The Treasure map
For the rest of the year and for next year we decided to publish our full roadmap for the toolkit and content production. Many of you requested this on discord socials. We have an extremely tough year behind us, but we feel like at this point we have been able to patch up our Ark. Now it is time to grab our buckets and clear out the water from the decks, so we can get some wind in our sails. You can check the development roadmap on the Arkenforge main page.
We have released the New Toolkit this May. The planks were checked and the beams were inspected before putting the ship onto the water. It did not float. We got cornered by some unforeseen circumstances and oversights and we started to sink immediately. While we had large issues surfacing, the structure we spent most of our time with seemed to be sound, additionally we have gotten a lot better over the years in our workflows and started repairs without hesitation. To date Nathan released 142 patches. He did not only fix all the issues that surfaced, but even hidden small issues that were with us laying low since the infancy of our project. Our communication, testing practices improved vastly too. The Toolkit does more than ever before, with much better resource management and an extremely sturdy foundation. Finally the Ark is patched up.
Water is not leaking into the Ark anymore, but that does not mean that the decks are dry. In these past 6 months we have alienated a great number of you. Our look and feel has changed, stability was rocky for months, accidents happened, content did not work. As your frustrations grew we heard the echoes of “bring back the old system”. You probably figured by now – that is not an option.
Our content management was inefficient and our UI was hated by power users and professionals. The foundation started to shake here and there. We scrapped a lot of old, and built something new that can be scaled much better and in a lot more stable manner. The old system might have been shiny on the outside, but a lot of structure was struggling under broken or hastily patched beams, and it could not keep up with the vast amount of cargo you folks wanted to buy or import. We also decided to go down the path to work together with others and make bridges to other platforms.
We hear you though. Every word sent our way.
Based on what you told us – you miss the content manipulation wheel, you had a much easier time starting from scratch, and the software used to feel much more user-friendly and colorful . Our UI currently feels too old-school, it is click heavy, unintuitive and grey. The changes we introduced were too rapid and we changed too much too quick – needing to re-learn how to use our tools. We now need to address and solve these issues.
The 0.4.1 Series is about bringing the Toolkit home, making it much more user friendly and much more pleasant for first time users. We need to reduce our click-heaviness dramatically as the first step. Then we need to let you select, place and manipulate content much easier, but without taking away control from you. Allowing more time for thorough testing is crucial, and you are always welcome to jump in beta and comment on changes before they make their way to public. Documentation and a website article will be released before any future public update. We wont rest until it is a better experience than it ever used to be.
Unfurling the sails – Future roadmap
0.4.2 is about letting the winds take you to new adventures. You are already able to take your maps anywhere, but it will be not just about maps anymore. We will be working hard on letting you take all your creations to any platforms you like. Prepared an adventure module in the Toolkit? Export to Fantasy Grounds Unity, Foundry and various other VTTs to play, sell or share it! Become a publisher with a click of a button. Had years worth of notes in Realmworks? Import them into the Encyclopedia. Have maps from Dungeon Painter Studio or Dungeon draft? Keep bouncing them between us and them and build on them as you go!
We offer commercial license to any maps you produce with the toolkit already. We will extend our commercial export options as far and wide as possible. The goal is for you to be able to utilize our libraries to create your adventures!
Power to the crew – Future development
As the Captain of the ship, you have a pretty full plate. Managing encounters, audio and maps is a lot. Not to mention that digital VTT features such as dice rolling, initiative tracking, range calculation and more are coming. 0.5.0 is about getting your players on board. We will start the development of the Heroes’ Toolkit – a free mobile app where your players will be able to seamlessly interact with the toolkit on a local network. If you have an IR overlay, you will be able to utilize touch or if you prefer miniatures to digital tokens, have the Toolkit recognize them.
Roadmap dates and ETAs
We have left these out intentionally. The order of things are solid, but we tackle one milestone, test it and when we and you are happy with it, we move onto the next. We have sacrificed quality in the past in order to make arbitrary deadlines, but now things will be released when they are ready. The roadmap is available and is frequently updated on the main page. The current status and milestones we are working on are indicated by the bars next to the columns. Nathan leads software development and Dante leads content production.
Many exciting updates are in sight and we hope to get you on- or back on board for this journey. As always, please continue to stay in touch, let us know how you feel about the changes and how can we improve.
As Nathan always says, see you with the next update 🙂