Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wild Card Creator Public Beta Released

Almost one year ago a young man walked up to me as I waited to get a seat in a game during Gen Con 2012's Savage Saturday Night and handed me a business card. The card directed me to a Kickstarter campaign for a Savage Worlds character creator that would take all of the heavy lifting out of generating a character. Although it isn't exactly a nightmare to create a character in SW, I immediately thought of all the time I could save when creating characters for a new campaign, with new players. I backed the project as soon as I got home.

One year later Wild Card Creator has been released as a public beta. I've been a part of the closed beta for a while but now anyone can jump in. The cost of the beta (and the finished product once it is done) is currently $20.

Wild Card Creator is a very simple program that runs in Java and has builds for Mac, Windows and Linux. The no-frills approach provides an easy to use interface. Once you've created a few characters, you'll find yourself breezing through the process in less than a minute. After you've created the character, it can be exported to a setting-specific character sheet or a basic, clean print-out. The character can also be saved for easy advancement later.

For all its simplistic beauty, I'm hesitant to praise Wild Card Creator too highly. Currently there are several key features that are missing, such as creating custom Arcane backgrounds and Knowledge skills. While I can get around the Arcane Background problem, I believe that the Knowledge skills are a key way of making a character unique on the fly. To get around this you will need to create a homebrew campaign and manually create these custom skills, which is a lot of work for something that is designed to be easy. 

One of the selling points for Wild Card Creator is the ability to import all of the special character rules from various published settings, just by owning the PDF. This is the feature that really sold me on the program since my SW PDF collection is only growing day-by-day. Several PDFs are already supported, such as Realms of Cthulhu and the Fantasy Companion, but I expect the inclusion of additional settings to be very slow coming. The promise of this product makes being patient very difficult. Wild Card Creator is the work of one man, which means that updates are few and far between.

All things considered, Wild Card Creator is shaping up to be a fine product. If you're committed to running Savage Worlds in many different genres, it's definitely worth checking out. Just don't expect it to be a perfect product any time soon.

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