Startup and Installation Issues

  1. Where do I download PCGen from?

    You can download the latest version of PCGen from: , see the "Get PCGen" tab which will answer all of your questions on this!

  2. How do I unzip the zipped up files?

    Some of the install packages are zipped up. Those types of downloads must be unzipped to the same directory / folder . Unzipping is done differently on different platforms (don't ya hate that?).

    Windows users should download a zip utility such as WinZip . Here are some sample instructions for WinZip. After WinZip has been installed, double-click the file. This will open the file in WinZip. On the menu-bar, click the "Extract to..." button, and enter the location where you want to have PCGen (Example: c:\tools\pcgen ). Make sure you have the "Include Subfolders" option checked!!

    Mac OS X users can simply double-click the file which unzips it. Then it is simply (we FAQ authors _love_ that word) a case of moving the new folder somewhere (preferably in the Applications folder).

    Linux/Unix users should use Gzip. Unix/Linux users by there nature should know what they are doing by now ;-)

    Or, as an alternative to the 3 above, you can download one of the platform-specific installer-files. _Most_ of these will do all the work for you if you just download them, and then double-click on whatever came down.

  3. How do I start PCGen?

  4. What do I need besides the zip-files to get the program running?

    Glad you asked, because for many of you the instructions failed didn't they? Well here's why.

    Make sure that have the Java 2 v1.6.x or above Runtime Environment (or the SDK) installed on your machine. It's available from: .

    Mac users should note that Apple does not, and will not, support Java 2 v1.7.x or greater for Mac OSX 10.6.8 or earlier.

  5. Will PCGen run on my machine?

    That depends. The one thing that decides if you can run PCGen or not, is whether you have at least JAVA 1.6+ installed. If you do, then it should run. If not, it won't. It really is that simple.

    However, some might want to check here, so here is a small list:

    OS Does it Work?
    Mac OS 7.x - 9.x No. (Actually, it might. As a work-around, you can install VirtualPC (or some such) and run PCGen in there.)
    Mac OSX 10 to 10.4 No
    Mac OSX 10.5+ Yes (Running Windows XP, Vista, or 7 on Boot Camp)
    Mac OSX 10.5.2 to 10.6.8 Yes (64bit Only)
    Mac OSX 10.7+ Yes (JRE 1.7+ required)
    Win 98 No
    Win 98 SE No
    Win NT No
    Win 2000 Yes (32bit Only)
    Win XP Yes
    Win Vista Yes
    Unix Yes
    Linux Yes

    Not all of these configurations have been tested.

  6. Mac OSX telling me "PCGen can't be opened because . . . "

    Starting with Mac OSX 10.7 Apple added an anti-malware application called the Gatekeeper . The purpose of this addition to the Mac OS was to restrict applications downloaded from the Internet from launching. Initially Gatekeeper had no teeth, requiring the user to "opt-in" as it's default startup settings were to allow everything to run. Starting with Mac OSX 10.8, Gatekeeper's default setting was changed to restrict everything that was not downloaded either from the App Store or from an otherwise "identified" developer. Fortunately Apple did provide for a workaround which is described below:

    Gatekeeper Bypass Instructions

    1. Open System Preferences by choosing it from the Apple menu.
    2. Select the "Security & Privacy" control panel and go to the "General" tab.
    3. Under "Allow applications downloaded from:" click the radio button next to "Anywhere".
    4. On the dialog box that pops up select the "Allow From Anywhere" button to change the setting and close the Preferences window.
    5. Launch PCGen and verify that it is working. (If PCGen still doesn't launch please drop by the PCGen forum and provide a report.)
    6. Relaunch System Preferences and change Gatekeeper's settings back to the original setting.

    * - There are several different messages that can be seen as part of this issue including the following:
    a. "PCGen x.xx.xx" can't be opened because it is from an unidentified developer.
    b. "PCGen x.xx.xx" is damaged and can't be opened. You should move it to the Trash.

    The installed version of PCGen will now run without the need to change Gatekeeper's setting.

  7. Why is the Source "Load" tab all grey?

    This might be because your machine have a problem finding the files PCGen refers to. There is no easy way to fix this (there never is). There are machine-specific releases of PCGen available, but unless you choose to use one of these, you'll have to manually change the addressing in the files you're to access. Normally this is a case of changing a / to a \ or the other way round. Also make sure that you don't try to access something like c:/program files/pcgen/ when you should be accessing c:/program~1/pcgen/ , or vice versa.

    Note that on Windows, enclosing the entire path in double quotation marks is an acceptable way to accessing the directory, i.e. "c:\program files\pcgen\" .

  8. Why can't I make a new character? The "New" menu-item is grayed out.

    This is probably the most asked question so far. The answer is this: Before you can make a character, you must tell PCGen which rule books it should use. In other words, you must load one or more source books or modules listed under the "Source Material"-tab before you can make a new character. Make sure that at least one module is marked by a "Y" instead of a "N".

    You might wonder why PCGen doesn't do this automatically. This is because PCGen is made to be a RPG-generator. As it stands now, you may choose to load a Fantasy, Sci-Fi or Contempory module instead. Had PCGen automatically loaded a module, say the Fantasy module, it would have been the wrong one and you would then grumble about our stupid defaults while you unloaded that module so you could then load the module you wanted, the Sci-Fi RPG-character.

    There are options to load sources on start up or as you open a PC, take your pick, we don't mind ;-).

  9. What values can be passed in on the command line?

    When runing pcgen form the command line, the following options are recognised. Please note that the options are expected to formatted as -Doption=value

    When a value is specified for pcgen.inputfile, the program runs in command line only mode and does not display the gui, but instead generates a character sheet and exits.

    In addition you can provide any number of character or party files for PCGen to load on startup by just listing them on the command line.