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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

LiveCode and Rogue Stars

For the last couple of weeks I have been preparing (or procrastinating around preparing) for the Rogue Stars event I will run Friday at DunDraCon. One of my main tasks has been to prepare character sheets for two dozen characters. I've been going back and forth about how to do it, all the time wishing I still had HyperCard on a machine that would run it, since it was perfect for that kind of quick layout of fields for a deck of cards database. I considered making a little Rails project but was not in the mood to wrestle CSS to lay it out, etc. So yesterday, I did some searching around the web to see if there was a good current HyperCard replacement for hobby projects. And I found it.

LiveCode is a language and concept descendent of HyperCard. It lets you throw together a UI as quickly as possible by drag and drop, wire up components with a mix of property panel choices and light scripting.  It started as MetaCard, and was Runtime Revolution for awhile. I used Runtime Revolution pretty extensively back at Stanford in the oughts, and found it quite serviceable for scientific projects. When I first hit their site the day before I saw the $1K a year license and said "Nope" regarding getting back in for a hobby project. Then yesterday I saw they have a GPL open source version. Bingo! Download, learn some of the changes in how it works, and I now have an utterly rudimentary character sheets app that does exactly and only what I need to print out a stack of characters for Friday, and about half of the characters entered. It might even be worth spiffing it up a bit and giving it away. I used to make a lot of gaming software in HyperCard, since it was so easy and fun to do.

Here's what it looks like so far (extra points if you spot the data entry error in the screenshot):
That blank space at top right will get a picture of the figure if I have time to take and insert the pics.