Monday, February 27, 2012

Crunch Time

Back on New Years I had made a resolution to get a working prototype done by Febtober, jokingly indicating that I wanted something done by February that could easily be dragged out till October using an old SNL Celebrity Jeopardy Reference.  Well, February has come and almost gone and I think I'd like to push myself these last three days.  Get all the new additions and revisions from playtesting down onto a hard copy rather than pushing it off even further.  To keep me in the mood and keep inspiration flowing I'm pledging at least one post per day.

To start I'd like to extoll the virtues of Notepad++.  When I first started working on my system, well before I even decided to do an independent system, I was writing down some thoughts here and there in a simple text document.  When I wrote up my original draft I put it in a full blown word processor, and later on I put that into Scribus, an open source desktop publishing application I was experimenting with.  Well if I may say, the worst part of writing an rpg system is the layouts.  Seriously.  Having something fit perfectly on one page is wonderful, having something be too long is painful as you try to cut content you felt was perfect or already tightly woven.  It's even worse when you have a new idea or a revision and you need to add something but it regrettably pushes you over your limit.  So word to the wise, save the fancy programs until you're ready to print and until then write to your heart's content and don't care about page counts or fitting in dense pockets of information.  You can cut and curtail that later in the revision process but that brings me to notepad++.

Since word-processors and desktop-publishers were a pain in the ass for adding in revisions and new content, both technically and psychologically, I had gone back to the good old notepad which was ballooning in size by this point.  I even split some off into separate text documents for various classes and core systems but that got a little unwieldy, especially when you're working off an archaic laptop with a small screen and an inability to multitask.  Notepad++ lets you view your text documents like you would in a modern code compiler, it's clean and streamlined and best of all you can open up all those tributary text documents at once and quickly switch between them through tabs (like a modern web browser).  It's lightweight and easy to use and I cannot recommend it enough even for the smallest of things.