Better input fields

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RPGpad gives you a lot of freedom in the way you organize your campaign. One of the ways this shows itself in is the freedom to adjust and define your own custom data for on the wiki: to get the basic Person, Location, and Faction info more in line with how your roleplay group uses it.

These custom data schemas help all players add data to the wiki with dedicated input fields for relevant relations, or values that should be visible at a glance: the Owner of a Location, the Affiliations of a Person. The image to the right shows the info box of an adjusted Person schema.

While there is the somewhat humourous issue of the info box being very long, it is undeniable that these fields help a lot when you are looking for someone. Especially if you do not recall their name but remember what clan they are from, and what rank they had; you can quickly filter on people from a specific clan and rank.

For all that these fields are very useful when filled out, RPGpad does not offer much assistance for players when they are actually filling them. Take for example the bottom-most fields in the screenshot: Affiliations.

As humans we very quickly pick up that these should be links to pages about a Faction. They should also be in the Setting wiki, because this field is about in-character relations between people and factions. RPGpad, not being a human, has no notion of this.

Right now RPGpad does not offer any kind of assistance in filling this field (or any other). If you mistype the name — such as writing “Power-plant Club” intead of “Power Plant Club” — you are shown a red link to indicate that there is no such page. Even though you are certain that there is a club whose members own power plants — most likely you even added the page for it yourself a week or two ago.

After seeing the red link you can go to the Faction index, find the correct spelling, and edit the page. In the future, you might even look up the name of the faction before you add it to a page. But we feel that this is an area where RPGpad is currently lacking: it should provide assistance when filling out such fields!

One of the ways such assistance can be given is autocomplete. In the case of the Affiliations field, the ideal situation would be to automatically suggest possible Setting pages about a Faction. It would also take into account that the name of suggested pages should not need to exactly match the text written by the player so far, and the page is not already referenced as another affiliation (since listing the same affiliation twice is not helpful).

In this ideal situation, RPGpad would also suggest pages from Notes if there are no good matches from Setting, especially if the Faction schema can also be used in Notes — this would help with campaigns where players prefer to write out pages in notes, and move them to the Setting afterwards.

In next week’s blog post we will elaborate on the complexities of actually providing good suggestions — because to do so well involves combining information from multiple different places and to make RPGpad understand the complexities of the fields it tries to assist with.

But even a very basic autocomplete on reference fields like Affiliations will be a great help for players updating their wiki pages, or a game master adding a few NPCs to the wiki. And, as always, once we have basic autocomplete we can polish it to provide even more assistance.

As always, you can view this week’s changelog, and if you run into RPGpad not offering assistance on something you do often, or on someplace you have to input data, but you feel there’s to much effort involved, please let us know!