To say that a lot of new work has gone into DPnP lately is a major understatement. The program has a whole new look and a whole new engine. This came about primarily because of a screw up on my part, but essentially worked out to getting things wrapped up faster, and more full featured. In this update, I talk about why, and show off some new screen shots.
Anyone who got to use the original campaign manager shared a single opinion, an opinion I couldn’t argue against. It was not pretty. The Campaign Manager was designed originally for internal use only. Then I figured why not release it to the public as a free add on to the electronic books. The mistake was that it was originally built for in-house use, then modified a bit for general consumption. So this extremely utilitarian program became bloated and did not work as intended for the consumer. I new as I drew closer to wrapping it up that this was going to be a problem, a problem I hoped to fix on a second release. However, fate intervened, or rather my inexperience caused things to go terribly wrong.
Somehow I corrupted the build files. I was not doing a good job with backups so I lost two months worth of work. I got frustrated with it and actually quite working on any of it for a short time. I knew this was short lived and I would get back to it, so I didn’t make any announcements. When I decided to get back to it I decided not to rewrite two months worth of work that was ultimately going to lead to another 2-3 months of development to finish a product I was slowly becoming more dissatisfied with. I knew what the problems were, but I couldn’t go back and fix them easily. It was essentially a rewrite of most of the code. So I made a huge decision. I started over.
That sounds drastic but keep in mind, the past few years were not just building the program, I was learning how to build it. I can now take that two years of experience and rewrite the program with the things I needed in a much shorter time. So, it would essentially mean a better program, but built in a shorter period of time than it would take me to fix and finish what I wrote before. I wasn’t wrong.
At this point I have rebuilt 90% of the original campaign manager with an entirely new, and simplified, interface. I have reached the point with this program that I have to stop and build a test campaign file, make a few tweaks here and there, and then build a character manager. Some Campaign Files require NPC’s and I need the Character Manager to be able to build the NPCs. Instead of going through and giving you a list of what’s new, I am showing here a few screenshots of some of the new windows and controls. That should say enough I think. Also, a list of some of the things left to do before I move on to a beta release.
One thing I will talk about is the web content and how that is playing into everything. First of all, DPnP is FREE. However, you have to purchase Player’s Guidebooks and the GM Guide to get registration codes to allow you to access that content as well as register for a user account with Ironwood Nexus. Why register? Here’s the list:
- Free Official content.
- Share content with other users and download their creations for your own campaign and characters.
- Organize gaming groups, share the campaign files and character files, giving your GM and players (if you are the GM) updates to characters and world stuff at any time.
- Save your creations online directly from the program.
- First access to beta and demos for add on tools to the core DPnP products before release.
- Access to your library and content at any time.
- Automatic notifications when files are updated to your player groups.
So yes, you can use a free copy and build everything yourself and players can use those files, but you are stuck hosting and emailing those files yourself with no updates or extra tools.
Anyways, onto the screenshots of the new build. You will notice I have not updated the DPnP pages yet. I won’t, not for a while. I am getting back to work now so I won’t be wasting time on web pages that are just going to be updated shortly anyways. You’ll notice a simpler menu bar because the controls handle most of the options themselves. Also, that main menu list on the left, the one with Skills, Items, etc has drag and drop options so you can control the layout of the list. Makes it a bit easier to decide how you are going to work. I know it seems like a silly thing but it has been very handy in practice.
First, a generic shot of the overall manager:
Now a shot of a skill being edited. Notice I am adding images to standard content. That is true throughout the program. Also notice that I can better set options for more advanced features for skills and other objects. In this case, a melee weapon skill is automatically creating an item skill and the two are now linked. When creating the items they will create proficiencies automatically. Also, spell check is now enabled on all description boxes.
Now a new shot of the interface. I can now see the images in the list as well and I can get descriptions directly from the menu controls so things aren’t splashing all over the place. Also notice the little icons on the list items. I can use these to edit, remove, or get the info for that item from its list control. This streamlines and organizes things much better. Just to note, these images (the axe. sword, and melee weapons images) were just snagged off the web in a quick search. They are not going to be in the final product. I might have images included, but that really comes down to time.
Anyways, that’s it for now. Happy Gaming!