Lesson #1: PCC - Campaign Info..

By Professor Chris Chandler (Barak).

File(s) Covered: *.pcc (basic creation)

Tags used:


This lesson will discuss what a PCC is, and what it uses to tell PCGen about itself. This will get a Campaign to show up in PCGen's source tab, and allow it to load (though it won't load anything till lesson 2 ).

PCC - what it is, and what it does.

A PCGen Campaign Configuration file (PCC) is a text document which PCGen reads to gather what source files to load, and other information about itself (the 'campaign') and it's associated files. Without these types of files, PCGen would not be able to load the data files.

So, I've created my own world with lots of feats, classes, skills, etc. I want to create a new 'Campaign' in PCGen so I can easily make up characters and monsters for my world. I'm going to call it 'My stuff' since it is going to be stuff I'm making for myself.  :)

First I need to create a home for my PCC and the data files associated with it. I'm going to place it in a subdirectory of /data/ in the PCGen folder.  This is the standard practice, although you may certainly create it elsewhere if you wish. I'm going to make a new folder in /data/ called /mystuff/ just to make it easy to keep these files separate, and so I'll know where things are.

Next, I'm going to start up my favorite text editor and create and save an empty file.  I'll call it "mystuff.pcc".  Notice the .pcc - PCGen looks for that particular extension when first starting for the list of campaigns it can load.  This has to be the _final_ extension.  If you accidentally save it as mystuff.pcc.txt, PCGen will not "see" it and you won't be able to load your data.

Now I'm ready to start telling PCGen what my Campaign is and which files it needs to load.

CAMPAIGN: The name used for the set of sources in the PCC

The first step is to name this campaign for PCGen. (PCGen *does not* use the PCC file name for that). Since it needs to create a memory object, and then define parts of it, we HAVE to name the campaign for PCGen on the FIRST LINE of the file. No other tag lines can come before it. We tell PCGen the name of the campaign by using the CAMPAIGN tag. So I put " CAMPAIGN:My Stuff " right at the very top. When PCGen lists my campaign, it will display 'My stuff' in the source tab.

GAMEMODE: what game mode the campaign is designed for.

The next thing I need to do is to tell PCGen what GameMode I want this campaign to run in. We use the GAMEMODE tag to tell PCGen which GameMode to run in. Since I want to run it in the normal gamemode that comes with PCGen, I'm going to use '3e' So I put " GAMEMODE:3e " on my second line. Note that this MUST be the second line in the file.

RANK: Loading order.

Moving on, the next step in the process is determining what priority the data files associated with this PCC have related to other sources, and what order PCGen should load things in.  To do this we use the RANK tag. Choosing the rank can get complicated, because it effects what happens when you use .MOD tags and other things. But, since this is the "basic PCC" lecture, we'll go the simple route for the moment. :)

I am making this my primary campaign file because I want to load this one _only_ so I don't have to think about the other sources in PCGen (and make it easier for my group to load the same stuff). I'm going to make it RANK:1 . It should now load before any other source with a higher RANK number.

Currently, you can only have a RANK between 1 and 9, which limits how many things can be on different levels. If 2 PCCs are the same Rank, it loads them in whatever order it has them stored internally... That's going a bit deep, and we can cover that in depth in another lesson...

TYPE: Displaying on the Source tab.

Now, I need to set up the tree of sources for this PCC that you see when you first start up PCGen. This is done by using a TYPE tag. This is a "." delimited list. Each "." creates a sub-level. The typical method of doing the TYPE tag is to list publisher, and then type of book, and then anything else necessary. So I'll enter "TYPE:PCGenLstMonkey.Campaign Setting.My World".

My file now looks like this (between the ----- lines is the actual file):

TYPE:PCGenLstMonkey.Campaign Setting.My World

What you'll see on the source screen when you start PCGen up now if you expanded the tree fully would be:

^---Campaign Setting
^---My World
^---My Stuff

SOURCExxx: Identifying the source material.

Now we come to several tags that are very important if you're putting in somebody else's material (or perhaps even your own if you hope to publish some day). The first three give information on who created/published the material. Those tags are "SOURCELONG" which is used to give the publishers full name. Next is "SOURCESHORT" which is used to give an abbreviation to be used for the publisher and finally is "SOURCEWEB" which is used to put in the URL of the publishers web site. My entries for these tags will be:


ISOGL and COPYRIGHT: OGL Section 15 information.

Next up is another important bit at least if you want to share your files, either with friends or with the rest of the PCGen community, the ISOGL tag. This is used to indicate whether or not the source falls under the OGL license (most do... It's really hard work for it not to).  So we'll enter it this way: " ISOGL:YES ". This will trigger the program to insert the information from the next tag we cover into the OGL (Open Gaming License) that we display on startup.

The next tag is the COPYRIGHT tag. We use this tag to enter our copyright information, or the publisher's copyright information. When entering others copyright information, it must be entered exactly as they have, mis-spellings and all. For my set the tag will look like this:

COPYRIGHT:PCGenLstMonkey Copyright 2003

INFOTEXT: further information for the user.

Now, I'd like people who look at my data set in PCGen to know what it's for, so I'll use the INFOTEXT tag to give them a little information about it. What you enter here will appear in the lower left pane of the PCGen UI with a heading of "INFO". My tag will read like this:

INFOTEXT:This data set contains all the information necessary to create a character for the mystuff campaign world

That is everything you need to tell PCGen about the Campaign itself. Part II will be actually linking up the PCC with LST files....

LST Chimp