"In het verleden behaalde resultaten bieden geen garanties voor de toekomst"
About this blog

These are the ramblings of Matthijs Kooijman, concerning the software he hacks on, hobbies he has and occasionally his personal life.

Most content on this site is licensed under the WTFPL, version 2 (details).

Questions? Praise? Blame? Feel free to contact me.

My old blog (pre-2006) is also still available.

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Powered by Blosxom &Perl onion
(With plugins: config, extensionless, hide, tagging, Markdown, macros, breadcrumbs, calendar, directorybrowse, entries_index, feedback, flavourdir, include, interpolate_fancy, listplugins, menu, pagetype, preview, seemore, storynum, storytitle, writeback_recent, moreentries)
Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict & CSS
LARP administration system?

Ever since I have been involved with LARP organization, I have been thinking about some way to properly administer subscriptions, events, characters, etc. This administration is mostly done in excel or text files, with the user visible part (who has subscribed and has their payment been received already?) in a forum post that was continuously edited and updated. Character administration is a similar story, with paper administration of character sheets not being uncommon.

As you can imagine, this is not quite optimal. Apart from being generally a lot of work, this approach is error prone. Also, all administration has to be done by the organization themselves and requests from players ("I want to upgrade this skill or that" or "Here is my updated background") have to be manually entered into whatever system is used.

Existing systems

Cauldron, the club I have been working for before was the first club (I know of) that used an on-line system to manage player characters (dubbed "chargen", for Character Generator). Players of various events could register their character, with all their skills, attributes and background. On the other side the organization can approve characters and changes to characters, assign experience points to them, etc.

While being a big improvement over previous manual administration and greatly reducing the workload, there were still a couple of drawbacks. Most significantly, the system did not track who was registered for what event. To prevent people from creating characters for random events, subscribed players would get an event password. In addition to the login/password needed for the chargen, this makes a whole pile of extra login info.

I once planned on reducing these problems by (proposing to) integrating an event subscription system into chargen, so it knows who is subscribed to what events. This has the added advantage of simplifying the event subscription administration and being able to generate a list of subscriptions and possibly payments dynamically. Shortly after formulating this intent, I stopped working for Cauldron, so this never saw any work from me.

Another "drawback" of the chargen was the focus on rules and skills, the actual character and its background were just an extra. This makes sense for big events with lots of characters, but seems wrong to me now...

I've also heard that the folks at Enneade were busy on a system for doing administration of subscriptions and perhaps also characters. I haven't seen or heard this myself yet, but I will investigate this a little further. Perhaps something can be gained from cooperating with them.

A new system?

As you will probably have concluded from my last few remarks, I have been thinking about also creating a system for performing miscellaneous LARP administration tasks. Right now I'm involved with Evolution Events, a relatively new LARP organization mainly founded by a number of former Cauldron crew members. We have recently had our first event. For this organization there is need for such a system.

One can wonder why I would want to create a new system instead of using one of the existing ones. Main reason here is that I want to create something which is generally usable. I personally like software that is general and reusable by nature and encourage open source software. Besides that, EE will be running different types of events with different rule systems. The rules (and therefore characters) for Lextalionis will be completely different from those of our upcoming Exodus event.

Though the Cauldron chargen does support multiple rule sets (from different Cauldron events), these are all similar and follow the same basic rules. Besides that, I do not expect Cauldron to just give their work away to other clubs, probably not even for future cooperation.

For the Enneade system, I haven't seen it yet, but since Enneade currently runs only one event with one rule set, I expect that modifying their system to support multiple rule sets is probably more work than starting from the ground up.

Having said that, I will probably look at both systems carefully to see which features and things worked, and which did not.

Building it

I have recently had a few conversations with Simon, organizer of the Symbols event. He was planning to work on a similar system. Since our ideas about this (both regarding the actual system as well as about making it shareable with other clubs) mostly matched, we decided to team up. Since then, I've also received help offers from Rene and Sna, within EE. I can probably use their help somewhere along the road, for the moment, I'll have to figure out what exactly we are supposed to build.

Though this post originally started out as a general description of what this system was supposed to be doing, this small introduction turned out to rather large already. I'll stop here, saving my plans for the actual system for my next post. Still, I'm going to end this post with the same thing I was going to end the original post with: This new system needs a name! If anybody has a nice suggestion, let me know!

Maglok wrote at 2006-04-05 23:15

I had previously dubbed mine phplarp, but I found it cheesy and temporary. :)

Brenda wrote at 2006-04-06 19:41

LARP: Larp Administration and Registration Program/Platform.

IMLE: It Makes Life Easier :P

LCSM: Larp Character and Subscription Manager or CHASM (CHaracter And Subscription Manager)

I offer to help with the interaction design bit. ;) Make it usable and n00bfriendly.

Dennis Loos wrote at 2006-06-15 16:29

Hi Matthijs, if you want to know more about the application that Enneade uses for subscription and incheck contact me at

Comments are closed for this story.

3 comments -:- permalink -:- 22:15
Copyright by Matthijs Kooijman - most content WTFPL