Manual Madness

I give up. I’ve tried. I’ve tinkered with font sizes until I’m seeing spots, I’ve ordered samples of fresnel magnifiers, I’ve specced super-thin paper, you name it. And it’s not working. I just can’t put ten pounds of manual into a five-pound bag.

20 years ago, TableMaster was smaller (it now has 13 new commands, more options for the existing ones, and more than 20 new output formatting codes). The manuals were wider and taller — they were a half-sheet, 5.5 x 8.5, instead of the 4.75 x 7.125 necessary to fit in a DVD box. And I didn’t have any restrictions on the length; TableMaster was in an inch-thick box, so there was plenty of room for however many pages the manual needed. None of those is true anymore — the command set is bigger, the page size is smaller, and the box is much, much thinner. It. Just. Doesn’t. Fit.

Continue reading “Manual Madness”

Everybody into the Boole!

There are three flavors of User Variables in TableMaster: ones with no variety specified (they were the originals), which are integers; Decimal variables, for floating-point numbers; and Text variables, for strings. There is actually a de-facto fourth kind, essentially Boolean variables.

George Boole was a 19th-century mathematician who formulated what came to be known as Boolean algebra, which dealt with variables having values of “true” and “false” rather than numeric values, usually represented as 1 and 0. If that sounds familiar — like the fundamental nature of digital electronics, from your watch to TableMaster — you’re right: it is. Most computer languages have some sort of Boolean variable. Delphi (which is basically Pascal, named for another mathematician) certainly does. And so does TableMaster … sort of.

Continue reading “Everybody into the Boole!”

Cover art!

While I’ve been dealing with all the insanity of getting the manual to fit in the box (note: a package of nice little fresnel magnifiers arrived yesterday) I’ve also been working on the other problem: the fact that I can’t draw. And there’s only so much you can do with clip art. So I’ve been looking for an artist. Not just any artist — I needed someone whose style would be right for TableMaster, and who would “get” what it was all about. So, I’ve been checking out artists, and art. When I found Rick Hershey, of Fat Goblin Games, I knew I had the right artist.

If you’re an old TableMaster customer, you’ll remember this bit of artwork from inside the manual:

The original

Continue reading “Cover art!”

Sex, pluralism, and TableMaster

If you were expecting something either salacious or political here, sorry, it’s just about system variables and output formatting codes. I’ve spent the past few days adding more output formatting codes in order to get them into the manual before it goes to the printers. While I was at it, I added a new sort of system variable, too, to help with pronouns.

Continue reading “Sex, pluralism, and TableMaster”

One more new command

When I started this project, I was firmly convinced that the original TBL was fully mature and I wouldn’t need to add anything to it. After all, I’d worked on the original for seven years; it already did everything anyone would need, right?

That was before .SQUARE, .SQUAREROOT, .CUBE, .DEFAULT (with four sub-commands), .BLANKLINE, and now .HR, plus all the output formatting codes and the force-linefeed code. Plus {$Pi} in the SysVars. Okay, I’ll stop now, really!

Continue reading “One more new command”

Pyromaniac simians and what this has to do with TableMaster for the Mac

One of the significant things for TableMaster II is the OS X version. Formerly, I believed this was going to be a very simple thing — just buy the Delphi upgrade, select the proper target platform, and compile. Well … it’s not.

The basic issue is that there are two Delphi frameworks — VCL (Visual Component Library), the original, and FireMonkey, the new one. It was not apparent to me when I started TableMaster II development that only one of those, namely FireMonkey, was cross-platform; since I’d always used VCL, I just kept right on using it.

…and came a cropper.

Continue reading “Pyromaniac simians and what this has to do with TableMaster for the Mac”

News and updates

I’ve had some sleep now. Time to get back to nattering on about TableMaster, and the current status; this is, after all, supposed to be the primary news source, and I’ve been slacking.

First, the big news is that the official release date for TableMaster has been announced: It will be out on Saturday, July 23, at MegaMooseCon in Richberg, SC. Pre-ordered copies will ship out on the following Monday, July 25.

Aside from that, Free RPG Day was cool, there’s a demo version of the TableMaster UI, a new Kickstarter reward … oh, and the new Table Pack is going to be Zombies! Read on.

Continue reading “News and updates”