30
Mar

Behind The Curtain: 2015 Update

An Overdue Apology

Dear Obsidian Portal Community,

I know that over the past few months a good number of you have really been wondering what is going on behind the curtains over here. There’s been a lot of silence, and for that I sincerely apologize. There are very few times when I feel as if words completely elude me, anyone who listens to Haste knows this already, yet they have for some time now. That being said, also know that I’m intimately aware that silence can do more harm than even the worst of words. Things have been volatile for me recently on both a personal and professional level, but seeing as how this isn’t LiveJournal I’ll spare you the details. So let’s get to the point…

I’m aware that recently I’ve mentioned “soon” or “next week” or “keep your eyes peeled” often in regards to updates, and even though each time those words had the best intentions behind them, they still wound up falling flat. Time after time. After so long of being unable to provide anything of substance so many times, I decided keeping my mouth shut was the lesser of two evils. I hate making promises I can’t deliver on. You won’t see any promises being made in this blog post either, but that’s not the point.

The point is to fill you in on the past several months, I owe you that much. More than that much to be honest, but this will have to do for now. In these months a lot of things at OP have been changing. This post should hopefully fill in the blanks for any questions you might have, so please stay a while and listen.

Ch-ch-ch-Changes

First and foremost, in an effort of complete transparency on my behalf, my job duties are changing. I’ll no longer be handling the logistics of delivering physical rewards / prizes from contests, etc. Mainly because I don’t feel I was able to keep up with some of them. I care about this community and I want what is best for them, this means if I have to swallow my pride and ask someone else to step in and help then that’s what I’ve got to do.

I am tying off loose ends as we speak such as CotY prize distribution, along with other packages from contests and raffles that are long overdue for mailing out.  Overall it’s just proved to be too cumbersome for me to juggle along with everything else that I do, not to mention not having adequate space to store all of these T-shirts! We are undecided yet as to who will fill this role, but we’ll get it worked out and back on track in the coming months.

What my job duties are going to be moving forward will be much more focused on community interaction and growth, and helping shape the direction of the site.

Acquisition

Speaking of the direction of the site, you may be wondering why that’s something I’m going to be in charge of. Well I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t sad to bring this news to you all, but Micah is no longer with Obsidian Portal. His reasons for departing from the site are his own and if you care to know more I suggest you reach out to him personally, I won’t be answering questions on his behalf or speaking for him in any way.

What you should know is that that he did leave on good terms and is still in contact with the folks who now handle the development and upkeep of the site in order to make this transition smooth. Travis and myself are still here, as are a whole new host of helpful folks who are going to help get stretch goals knocked out, bugs fixed, and a bright future to look forward to.

Kickstarter Stretch Goals

Yeah, stretch goals. Let’s talk about those why don’t we? Over the years I’ve learned the virtues of under-promising and over-delivering, which is exactly what we thought we were doing with some of our Kickstarter Stretch goals. We never wanted to make any big flashy statements, and always tried to be reserved with what we announced. Each and every stretch goal went over meticulous consideration and were measured out accordingly, at least we thought. Somehow still fell short. We are aware that some of them are long overdue. Luckily, Obsidian Portal’s new owners are dedicated to making sure a development team gets assigned to knock these goals out very soon.

A team is already being assembled for the Map reworking, as well as the name generator. Here are some status updates on each of those:

Map Reworking

  • Currently sourcing map markers
  • Zoom levels being improved upon

Name Generator

  • Dwarf name generation is complete (got the best race out of the way first!)
  • Randon names based on specific rules complete
  • Gathering more names for other races / genres currently

The only thing I’d like to add here is that we’re going to need names from you guys. Per feedback in the forums I believe we’re going to be sending out a Kickstarter survey asking for some names. This is a great way to get you guys re-involved and also makes is super easy for us to pull them in and import them into a database.

Missteps and Moving Forward

I’m aware that during the Kickstarter we could have done many things differently. We should have beta tested more, longer, with a wider spread of users. We should have kept regular updates on the KS page after the campaign was over instead of assuming everyone listened to our podcast. There are a lot of things I could sit here and nitpick, but what I want to focus on here is moving forward. I want to acknowledge those mistakes publicly yes, we messed up. But we really care, and we’re really dedicated to righting our wrongs and getting things back in action.

As a bit of an aside, here’s a fun fact for you guys, it’s not something a lot of people know. Obsidian Portal has never been more than 4 people up until very recently (the acquisition). At first it was just Micah and Ryan, then myself, then travis. I know a lot of people are under the impression that there were dozens of us. That being said, the inability to handle the sheer influx of information at times (feedback, bug reports, support tickets, feature requests, Kickstarter, etc.) could get overwhelming, especially since all of us all hold full time day-jobs. Luckily though, those days have changed and we now have the backing of a full size company to help get things coded, patched, tested, and implemented.

I’ve been with OP for over 4 years now, I came onto the site as a fan and wound up helping out. That turned into a job and now it’s turned into helping steer the Obsidian ship in the direction I want to see it go. I can’t do this without you guys though, I’ve never been able to do any of it without you. Obsidian Portal is a great place, and I want to make sure it keeps on getting better.

Here are some of my goals I’ve presented to the new team for moving forward, these are of course after Kickstarter stretch goals are met and bugs are squashed. Once again these are not promises, but things I’d really like to see us accomplish in the near future.

  • Updated forum software
  • A unified forum theme to match the site
  • A unified blog theme to match the site
  • A separate sub-site for the Haste podcast
  • Gift subscriptions for Ascendant time

There’s of course more than that, but some of them may be too pie in the sky for right now, and others may be things I dare not say aloud unless some of you get way too excited about them! That’s it for this mini-novel, I’ll see you guys around the forums, twitter, facebook, and everywhere else!

 

Much respect,

Jerry LeNeave

Community Manager, Obsidian Portal

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Obsidian Portal is the award winning Online Campaign Management System for tabletop role-playing games. It’s free to use, it can be accessed from any web browser and it's built from the ground up for gamers by gamers.

We host a huge community of tabletop RPG players who are all looking to get the most out of their tabletop gaming experience. You play your campaign and we help you manage it. It’s that simple.
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