Ahoy! Well, since I’m trying to be a bit more organized I figured I’d also let you guys see into what’s on the roadmap for the rest of the year. Important: If there’s something you’d like to see on the list feel free to visit the iToysoldiers Support Portal and get it in there.
So on the iToysoldiers site I still have a legacy forum that asks for feedback on how to improve the site. It really shouldn’t be there ’cause I really want to get “backend” type content out of the site proper. However, every so often there’s a post there and it gets me thinking. In particular, I’m thinking about player battle stats and how to generate/display them.
If you’re interested, the post in question is here: http://itoysoldiers.com/forum-post/8th-edition-stats. Essentially the ask is to allow players to “reset” their stats when a new edition of a rule set comes out (or whatever reason floats their boat). I think this is a fair ask to a certain extent. But here’s the rub: I don’t think a player really wants to “reset” stats. I think what they really really really want is the ability to display stats with more granularity and customization than I currently allow. Allow me to explain:
As I was first building iToysoldiers I made a design decision to force players to pick specific elements representing their battle from a list I provided. For example: You couldn’t just add an army faction. Missions went into the mission field. Points per army went into the points field. I did this so that there’d be a way to aggregate data specific to a particular meta item and display it relative to every battle on the site. For sure this helped keep my stat displays under control but unfortunately, it also means that players were only provided battle stat combinations that I created. This is the problem.
How am I fixing this?
Well, the good news is that I’ve already started to do so! The first major step to addressing this came when I allowed folks to add any faction into the “Army” field. Yeah, for sure this has caused some problems – specifically with folks adding stream of consciousness type values into that field. But as more players participate in the site that’s becoming less of an issue.
The second part of a fix is what I’m working on now. Player battle stats are now tiered. To explain: there’s high level stats based upon every game. Stuff like win/loss/draw, # of battles, and that sort of thing. But there’ll also be a specific page for each army that a player has entered battle reports for. To use me as an example, I’ll have CSM, Dark Eldar, Ynnari and World Eaters as my armies and I’ll have a specific page for each. Kinda like this:
There’s also an advanced filter view without graphs for detailed comparisons:
So each army that you play will have these views. Now, if you’re playing a new army or something it’s pretty easy to “reset” your stats because they’ll be army specific. And since you can enter anything you want into the Army field a player could reset their stats by using a new army tag. But…
It Could Be Better
Yeah. It could be better. And here’s what I’m thinking. What if there was a world where a player wasn’t restricted to the elements of a battle that I consider important? What if this world allowed players to tag a battle report with elements that they thought were important instead of having to enter data in a fairly ridiculous number of fields? What if every meta item was treated the same and battle stats could be generated using a selection of meta elements rather than specifically associating a meta item to a particular input/output field?
That’s what I’m thinking about now: How to revamp the battle reports to be more flexible, easier to use, and more useful when looking at battle stats. Right now it’s just a seed of an idea and thinking about it is drawing attention to some of the really iffy design choices I made early on. It’ll be a fair amount of work to do this. Not so much to build it an put it into effect – but rather make old battle reports obey a set up like this.
So what do you think? I really really really want to know. It’s feedback that spawns improvement in the site and this is a great example: One forum post and suddenly I’m think of huge improvements. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our support portal at http://itoysoldiers.uservoice.com or comment here. I aim to please.
Ahoy, Commander! So it’s been a really really long time since I visited the Narrative Campaign Manager on the site. I think the first iteration of it was pretty neat. It allowed folks to create narrative campaigns that could be played over and over again. These campaigns could be organized in a linear fashion or using a node system (like planets or battlefields). Players could pick which faction they wanted to be part of and have their games count toward the over all results of the campaign.
A couple of folks jumped on board and created and/or ran their narrative campaigns using iToysoldiers. That made me happy. However, it wasn’t without noticing that there were some things that weren’t quite there. And so, I present to you: A List of things I want to add to the iToysoldiers Narrative Campaign Manager.
Either manually or based on rules, I want the campaign organizer to be able to define special rules that are enabled against certain conditions or phases of the campaign. Something like, “Phase 1: Faction: +1 to reserve rolls during this phase”. These special rules would show up on the campaign instance.
Getting buy in from other players to commit to a long term campaign is hard. What’s easier is defining a narrative around the games you play against whoever happens to be around.
Along the same line as solo campaigns, the Narrative Campaign Manager should be able to handle players anywhere. Think of the Eye of Terror campaign that Games Workshop ran or the various WWII campaigns run by Warlord. Essentially, anyone can sign up and report battles against the event. Those battles would then help craft the story line as it continues.
Just In Time Narrative
This one will be harder but I think it’d be cool. So the first time a narrative campaign is run it would update the “core” entry on iToysoldiers. The idea being that you can create a narrative campaign as you go and then it’ll save it for other people.
I wander back and forth on this one though. See, one of the reasons that I built the Narrative Campaign Manager the way I did was to prevent folks from losing interest and abandoning campaigns. If the campaign is written and ready to go before it even starts it’s much more likely to be played to completion. On the other hand, it could be said that playing the games the first time around define the story line of the campaign. Still working on this one.
Anyway, that’s what’s in my head for future Narrative Campaign work. I have a bit of stuff ahead of this on the pipeline but I’ll get around to it.