The SuiteGM has been designed with an emphasis on OOD (Object Oriented Design) methodologies in a modular fashion so that ANY RPG system can easily be added through easy to use data entry forms.
Initially the RPG systems d20, MERP, Rolemaster, and Decipher CODA (Lord of the Rings specific) will be used as use case testing, but the design allows most any paper and dice system to be added by the community or individual users.
The current version being developed is the 4th incarnation of SuiteGM.
Originally named MerpMaker and then the “GM Suite” until a run in with General Motors and their same named website caused concerns back around 1999 or so. The new name “Suite GM” has some pun factor in it's naming, such as “Sweet GM” "Suite of GM tools", etc. as an expression of something being of value. Expressions such as “That's a sweet ride you have there”, “What a sweet system.”, etc.
Prior to the GMSuite/SuiteGM naming, it had manifestations as MerpMaker. MerpMaker was originally focused exclusively on the ICE (Iron Crown Enterprises) MERP (Middle-earth Role Playing) and Rolemaster role playing game systems. The applications were originally written in QBASIC (Version 1 of SuiteGM), later in Visual BASIC (Version 2 of SuiteGM). Later, because of frustration with VB only working on Windows and on not other preferred OSes (Operating Systems) future versions were written in Java (beta 1.0) and Java 2 (Version 3 of SuiteGM) so that it could be run as an application on any operating system, and online as an applet and servlet version. It was around this time of much more object oriented development that the program was made more modular to allow other game systems such as d20 to be included. This is also the time the working name changed from MerpMaker to GmSuite, and shortly thereafter to SuiteGM.
Version 4 attempts to be extremely object oriented and modular so that ANY game system can be used with this suite of utilities in any language. This is no small task and requires the help and participation of many supporters from around the world helping with programming, data entry, testing, and language translation.
The program will initially be written in US American (.us), but will hopefully quickly be translated to Spanish (.es), Russian (.ru), German (.de), Finnish (.fi?), Mandarin Chinese (zh?) and others as participation allows. The application is designed using unicode, as demand (and supply) warrants Asian languages such as Mandarin Chinese and Japanese will be provided eventually as well.
The primary feature of the application is to be as fully cross platform as possible. This means it should run on as many computer operating systems and hardware platforms as possible. It should also be open engineered enough that anyone who wants to add another game system to be supported can just “plugin” a module for their favorite game system using simple data entry forms that do not require any “programming” (but do require an understanding of data structure similar to using spreadsheets). The suite is database driven, and data corrections should be made without having to patch/update the application itself, and also be able to synchronize with a master database to get updates over the Internet when needed, while being able to run fully functional when not connected to the Internet.
The data is entered through the helpful hard work of many volunteers willing to help contribute in making this as close to a community effort as possible without violating any copyright issues of various entities.
This application is currently being developed using Java 1.6.x using Netbeans 6.5.
This application uses unicode for all strings/characters for multiple language support throughout the entire application.
This application stores all data and configuration files in XML format.
Role Playing Game System Support
Initially this application is designed with the following RPG system plugins supported:
ICE MERP 2nd Edition http://www.merp.com
ICE Rolemaster 2nd Edition/RMSS/RMFRP http://www.ironcrown.com
Ea d20 (Dungeons & Dragons) 3.5 http://www.earpg.com
Decipher Lord of the Rings RPG http://lotrrpg.fanhq.com/
- The One Ring RPG by Cubicle 7
The application is designed so that anyone can add other game systems by simply using the data entry forms included with the suite. Hopefully as users begin entering these other RPG systems on their own, they will make these additions available as bundled plugins that others can download so that there won't be repeated duplication of effort.
This application will initially be tested on the following primary platforms:
OpenSuse Linux 11.1 (and other current "major" distributions)
Windows Vista Home Premium & Windows XP
Mac OS X 10.x
Later testing will be on the following secondary platforms:
- Other Linux & xBSD distributions
Any tertiary testing by volunteers is very much welcomed.
Please report your testing successes (and failures) in the forums at http://sourceforge.net/forum/?group_id=20361.