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"Anyone here ever hear of TABLEMASTER by WINTERTREE?" Topic

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Personal logo BigNickR Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 7:13 a.m. PST

I was doing some personal archeology through old 20 and 80 gigabyte desktop hard drives from computers past, and found my old directory of TABLEMASTER saved tables.

But no sign of my LEGIT COPY of the program. (IE paid for by me, ages ago)

For those of you who don't know of it, Tablemaster was an old Windows 3.1 & Windows 95 based piece of software that let you make some pretty impressive one-click multiple-tiered random generation tables. Simple language, saved files as *.txt files that you could edit in notepad or any other word processor.

I can't find any legitimate links to the software on the internet… Now, I've found and downloaded a fileshare network, justifying this by saying that I -did- pay for it way back when…

But I'm wondering if there's still a community for this program, any newer or more "shiny" replacement to buy, or even anyone that could fill me in on what ever happened to the delvs?

Personal logo BigNickR Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 7:18 a.m. PST

I mean I have a LOT of old stuff for this…

Battletech tables for random mech assignment, a mercenary contract generator, all the items from the 2nd edition AD&D "Encyclopedia Magica"… a "What pill did FRIEND COMPUTER just give me?" generator for PARANOIA! a sith/jedi name generator…

Plus a bunch of half finished crap for some kind of long-forgotten and ill thought out homebrew game system I was working on when I was 14…

Talk about random finds! (And great memories)

Personal logo BigNickR Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 7:21 a.m. PST

and I just found this on of all things a fellow battletechers site: link

"Wintertree Software TableMaster – Webpage currently nonfunctional
TableMaster – file
Wintertree Software made many very good programs for RPG enthusiasts. Perhaps the best of these is Table Master, a program that you can use to randomly determine results from any kind of table. I have designed files for it that allow you to generate Clan and Inner Sphere pilots, and Inner Sphere 'Mechs for each of the factions in the Battletech Master Rules and Mechwarrior 2nd Ed. 'Mech tables. Random encounter tables or anything else can be made with this software. Since the Wintertree Software link is down and I have been unable to find it anywhere on the web, I have uploaded a working copy of the program. This is NOT the shareware version and is provided with the knowledge and permission of the original author. "

So I am deleting my "ill gotten" file and installing this "legitimate" version on principal.

Personal logo BigNickR Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 7:56 a.m. PST

…and it won't run in 64 bit windows.

So back to that "is there a modern replacement"?

(Jake Collins of NZ 2) Inactive Member12 Jan 2013 12:34 p.m. PST


I've got it working on Win7 32bit. Can you give some advice about how to make tables with it? I'm a Traveller player.

Wargaming Resources Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member17 Aug 2015 12:04 p.m. PST

I feel your pain! I also had TableMaster, and to be honest, I've never found anything as good – it was so easy to use and yet could create very detailed results.

I actually have my original software, but will it run on a Mac – nope :-(

Wish I could find a good replacement…

Wintertree Inactive Member16 Oct 2015 9:24 p.m. PST

Well … hello!

I didn't realize anyone still cared about TableMaster. Or that nobody had ever created a replacement for it.

I shut down Wintertree because I realized that instead of doing the things I loved (programming, talking with fans, etc.), I was doing things I passionately hated (putting product in packages, taking mailers to the post office, and doing far too much paperwork). But in the past 15 years things have changed, especially the part about actually getting software to the customer -- PayPal and PDF manuals would make life a lot easier. And I'm at a junction in my life where I could conceivably go back to doing TableMaster development again.

So … IS there still enough of an interest in TableMaster to warrant a new version that will actually run on something newer than Win98? It would need a complete rewrite (not least because some of my old code scares even me) so it's a rather big project to dive head-first into. It will be faster than the first time around, of course, because I know how I did it, or at least how I should have done it, but it's still not going to be fast.

And if so, what form would you want it in? PC program like the original? Web-based service? iOS or Android app? Something else?

So there are still TableMaster fans. I guess I'd better prepare to get coding. 8-)

P.S. If anyone really wants an executable for the old (1990s) TableMaster, I can dig it up and send it out, but the odds are it won't run on anything you have. It won't run on anything I have anymore.

Terrement Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2015 2:57 p.m. PST

Never heard of it before stumbling onto this thread, but:

1. Sounds useful.
2. You might want to cross-post your question on interest
3. I'd be interested in either but ideally both a PC and iOS version.

Is this something that would benefit from a kickstarter?



Wintertree Inactive Member16 Nov 2015 5:40 a.m. PST

I can't really think of how it would benefit from a Kickstarter. Buying a better compiler, maybe? Naw, that's just silly. Mostly, it's a matter of me getting my rear in gear and sitting down and coding. Which is basically what it was 23 years ago. It's deja vu all over again!

I've talked to some people elsewhere and it looks like I'll be doing a PC version initially, maybe moving on to iOS/Android later once I've got TM/PC up and running again (and also learned enough about mobile app development, which I'm totally new at).

Wintertree Inactive Member24 Feb 2016 8:53 a.m. PST

Well, TableMaster 2 is gonna be a thing.

I've bought the compiler, I have my data structures laid out and I know what I want to do, and I've got my archive of old TableMaster manuals for reference (I'm going to black-box a lot of this because, frankly, some of my old code just pain embarrasses me!). Cybersquatters are sitting on my old domain names, so the new site will be (it may take a day for its DNS to sort itself out) I wonder if I still have the old website graphics around somewhere? (no, I promise, not the blue graph paper one, the good one!)

So, if you are one of the people who wanted TableMaster back … it's coming back. Or I'm losing my mind. Probably a bit of both. :)

Wintertree Inactive Member02 Mar 2016 3:30 p.m. PST

There is code. Not a lot of code yet, but there *is* code. I love it when a program comes together!

I set up a blog over on -- if anyone wants to keep up on development, suggest things, pester me, or whatever, drop in over there. I'm way busy now, so I'm not likely to drop in here much.

Wintertree Inactive Member09 Mar 2016 3:20 p.m. PST

Taking a break from coding to eat more chocolate, er, I mean leave a quick update, in case anyone's reading this. The GUI is up and running. It doesn't actually do anything yet, of course; try to run a table and it just displays the table file name. But for the first time ever, there's a TableMaster GUI that runs on 64-bit Windows. Next, the table engine, which was once a standalone program named GENERATE. I'm figuring that will take me about a month -- not nearly as long as the first time around, since after all I've done it before. And this time, I won't be teaching myself Pascal as I go along!

I'm trying not to spam up this forum (or unnecessarily bump this thread) so probably my next update here, unless someone posts something I need to reply to, will be when I've got at least the skeleton of the table engine running. The Wintertree blog will be updated considerably more frequently.

Personal logo HidaSeku Supporting Member of TMP10 Mar 2016 3:41 p.m. PST

Just perused the comments here and on the blog, and I must be completely dense because I'm not sure what TableMaster is supposed to do.

Could you give a quick run-down? Or perhaps a link to where it's described? Because if it can do what my imagination thinks it can do, I would most certainly be interested in purchasing a released version!

Personal logo Fergal Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Mar 2016 5:58 p.m. PST


Wintertree Inactive Member10 Mar 2016 7:50 p.m. PST

Ah, good thing I stopped in after all! :) I guess I've lived with TableMaster, and its users, for so long that I just sort of assume everyone knows what it is. But it's been 15 years since I last sold it, and obviously there are people who don't know. I called it "the spare time generator" because it takes some of the drudge-work out of gamemastering.

TableMaster is, basically, an "everything generator." Think about a random-generation table in a game … say, one for rolling up treasure in a fantasy game. If you really think about it, that's a program -- it's just a program meant to execute on a system of humans and dice. What TableMaster is, really, is a way to allow that to execute on silicon instead. Moreover, it allows you to write far more elaborate tables than any you could (sanely) do with just rolling dice, at least if you didn't want players to wander off to get a soda while they waited and forget to come back.

So, basically, you can set up a table to do anything -- back in the day, I had one slightly crazy user doing orbital mechanics. (he's the one who bugged me to add real-number variables instead of just integers) He was generating highly-detailed star systems for a SF game (I'm pretty sure it wasn't Traveller, but I don't remember what it actually was) and he wanted the details right.

One of the stock tables that I included with it, which I was just actually looking at a few minutes ago, did heraldry. I won't pretend it was pretty heraldry, but it was correct.

Then there was the towns table. It rolls up a town with a random number of businesses -- it can be a handful, or it can be hundreds. Back when I was first writing all of this, a friend testing it kind of misunderstood how it worked. He thought the number you gave it was for the number of buildings, not the number of towns. So he told it to do 1000, I think it was, directed the output to the printer, and went off to do something else. This was back in the days of fanfold paper … which he ran through the better part of a box of before he came back and realized the thing had been cheerfully spewing hundreds and hundreds of towns (some of them with further hundreds of shops!) all over his living room floor. Oops?

So basically TableMaster is what you want if you want to roll up a few hundred businesses (with name of owner) for your game, or anything else you can think of. I included a few dozen good tables to get started with (some elaborate like the heraldry table, and a few just terrible puns like the dinner table) plus I sold several different table packs that had more elaborate tables. You could use them as-is, or modify them slightly, or go to town and change everything, or of course write whole new tables for whatever you wanted.

There was a rather nice manual, back in the day. I got some good reviews for that manual. :) Part was a tutorial, and part was a language reference.

Essentially, if you've got some sort of random anything generation you want to automate, TableMaster would be the way to do it.

I guess I'll have to write a blog post explaining what it actually does, and maybe with a real table or two to illustrate how it works, so it's a little less opaque to someone who hasn't been staring at it, in one form or another, since before some of my friends were even born.

It's late and I've got to get up early, but I'll write up a quick one so people can see what I'm talking about.

Note: I'm really not trying to use TMP's forums for marketing! I suppose I'll have to throw my own together at some point, but for now, there's always the blog. Feel free to post questions and comments there.

Wintertree Inactive Member13 Mar 2016 6:44 p.m. PST

Well, I only somewhat expectedly spent a long weekend in Huntsville, AL. Exactly why is a fairly complicated story involving a Honda, a marauding Kia, and a typo; how involves a bus, Uber, a chocolate chip cookie, and a hotel with somewhat dubious towels. But four words: Space & Rocket Center. (is "&" a word?)

Y'know how they say "quantity has a quality all its own"? There's nothing quite like standing underneath a Saturn V and looking up at rocket nozzles that could make decent hot tubs to give you a real feel for sheer brute power. Oh, yeah, there was all the rest of the museum and outdoor displays (which I didn't get to see much of because it was raining) and all the rest, but … y'know … SATURN V. I'm still pretty psyched from that, and I had to blather about it to someone.

Okay, okay, I'll get back to coding like a good little geek. Tomorrow. Tonight, I'm gonna be looking at my pictures, and remembering being 6 years old and seeing Neil Armstrong step onto the Moon, and just having spent an afternoon in a museum about how he got there.

Personal logo HidaSeku Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2016 12:29 p.m. PST

Thank you for the explanation, Wintertree.

It sounds like an amazing program that would fit all sorts of needs, especially the town generation. I can see it being useful for random soldier names as well. I will be following this here, and look forward to seeing something I could buy!

Wintertree Inactive Member14 Mar 2016 6:35 p.m. PST

I'm coding merrily away. Well, except when I fell asleep at my desk earlier; the time shift plus traveling back and forth between time zones over the weekend has played havoc with my circadian rhythms. Keep an eye on the blog -- that's where I'm posting everything from status updates to interesting stuff like the box of old TableMaster manuals and whatnot I just found -- including my winter 1998 catalog! (okay, it was a half-sheet price list, but that's what I called it)

Wintertree Inactive Member06 Apr 2016 9:55 p.m. PST

I took a break from TableMaster code grinding to poke around with some of my old fonts. I decided to put the current version of the old InstaHex font up on the website. (the someday forthcoming one will be considerably expanded) Print out all the hex paper you want, at any size! The instructions, and font download of course, are here:


Wintertree Inactive Member10 Apr 2016 3:13 p.m. PST

It's alive!

TableMaster II has run its first table. Admittedly it can't do much -- all it did was print out a line saying "Hello world!" -- but it read a table, ran it, found a print command, and obeyed it.

The rest is going to be a lot of work, of course -- especially the output section, which has always been a huge hairball. But it exists, and it's running, and hopefully the light at the end of the tunnel isn't an oncoming train.

Personal logo BigNickR Supporting Member of TMP11 Apr 2016 8:32 p.m. PST


Awesome! I look forward to throwing money at an application, be it iOS, Mac OS X, Windows, or Android platform (I own all of them!)

Finding out that this is a… thing… is the best news I've read in weeks!

Personal logo BigNickR Supporting Member of TMP11 Apr 2016 8:55 p.m. PST

I'm literally looking to use this application to automate the process of generating rooms, cars, and gear drops for zombies in my zombie game…

and potentially to automate a character creation backstory system similar to Traveller's Lifepath system for a home-brew system I'm working on…

literally cutting and pasting my tables into table master and maybe some formatting changes for the new code would be amazing

Personal logo BigNickR Supporting Member of TMP11 Apr 2016 9:08 p.m. PST

for those of you wondering what table master does here is a rough sample of what table master automates for you:

Lets say I have a table called "Whats in that car" for my zombie game, and I see that there's 5 cars on the street. I can set up a table like this:

The (cartype) contains (loot)

it will roll "Cartype" which will look like this:

roll 1d6

1 van
2 truck
3 sedan
4 coup
5 burned out wreck
6 zamboni machine

and "loot" which looks like this:

Roll 1d4

2 a rubber chicken
3 ammunition
4 (roll table firearms)

…see that last one, how i nested a table INSIDE a table?
yeah it does that.

you set the run counter to 5 and click, getting this output

The sedan contains a ruber chicken
The truck contains ammunition
The sedan contains NOTHING
The zamboni contains NOTHING
The van contains a custom 44 magnum

also you can have it roll dice inside the table, so that <1d5+6> gemstones worth <1d100*3> GP actually rolls both the number of gemstones and value giving you a result like "9 gemstones worth 66GP"

Like the man says VERY useful, and with the ability to link tables to OTHER tables, very VERY easy to make the complex as easy as clicking a button.

Can't WAIT to see what the new version can do…

Wintertree Inactive Member12 Apr 2016 9:02 p.m. PST

Hi, Nick! I thought that might get your attention. :)

Since you mentioned the embedded subtable calls, I decided to add that next. I'm currently working on the structural commands anyway.

I set up your "What's in that car?" tables. For anyone who wants to know what they would look like, here's the actual table file:

: Nick's Car Table
.table car
The [cartype] contains [loot]
.table cartype
.roll <1d6>
1 van
2 truck
3 sedan
4 coupe
5 burned out wreck
6 zamboni machine
.table loot
.roll <1d4>
2 a rubber chicken
3 ammunition
4 .rollon firearms
.table firearms
.roll <1d6>
1-3 a Saturday night special
4-5 a custom 44 magnum
6 an M2 machine gun

And here's the output from 5 runs. (I did have to put in some line breaks; the formatting part isn't quite finished yet)

The truck contains a Saturday night special
The coupe contains a Saturday night special
The van contains ammunition
The burned out wreck contains a rubber chicken
The sedan contains ammunition

I put random values into the gems table, too, so now the output would look like this:

Ruby worth 50 gold
Garnet worth 18 gold
Topaz worth 17 gold
Diamond worth 150 gold
Emerald worth 24 gold

(those are both from actual table runs) Mind you, that's just what's running so far. There are all sorts of things that I need to add. User variables, and all the commands that go with them. Things like .CHANCEOF and .IFYES/.IFNO. The whole .LOCKOUT/.CLEAR thing, which is one of the more annoyingly complicated bits at a code level. Smart output formatting (what's in there right now is beyond crude; I just wanted to get something to test with). But it's running, and it can generate whole pages full of cars and whatever happens to be in them, or gems with their proper values. I haven't been able to do that in about 15 years. This is fun!

Wintertree Inactive Member12 Apr 2016 9:07 p.m. PST


Personal logo BigNickR Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2016 9:37 a.m. PST

Very cool!

Wintertree Inactive Member14 Apr 2016 2:16 p.m. PST

Minor update: I've got the newlines properly set in the formatting now. I just spent two hours hunting down a problem with large tables that turned out to be a – where a + should be. I now have a visceral understanding of the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter.

By the way, have you been over to the blog? It's on my site at That's where I'm posting most of my updates, random musings, and whatever, so I don't spam up TMP unnecessarily. (and so I don't wander off and read discussions of miniatures when I should be coding!)

Wintertree Inactive Member24 Apr 2016 6:21 a.m. PST

I had a thought: The folks around TMP are in general more focused on tabletop miniatures. I can totally understand this; back long ago, I spent my share of time pushing little painted armies around on tables. I still have a fondness for the old WRG Ancients rules, because that was what we used for the very first miniatures battle I ever fought. (with some pretty historically improbable armies, because nobody had enough of any one thing!) And TableMaster, at least as constituted, is mostly oriented toward RPG gaming.

But I'd like to kick around some ideas here. What could TableMaster do that would be useful for miniatures gaming? I can think of some things for skirmish-type games, like some of the stuff GW has done, but what about the big stuff? The only thing I can think of so far is something related to terrain setup. What else can y'all think of?

You folks got me back into doing this after almost 20 years, and somehow, improbably, TMP has become my home away from website. I want to do something to give back a little, so why not some tables for miniatures gaming that I can make available?

So, think of what might work as a TableMaster table, and I'll write it up and put it up on Wintertree Redux for download. The RPG players shouldn't get all the good tables! :)

Wintertree Inactive Member01 May 2016 9:43 a.m. PST

Another quick update -- I know at least some of y'all are going to conventions this weekend (I'm envious!) but for if/when you read this, and for everyone who's sitting at home like I am and envying the folks going to the cons:

TableMaster II is coming right along. User variables and system variables are in now, though not all of the commands to handle them are; I'm chasing a problem with expression evaluation right now. The only major subsystem remaining to add is .LOCKOUT, .MORETHAN, and all of the stuff associated with those. Once that's in, most of the rest is just adding utility stuff, formatting stuff, and so on.

In terms of functionality, TMII can now run the majority of tables in the existing table packs, although the results are not always what should be expected because of things still to be added, etc. Once the .LOCKOUT material is in, that should become essentially all of them. Then it's just debugging and putting in the error handling that, um, isn't in there yet.

So what does this mean for the development schedule? Basically, it's ahead of my mental estimates. There have been a few snags, but they were more than made up for by things that went together easier than expected. This scares me a bit; software projects never come in ahead of schedule and under budget! This one seems to be, though, and I'm stoked. It's too late to get booth space for GenCon, but DragonCon isn't out of the question.

John Thomas8 Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2016 2:01 a.m. PST

Random stuff for solo gaming maybe? Trying to come up with a specific example, I'll be back :-)

Personal logo HidaSeku Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2016 8:48 a.m. PST

Some random ideas that might be useful for wargaming:

1) Soldier names for various nations (example: I can think of a couple Russian soldier names for WWII, but I quickly run out. Having a whole list generated would be handy)

2) Terrain generation, possibly by square/quandrant. So it could be you designate the number of squares/quandrants (say, 6 for a 2ft by 2ft area on a 6ft by 4ft table) and it will give the terrain for each area. Many rule sets have various charts to do this, so doing it automatically can be helpful.

3) AI for solo gaming. I don't usually use AI, but I can see this being possibly more indepth than a standard list of actions. For example, most people won't want to roll on 3 charts per skirmish model to see what they do, but if it's done en masse it can be useful.

Wintertree Inactive Member02 May 2016 3:32 p.m. PST

Soldier names would be easy. Some years ago, when I was writing historical fanfic, I wrote a PHP program that produced them for several different countries in WWII. I'll definitely do that one. It might be handy to be able to name a leader something other than "+2 commander".

Terrain generation might be a bit tricky because of issues of adjacent areas. Dense woods should be next to light woods, for instance, rather than out in the middle of open fields. Just generating basic sorts of terrain, perhaps with limitations ("no more than 2 hilly areas") would be easy, but TableMaster isn't going to be able to handle "If next to a village square, farm fields; otherwise, woods" because it has no way (at least no easy way; I can think of a way of doing it, but it's hideous!) to know where it's already placed something.

One thing that might be good, though, is for cases where a group has a number of units of modular terrain. Let's say we've got 10 possible terrain pieces available, we want to use 6 of them, and of course we need random orientation for each. It wouldn't be hard (once I get .LOCKOUT in, anyway) to do a table that produces something like "block C, direction 2; block F, direction 3" for easy terrain layout. The usefulness is probably limited to game clubs that actually have a supply of modular 2x2 terrain panels, but I know there are at least a few.

I'm not too sure about the AI. The problem there comes in with the fact that there are so many factors that affect any given unit's action: Can it see an enemy unit? Which direction? How close? Did it take fire last turn? What is the current morale level? There may be so many variables there that by the time you've accounted for them all, just rolling on a chart might be faster. I'll have to get a good look at some suitable tables -- if you can recommend a ruleset with representative examples, I'll see what I can do.

One idea I came up with was reinforcement arrival. I'm not yet sure how I'm going to accommodate the old .ASK and .SCREEN commands -- oddly, getting user input in response to prompts isn't actually quite as easy in Windows as it was in DOS; I'm giving serious thought to actually putting up a fake DOS screen for the purpose (and so as not to break some old tables). But once I work that out, maybe having TableMaster ask how many reinforcement units you'll need and their names, and then list which ones arrive on which turn.

I'm mentally playing with ideas for random army generation -- a certain number of points, 1-X of this type of units, 1-Y of that type, for as many points as you have to work with. That would require a lot of customization on the part of the user, though, to match the units available for their particular game or scenario, and I'm not sure it's all that worth it.

Well, if we keep kicking around ideas, I'm sure some good ones will come out. You've already thought of better ones than I did.

Back to turning the grind crank … I want to get the text variable commands in today before the caffeine wears off.

Wintertree Inactive Member08 May 2016 7:17 p.m. PST

Home from a weekend in Florida. I think I'm one giant twitching, itching no-see-um bite. Back to the code mines….

Wintertree Inactive Member10 May 2016 2:52 p.m. PST

Not a whole lot to report in my weekly update, mostly because I was out of town for four of the past seven days, and packing, unpacking, and being otherwise useless for a couple more. I've added most of the minor keywords now, though, like .INCREASE, and some new formatting codes, all of which I rambled on about somewhat more on the blog.

The biggest news is that TableMaster has gotten its first new commands in 17+ years. It's never had a square root function, and given the kinds of things some people do with it, it probably needs one. So I've added .SQUARE and .SQUAREROOT to take care of that.

.ADD/.SUBTRACT/.MULTIPLY/.DIVIDE are officially deprecated. They were long since replaced by the expression evaluation for .SET, so while they'll still be handled by TableMaster, they won't be in the documentation anymore. I'm only keeping them around for compatibility with some old tables.

Also, now that I've got a (mostly) running TableMaster, I've been working on updating some of the old tables in between bouts of code grinding. After all these years, it's just plain fun.

P.S. I just looked at my earlier posts in this thread, and realized it's a month to the day from when TableMaster II ran its first table. Wow! But there it was, and here it is. Looking at that progress gives me confidence it'll be feature-complete by the end of May.

Wintertree Inactive Member13 May 2016 3:05 p.m. PST

.LOCKOUT is in!

That's the last major feature under construction for TableMaster II. There are still a few minor commands missing, and a few aspects of some of the existing commands, and it's buggy as hell and there's virtually no error handling … but .LOCKOUT is in. The whole framework is done. After 16 years, TableMaster is a thing again.

So what does this mean, overall? Well, aside from the fact that it means I'm going out to dinner and celebrating, it means that TableMaster II is very close to feature-complete; it's in at least the late alpha stage, and close to early beta. And THAT means that I'm thinking about how to go about selling it, including what to do for y'all with Macs. (actually, that's me too, but I don't use my Mac much)

So at this point, as a few of y'all have suggested, I'm planning a Kickstarter. Why? For two reasons. One is practical: it'll give me the money to upgrade this compiler and build a Mac version, and get started on the mobile version. The other is for y'all: it'll give you a way to get in on it early -- people who buy TM through the Kickstarter will get access to the development builds and beta, and get your hands on it soon, instead of having to wait for the retail version. Plus I'm trying to think of cool things I can throw in with it, better than just T-shirts or something. (though a plugged-in d6 T-shirt might be nice) More details on that when I'm ready to launch it.

And now I'm gonna go out and celebrate and have a good time and not look at any more code tonight. This marks the shift from development to debugging … and damn, it feels good.

Wintertree Inactive Member16 May 2016 10:51 a.m. PST

Not much to talk about in my regular Monday update, because my work on TableMaster for the past few days has been things like "fix bug 0012 in the bug tracker" and "put in error trapping here and here." It's the essential stuff that makes the difference between a polished product and, well, some of the things all of us have bought in shrink-wrap over the years, but it's not very exciting to talk about. Today I've actually spent more on talking to printers about pricing and delivery times, chasing down some promotional items, and other non-programming things that go with running a small business.

That said, there is one important bit of news: Wintertree will be at Game-O-Rama!

If you're going to be there (it's in Atlanta the weekend of the 28th) I really look forward to meeting you and showing you what this is all about. You'll have a chance to see TableMaster and what it can do. We'll be doing demos in the Demo Alley area -- look for the table with the light-up white tree -- and plugging the Kickstarter. Plus, of course, we'll talk about what TableMaster is all about and let you try it out on the laptop as we're wandering around the convention.

So I'm looking forward to seeing some of you at Game-O-Rama -- it looks to be a good con.

Wintertree Inactive Member16 May 2016 11:06 a.m. PST

P.S. The celebration was delicious. Travinia. Chicken Parmesan. Sauce that didn't come out of a bottle (or at least if it did, a higher quality bottle than Denny's) And such big portions that I ate the leftovers for lunch today.

Zephyr116 May 2016 1:57 p.m. PST

I believe that Denny's sauce comes in 5 gallon buckets, if I'm not mistaken… ;-)

Personal logo HidaSeku Supporting Member of TMP17 May 2016 10:05 a.m. PST

Sounds like a great celebration, Wintertree! Good choice!

Keep us posted on the kickstarter. I will definitely be interested.

Wintertree Inactive Member18 May 2016 9:26 a.m. PST

If you want to see a picture of TableMaster running on a tablet, check my latest blog post.

It's a Windows tablet, of course -- that's the only platform I'm building for just yet -- but it looks pretty damn good. The machine in question just arrived this morning. But I need to spend more time debugging instead of playing with my new toy. :(

Wintertree Inactive Member23 May 2016 5:20 a.m. PST

So, the weekly TableMaster II update … what to say, what to say ….

Well, mostly that it has fewer bugs, I guess. Aside from playing around with running it on the new tablet, I've been doing little beyond debugging (well, and rewriting the entire expression evaluator, but that was because of intractable bugs in the old one) for the past week, and I'll be doing that for more weeks to come. If you want a good look at what the fun part of software development isn't, I can send you a selfie. :p

Mostly I'm getting ready for Game-O-Rama right now, when we're going to be set up in "Demo Alley" showing off the first new version of TableMaster since 1999. The amount of stuff that has to get done, even for just a pre-release demo, is staggering.

And that doesn't even include baking the cookies!

Wintertree Inactive Member25 May 2016 9:29 a.m. PST

…um, tweet tweet?

Just a quick update, Wintertree is now on Twitter. Go ahead and laugh, I don't really know what I'm doing there -- and specifically, how to find people/companies I want to follow. Or even how to tell people how to find ME. Yeah, in some ways I'm disturbingly old-school. (note: in a couple of months I'm going to look at this post and laugh, and say "what, *I* said that?) Be that as it may, Twitter it is. Hopefully there will be photos from Game-O-Rama. (I feel old … I remember taking pictures of my GenCon booth with a Polaroid camera!)

Wintertree Inactive Member25 May 2016 6:48 p.m. PST



Get in on the testing (real beta testing, not a hokey pre-release promo!), get early access to TableMaster (at least a week before it's available to the public), get a discount, and get swag! Plus your name in the manual, of course.

Sorry about the shipping costs for y'all in the UK, but overseas postage bites hard. Frankly, if I were you, I'd go with the digital version only. I miss the days when I could send TableMaster to Europe for about five bucks.

The Kickstarter will enable me to produce the Macintosh version much earlier than if I had to wait for sales after release to pay for the rather spendy compiler upgrade needed to build for the Mac. That will also help bring the mobile version a step closer to reality -- if the Kickstarter funds and all goes well, a tablet version is possible as soon as next spring. (a phone version is going to take more planning; as it is now, TableMaster does not lend itself to a 4" screen)

So back it. Tell your friends. Tell everyone at your local game store. Tell the world!

Wintertree Inactive Member31 May 2016 12:58 p.m. PST

Posting the usual Monday update a day late because of Memorial Day -- not that I was actually enjoying a cookout, mind you; I wound up working on the TableMaster user interface some more! Game-O-Rama was fun, I met a couple of original TableMaster users who were psyched about it coming back, and I almost froze to death in Atlanta in May. The Marriott has some issues with their A/C settings.

Half my Kickstarter backers have come from here! Way to go, y'all! It's only been up a few days and I'm already at 20% of goal.

I've had a lot of people ask just what TableMaster actually does, anyway. I've written up a better explanation than I had and put it on the Wintertree website. It's here: link I'll be expanding that as time goes on, including incorporating a screenshot of the user interface once I finalize it.

Everything's looking good for that August release -- to the point of me being willing to actually say the words "August" and "release" in the same sentence. Still no promises, but lookin' good, lookin' good.

Wargaming Resources Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member31 May 2016 2:38 p.m. PST

About 3 weeks ago – I mean just 3 weeks ago – I finally threw out my Tablemaster i Manual and floppy discs.

And NOW I find probably the best gaming software I've ever owned is coming back to life! And on a Mac too!! I am just so over the moon :-))

So good luck with the development – as an ex-software developer I'm very happy to test beta versions for OSX – and looking forward to getting my shiny new Tablemaster after all these years!

Wintertree Inactive Member06 Jun 2016 11:53 a.m. PST

Not much to talk about this rainy Monday. Mostly, I'm debugging. The INNS table runs properly now, after surfacing a particularly insidious bug in the expression evaluator, except for one of the lockout commands that isn't in yet. I'll probably be adding that this week. That's one of the more complex tables, so I've been using it for testing. The CAVERNS table is another one -- frankly, that's not a table in any normal sense, it's a computer program written in TBL -- and it, too, is doing what it should.

The Kickstarter is almost half way to funding. (if you haven't backed it yet, feel free to join in!) So it's looking good so far, especially Wargaming Resources' Mac version whose timing is very much dependent on that Kickstarter front-loading the sales. Especially since Embarcadero (the folks who currently sell Delphi) just jacked up the price again. (I remember when Turbo Pascal was $35 USD!)

I ramble on about things on the Wintertree Redux blog a lot; I'm only posting once a week here in order to not spam up this board. So if you can't get enough caffeine-drenched maunderings about TableMaster, software development in general, and that computer I got at a yard sale, go check out the blog.

Wintertree Inactive Member13 Jun 2016 11:48 a.m. PST

So … time for the Monday update. The big news, structurally, is that one of the last few bits of TableMaster -- .LIST and its associated .LOOKUP -- is in. That leaves just .GOBACK and the old interactivity commands of .SCREEN, .ASK, and .CLRSCREEN that I need to do. I've already got some of the ocde in for .GOBACK (it's a bit more complicated it was in the original, where the structure was somewhat different and I was able to *sheepish look* use a goto) The structure I implemented for .LIST means that adding something else quasi-table-like (such as if I really get a clamor for adding .GRID back in, not that I think anyone ever used it) it will be very easy.

I got playing around with font ideas for a bit while I was waiting for some TableMaster stuff to sort itself out in my subconscious. It's not going to be soon -- I have to get TableMaster out the door first -- but there will definitely be a new font pack. I'd forgotten how much fun working on fonts was, and I've got some great ideas for a couple of things I want to do, gaming-font-wise. So, probably some time this fall (much of the schedule being dependent on the status of the Kickstarter -- back it now if you haven't!) there will be a new font pack, with most of the old Arcane Alphabets fonts (not the Tolkien ones, for legal reasons, or Dark Elf, for aesthetic reasons) plus the graph and hex fonts from Mapographer, and some handy new ones. Possibly some of the map symbols from Mapographer, too.

In between bursts of debugging, I'm overhauling old tables and writing new ones. I'm trying to avoid getting pulled into that -- I've got 16 years of built-up table ideas that want to get out! Not to mention that listening to the theme music for the PotC movies makes me want to do pirate-themed tables. Sadly, I probably can't think of quite enough to make up a Table Pack, but I'll probably put a couple in with the basic tables.

And please, back the Kickstarter. Get your friends to back the Kickstarter. Get their friends to do it, too!

Wintertree Inactive Member15 Jun 2016 11:55 a.m. PST


Have you looked at the Game Store Special and thought that the deal doesn't look quite good enough? You were right; I figured it based on the wrong pricing. I've added more copies of TableMaster and more Table Packs, plus some of the new "box top" tokens that a store owner can give out however they want for users to collect and redeem.

If your local game store gets the Game Store Special and tells me you sent them, I'll give you a free Table Pack or a T-shirt, too.

Same thing for game clubs. Get a dozen people together and all pitch in for the cost, and you can get a dozen copies of TM, 30 table packs, and a whole pile of other odds and ends, at what's usually a retailer's discount.


Wargaming Resources Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member16 Jun 2016 12:09 p.m. PST

I have another use for TableMaster – I play test new games for some friends and in a few that are driven by tables, I could program them into Tablemaster and let it run 100 (or even 1000!) games much quicker than I could ever roll the dice!

The advantage of this is I could see if the results of the simulation/game match "real life" and then I give the designers feedback knowing that I have the numbers to back up my comments.

There's a soccer game in particular I want to try this out on :-)

Wintertree Inactive Member16 Jun 2016 1:08 p.m. PST

Now that sounds like a cool idea. You can get some valid statistical results that way, unlike the rather small sample size you'd get sitting around and playing it a few times.

Another interesting test use I came across right about when I was closing down the original Wintertree: There was some company selling a program for several hundred dollars that generated bogus names and addresses to stock your database with for testing. That's all it did. I was clearly in the wrong market!

I just finished laying up the cover design for the new *mumble* Table Pack. I'll post it to the blog some time Saturday.

I've spent all day doing graphics work … *sigh* … a real expert could probably have done all this in an hour. This is why I'm a programmer, not a package designer. At least it's easier with a whole CD jewel case to work with instead of a floppy label. Production values have gone up so much in the industry that what I did 20 years ago would look totally amateurish today. I remember game products that were typed on a typewriter and sold in a ziploc bag. Now the norm is hard covers, full-color interior pages, and if you don't have an artist on staff, you can buy prefab coordinated cover/page sets as clip art. Sadly, I think entirely too many of the results aren't nearly as good as the black-and-white stuff in the plastic bags.

I seriously need to be triplets.

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