New Feature: Player Secrets

Micah
Micah
edited January 2011 in General Archive
We're deploying a new feature tonight: player secrets. Essentially it works a lot like the GM Only section, but it allows for posting text that is visible only to the GM and a single player.

I wanted to get it out, but it has an unfinished feeling to me. I'd like some feedback on ways we can make it better. As always, no promises on anything. It may change, it may stay the same, and it may disappear altogether.

*Multiple Players*

Before anyone asks, yes, it could be possible to make it work with multiple players. BUT! While it's not a major technical issue, there is an issue of how to make it user friendly. Believe it or not, people already get confused with the GM Only textarea and the "whole page GM only" option. A secret-to-some-but-not-others field will just compound this. So, the user interface is *the major issue* here. The technical side is fairly simple.

*Update* - It now works with multiple players.

*Display on the Page*

The actual display of the page will get very cluttered if there are multiple sections. This will only be an issue for the GM, but is there a better way to aggregate everything for display?

Those are just a few things to think about. Please, play with the feature, think about how it could be improved, and leave *constructive* feedback. Or, if you like it as is, that's fine too. I just think it needs some time in the wild to be refined.

*Characters Too*

Yes, it will be added to characters as well. I just want to nail the interface down first.
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Comments

  • Darkfool
    Darkfool
    Posts: 1
    Hi

    Love the option. At the moment I can't edit a page though...looks for text in all of the player fields secret fields and says there is a error in editing page.

    Thanks for the hard work
  • ChainsawXIV
    ChainsawXIV
    Posts: 529
    I like where you're headed with this, but I agree it could be polished up a little bit more. A little streamlining will go a long way in my opinion.

    I can mock this up tomorrow if you like, but what I'd suggest is eliminating the "Secret" edit box by default, and just adding an "Add Private Section" button that allows the user to add an arbitrary number of secret sections. Each section would then have a drop-down menu of players, any or all of which can be checked as able to view the section in question.

    As for the display end, there's probably not a whole lot to do for it. About the only thing that comes to mind would be knocking out the private section with it's own set of tabs across the top, one for each private chunk, but that's got a bunch of other issues. I think however that when you get down to using these private sections, you're probably more interested in content than beauty.
  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    Chainsaw's on the job, thus I'm at 105% capacity on my Confidence Meter.

    But yeah, I can neither edit an existing page nor create a new one. :(

    Hopefully, that gets cleared up soon! :)
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894 edited January 2011
    Ugh! I'll take a look and see what I can find out about the errors with page create / edit.

    As to Chainsaw's idea, that's sort of what I was afraid of, the "Add Private Section" button. This could be done fairly easily, but I just know it will confuse people. Oh well, the current method will probably confuse people as well, plus frustrate everyone who wants to add a section that multiple players can see.

    Part of this is me looking out for myself. Whenever we add a feature with any complexity, my inbox starts filling up with "ur website is broke!" emails. But, I kind of treat those as the canary in the coal mine. If a lot of people are sending me angry emails, it probably means the feature is poorly explained.

    I'll play with it a little and see what I can come up with. Keep the feedback coming, I appreciate it.
    Post edited by Micah on
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    Create / Edit bug should be fixed.
  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    1) You can't make an omelette without your inbox filling with "ur website is broke!" emails.

    2) Thanks for fixing the create/edit bug!
  • ChainsawXIV
    ChainsawXIV
    Posts: 529
    Personally, I suspect the scheme I outlined will end up being a bit easier for folks to understand in the long run, and result in less confusion. It may make the feature somewhat less obvious, but anyone who does use it will have explicitly pressed a clearly labeled button to do so, so it should reduce incidents of folks putting their information in the wrong box and then asking why the players can't see it.
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    bq. folks putting their information in the wrong box and then asking why the players can
  • LexMajor
    LexMajor
    Posts: 8
    Appreciate the work, really do!

    As a simple suggestion, here's what I propose: focus on the Characters. From all the examples the people have been giving this is the single biggest use for this feature anyway ("my character is secretly a werewolf/republican/etc"). Of course the full-fledged feature you're developing will fit the bill, but I'm wondering if it wouldn't be easier to "keep it simple".

    So I suggest you simply add a "Secret to GM+" section in the character write-up, with a bit of explanatory text to make things clear ("this section will only be visible to the GM and
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    Lex:

    Good thoughts regarding KISS, but in this case it's almost as easy to make the general case, and I know deep-down that people won't be satisfied with it just on characters. A perfect example is a wiki page on a particular organization, like a thieves guild, then a secret spot between the GM and the player who happens to be the secret leader of the guild.

    I set aside some time this afternoon to work on it, and I'm making good progress. I hope to have something to deploy tonight. *fingers crossed*
  • Genesplicer
    Genesplicer
    Posts: 8
    I'm glad to see this feature coming about, however what I wanted was for it to be available for the CHARACTERS, which, I note, it is NOT. The GM that I generally play with likes to have character subplots and secrets that stay between him and the player until he has the appropriate opportunity to bring them to light in game play as a surprise twist for everyone else. Some of these secrets stay in the GM only section since the player doesn't know about them, but others are dreamed up by the players themselves, and he works them in. Since he has these little plot twists going with virtually every character, sometimes he loses track of the player generated ones. It would be very nice to have a section on the CHARACTERS to allow us to communicate about what secret features are known between player and GM. I'm not opposed to your secrets sections on the wiki pages, buts it
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    Genesplicer - Look closely at the text in each of the player secret boxes:

    bq. Note: These player secrets are a new and in-progress feature. They may change significantly in the near future, and they are a litte unstable, so please be patient.
  • ChainsawXIV
    ChainsawXIV
    Posts: 529
    I think what he was getting at is that it's not supported on characters yet, only on wiki pages.
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    Characters are on the TODO list. I just wanted to ship the half-done version and get some feedback. Once we nail it for wiki pages, I'll port it over to characters.

    I'll add that to the top post to make it clear.
  • udalrich
    Posts: 7
    It looks good to me. The one thing that I noticed is, at least in Chrome, a lot of the formatting controls are black on slightly different black, espeically the h1 through h6 options. This makes it difficult to see what options are there.
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    The color scheme definitely needs work, I agree there.
  • Dyluth
    Dyluth
    Posts: 92
    I can't wait to have a real in depth look at this feature Micah, kudos to you and the OP team for developing it. After a year and a half of game play most of my PC's secrets have come out already, but there's still enough tucked away into proverbial closets to make fine use of this feature.
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    Pushing out a fix that makes it closer to what Chainsaw was describing. Like he says, it's probably less confusing than how it is now, plus it allows for attaching any number of players to a given secret.

    Keep the feedback coming...
  • Genesplicer
    Genesplicer
    Posts: 8
    Yes, Chainsaw was correct I was wanting this feature to be supported on the characters themselves. Sorry to be impatient, I didn
  • ChainsawXIV
    ChainsawXIV
    Posts: 529 edited January 2011
    That works great Micah! I'd say the next two things I'd like to see are the color scheme changes mentioned above, and the addition of a delete button for sections. You can get rid of them by blanking them out and saving, but that's a bit convoluted and unintuitive.

    Edit: You might even choose to remove the default GM only section, which would all but eliminate the common complaint mentioned earlier.
    Post edited by ChainsawXIV on
  • Idless
    Idless
    Posts: 58
    Let me just say: I love it!

    pfft... so what if it does not work yet!

    The fact that the most missing feature through three years is here, is so exciting!

    From the bottom of my gamer (and GM) heart: thank you!

    ...Troels
    Idless
  • TheSouljourner
    TheSouljourner
    Posts: 22
    GM plus nobody seems to work just fine. Sounds like the death knell for GM only.

    Love it, can't wait to see it on characters.
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    GM Only will have to stay (for now), as the Player Secrets are an Ascendant feature, unlike GM Only.
  • TheSouljourner
    TheSouljourner
    Posts: 22
    Oh, I missed that. Maybe they could be rolled together and only ascendants could choose the gm-player version?
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    It's been updated to include adventure log posts, characters, and items.

    There are still some usability updates, like background color and possibly a delete button, but overall I'm very pleased.
  • TheSouljourner
    TheSouljourner
    Posts: 22
    Awesome!
  • nezumih
    nezumih
    Posts: 3
    I love the Player Secrets feature, especially since I'm now able to post and edit them on my character's page myself! As a gamer, I'd like to thank everyone working on the project for their continual efforts to make a good site even better. :)

    Since you're looking for constructive input, here are the things I noticed:
    positive: I was happy to find that copy & paste were allowed! Previously, I had to transcribe anything I wrote in document programs.
    positive: Spell check! Always a welcome feature. ;)
    negative: As with your standard editor, the text field feels stiflingly narrow.
    negative: It doesn't look like I'm able to rearrange the order of my secrets. When I wanted my new secret placed just below my first one, I had to make an empty one at the bottom, cut-paste the last secret into it, and repeat for all my secrets in order to get the one I wanted where I wanted. Fortunately, my character is new, so the only person allowed to see my secrets was the GM. Otherwise, that could have been a lot trickier to keep straight!
    negative: It's a minor thing, but I noticed all your text editors are missing the underline feature. Perhaps there's good reason for this, but I wanted to let you know it's been missed. :)

    I hope all this helps! Keep up the good work! :)
    ~Nezumi
  • super_rats
    super_rats
    Posts: 24
    Secrets is a good enough feature that I'm keeping Ascendant.

    A player has typed up a good bit of information only to be unable to see it since he forgot to check himself as in on the secret, so maybe some way to auto check the secret starter as being in on it? It might not be that important, but kind of a whack in the head the first time they go to use it.
  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    super_rats - I agree that the ability to remove yourself is a bit strange. I'll see if I can figure out a nice way to make this less of an issue.

    nezumih - Lots of good points there. I'd also like to be able to reorder things. I'll put that on the TODO list, but it's a low priority so it may be a while before we get to it. I'll also see about adding underline. That's something that should be there.
  • murkatos
    murkatos
    Posts: 2
    I'd love to see color coding in relation to available players who can see block content, and perhaps muirror that color coding in a sidebar or edge container, so that at a glance, a GM can see who has what blocks.. Keeping the content inline with the rest, and maybe being able to separate it out by tags, instead of having the whole other entry form? Is there any way this could just become part of the regular Textile input with a special tag?

    My main issue with current functionality (which is awesome, btw) is that when my players get the email informing them that secret info hit, it emails them the stub for the main page - I'd love for the updates in secret areas to focus to that character's secret block.
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