Thought I'd blog this thread to "unsubscribe" those who aren't that interested.
At Paul's place the other week we got to talking about online character sheets - to solve the problem of the lost or forgotten character, and in case your computer dies and effectively "level drains" your fave mage back to when you had your last char sheet overhaul.
Graeme found a link that was worth looking at but didn't seem to have the customisability (is that a word?) and was for 3.5 only. (Graeme maybe you can post it here - for the life of me I can't find it on google).
A while back I considered "Omnidrive" - http://www.omnidrive.com/ - which basically works like an explorer window in a browser and you can just save files there, so you have them wherever you have internet connectivity.
I was just reading about "Live Documents" - http://www.live-documents.com/products/index.html - which seems to allow "sync'ing", so that whenever you have the internet, your doc's will synchronise with the online version, and you can also work offline. It can work with a Word client, rather than just a web gui (it's a plug-in type thing).
Mark tells me the MS answer to this is http://officelive.microsoft.com/ - in beta.
But are any of these tools the right answer?
The cornerstone has been identified as "a good spec" - technical barriers can be overcome by getting your brain into gear, but knowing what you want to build is the first hurdle.
So what exactly would this beast look like?
"Web 2.0" I see as a philosophy rather than a technology. "Original" Web was all about someone creating a page, and hosting it for all the world to see. Websurfers click through a million pages of content with no more effort than a left-click and the occasionally bent elbow to take in the Coke Zero.
Web 2.0 gets the user to grease that elbow and let the soft drink go flat. The developer/host supplies the framework for users to generate content of their own - the websurfers are now both consumers and contributors. Weblogs like this one, forums, myspace, facebook are the easy examples.
So what would this online character sheet dealio look like?
I'm typing this post into a little scrolling window with some tools at the top to bold, italicise, bullet-point etc. It's a mini-word processor. Each starting entry for a blog goes begins here.
I can also go to a "page layout" interface and set the style of the page, re-arrange elements such as how comments are listed, links to other pages, "recent" posts, etc.
There is also a "setup" page that lets me do other technical stuff, like allow other people to post or comment, let me post from email rather than web, even post from a mobile phone.
Finally there's the actual web page, which requires no login, and allows myself and others to directly post just by typing into the blank form field on the page.
The main elements in summary:
1. Web based admin, requires login, has these interfaces
- Control panel, user access etc
- Page layout
- New post
2. The public weblog, no login, standard web page looking interface
"Spec'ing" what we want should be relatively easy, and probably fun dreaming up our wishlist
- Log-in to page layout to decide how your sheet looks, where your abilities are, your equipment list;
- A range of "templates" available to get you started, that can be modified;
- An "equipment" gui to add your new items;
- An "abilities" gui to change your stats/mod's etc;
- The actual character sheet gets built from all of these elements so you can view it online;
- A print-friendly version for your paper'n'pencil gaming;
- A "DM-only" field so the DM can see your character, and make private notes about that disease that's scheduled to kill you in 14 days, or the intelligent sword that will reveal itself when fighting ogre-magi.
I'm also interested to know what the basic tools for building this thing would be. .Net? SQL? Notepad? Is there an established "engine" or later generation tool that allows you to develop this sort of "Web 2.0" application without having to type out whole lot of 0's and 1's and get intimate with your CPU's instruction set?