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ddavison
September 3rd, 2014, 16:50
The Game Calendar now shows more info on the main page. Please make sure your descriptions are conveying what you want them to convey -- especially if you are trying to attract players. If your avatar is blank, you may also want to update that by adjusting your Profile on the forums.

VenomousFiligree
September 3rd, 2014, 18:32
Nice :)

Jwguy
September 3rd, 2014, 18:37
Good job~ =D

Blacky
September 3rd, 2014, 20:30
Just looked around that for the first time.

Doesn't seem much usable to me:



No formating of the presentation. Maybe all GM typed their text that way, I doubt it. Most of all are way way too short, and the somewhat less short are quite hard to read because there no paragraphs.
Player name aren't link. I want to be able to check people out (spelling, manners, brain) before playing with them.
Ruleset column doesn't show it all.
No easy way to contact people to ask for more information.
No data on when the game is played (day, frequency).
No predefined data about table rules and type of play. For example if I'm looking for a serious non-narrativist vocal (with headphone) long campaign of game X, Y or Z, well can't find it.
Levels!!! None of the game I play have levels, why is there this thing there?
No indication if a FG license is needed or not (I don't care, but some other people might).
No mention of language used, but… yeah… ok.


And that's just at first glance.

Frankly, the communities I use to find vtt players are simply forums. There's a forum where GM present a campaign to recruit player. One thread per campaign. And one subforum per campaign to allow players to talk things out, organize themselves, etc. Easy peasy. No extra coding necessary. And it's much more user-friendly than this one.

So, again, I have no personal need for it right now, and haven't for the past 5 years. Just my quick 2 cents an a half.

ddavison
September 3rd, 2014, 22:36
Thanks for the feedback. See below.


Just looked around that for the first time.
No formating of the presentation. Maybe all GM typed their text that way, I doubt it. Most of all are way way too short, and the somewhat less short are quite hard to read because there no paragraphs.


For security reasons, we stripped out any HTML characters. I could probably allow in specific tags with a rewrite of the function. A paragraph would be best here I think and maybe a link to a blog page on the forums??


Just looked around that for the first time.
Player name aren't link. I want to be able to check people out (spelling, manners, brain) before playing with them.


Fixed.


Just looked around that for the first time.
Ruleset column doesn't show it all.


Fixed.


Just looked around that for the first time.
No easy way to contact people to ask for more information.

Fixed now that they are linked to the view profile page?


Just looked around that for the first time.
No data on when the game is played (day, frequency).

In description or announcements?? Does it warrant a new field. If so, what options would be the most common/useful and does that need to show on the Active Campaigns listing or just on the detail page?

[QUOTE=Blacky;186143]Just looked around that for the first time.
No predefined data about table rules and type of play. For example if I'm looking for a serious non-narrativist vocal (with headphone) long campaign of game X, Y or Z, well can't find it.
Levels!!! None of the game I play have levels, why is there this thing there?
No indication if a FG license is needed or not (I don't care, but some other people might).
No mention of language used, but… yeah… ok.
[QUOTE]

Free-form for these in the comments, or does it warrant a new field for each? Again, does it need to show on the main page too?

There really isn't an excessive amount of campaigns listed now, so I'm not sure what makes the most sense to add.

Blackfoot
September 4th, 2014, 00:44
What about a 'collapse' option for the descriptions?
Like a button at the top that would collapse all the descriptions so that one can do some 'at a glance' searching and then toggle the specific descriptions that you want to check out.
It might be nice if the ruleset was a dropdown window with a bunch of selections plus 'other' and 'other' maybe allowed for a fill in the blank somehow. That would make the text for the ruleset much more consistent and more readily sortable.
Since the description box has been rather difficult to manage (no formatting/returns) it seems like a lot of these have been left blank. Ideally once this new format comes into play people will be putting 'short descriptions' into that box that describe their game in a quick and easy to read way. It might be nice if there was a full description box available once inside the actual game listing.
When we were using the calendar for FG Con I to schedule games ... we ran into a few issues that we handled by formatting the description of the game.. but they could be additional fields on this screen:
Game Date (useful for one shots .. or the first game of a new campaign)
Game Time (Making use of the GMT adjustments to show the correct international time)
Language (A nice option for non-english speaking users... as Blacky said.. but kinda a waste if it takes up screen space since most games on FG seem to be in english)
Obviously the columns at the right are somewhat oversized for the information they display. It would be nice if there were actual lines delineating the columns and making the screen easier to read.
Level (Many games don't use this but for some it can be very useful the ability to set this to 'off' might be cool)

ianmward
September 4th, 2014, 01:17
Wow where did this thread appear from. I should have looked before posting my huge message in another post.

This is looking much better. A few suggestions from my other post...

1. One of the most important things is the proposed game time in my timezone.
2. Separate section for one-offs or short series, rather than ongoing campaigns.

Trenloe
September 4th, 2014, 01:38
1. One of the most important things is the proposed game time in my timezone.
This already happens, but you need to give the calendar a hint by adding your timezone to your profile. In the a campaign entry in the game calendar the if there are any scheduled play time entries below these it will say "All times are XXX" (where XXX is a timezone code) and there is a change link after that which takes you to the general settings page of your profile, scroll down to Date and Time Options and set your time zone.

Or, click on Profile in the top right corner of this page, then General Settings and scroll down to the Date & Time Options section and set your time zone.

ianmward
September 4th, 2014, 01:53
Hmmm... Now I am confused. I already have my profile set up with my AEST timezone but I don't see the proposed game time properly...

For example, the info shown for the 5E Hoard of the Dragon Queen session is:
-------------------------------------------------------------------
5E Hoard of the Dragon Queen Tuesday Nights 8-11 pm EST
5E
idjester No Yes
5 + 3
4 to 6 2014-09-01 -5

5E Hoard of the Dragon Queen Tuesday Nights 8-11 pm EST
Setting: Forgotten Realms
Ruleset: 5E
Genre: Dungeon and Dragons
5E Campaign of Hoard of the Dragon Queen on Tuesday nights from 8-11 pm EST
-------------------------------------------------------------------
(I would post an image but I don't know how...)

Trenloe
September 4th, 2014, 02:04
Hmmm... Now I am confused. I already have my profile set up with my AEST timezone but I don't see the proposed game time properly...

For example, the info shown for the 5E Hoard of the Dragon Queen session is:
-------------------------------------------------------------------
5E Hoard of the Dragon Queen Tuesday Nights 8-11 pm EST
5E
idjester No Yes
5 + 3
4 to 6 2014-09-01 -5

5E Hoard of the Dragon Queen Tuesday Nights 8-11 pm EST
Setting: Forgotten Realms
Ruleset: 5E
Genre: Dungeon and Dragons
5E Campaign of Hoard of the Dragon Queen on Tuesday nights from 8-11 pm EST
-------------------------------------------------------------------
(I would post an image but I don't know how...)
That is because people are putting the time in the title. Very few, if any, calendar applications are going to parse the title, attempt to determine if someone has put a time in the title and then adjust any times in the title based on your time zone (I'm not aware of any that do this). The Game Calendar has the "Scheduled Play Times" section in the top right once you click on the campaign to view more details. Scheduled play times will show in the time zone from your profile.

ddavison
September 4th, 2014, 02:51
Perhaps we can collectively come up with some best practices or tips we can include on the detail page for GM's when they create or edit their campaigns. As for the one-offs and ongoing campaigns, I like those suggestions too.

Blacky, I'll take a look at making an option to collapse or expand the descriptions. A default template for the description and an allowance for some basic formatting might be nice. It isn't as easy as the changes I put in today, though, so I'll have to take a look at it and see.

JohnD
September 4th, 2014, 03:58
Any chance we can have the ability to assign a picture to our campaigns instead of it displaying our forum avatar? Restricted in size/dimensions naturally.

ddavison
September 4th, 2014, 04:05
Possibly. At the end of the day, nearly anything is possible with web development these days. It's just a matter of time and effort. I will probably continue to tweak things a bit here and there and then hop back to my other project for a bit before returning back to make more improvements.

ianmward
September 4th, 2014, 04:06
Thanks Trenloe,
That explains it. I guess people put it in the title because it's important and doesn't appear in the list otherwise. Can I suggest we put the (next) Scheduled Play Time instead of the last gm activity?

Blacky
September 4th, 2014, 06:00
As for tips for description, I think talking about the GNS theory (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNS_Theory) and triangle would be helpful. It's a good way to meet players that have the same approach to rpg as you.

Maybe also about table rules. Some table are very much beer&bretzels, you show up or don't, you talk about Star Wars VII for half an hour, you afk for two hours in the middle of the game, and so on. And some table are very much not that.

Blacky
September 4th, 2014, 06:01
Thanks Trenloe,
That explains it. I guess people put it in the title because it's important and doesn't appear in the list otherwise. Can I suggest we put the (next) Scheduled Play Time instead of the last gm activity?
I don't know what last GM activity really is, but if not bogus it's important. A lot of campaigns are abandoned.

Blacky
September 4th, 2014, 06:04
Free-form for these in the comments, or does it warrant a new field for each? Again, does it need to show on the main page too?
There really isn't an excessive amount of campaigns listed now, so I'm not sure what makes the most sense to add.
Probably not, redifining the whole meta-rpg thing to get the right fields would be overkill. If the calendar tool has one day several dozens or hundreds of games some fields about what divide the community (fully roleplay all the time or not, casual or serious, etc.) might be helpful, but right now that would seem like a lot of work maybe better used elsewhere.

crb31
September 10th, 2014, 15:03
An easier way to sort the games by gaming system would be great. I thought it was possible in either my profile or on the main calendar but I can't find it. Something with a drop down menu so you can choose just the rule set you are looking for.
Cal

damned
September 10th, 2014, 15:14
that will require changing ruleset to a drop down menu in game setup too...

leozelig
September 11th, 2014, 01:31
Thanks Trenloe,
That explains it. I guess people put it in the title because it's important and doesn't appear in the list otherwise. Can I suggest we put the (next) Scheduled Play Time instead of the last gm activity?

Absolutely agree with this. Players also should be able to sort by next scheduled game time. Last GM activity is not useful information in my experience. I really don't think we need it.

Mask_of_winter
September 11th, 2014, 01:54
Personally, I think a format like this one might be more useful: http://extraordinarygamers.com/Calendar
Then you can color code to indicate the GM has a Full or Ultimate, mouse over to get more information (time, system, setting, etc.).

JohnD
September 11th, 2014, 15:21
Personally, I think a format like this one might be more useful: http://extraordinarygamers.com/Calendar
Then you can color code to indicate the GM has a Full or Ultimate, mouse over to get more information (time, system, setting, etc.).

I like that calendar set up. Ideally you want to let people know there are a lot of games going on / scheduled. This is important even if those games are full and not accepting new players. Show the overall activity.

I would make the heading on the calendar clickable which would lead to the game page we currently have (more or less). If the GM has marked not accepting players, there should be a friendly note indicating the game is currently at maximum player count.

We all hear about how hard it is to find a game... the way the list is now, I can believe that. Show people a dynamic calendar that lists 9 games a day, and you will change the perception at least, that nothing is going on. Can't do anything about full games - but you can let people know there is a lot of activity going on.

ianmward
September 15th, 2014, 09:58
Personally, I think a format like this one might be more useful: http://extraordinarygamers.com/Calendar Then you can color code to indicate the GM has a Full or Ultimate, mouse over to get more information (time, system, setting, etc.).
That is nice but I still miss the scheduled time in my timezone... That is fundamental for me.

Blackfoot
September 15th, 2014, 10:01
Time Zone is a big deal for everyone here on FG... well ok.. maybe not everyone.. but the issue comes up ALL the time.

JohnD
September 15th, 2014, 13:45
Yeah time zone conversion is a big one to include.

Mask_of_winter
September 15th, 2014, 13:54
That is nice but I still miss the scheduled time in my timezone... That is fundamental for me.

SXG's calendar provides that granted you've set your time zone in your profile.

ballan4
September 15th, 2014, 16:41
I'm all set up at SXG and have no problem finding games in my time zone.

ianmward
September 15th, 2014, 21:38
Yeah, but you have to click into the event to see it, right?
For me THE most important information to decide whether
I can join an event is when it is scheduled to run. I would, therefore, like that information available on the list/calendar view.
If I have not looked for a while or am new to the calendar, I open it up and look at what is available. If I see a long list of events scheduled but don't see the day and time, I have to click into each one to see if they are relevant to me. i then devide if the system or description is interesting.
With the calendar view it is much better in that it shows the day but this may be misleading without the time in my timezone as it might (probably will) be the next day for me or in the middle of the night...
Cheers,

Ian

Blackfoot
September 16th, 2014, 01:44
You make a pretty good point.. the time is definitely important.
There are some issues here that relate to how the calendar works now vs how it 'could' or 'should' work.
It comes down to 'what is the goal of having the calendar' as far as Smiteworks is concerned. Being able to provide matchmaker services for gamers is a big thing.

I know that when I first started with FG and had some time on my hands to look for games, before I got involved with the PFS and had no confidence to run an online game of my own, it was exceedingly hard to find a game. Nobody knew me and all I had was the few tools available on the site that I could use to 'find a game'.
Better matchmaking tools provide a service to the users and help to grow the community, and depending on how they are built they can either cycle that community deeper into involvement or it can send them off to other sites like Obsidian Portal or Epic Words or wherever there are good campaign tools.

The advantage for Smiteworks of having this service is that it promotes a stay at home attitude toward the site. I know that in my current campaigns we do not use the calendar at all. We use it for one-shots and maybe for first runs... but after that we move on to other sites with tools that are more suited to running and monitoring a campaign.

I'm not exactly sure what this means for Smiteworks.. there was a discussion about working out some links to OP which could be an interesting thing. Certainly the big thing to worry about as far as the calendar goes is 'how is it going to be used'. I'm not sure how other folks use it or want to use it. I know that the current calendar, while not perfect, is very useful in arranging our PFS games and that these games do help the community as a whole to grow.

VenomousFiligree
September 16th, 2014, 07:04
The advantage for Smiteworks of having this service is that it promotes a stay at home attitude toward the site. I know that in my current campaigns we do not use the calendar at all. We use it for one-shots and maybe for first runs... but after that we move on to other sites with tools that are more suited to running and monitoring a campaign.

imo the calendar should be a thriving hub of games being played, sadly it is not.

Blackfoot
December 15th, 2014, 20:41
This topic kinda got dropped ... is everyone happy with the changes to the game calendar? I hate to complain here but.. I am finding it even less useful than it used to be now. I'm pretty much avoiding it when I can because there is too much information there and it isn't organized in a way that's easy to process. I certainly wouldn't go there to look for a game... which I kinda think would be the hope for it.

ddavison
December 15th, 2014, 20:46
Would a ruleset filter make the difference?

Blackfoot
December 15th, 2014, 20:50
Maybe some way to collapse the info about the games... because you can only see like 2 or 3 games at a time.. it's hard to scan them.

I used to look down the list and sorta get an general idea of what games were going on out there... I scroll down about 5 games now and give up.

Is there no ruleset sort anymore? A filter would be a good idea but then on the other side it would be good if there was a drop down to select the ruleset from (with an 'other' option for custom rulesets) this would make the filter work better... since right now people name the ruleset a variety of different things.. eg. (3.5, 3.5e, 3.5E, PF, PFRPG, Pathfinder...) that's assuming that they even spell them right. :)

ddavison
December 15th, 2014, 21:11
Sorting by ruleset works. Just click on the column header for ruleset to sort them ascending. Click on it again to sort them descending.

Blackfoot
December 15th, 2014, 21:13
Right.. I tried that after I posted. It really doesn't solve the problem. If I'm the only one having an issue with this I'll let it go... I was just wondering how folks were reacting to it now that it's been up this way for a few months... I do like your idea of a filter though... cut directly to the stuff you actually want to see.

ddavison
December 15th, 2014, 22:01
I'll have to come back to this in a bit, but you can play around with a few filtering concepts now if you add &ruleset=3.5 or ?ruleset=3.5 to the URL.

For instance, to show all the 3.5E ruleset campaigns with the most recently active ones at the top, then your URL would look like this:
https://www.fantasygrounds.com/calendar/?sort=lastactivity&sortdir=descending&ruleset=3.5

If you want to change to Pathfinder, you can just adjust to include Pathfinder or PFRPG. There is no good way to get both. Other rulesets would be similar. Savage for Savage Worlds.

Blackfoot
December 15th, 2014, 22:03
Right.. that's why I was suggesting a drop down menu on the other end (in the Ruleset entry for the campaign creation)...

ddavison
December 16th, 2014, 17:58
Try the Game Calendar page now and see if the filtering and more obvious sorting improve it enough to be useful.

Blackfoot
December 16th, 2014, 18:28
That's actually pretty cool... it does illustrate part of the problem though pretty clearly... even to the extent that 'pathfinder' and 'Pathfinder' are listed separately. :)

It's a good fix.

Brainstorming here... on things I might like to see.. and I feel like I'm the only one talking about issues here so maybe it's all me and you should ignore me...
Smaller Header - Reduce the size of the text so we can see more than 2 or 3 listings at a time. There is a lot of blank space here.. is it possible to double these up side by side?
Adjust it so the portrait image fills the whole box instead of just the header.. this will allow for smaller headers.
Make the 'details/description' portion of the entry collapsible... or collapsed by default and 'openable' or 'hoverable'.

Nylanfs
December 16th, 2014, 19:05
Maybe have a dropdown listing all the current Gamesystems listed (after combining some), and a selection that says Other with a fillable form field? That way there isn't 35, 3.5, 35E, 35e etc, and a moderator can add systems to the list.

ddavison
December 16th, 2014, 20:43
All good feedback.

I cleaned it up a little more.

Regarding the dropdown's consolidation and the other options... those sound great but would require some coding (and mental) gymnastics to get working with how the XML & XSL stylesheets work today.

Blackfoot
December 16th, 2014, 20:45
Yeah.. I figured it would be more complex.. but an improvement in the long run if it can be managed.

trevorgall
December 27th, 2014, 18:56
A thought on the game calendar. Just on the description. if we are trying to encourage players.. the Description box entry is very limited.. Its basically a single line , that wraps. Can we have it as a box, that we can edit. Ie a multiline web control, instead of a single line. I under stand the need to keep HTML code out for security reasons. Otherwise we are tempted to link to other pages. But at the least multiple lines would make a big difference, and encourage the DMs to enter more info about the game. I'd also like maybe a separate box, where we can enter in a URL for the web site, for the game. Like the google sites that I use.
Rgds
Trev

Lysander
February 1st, 2015, 17:39
For future consideration perhaps: It would be nice to be able to check the extensive list and filter by the of the week day a game has been scheduled for it's next session. If I have time to play with a group on Tuesday evenings in GMT -6, I can cross reference the game calender and filter out those items that don't fit my criteria and save myself a lot of time. Or better yet, set this up on an actual calendar and I can click the date I want and see what's being played (you could pull the data from the proposed playing date?) If I find something that interest me, I can click on that link and see if they play the system I like and if they have openings.

JohnD
February 1st, 2015, 19:18
1) It may be time to go in a prune some inactive campaigns again.
2) It would be nice if scheduled games would show up in the Calendar link. You could filter there by game system.

JohnD
February 4th, 2015, 23:16
3) It would be nice if posts could be removed from the narrative on the campaign page. Either by the person who submitted them, but also by the GM.

The Hawk and Sparrow
February 8th, 2015, 12:34
For future consideration perhaps: It would be nice to be able to check the extensive list and filter by the of the week day a game has been scheduled for it's next session. If I have time to play with a group on Tuesday evenings in GMT -6, I can cross reference the game calender and filter out those items that don't fit my criteria and save myself a lot of time. Or better yet, set this up on an actual calendar and I can click the date I want and see what's being played (you could pull the data from the proposed playing date?) If I find something that interest me, I can click on that link and see if they play the system I like and if they have openings.

Agreed. Create a calendar so we can plan for or post available games. FG is awesome because it lends itself so well to this concept. Great idea.

JohnD
April 6th, 2015, 16:05
1) It may be time to go in a prune some inactive campaigns again.
2) It would be nice if scheduled games would show up in the Calendar link. You could filter there by game system.

Item 1 is IMO valid again.