What to expect moving forward

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heruca
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What to expect moving forward

Post by heruca » Tue Dec 05, 2006 2:00 pm

Here are the things I would like to focus on in the next few updates:
(Edit: I've marked things in green once they've been implemented; yellow means partially implemented)

Auto-unit naming
Clone deployed units (copy and paste)
Add chat macros
Add dice macros

Typing and AFK indicators for each user in the chat window
Releasing the free sample adventure
Auto-saving of Encounters
Implement the Approved Movement method, including distance measuring
Larger maximum map size (in terms of cells, not pixels)
More units deployable at once
The ability to select multiple units and perform actions to them
Linking units together (so if the PCs are on a wagon or raft, you just move the wagon or raft and all the PCs and cargo move along with it)
Support for artpack plugins
Enhancing the Fog of War feature
Add more figure base sizes (e.g., 2 x 1 cell and 3 x 1 cell bases)
The ability to import and export groups of units (e.g. import all PCs at once to a new Encounter, without having to redeploy each one again, or import a recurring NPC to any Encounter)
Update the User Manual to cover all the new features since v1.0

Of course there will be many more feature additions after these, but I think these are the most crucial. Let me know if I've left anything important off.
Last edited by heruca on Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:52 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Post by Full Bleed » Tue Dec 05, 2006 2:50 pm

I'd like to see a more robust, feature rich, and modifiable Initiative/Turn Sequencer.

For example, I am a HUGE proponent of initiative every round, but it's my least favorite part of combat because I like to use a lot of situational modifiers (footing, length of spell being cast, weapon type, etc.)

It would be great if players could set their base initiative, hit "I" to bring up an initiative box, check off some standard/custom modifiers, hit ROLL, and have the turn sequencer auto-sort for the round.

Consequently, when using Labels, I'd like to be able to enter a number that will count down when the turn sequencer advances. So, if a person gets stunned for three rounds, the label will just count that down for us.


For the record, I do really like where your focus is going though. :)

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Post by Farland » Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:29 pm

Is the waypoint system included in your planned additions?

For my salt, I'm less interested in the initiative stuff as in the VT additions like the lighting.
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Post by heruca » Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:30 pm

Yes, waypoints are part of the Approved Movement system.
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Post by Omnidon » Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:54 pm

You list looks great ;-)

I've made plenty of suggestions, but haven't talked much yet about my own opinions on priorities. Here they are.

Features are listed in descending priority.
Features from your list are marked in green while features that you did not mention in your list are marked in orange.
  1. Auto-saving of Encounters

    This will prevent a lot of headaches.
  2. Floating GM License

    As you can see from the poll about licensing, people really feel restricted by the fact that only the GM can host.
    While most VTs have this limitation, BRPG is attracting many people who were not satisfied with those others VTs. In addition, there is only so much you can do to help GMs work past their router problems. If the GM can't host, then currently BRPG is unusable for many people
  3. The ability to select multiple units and perform actions to them
    Clone deployed units (copy and paste)
    More units deployable at once
    Auto-unit naming
    The ability to import and export groups of units (e.g. import all PCs at once to a new Encounter, without having to redeploy each one again, or import a recurring NPC to any Encounter)
    Linking units together (so if the PCs are on a wagon or raft, you just move the wagon or raft and all the PCs and cargo move along with it)


    It takes way too long to populate a map as it is. Now that unit editing is available, it will be easier to tweak most generic units after they are placed. The ability to place and interact with several units at a time will make large or off-the-cuff encounters much more feasible.
  4. File selection improvements

    Currently those dropdown boxes make it very cumbersome and time consuming to select files and artwork, especially in windows. As mentioned in my File Chooser summary, this really needs to be improved.

    Many GMs, including myself, like to keep a huge pool of artwork at hand, but without the ability to dig through subfolders and preview many pictures at once, it is very hard to find what we need while in BRPG.
  5. Basic Drawing Tools
    Fog of War Drawing Tools
    Undo / Redo


    While the more advanced variations can wait, I think at least a basic form of drawing tool is fairly urgent. Just the ability to draw lines would vastly increase the power of BRPG.

    Fog of war drawing tools would make FOW much more useful and accessible.
  6. Implement the Approved Movement method, including distance measuring
    Waypoints


    The ability for the GM to fine-tune movements and check distances will add a lot of realism to games, as well as helping the GM keep things organized.
  7. Document Support
    SWF File Support


    GMs urgently need some way to access documents that support advanced features such as tables, especially until there is a better way to keep track of character sheets available. This needs to be built into BRPG to allow the GM to send necessary information to the players and update it in real time.

    SWF file support would allow users to have custom animations. GMs could even take advantage of a web server to synchronize files with players, until true Flash Extensions are added.
  8. More powerful Turn Sequencer
    More Powerful Unit Manager


    Both of these tools need to become table-based and need to allow editing and greater control over the units you're managing.

    If Flash Extension support is added early, then I am sure that members of the community, including myself, would volunteer to help customize these features for the various gaming systems.
  9. Chat interface overhaul
    Add chat macros
    Add dice macros
    Typing and AFK indicators for each user in the chat window


    The weakest part of BRPG at the moment, not counting stability, is definitely the chat interface.

    Although 3rd-party options for this are available, most gamers will not want to break up the game experience by constantly switching to other windows to read their IMs.

    BRPG's chat interface needs to be completely redesigned to allow greater customizing and usability, in addition to being less ugly and intrusive.
  10. Support for artpack plugins

    This will definitely encourage artists to start producing content for BRPG.
  11. Tabbed Encounters

    Tabs would allow GMs to keep vital documents on hand without having them floating around and getting in the way. In addition, the ability to prepare more than one encounter at a time would allow a GM to be several steps ahead of the players.
  12. Flash Integration

    Last but not least, my personal favorite feature.
    Support for extensions can wait til after the vital interface improvements are made, but the sooner this feature is added, the sooner the community can start helping to vastly improve the power and flexibility of BRPG.
  13. Customizable Hotkeys
    Expanded Preferences


    No one setting is right for everyone. Pretty much every aspect of BRPG should be tweakable in the preferences.
heruca wrote:Larger maximum map size
Enhancing the Fog of War feature (faster rendering, realistic light fades, add support for cone and beam light sources, etc.)
Add more figure base sizes (e.g., 2 x 1 cell and 3 x 1 cell bases)
Features like these are important, but I think think the interface in general needs attention much more urgently.


Of course, I understand that you have to weigh your priorities against the amount of time it would take to implement, whereas my list is based purely on what would be most useful.

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Post by heruca » Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:35 pm

Great list, Omnidon. Interesting to see how you prioritized it, too.

Man, by the time I get done adding all that stuff, BRPG is gonna kick some serious butt. :shock: :D 8)
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Post by Ramza » Wed Dec 06, 2006 1:01 pm

Just wanted to offer my encouragement. I'm still lurking around watching things develop. I'm hoping that BG matures nicely!

Later.
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Post by heruca » Wed Dec 06, 2006 1:27 pm

Thanks, Ramza. :)
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Post by Richard Weimer » Wed Dec 06, 2006 3:31 pm

One thing I see missing from the list, but mentioned several times as being added "at a later date" is dual-monitor support.

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Post by heruca » Wed Dec 06, 2006 3:40 pm

I think that topic warrants discussion on it's own thread. Why don't you start one by explaining what kind of dual-monitor support you would like to see added. For example, would you just like panels and the chat window to open on the second screen instead of the primary display? Or do you mean rendering a Players' View on the second dsiplay which is generated from within a single GM Client? Or perhaps you want monitor spanning for the map window? Something else?
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Post by Farland » Wed Dec 06, 2006 6:11 pm

I actually agree with Omnidon's list. Nice work, Omni.
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Post by weepingminotaur » Fri Dec 08, 2006 6:40 pm

I think I'm in the same boat as Ramza and Full Bleed. The potential in BRPG is making me drool, but I need more from the feature set -- particularly in Fog of War, Initative, and unit deployment -- to seriously consider making the switch from printed battlemaps.

Good work so far, and I look forward to seeing the product develop!

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Post by heruca » Sun Dec 24, 2006 8:17 pm

Omnidon wrote:[*]File selection improvements

Currently those dropdown boxes make it very cumbersome and time consuming to select files and artwork, especially in windows. As mentioned in my File Chooser summary, this really needs to be improved.

Many GMs, including myself, like to keep a huge pool of artwork at hand, but without the ability to dig through subfolders and preview many pictures at once, it is very hard to find what we need while in BRPG.
For v1.0.3, I just doubled the maximum length of all the pulldown menus (under Windows OS), so it should be easier to find stuff without scrolling around so much. This change won't affect Mac OS X users, since they see a pulldown menu's entire contents at once, anyway.

I know this is not the fix you were hoping for, Omnidon, but it's a step in the right direction, and it was quick and easy to do. :wink:
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Post by heruca » Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:01 pm

I've edited the opening post to indicate in green the features which have already been added.
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Post by Balesir » Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:01 am

heruca wrote:I've edited the opening post to indicate in green the features which have already been added.
Wow! That's a lot! Look forward to testing (and using) it!
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Post by Emryys » Sat Jan 06, 2007 6:53 pm

Ramza wrote:Just wanted to offer my encouragement. I'm still lurking around watching things develop. I'm hoping that BG matures nicely!
Ditto, and I hope the I-Con convention gets you some good exposure, Heruca :)

Omnidon's assesment is helpful especially the Chat inteface aspects...

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Plans for v1.0.6

Post by heruca » Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:41 pm

heruca wrote:More units deployable at once
I was sorta planning on squeezing this into v1.0.5, but have found that it will be a lot easier for me to do this after I break the chat panel off into its own window, so both of these things will be in v1.0.6. In addition to being in it's own window, the chat panel will get a complete overhaul and be much more customizable. This will be the main focus of v1.0.6.

However, since some users (e.g. projector users) don't care in the least about chat improvements, I want to throw in some new minor features, such as support for switching between multiple token poses (e.g., idle pose, combat pose, riding, kneeling, etc.). I also promised Omnidon I'd try to enhance Flash support in v1.0.6.

Feel free to throw in your vote for what features you'd prefer I add next, or let me know if you think I'm focusing my attention on the wrong areas.

I'm planning on releasing v1.0.6 in late February.

Edit: I almost forgot, I'm going to also start saving unit defaults in an external text file, so that your custom settings get preserved between version updates, and to make it easier to spot and troubleshoot problems if the default unit settings are ever corrupted (this might save folks from having to do a full reinstall). And while I'm at it, I want to make it so that any assets missing from an Encounter will get automatically imported into BRPG, if the program can find them on the hard drive.
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Post by Omnidon » Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:20 pm

If you don't get around to flash support for a couple of versions that's ok.
Flash support without true integration doesn't do much for the average user.

Mainly it's important as a stepping stone to adding an extensions feature, though advanced users may appreciate the ability to use embedded sound effects, animations, and weblinks. I suppose it would allow for a flash grid too, which everyone would like.

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Re: Plans for v1.0.6

Post by Full Bleed » Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:40 pm

heruca wrote:Feel free to throw in your vote for what features you'd prefer I add next, or let me know if you think I'm focusing my attention on the wrong areas.
As much as I'd really like to see the chat window be break-away (especially since the break-away code for that may allow for other break-away features in the future)... I'm really most interested in seeing 2 other features implemented that will greatly improve my chances of making BG my VTT of choice.


1) Distance measuring. If you can or have to apply this functionality before approved move, I'd be cool with that as a step in the right direction. Being able to measure distances is really important without snap-to-grid on. I'd really like to see a freehand drag and measure method for non-linear movement, but even something Klooge like would be better than nothing.

The way icons kind of warp around the screen in multiplayer when people move makes it nearly impossible to verify or provide any oversight on movement. If players could see the distance they've moved and the distance was reported in the chat window (or in some other Game Status window) at least then we'd have something to go by.

Fixing the whole diagonal "bonus" movement is a real plus too. ;)


2) Better Un/Masking/FoW tools. Again, I'm going to refer to Klooge on this one because they have an awesome un/masking tool (click>drag>release.) If it can be done better, then by all means, I'm behind you.

I'm hoping that you might find some memory leak problems here too. When testing for the first time over the internet with someone, I found that my system was consuming over 1 GIG of memory for BG after only a couple minutes of use. We were using the base grass map, had three figures deployed, and were using FoW. I'm guessing that it was a FoW issue, but I can't be sure. I'll be doing more rigorous testing when 1.05beta comes out.

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Post by Full Bleed » Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:41 pm

Omnidon wrote:If you don't get around to flash support for a couple of versions that's ok.

:shock:


Someone hacked Omnidon's Account!

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Post by Omnidon » Sat Feb 03, 2007 2:42 am

Full Bleed wrote:1) Distance measuring.
Yeah, that certainly would be nice.

In the meantime, here's a tool you might find handy:
http://www.battlegroundsgames.com/phpBB ... .php?t=570

In addition to the host of features I mentioned there, it includes a resizable screen ruler that can be used to measure pixels, inches, or centimeters right on the screen.
Full Bleed wrote:
Omnidon wrote:If you don't get around to flash support for a couple of versions that's ok.
:shock:

Someone hacked Omnidon's Account!
Ha, well as much as I'm looking forward to Flash, I don't want heruca feeling pressured to cram it in at the last minute. I have never claimed it was an urgent feature (it was near the bottom of my feature list on the previous page), and I know what it's like to have too much to do all at once. heruca is already being pretty ambitious with the next version.

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Post by Balesir » Mon Feb 05, 2007 12:23 pm

Line of sight! I know this is a tricky one, but it would address the (un)masking issue, largely, I think and would be a real differentiator of BRPG as a VT tool.

More figures deployed and better chat features are also important - multi pose figures and distance measurement, while cool, are less so, IMO.
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Post by heruca » Mon Feb 05, 2007 1:34 pm

Feel free to start a thread where we can discuss how LOS should be implemented. I imagine that such a feature would require the GM to draw out wall shapes that would block LOS, and that the LOS feature would be linked to the FoW feature, with the end result being a FoW system where light doesn't go through walls, doors, etc.

Is this what you mean by LOS?
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Post by Full Bleed » Mon Feb 05, 2007 2:33 pm

heruca wrote:Feel free to start a thread where we can discuss how LOS should be implemented. I imagine that such a feature would require the GM to draw out wall shapes that would block LOS, and that the LOS feature would be linked to the FoW feature, with the end result being a FoW system where light doesn't go through walls, doors, etc.

Is this what you mean by LOS?
I'll refrain from commenting on this too strongly until I understand its implementation. Perhaps a workable LoS system could employ some kind of easy to create LoS overlay that defines areas that one can not see through. Maybe something akin to the "dynamic wireframe masking object" mentioned in this thread:

http://www.battlegroundsgames.com/phpBB ... .php?t=645

Being able to flag objects as LoS blockers would be good too, but if it was the only way to use LoS then we would be forced to build our maps within BG... and that would significantly reduce the value of the feature.

Consequently, I think that the un/masking tools would probably have to precede the LoS implementation and tools.

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Post by heruca » Mon Feb 05, 2007 2:55 pm

Full Bleed wrote:I think that the un/masking tools would probably have to precede the LoS implementation and tools.
Absolutely.
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