Progress Update, brought to you by Hofstadter’s Law

Hey backers! I’ve made a lot of great progress on Wild Card Creator, both on the part you’ll see and on the parts under the hood. All of the big rules from Savage Worlds Deluxe have been implemented, but there’s still some minor stuff I need to do like adding support for skill specializations. Also, there’s a lot of stuff that still needs to be polished up to allow for all those corner cases.

One thing you have to keep in mind is that computers are stupid and they don’t understand things  we take for granted. Consider the Scholar Edge. The requirements for it are “Novice, d8+ in affected skill” and taking it gives you a +2 to two Knowledge skills. To a human it makes perfect sense: you pick two Knowledge skills that are at d8 or higher and you get a +2 in those skills.

The trouble is, a computer doesn’t think that way. Right now, Wild Card Creator is looking for a skill called “in affected skill” and, seeing that the character doesn’t have a skill by that name at a d8, declares that the character can’t take the Edge. Basically, I have to write extra code to allow the user to specify two skills, then tell Wild Card Creator to check if there is a d8 in those two specified skills. It’s not impossible by any means, but it is time consuming to track down and account for all of these sorts of situations.

I’ve done a lot of work under the hood with importing PDFs and you can now import just about everything from Deadlands Reloaded. Part of the fun with reading the text is that, again, computers are stupid. I have to tell it that “A character with this Edge adds +2 to all Tracking rolls” means the same thing as “The character gains +2 Tracking.” I’ve already found half a dozen basic sentence structures, plus a bunch of variations among them (e.g. “+2 to Tracking rolls” vs. “+2 to Tracking checks”), all to say that you get a +2 to a skill! Regular expressions have been both my best friend and my mortal enemy!

What does all this mean for Wild Card Creator development? Bottom line, it’s going to be a little while longer before it’s ready. Programmers often refer to Hofstadter’s Law which states: “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.” The estimated release date noted on Kickstarter was November because I had hoped to get Wild Card Creator released by November 16th, the deadline for submitting products for consideration in the Origins Awards. Although I could do a rush job and still get Wild Card Creator released by then, I don’t want to have it be a half-baked program and I’m guessing neither do you.

I imagine some of you are wanting another release date estimate, but naturally, I won’t give one 🙂 I’ll be sure to give you constant updates on the progress of Wild Card Creator, but I won’t give a release date until I am quite sure I can reach it.

Of course, there is a silver lining to all this. It means that I can extend the deadline for character submissions for those of you that haven’t turned it in and it means that Cheyenne Wright will be able to complete the character portraits for Heroic and Legendary Wild Card backers. He’s currently working on art for the card game Unexploded Cow and Deadlands Noir and this break will mean he’ll have plenty of time to complete these portraits after he’s done with his own projects.

Thank you all so much for your support and patience throughout this whole process. Let me know if you have any further questions!

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