A Letter to Publishers
To all D20 Publishers:
PCGen is an open source character-development tool that allows the Player or GM to build and manage characters based on books from many different resources (Wizards of the Coast, Sword and Sorcery Studios, Malhavoc Press, Deadlands, DragonStar, Custom Campaigns, etc.). We at PCGen would like your permission to input the data from your works into PCGen's format to make it easier for Players and GMs alike to create and build their characters, creatures, and villains. We are actively seeking the approval of ALL role-playing publishers to ensure they are comfortable with our use of their intellectual property.
For example, the folks from Fantasy Flight Games (Greg Benage specifically) have given us Permission to input DragonStar into PCGen format. We have had dozens of requests for the implementation of DragonStar to PCGen and we try to comply as quickly as possible with such requests.
We are working very hard to support the community at large, to get the newest material that people have purchased and might purchase, into PCGen's data structure.
PCGen is completely open, free, and is not a pay per use or purchased product in any way. PCGen can be run on any machine or platform that runs Java such as Microsoft Windows, Linux, UNIX, and Apple's OS/X. We are also diligently working to preserve all the rights, information and Intellectual Property of the original authors and companies. We at PCGen wish to provide an easier way for the Players and GM's alike to build characters for their own campaigns using all available options in a simple, easy to use format. We also want PCGen to be an easy way for companies to showcase their material to a wide audience without worrying that PCGen will make purchasing their material unnecessary.
The gaming information available in the program is formatted in such a way that the user still requires the original source material. PCGen is designed to be an aid to Role-players, not a challenge to the sales of your products. We believe that we can reach a balance between making the data as informative as possible, and REQUIRING users to actually own the material they use from the program. As a result, some d20 publishers see us as an extra arm to the marketing of their materials.
As part of this aim, each version is released in two distinct sections: the front-end engine and the material data. This way we ensure none of your intellectual property is coded into the program, but only appears in simple plain text format in the data files. These data files are for game mechanic purposes only, to tell the engine how the mechanics are to work, not supply descriptions of the mechanics.
Our website is http://pcgen.sourceforge.net.
The website will explain the project, detail a bit of its history, and what we have accomplished so far and what we would like to accomplish in the future. It also contains a list of products that have been placed into PCGen format as well as a list of publishers that have endorsed PCGen with their OC permission, PI permission, and Sponsorship.
Our Yahoo group is at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pcgen.
This group is our main forum for feedback, questions, comments, concerns, or just batting ideas back and forth until a consensus is reached about any given topic. There are several Yahoo Groups devoted to different aspects of PCGen and these too can be found on the website.
The program has really taken off in the gaming community and on the average we have over 4000 downloads each release every week. As of this writing we have over 1500 subscribers to our Yahoo Groups and it regularly has over 2500 posts per month regarding feedback, options, changes, requests, and new material that is out there for the team at PCGen to adapt.
We enjoy having a large volume of feedback from the community and volunteers to help out beyond the main development team, whom are all gamers and volunteers themselves, to do the work. There have been several easy to use installation programs created as well as a few files to make it easier to run the program and interact with other programs such as: Jamis Bucks' generators, several freely distributed visual basic programs, and other tools to help make the game master's job easier.
We also sincerely look forward to working with any and all D20 Publishers to include their products within PCGen’s capabilities. We hope to make the creation of characters for a gamer’s favorite products easy, painless, and requiring as little time as possible. To this end, the development team of PCGen will do everything it takes to make both the publishers and the gaming enthusiasts as happy and comfortable with PCGen as humanly possible.
To contact us, feel free to post on our yahoo message board (a number of game publishers already do) or contact me directly at email@example.com. I'm pleased to field any questions you might have about PCGen and how we might work together.
Sincerely, Bryan McRoberts firstname.lastname@example.org Benevolent Dictator of PCGen And The PCGen Development Team