Making of Anima: UNICO – Introduction

Logo de Anima: UNICO

Hello to everyone.

I’m starting with this post a series about the development of Anima: UNICO, mi character generation web application for the role-playing game Anima: Beyond Fantasy. Let’s see if I can do one or two of these per week. I think I will be able to share many interesting things for anyone looking to develop a similar web application.

First, a bit of background. I started to develop Anima: UNICO around September/October 2013 (I can’t remember the exact date). Inspired by the great character generation web application made by my friend Azrapse for the game The One Ring, which we use almost every week to play, and moved by the lack of character generation software for Anima, one of my favourite role-playing games, I decided to start working on it.

However, Anima: UNICO was not my first work in web based character generation. I have (and very advanced, actually) a similar application for  7th Sea, and I also started one for Hackmaster (for the current edition). With the Seventh Sea one I lacked motivation (although I want to finish it some day). The Hackmaster one I abandoned when I learned that the game creators were developing their own character generation application: I’m not interested in doing useless work.

I have said before that there was no character generation software for Anima, but it seems I looked for it very poorly back then, because around February 2014 I searched again and found several projects. The main one, is the ingenious excel sheet made by several members of the Anima Spanish forum (I think the main developer is Solkar). It is so good that, were I to see it before starting my work on Anima: UNICO, I probably would have never started the development. I also found out that someone did a little crowd-funding in Indiegogo to develop a character generation application for Anima. I have seen no further movement there, and I don’t know if they got to develop anything. In any case, it seems they have made public nothing.

My goals for Anima: UNICO when I started with it were basically (and in this order):

  1. Allow to fully create characters in the web application and also without Internet connection.
  2. Develop it in JavaScript: the One Ring application convinced me that it was the best way.
  3. Develop it around the current rules (Core Exxet) with all the supplements (Domin Exxet, Arcana Exxet, Prometheum Exxet, Gaïa 1, Gaïa 2, Those Who Walked Among Us, Master Screen, we supplements 1, 2 and 3, and any other book that gets published).
  4. Allow the incorporation of house ruled items, like classes, abilities, advantages, disadvantages, martial arts, ars magnus, spells, etc.
  5. Allow saving the characters, defining game groups, defining a DM in the group, that the DM could be able to set which rules to use, and that the group members, when creating their characters, used directly those rules.
  6. Allow the DM to demand «fair» characters: with this option checked, all the random part will be made in server-side.

In the next post I’ll talk about the tools I’m using (and those I used and stopped using).