Ego Editor

Previewed and written by Don Ewald ( for UANL 22

As every person strives to enter the Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures community, they find themselves looking for a way to establish themself as a respected member. Some find that uploading new art, creating inspiring designs, or creating new hacks will help find their niche within our world. Unfortunately, I can't place myself under any of those categories so I do odd tasks.

So, amidst the many other goals that I've set for myself, I've begun to create a new character editor. Bart Jackson's editor was tremendous and readily accepted; but, what if there was something better? What if more information was known and what if you could improve on his design? With an anxious voice you ask, is it possible? Witness, my friends, the dawning of a new age in character editing. Scroll a little further down and you will behold the power of the Ego Editor.

Ed Note: Click on the images below for a more detailed view

Screen Shot: Entry Screen

Vertical Columns instead of horizontal.

Here is the entry screen and it may look a touch familiar. A few cosmetic changes and suddenly the editor is easier to use. Press the highlighted key at any point and you will be whisked to that menu. If you peer across the bottom of the screen you'll see the quick help. This provides assistance in navigation regardless of which screen you are at--pretty handy!

Keep in mind that all of this is done in text mode; so, no outrageously-colored GUI or moving windows here! There is some serious programming underneath this though, quite a bit of assembly, elbow grease, and many months of work.

I really do like the interface,the speed is excellent, and the help screens are fine. :) In my opinion, it's already quite a bit friendlier than the old character editor!
- Dan Autery

What about hacked designs? Hmph, no sweat. Working with David Knott's ckitform.txt file and an occasionally nudge from him, I've brought information about hacked attributes (Strength, Charisma...), race names, and class names into the Editor for display! This allows someone familiar with your design to not be confused when loading up the editor to edit his character.

Screen Shot: Special Ability Screen

Special abilities listed.

The special ability screen is my favorite. Several new features abound here! The selected special abilities are highlighted on the complete list to the left and on the list to the upper right are the current special abilities. Couple this with the display in the lower right and you have a insightful screen.

What is that display? That display denotes how FRUA will interpret the special ability. It's of no use to have a monster with the special ability of Detecting Magic so the display shows No effect beside the Monster usable line. This is also shows whether or not the combat AI controls the special ability, as in the case of the various dragon breath attacks and the gaze attacks.

You see, my friends, that the navigation is easier on this screen than before. If you don't want to change anything--hit Escape. If you decide that all of your selections are to your liking--hit Enter and all of your choices take effect.

Use the arrow keys, page up/down, home and end to navigate about the list. All the special abilites are listed, known and unknown. This may seem silly; but this allows you to add an unknown special ability and see if you can figure out what it does. I'm just trying to look into the future, my friends.

I've one other feature that I'm quite proud of. When you exited Mr. Jackson's editor you were greeted with a directory listing of characters you could edit. Wouldn't it be nice if more information was given--say, not only the file name; but also, the complete character's name and what type of character it is (PC, NPC, or Monster).

Screen Shot: End Screen

All characters listed with extra information.

I've a few goals that I'd like to meet eventually. I'd like to add an another selection so you can edit the gained experience for killing a non-player character. Also, on an aesthetic point, whenever you enter data into a few fields you don't see a blinking cursor--I'm currently stumped; but, I'll figure it out. I'd also like to design a better algorithm for the Dexterity bonus and Thieving skill bonuses. Currently, I'm using a multiple case that is pretty large.

In regards to the special abilities, I'd like to allow the user to press Tab and this will allow them to see an alphabetized list versus the current numerical list. I'm also trying to figure out a way to cut back on the flicker that arises when the user scrolls the array. Outside of these things, I'd also like to add some more navigation. If the user presses D it will take him to the first occurrence of that letter.

Well, you've seen the basics of the Ego Editor and I hope you're excited. I'm sure this will be one of the most eagerly anticipated products to assist in our designing. Feel free to contact me and tell me things you'd like to see added or modified--you're probably not the only person with that idea; but, you may be the only person that tells me. I'm having fun with this and I'm sure people will find this useful. I hope to finish coding the editor within the next month or two (I'm finished with the basic editor, just about done with the special abilities, and working on the spell editor). So, enjoy FRUA and may life treat you well.