Content of the article: "We are making a D&D application and we would like some assistance from the community. Part 3."
Thank you all for the feedback and help you have provided us in the comments of the previous post (See here for previous post: https://www.reddit.com/r/DMAcademy/comments/iigxdw/we_are_making_a_dd_application_and_we_would_like/).
TL;DR: Details on the kind of modularity we are interested in making for our character sheet system.
This is the principle emptied character sheet. The idea we currently have revolves around the fact that the middle of the character sheet remains static, with the left and right being interchangeable.
Details on this can be found in the previous post (Part 2).
In this post we are going to be detailing a lot more of the tab system we currently have designed.
What is a tab?
As described in the previous post, a tab is a panel, around a third of the character sheet in size, which can be changed for another to display different information.
Can I make my own tab?
Currently, we are thinking of making presets which are fixed. Allowing a tab creation method is something we have in mind, so if people really would like it, we will work on it sooner.
Despite the limitations of the tabular system, we are already planning on adding a fair degree of customizability within each fixed region of each tab. A good example to illustrate this point is the skills tab. If you have customization suggestions, or ideas, do tell us.
Why tabs, specifically?
The principle reason we wish to use a tab system is to keep things simple for ourselves. If the feedback shows that this system is not liked and you all wish for something else, we will hop back to the drawing board and try again with your feedback in mind.
What tabs do we currently have made?
We currently have designed 5 tabs, which contain most of the information required on a character sheet for 5th Edition D&D.
First Tab – Skills
It’s somewhat obvious, but one of the tabs we are making only contains the skills a character has.
While the general individual skills are similar to existing character sheets in design, we personally found the ability to rearrange skills and categorize them to be desirable.
The idea we came up with for this is to allow the user to create both skills and categories, and rearrange the list as they see fit. We are also considering making some simple sorting functions, to sort things by different conditions, such as sorting by stat, by name, by name within each category, etc…
There isn’t much else to say about the skills tab, it’s simple and needs to be so. We did decide to make it the entire length of the page, as it is nicer to see the entirety of the skill list without having to scroll constantly.
Second Tab – Combat
The term “combat” isn’t fully accurate, but we couldn’t think of anything better for it. To describe things more easily, each larger box will be explained individually.
- HP: The box called HP has been corrected and doesn’t have the smaller box as the temporary hit points box has been made separately..
- Max: The smaller boxer is used for adding or subtracting to the maximum hit points temporarily. Certain abilities and spells have the ability to change the maximum hitpoint of a character, and we never found a way to keep track of that.
- Death Saves: The death saves box will consist of several check marks to keep track of successes and failures.
- Hit Die: The number and value of the character’s hit dice, based on their level.
- Resistances: This section consists of several tabs which can be tabbed between (by this we mean like on a browser with tabs, you can simply switch as you wish).
The idea behind this one isn’t fully worked out as of yet. Currently however, if one of the boxes is clicked on, the details are shown in a pop-out menu, and can be edited. For instance, clicking on the AC will show the armor equipped, and if a shield is equipped, and will show the option to unequip it.
Custom modifiers will also be made possible.
This box is a little difficult to show in a single image. The general idea is that it consists of a list of actions a player can take, with an option to create or delete an action.
Each action does not appear as a large block of text, but instead appears as the single part of the box called “Action Name”.
When clicked on, the action is expanded out, to show all the details present on the picture.
- Type: The type of attacks possible with this action. It can be thrown, ranged, melee, etc…
- Attack: Attack modifiers or spell DC and what kind of DC.
- Damage: The different modifiers available. The * represents that multiple damage sources can be added. For instance a weapon doing fire and bludgeoning would have 2 damage types.
- Range: Range of the attack depending on the selected type.
- Ammo: We put the ammo tracking here, but there is also a section in the inventory which consists of all the ammunition carried.
- Details: What is written inside this box is up to the player. Generally however:
- Description: If the action can target multiple people, for example.
- Properties: Reroll 1s and 2s, for example.
- Effect: “Paralyze on failed save”, for example.
Something we found we liked a lot from Roll20 was the ability to make custom boxes and keep track of a total and current value. We decided to add it to this section, as custom boxes often use either specific ammunition or features like lay on hands.
Third Tab – Personality and Language
We chose to combine the personality traits, ideals, bonds and flaws used in the 5th edition system with the languages a character knows in this tab.
The reason we chose to do so was comes from our D&D game, where the languages often come handy in an RP situation, and aren’t needed in combat.
So far the languages we simply found to put it as a list, as not much else comes in handy, with the option to create a new language and rename or delete existing ones.
Similarly, for the personality traits, bonds and flaws, one can create a new field in each category.
Fourth Tab – Description And Languages
- Description/Features/Traits: This box, like the resistance box in the second tab, consists of several tabs which can be switched between.
Like the actions tab, at first, only the name can be seen, and the trait can be expanded into the full view, which shows the source of the trait and a description of what the trait provides.
- Other proficiencies: We didn’t find any unique way of doing this and currently plan on simply allowing a list of proficiencies to be put in each category. We have seen a checkmark based design for simple/martial weapons, armor and shields, which could be interesting, but we are currently unsure.
We are looking into adding the physical characteristics of the character in this tab, possibly in the description tab.
Fifth Tab – Spells
As we described in our previous post, we will have a spell page, where the user can prepare his/her spells out of a list of known spells (custom spell creation possible). This spell page, along with the inventory will be posted separately.
This tab consists of a subset of the information present on the spell page. After one has prepared his/her spells on the spell page, one can pull up this tab on his/her character sheet and will only see the prepared spells.
The main idea behind this is to be used in a combat situation for a spellcaster, since one only needs to know about the spells he can use at that moment.
When a spell is clicked on, the spell description box will be filled in with the properties of the spell (components, casting time, etc…), and when the spell is double clicked on, the app will ask what level the spell is cast at and automatically check the spell slot.
We currently see the following:
During the regular course of the game, outside of combat, a user will typically have the skill tab present, along with one of the other tabs depending on the situation.
In a combat scenario, a spellcaster can switch the skill tab to the spell tab, and bring up the combat tab, which would allow him to see everything his/her character is capable of doing and obtain the required information easily.
A martial character could leave the skill tab and bring up the combat tab, as rolling skill checks might be more common for such a character.
We plan on adding an inventory tab with a subset of the information, in a similar design to the spell tab, but we are a little more stuck in what kind of information to present, and what kind to leave. Some aspects of the inventory, like magic items and gold often need to be accessed, but we are still determining if it is worth making that tab.
Some pics showing the full character sheet with the tabs, in case it helps with visualizing the resulting layout. The tabs can be put on any side, there is no restriction on that.
This is a demo, not coded, but done in a prototyping software. It’s very limited as it’s just a demo of the mechanics we currently have designed. Since there is no art style, things look very geometrical and modern, which isn’t what the final product will look like.
And here is an image of the sorted skills list. To show what it can look like on the prototype.
The method of switching tabs needs to be quick and easy to use, and there are dozens of ways of doing it. Most, if not all ideas however, require 2 clicks to change a tab (click to change tab, then select tab to change to).
We currently are satisfied with our idea, but know that flaws in our design will definitely appear when we get to creating the sheet and using it in the coming weeks.
We are also fairly certain that we are missing a substantial amount of information, and we would like to invite you to please tell us what we have missed.
If you feel our idea is lacking in any way, please let us know why. Feedback consisting of “this is terrible lol” without an explanation why doesn’t really help us improve the idea. We are open to considering new designs or using them as inspiration to improve on our work.
We are generally unfamiliar with the full workings of the Open Game License (OGL) from WotC. What we are certain of, is that the character sheet functionality we are currently making does require the license to be published openly.
However, the note-taking, map-making and other aspects of our application do not rely on any of the licensing from WotC, as they are designed independently from the D&D ruleset and content.
As such, throughout the development of our project, until the legal matters are solved regarding the OGL, we will not be publicly releasing the character sheet for testing purposes, but will release the other content for play-testing.
This may change depending on the final design of the character sheet, and it’s reliance upon a specific ruleset.
We will strive to allow as many people as possible to test and give feedback about the different functionalities of our application.
- We are making a D&D application and we would like some assistance from the community.
- We are making a D&D application and we would like some assistance from the community. Part 4.
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