of Will & Albert and scam them into doing it for me.

Date: 2010-06-25 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Two words: EXALTED. APP.

Date: 2010-06-25 06:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I had imagined an application that, at its core, lets you pick an arbitrary PDF as a starting point. You could then tap anywhere on the document and start entering text. It'd be cool if it did a bit of basic shape recognition so that if you tapped inside a "dot" it would fill (or un-fill) the bubble, and if you tapped on or near a horizontal line the text size and starting point would snap to the line.

Add an in-app die roller and tokens (that you can drag around the surface of the sheet or stick into a disappearing 'tray' on the side) and the ability to stick collapsible post-it notes on any part of the document, and you have a pretty free-form tool that could work for most any RPG.

I can dream, at least.

Date: 2010-06-25 06:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Convince my boss to give me a monthlong vacation, and I will!

Date: 2010-06-25 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've been looking at the development program for apple... but it's a hundred bucks a year. But...

Date: 2010-06-26 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I would, of course, only do it as a meta-game character builder (let's just solve it for once and all, dammnit). Worked up a bunch of notes on how it would be done. Had visions of releasing the engine, and then all of the indy games could use it. Used Twerps & DnD as my min/max sample cases.

It's up there floating in the cloud along with the fiction book, the movie, and the of course the mini-web-based MMO. Ha. :P

Date: 2010-06-26 03:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Pfft. Justify to no one! Technology = win. I love my iPhone and it's just the regular 3G, not even a 3GS. I'm planning to get an iPhone 4 for my birthday in a couple of months, though, so yay for me. Until then, I'll just lust after all the awesome things they can do.

Please do let me know which app works best. We're going to be running a Dresden game this summer and I could use a good character building app since I kind of suck at it. ^_^

Date: 2010-06-26 06:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Unfortunately, these apps are pretty D&D-specific. Assuming that you're planning on using the actual Evil Hat Production's Dreseden Files rpg, they won't do you much good.

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