Category Archives: Modelling

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

Achievements for Modelling Projects are Live!

Greetings, Commander! I’m delighted to announce that as of right now, iToysoldiers has begun awarding achievements for your work on painting up your miniatures! There’s a new category of achievements, aptly titled, “Modelling” that shows off who’s been doing the most work on their armies.

Right now there’s three new achievements:

  • Modeller: for submitting a modelling project.
  • Requisition: a leveled achievement for aquiring models.
  • Uniform Regulation: another leveled achievement for completing ’em.

You should get on earning some of these by tracking your modelling on iToysoldiers.

Oh, and this new release also fixed about 53 bugs that’ve been sitting around and bothering me. Granted, you probably won’t notice the bulk of the work on these since they’re largely back end type stuff but every little bit works to make iToysoldiers faster, better, and more stable. Yay me!

Of course there’s always more to do and I’m sure I continue to miss stuff (or there’s something I haven’t even considered) so if you want to make a feature request or report a bug feel free to do so at the iToysoldiers Help Portal.  In the meantime:

Carpe Acies!
Rob @ iToysoldiers

What’s in the pipeline at iToysoldiers

So here’s what I’m working on right now:

Achievements for modelling projects

That’s right! You’re going to be able to earn achievements for your model collection.  That’s great news for folks who’re on iToysoldiers to pimp their painting studio or aren’t really all that interested in the battle achievements (or you’re like me and you love playing but you suck something fierce).

BUG BUG BUG Fixes

So on the backend there’s a whack of niggly little issues.  I’m working my way through ’em.  If you could only see my GIT commit log.  It’s shocking that iTS even works.  *snicker.

Eternal Minis : Show off Your Modelling Projects

*sigh.  I’m not one to pimp possible competitors but Eternal Minis has a really slick site for showing off your miniatures.  If you have some free time, after you’ve updated your modelling projects on iToysoldiers, I’d definitely recommend posting them to Eternal Minis as well.

Oh!  And as a side note…  We’re in convo about sharing data between sites so hopefully you won’t have to post twice which I know is a pain in the keister!

Rob @ iToysoldiers

Kilgrave mK III: Modelling Stats and a new Dashboard

Ahoy, Commander!

So I’m working on Kilgrave mK III, the last mark of this particular release and here’s what I have planned:

  1. Modelling Project Stats
  2. A Revised Dashboard that shows things that require attention.
  3. Bug fixes identified by mK II.

Now, that’s not to say that I won’t go back and revisit the profiles and player stats.  It’s just that I think I have this bit sorted for now – or more accurately that I’ve achieved the goal of providing certain features.  So if you’ve found a bug, have an idea for an improvement or what have you… Bestest: Support Portal.  More best: Comment here.  Best: email me at rob@itoysoldiers.com.

Carpe Acies!
Rob

Kilgrave mK II is now live: Content Stats!

Greetings, commander!

On Friday I released the newest version of iToysoldiers: Kilgrave mK II.  In addition to all the really slick stuff that was part of Kilgrave, there’s now content stats!

If you visit your player profile you’ll see a “Stats” tab.  Click on that.  Then click the “Content” sub tab.  There you’ll see an overview of the content you’ve submitted to iToysoldiers along with some page view, comment, and salute values.  I wanted to make sure that if you’re using iToysoldiers to chronicle the glory of your miniature wargaming armies that you can see that folks are reading your stuff. The detailed statistics are largely based on the kind of information that Blogspot provides.  I figured if it was good enough for them it’d be good enough for us.

Also there’s some bug fixes – specifically new players and how their profile displays.  Now there’s no more floating headers without content. I’ve also tweaked some bits of the theme to be a bit more “what you might expect”.  Little fiddly bits (like the logout button doesn’t show up if you’re not logged in – stuff like that) which weren’t huge but needed to be addressed.

So now, Kilgrave has all the above plus what was announced here.

If your curious here’s what the Kilgrave release contains (including all marks) to date:

  1. Updated Player profiles
  2. Updated Home page for anonymous visitors
  3. Updated Stats page layout
  4. Updated Content page layout
  5. Updated Battle Stats
  6. Updated Content Stats
  7. A new Help Portal
  8. Various Bug fixes

Now I just have to get Kilgrave mK III in the wild and then I’ll be able to start work on “Ragnorok”.  Yay!  As always, if you have any comments, issues, suggestions, I aim to please.  You can email me at rob@itoysoldiers, comment here, or submit something on the Help Portal.  Zip on over to iToysoldiers and checkout the new hotness!

Carpe Acies!
Rob

What’s a core feature to miniature wargamers?

I’ll admit that I get distracted with nifty new things that I can add to iToysoldiers.com.  It’s extremely tempting to fiddle with new features and unfortunately that comes at the expense of things that one might consider to be “core” features.  So over the last week or so I’ve been thinking about what the core features of iToysoldiers are from a player perspective and I’m committing to polishing those up.  Here’s the list I’ve come up with for each of the three major aspects of the hobby:

Gaming

  • Battle Reports and Stats: Kind of where iToysoldiers started.  I mean, the original tagline of the site was, “We have stats. Stats are cool”.  To be fair, I’m always working on making this better.  The Kilgrave release is going to see some new player stat pages that I think you’ll like. Submit a battle and let me know how I can improve them.
  • ListCrit: I’m kinda bummed that more folks don’t take advantage of the listcrit system.  I find a lot of folks use the Army Profile and/or blog functions to post their lists.  That’s cool.  I mean, use it how you want, right?  ListCrit was inspired by the ship buildout tools for Eve Online.  I need to revisit this ’cause I think I may have made it too cumbersome.  But anyway, a place to get peer reviews of your army list is pretty neat, right?
    Any thoughts on how I can make ListCrit better?

Modelling

  • Modelling Projects: The first thing I need to do is decide how I’m going to spell this on the site.  “Modelling” and “modeling” are both correct depending upon what country you’re from.  But I digress.  This is one of the newer features on the site.  Immediate needs are stats and achievements related to the projects.
    Take a look at the modelling projects and let me know what you think of where they’re at right now.

Narrative

  • Army Profiles: So the inspiration for army profiles are those old Index Astartes articles in White Dwarf. I don’t have any specific plans right now to improve it (there was a release not too long ago that added some authoring tools that are kind of cool.  Any feedback on the Army Profiles as they are?

So that’s my list, from a player perspective.  Did I miss any that I should be focusing on? Any ideas for improvements on them? Don’t hesitate to let me know.

#Finishthem30

I imagine a fair number of you can relate to my problem:  I have an army, my Dark Eldar, that look pretty good on the tabletop but by and large most of the models aren’t really finished.  I keep getting distracted by new models.  So, I get them to reasonable tabletop quality and then start on a new toy and as a result I’ve a backlog of models that need some TLC to really look great on the tabletop.  I mentioned in the Astronomi-con Toronto Debrief (http://itoysoldiers.com/blog/astronomi-con-toronto-2016-modelling-debrief) that I think this was a major factor in bringing my painting score down.  So I’ve decided dive into a project that will encourage me to finish my models – at least my Dark Eldar ones.

I’m calling it #Finishthem30.  Starting Monday, July 18th, I’m going to post a picture on Twitter and Instagram every day for thirty days showing some progress I’ve made towards getting my units totally finished.  I’m going to be tagging the posts with #Finishthem30 and #FinishtheMalfeanDawn.  It might be a minor thing (most of the tasks left are minor) but it will be done come hell or high water.  I’m confident that a “structure” will help me focus on getting these models finished.

I’m starting with the models I plan to field at the Summer Slaughter tournament.  That’ll give me a solid 1850 point list that I like to play and then move on to some of the other units I have available to me.  At the end of the 30 days I don’t expect to have ALL of my models completely done but I should have a respectable amount of work done.  Right now I’m taking out my models and going through them to list out the stuff I need in order to get each unit complete.  It’s a bit disheartening but I don’t think it’s really as bad as the long list would tend to indicate.

I’d love for some of you folks to join me.  If you participate, make sure that you tag your twitter and/or Instagram posts with the hashtag #finishthem30.  If you’re an iToysoldiers player there might even be an achievement if you make it through all 30 days!

Carpe Acies!
Rob

iToysoldiers is pleased to welcome Relic Knights

Greetings, Warmongers! I’m delighted to add the superfun looking “Relic Knights” by Sodapop Miniatures to the fold.  I’ll freely admit that I haven’t had an opportunity to play this game but I’m a huge fan of the whole anime/mecha aesthetic so this game looks fantastic.  Anyway, here’s some flavor text from the game to kind of give you a feel for the game.

The Darkspace Calamity engulfs the universe. Inexorably it devours galaxies whole, their lights extinguished one by one. Only a single galaxy remains, desperately staving off extinction through the might of its heroes.

Relic Knights is a quick and dynamic tabletop strategy battle game that uses finely detailed 30mm scale miniatures to represent your heroes and villains on the battlefield. Relic Knights uses a card-based system to represent esper—the energy which binds the universe. Players draw and use this esper to unleash devastating attacks and cunning counters upon their foes.

You can take a look at the, albeit spare, Relic Knight page.  I can’t wait to see some of these games and models posted.

Carpe Acies!
Rob

What’re You Working On? Modeling Projects Updated

Ahoy, commanders! I just wanted to take a moment and gush about some improvements I made to the Modeling Project system. Here’s a few bullets to cover the biggies:

First: I seriously improved the navigation of the main Modeling Projects page. There’s a link to create a modeling project, a list of the newest projects, the most popular projects and a brief stat summary. You can take a peek at all these at http://itoysoldiers.com/munitions/modeling-projects

Second: There’s a whole bunch of new ways to look for modeling projects.  There’s tabs for all projects, popular projects, your projects, and the projects of folks who you follow.

Third: I added some stats to the modeling project page at http://itoysoldiers.com/munitions/modeling-projects/stats . As always, their kinda pedestrian right now but as more projects get in the system it’ll be easier to see what sort of info is of note.

Fourth: I created a “Current Project” widget that you can put on your blog.  It works great on Blogger, Blogspot, and WordPress.  Probably others as well.  This you can check out at http://itoysoldiers.com/widgets.  If you want to see it in action you can venture over to my (neglected) blog at orias40k.blogspot.ca.  It’s on the right hand side column, the “Current Project” block.

Lastly, When you add an image to the project (either through the “Image Upload” for on the page or in the gallery widget when you edit a project it’ll add it to the project page as well.  Neat, eh?

There’s a few backend things as well but those are the important bits.  If you have any comments, issues, suggestions you know I’m all ears.  In the mean time:

Carpe Acies!
Rob