Category Archives: Community

What’s Inside iToysoldiers Version 5.0

Greetings, commander! I’m deliriously excited to announce the release of iToysoldiers Version 5.0. As befits a major release, there’s just a ridiculous number of new things and improvements.  I’m going to try and itemize them all here for your reading enjoyment. Of course the best way to experience all the new stuff is to visit iToysoldiers.com and experience it yourself.

Improved Site Design

Probably the most obvious change is the site layout and theme.  I’ve opted to dramatically simplify the menus and various widgets on the page because I got a bit carried away with trying to be clever.  The end result is that pretty much everything you might want to see and do can be done from the navigation bar at the top of the page. I’ve also tried to bring all of the features and menus in line with the five major categories of the site.  Navigation is hugely improved as a result and I think you’ll find it easier to explore both the features of the site and the exploits of your fellow commanders.

A change that I think you’ll really appreciate is the “Add Content” menu.  It’s been broken down into categories so the list of things you can create to show off your miniature armies is a bit less… well… random. Here’s how the categories work out:

Gaming: putting the dice on the table (or planning for it).  Battle Reports and Army Lists.

Modelling: Building your models and putting paint to the plastic (or resin, metal, whathaveyou).

Narrative: Telling the story of your armies and their exploits: Narrative campaigns and Army Profiles

Theater: Where, when and with whom you play: Events, tournaments, clubs, and battlefields.

Community: Kind of everything else: Player profiles and leaderboards, Blogs, Galleries, and Forums/Discussions.

There’s a final section – for you technically minded folks – I’m calling Core.  It represents backend and UX improvements that really aren’t really player facing. Oddly enough, Core elements, even though they’re not necessarily obvious, you’d hate the site if I didn’t give them some TLC.  This is stuff like making sure I’m using the right libraries for various things, author experience, performance things, and the like.  Boring, Sydney.  Boring.

I’ve put a bit more consistency into the site.

Comments look the same (ish) whether you’re posting on a forum post, a battle report, or an image that someone’s uploaded.  Author content blocks look the same on all the various content types.

The activity stream on the front page (for those of you who’re logged in) has been dramatically simplified.  I removed that timeline bar from the display so it doesn’t take up valuable space when you’re using your mobile device or tablet to look at the page.  I also did some work on the formatting of how items show up on the page so they’re a bit more consistent.

The layout of pages – both for the battles, lists, blogs, etc that you create as well as the pages that list site wide content have (mostly) gotten a bit of attention.  The display of content is a bit more consistent across the site.

Image galleries are now formatted in such a way that it’s easier to view them and interact with images (like commenting on them or seeing larger versions).

Maps are back

Once upon a time, iToysoldiers had a number of different map based views.  Over time they’ve been disabled – largely ‘cause of technical issues.  Well, that’s changed!  I have a beautiful new mapping repository and library which makes creating maps easy.  Two maps have returned: The battlefield map for battle reports and the battlefield display for players – it shows where a player has engaged in battle.  Gotta tell you, I’m excited to add more.

Categorical Improvements

Since I’ve taken all this time to consolidate the site into five major categories, I should probably list improvements the same way, right?

Gaming

Player battle stats have gotten a major overhaul.  Rather than lumping all of your stats together, battle stats are displayed by faction.

Player battle stats also have “raw data” tables that can be manipulated with various filters to allow for more in depth analysis of your battle results.

The battle report pages have gotten a major facelift.

You can now link a battle to an army list entry on the site.  You can even create an army list from the battle report screen.  It’s totally optional. I’ll be providing real stats for army lists in the near future.

Modelling

One thing I’ve wanted is a list of my models, by army and unit, with how many I have and how many are completed.  Well.  It’s there now.  You can see an example, mine, here.  <insert: http://itoysoldiers.com/user/16/modelling/collection>  Fair warning: I don’t have all my models up yet but I’m working on it.

Community

You didn’t think I’d leave your player profile alone whilst bringing everything into a more consolidated look and feel did you?  Well, even if you did, I didn’t.  Player profiles are now way better because they consolidate your miniature wargaming exploits (and other site activities) into the five major categories.  There’s now a tab for gaming, modelling, narrative, theater, and community.  When you and others peruse your profile they’ll (and you) will have an easier time drilling down to what’s important to them (or you).

Core

There’s a ridiculous number of backend fixes and improvements. Most of it was removing deprecated stuff that didn’t hold up to the new categorization system.  Stuff like that helps improve the performance of the site in general ‘cause there’s no need to reference things that aren’t there anymore.  However…

After much internal debate I’ve decided to use UserVoice <insert link> as iToysoldiers Help Portal. The main reason?  I really value the “I suggest you…” feature.  See, UserVoice is not only a support ticket tracker, it also does an amazing job of helping me prioritize what should come next with iToysoldiers.  It’s also one less thing I have to manage and that’s a good thing.

Speaking of which…

So that’s Release 5.0.  I’m excited.  I think it’s one of the more helpful releases I’ve done.  That said, I may have missed some things.  I might’ve introduced a bug.  It’s even possible that there’s something iToysoldiers doesn’t do that make showing off your miniature wargaming armies easier. That’s why I have the support portal.  Let me know! Really.  Zip over to http://itoysoldiers.uservoice.com and tell me about what I could be doing better.  Of course you could reply here or send me an email at rob@itoysoldiers.com as well.  I aim to please.  I hope you like the new version of iToysoldiers.

Carpe Acies!
Rob @ iToysoldiers

iToysoldiers Release Announcement: 4.5-BG575 – introducing Emoticons

Greetings, commander! iToysoldiers is pleased to announce a wee little release to address something that’s kind of been a problem for a long time but really reared its ugly head in the last couple of days.  As of January 23rd, 2017 iToysoldiers fully supports utf8mb4 encoding!  Isn’t that exciting?  Sounds impressive doesn’t it?  Well, what it means is that if your comment, post, whathaveyou has an emoticon or other special character the site will no longer toss an error and trash your content.  This was a particular issue when using a mobile device.  But it’s fixed now.  Yay!

Just one more in a long list of improvements to authoring content on iToysoldiers!

Now… I know there’s other annoying things so if you have any that are really driving you batty please let me know.  The best way is through the iToysoldiers Help Portal.

Carpe Acies!
Rob @ iToysoldiers

A Grand Journey For a Better User Experience

Well… In my constant attempt to fulfill the mantra, “I aim to please” I’ve discovered that I might’ve made iToysoldiers a bit too… how to say it… complex.  There’s too many choices – especially for creating events and the like.  And what’s worse is that the underlying code doesn’t handle modifications to those events terribly well.

And so Ragnorak comes to the rescue!  The plan is to collapse all events/calendar items/etc into a single content type.  The first phase of Ragnorak is to revamp the look and feel of the events.  I’m also hoping to deprecate the “Special Event” content type which leaves only Tournaments, Leagues, and Narrative campaigns as choices if you’re entering an event.  Phase two of Ragnorak is to collapse leagues and tournaments into the Event type.

The idea here is that there’ll be one way to enter events (and in darkness bind them) rather than having to choose from multiple types of content.  Narrative campaigns will still be a special case but I really need to go back and address them.  Right now they kind of suck.

I’m pretty enthusiastic about the new features.  But now’s your chance…  If you have any suggestions about how iToysoldiers handles events I’d be happy to hear about it.  Post your comments here.

Carpe Acies!
Rob @ iToysoldiers

Kilgrave mK III Released

Greetings, commander!

iToysoldiers is super pleased to announce that Kilgrave mK III was successfully released today.  It’s the last mK I have planned for Kilgrave and whilst there’s always more work to be done, the player profiles, player stats, and dashboard are in a pretty good state, me thinks.  Of course, as always, if you run into a bug, have a suggestion, or want something new, feel free to bounce over to http://help.itoysoldiers.com and submit a ticket or send me an email at rob@itoysoldiers.com.

Anywho, Here’s a list of the new stuff in Kilgrave mK III.

New Features

The Dashboard has been totally redesigned.  Lots of new features and panels.  Older – useless ones – have been removed or relocated into the Stats display.  You can check out your dashboard by logging into iToysoldiers and visiting your Dashboard.

Modelling project statistics are now live! Granted, they’re a bit pedestrian at this point but I’m confident that as more folks use the feature it’ll become clear as to what sort of stats are particularly valuable.  Any way.  They’re located on the Stats panel of your profile.

The iToysoldiers Help Portal has gotten a major facelift.  It’s now responsive! And it has a calendar to give you a kind of history/view of what sort of things are happening in the background at iToysoldiers.  The good news is that it runs on a separate server so if iToysoldiers is having an issue you can still access the help portal.  I’m currently working on improving the knowledge base. Give it a look see and tell me what you think (or report some of those troublesome bugs you’ve been experiencing).

Bug Fixes

I disabled the “Status” submission form until it generates something that can actually be acted upon.  It was a cool idea but it suffered from not really having been implemented properly.

I fixed the “Action” bar at the top of the home page to include the Stream, Quick Battle Reports, New Lists, and New Models.  I also addressed the stupid big white bar between the stream and the buttons.

Improvements to some of the page metadata so that search engines will have an easier time indexing them.  More views to your stupendous content, my friend.

I closed the hole that allowed anonymous people to comment on certain content.  No more “phantom” New Comment emails.  (Yeah, they were able to comment but those comments didn’t show up.  Fixed!)

I THINK I’ve fixed the annoying behavior on iOS devices that forced you to click a link twice to make it work.  Some links – especially those with tooltips may still require a second click because that’s how iOS works (first click displays the tooltip, second click activates the link).  Anyway, I think I’ve reduced some of the annoyance there.

I fixed the private message icon on the player profile page so now when you click it you’ll actually be brought to the PM page.  Sorry ’bout that one.

Anyway.  That’s new and improved! Let me know if there’s anything else I can address, improve, fix, or otherwise make iToysoldiers a better site.  In the meantime:

Carpe Acies!
Rob

And Now… Kilgrave mK II: Fixing some stuff on Player Profiles

Good morning, Commander!

So last week I released Kilgrave which did some really cool things for player profiles and battle stats.  Alas, as per usual, I found some stuff that made me unhappy when it actually hit the site.  The most glaring of these is for newish players.  Profile and stat screens had headers all over the place and no content in the section.  Why? Well, it’s cause there wasn’t anything to display.  That’s kind of annoying.  There were also a couple of other bugs introduced by some of the backend stuff I put into place.  Nothing huge but still…

So… What I’ve been working on this week is Kilgrave mK II.  It’s primarily a bug fix release but it’ll also bring content stats into the stats page (stuff like how many page views, salutes, comments your blogs, galleries, modelling projects, etc have).  Hopefully I’ll have this released by Friday.

After that I’ll start work on Kilgrave mK III.  The plan for this bad boy is to address modelling project statistics and the dashboard (which I’m going to be revamping).

So that’s the short term plan.  If you haven’t checked out the new stuff then zip over to your player profile and take a gander.  I’m pretty pleased.  Oh! And of course, if you find any issues do not hesitate to let me know.  You can either visit the new Help Portal or drop me an email at rob@itoysoldiers.com.  ‘course you could comment here.  I’m pretty flexible.

Carpe Acies!

Rob