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Tim Huckelbery

Dark Heresy Digital Character App now available

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Let's try something new :-)

 

Feature Discussion Round

 

We get a lot of feature requests for the DHDCS app and while we like to add everything and the imperator's kitchen sink, we just don't have the manpower to build everything. One of the most requested features is the ability to export the character as a pdf file. I'd like to discuss this feature here, because we are unsure about this functionality. Yesterday, we even received a 2star rating on the android app because of the missing export function (which I personally think is quite unfair considering the amount of features the app provides, but everyone is allowed to have an opinion).

 

Subject: PDF Export for characters

 

Here are some questions to start the discussion, but you can write anything you want of course :-)

Would you use the pdf export if it was available?

What do you think are the advantages of having your characters printed out / as a pdf file?

What do you think are the disadvantages having the character only in the app?

 

I won't post my personal opinion about that feature right now, I'd like to read your opinion first.

 

If this discussion "experiment" turns out well, we might use it for others feature requests in the future.

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Subject: PDF Export for characters

 

Would you use the pdf export if it was available?

What do you think are the advantages of having your characters printed out / as a pdf file?

What do you think are the disadvantages having the character only in the app?

 

 

1. Yes.

2. Theoretically, as a DM, I can have all the character digitally stored and give players "hardcopy" of their characters. They can write any notes they want, but I can track EXP expenditure and so forth with their input. This means I always have a master copy of the characters to refer to and can distribute new versions when appropriate.

3. Largely readability and note-taking on the sheet. 

 

Additional comment:

Is there a list of all purchases advances saved with which aptitudes were active when they were purchased and what the exp level was at that point and how much the cost was? Because that would really help keep track of everyone's advancement.

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Subject: PDF Export for characters

 

Here are some questions to start the discussion, but you can write anything you want of course :-)

Would you use the pdf export if it was available?

What do you think are the advantages of having your characters printed out / as a pdf file?

What do you think are the disadvantages having the character only in the app?

 

Most of my players dont have a tablet, so I would like to offer them the possibility of maintaining their character on my device and then print it out to them at the beginning of each session.

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1. Low battery? Fire off a quick PDF and then print, upload to Dropbox, email to self, etc. One of my players uses the App. He got a low battery warning and we had to scramble to run chargers and extension cables instead of just printing it or emailing it to another player to use on a different tablet or laptop or something.

 

2. Being able to export to PDF means that if it ever reaches a point where the app is no longer supported, players still have a way to easily extract their info.

 

3. GMs can use the app to build characters and NPCs, and then export to PDF to print, etc. to keep with their notes.

 

4. Currently, without any "undo" functions, it's a lot easier to tinker with builds and make notes on a paper copy rather than in the App.

Edited by enentol

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1) yes

2) tablets go to sleep, phones have small screens, laptops take up space, and a million little things that make having a solid sheet of paper just a bit more convenient than using an app as the sole source of data. Also, technology like that leads to distractions and temptation to tinker with it rather than play the game. Given that the app is set up as a reference rather than a method of gameplay (which I already suggested as my own dream feature), its biggest utility is for messing around with character options without having to do a bunch of erasing or number tracking or writing. For a big document, the search functions of an electronic format are wonderful. For a small few page document, the utility of a reference tends to be decreased unless the information it's displaying takes advantage of electronic features and is also able to take advantage of those features.

In other words, paper copies of character sheets tend to be more useful for in game use than an electronic copy. Gameplay aids can be better electronically if designed well.

3) the main disadvantage is the loss of the convenience and durability that paper copies have over electronic ones. It's limiting consumer choice, in a way, by forcing them to use the app at the table. Unless the app can begin to encompass more gameplay mechanics, it can be jarring for many players to have to switch between attending to the table and attending to the app. Plus electronic copies have all the weaknesses I and others have listed.

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There is a 0% chance of me shelling out $8 (or local equivalent) for any app so I don't know how much weight you want to give my opinion, but to echo what others have said, papers are a lot easier to manage at the table. I haven't had the distraction problem others have mentioned, but there's really no substitute for being able to pencil in notes in the margin to track story notes, modifiers, etc. A character builder is great for making it easy to quickly generate legal characters but I find that switching tabs on a tablet just takes way longer than handling physical books and papers.

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I'm really impressed how well this discussion format works :-) Thanks a lot for the posts!

Of course, if you ask someone of he or she wants a feature or not, everyone wants the new feature (unless the feature idea is total garbage), but we've got a good understanding now why you want that feature and where the pitfalls of digital devices are in your pen and paper environment. From a business point of view, it would be great if everyone was using the app, but we are also players and we want the best experience for you, and not try to sell you the app at all costs. And if the DM uses the app to organize the player's characters, that's great and we will help you wherever we can :-) That said, we've decided to add a pdf export function to the next content update. 

 

 

There is a 0% chance of me shelling out $8 (or local equivalent) for any app so I don't know how much weight you want to give my opinion, but to echo what others have said, papers are a lot easier to manage at the table.

I do understand that and value your opinion the same way I did with the others :-), though I'd say our tab switching in the app is very fast, faster than turning your paper character sheet :-)

 

 

And don't forget: We've posted the second to last mystery image on our blog yesterday :-) We will reveal the full image next week, but you are still allowed to guess what it means.

Edited by TomDeal

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though I'd say our tab switching in the app is very fast, faster than turning your paper character sheet :-)

 

I actually meant switching between apps. When I was experimenting with using a tablet at the table I'd often have a few PDFs open, an app to take notes, websites with setting info, name generator, etc. Switching between them was slow but maybe I just have a crappy tablet.

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Yesterday, we even received a 2star rating on the android app because of the missing export function

 

Here are some questions to start the discussion, but you can write anything you want of course :-)

Would you use the pdf export if it was available?

What do you think are the advantages of having your characters printed out / as a pdf file?

What do you think are the disadvantages having the character only in the app?

 

If I'm not mistaken that would be me gave that feedback.

I also complained about the 'General' Aptitude bug, which was fixed, so thank you.

And about the lack of Lores skills and that you have to fill them in by hand.

To respond to your questions:

1: Yes

2: paper is easier to refer to during the game without the need of much fiddling like scrolling and what not. The character sheet is designed in such a way it first on two A4 pages, which is very handy as you can check anything in a glimps and only need to turn over a paper.

Paper never goes to stand by mode and is easy to note things on.

3: I see myself only using the app for character creation and fiddling about. I have to say that you can fiddle about by just creating a copy of you current Char and adding the additional XP. It is true that the app doesn't delete any xp allotted to a skill/talent deleted, so you have to do about 4 actions to remove a choice made.

This overall 'clunkyness' of the app is what inspired me to rate it with a 2 star. If you know exactly what you want to create, this isn't much of an issue. So I think for GM's it's easier to create characters but for payers who want to tinker, this hinders and you might prefer paper version to try character abilities advancement.

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I don't know if it is a hard feature to add but it would be great if the app disables the device to go in screen off mode.
I know there are ways to change this but I would have to fiddle with these settings each time I want to use the app and stop using it.

What would be a great and easy update would be to also add some GM help screens to keep track of initiative in combat and multiple hostile's HP.
For players I would find it handy to have quick access to "cheat sheats": what ranged combat modifiers there are, CC variant. Status effects, etc.

Furthermore I would like to be able to search the talents via different categories: easy would be by aptitudes, as it captures immediately the nature of a talent. I would like a checkbox: "prerequisites met" checkbox and "met wit +5 upgrade". To aid in character development.

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If I'm not mistaken that would be me gave that feedback.

I also complained about the 'General' Aptitude bug, which was fixed, so thank you.

And about the lack of Lores skills and that you have to fill them in by hand.

 

There were two major problems which prevented us to add the lore information into the database:

1. We see the app as a helper, an improvement over the static paper character sheet. If we include the lore information, we would have to change the whole layout, because this amount of text is too much for mobile phone screens. Also, it would conceal the important gameplay information.

2. The app is not meant to be a book replacement. We are very glad that FFG allows us to use the gameplay mechanics information of all items and character properties.

 

 

I don't know if it is a hard feature to add but it would be great if the app disables the device to go in screen off mode.

I know there are ways to change this but I would have to fiddle with these settings each time I want to use the app and stop using it.

What would be a great and easy update would be to also add some GM help screens to keep track of initiative in combat and multiple hostile's HP.

For players I would find it handy to have quick access to "cheat sheats": what ranged combat modifiers there are, CC variant. Status effects, etc.

Furthermore I would like to be able to search the talents via different categories: easy would be by aptitudes, as it captures immediately the nature of a talent. I would like a checkbox: "prerequisites met" checkbox and "met wit +5 upgrade". To aid in character development.

 

We don't use the always-on mode for the screen because we want to save as much battery life of devices as possible. Especially as a player (not as the DM/GM), you often sit around for 5 minutes listening to the other players. This is when the app goes into sleep mode.

 

I think I've wrote this before in this thread, but it is a few pages old: We are focusing the app on players, not GMs. There are many features which would be great for GMs, but that wouldn't be a digital character sheet anymore, instead it would be a full fledged app, better run on a pc or laptop, not a mobile phone or tablet.

We are adding a very important table for players as an active element with the content patch (found in chapter VII of the core rulebook - I don't want to spoil the surprise *g*)

 

The improved talents search is a good idea, we will discuss this internally :-)

 

If I may ask, why do you think the app deserves a two star rating in the current state? I don't want to affront you, I respect every opinion, but I'd like to understand what made you vote this way. I think with the 1.2.x version, we nailed every aspect of a digital character sheet (except for the pdf export, I know), so maybe we did not communicate the purpose of the app clear enough and you thought it may be something different? Or do you think a price of 8 euro/dollar for a mobile app is generally too high?  

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We are focusing the app on players, not GMs. There are many features which would be great for GMs

 

While I accept your design decision, there is one feature I would love as a GM: Some method of sorting/grouping character sheets. I use the app to keep copies of my players sheets and also to maintain sheets for important NPCs, I'm currently running two games and some method to separate "Game A" and "Game B" would be grand.

 

We are adding a very important table for players as an active element with the content patch (found in chapter VII of the core rulebook - I don't want to spoil the surprise *g*)

 

Well, if your only adding ONE table from Chapter VII then it's fairly obvious which one. Table 7-1 is probably the most important table in the book from a combat point of view. Everything else in that chapter is fairly situational, bar the crit tables, but that's more than one table  :P .

Edited by CyanAngel

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While I accept your design decision, there is one feature I would love as a GM: Some method of sorting/grouping character sheets. I use the app to keep copies of my players sheets and also to maintain sheets for important NPCs, I'm currently running two games and some method to separate "Game A" and "Game B" would be grand.

 

We are adding a very important table for players as an active element with the content patch (found in chapter VII of the core rulebook - I don't want to spoil the surprise *g*)

 

Well, if your only adding ONE table from Chapter VII then it's fairly obvious which one. Table 7-1 is probably the most important table in the book from a combat point of view. Everything else in that chapter is fairly situational, bar the crit tables, but that's more than one table  :P .

 

 

Well, you could argue that "player sheet groups" are also quite cool for a player, because you can group your characters in "active" or "dead" groups for example. Kidding aside, this is actually an interesting feature we did not think about yet. I'll add it to our next internal meeting agenda.

 

Oh, Chapter 7 has a lot of nice tables, for example 7-5 Combat Circumstances Summary, or 7-6, Effects of Zero Characteristic... *rolling deceive test: 2 degress of failure!*

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*rolling awareness test: 4 degrees of failure* Huh... well there must be a hidden message within the numbers! *only use for Scholastic Lore: Numerology ever recorded: 3 degrees of failure* Well 5*6=30 so Table 7-30 - Vehicle Out of Control Direction... clearly the most important table! A vital clue in our investigations has been uncovered!

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We are focusing the app on players, not GMs. There are many features which would be great for GMs

 

While I accept your design decision, there is one feature I would love as a GM: Some method of sorting/grouping character sheets. I use the app to keep copies of my players sheets and also to maintain sheets for important NPCs, I'm currently running two games and some method to separate "Game A" and "Game B" would be grand.

 

 

That's what creating an NPC inquisitor is for.

 

Create the inquisitor and you can 'attach' the members of warband A to inquisitor A and so on.

NPCs I guess you could organise in a similar fashion

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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We are focusing the app on players, not GMs. There are many features which would be great for GMs

 

While I accept your design decision, there is one feature I would love as a GM: Some method of sorting/grouping character sheets. I use the app to keep copies of my players sheets and also to maintain sheets for important NPCs, I'm currently running two games and some method to separate "Game A" and "Game B" would be grand.

 

 

That's what creating an NPC inquisitor is for.

 

Create the inquisitor and you can 'attach' the members of warband A to inquisitor A and so on.

NPCs I guess you could organise in a similar fashion

 

 

Creating an NPC Inquisitor doesn't really "de-clutter" the character list though, it just adds another entry to scroll past. Warband information is fairly basic, since it copies the "GM" sheet for the subtly track, only listing Per,Wil & Inf characteristics, no skills, no talents.

 

If individual Warbands were in seperate "folders" or something that would be great, then I could have an "NPC Warband", Or better yet some form of tagging.

 

Character 1 is a PC in Game A, so has the tags "PC" & "Game A".

Character 2 is an Allied NPC that has appeared in Game A and Game B so has the tags "NPC", "Game A" & "Game B"

 

That might be too complex to implement, I'll settle for anything beyond the unsortable list we currently have :)

Edited by CyanAngel

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2. The app is not meant to be a book replacement. We are very glad that FFG allows us to use the gameplay mechanics information of all items and character properties.

 

If I may ask, why do you think the app deserves a two star rating in the current state? I don't want to affront you, I respect every opinion, but I'd like to understand what made you vote this way. I think with the 1.2.x version, we nailed every aspect of a digital character sheet (except for the pdf export, I know), so maybe we did not communicate the purpose of the app clear enough and you thought it may be something different? Or do you think a price of 8 euro/dollar for a mobile app is generally too high?  

 

@2. I guess you misunderstood me, I don't want to read the lore of the book but I'm talking about the Lore Skills: Common Lore, Forbidden Lore and Scholastic Lore.

So just add these with a dropdown-list behind the initial blank skill.

I would suggest to implement Navigate, Operate and Trade like this as well.

My current rating of 2 stars is based on multiple factors: 

1) Price in combination with the general functionality, (like auto sleep enabled, you could just do like navigations apps, disable auto sleep, but you can active sleep by pressing the power button) I had to manually add the Balanced modifier to Parry from using a Sword.

2) level of functional implementation: talents which have an inherent choice (for example: WS or BS) need to be manually adapted before the prerequisites are met, same for aptitudes.

3) not linking of skill-talent upgrades to xp cost when either one is deleted.

 

See I don't mind all this minor incompletions or hindrances but if you ask 8€ for an app I expect and app that is very good at what it does and that it will do a lot automatically AND that it allows me to overwrite certain aspects,such as XP cost, add a specific group for skills like Hatred.

I would suggest that lowering your app's  price (to attract more people to the app in the first place) and demanding an in-app purchase for each expansion book it's talents, background, roles, whatever.

By starting to demand such a high price, you limit the market and you set a high level of expectation for those who purchase.

Just my two cents.

 

PS: if you make this app do all what I expect it will get a 4-star rating, if you exceed my expectation, you will get a 5-star. Simply as there is no 6-star ;)

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@2. I guess you misunderstood me, I don't want to read the lore of the book but I'm talking about the Lore Skills: Common Lore, Forbidden Lore and Scholastic Lore.

So just add these with a dropdown-list behind the initial blank skill.

I would suggest to implement Navigate, Operate and Trade like this as well.

 

 

Ah ok, that makes a lot more sense with the lore skills. I've added it today (since the database was there was for character creator anyway), it will be released with the next content update.

Edited by TomDeal

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I would suggest that lowering your app's  price (to attract more people to the app in the first place) and demanding an in-app purchase for each expansion book it's talents, background, roles, whatever.

 

See, for instance, I would not have bought the App if in-app purchases were available.

For me, it is just annoying to buy once, and to buy again for new contents. This commercial model irritates me a lot, like, a lot.

 

So basically, we have 2 different types of customer. My rating is 4 (5 with the pdf export) because people worked hard on it, and it brings "a lot" even if it could be improved. But not having them is not a hindrance (IMO).

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I would suggest that lowering your app's  price (to attract more people to the app in the first place) and demanding an in-app purchase for each expansion book it's talents, background, roles, whatever.

 

See, for instance, I would not have bought the App if in-app purchases were available.

For me, it is just annoying to buy once, and to buy again for new contents. This commercial model irritates me a lot, like, a lot.

 

So basically, we have 2 different types of customer. My rating is 4 (5 with the pdf export) because people worked hard on it, and it brings "a lot" even if it could be improved. But not having them is not a hindrance (IMO).

 

I get the point if the app has in-app purchases for stupid small additions, but new releases require new work, so I don't see the point of paying it all up front, its a risk for both parties.

Maybe I tend to use character sheet tools differently as I like to tinker my characters a lot and it feels like I have as much work in the app as in my spreadsheet. Yes my spreadsheet has a less sexy look, I'll give you that.

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Quick side question.  My character is currently an Inquisitor.  Should I enter her into the app as an Acolyte and upgrade her to an Inquisitor via the Elite Advance, etc. or start with the Inquisitor, even though it says "NPC Inquisitor"?

 

~ alemander

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Quick side question.  My character is currently an Inquisitor.  Should I enter her into the app as an Acolyte and upgrade her to an Inquisitor via the Elite Advance, etc. or start with the Inquisitor, even though it says "NPC Inquisitor"?

 

~ alemander

 

Create her as an Acolyte and upgrade her, if you create an "NPC Inquisitor" you wont have any skills, talents or characteristics besides your influence.

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