Tag Archives: Release announcement

Release 5.1: WYSIWYG Functionality is Live

Ahoy, Commander! iToysoldiers is pleased to announce Release 5.1 (Tolstoy). This release of iToysoldiers reintroduces a better authoring experience for all of you chronicling the glory of your miniature armies with a WYSIWYG editor and the ability to add pictures inline with most content and comments.  It’s also much easier to add captions and titles to images on mobile devices.

Also in this release:

  • We’re now using AWS S3 for image storage.  How does this affect you?  Not really at all.  It will, however, lower the cost of iToysoldiers which is good for everybody ’cause that means I’m forking over less money for this site.  It also gives me the ability to introduce a more scalable site when the time comes.
  • I fixed the layout of tournament pages so that they’re more in line with other event pages.
  • The color theme on calendar pages has been fixed.
  • I applied a bunch of security patches.
  • Links to the messaging functionality are now hidden from folks who aren’t logged in.
  • Fixed a math error on the modelling pages where the model count was left blank (calculations and their fields now default to 1 and suppresses any project that has a null or invalid value).
  • A bunch of backend weirdness left over from previous releases have been fixed or removed.

So that’s 5.1.  If you have any suggestions, problems, etc you know all you have to do is zip over to the iToysoldiers Help Portal and let me know, right?

Carpe Acies!

Rob @ iToysoldiers

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

iToysoldiers now supports EVERY miniature wargame

Ahoy, Commander!

iToysoldiers is pleased to announce our latest release, 4.5-rc4 which, amongst a handful of other things, brings support for EVERY SINGLE MINIATURE GAME AND ARMY IN THE WORLD! Yep. It’s now possible to add your own armies or factions so you don’t have to wait for the iToysoldiers team to update when a new rule set is released or if we haven’t gotten around to adding your favorite game. How __ing cool is that?

So now, when you report a battle, start a modelling project, or show off your army profile you can enter whatever you want as the army or faction.  I’m totally excited about the possibilities here.

Now. There’s some caveats and quid pro quos here.  Game Systems will still need to be entered in by the iToysoldiers staff and we’re going to make an effort to go through the new factions and see if we can associate them with games but if you want to make sure that your favorite game is truly supported on iToysoldiers all you have to do is zip over to the “Request New Game Support” page and tell us about the game. We’ll get it in as soon as we can.

Now that I’ve gotten that bit of gushing out of the way, here’s some other stuff that’s in the release:

The interface for submitting and editing battles and army lists have been revamped to make them easier to use.  There’s now a series of tabs that group types of input together and all of the required fields are on the very first tab.  No more scrolling through lots of stuff you don’t care about to submit your battles and army lists.

Corrected a whole whack of errors on the League manager. I’m still not 100% sure why the last release failed me so badly but it should all be working now.

Corrected the issue where battle reports weren’t being truly updated on creation. Your opponent wasn’t getting the meta data when you created a battle and that messed up stats for both of you. Also updated all the affected battle reports.

Cleaned up a bunch of backend stuff. Nothing to see here.

So that’s the latest release! If you run into any issues or have some suggestions, I’d love to hear about them.  Zip over to the iToysoldiers Help Portal and let me know what’s on your mind.

Carpe Acies!
Rob @ iToysoldiers

iToysoldiers Ragnorak Brings a Better Wargaming Calendar

iToysoldiers is pleased to announce the release of iToysoldiers 4.5-rc1 – “Ragnorak”.  Ragnorak brings some major improvements to the miniature wargaming event calendar and listings as well as some much needed improvements to the features of gaming clubs listed on the site.

Calendar and Events

The biggest change in this release is the look of Events on the site.  They’ve been totally overhauled and present the event’s necessary information way better than before.  Take a look at the calendar and a few of the events and let me know what you think!

Another pretty huge change is part of the “Regroup and Sally Forth Project”. In order to make iToysoldiers a bit easier to use I’m rethinking how all the myriad options and features on the site are presented to you. The first real step to this is collapsing some of the features.  Specifically events, leagues, tournaments, etc.  It’s annoying and/or confusing to have to pick the right one right from the get go.  Well, Ragnorak helps by collapsing the Event and Calendar Only Event types into a single form. One form to rule them all and in darkness bind them.  Ultimately the plan is to collapse leagues and tournaments into the Event form as well but that’s a pretty big undertaking and I need to plan that out.  But in the meantime, if you want to post your miniature wargaming event on iToysoldiers – and even leverage some of the management features we offer, you can do it from a single form.

A minor change to Events is a switch to indicate whether you’re the event organizer or not. This is pretty cool, actually.  Here’s the use case: If you’re just posting an event as an FYI to the community you may not want to be listed on the page as the contact for the event.  I mean, you’re just sharing the info, right?  Well, now your name only shows up as the event organizer if you flip the “I’m the event organizer” switch on the form.  Of course, if you’re enabling the iToysoldiers features this switch will be flipped automatically.

Oh, and I fixed the ability for event organizers to edit registrations if they need to.  Still need to address the issue with this for Narrative Campaigns but it’s a start.

Gaming Clubs

Events can now be tied to a gaming club.  If your club administrator has given you permissions to create events for the club you can either click the link on the club page or select your club when creating an event.  All the members of the club will receive an email notification when you do so.

Oh! And speaking of club notifications…  They’re better now.  They actually provide a link to the content that was created.  This has been something that’s been preventing me from using the club functionality all that often.  It just didn’t really help at all.

Clubs now have a calendar tab!  So now that you can tie an event (or a league, or a tournament) to a club, so what? Well, now folks can peruse the events that are coming up on the club page.

Along with the new calendar tab is a refresh to the look of the club pages.  I think it’s better for sure.  I used a similar look and feel to the events since they kind of share similarities as far as the types of info they provide.

Errata

Removing Text Format options.  It killed me to do this, but part of the “Regroup and Sally Forth Project”, I’ve decided to disable the wysiwyg editor on iToysoldiers.  To the folks who used it, I apologize.  To the rest of you: Welcome to a cleaner interface when authoring content on iTS.  I plan to be diving into the wysiwyg functionality again but before I enable it I need to address some of the issues it has when being used with mobile devices.

Some various patching and security updates for the site.  Yawn.  Boring.

Fixed the URL to the iToysoldiers Help Portal in emails from the site.

Whew!

And there you have it!  Ragnorak is all about bring better miniature wargaming event lists and entries to the world. If you know about an event that’s coming up, why not take a moment to share it on iToysoldiers.  If you have any issues, suggestions, or feedback I’m all ears! Comment here or submit a request on the iToysoldiers Help Portal.

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

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

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

New Home Page and Player Profiles Live

Greetings, commander! iToysoldiers is super pleased to announce the release of “Kilgrave”.  The Kilgrave release introduces a brand new home page for folks who aren’t a member of the site yet as well as a brand spanking new player profile and stat pages for every player on the site. We’re also introducing our new iToysoldiers Help Portal, which isn’t huge news but still pretty slick.

Let’s chat about the new home page first.  The old one was kind of dated and had a few issues.  The first of which is that it didn’t really tell anyone what iToysoldiers was all about. Well, now it does. Yeah, it’s kind of a marketing page for the site but I think that’s okay ’cause it’s important to let people know what iToysoldiers has to offer the miniature wargaming community.  I built it to show off the player functionality ’cause that’s what most people are interested in.  I’m going to be working on the Ironmonger program (for local game stores) and the event management pieces shortly.

Now.  The really cool bit of Kilgrave is the new player profile pages and the stats pages.  Here’s some of the new features:

  • A consolidated statistics page that covers all of your activity on iToysoldiers.
  • A great new player “landing” page that highlights your best stuff on iToysoldiers and provides easy navigation to all of your content, decorations, and media.
  • A fantastic new battle statistics summary page with new charts, and even competitive play stats.  Check it out on the Stats tab of your profile.

And lastly, I’m introducing a new support portal – one that I control rather than a third party so I can be sure that all the usage follows the iToysoldiers privacy policy.  So if you ever have a question or wanna find our faqs you can zip over to http://help.itoysoldiers.com.

And that’s what’s in Kilgrave.  If you run into any issues don’t hesitate to let me know at http://help.itoysoldiers.com or send me an email at rob@itoysoldiers.com or you can comment here.  Curious to know what you think of the new stuff.

Carpe Acies!
Rob

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.