Friday, January 27, 2012

Dice Roller Preview

This is just a quick preview of the main screen in the Android dice roller I'm messing about with, showing roll entry and the history of previously processed rolls. This shot was captured from an Android virtual device running on my development PC.
Dice Roller Preview
I still have some work to do, including implementing some additional error checking (allowing d10s to explode on a roll of 3 or higher is bad, m'kay), adding a clear button to reset the entry field, creating a real set of icons, and getting some translations done for the limited number of text messages in the app. Still, not bad for a couple days work in a programming language I don't actually know.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dice Descriptions

I've been spending some time programming over the last few days, delving into Android development as a way to teach myself Java. As my first project I'm building a dice roller. Originally I was going to use the same text descriptions for rolls that I use on my web based dice roller, but after implementing them I decided I could do better. I'm trying to cover as many rolling mechanics as possible, so I thought I would throw out the roll definitions here and see what other folks thought.

Traditional dice: XdY
Roll X dice with Y sides, sum their values. Y can also be F, indicating Fudge dice, or %, shorthand for d100.

Dice pool: XpY
Roll X dice with Y sides, treating each die as an individual result. As with traditional dice, Y can be F or %.

These can be appended to the base descriptors above. N below is a numeric value.

  • +-N - A numeric modifier to the roll. The value is added to or subtracted from the final total for traditional dice, or applied to each die in a dice pool.
  • EN - Exploding dice. Any dice roll greater than or equal to N generates another die roll. In traditional rolls the result is added to the total. In a dice pool it is added to the original exploding die's result.
  • LN - Drop the lowest N rolls. The classic example is D&D character generation using the roll four six-sided and drop the lowest method, which would be written as: 4d6L1.
  • HN - Drop the highest N rolls. Not sure if any game would make use of this. I guess you could make some very lame D&D characters with 4d6H1.
  • SN - Count successes. For traditional dice, a total result greater than or equal to N is a success. For a dice pool each die greater than or equal to N is a success.
  • FN - Count failures.  For traditional dice, a total result less than or equal to N is a failure. For a dice pool each die less than or equal to N is a failure.

Some things I think I'm missing, but I'm not sure if they're useful.

  • Imploding dice - rolls below a certain value generate an additional roll that's subtracted from the first.
  • Savage Worlds - Wild Dice. I don't play Savage Worlds, can someone throw me a clue?
  • Exploding dice that don't continue to explode.

I'm sure there are a bunch of methods I've forgotten or ignored. Anyone know of a concise list of RPG dice mechanics published anywhere?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Well That Was Unfortunate

The long silence here was not by choice. My main computer imploded shortly before the holidays, so I had the joyful experience of shifting all my stuff from my old sort-of-working-but-only-if-you're-lucky system to a new box. Lessons learned:
  • An external hard drive for backups is an excellent investment.
  • Five copies of your music library is probably too many.
  • Keeping your data organized is a good thing.
I took the move as an opportunity to consolidate a bunch of duplicate data and eliminate a bunch of stuff I really don't need.

Gaming related: I was planning on switching from Firefox to Chrome until I discovered using TiddlyWiki with Chrome requires the TiddlySaver Java module. Not sure if that's going to be a pain or not. We'll see.

Now... back to work!