Playing in a campaign requires three things: joining the campaign, having a character to play with, and finding a forum thread or chat room to start playing in. We want to make these things as smooth as possible.
Those that follow our blog for a while know that we have been going through several designs to find the best way to handle characters — both player and non-player characters — and character creation. Because having a character is a necessity for playing, we want to make easy for new players in your campaign is the creation of a player character.
Roughly a month ago we made a significant improvement to the character list to improve the support for campaigns with larger numbers of players and characters — Mercury wrote about that in Player and Character lists. This week we did a once-over of the recent improvements to the character list to polish the character creation even more.
Compact Character List
The first thing we noticed was that we had great support for larger campaigns. We’ve had players calling the ‘Your Characters’ group out as very useful — but we left the smaller campaigns a little behind. For the smaller table-top-like campaigns, we have made a more compact display as displayed in the screenshot below:
In the compact view we remove the search bar feature since all characters can be seen at a glance. We also group all character together in a single group for the same reason. We feel that hiding the search bar removes clutter in smaller campaigns because everyone knows all characters, and you will always be able to pick out your own character without any problems. Whereas in a larger campaign finding your own characters might require scrolling around, in which case the ‘Your Characters’ group is very useful.
Character Creation Buttons
also take note of the disappearance of the new player character button in the screenshot of the compact character list. This is due to our review of when, where, and how we display the links and buttons that bring you to the character creation page.
We concluded that the relevance of the ‘Create player character’ button was dependent upon several factors:
- What kind of character list the campaign uses: Compact, Group display
- Whether the player already has characters, or has no characters yet
- Whether the player has the Game Master role or not
Because we want to make sure that new players are guided towards creating a character, but at the same time not have the character creation action be too prominent in situations where it is less relevant. To deal with these two goals, we identified the possible ways we can present the character creation action to players, as shown in the following image:
Based on this set of possible placements for the character creation action we reviewed all combinations of factors and deliberated until we came up with the following rules, split into two sets of rules based on whether the campaign uses Compact display or Group display for the character list:
Compact display rules are as follows:
Player is not game master: Player has no character -> Card Player has character -> Only menu option Player is game master -> Only menu option
Groups display rules are as follows:
Player is not game master: Player has no character -> Card Player has character -> Group button Player is game master: Player has no character -> Group button Player has character -> Group button
As you can see, the cases where a player is not a game master and does not yet have a character always gets the most prominent character creation option: the blank character card. Regardless of these rules, if the player is allowed to create new pages in the setting wiki (where player characters end up), we will always show the menu option for consistency.
The final results of these deliberations can be seen in your own campaign!
If you have any further ideas on how we can make the new player experience is smooth and polished as possible, we love to hear from you in the community forum.