User talk:Serpentine Cougar

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Central Casting

I noticed you have this on your list of projects you want to do—I’m assuming you mean the character background generation books by Jaquays? Did you already get permission from her? It would be an ambitious project but also quite fun—it’s been something I’ve toyed with doing as well, since there’s a lot of great content in those books, but it’s somewhat time consuming to do the rolls and take a bunch of notes.

Interesting—I wonder if we could use the same format for the Sci Fi and Modern day books?.

I think it depends what the final page should look like. I was envisioning one page that delivered the complete lifepath—so, all the rolls and the results, served up so it reads properly. Creating 15+ other pages like the guy did for the Fantasy version seems unnecessary to me. I guess I prefer everything under one page—it’s not as if linking to a sub-table is any more difficult than linking to a main page, and I don’t see a need to split out every different table. Abulafia already has hundreds and hundreds of pages, and having a half dozen different pages that largely cover the same thing isn’t as useful, at least in my opinion.

I guess my point is, why not just have the one page—Sci Fi Character History—and do all the coding and tables within it? It makes editing it a lot easier, since someone won’t have to open a dozen tabs to see what each reference is calling, they can do a Control-F right in the edit window. And it would prevent creating little helper tables that few people will use because they’re so specific.

Good points—that’s wild that he was experiencing issues with the page being so big. The Rumors page I’ve been working on is enormous and I’ve not noticed any issues. But you make a good point regardless—the tables that make sense to be independent may as well be, I just find it somewhat of a waste when there are entire pages for generators with, say, only a dozen different outcomes.

I’ll need to look over the books themselves to catch up on how they handle chance—I don’t recall if they have some rolls with multiple dice or if every thing is an equally straight shot. And then to see what tables differ from the Fantasy vs the Sci Fi or Modern. If I recall, there’s some content that’s virtually identical and other tables that are very different, which would make sense—probably no robot dogs or whatever in the Fantasy one. My main pet peeve with the Fantasy one as implemented right now is that the content it serves up isn’t even close to being grammatically correct. I feel it diminishes the results and makes it very obvious everything is random. Might need to look into having a more natural framework for the variables.

Yeah, it’s going to be a fairly big project. I’m not quite ready to dive into it yet either, but it’s been fun talking about the right approach. One (admittedly inelegant) way to take the Noble and Social Mods into account is just including two results on a given table—so, for example, it could be “1,Went to public school / (if noble) Went to private school”. That might cause other issues, but I think as a quick and dirty solution it could work—at least until a better way to preserve the illusion.

That link is actually pretty much perfect—all the nuts and bolts are hidden, even has a decent UI. Using actual code would be a great luxury—I doubt we could produce something better (though if there was enough content that surpassed the original tables, you could argue it’d be an improvement). Still, since Fantasy is by far the most popular genre, I think providing something similar for Sci Fi or Modern (or any other genre, really—once the structure is determined, plugging in appropriate content wouldn’t be impossible) could still be a service.

I didn’t think about changing Rumors, that’s a good idea—when I started it, I didn’t think it would grow as large, nor did I really consider its place in the whole of Abulafia. How does changing a page title work? Would other pages that call, say, “Rumors.heroes_and_villains” also need to be updated to be “Fantasy Rumors.heroes_and_villains”? There’s a significant amount of code on the Discussion page for Rumors, as well—though I suppose that could just be copy and pasted directly to the new page’s discussion page, with a Find and Replace if necessary.

2015-11-13: Hey There! 

(MikeyD here, checking in.) Wow, lately, as you’ve swooped in and gone to town, a hush has come over the Abu crowd…! Good work on any number of recent developments.

I wanted to thank you specifically for posting those tips to the help file; that’s something I long since ought to have done myself (and in fact, have done … offline!) but I’m very disorganized and tend to forget very quickly what I’ve just worked on. A big reason I’m even on Abulafia in the first place is I (like most people) enjoy finding ways to contribute, but (unlike them) am easily overwhelmed by the sustained concentration most larger projects require. Here, each generator is a discrete, manageable chunk I can hyperfocus on and knock out in an hour or two, so I can usually post it before my mind has a chance to wander. Anyhow, the point is if you see anything else that looks like it belongs elsewhere for maximum benefit, by all means, feel free to “put like with like”; as I noted, had I thought of it (and/or not gotten distracted), I’d probably already have done it myself.

Next, persistent variables. All day yesterday I felt woozy and “out of it”. Though I immediately perceived your discovery’s potential value; however, it bothers me that I still can’t quite seem to focus well enough to make sufficient sense of what I’m seeing, as to more clearly appreciate the practical applications! My first thought was that sticky variables might help pair protagonists to their relevant gendered pronouns (him/her, his/hers, etc.), but now I’m not sure how, or even if, that could work.

Now—just guessing, mind you—it seems like a more likely usage scenario would be to assign variables using your method at the start of running a gen, then have later subtables reference and re-use those pre-generated values. Not sure how useful this replacement strategy would actually be if it only worked on a per-subtable basis.

Could something like this work? (ignore syntax; I’m sure it’s invalid):

1,{{#replace:<sgtable>|⚑|[♂name]}} // put one (male) name into the black flag (globally)

1,hey there, ⚑!
1,what’s up, ⚑?

1,hey ⚑, where are you going?
1,c’mon back, ⚑!

--MikeyD (talk) 12:16, 13 November 2015 (PST)

2015-11-17: Quick Question about Nobreak … 

I’ve noticed you going back and adding it to gens, but wondered if it works anywhere else besides inside the Cols template.

Also, do we ever NOT want certain columns to line up?

If not, could Nobreak perhaps be incorporated into the Cols template itself? That would save a ton of manual updating.

Right now I’m exploring ungendered 3rd-person pronouns for #replace use.

--MikeyD (talk) 19:32, 17 November 2015 (PST)

2015-11-19: Nobreak incorporated into Cols template 

I saw your comment:

“Unfortunately I don’t see how (Nobreak) could be integrated into the Cols template. Cols creates a div, and nobreak creates divs to be placed within that div. There could be any number of these, which is a bit difficult to put in a template, at least as I understand it.”

… that certainly sounded reasonable, but I got curious to see what kind of trainwreck might result from the multiple nested divs, and exactly how the issue might manifest. When I checked, I was surprised to see the nobreak code was just a style spec that could easily be added to the Cols div – since, as we determined earlier, there are essentially no occasions where multi-columns without nobreak would ever be wanted – short lists have no problem (either way), while long lists all demand nobreak.

So I added it provisionally, but so far it seems to work just fine. I hope you don’t mind nobreak being essentially obsoleted. I don’t mean to one-up anyone, just looking for solutions to minimize typing and effort.

--MikeyD (talk) 14:43, 19 November 2015 (PST)

2015-11-20: I replied to your reply, on the other page. (Whew! Abulafia may be great for some things … chatting, maybe not so much!)

CDD #4

Excited to see you creating pages from that wonderful resource! I actually printed out a hard copy from Kinko's. Looking forward to seeing more--maybe even a category so they can all be grouped?


Fair enough--it is definitely the case that there's certain concepts where a half dozen different pages might already exist, and adding to the soup without something really striking and original probably doesn't help anybody.

I'll have to take a look--there's a few interesting tables that I'm not sure exist on Abulafia, if I remember correctly. The one I'm thinking of is the motivation or geas table, I think, where there's a number of verbs and then nouns--so you could need to protect love or destroy a monster. I should just take a look myself for inspiration--could probably use that in Rumors for the organization goals.

The other one I thought would be cool was the "What has this person been up to?" one, where through a series of rolls, you determine if an NPC gained a level, or found a treasure, or suffered loss or whatever in the time since you last encountered them.

Anyway, I really like that resource, so was excited to see it struck someone else as something fun and useful!

More Cent.Casting

Sorry I have few answers to your critiques. I've gotten rusty at programming. Task Force Games is out of business. So as far as I know, Cent.Casting is "abandonware"

My naming convention is only semi-consistent. I only wanted the main page, not the sub tables, to be on the opening Categories of Abulafia.

I also appreciate the Sci-Fi and Modern books, but they are on the back burner.

Why multiple pages ? I wanted to get subsections working on their own. I felt each section should have its own wrinkles ironed out. I do not know the "page size limits" on Abulafia.

Some people have attempted to do Cent.Casting before. Here's my feedback:

1. They seem to have attempted to "exactly" emulate the flow of the book.

     So if the chart says to "re-roll and combine" they did also.
     I want to get it working first, then fold that idea in later.
     Tables can call on themselves. I do not know the recursion limit.

2. They seem to only follow the wordings in the book.

     I have added items to charts. 
     Also, the beauty of Abulafia is having many charts already done and laying around.
     Cent.Casting says "kidnapped" ? Abulafia has a chart for Culprits handy.

3. The physical book assume the real-life reader knows the character variables all the way through.

      If you have a Wealthy Half-Elf Nomadic Female, then the reader will ignore parts of the book
       that talk about being poor, urban, or dwarvish.
     Since Abulafia {at my understanding level} has no storage, all charts and tables are currently genericized.
     So, I have changed the wordings to "they", changed mentions of wealth to like "become poor", etc.

4.Somebook charts are bell-curves, and some are weighted for poor people at bottom, and rich folks up top,

     because the reader knew the Wealth Mod going in. Abulafia does not know it, at this time. 
     Most of my charts are linear, even probability.

5.The book scatters he/she all over the place. My versions probably could handle that better.

     Also the placement of A/AN before vowels is sub-par.

If your variable ideas work, then Cent.Casting does need to be in one giant file. The user Majyc made the one I'm borrowing from. Doesn't seem like he's been back for 6 years. Also, my charts are a work in progress. I certainly do want to tidy up the out put,

 AFTER I get all the charts working on a basic level.

Thanks for looking. I hope I'm not stepping on toes doing this.

Also, wait till you see how I handle the Secret "GM Special" table. --- Egyptoid


I renamed the top-caller page of C.Casting into CC-Fantasy-Lives. not just to please you, but to make calling sub-charts easier. Also, do you know of any example pages that use the Wiki Replace function ? 15:18, 14 October 2019 (PDT) Egyptoid

C.Casting Generator - close to done.....

Fantasy Lives

Thanks for making tables and charts I could borrow from.

the main backstory generator page is at CC-Fantasy-Lives

I've gotten my Casting-style background tables prepared to the point

I want to call for help and beta-testing. my email is Egyptoid @ gmail - com

or my user discussion page User_talk:Egyptoid

please run it a few times, and tell me about what stinks.

also I ask what should the final layout look like ?

some of the errors are minor, and come from trying to parse grammar

across 4 sub-charts, like: the sorcerer summoned the an water elemental that fallen into a volcano

previous authors have tried to adhere to the book, I have just used the Casting book as a skeleton,

and tried to improvise and expand with the wide capabilities of Abulafia.

please let me know if you like it not, and why.