NPR GENERATOR (Spreadsheet)

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NPR GENERATOR (Spreadsheet)

Postby Starfire on Fri 08 Feb 2019 15:19

Does Anyone have any sort of a spreadsheet (or even computer program) to generate NPR races according to the rules (Galactic, Ultra, and/or Solar)?
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Re: WANTED

Postby Xveers on Fri 08 Feb 2019 20:47

Heylo Marvin!

Pretty sure the spreadsheet Lomn and myself made has a bunch of generation systems for making NPRs. It's definitely not a full turn-key setup, but it's probably halfway there at the least.
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Re: WANTED

Postby drtetrode on Sat 09 Feb 2019 19:56

If you would like, I would be delighted to build something like this.

Scott ;-)
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Re: WANTED

Postby Starfire on Sun 10 Feb 2019 08:42

Xveers wrote:Heylo Marvin!

Pretty sure the spreadsheet Lomn and myself made has a bunch of generation systems for making NPRs. It's definitely not a full turn-key setup, but it's probably halfway there at the least.


Please send that to Matt, and he will forward it on to me.

We might make something like this available as a general download depending on how things go.

If you would like, I would be delighted to build something like this.

Scott ;-)


I do not know if you would want to start from scratch or start with Xveers sheet.

The idea is to have bunches of tables involved in the generation of NPRs (which would, of course, be modifiable if a space master wanted something special). Each table would be a sheet (or possibly group some tables together).

The biggest issue right now is there are a lot of rolls to create an NPR. Furthermore, SDS is working on some concepts behind the scenes that could significantly increase the complexity of generation of NPR governments and would make NPRs much more politically interesting.
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Re: WANTED

Postby Xveers on Sun 10 Feb 2019 13:45

Starfire wrote:
Xveers wrote:Heylo Marvin!

Pretty sure the spreadsheet Lomn and myself made has a bunch of generation systems for making NPRs. It's definitely not a full turn-key setup, but it's probably halfway there at the least.


Please send that to Matt, and he will forward it on to me.

We might make something like this available as a general download depending on how things go.


viewtopic.php?f=96&t=3295

That's it right there. The main bits of relevance are on the "Empire Overview" tab, where it has a chunk of lookup tables, basically the Construction, Exploration, Diplomatic, and the optional Space Ownership rules. The big hangup is that it does not have any intrinsic setup to handle the die roll modifiers that exist in the rules, but that's also partially a design decision (so that one just can't download the spreadsheet and be off to the races without them).
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Re: WANTED

Postby Starfire on Mon 11 Feb 2019 08:28

Xveers Sheets: Hmm, very interesting -- and complex.

So, here are my thoughts on what we need.

1). A random number SEED. Type the same seed and get the same sequence of generation numbers.
This is so that the blasted information is not changing with each recalculation, which destroys the usefulness of the sheets.
If you do not know how to do this in EXCEL without macros, or ctrl-shift-enter formulas contact me privately and I will explain.

2). Something that generates EVERY possible roll based on few things that determine NPRs, i.e. finding races income, EL, etc.

3). We may need to "hide" and lock some sheets that store information tables but I am not so sure that is really needed. The rules for NPR generation (and even system generation) do not really make the game. It is the tech rules, the play rules, ship combat rules, and to some degree space exploration/empire interaction rules. Besides, more computer tools to help Spacemasters can not hurt.

Is anyone willing to attempt this fairly large project?

PS: I can definitely see Xveers sheets being upgraded to do all that but they are fairly big right now and the NPR generation rules will become more interesting. I suppose it makes sense to put everything in one place.

PSS: Xveers, just as a minor quibble on the sheets. I would have liked a non-white background coloring anywhere generation information needs to be entered by the user, especially dies rolls and such. I typically use yellow. I can see the issue for not using yellow on later pages where all information is user entered, like CFN page.
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Re: WANTED

Postby drtetrode on Mon 11 Feb 2019 21:22

Yes, I would be delighted to take this on.

Random generation. Yes, I agree with you on that.

There are 3 types of random, that I can think of. This one, which is good for repeatability, the one where you tell the system to pick a random seed each time, pseudo random, but not repeatable, and the truly random, where you go to to a site the creates truly random data and download a file, and use that file for your rolls. Source of this one is truly random, not pseudo-random.

Spreadsheet. Hmmm.... I have many ideas. Would like to discuss them with you.

Your requests and requirements, I would like to expand on them with you.

So, to get started, what is the end goal of this piece of code / spreadsheet etc. What do you want it to do? Do we want a file at the end of the process to represent 1 NPR, or multiple NPRs or ??? I like using the system generator from Lomm (I thnk). It's output is a file. Do you want a spread sheet that calculates, and then allow user to make changes? Or calculate and that is that, Pick a new seed and do it again? 1 NPR pre calc run, or multiple?

Many questions from me, but, yes I would like to help with this.

Would you consider open source software? Like Libre Office calc or Base? If the functions we need are not there, we can create them. I like this idea, because of no cost to developer and the end user. Libre Office runs on all 3 major platforms, Window, Linux and Mac. Since, in your last post, you are not too worried about hiding data, I have not figured that out in this, yet. OR we could approach it as an executable complete package / file of some kind. These are just ideas for discussion.

I currently have access to the Solar rules, only. Just so you know.

Thanks for reading, hope we have many more!

Scott
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Re: WANTED

Postby Xveers on Tue 12 Feb 2019 03:41

Starfire wrote:Xveers Sheets: Hmm, very interesting -- and complex.


Thanks! It's the final product of a LOT of iterative construction and building. They first started off as excel versions of the 4th Edition empire management documents from way back when.


Starfire wrote:3). We may need to "hide" and lock some sheets that store information tables but I am not so sure that is really needed. The rules for NPR generation (and even system generation) do not really make the game. It is the tech rules, the play rules, ship combat rules, and to some degree space exploration/empire interaction rules. Besides, more computer tools to help Spacemasters can not hurt.


As a rule I'm not a fan of locking stuff and hiding sheets in excel. Most of the Excel pros I know can bypass or crack the protections and get into the gooey spreadsheet guts without too much trouble. Plus, it also kneecaps the ability for people to both make changes they see fit AND do troubleshooting to support the developers of the tool. None of us are full time Starfire, and I know I got a LOT of support from the mailing list and the forums to fix and improve the spreadsheets.

Starfire wrote:PS: I can definitely see Xveers sheets being upgraded to do all that but they are fairly big right now and the NPR generation rules will become more interesting. I suppose it makes sense to put everything in one place.


I'd prefer a separate tool that all-in-one builds an NPR instead of bolting it on to the spreadsheet. Generating NPRs isn't something that needs to be done repeatedly, and there's a lot of under the hood stuff that really isn't needed for the game to actually be played that one has to crunch out for making an NPR. Crossloading the needed data once it's all done isn't too bad a thing (especially since it doesn't have to get done often).

Starfire wrote:PSS: Xveers, just as a minor quibble on the sheets. I would have liked a non-white background coloring anywhere generation information needs to be entered by the user, especially dies rolls and such. I typically use yellow. I can see the issue for not using yellow on later pages where all information is user entered, like CFN page.


We all have our own formatting choices :) Mine was a more evolutionary bit of work where my logic was "everything here is manually entered" and then cells became reference cells, others became calculated ones, and others became more clearly cells that were inputs as opposed to notes.

Personally I find Yellow to be a bit high contrast for just raw data entry, especially when you're looking at massive chunks of it (like CFN or Research). I found it was better (at least in my opinion) to convey what should be in a cell by background shading, some light use of colour, and bolding text when needed. It also has the bonus of not being a problem for people with colourblindness (which is something a few friends of mine have).
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Re: WANTED

Postby Starfire on Tue 12 Feb 2019 19:36

drtetrode wrote:Yes, I would be delighted to take this on.

Scott


Thanks Scott.

I would like to keep everything in Excel (spreadsheet), because even non-programmers can modify data tables and such.
As for Libre Office calc or Base (which I do not know about and assume are spreadsheets), as long as they can be saved in a .xls format, I am fine with that.

HUGELY IMPORTANT is zero macros and that includes behind the scenes {excel} code.

I definitely want a SEED. I want a repeatable NPR generation. I.e 47363 gives a specific NPR, then 47363 could be used by someone else to get the exact same "probably highly interesting" NPR.

This is not intended to be system generation. Just single NPR generation. In fact, it could almost be specifically directed at HEL NPRs, but since LEL NPRs really do not take much effort, we can do it both.

At the end of the process, all the data will go on a single sheet (call it the output sheet), which would be in a very specific format that others could use as a copy/paste to their spreadsheet that does empire management, like Xveers sheets.

Just solar rules works for me (once they are in, it will be easy to back modify).
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Re: WANTED

Postby drtetrode on Wed 13 Feb 2019 18:29

Thanks for your response.

Q1. Do you want me to continue the back and forth conversation with you on this forum, here in General or would you like me to create a new thread over on Solar Star Fire? This would be to discuss requirements, any questions I have on meaning or things to include or not.

Q2. Do we want to provide for optional rules? For example, Alternate / Unusual / Optional life forms?

Some statements:
I love the game, have the first three of the classics. Had fun teaching the kids to play. Years down the road, my son found this again, and gave me Solar Star Fire. I have briefly read the rules, once. I have delved into the generation of systems, pretty well. I love Lomm's program, it is fun to gen up 10,000 systems, and see what happens. So I do understand the SEED concept and the value that it is. This is the first time I have read NPR generation in detail, so there are going to be lots of questions. I don't want to make incorrect assumptions. I expect to go back and forth and have many iterations of this. Creating this spread sheet allows me to give back, and to learn the game a whole lot better. If I can automate a piece of it, that will leave us all more time to 'play'!

My understanding of the requirements, at this time are as follows:

1. Final will be an Excel spreadsheet.
2. No macros!
3. Not using optional rules, based and changeable by answer to Q2.
4. Random numbers come from a single SEED number, and the results must be duplicate able by same SEED.
5. Input will be on first sheet, as needed.
6. Output will be on second sheet, all on one sheet, will consist of those things that define an NPR.
7. Other sheets will be used for calculations and functions and lookups.
8. User inputs will have a colourized background, I will put notes and explanations on first sheet.
9. Documentation of sheets is essential to allow adjustments and changes.

Now, more questions:

Q3. In a previous post you mentions HEL and LEL, and since I have not read more than first page, yet, do we want to set up a separate process for each, an HEL process, results in HEL civilization defined on output, and an LEL process that does the same?

Q4. You also mention a "very specific format that others could use as a copy/paste". Has the format been defined? Do you know ( I am sure you do, I don't, yet ) what needs to be in that?

Q5. Are we in need of 'hiding' things, for an NPR generator? I get the impression, that is not case, for this one function.

Assumption:
01. This is an NPR generator for one single race. This will not generate multiples off of one SEED input.

Looking forward to getting started. Please answer questions, add anything at all you can think of.

Let me ask you this question, if you could have this process do anything you want, related to NPRs, what do you want it to do. Dream big and don't put limits on what can be done. I will be glad to attempt it. We will need to discuss, but, I think it is best to start from the Dream and then move towards final product, in many iterations, as Xveers and Lomm have said in how they developed their spread sheet.

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. All inputs are welcome.

Scott ;-)
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