Author Topic: Creating RPG/Fiction family tree - help needed.  (Read 25535 times)

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Nikolay

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Re: Creating RPG/Fiction family tree - help needed.
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2009, 12:37:25 AM »
That's...not quite the look I'm going for although it's a solution of sorts. Is there a way to do it without arrows? {although I'm beginning to think arrows might be good just for the lines from the parents down to the children} I want to use lines at right angles--it looks neater. Meaning only horizontal and vertical lines. Also, once this is constructed is it possible to move characters around {the square with the picture and info in it} and have the lines stretch with them and remain intact? That's important because this tree is getting fresh characters and connections added to it on a regular basis--several a week! :P

Thanks for the help so far, guys. I know that this isn't going to be easy, but whatever programme I need for it I will get. Ultimately if nothing in existence provides what I need it to, then I will begin to look into hiring a programmer to design something custom for me.

This is a lifelong hobby, and therefore I pull all the stops.

Would it be helpful if I whipped up a visual for you guys in Photoshop or something just as an example of what I want it to look like? {a simple unit etc}

I think with visio there is a point - the capabilities of it's graph layout engine are unfortunately rather limited. Not to mention the "API" to that engine. I.e. as far as I understand Visio's 'primary target' are user-created drawngs, not auto-generated graph layouts. So for now IMO if you want to draw your diagrams manually, you'd better go with Visio; but if you want the auto-generated graph diagrams, then you can consider something else. Also, probably, there are some specialized tools to draw family tree diagrams...

BTW, it turned out that there is an example of the "marriage diagram" on GraphViz:
http://www.graphviz.org/Gallery/directed/lion_share.html

The pictures shall not be a problem, you just need to configure your dot file accordingly.
Z.b. the "adjusted" file for my example can be found here:
http://nbelyh.googlepages.com/test3.zip

The image it produces:


BTW, this might be a good idea for developers - a "family tree" drawing plugin for Visio  8)

wapperdude

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Re: Creating RPG/Fiction family tree - help needed.
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2009, 12:42:01 AM »
Well, I guess my comment could sound sarcastic, but, I tend to do that only with people I know.  Actually, my 1st reaction to your original post, was, and I quote, "Yikes!".  Your subsequent comments and drawing have helped establish the "framework" your project.

I'm using Visio 2007, which is nearly identical to 2003.  I'm not familiar with V2000, but, I believe there were some subtile changes between V2000 and V2003.  The link is too a full blown version of V2007.  I don't think you need to go there, literally and figuratively.

So, the process to add the picture is not complicated.  These happened to be clip art from the Microsoft Office site, but, there is nothing inherently special about them, other than they are very large, file size wise.  The process was:
1.)  Draw a rectangle, or use the Basic shapes stencil and drag n drop the rectangle shape.
2.)  Option1:  
       a.)  directly type your description into the rectangle, format the text so that it is at bottom of the shape.  
       b.)  go to menu bar > Insert > Picture > From file.  Select your picture.  It'll be the wrong size, probably too big.  Zoom out so you can see all of the pix, and then re-size it.
       c.)  Once it's the right size to fit within the boundaries, align it over the rectangle in the desired location.
       d.)  Select both rectangle and picture, then, go to menu bar > Shape > Group > create group (or simply hit cntl - shift - G)
3.)  Option 2:
       a.) skip (a) above, go directly to (b) thru (d).
       b.)  once grouped, then add text and format.

The difference is the "location" of the text.  Option 2 makes it part of the parent group, more accessible.  Option 1 makes it part of the rectangle, which is imbedded under the group.  See the following regarding grouping:  http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa200971(office.10).aspx

Those are the basic steps.  

Then , to connect the shapes, you have two more options.  Use the help to look up connection points and connectors.  Too long to explain here.  But, option 1 is to add connection points to the shape allowing "static" connections,  and option 2 uses "dynamic" connections.  See:  http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa200982(office.10).aspx.

That ought to get you started.  It's not really that involved.  I added 2nd page to Visio file that shows the steps.

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Nikolay

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Re: Creating RPG/Fiction family tree - help needed.
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2009, 01:15:18 AM »
Perhaps a shape with a picture. 

In Visio, having lines with/without arrow heads is easy.  Don't know about GraphViz.  The only advantage that GraphViz might have is the ease of adding pictures to the shapes.  At least, they talk about that as a feature.  Too bad that OrgChart feature isn't built-in for all shapes in Visio.

The advantage of GraphViz over Visio are the smart graph layout engines (Dot, Neato and other stuff from ATT & others), not the posibility of inserting pictures of course :)
Actually, this is rather set of libraries/tools than a end-user application. But it generates GOOD graph diagrams out of TEXT files. I supposed the topic-starter has his data in the game's database/file, and wanted make diagrams out of that data, so I suggested this. If he has the data only on that sheet of paper from the first post, then drawing diagram in Visio might be definitely a better solution  ;)

wynnyelle

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Re: Creating RPG/Fiction family tree - help needed.
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2009, 11:48:55 AM »
Wow, thanks guys! The info you gave me here is incredible. I thought I should clarify a couple things, because it was brought up: I wish to construct it manually, rather than through some generator {didn't even know that was possible to do!} so I can manually add photos to those entries that have photos available. Some do, some don't.

I also want all the boxes, all the photos etc to be uniform in size and shape--exactly the same size and shape. Would this be possible, i.e. is there a sort of automatic way to "stamp" them out, like, I would create the first one step by step then somehow save the process as an empty template and then clone it for the next entry?

Nikolay

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Re: Creating RPG/Fiction family tree - help needed.
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2009, 09:09:07 PM »
In case you want to enter the data manually, probably you can also (also, also, Visio rocks here!) consider trying out some specialized "family tree" tools/site for that? I mean, it turns out that there are a lot of "family tree diagram" sites out there, where you can create your diagrams online. Just try googling on that. Though these sites target "real" families, I don't see a reason why not use them for "virtual" families?

In this case you probably can get some contribution from the other players, allowing them to register their "families"; I mean, your first diagram looks huge, so it could become a reall challenge to enter all the data without errors, and then support it's validity over time. But if you were not the only one who mantains this family tree, this could could become a piece of cake!

BTW, which RPG is that, maybe there are peple here from your clan? :D
Kind regards, Nikolay.

wynnyelle

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Re: Creating RPG/Fiction family tree - help needed.
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2009, 11:25:45 PM »
It's Warrior Cats the RPG :) biggest warriors text RPG on the internet, as far as I've seen anyway...A monster to help run but well worth it if you love RPing, and you probably guessed that I do :)

The above tree is quite messy, but it IS correct. It is only a small piece of what is there...I have a bunch of others drawn out. I verified the relations by checking old posts, talking to other players, etc. There are issues of duplicate names in a few cases as well as the fact that many of the players are quite young, or simply not capable of accurately inputting entries. They're free to do their own trees, profiles etc and they often do. This is just my pet project for now. :)

I hunted around for a free programme to generate the tree by, but failed to find anything that seemed to be what I was looking for. So I've arrived at trying to use Visio for it.

Visio Guy

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Re: Creating RPG/Fiction family tree - help needed.
« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2009, 08:19:30 AM »
I worry that in an RPG, you might have situations where various beasts have 3 or 5 parents, which might throw off the family tree sites, but probably not GraphViz :)
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wynnyelle

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Re: Creating RPG/Fiction family tree - help needed.
« Reply #22 on: June 06, 2009, 12:57:51 PM »
lol. no actually they're all cats, so it's all good. We do have several situations where one cat has young by more than one mate, though...that is a situation where, I've heard, standard family tree software comes up short. Even more is the sheer volume we're talking about here. Even from the time I started this thread down to here, that tree I showed you has had several new characters added to it.

I've been thinking of an alternate solution--creating the template purely as a graphic--this would be very easy to do with layers of text and such in Photoshop--and importing it as a single element into Visio, maybe by use of a box containing and completely filled by only that single image {which I'd stamp out in Photoshop} and then, using the lines and arrows and stuff to connect them and, equally importantly, aligning them all neatly in rows.

I'm reallly visio-challenged so this might be simpler for me if I only have to worry about sticking one pic in one box, not worry about text, and just worry about the lines and things.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2009, 01:00:38 PM by wynnyelle »

wapperdude

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Re: Creating RPG/Fiction family tree - help needed.
« Reply #23 on: June 06, 2009, 01:29:45 PM »
So, in PS you create your pic + text, insert these pics into Visio, and add the required connections.  That ought to work just fine.  The only drawback would be any picture editting, i.e., text, requires you to go back into PS, edit the text, then re-insert the picture, and update the connections to that picture.  It's mostly what's more convenient and comfortable for you. 

One caution with importing the pictures, keep the file size down, otherwise Visio file can balloon very quickly as the number of pictures grows.

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wynnyelle

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Re: Creating RPG/Fiction family tree - help needed.
« Reply #24 on: June 06, 2009, 05:13:58 PM »
The pictures would be small, likely about 100 x 150 or 200 x 150. I could make them gif images too if that would help {smaller filesize}.


goolash

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Re: Creating RPG/Fiction family tree - help needed.
« Reply #25 on: January 30, 2010, 07:06:23 AM »
Bing is wonderful.  It led me to this topic, which I hope is not too dead most of a year later.  I am working on a similar project, this one tracking a freeform Dragonriders of Pern RPG that has been in existence for almost 20 years now, and recently got a used copy of Visio 2007 Professional.  I am planning to use it without pics for the most part, but to visually represent the dragon colors, along with their name and clutching date.  Needless to say, it will be at least as tangled as the original poster's sketches.  Any lessons learned from your project would be greatly appreciated, if you have time to share them.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2010, 06:31:49 PM by Visio Guy »