Main code and data development for pcgen program release



PCGen is a program designed to create and manage player characters in pen & paper games like D&D.
It works on Windows, Mac & Linux, basically anywhere the Java JDK works.
It will let you create a character under a system of rules, track its levels and abilities as you progress, inventory and spells.
It supports numerous game systems, most notably:

  • D&D 3.5, 4.0, 5.0
  • Pathfinder 1e
  • Starfinder

Table of Contents

  1. Installing From Release 6.08

  2. Installing From Release 6.09 (Alpha)

  3. PCGen Needs You

  4. The Old Wiki

  5. PCGen LST Tutorial

  6. Basic Workflow

  7. Development Setup

  8. Essential Gradle Tasks

Installing From Release 6.08

  1. Install Java.

    • JDK 11 is recommended and has long term support, later versions should also work. 10 and below are not supported.
    • To check if you have Java installed, see Install Java
    • If you don’t have it already, you can get it from AdoptOpenJDK.
  2. Download and extract the full zip file from https://github.com/PCGen/pcgen/releases/latest.

  3. You should now be able to run PCGen. The exact invocation depends on your operating system, but you should be able to either double-click to launch the file for your platform.

    • Windows: pcgen.exe (pcgen.bat for command-line users)
    • Linux: pcgen.sh
    • Mac: pcgen.jar (or pcgen.dmg if it exists)

Installing From Release 6.09 (Alpha)

Note: Java does not need to be preinstalled with PcGen >6.09.05

Using Zip bundle

  1. Download and extract the full zip file from https://github.com/PCGen/pcgen/releases/ labled 6.09.xx.

  2. You should now be able to run PCGen. The exact invocation depends on your operating system, but you should be able to either double-click to launch the file for your platform.

    • Windows: pcgen.exe (pcgen.bat for command-line users)
    • Linux: pcgen.sh
    • Mac: pcgen.sh (or pcgen.dmg if it exists. Launching .jar may throw java errors so generally avoid)

Using installer (windows and mac only)

  1. Download and extract the full installer from https://github.com/PCGen/pcgen/releases/ labled 6.09.xx.

    • Windows: pcgen-6.09.xx_win_install.exe
    • Mac: pcgen-6.09.xx.dmg or pcgen-6.09.xx.pkg
  2. Run installer and follow instruction

    • Windows: Open pcgen-6.09.xx_win_install.exe
    • Mac:
      • dmg: Open dmg and drag into Applications. Right click on PcGen and click open.
      • pkg: Right click and pkg and click open and click open on security warning due to application being unsigned.
  3. You should be able to launch PcGen as normal application.

    • Mac: You may need to on first launch right click on application and then click open.

PCGen Needs You

PCGen is an open source program driven by contributors, without your help no new fixes or content can be added.
If you can program Java or want to contribute to expanding the book support please consider joining our team.
Many of the original members have become inactive and we need new contributors to keep the project going.

To join our group:

  • Join our Discord
  • Post in the volunteers channel to get access to the Slack. A senior member will add you by email.
  • Make an account on the JIRA bug tracker. See CODE and DATA issues. Work is tracked here to easily generate release notes.
  • Review the Basic Workflow & Development Setup below to get started.

The Old Wiki

The old wiki archives historical meetings, many design documents and useful dev information.
Browse it when you have time, it can provide some insight into certain parts of the architecture.

PCGen LST Tutorial

Andrew has made a series of videos explaining the LST files.
These are mainly targetted at new DATA contributors adding new books/content and fixing bugs.
You can of course ask questions in the discord or slack if you are unsure.
Programmers may want to review these if they work on the LST parsing or related systems.

Basic Workflow

  1. Get a bug from JIRA primarily from the CODE or DATA sections. Alternatively if you want to propose a new feature/change, make a JIRA entry to track it.
  2. Create a branch in your fork of PCGen during development. It is good to name branches after ticket numbers, like fix_code_3444 or fix_data_3322.
  3. Work until the feature or bug is finished. Add tests if needed, especially if new code added.
  4. Push all work up into your copy of PCGen. Try to ensure build passes BEFORE submitting a pull request.
  5. Submit pull request from your fork to master and respond to review by members.
  6. Go back to first step.

Development Setup

These steps will guide you to a basic setup for development.
These steps should work for Linux, Mac or Windows. Where steps differ it will be highlighted.
If you have trouble, feel free to ask in the discord or slack once you have joined.

Running Commands

Anything written like this should be executed in a terminal.
For Windows this means opening the start menu and typing cmd.exe or Powershell. The latter is more modern if available.
For Linux or Mac, whatever default terminal you have is fine.

Install Java

Check the installed version with:

java -version

For 6.08 development you will want Java with a minimum version of 11.
For 6.09 development you will want Java with a minimum version of 17.
You can install the latest version from AdoptOpenJDK regardless of your OS, please see instructions there.

Install Git

Check the installed version with:

git --version

Any version should do.
You can install git on debian machines:

sudo apt-get install git

On Windows, Git For Windows is a good choice. Download and install.
Be sure to install both the GUI & command line version. The default options are fine.

If you do not know about git, reading the first 3 or 4 chapters of Pro Git
will go a long way. It is designed about command line but all principles apply to the GUI version.

Fork and Clone PCGen

Log in to github and go to PCGen in your browser.
Fork the project to have your own copy.
Clone the fork locally, if you use ssh for instance it should be:

git clone [email protected]:USERNAME/pcgen.git

Where USERNAME is your github username.
This can be done on the command line, or else open the git GUI and clone from there.

Stay Up To Date

Open a terminal inside the cloned pcgen project.
Run the following command:

git remote add upstream https://github.com/PCGen/pcgen

This sets up the project for upstream rebasing, to keep you level with changes.
You can rebase the master with latest changes with the following. It can be done from GUI as well.

git checkout master && git fetch upstream && git rebase master

Get an IDE

This step is optional. You are free to program in what you prefer, these are several popular IDEs for Java.
If you are new we would suggest IntelliJ. Follow download/setup instructions then continue.
These IDEs have git and gradle plugins either out of box or that can be installed.

Once setup, open your IDE of choice. You should be able to import the cloned fork.
Import the PCGen fork as a gradle project. From this point, you can work on the project.
For IntelliJ Community do: File > New > Project from Existing Sources …
All of these IDEs have git and gradle plugins that can be used instead of commands.

Essential Gradle Tasks

This is a quick rundown on gradle. You can get more information from gradle docs.
Gradle is like make, it allows you to run commands to build projects.
The tasks can depend on one another and will ensure all dependencies are met before running.
These commands will be the same if you use a GUI to execute them.

Note: ./gradlew indicates you are executing the gradle wrapper command binary that comes with PCGen’s source tree.
This will automatically download and use the latest version of gradle. If you have gralde installed, you just
substitute ./gradlew for gradle on the command line.

See All Available Commands

./gradlew tasks

Just (Re)Compile Java

./gradlew compileJava

Build All Required Files

./gradlew assemble

Run PCGen

./gradlew run

Run Test Suite

./gradlew test

Run Full Test Suite

Do this primarily before pull requests.
This is almost exactly the command Travis runs to verify, if it fails locally you will fail the build and your PR will not be merged.

./gradlew clean build copyToOutput test compileSlowtest datatest pfinttest allReports buildDist

Clean All Build Files

./gradlew clean

Generate IntelliJ IDEA Project

./gradlew idea


If you have an error stating Task :run FAILED Error: --module-path requires module path specification in Intellij,
create a run configuration using Gradle and have the command be run. This should fix this error.

If you want to debug in Intellij, using the Main configuration and run it in debug mode.
You can change the Java version to whatever version is supported, and you have installed.