Flow Chart & Black Page/White Text

I'm revising my combat flowchart at the moment. When I've finished that I'll have a go at character generation and see if I can provide an alternative.
msprange said:
Hi guys,

I would like to run with the flowchart for a bit longer before considering scrapping it. We can certainly make it less busy - however, I would like to hear about any actual errors in it...
Sounds fair. I will make a few characters tonight and use the flow chart.
Ok, three characters later and I have comments.

Overall I found the flow chart to be difficult to use. Many places it was only my knowledge of Traveller that allowed me to follow what you were trying to do. Several notes fall outside the correct flow and thus seem like extra steps.

Specific Comments:
-- Failure on Qualification goes to the spot only referring to the draft. But if the rules it says you can only do the draft once in a life-time. The flow chart does not deal with what happens if you already used up your one draft.

-- The chart seems to make the draft mandatory, not an option. There should be a comment of some kind offering the option of Drifter as well. In order to be accurate, the draft should be an option only if you haven't done it yet.

-- Basic Training implies you only get it once. But in fact you just are only restricted to receiving the six zero level skills once. From then on basic training gives you a single zero level skill. But the flow chart does not reflect this at all.

-- The line asking you to add 4 years to your age and maybe receiving some ageing effect comes only from the muster out flow. It bypasses the cycle where you survive and advance and continue in the same career. The flow chart should have the aging process fall between either of these and the "Start a New Term" circle to correctly reflect either paths will add 4 years to your age.

-- The Qualify Circle should only happen if you change careers. The "Or Continue Existing Career" only comes after a Qualify failure based on its location on the chart. So it seems, based on this flow chart, that I continue my career only after I fail a qualify check.

In my opinion, this is a classic case of designer overload. The art overrides the utility. This chart could have been significantly better. If it were my call and I really wanted a flow chart, I would toss this one out and start over. This chart is awkward to use when I know the game. I can't see how a new person not knowing the flow already would not get messed up using it.

But if you are open to other options, I would return to the list format used in the 1st ed book or presented here in the forum. The "check list" style seems more useful to me.
While I like the idea of the Flow Chart for CharGen, this one made things a little frustrating at times.

My biggest quibble is that I was getting lost when moving between pages, or when lines were crossing one another.

(I am aware that the lines are supposedly colour coded, but being colour blind this is of absolutely no help to me. having the lines numbered by step would be more useful)

I was unsure if I was missing steps on several occasions.

If you follow the steps by the lines you 'can' encounter an infinite loop should the dice fall correctly for it.
Training step > Fail survival roll > roll mishap that does not eject you from the career > sends you back to training step > Fail survival Roll > .... etc

the chart should send you to the 'continue to another term' step.

Some of the steps are not clear as to where they should be leading to next arrows pointing in the direction of where they are heading would help with this.

The black page with the white text is actually the thing I like most about the flow chart. the High contrast make it much easier to read. But that is a colourblind thing.
Still finding it confusing. I'm not sure what it adds, it's easy to follow the character generation in the book util you get used to the system, after which you wouldn't need the chart anyway. Those pages would be wasted in my book if they stay. How about just making them a free PDF on the website?
There are several specific problems with the flowchart from a graphic design perspective.

1) No continuity between yes/no and fail/succeed design. The Fail/Succeed graphics are larger and draw the eye away from the question itself, causing the reader to pause and look for the question instead of the choices. The font size overpowers the rest of the page's flow. Keeping them the same design also cuts down the "which is this one" pause they will automatically make every time they look to the next step. Suggestion: Every step should all be like the yes/no design.

2) Keep the whole flow chart on a single page. You want this to be a simple and fast read. Making the reader bounce back and forth between pages on a PDF or in a printed copy is graphically distracting.

The color choice for this OK, but the purple is a bit dark for some people. I'm going to tag the "red on black" pages (in the computer section) separately. Not all of us have the best eyesight or are colorblind, keep that in mind when picking colors.
The new version of the character generation flow chart is much better.
I'd personally vote for a few more flow charts, in fact. I'd love to see ones for combat, ship combat, etc. Probably not a popular vote ;-)
Nearside said:
The new version of the character generation flow chart is much better.
I'd personally vote for a few more flow charts, in fact. I'd love to see ones for combat, ship combat, etc. Probably not a popular vote ;-)
Those could be fun "Fan Projects" and be posted as free PDFs later, once the rules are nailed down. I know I wouldn't have an issue doing something with Visio later on. :D