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Questimator - An Excel and VBA-based difficulty approximator

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Questimator - An Excel and VBA-based difficulty approximator

Postby Count Mohawk » Tuesday July 28th, 2015 9:51am

Getting people to sit down at the kitchen table to test a new Quest can be difficult for Morcars and Zargons without a steady playgroup, and play-by-post takes too long to be practical. What's a Questwriter to do?

Enter the "Questimator" (credit to Anderas for the name). This Excel file is the logical conclusion of the original Monster slaying cost thread. By entering in a list of rooms and monsters, the Questimator can quickly approximate the average difficulty faced by a party of Heroes, measured in Body Points lost. It works by cross-referencing the names of the monsters in each room or corridor against a table containing their stats. The Questimator is capable of working with all types of custom monsters, including those that roll colored dice in any combination. The list of monsters itself is fully modular and can be altered to your specifications.

For an example of what you can do with this tool, check out Anderas's current project to alter the difficulties of the base Quest Pack for different-level groups of Heroes.

Image
Image

Download the Questimator from my Dropbox here!
Edit August 31: Instructions now available! Get 'em here.
Edit October 1: v0.9 beta of an EXE file now available! (Full disclosure: Bugs not tested yet.)
Edit December 16: v0.9.5 beta of an EXE file updated to include XML Quest map generation! Compatible with HeroScribe! Allows maps up to 3x3 boards wide and tall! (Full disclosure: Bugs not tested.)
*Also featuring an XML Quest uploader! Calculate the QSC of any Quest without having to manually count the monsters!
Edit February 10, 2016: v0.9 beta of the Excel version is now available, bringing the two versions approximately equivalent to each other. Excel is slightly ahead, though, because I believe I have fixed the placement of doors. Most of the features next to the Import and Export buttons don't work yet, but if you choose "Spiral Stairway" for the Entrance or Exit options, the VBA will actually place one on the map somewhere.
In order to successfully export XMLs, however, you will need this stub XML file "xmlHeroScribe.xml". You can put it anywhere you want - just make sure you click "Find" on the QSC tab so Excel knows where to look.

Feedback is welcome, and very appreciated since I know most of the Questwriters here are not mathematically-inclined. If there are some additional functions I can add to make this tool simpler or more useful, I'm all ears. For example, I learned enough VBA to write a tool like Patroclus's Map Generator, which can write the Quest Maps in HeroScribe-readable XML format without having to go through Excel.
Last edited by Count Mohawk on Wednesday February 10th, 2016 1:04pm, edited 6 times in total.


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Re: Questimator - An Excel-based difficulty approximator

Postby Daedalus » Sunday August 30th, 2015 4:35pm

Maybe someday Excel can be bypassed. Until then, I'm unable to use this seemingly awesome tool. :(
..
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Re: Questimator - An Excel-based difficulty approximator

Postby cynthialee » Sunday August 30th, 2015 6:44pm

Looks good. My only distractions would be 1) I would need a tutorial to figure this out. 2) Order of monster encounters....that could be tricky as sometimes the players do not go the way they should have or were anticipated to go. Now if you have a "Mario" style map where there is no choice but one way to go that part will work as intended.
So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
~Sun Tsu The art of War~


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Re: Questimator - An Excel-based difficulty approximator

Postby EvilWizardCharacter » Monday August 31st, 2015 1:50am

Just lost myself in this thing for hours! Awesome stuff, CM!

Is there a way to change the Heroes' dice color as with the Monsters? I might have missed it.


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Re: Questimator - An Excel-based difficulty approximator

Postby Anderas » Monday August 31st, 2015 5:29am

Yay you added the colored dice!

I didn't see this thread in July, I don't know why.

I love to see our work becoming fruitful. The first presentations we had were too detailed. I think this is the right kind of presentation.

Good to know: spells and shooters are a little bit difficult to estimate. For all the rest, I can state that I crosschecked it with my own calculations and with two test games, and the results are closer to the real game than I dreamed of!

Count Mohawk I need to invite you for a beer some time! |_P


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Re: Questimator - An Excel-based difficulty approximator

Postby Count Mohawk » Friday September 11th, 2015 1:08am

Daedalus wrote:Maybe someday Excel can be bypassed. Until then, I'm unable to use this seemingly awesome tool. :(

Image
Image

It's still very much WIP, but I am in the process of translating my Excel gibberish into more-complicated Visual Basic gibberish. I am bad at VBA, so this may take a while. That said, I'm probably between a third and halfway through writing the Questimation process already, and I've only been at this for two weeks.

EvilWizardCharacter wrote:Is there a way to change the Heroes' dice color as with the Monsters? I might have missed it.

You can write lettered symbols into the Heroes' Attack and Defend columns just like you can with the Monsters. However, if you give either type of figure more than 15 total Attack or Defend dice, the program will not work, so don't do that. Also, don't make any monster with more than 20 Body Points, and don't fill any room with more than 60 Body Points' worth of monsters. Bad things happen to good people.

And for you, cynthia (side note: do you prefer cyn, cynthia or even "cyndi"?), I added an instructions PDF to the first post, just below the image.


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Re: Questimator - An Excel-based difficulty approximator

Postby Anderas » Friday September 11th, 2015 2:20pm

*chuckle*
a project like that doesn't let you go like that. :mrgreen:


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Re: Questimator - An Excel-based difficulty approximator

Postby Count Mohawk » Wednesday September 16th, 2015 2:58pm

Anderas wrote:*chuckle*
a project like that doesn't let you go like that. :mrgreen:

No it doesn't. :zombie:

I have, however, just finished writing the last of the code to replicate the functions of the Excel file Questimator. You can download the file, v0.7 beta, in the first post. Naturally, if you have the ability to use Excel files, I recommend you do that instead; it's more likely to be reliable.


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Re: Questimator - An Excel-based difficulty approximator

Postby Count Mohawk » Thursday October 1st, 2015 11:13am

October 1 update: The VBA version of the Questimator now has the ability to parse XML Quest Maps created by HeroScribe! If you use an icon not yet featured in the monster list, the program will allow you a chance to write its stats right away. The links in the first post have been updated to reflect this change.

Next on the docket: Random generation of Quest Maps based on user input...


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Re: Questimator - An Excel-based difficulty approximator

Postby Anderas » Thursday October 1st, 2015 11:26am

That's just wow!
Now it is only Heroscribe missing the option to add your own symbols and this would be the digital heaven. THANK YOU


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