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A Neophyte Tackles the FG Extension - Effects and Visibility

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Over the next few posts I plan on explaining how I wrote my first FG extension.

Since starting this blog I have tried to expose readers, particularly readers with little to no software development skills, to background information I felt would help them climb the FG extension learning curve more quickly. For a budding programmer there is a lot to learn, far more than can be conveyed in a blog. Supplementary reading is a must. Mostly, I hope to pique the critical thinking process, ďmostlyď. Logical thinking is critical to software development.

My interest in FG extensions started with a forum post I read. The originator of the thread stated that they wished there was a way to place an effect on a player character without the player knowing about it. This might sound silly, but consider a player character being poisoned by a creature theyíre completely unfamiliar with. How could that character know that theyíre poisoned unless the GM announces it? Play might be more interesting to have the character succumb to the effects of the yet unknown poisoning and try to deduce what happened and when. Right then I decided I wanted to try to provide that capability to GMs. I discovered extensions were the way to do it.

Since then I have had a more critical eye while watching the chat window during game play. Especially when effects are involved. This week I noticed that in the 5E ruleset whenever an effect is applied to a character, the chat announces the effect and it is displayed in every playerís Combat Tracker. The GM has the option of changing who can see the effect, making it visible to just himself or visible to everyone. By then it is too late. Itís already been displayed, why turn it off now? If the effect would have been applied with GM visibility only to start out with there would not be a issue.

All I need to do is ďjustĒ change the default behavior of an effectís initial visibility. ďJust!Ē Throughout my career, probably the phrase most often uttered by someone wanting software to do something new or different has been, ďCanít you justÖ.?Ē When I hear it, I see the mountain between us that the other person cannot see. I love that phrase, for me it is a call to action.

So, all I have to do is, just change a computer programís behavior. Letís get to it.

At least thatís what I had planned!! I was easily 30 hours into solving the issue, with two blog entries ready to go, when a post to a thread I was following came in. Here is the thread. What does this mean for this blog? A minor setback. I have two or three other issues I can tackle and blog about that lead to FG extensions. Problem is, I will be otherwise occupied for a few weeks and itís unlikely the next blog will be posted in a timely manner. I have not abandoned the blog. Iím at recess!

Until next time keep on role playing.

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