This past weekend, Pen & Paper Games underwent a fairly major update to upgrade our forums from vBulletin 3 to vBulletin 4. The newest version of vBulletin brought with it a number of enhancements that are too numerous to even list here, but while we were at it, we put in a few enhancements of our own. I'd like to invite everyone to come check out the new site. As you do, here are some of the changes you can expect:
Forums / Community
You can now search for new blogs, social group messages, articles, and even events directly from the main forum page from site's "What's New" tab. This makes it much easier to keep up with all of the content you're interested on P&PG. In addition, the main forum page now has a lot more information at a glance, including a collapsible sidebar that lists the hottest topics, latest blogs, the most recent group discussions, and one of "them there fancy tag-cloud things."
We also have a new feature that will allow you to quickly send PMs to multiple people on your contact list without having to remember or type all all of their user names. Simply open the Quick Links option from the main forum page, and select the option "Open Contacts Popup." From there you can mark off all the contacts you want to quickly PM.
From a look and feel perspective, the forums have had a significant face-lift. The layout has changed in a lot of different areas, and we even have some really slick new status icons that our graphics designer Lori Hutton made for us.
Our homepage is still under a bit of construction, but the goal is to make it the best landing page possible for you to get the latest news and happenings in the RPG industry. We're inviting RPG publishers, authors and others in the industry to submit news directly onto our homepage. We're also bringing in the latest from our news feeds in a quick view, and a list of RPG products that are being released in the next few days -- fed from our handy Release Calendar.
(( As an aside, If you're a RPG professional who hasn't already been setup with a Special Guest account or just an enthusiast that would like to help keep other P&PG'rs up to date with the latest news, please contact me. ))
In general, the player registry became a little easier to read. Results from the search are in their own scrollable box, that prevents the columns from breaking off the page and makes it easier to scroll down to the campaign section when there are a lot of matching players in your search. More enhancements are soon to come in this area too...
The layout of th social groups has been changed up a little. You'll find group information on a sidebar on the left, which frees up more space for the group content. Group tools and admin options are better organized in a navigation bar at the top of the group. It is also now much easier to keep up with group discussions by subscribing to a group to receive daily or weekly digest updates. In addition, when you subscribe to a group, that group's messages will be included in your forum list on the main forum page.
The integrated dice roller has now been added to social group messages, so it is no longer necessary for Play-by-Post games to also have a separate forum. You can directly setup your game all within your group page. Next we'll be working on adding this to PMs.
The blog page layout has been greatly improved. You'll now see a nice, clean feed of blogs with a side bar to access the most recent entries, most popular, and best blogs. In addition, blogs are included in the What's New feature and in a side bar in the forum list, which will greatly increase the exposure blogs are receiving in the community.
And much more...
If you're interested in a fuller list of features that were added in the latest vBulletin Forum and Publishing Suite and you have some time to kill, you can read more at vBulletin.com (http://www.vbulletin.com/index.php?do=features)
I really hope that you all enjoy the new site. As always, I am eager to hear any feedback you have. As with anything of this scope, there are bound to be some bugs. If you encounter any, please let me know so that I can duly squish them.
Robert A. Howard
Pen & Paper Games