Itty Bitty Battle Report Release Today

Good morning, commander!

I implemented release code name, “Hastur” today.  Honestly, the changes are fairly minimal.  Mostly backend battle report type stuff.  There’s a minor change to the layout of the battle reports to put tem more in line with other types of content as well as playing with the tools bar.  What do you think of the buttons as opposed to the straight links?

Oh! The main Battle Report page also has new tabs that show all battles, your battles, trending battles, and battles of folks you follow.  I’m going to be adding that to most sections eventually.

Also, I fixed the achievement logic for battle oriented achievements.  Now they trigger when you create a battle so you don’t have to wait for a modification, a new battle or someone to acknowledge the battle.  I also cleaned it up so that it’ll be easier to implement new achievements in the future and that’s a good thing.

Lastly, I made some improvements to the look and feel of the monthly battle champion achievement.  Look for it on July 1st.  It’s more better.

See… Not a terribly interesting release really.  But that brings me to a bit of a chatter about the next release:  “Smaug”.  Smaug’s going to bring in something I’ve been threatening to do for a long time, namely, support for the Privateer Press Steamroller tournament format.  The good news is that the rule set isn’t terribly different from the existing Swiss format that’s the bread and butter of the iToysoldiers Tournament Manager.  When I built the tournament system I tried to think ahead and allow for a modular building block system.  Now I’m calling it the “War Zone Framework” and all the event management stuff is being driven through it.  Seems to be working pretty well.  Anyway.  That’s what I’m working on.

If you have any suggestions for improvements to the site or things you’d like to see I’m all ears!  Drop me a line at rob@itoysoldiers.com or post a comment here.

Army Profiles Get Some Love

Ahoy, Commander!

I just released the oh-so-cleverly titled Release 4.3-rc5 release on iToysoldiers.  I know.  I need better names, right?  I should use really cool code names like other software developers.  Yeah, we’re going to do that starting now!  Henceforth this release is code named, “Stormageddon”.  So, Stormageddon has two major facets.  The first is an attempt to address some of the bugginess when creating and editing content on smart phones and tablets.  Who knew there was a secret number for the font size that triggered zoom?  Anyway, in order to make it a bit easier to manage on a mobile device I’ve set the default editing screen to a “Basic” format.  It’s essentially a text box without any bells or whistles.  It’s great for the down and dirty stuff like responding to discussions, or reporting a battle or simply uploading a photo.

The Advanced screen (there’s a toggle at the bottom of applicable text fields that lets you switch between the two) has all the nifty features like embedding images, cool formatting features and the like.  So if you’re like me, sitting in front of a laptop or desktop all day, you can fiddle with the formatting until it’s just right.  The advanced filter is still a bit wonky on phones – it behaves okay on tablets and I’m going to continue to work at it but this should address most of the issues.  Also, because the javascript isn’t loading up initially (or at least rendering), some of the double posting issues and text replacement bizarreness should be minimized. Let me know if you’re still having issues.  I’m working on getting it better all the time.

And now it’s time to talk about the second facet.  Army Profiles.  So the idea behind Army Profiles on iToysoldiers was to have a place where you could bring all the elements of your army together and kind of show it off/tell its story.  For you 40K players, I pictured a kind of “Index Astartes” article type thing.  The Stormageddon release adds some cool features to make that a reality.

If you start a new Army Profile (http://itoysoldiers.com/node/add/army-profile) and scroll down past the description you’ll see a series of buttons.  Each button describes a “kind” of content block.  There’s headers, notable units, etc.  I look at these as building blocks for building your army profile.  If you zip over to my Dark Eldar profile, The Kabal of the Malfean Dawn, you’ll see what it looks like when you utilize these functions.

Oh! I also added a block on the sidebar that shows all the modelling projects associated with a particular army profile.  Cool, eh?

Anyway, give it a whirl and let me know how it all works for you.  I’m excited to add some more content to my profiles so you can all read more of my sloppy prose.  Feel free to ping me at rob@itoysoldiers.com or on the site at http://itoysoldiers.com or here in the comments if you have any feedback, suggestions, or what I’ve done is driving you batty.

Carpe Acies!
Rob

Three is the Magic Number

Well how did this happen? iToysoldiers is now three years old.  I’m pretty pleased with that. I mean, who’d’ve thunk that a crazy little website I originally created to track battle stats would still be kicking after three years.  I’d like to thank you for being part of iToysoldiers and helping me make it into the tool for chronicling the glory of our armies that it is today.  Honest. I couldn’t have done this without all the input, suggestions, bug reports, and content you guys are creating.  Thank you! Continue reading Three is the Magic Number

One Thing to Rule Them All

Hey! It being the auspicious third year anniversary of iToysoldiers and all that, I was wondering if I could borrow a bit of your time.  You see, I’d like to know the “One Thing” I can do to improve iToysoldiers for you.  I’d also like to kind of gauge how you’re feeling about the site in general. To that end, I present to you the “One Thing 2016 Survey”.  If you’d be so kind as to give the question, “What’s one thing Rob can do to improve iToysoldiers?” some thought and then complete this survey I’d really appreciate it.  You have no idea how much this helps me.  You don’t HAVE to give me your email but sometimes it’s helpful to get some clarification on your ideas. Continue reading One Thing to Rule Them All

I Blame the Game

I’ve been lax on making iToysoldiers better.  There’s a sorta good reason for it.  Two, actually.  The first is every so often I need to step back and let it run without me tweaking stuff to see what breaks.  That and to kind of give me a break from staring at the site.  The second is that I’ve really gotten sucked into a new game.  Well, it’s not new anymore.  The game’s “Stellaris” and it’s absolutely fantastic. I’ve been playing it to death for about a month.  Now that I think about it that’s like 8% of the year and that makes me sad.  I’ve waited too long.

So let me take a moment to kind of talk about some good stuff I’ve taken from my break.  The premise behind Stellaris is that you’re in charge of running a vast galactic empire. It’s from the same guys that made Hearts of Iron.  The depth of this game is amazing! You can pretty much customize everything and run the kind of empire you want, develop ships and military they way you want, name ships and planets and people.  The list goes on and on.  It’s the game I’ve been looking for.

Part of what’s so appealing is that you can “role play” your society.  You can enslave other races, build a scientific power house, anything.  It’s what you can usually only do when you play tabletop games like we do because there’s a flexibility that isn’t usually present in computer games.  And that’s the cool bit: The story of your empire.  I’ve often commented on how we can add more narrative elements to our games – move from World of Tanks to Hearts of Iron.  In other words, put our miniature wargaming battles into the context of a story that makes the battles matter.  I’m not talking about simply whether you win the prize in the league or tournament but whether your stalwart band is able to defend the bunker against vile raiders and thus prevent a loss of supply lines in the campaign.

What miniature games have right now is pretty decent for handling minor battles.  Tree or ladder campaigns are great for stringing together a series of tabletop games to represent a particular engagement or battle.  There’s even a few rule sets that aim to deal with planetary or regional conquest.  What I don’t see a whole ton of, at least in sci-fi/fantasy gaming, is a system to capture the logistical challenges of a large scale campaign.  I’ve found that Victory By Any Means provides a really good starting point for this kind of thing.  It includes rules for all sorts of mechanics for handling logistics, fleet building, movement, combat, politics, etc.  I cringe at the thought of actually running a campaign using the rules though.  Lots to keep track of and without some sort of “manager” it’d be hard for players to keep track of what’s going on unless they’re really close friends who hang out a lot.

But I’m digressing a bit.  I think I need to revisit the Narrative Campaign manager on iToysoldiers and try to make it easier to use.  The stories of our battles are important and you folks deserve a great way to handle running a narrative campaign. If you have any suggestions on improvements for the manager or some thoughts on what’s barred you from using it to date I’d love to hear them.  Computer gamers should NOT be the only folks who can have complex and rich environments in which to battle. I want to help.

Okay.  And now… I’ve been absent and for that I apologize. These breaks are good for me and in turn for you ‘cause I return refreshed and ready to tackle problems.  Thanks for your patience.

Carpe Acies!
Rob