Category Archives: Previews

Feature previews

GCA5 Beta Preview now publicly available

GURPS Character Assistant 5 is available now as a beta preview. This means that the software is unfinished and almost certainly has bugs that may crash the program. Features included now may be removed or significantly altered before release.

You DO NOT have to upgrade to GCA5 at this time. The beta version is available to those that wish to try it out and provide feedback or bug reports. I would love for you to give it a try, as I think it’s a significant improvement, but I understand beta software is not for everyone. I believe that the GCA5 beta is complete enough and stable enough to replace GCA4 in your daily use, but you can make that decision for yourself if you try it out.

The beta preview is available now. You can find the installer available for download here:

If you want to validate the ZIP after download, there is a PAR2 file here:

The GCA5 installer is within the ZIP file.

You do not have to uninstall or reinstall GCA4, and you can run both versions on your computer at the same time (but please do not install them into the same folder on your computer).

I will be running the beta through a Google Group <>. Google Groups are basically mailing lists that have a forum-like web-access mode. This is a public group, so it should be open to everyone who wants to join, but you *do* have to join the group in order to view or post messages. You can set in your preferences that you do not wish to receive emails if you only want to use the forum mode.

Please direct all bug reports, loves, hates, and any other appropriate commentary to the Google Group. I want to hear what you think of new features, missing features, broken features, and all things GCA5, but please remember that we are all human, and please be polite and kind to all the other participants.

Being Fancy with Protection

Or, more accurately perhaps, getting detailed in GCA when your campaign is using detailed armor protection and layering rules. GCA5 will allow you to specify that you want to handle your own layering, and will then show you the armor protection values in layered order.

Not shown here is the dialog that allows you to set your layering, but that lets you adjust the ordering of how your armor is layered, from innermost to outermost layer. That’s as it’s shown on the list at the right side in this image, although I just randomly threw some stuff together when creating the test data being used here.

You’ll notice that each layer shown on the right side also has an icon noting whether that layer is rigid or flexible. The general DR item at the top (innermost layer) is not counted as a layer, so isn’t considered either rigid or flexible–it just is. You could change that if desired.

Data File Features

I haven’t done a preview in a while, so for something a bit different, I thought I’d post some of the additions to what data files can support. This also provides a peek into what kinds of new features traits support, as well, since one follows on the other.

Since I made a pretty document about it recently, I figure I’ll just link to that, and let you check it out if you’d like.

Here it is:

GCA5 Updated Data File Info (PDF Doc)

GCA5 Updated Data File Info (PDF Doc)

Display Names and Totals from Children

This preview is of something a bit more esoteric than the previews we’ve done so far, and also covers two different things that I can show the results of in one image:


Here on the right side, you can see the use of the new displaynameformula() tag to create a custom name for each of the grimoire items, which includes the number of pages contained in that chunk. And the pages are totaled up using the new @totalchildrentag() function, coupled with custom pages() and pages#() tags.

This combination of features allows you to customize things a bit more, although it’s definitely not the easiest of things to do. The data file code for the three items above looks like this:

Grimoire Book, basecost(1000), baseweight(10), pages(0), pages#(me::pages + @totalchildrentag(pages#)), isparent(yes), displaynameformula($val(me::basedisplayname) ($eval(me::pages#) pages))

Grimoire Chapter, basecost(100),baseweight(1), pages(12), pages#(me::pages + @totalchildrentag(pages#)), displaynameformula($val(me::basedisplayname) ($eval(me::pages#) pages))

Grimoire Signature, basecost(50),baseweight(0.5), pages(6), pages#(me::pages + @totalchildrentag(pages#)), displaynameformula($val(me::basedisplayname) ($eval(me::pages#) pages))

The pages() tags include the number of pages each individual item contains.

The pages#() tag is a separate tag from pages(), but is auto-calculated by GCA when referenced (as denoted by the # in the name), and returns the total pages for the chunk and all children.

The displaynameformula() tag defines the display name as the default display name, plus the number of pages in parens after that. It determines the number of pages using the pages#() tag, so that children and nested children will all be included automatically.

As I said, this particular thing isn’t the easiest to deal with, but perhaps we can improve on that in the future.

Loadouts & Protection

How loadouts are handled is being seriously upgraded in GCA5, allowing you to change the active loadout and see the changes to encumbrance and protection reflected immediately (see our first post, on Compact View, where you can see the dropdowns for Loadout in the Encumbrance and Protection boxes). This helps make GCA a bit more useful in play, which is something I’m trying to improve.

The big changes in internal handling required the Loadout Manager to be pretty much completely rewritten from scratch, so I took the opportunity to upgrade its features a bit as well.


GCA5’s new Loadout Manager

Now, you can see all your equipment and all your loadouts in one grid, which more easily allows you to assign gear to whatever various loadouts you may want to use. (However, equipment contained inside a parent item is not shown; only the parent will be shown.) You can more easily see which items haven’t been assigned to any loadout yet, and you can sort the various columns of the grid as well.

The new loadouts system is integrated with the protection system, so assigning armor is based on the loadout that contains the armor or shield in question. That’s what those little shield icons in the grid mean—the armor on that row is currently being used to provide protection for that loadout.

So, GCA5 links your protection (armor and shields) to the loadout you’re using. That means you need to be able to assign protection based on loadouts, and that’s what the updated Protection window does.

Protection window

Protection window

This window is mostly an update from the existing one, although things have been rearranged a bit. Plus, as you can see in the top left corner of the window, you can switch between loadouts and assign the armor and shields you want to use in each.

GCA5 is a bit smarter in trying to parse down and integrate different armor values into simpler numbers, but we still haven’t yet attempted the more advanced armor system we’ve talked about in years past. That’s still up in the air as to whether I’ll be tackling it for the initial release.

And, for those folks who hate loadouts and don’t use them, your basic GCA4 style functionality is still there for All Unassigned Items, if you need it.

So, there’s a quick overview of Loadouts and Protection in GCA5. I hope you like it.