Looking back to 2020

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Happy new year, everyone! At the start of 2020, we set ourself a list of goals, and last autumn, we set some additional ones as well. In this weeks blogpost, I want to review those goals and see what progress we managed to make!

Chat Support One of the first goals we listed for 2020 was the development of Chat Support. That has been completed, and then some. The chat includes full support for masks, fully integrates with the rest of the site, and most bugs have been resolved.

Additionally, we added the Pathfinder Initiative Tracker, which helps to support Pathfinder campaigns when they run their combat. The Tracker also allowed us to develop some additional infrastructure for further future improvements as well.

Finally, the chat keeps logs, makes sure you can only see those logs you should have access to, and supports timespans for automatic processing of adventures. All in all, we are very happy with this, though we will of course continue to develop it.

Usability and Discoverability The next goal set for 2020 was to improve Usability and Discoverability. Of course these are somewhat abstract goals, but there are many ways in which we worked on this goal

The most obvious improvement is the complete overhaul of the Configuration screen. While this may not be immediately obvious to all players, the new layout unifies the configuration pages in one spot so you will always know where to go - and in terms of discoverability, it is much easier to find those options now that they are all in one place.

The biggest improvement may be the addition of autocomplete all across the site, however. This was a big project but makes the input of data a lot simpler and quicker. Since many of the lists used are configured by players, this also allows players to easily discover which feats, powers, talent and backgrounds are available for them as well.

Finally, we added a large set of help pages, explaining the major site features and providing direct guidance for many common tasks. The help indices for each further serve to make it as easy as possible to discover what you need!

For World of Darkness received not one but two major overhauls in the past year, adding support for multiple creature types at the start of the year, and significantly reworking that in the latest incarnation - work on that is still ongoing so I will not label it as done, but the current sheet is quite some distance from where we were before!

And Pathfinder, where to even start on that… We added spellcasting and improved equipment listing to the sheet, including magical armour and shield, added automatic sheet verification including feat prerequisites… and did I mention that at the start of 2020, we did a full overhaul of the character sheet layout? Big improvements!

Polish and Quality of Life The last goal at the start of 2020 was polish and quality of life improvement. Like usability, it is sort of abstract, but I dare say we made some enormous steps here.

Some of that is pretty simple - galleries are now automatically sorted and can be searched, many lists are orderable, and I already mentioned autocomplete, which I feel also falls in the category of Quality of Life improvements.

But beyond this, we countless small improvements in countless places. To name a few notable ones, we added the ability to require approval for character sheet, including the necessary accessibility options to make it possible, we added character sheet verification for Pathfinder, we added NPC tags that simplify mask handling both in chat and on the forum and, my personal favorite, we added the [time] text block to make it easier to agree on times despite international time-zones.

The entire character overview page has been reworked as well, to handle both small and large campaigns in a useful way, and many parts of the character sheets have been simplified as well. Mission complete? Not quite, but progress made, definitely!

Fall Roadmap The fall roadmap is not completed yet as many of the projects there are still being worked on. I already mentioned the Initiative Tracker / chat tooling, but we also made some improvements in terms of performance (more to come hopefully!).

We also made countless internal technical improvements, of which you’ve seen a few hints in the various blogposts over the last months. We continue to work on this, as it lies at the ground of, among other things, improvements in theming and improvements in campaign creation, which we are still working on.

The only part of the fall roadmap that hasn’t seen much action yet is D&D 5th edition support, but this is on our radar and we hope to start adding it sooner rather than later.

Overall though, the fact that we were able to add all those additional goals all the way back in September already shows just how much progress we have been making and how well things are going. It was a bit of an eye opener for me even, as I was writing all of this.

Now, with 2021 just started, I am sure that we will continue to make many more improvements. Are there any you would like to see? We’d love to hear from you in our community forum. Also, be sure to check out this weeks changelog - naturally it is a bit empty as we were on holiday, but we did manage to squeeze in one bugfix that was discovered by one of our players! Keep those bugreports coming, they really help!