Tag Archives: obsidianportal
Thanks to all your hard work and your votes, Obsidian Portal won a 2nd ENnie. We took the gold in the Best Website category, beating out some really tough competition, especially the Pathfinder Wiki and the d20 Pathfinder SRD.
You won it, we accepted it
Of course, I have to point out that Obsidian Portal is only where it is today thanks to all the hard work of the thousands of GMs and their players who use it every day to make their campaigns more fun. Ryan, Dan, and I keep the machines running, and we add features when we can, but it’s all of you who fill it with great stories, wacky characters, and breathtaking worlds. For that, we express our deepest gratitude.
Pics or it didn’t happen
I didn’t get as many pictures as I’d like, but here’s what I got.
Just your average, everyday wasteland savage, riding high on his latest win and enjoying a beer. I thought I was going to a GenCon-style bar, but it turned out to be pretty far outside the con-zone, so everybody was looking at me like I was crazy. I guess you have to be a little crazy to dress like that. Hey, it’s what we do.
Jerry (dreadgazeebo), and I celebrating the win at lunch the next day. Jerry is holding this year’s medal, and I’ve got our gold from 2009.
For all of you heading to GenCon this year, I thought I’d post parts my schedule. Come find me and tell me what you think of Obsidian Portal. Be warned, I’m not a trained customer service representative, so I may just tell you what I think of your criticism…
What I look like
That’s me in the picture to the right. I’ll probably be wearing my Obsidian Portal t-shirt most of the time. Otherwise, I might be in costume (heh, it’s a secret).
Note: I don’t have a fancy-phone, so I’ll be checking Twitter and Email sporadically. Feel free to call.
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Roleplaying for the Severely Disturbed
Hosted by the folks from Stupid Ranger, I’ll be acting out my deviant side as The Puppeteer, a delusional adventurer. Then again, every one of us will be delusional. We’ll see how that goes.
9:00pm – ???
D&D @ Hooters
A good friend is having his bachelor party at Hooters, and we’re all going there to play some D&D. I’m not sure the space-time continuum will be able to survive the irony of so many nerds at a Hooters, and I apologize in advance if the universe is destroyed.
12:00pm – 5:00pm
Dark Heresy : Chaos in the Void
I’m running a Dark Heresy 1-shot with friends that I have met through Obsidian Portal. We’ll see if they’re still my friends afterwards. I will consider it a personal failure if the adventure ends with all limbs still intact.
6:00pm – 9:00pm
The ENnie Awards
We’re up for another one, and I’ll be going in-costume. Fingers crossed that we get some good pics.
9:00 – ???
This is all about hobnobbing with RPG bigwigs, but I know neither how to hob or nob, so I’ll see how it goes.
12:00pm – 1:00pm
Secret Lunch Meetup
Um…it’s a secret
4:00pm – 5:30pm
My goal is to get in a plug for Obsidian Portal without being crass. Otherwise, just like anyone else, there’s always a lot for me to learn about being a GM.
8:00pm – 9:00pm
Blogger Meetup @ The Union
I had a great time here last year, so I’m going back. If you’re a blogger and want to meet/talk about Obsidian Portal, this would be a great time. Otherwise, just email me and we’ll set something up where it’s quieter.
10:00pm – ??
White Wolf Party
If I’m lucky, I’ll manage to grab another invite to the White Wolf party. Last year’s was great, and I actually bumped into a member from my D&D group from 10 years ago. Crazy.
?? – ??
As a co-sponsor of Mythic Party, I’ll definitely be there for a good chunk of the night. Maybe we’ll get a chance to make amends for letting the entire world perish in our game of Pandemic from last year.
I’m mostly free on Sunday, just lunch with a friend. If you want to get together and chat, drop me a line.
I’ve been getting more and more curious about how people are using Obsidian Portal via their mobile devices. Being a technology luddite myself, I still use a cell phone that would be at home in the late 90s. However, I do recognize the potential that mobile devices represent at the game table. It would be incredibly handy to be able to reference your wiki or bring up a character sheet and have it actually be readable without needing to scroll or zoom (too much). With that in mind, I’m cautiously exploring what it would take to make Obsidian Portal more mobile friendly.
Before anyone gets too excited, let me lay out 2 important disclaimers:
1) This is a hypothetical discussion at this point. We may choose to work on it tomorrow, next year, or never.
2) We’re not going to make a dedicated iPhone app. Obsidian Portal is a web app and will stay that way for a while. I just want it to be usable for all you mobile gadgeteers.
The hypothetical plan
The most likely plan of attack would be to create a special stylesheet for mobile devices that repositions and realigns some elements to fit the reduced size of the screen. I’ve read a couple style guides, and the process is pretty straightforward, but usually involves cutting things out altogether. That’s by far the hardest part. For example, what about our sidebars? Could we lose them on a mobile version? They mostly display auxiliary information, but sometimes there are important controls there, like for editing a campaign or inviting new campaign members. I don’t really see these as things you would want to do while playing with the site via a mobile device, but who knows?
Since I’m mostly uneducated in these things, I’d like to hear what you have to say. What are the most frustrating parts about navigating Obsidian Portal with a mobile device? What are some things you could do without on the screen so it would clean things up? What are some examples of similar sites that do a good job of presenting a mobile version?
Push not Pull
What differentiates our system a little from traditional forums is that we have a push model, not a pull model. In other words, the author/originator of an update gets to choose who will be notified, rather than people having to request to be notified.
Why did we go this route? On a traditional large-scale forum, there may be thousands of users, so it’s impractical to allow someone to spam them all with updates. By contrast, an Obsidian Portal campaign is a tightly cohesive group that often requires that everyone be up-to-speed on the latest info. Therefore, it makes sense to allow someone to dash off an update and have it sent to everyone else in the group, or a subset if they choose.
I didn’t get the email!
The biggest complaint we got is that people kept forgetting to check the boxes to send the updates. Most of these complaints were combined with a request to be able to subscribe to updates. In essence, they wanted the pull model in addition to the push.
I held out as long as I could, but it was affecting enough people that I had to do something. In response, we added the ability to subscribe to notifications in your user profile. It’s sort of an all-or-nothing setting, but from what we were hearing that’s what people wanted. The frequency of updates was low enough that people would rather be hit with everything rather than miss something important. This matched up well with my own experiences.
Bringing it together
Last night we pushed a new tweak that brings the push and pull together. Now, when you select in your profile to receive all notifications, this simply means that the notification box next to your name is automatically checked when someone is making an edit. If they do nothing, you’ll receive an update. However, if they want a little more control, they can un-check your name and choose to skip the notification.
Hopefully this will solve all sides of the issue: You can choose to be automatically notified, yet authors/editors can choose to disable this for individual edits if it doesn’t make sense.
As always, we’re open to suggestions for improvement. If there’s another system that does this better or cooler, let me know and I’ll definitely take a look.
With the advent of the new Dynamic Sheet Template (DST) system coming very soon (probably this Sunday), we obviously need some people to step up and make DSTs for our myriad of systems. The outcome I’m expecting is that we will have a lot of people clamoring for the more popular systems, and less so for the less popular systems. What I’d like to avoid is having several similar submissions for the same system. Instead, it would be preferable to have one or two really great DSTs for a system, rather than 10 mediocre ones.
To prevent a lot of duplicate work on your part and headache on my part, I’m going to pull D&D 4E, D&D 3.5, and Pathfinder out of the mix. In other words, don’t just go out and make a sheet for any of these systems. Instead, you’ll need to apply. I will select the most promising one or two candidates and give them free reign for a week or so. Once we have a couple in the system, I’ll open it up for anyone to make one. The hope is that the first ones will be so awesome that everyone is happy and there’s no need for anyone else to try.
Even if you want to make a DST for a smaller system, I’d recommend posting your thoughts in the forum thread. There are surely going to be a lot of ideas bouncing around.
It’s an exciting time. My gut tells me the site is about to get much cooler with the addition of these dynamic sheets. Help me make that a reality!
Update: ChainsawXIV, who made the awesome Exalted DST, is going to take the first stab at 4E. So, I’m going to pull 4E off the table until he’s finished.
A lot of people have expressed interest in the dynamic character sheets after we gave the teaser in the newsletter. So, here’s an update on where we stand.
Right now we’re wrapping up some details and working out any remaining kinks. My hope is to release it sometime this week (Friday?) for general use. It’s important to note that as of now, we only have dynamic sheets for Exalted and Savage Worlds. ChainsawXIV and Pelwer were kind enough to stumble through the process with me, and those are the systems they wanted to work with.
Once it’s live for everyone, I’m going to consider it a public beta. This means that it’s still a new, volatile feature, and there will most likely still be bugs. It will improve over time, but I’d rather launch it now in an unfinished state, instead of waiting until it’s perfect.
Otherwise, if you have a basic grasp of what’s covered, post a note in the forum thread and I’ll add you to the beta list.
This is a very exciting time, and I think this will be probably the best feature we’ve offered since adding gm-only fields to everything. I can’t wait to release it.