View Full Version : A look ahead

March 6th, 2005, 16:04
As some of you might have noticed, I've been absent from the boards for a while, and been unable to work as closely on Fantasy Grounds as I would have liked. This should change for the better now, however, and you can expect to see me around a bit more again. Here's a little update on what is going on with FG right now.

During the past weeks, we've been working on some non-technical issues we hope will, in the long run, allow us to keep working on FG as it keeps improving with the help and feedback of the user community.

I also wanted to give everyone a peek at what we have planned for the spring. Please note that the list below is the current plan, and might change in part as we go along. We also want to reserve the highest priority for critical bug fixes, for which the exact work needed is usually hard to estimate ahead of time. For this reason, I'm not going to include any dates with this. Note also that the steps don't really reflect patch versions or such. The steps mostly reflect what we, as the developers, want to see happen with the application. We might even decide to go ahead and grab a part of step 2 or 3 and include it before all of step 1 is in.

Step 1: Content creation

First, we will be taking a look at the means Fantasy Grounds has for users to enter data, and make sure the current implementation works as well as it could. Some of the issues here are:

Token management (token box organization, grouping and management)
Text entry (clipboard use, improved functionality for text controls)
Module creation (bug fixes and some additional functionality)

Step 2: Content management

As we get more information from users' experiences with larger amounts of data, and as users start taking advantage of modules, a need will arise to be able to access all that information more effectively. We will be looking at possibilities to improve the way you can index, search and link the content in your adventures you run as the Gamemaster.

Better search controls for encounter, item and NPC texts
Links on images and maps
Better organization for data exported and imported through modules
Improved user interface feecback (hover texts, labels)

Step 3: Community support

The community has got started with custom assets, but we would like to offer a better chance for everyone to make their creations available to the rest of the community, as well as make it easier to search the files others have made public. This also includes better mechanisms for people to meet and set up games, campaigns and sub-communities.

As we get more concrete plans for the items in this step, I'll post more information.

I also wanted to give you a sneak peek at the upcoming token system, as we have it planned at the moment. You will be able to define a hierarchy for tokens, that will be based on a directory structure in the token folder. You will have a top level "bag" of tokens, which can, in turn, have more bags in it, and so forth. Each user can also move tokens from a bag to another, and come up with a setup that feels best for the particular user.

As you open a bag, the contents of the token box will change to reflect the contents of the bag. There will still only be one token box, to keep it simple and usable.

In the image below, you can see the top level bag. At the bottom of the token box is a row of "bag slots" that you can use to quickly reference and open any bag. You can drag any bag to the empty slots, and access it with just one click. As you can see, the first two slots are reserved for the system, and always refer to the top level bag, and the bag directly above the active bag in the hierarchy (like the "up" button in windows explorer). They are both dimmed in the image because the picture was taken on the top level.


Please feel free to comment on the issues touched upon in this thread.

March 6th, 2005, 17:56
Welcome back!

I have noticed a drop off in your guys presence here... I figured you guys were hard at work on 1.04.

Err... all the above sounds good. Hopfully others will have more usefull input then that. :)


March 7th, 2005, 16:53
You've basically answered all the questions I've been asking to myself for the last couple of weeks.

March 10th, 2005, 09:51
Thanks for the great post. It's helpful to get an idea of what you guys are working on and plan to work on. I'm pretty new to the program (haven't even run my first game yet-'nother couple of weeks before my group gets started), but I wanted to comment on what a great program you have here and offer my thanks as well to the great user community. I think that FG has a solid future ahead of it and as word of mouth spreads; your user base will grow.

As far as issues I've encountered thus far, just putting my campaign together, I'd say it's somewhat a tedious process as is, having to edit within the FG program, which has very limited word processing features (to say the least), however thanks to user created conversion tools (thanks again Chris!), working from Word to FG is a great option.

I wonder if it would be possible to eventually have the capability to work from a PDF type document, say a module was scanned and converted to PDF then imported to FG and encouter and dialog boxes would be automatically recognized-would be nice not to have to type all this stuff...
Or, better yet, have you guys tried working with content providers (d20 publishers) to get them to put their adventures out in FG format?!

I did have a question actually about any known file size or module size issues-I tend to write out really long detailed information boxes, covering everything from room/environment descriptions and all kinds of possible dialog options (as text boxes). I'm converting modules from sources like Dungeon and d20 adventure materials, and these tend to be quite long, before I add any of my own 'flavor' text and adaptations.

Also, I haven't encountered this yet, but as I understand it, token management seems to be an issue, and I'm glad it's being addressed so quickly (one of the reasons I haven't started my game as I plan on using tons of tokens-tons).

Well, again, thanks for the program and for touching base with us,

March 14th, 2005, 08:50
As well as paying attention to the text editing cababilities of FG, I'd like to support efforts to ensure content is safer than it currently is. I have twice lost content through FG, although I managed to get it back once by recreating the tabs that used to hold it. Second time, a page in the storybook just disappeared, and although I naturally can't rule out user stupidity I am quite certain I wouldn't have deleted it accidentally.

To me, first step in actually using FG to prepare adventures is to know that my content is reasonably safe. And not just from loss, but corruption too.

I understand FG is still young, and I know efforts are already underway to make it more stable. But I'd much rather see improvements to program and content stability than new features. FG is supreme already in what it offers.

Perhaps, since user harddrive space is less of a concern today than what it once was, I'd love some capability to undelete an entry. In XML I imagine it would be by way of marking when a specific page has been deleted and then simply not show the page any longer. After a set amount of days had passed, the content could then be permanently deleted.

Anyways, keep up the great work. FG is an amazing program, to me only marred ever so slightly by stability issues. In our 9+ hours session last night (http://www.flickr.com/photos/heilemann/6463140/) FG crashed perhaps 5 times for each player. Rarely does it bring down anything major, but it's been quite frustrating for the players losing their last journal entry, or the last updates to their character sheets.

March 17th, 2005, 09:20
It sounds great!

A feature that might be helpful for the tokenbag is that a menu item is added to quickly organise the tokens in a raster. That way you can unclutter the bag with one click. But the extra bags, yeah...! More than welcome:)

April 18th, 2005, 09:25
Shoot. I'm just now seeing this, only a month late. I guess I've got a bad habbit of scrolling past the stickies without looking to see if there is a new one. :oops:

I noticed the lack of labels for the token bags. I'm not sure if I'm reading too much into what may have been a quick example as opposed to the final implementation, but here's my comment in case it isn't pointless.

There are three "token bags" in the picture. One is shown in the box, and the other two are on the shortcut bar below it. They all look exactly the same.

I think it will be far easier to use the additional organizing capability if there can be some way of recognizing the concept behind each bag. That could involve putting some kind of icon on the "top" and "up one" shortcut bags, but it probably means putting a label on, above, or below the other, user-created bags.

I'm imagining an arrangement I would make where the "top" bag would have whatever tokens I expect to be using right away (maybe for the current area the PC's are in) and then a bunch of sub-bags. One might be for status tokens. Others could be for humanoids, animals, Monsters A-C, etc.

Now, maybe a GM doesn't have to have every token he's ever laid his hands on in the token box all at once. But why not? :-) It will sure be easier to navigate if the sub-bags and shortcut bags all have titles or pictures.

I also like the auto-arrange suggestion. Again, to help with organizing, it might be nice to have them ordered alphabetically, based on their underlying file name. At some point, maybe there could be multiple ordering options, like graphical size, or even, if I get crazy, frequency of use. :)

Or here's an even crazier idea. There could be a third "system" bag that always contains the 20 most-recently-used tokens or 20 most-often-used, like the history bar in a browser. Or that may be going too far... How many teams of programmers did you say you had? :D


April 18th, 2005, 13:32
How many teams of programmers did you say you had? :D

The bags will indeed have a mouse over label, and the "top" and "up" bags have an icon to distinguish them. The arrange function puts the bags first, and orders things according to the underlying file alphabetically.

April 22nd, 2005, 16:35
The bags will indeed have a mouse over label, and the "top" and "up" bags have an icon to distinguish them. The arrange function puts the bags first, and orders things according to the underlying file alphabetically.

In your graphic I see six bag slots and you say 2 are taken by the system. Do the bags scroll off screen? How many bags will the DM get? How would I jump to a bag for 'Tall Orcs' ? Will the player DM have shared bags and private bags?


January 21st, 2006, 22:40
Hi Goblin-King,

I've spent most of today preparing for the session I'm gonna take my players through tomorrow. In doing so, I naturally had to write a fair bit of text.

Looking at this entry, which is getting fairly close to being one year old, I was wondering if, as far as Smite Works is concerned, the text editing capabilities is at a state you are happy with?

I still find editing text quite tedious. It's not a major showstopper, but something that continually pops up as a source of nuiscance. Specifically, I often feel I miss these things:

* The ability to jump word by work by holding down CTRL and using the left/right arrow keys.
* The ability to select text using the keyboad by holding SHIFT and using the left/right arrow keys.
* The ability to use the numeric keyboard for numbers and /, *, - and +
* The ability to always copy text (CTRL+C) and always paste text (CTRL+V) in all text fields? (This isn't possible in the NPC text fields, as far as I can see)

Also, while I'm at it, allow me to suggest a text form of hyperlinks (would be really useful for spells, for example) where you can just drag a spell and get a text hyperlink instead of using the link boxes. It would save a lot of space in some boxes, and allows for somewhat easier statblocks.

Just some thoughts...

January 22nd, 2006, 15:19
A pass over the formatted text control (story pages and item descriptions use this, but text fields in character sheets don't) is indeed planned. It's a separate issue from scripting, and will be a bit of work so it will be addressed in a patch after the next one.

Most of the things you mention will most likely be addressed. The numpad is, at the moment, used to bookmark sheets. Maybe we can make it a user preference at some point whether to use the feature or not.

January 23rd, 2006, 07:54
Hi there Goblin-King. I'm a programmer myself, and I was wondering what language you used to write the software for FG, and also what graphics software did you used for designing the look of the dice, et al?

Just curious. Thanks!

January 26th, 2006, 09:55
Hi there Goblin-King. I'm a programmer myself, and I was wondering what language you used to write the software for FG, and also what graphics software did you used for designing the look of the dice, et al?

We use C++ for the program, and also Lua for scripting from the upcoming 1.06 patch onwards. Most of the graphics are just Photoshop.

January 26th, 2006, 21:51
I'm a C++ programmer myself. I dont currently have a coding toolkit, but if you ever need any help, let me know.

I'm not familiar with luna though. :/

January 26th, 2006, 21:56
I'm not familiar with luna though. :/

LUA is very well documented (http://www.lua.org/docs.html). We can't wait to see what people come up with once they get a hang of it.

January 27th, 2006, 06:15
oops, lua, not luna. ;)

I'll go check it out.