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Farcaster
04-18-2013, 02:01 AM
First, no, I don't mean actually doing a Kick Starter campaign -- aren't there enough of those already?! What I mean is that Pen & Paper Games has been coasting along as it is for a couple years now with not much in the way up updates, innovation, or to be frank, involvement from myself to move it forward.

And, I want to change that. But, I think P&PG needs to figure out what it is going to be. A lot of the focus of the original site was on connecting players through the Player Registry, but this in and of itself isn't enough to create a vibrant and active community. So, I tried to create a place for gamers to not only meet, but a space where they could chat and exchange ideas through our forums. Since I started up P&PG though, social media has changed a LOT. Facebook has become one of the biggest sites (maybe the biggest?) on the planet, and "tweeting" has become an integral part of our collective lexicon.

The way we communicate online continues to change -- enough so that I'm not even sure what role traditional Forums such as this one have... I looked down this barrel a long time ago when things moved from local BBS's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulletin_board_system) -- some of you are probably too young to even know what that is -- and now I find myself looking down that barrel again. As I see it, P&PG has two choices if it has any future. It has to embrace the old and become the best at it that it can possibly be; competing for audience among sites like RPG.net and ENWorld. OR, it has to evolve, and to be honest, I'm not really sure what that would look like.

So, I put the question to you. Though we have many, many members, if you are reading this, you are probably among a much smaller group that visits these forums on a regular basis. So, I am wondering, what is it that brings you back? What is it that you feel like P&PG offers that you can't readily get elsewhere? And, what do you think this site could do better? ... If this was your site, what would you do with it?

I'm open to any ideas you all have. Hit me with it, because I do want this site to succeed and not simply fold up and disappear into the digital ether as so many others have.

Soft Serve
04-18-2013, 02:42 AM
Intelligent conversations in the chat and the ability to host play-by-chat games there. All of the regulars I can name, I run into in chat with the exception of Nijineko.

If this were my site, I'd put emphasis on what the community is creating. Putting spotlights on homebrew RPGs or settings, and making an upgrade to the ability to host games by chat here. Part of the appeal of RPGs is that it's something you created. A place where anyone can get their projects 5 minutes of fame doesn't exist. Put high rated creations on the front page or in their own category or what have you.

Maybe a panel of reviewers, a collaborative effort with Roll20, or anyone else I could get a hold of, since it can't hurt to ask. More is better.

kkriegg
04-18-2013, 04:35 AM
Funny you mention that. I do come back because of the lack of a "social media" feeling to the site. The internet has changed a lot, but not really for the better. I do like reading forum posts that span several paragraphs of thought, even if I find those thoughts disagreeable. I do like popping into the chat room to see what's going on, instead of reading random chatter milked out of a user to fill up an advertiser's database.

But of course, I'm not everybody. The second part of the question is really the tricky part. If it were up to me, I'd keep everything the same, except make it bigger. I remember a time when this place was bursting at the seams. But... how that's supposed to be done is beyond me.

MicahWedemeyer
04-18-2013, 05:40 AM
Very tough questions, but I'd say it probably comes down to what you want. Unless you move things in a direction that you are passionate about, it's doubtful that you'll have the drive to see it through the hard times to a conclusion.

Letting the community guide decisions like this doesn't usually work (imho), because the community isn't the one spending their nights and weekends doing the work.

What keeps you coming back? What are you excited about in the RPG realm? Are you more interested in a community site (ie. ENWolrd/RPG.net) or a specific feature set (the player registry)? It's okay not to do it all. Much better to focus on one thing and do that well.

Matt James
04-18-2013, 06:12 AM
I love coming here to read about the games that people are playing. It really helps me out as a designer. You are broad enough that you are targeting a specific game (like specialty sites: EN World, et al.) but are targeted towards tabletop games. Find a specialty and hammer that home. People should think about that specialty and then immediately have PnPG come to mind.

I'll try to be more active in posting. I browse all the time.

Slipstream
04-18-2013, 10:16 AM
Hey Farcaster,

Long time no see. I have to admit I've fallen away from active use of the site awhile back, I think mostly because of involvement with gaming elsewhere. I at one time hosted a PBP game here, but due to time constraints, we collectively had to shelve it.

While the net appears to be shifting towards social media, I still believe there's definitely a need for message boards. They provide logs of conversation that aren't easily accessible in places like FB. If anything, I'd say Google+ seems to be the rising star right now among gaming and tabletop discussion. I've yet to truly dive into it, simply due to time and privacy concerns (same goes for FB). Forums I believe are integral for gaming communities and will be for years to come.

All I can think of is keep making the site look sharp. Combine more like forums that look stagnant when separated. Work with Obsidian Portal (since that partnership is already in place) and streamline the Players/Games Seeking Players/Games functionality. They are in the middle of kickstarting their site's look and feel. I believe that, the PBP forums, and general industry/community discussions are the three pillars this site shines on. Stick to those and make them strong.

Also, I'll try to hang out more often as I can. Esepecially since I plan to run a Pathfinder campaign soon, I'll be needing to come to you all for support and tips. :)

nijineko
04-18-2013, 10:17 AM
the cat always comes back.

(even in chat, if only very rarely....)


personally, i like the non-spammy feel that this site gives over more media-centric sites, ads notwithstanding.

however, the social-internet is a big deal. and i think we do need to adapt, or we will become a backwater (not necessarily a bad thing, but farcaster has to justify paying the bills somehow!) on one hand, it is the sheer volume of people who visit sites like rpgnow, enworld, and wotc that keep those sites going. on the other hand, that has some serious downsides in the quality of community.

i've thought about this for a while now, actually. a few more months and i might have independently pitched farcaster on some of my ideas. goodness knows, he puts up with enough *pokepoke* type emails from me as it is. ^^

so here are some of my thoughts:

adapt, NOT adopt. social media hooks provide a quick and easy way to draw new faces, and raise awareness of our presence; however, this needs to be done in a way that integrates subtlety, not remakes the face of the site and floods us with who knows what, per se.

shelters. portions of the site that are relatively free from social and advertisement spamming. member options for better control over the non-sheltered portions of the site with regards to social and ads. for example, the pbp game threads and the announcement threads are good candidates for auto-shelter. personal blogs and member pages for member optional sheltering. this could be accomplished by text-only adds instead of the big graphical ones. remember, farcaster has to pay the bills.

i really liked the idea of adding to the gamer database (obsidian portal). it would be wonderful to pursue expanding the database by adding integrating with more sites... we have a few international members, wonder if they could hook us up with foreign-based gamer groups and sites. would be pretty sweet if we became the true international pen and paper game premier site. even if it is niche sites and games... after all fans of such things tend to be strong-stick-around types. i noticed that the rpgdesign alliance site is looking for a new home and supporters....

one of my BIG WISHES for this site is to integrate play-by-text into the play-by-post. i would like to see a system where each thread in the play-by-post section gets a special tag, the site has a "number" which can be texted, the tag is used to parse incoming texts and posts them as if you had done a quick-reply. also, when a thread is subscribed to, a text option is there so that whenever any post is added, it texts the addition out. a checksum will have to be done to make sure they fit within sms size limits, or auto-split it up into multiple texts outgoing.... in any case, this would be a unique offering that i haven't seen anywhere else. it would also be an interesting approach to using social media in counteracting the bane of pby - lack of response / dropping out.

along with the play-by-text idea, and possibly in place of if it is not feasible to pull off play-by-text, an app (android/iphone) which is specific to the site and allows posting. maybe text only for lightweight data transfer and display.

a facebook and twitter presence would help presence awareness, especially if RSS feeds displayed updated threads.

another WISH of mine is site-based mapping support. it would be so awesome if the flashchat could be expanded to included a shared whiteboard, even if it is fairly small scale, or if a whiteboard could be launched concurrently with the flashchat - as in one page, two interfaces. with option to save to your file storage allotment so that you can reload it later. perhaps a non-flash based purely html-css with export to a text file, much like the wotc released dnd mapper program that was on the old 3.x portion of the site (i downloaded a copy and still have it. the tiles are pretty small, but it works great.

(i have more ideas, but let's stop here for now)


after all, this is the pen and paper games support site - i think that should be our focus, our theme, and we should really support all aspects of it! let this site become the table that we all play our pen and paper games on!

jdbailey
04-18-2013, 10:34 AM
Well, I've actually had better luck finding players/groups on meetup.com perhaps because it is so locally oriented. But I like the feel of P&PG better, which is why I keep coming back whenever I need to check for a new group or player. Perhaps better filters for game locations might help, and forcing people to actually provide location information before a post is made. Maybe filtering OUT profiles that haven't been active in xx time, so that it's easier to search among the players that are more active. But in terms of a whole-site overhaul? I have no idea what to do. I'd like to see this site continue and grow stronger though because it's a damn good idea.

Maybe market or buddy up to a couple Virtual Table-Top companies? Or to some of the current big gaming sites, like Paizo or Pathfinder SRD? I personally don't like to click on ads, but I give in when it comes to A LOT of the ads on Pathfinder SRD, mainly because I get curious about yet another awesome RPG tool! (Dun dun dun....!)

Anyway, whatever you do, good luck. I hope this site sticks around.

I. J. Thompson
04-18-2013, 06:00 PM
Thank you for asking!

I love the site as-is, and wouldn't really like to have my gaming here interconnected with Facebook or anything like that. That said, I really like Soft Serve's ideas about finding ways to feature the content that the users are creating. It's being made anyway, so why not find a way to make it one of the attractions of the site?

trechriron
04-18-2013, 07:12 PM
To make this more of a hub of information, I think P&PG games should expand!

1) What happened to the GM council thing? This was a fun idea. Get guest GM's and bloggers to provide advice articles with a corresponding forum discussion.
2) Articles! Maybe integrate with a CMS of some sort, and create a team of content providers. Non everyone wants to start up their own Wordpress site. Reach out to people who want to join a force of RPG enthusiasts writing articles. With the right CMS, submitting, reviewing, editing and publishing articles can be handled via the system (I'm partial to Joomla...).
3) Fan Site Central! I've tried to start up a "social" fan site in unisystemfans.com, but it didn't get much involvement. Instead of having special sites, P&PG could provide "skins" and "forums" and article sections and house any fan site for any game! Maybe provide unique urls like unisystem.penandpapergames.com. Also, this should facilitate user-submitted downloads.
4) Game Day Central! Have you looked at Warhorn? It's not very elaborate. Not only have a player/GM database but have a place where you can house your Game Day site, create and schedule slots, game descriptions, and run events.

P&PG would be your one stop shop! Read up on news, some articles on gaming, kibitz with your fellow fans on your fav RPG, start up a game day and run it all via this one interface.

Other sites have crowd funded development, I'm sure you could convince those of us with development skills to pitch in for a share of the bounty. :-)

jpatterson
04-18-2013, 09:58 PM
I agree with the sentiment to focus on the members' creativity, rather than serve them common things they feel like they're quite proficient at finding on the net if they want it. Fan resources and materials, creations, settings, sharable uploads and downloads, rules adaptations, etc. is something I've always wanted to find since RPGArchive/RPGLife went belly up for all practical purposes, years back.


You could upload things you made, like adventures, character sheets, rules add-ons and supplements, into various categories, and search and find things made by other people, in various categories. Strolen's Citadel is very similar but anyone who has been there well knows, and I have been told in clear terms, that they are only interested in ideas, seeds, basically narrative bits of writing, for items and characters and such, not actual charts or rules or things like that. There is no more specific site that works similarly to Strolens, that I've found, since the sort of fizzling of RPGArchive, which functioned as a clearinghouse for fan material.


A more unified member blog or site blog with submissions from users, would also be a possible change or improvement. I do like the specific blogs and forums each member can make, for their own particular group or game - that is a terrific feature. It seems like that could be expanded upon.


A complaint I've seen a number of times by regular and new members in chat is that it isn't an IRC style chat. I can see their point to a large extent, though I've been to places like TheTangledWeb and while the software chat environment there is pretty solid, it is somewhat spartan and so many people seem absent or very elitist - I don't know if that's something that may just be specific to that site or those chatters or that is something to do with IRC connected chats.

Either way, as a regular user that really ONLY uses this site for chat, currently, and run a game in here every Sun since Feb 2011, I think the chat page/room itself needs overhauled, probably to something different altogether, a different flash chat at least, though being able to make rooms to play, which I do a lot, is a terrific feature, as is the dice rolling (which could also use exploding rolls). There is also still no way to bring up a chatter's site profile with the right click in the current chatroom software.

If there were someway to advertise current or pending chat events or games, like a signpost or list of announcements, so people could come into the chat and see a list of games or rooms with different topics or something, that could help with that part, if you were going to do anything with chat.


As far as the forums themselves, the in-line dice rolling is awesome, but could also be improved, for people that run play by post forum games, as I've done (though it doesn't have much popularity here if it isn't an already established game, like Umiushi's game that has more posts in it than all the other threads in the forums combined).


I think we all support any ideas to change and improve PPG, whether we're paid members or not, and we enjoy various aspects here because it doesn't have that "corporate feel" to it, like it's still aimed at and run by someone who understands and appreciates and is a gamer.


I like most people have a Facebook and some other things, a Twitter account, which I don't really use, a couple of Blogspot blogs, a Youtube channel, etc. I try to make a little bit of money if and when possible, on some of the things I do in my spare time or as part of my interests, and sometimes it works. Have you considered having full blogs, hosting them for example, similar to blogspot? Or at least articles? You let people write and share and advertise their full PPG blog and put ads like Adsense or whatever on it, and give people who write articles or blogs a share of whatever money you make from their article? That could help some.

nijineko
04-18-2013, 11:43 PM
yeah, i would use chat more often if there was a chatbox/shoutbox columned next to the forums. ^^

Farcaster
04-19-2013, 12:30 AM
Very tough questions, but I'd say it probably comes down to what you want... Letting the community guide decisions like this doesn't usually work (imho), because the community isn't the one spending their nights and weekends doing the work.

What I want at this point is to do what I can to keep this community alive and vibrant. It's that or fold it up. But, it needs new and fresh ideas, and who better to turn to for feedback for those ideas than the user community themselves?

Farcaster
04-19-2013, 01:12 AM
I really appreciate you all taking the time to chime in with you thoughts. I've seen some good ideas in here so far. :biggrin:


All I can think of is keep making the site look sharp. Combine more like forums that look stagnant when separated. Work with Obsidian Portal (since that partnership is already in place) and streamline the Players/Games Seeking Players/Games functionality. They are in the middle of kickstarting their site's look and feel. I believe that, the PBP forums, and general industry/community discussions are the three pillars this site shines on. Stick to those and make them strong.

Cleaning up the forums is definitely on my list -- as is freshening up the design. On that note, if there are any graphically oriented people out there who would be interested in taking a whack at it, ping me and let's talk.


the cat always comes back. (even in chat, if only very rarely....)

I was in the chat room just last night -- for a couple hours even. You just missed me ;)




shelters. portions of the site that are relatively free from social and advertisement spamming. member options for better control over the non-sheltered portions of the site with regards to social and ads. for example, the pbp game threads and the announcement threads are good candidates for auto-shelter. personal blogs and member pages for member optional sheltering. this could be accomplished by text-only adds instead of the big graphical ones. remember, farcaster has to pay the bills.

Advertisement spamming? I'm not aware of anything like that going on, so you'd have to give me a bit more information about what you mean. As to the advertising banners, P&PG is part of a network of RPG sites that share advertising space. I don't think our provider actually uses text links, and there is a very good reason for that. They're not terribly effective or attractive to advertisers. That said, anyone who contributes as a community sponsor has all advertising removed everywhere.


i really liked the idea of adding to the gamer database (obsidian portal). it would be wonderful to pursue expanding the database by adding integrating with more sites...
I've been doing a little work on this front, actually. I'll let you know how it pans out.


Perhaps better filters for game locations might help, and forcing people to actually provide location information before a post is made. Maybe filtering OUT profiles that haven't been active in xx time, so that it's easier to search among the players that are more active.

The rate of people providing geographical information and setting up a profile is actually quite high. That said, the sole purpose of the site is not just the player registry, so I can't see forcing people to fill out more details happening. But, the profile filtering you suggested is actually quite easy for me to setup. I'll work on that.


Thank you for asking! ... I really like Soft Serve's ideas about finding ways to feature the content that the users are creating. It's being made anyway, so why not find a way to make it one of the attractions of the site?

You're welcome, and I'll put that on the list of possibilities.



What happened to the GM council thing? This was a fun idea. Get guest GM's and bloggers to provide advice articles with a corresponding forum discussion.
Well, a couple of reasons, but it boils down to it is hard to ask people to put in a lot of time and effort to write up an article when they aren't paid or rewarded. That and I didn't keep pushing. So, basically a failure in the model and in leadership.


Articles! Maybe integrate with a CMS of some sort, and create a team of content providers. Non everyone wants to start up their own Wordpress site. Reach out to people who want to join a force of RPG enthusiasts writing articles. With the right CMS, submitting, reviewing, editing and publishing articles can be handled via the system (I'm partial to Joomla...).

It's a sound idea, and I'd consider it, but see above. The model would have to be as such that it encouraged involvement and didn't require (or expect) a lot of editing support.


Fan Site Central! I've tried to start up a "social" fan site in unisystemfans.com, but it didn't get much involvement. Instead of having special sites, P&PG could provide "skins" and "forums" and article sections and house any fan site for any game! Maybe provide unique urls like unisystem.penandpapergames.com. Also, this should facilitate user-submitted downloads.

Hmm. There are some licensing issues with vBulletin that would interfere, and I doubt that these fan sites would want to plop down $180 for a license. It could be supported with social groups, perhaps though. It wouldn't be as robust as the core forums though.


Other sites have crowd funded development, I'm sure you could convince those of us with development skills to pitch in for a share of the bounty. :-)
So... Did I just hear you volunteer for some free labor?


I agree with the sentiment to focus on the members' creativity, rather than serve them common things they feel like they're quite proficient at finding on the net if they want it. Fan resources and materials, creations, settings, sharable uploads and downloads, rules adaptations, etc. is something I've always wanted to find since RPGArchive/RPGLife went belly up for all practical purposes, years back.
I like this idea.



it would be so awesome if the flashchat could be expanded to included a shared whiteboard, even if it is fairly small scale

I think the chat page/room itself needs overhauled, probably to something different altogether, a different flash chat at least.

I'll look into updating chat. It has been a while since I've explored chat room software. Maybe there are some better options out there now. To get something quality though will probably be expensive. I might have to take up some donations to make that happen, since I don't really want to front the $500 fee all myself.


As far as the forums themselves, the in-line dice rolling is awesome, but could also be improved, for people that run play by post forum games, as I've done.
Do you have a wish list for the dice plugin?


Have you considered having full blogs, hosting them for example, similar to blogspot? Or at least articles? You let people write and share and advertise their full PPG blog and put ads like Adsense or whatever on it, and give people who write articles or blogs a share of whatever money you make from their article? That could help some.
It's a thought. I'd consider it, but it would require a lot of management on my part to parcel out revenue. If there were some automated solution that wouldn't result in butchering the site's security, then maybe.



I think we all support any ideas to change and improve PPG, whether we're paid members or not, and we enjoy various aspects here because it doesn't have that "corporate feel" to it, like it's still aimed at and run by someone who understands and appreciates and is a gamer.

Thanks, J. :)

Soft Serve
04-19-2013, 03:04 AM
I was on another vBulletin site that allowed moderators to design different skins based on user preference. They only changed colors and the banner appearance.

But it could be done for P&PG. A theme for sci-fi, D&D, generic fantasy, horror, etc etc. I know nothing of how this process works, and have very little artistic talent in the field of visual / graphic design, but I know it can be done.

Unless when "Skins" were mentioned we were talking about something else entirely and I missed it...

Umiushi
04-19-2013, 06:03 AM
What is it that brings you back?
Talk of the site going under is always a good way to get me jumpy. The pbp forum game I'm part of has nearly 7000 posts and over four years of various players' time invested in it. Rather than bringing me back, it's not something I could walk away from any more than I could walk into orbit.

In the worst case scenario, is there some time frame we're looking at, and also, is there some way to collect/store/archive all those posts?

What else brings me back? I read most of the forums, and the news feed, as well as some of the forums, is a really valuable way of providing central distribution to a lot of different rpg interests. These are some things I couldn't find by searching, because I wouldn't have known what to search for in the first place. I learned about my favorite online comic through this news feed.

What else? The chat. I don't regularly run games on it, but even when I don't, it's a great central meeting place before heading off to a game, and it's simply nice knowing it's there. The community in the chat can be a great and valuable resource, too.

What else? The private mail system, without which running a pbp game in the forums would be much more difficult.

What else? The blogs. I've only made a few posts, but I love having a tool to self-publish just lying around.

What is it that you feel like P&PG offers that you can't readily get elsewhere?
All these things, the forum, the private mail, the chat, the blogs, the news feed, none of them are perhaps that useful on their own, but where else can I find them all together? It's like sitting down with the newspaper: you've got a front page, business section, local news, weather, features, and so on. For me especially, the private mail, the forum, and the blogs form an invaluable trio when running a pbp game.

The other thing that I find helpful is the visibility. However high the ratio of one-time visitors to lurkers to active participants, I still get a slow, steady stream of unsolicited player requests. If my game was buried in a wiki or some kind of single-thread service with up-votes and down-votes, who would ever find me? If I go somewhere else, I'll have to go about learning how to get visible all over again, assuming it's even feasible.

As someone who plays one or two particular games, but who has played and has an interest in a large variety of rpgs, I find the balance of this site, allowing for a single focus while presenting a wide variety of information, very comfortable. Other sites have struck me as tending to focus on a more limited set.

Also, I'd like to say a word about forums in general. Many of the popular social media constructs provide one-dimensional threads of activity to post on. The fact that we can manage multiple threads in a forum allows for activity to easily get divided into multiple subjects. At the other end of the spectrum, a wiki, while useful, does not provide an easy means to view sequential activity that a thread does. I couldn't imagine running my game on, say Facebook, where every post has to be congested into a single thread, and one that might not even be viewable in chronological order, but is subject to whatever ordering whims strike the fancy of the Facebook administration for that particular year!

What do you think this site could do better?
Frankly, while I've visited numerous sites, this is the one site I stay on and participate in. It fits my needs so well that it's difficult to come up with suggestions for improvement, especially since a lot of good ideas are already getting talked about, but here's a small list.

The new (maybe not so new now) WYSIWYG text editor isn't all that WYSIWIG. The prior version we had a couple years ago wasn't as fancy, but at least what I put on the page is how it would appear. Now there's random lines and other white space inserted, in almost every post it seems, and when I change text colors, sometimes it changes the text I want it to change and sometimes it doesn't. I can go in and edit in Source Mode, but I feel I shouldn't have to do that in the first place.

One area this site (and discussion/news sites in general) lack is a means to create a sense of mastery and accomplishment in users. Games excel at this, but common approaches to create a sense of competence tend to be either ineffectual (contests) or fraught with pitfalls (bragging metrics, artificial game-like challenges), so it's a most difficult area to address. I don't have any particular suggestion in this area.

If this was your site, what would you do with it?
Sort of like my wishlist? No warranty concerning practicality, though:

I'd be tempted to add that Obsidian Portal-like functionality, but it's a real question how much I'd use it. The net that I've written in my Obsidian Portal account is probably less than the length of this post.

I'd also add virtual tabletop functionality. That's the main reason I run my chat games using maptool when possible. It's nice to be able to provide visual, token, and macro support in chat games.

I might try to broaden the base interest a little bit. That would be if it were my site, though. I'm sure lots of people would object if exclusivity were loosened, but in terms of growing the site, there are only so many pen-and-paper rpg'ers out there. Among them, just as there are pen and paper players who turn up their noses at computer rpgs, there is a large segment of the population that won't consider a site like Pen and Paper simply because it commits the sin of being online. What is the pool of uncommitted people out there? Unless it's limitless, one must eventually turn to the other options, which are to directly compete for share with other sites or expand the base somehow.

In one sense, this is my site. I'm sure everyone who bothered to post here feels that to some extent. It's a site we've all invested in. Though not to the same extent as you, some of us have put in money, effort, and creativity over the years, and all of us, even the lurkers, have certainly paid in time. We're all invested in seeing this site continue, but at the same time, we want its continuance to include the activities that we've come to value. In my case, it's the games I conduct here, most of all, the pbp game.

Farcaster
04-19-2013, 10:42 AM
Talk of the site going under is always a good way to get me jumpy. The pbp forum game I'm part of has nearly 7000 posts and over four years of various players' time invested in it. Rather than bringing me back, it's not something I could walk away from any more than I could walk into orbit.

In the worst case scenario, is there some time frame we're looking at, and also, is there some way to collect/store/archive all those posts?

It's not going under. I have no plans at this point to take it down or change it in a way that makes it unusable for pbp or chat gaming.

nijineko
04-19-2013, 11:11 AM
one thing i really like about this site is the ability to be a mod over your own sub-forum for the game threads. few other sites do this, that is a big plus, and should be an advertising point. plus, the game groups.

what would be really interesting is if one could skin the game thread and game group pages, much in the same fashion that we can customize our member pages.

again, a virtual tabletop would be a big plus for the site, especially if it could save map files to local computers and/or to our alloted space on the site. one option would be to make available a customized version of Vassal - which would be a great tie-in for this site, as they are THE board and card game software. they have permission for more tabletop games than any other site i've seen. we could even create a PNGP module for Vassal which might save some hassal - less coding, less time/cost.

Umiushi
04-19-2013, 06:11 PM
It's not going under. I have no plans at this point to take it down or change it in a way that makes it unusable for pbp or chat gaming.Thanks for clearing that up. It's a big relief to know that such functionality is sticking around! Also, since I haven't got into other sites enough to start anything, I wasn't aware until Nijineko pointed it out that Pen and Paper Games' forum moderation ability is unusual. That is a big plus!

jpatterson
04-19-2013, 08:19 PM
Wow I wrote a lot last night. Hopefully some of it was helpful. In reply to your question, FC, about dice mods for chat and forums, I think the most requested things I've seen mentioned are somewhat sophisticated but should be doable system-specific dice mechanics. World of Darkness, Shadowrun, and Fate/Fudge are the common ones, and HERO is a special case that even most VTT's don't do fully, because it has a couple of different criteria - one where the roll total is Stun as rolled but then for Body you also read the same roll as: min on a die results in 0, max results in 2 and in-between results in 1 (6d6s for Stun dice maybe), while the nearly impossible to do "1/2 die" is a d6 yielding 1-3 Stun and 0-1 Body, which would be d6: roll/2 for Stun, roll/4 for Body, rounded down to a minimum of 0 and a max of 1.


Exploding dice seems like would be a not-terribly-complicated idea though, where if a die rolls its max, it rolls again and adds the new roll to the old. I've seen some codes used that make sense, like 2d6f5, which rolls two six-siders, and each explodes on a roll of 5 or more (a5 being "explode ascending/up", b5 being "explode backward/down" because "d" for descending is used in dice notation already).

Similarly, 2d6o5 ("o" being "equal to or over") would roll two dice and count successes, and 2d6u5 would do the same for rolls of 5 or less ("u" being "under"). You could have another, "h" (higher) and "l" (lower) for at least one additional up/down pair of TN criteria. I'm not sure about static bonuses (+1).

For my own slightly extended suggestion - I run Savage Worlds, so one thing that almost nobody anywhere has is the "best of x rolls" notation, such as rolling two (or more dice), all of which can explode, and then also picking the highest single exploded total from among all the rolls. For example, roll d8-2, d8 and d6, all of which can explode (the static mod for the d8 should be applied after so you can still roll 8 on d8, THEN the -2 is applied), and then you take the best, so if you got: d8-2 (11 exploded total), d6 (5 unexploded) and d6 (10 exploded), it would then pick the 11 as the final single roll.


Some links to dice notations for examples: http://forums.rptools.net/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=18836 and http://lmwcs.com/rptools/wiki/Chat:Dice

Again on the chat, I was just told by another member here that the flash chat excludes people with android and IOS devices (whatever those are).

Farcaster
04-19-2013, 08:32 PM
Again on the chat, I was just told by another member here that the flash chat excludes people with android and IOS devices (whatever those are).
I've looked into a chat software that I think would be good and I can confirm that it supports iOS and Adroid. It also has an option to use HTML5 instead of Flash. The minimal license is $300 though. I've put up a donation box. Hopefully some folks will be interested in helping out to get it.

nijineko
04-20-2013, 01:44 PM
as far as dice rolls go, we also need:



**"success/failure threshold" function: to count the number of successes or failures, ie: results equal to and/or over/under a particular threshold number,
**a reroll threshold function: to force a reroll of any result that is greater and/or less than a given threshold number,
dice sets would be nice, ie: rolling a given dice roll a specified number of times - needs a max cap to prevent overload,
**dropping function: the ability to roll a certain number of dice and drop the lowest one, ie: 4d6 drop the lowest die,
**math and order of operations: the ability to use parentheses and brackets to control order of rolling,
supporting incremental commentary would be nice, ie: no text is displayed with the roll unless you enclose it in quotations, and it displays where in the dice roll you put it.



the items marked with an '**' are what is necessary to emulate any specific dice roll mechanic for every game i've ever been exposed to. feel free to add anything i've missed. ^^

cplmac
04-20-2013, 08:11 PM
I just hope that whatever we would change to for the Chat will still work with all the various browswers and also work with my dial-up connection. Someday I hope to be able to get to have the chance to get a faster internet access out here in the boonies.

As for something that I would like, it would be nice if in the blog section, there could be a separtion of the basic blog and specifics things like the two games campaign logs that I have on mine. If they could be a separate section and actually start with the first post on those campaign logs instead of the last, that way people don't have to find the begining of the campaign log.

After I get the repairs done to my truck after the begining of May, I will see what I can do for helping with a donation for some of the changes.

Also, did think that the "Ask the GM" section was a good idea, but it seemed like it started strong, but gradually got to where there were only a couple of us still posting replies to the questions. Perhaps if it came back, each GM on the panel could post a reply to the questions that they could really talk about, and be able to abstain from questions that they have very limited or no knowledge of. This way when a question is related to a specific version of a particular RPG, only those that are familiar with that RPG need to post a reply.

nijineko
04-20-2013, 11:37 PM
As for something that I would like, it would be nice if in the blog section, there could be a separtion of the basic blog and specifics things like the two games campaign logs that I have on mine. If they could be a separate section and actually start with the first post on those campaign logs instead of the last, that way people don't have to find the begining of the campaign log.

amen to that, and yes please!

i'm known as the psionics go-to-guy among all my circles. i'd volunteer to handle any psi questions for an ask-the-gm section.

Ubiqtorate
04-21-2013, 08:55 AM
Since the campaign I participate in is a diceless, play-by-post game, P&PG already has exactly what I need. Like I.J. Thompson, I actually prefer that the site is not integrated with social media. With the exception of one other player (whom I know from real life), nobody here knows who I "really" am, and I prefer it that way.

Soft Serve
04-22-2013, 11:20 PM
Is there a projected date on when the site will be changed? I know we have the donations bar, but I'm curious what's been done / planned in the last few days. I know we have a sheet of ideas right now, I'm just curious if there's been any motion in the cogs, or if we're still in the stage of setting a concrete path to make things happen.

Farcaster
04-23-2013, 12:18 AM
Is there a projected date on when the site will be changed? I know we have the donations bar, but I'm curious what's been done / planned in the last few days. I know we have a sheet of ideas right now, I'm just curious if there's been any motion in the cogs, or if we're still in the stage of setting a concrete path to make things happen.

I'm working on a couple of things actually.

1) I'm working on figuring out what chat software we can go to. The reigning champion that I find out there is 123 Flash Chat. Clearly it is not free, but it is maintained. The only potential problem is that their server software is precompiled java, so I cannot find a way that I can put a dice roller in it. I've got a query out to them to see what the options are. If I can't find something that is a) secure and b) expansible, then I may need to explore having the dice roller be outside of the chat software -- maybe in a shoutbox type thing below the chat. Not ideal, but I just don't know yet. We'll see

2) I liked the idea of having an area that people for sharable uploads of fan materials, gaming supplements, etc. So, I am working on implementing that.

3) I've already started going through the forums and collapsing them down. The only system that now has it's own sub-forum is D&D and it's various editions. That isn't a value judgement on my part, but I'm simply leaving them there for now since they have the activity to warrant being in separate forums.

And that's where I am at the moment.

Gary420510
04-23-2013, 11:33 AM
Sweet. I'll be contributing on the next paycheck. But my biggest suggestion is fixing the sign in for the site so that bouncing around within different areas of the site doesn't sign us out. After all, a badly maintained site with better working copycats of it will always lose people. First, get the site's bugs fixed, then start on the upgrading.

Farcaster
04-23-2013, 11:55 AM
Sweet. I'll be contributing on the next paycheck. But my biggest suggestion is fixing the sign in for the site so that bouncing around within different areas of the site doesn't sign us out. After all, a badly maintained site with better working copycats of it will always lose people. First, get the site's bugs fixed, then start on the upgrading.

Thanks, Gary.

You'd have to give more information about this bug that you are talking about though. I have had no issues and this is the first I have heard of the problem.

Inquisitor Tremayne
04-23-2013, 12:25 PM
Gotta keep this short... what brings me back is the player registry, so I would focus on that. I have no idea where else to begin with the site though, sorry.

However, if the WotC boards for Star Wars Saga edition ever go down (which I think is likely), PnP Games would be a great place to host the wealth of information over there.

Thats all I got for now...

Soft Serve
04-23-2013, 03:04 PM
I think I know what Gary is talking about. Whenever I come to P&PG it insists that I'm signed out until I click Forums, then I'm auto-signed in like I should be. But if I go back to Chat or the Home Page I'm signed back out.

I've actually brought this up a few times, but nothing was ever done about it. I didn't think it was important enough to keep going on about, and no one else ever seemed to know what I was saying.

EDIT: I know you have to sign into the chat manually, I mean whenever I go there the white User ID and Password boxes above the chat are always there, even if I was signed in before going to the chat page. It doesn't matter much, but it's there.

cplmac
04-23-2013, 05:07 PM
I would ask if Gary 420510 has the remember me box checked. I know that if that box isn't checked, it will tend to knock you out after so long. This could even keep you from being able to post what you have just spent quite a bit of time typing.

Also, what Soft Serve said about clicking the Forum tab is what I have to do as well, but I am not sure that it is an actual P&PG problem and may have something to with either the users browser or ISP.

I see Nijineko is the Psionics guy, so hopefully he is still up on the AD&D second edition psionics (or at least still has his books for referrence) since that is the one thing that I do not use when I run a game in 2E.

Soft Serve
04-23-2013, 08:22 PM
I would ask if Gary 420510 has the remember me box checked. I know that if that box isn't checked, it will tend to knock you out after so long. This could even keep you from being able to post what you have just spent quite a bit of time typing.

Also, what Soft Serve said about clicking the Forum tab is what I have to do as well, but I am not sure that it is an actual P&PG problem and may have something to with either the users browser or ISP.

I see Nijineko is the Psionics guy, so hopefully he is still up on the AD&D second edition psionics (or at least still has his books for referrence) since that is the one thing that I do not use when I run a game in 2E.

It never happened to me on other vBulletin sites. But it's hardly a "priority issue."

nijineko
04-23-2013, 11:16 PM
I see Nijineko is the Psionics guy, so hopefully he is still up on the AD&D second edition psionics (or at least still has his books for referrence) since that is the one thing that I do not use when I run a game in 2E.

Tesral has the 2nd ed psionics covered. i'm pretty much 3.x, myself. though i do have some old stuff.

Soft Serve
05-01-2013, 08:58 PM
Is it too soon to ask for updates again?

Farcaster
05-02-2013, 02:53 AM
Is it too soon to ask for updates again?

I'm still working on the chat room. I'm thinking it will probably be up and ready to go by the end of the week.

Farcaster
05-02-2013, 11:52 AM
I'm still working on the chat room. I'm thinking it will probably be up and ready to go by the end of the week.

And by end of week, I mean today :P

The new chat room software is setup. Test it out and let me know what you guys think.

Soft Serve
05-02-2013, 02:56 PM
I approve so far. The nicest chat I've seen on any vBulletin. The only problem I have with it is that I rolled a 5 on a d20 with my first attempt, so I don't think it likes me very much...

Also can we not create our own rooms anymore?

Farcaster
05-02-2013, 04:18 PM
Also can we not create our own rooms anymore?

You cannot. It only allows creating rooms from the admin panel or through the API. I may add an external tool that will let you reserve a room, so to speak. But that will be later on. For now though, you'll have to use the pre-generated gaming rooms.

Soft Serve
05-03-2013, 03:38 AM
That seems fine to me. As far as I know there's never been more than 2 other rooms in the old chat anyway.

I. J. Thompson
05-03-2013, 09:34 AM
Looking good!

Is there still a way to password-protect the room you're in? Can't seem to find it. In my Group's case, we hold a monthly chat where we talk specifically about our own game (which wouldn't be of much interest to anyone who isn't involved). It would be nice to be able to eliminate the "wassup?"-type traffic.

[EDIT:] Also, for how long does the text you've typed remain in that room after you've left?

Farcaster
05-03-2013, 12:21 PM
Is there still a way to password-protect the room you're in? Can't seem to find it. In my Group's case, we hold a monthly chat where we talk specifically about our own game (which wouldn't be of much interest to anyone who isn't involved). It would be nice to be able to eliminate the "wassup?"-type traffic.

For now there is not. That isn't a feature they built into it, but there is a way for me to approximate it outside of the flash interface using their API. Basically, you'd reserve a room through P&PG and then it would password protect it under the hood.


[EDIT:] Also, for how long does the text you've typed remain in that room after you've left? Not sure.

Soft Serve
05-03-2013, 03:21 PM
It looks like you can get a log of the chat the same as you could before. There's a "See chat history" button.

Can we get a list of the full commands anywhere FC? I was looking for them last night and couldn't find any.

Also when you roll dice and add any number (like /roll 1d20+2)

It always comes out as showing what number was rolled, and adding to it, but the final result is only ever the number you added. So if you do 1d20+2 it'll come up as say "16 + 2 = (2)'

It did that for every roll I made last night.

Farcaster
05-03-2013, 04:20 PM
Can we get a list of the full commands anywhere FC? I was looking for them last night and couldn't find any.

I think there might be a link the chat client for a user focused manual, but I can't access it at the moment. Damned firewalls at work.



So if you do 1d20+2 it'll come up as say "16 + 2 = (2)"

I noticed some oddities with this as well and planned to work on it. More accurately, I think it would say d20 (16) + 2 (2). That is accurate, but not what is desired, since at the end of that you want a total.

Giddoen
05-05-2013, 11:37 AM
This site is awesome, I have been a member for a few years and love reading others takes on game worlds and systems. It gives me ideas for my own games. I like others would say do what you feel is best for the site.

I would say some better exposure might help! the player finder is the best out there in my opinion! Table Top on you tube might be a good place to start. It couldn't hurt thats for sure.

AGillespie
05-15-2013, 06:28 PM
Perhaps a way to put together a record of events in the campaign such as a journal and a place where a game can post house rules.

Le Noir Faineant
05-15-2013, 06:30 PM
I have more been lurking than anything else, but in case you're interested: I'll publish my RPG debut by the end of the year. I am willing to co-promote your site, if we can find some sort of an agreement. Like, I don't do this for money ;), I am saying, you give me some audience, I give you some audience. :)

In case you're interested, just drop me a PM. I really just want to help. :)

Jallorn
05-15-2013, 09:53 PM
Now, I'll admit, I haven't spent very much time on here in a long time, since I gave up on finding a game in my area (I have a small area, no car) and then went to college and had to run a game to play in one (I'm just really bad at finding out about things that are happening in a timely manner). However, I have been a continued, if minor, presence on the GiantitP Forums, and it's primarily because of the categories of threads. I'm not saying copy GITP, but I would suggest a section for people to share homebrew. On a site that's all about making games happen, providing people with the option to play differently seems valuable, and it makes the site something people will invest more in because they can come here to get critique and acquire a better understanding of the rules of whichever system.

skeletor
05-15-2013, 10:46 PM
I like it cause it helps me find games when I move to a new town.

Foehunter82
05-22-2013, 11:13 PM
As jpatterson said, avoiding the "corporate feel" is key. PPG feels like a real community, and it should stay that way. At the same time, we need better game-related resources and we need more people getting interested and involved.

As was mentioned, a setup to facilitate play-by-chat games would be quite helpful for those who are not able to meet up with a gaming group very often.

There does need to be more emphasis on the creativity of the community. One of the ways to do this is with is to showcase homebrewed RPGs, rules variations, and settings. Doing a "Homebrew of the Week/Month/etc." would be pretty cool. It would be nice to have something like a "Developer's Tools" sort of thing that includes a blog (which PPG already has) and Wiki to help homebrew developers to organize their thoughts and develop their own games and settings.

Allow the option for members to link their social media account to PPG, but do not make it a requirement. Additionally, a presence of social media would be good as it would raise awareness of this site, and it would draw in more members. The message boards need to remain, as well. Bringing in more partner sites, such as RPGDesign Alliance, or even hosting them would probably prove beneficial, also.

Mapping support would be good, as would expanding the gamer database. A more extensive game resource database would be helpful as well. This database could be a sort of central hub (along with PPG) for tabletop gaming resources, links, etc. The database could also be divided into sections, with some referencing story and "fluff" type information (story hooks, narrative techniques, plot design reference material, etc.), and others referencing the hard mechanics of a game (rules, charts, gaming glossaries, etc.).

As far as ads go, I like the way things are now in that ads/banners don't clutter the page. As long as ads/banners remain in an uncluttered state, and are reasonable (relevant to PPG), then I don't really care what is done with them beyond that.

No matter what changes are made, the core of what makes PPG what it is is the community itself.