The "Review my Campaign" thread

Morrinn
Morrinn
edited November 2011 in Campaign Submissions
So, there's been some talk going around about how a DM should go about getting some recognition for the hard work they put into making their wiki (lord knows how the players never seem to care). People want feedback, but are too shy, or feel that soliciting page views and fans by plugging their own stuff on the forum is a bit crass.
So for the purpose of giving people a platform to put up their stuff for general recognition, sans guilty feelings of spamming the forums with shamelessly plugs, how about enterprising DM's request a review of their stuff, either in this thread, or a new topic?

This should help you get valuable feedback on how to improve your site, some fresh page views with new viewers and perhaps even some fans and comments. This might elevate some previously unknown campaign to be suggested for a COTM.

So, if you want some honest opinion on your material, go ahead and post a link to your wiki here and the community can have a look over and post a review.
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Comments

  • RaseCidraen
    RaseCidraen
    Posts: 890
    Honestly, I've been wondering about the best way of generating feedback for a while - I thrive on external stimuli for getting work on my campaign done. People make suggestions, it sends me into a whirlwind of activity. Seriously. At this point, one of the campaigns I'm working on is simply for myself and for the benefit of the community, and the other is on hiatus while I do some restructuring - too many players lost, and the format of how we play needs to be revisited.

    I'd love to get some feedback from the community, I was just a bit hesitant to start a thread about it as everyone's been busy working on their own kickass campaigns.

    I've got two that I'm currently working on, with links below

    The one with the unfortunate name: "Planescape Campaign":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/planescape-campaign - This is actually in it's second iteration after more or less a TPK and some circumstances with the players that made me walk away from GMing for a while. I also made the wiki before I really knew what I wanted to do with it, hence the rubbish name.

    The one I love more, but am at more of a loss to work on: "Dark Queen of the West":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/the-dark-queen-of-the-west - This, I love. I've done a lot of work with Gaaran to add some fun bits, but I'm afraid there isn't enough content... and some parts are drastically underdeveloped compared to others.

    I guess the biggest problem I'm having is generating content or information that is _useful_ or _necessary_. Please, any feedback would be greatly appreciated!
  • Morrinn
    Morrinn
    Posts: 166
    Righto. Here's my honest opinion...

    * Planescape

    *The Layout*
    The layout is very messy, and for me, the nav-bar glitched out on every other page. The campaign becomes pretty hard to navigate on 1024x768 resolution.
    I'm defineatly not a fan of the way you set up the Factions page. It's much too cramped, and I think you'd be better served dividing the factions into different pages.
    I't advise you to stick to a layout theme to use for all the wiki in order to avoid it looking messy and jumbled togeather.

    *The Fluff*
    Pretty great. I think you got the theme and feeling of Sigil to the tee. I especially enjoyed reading the memorable quotes. You also seem to have spent a lot of time compiling info on the planes and made a rather cohesive library on the cosmology surrounding Sigil.

    *The Art*
    I'm not a big fan of the banner, and some of the pictures chosen were either a little blurry, or stretched. The icons on the reference page could be much smaller.

    *Overall feeling*
    I believe you may have a very interesting campaign going on here, but unfortunatly the uncomfortable layout made it hard for me to properly judge it. I'd say it could use some tidying up.
    Of course it's hard to go wrong with Planescape, and bad layout aside, I did very much enjoy reading through some of the adventure logs and info dump.

    _I give it a 5/10_



    * The Dark Queen of the West

    *The Layout*
    It's Crazy ambitious, unique and simply really fun to navigate the phone and see where each command brings you. The experience was slightly spoiled by encountering 404 pages. It's of course understandable since the campaign is still being constructed that there be some unfinished pages.
    My suggestion would be to put up some temporary placeholders featuring the same phone layout, indicating the directory you are trying to view is empty (or simply direct all dead links to the Error page, or something similar). Such a page would help with the phone Immersion.

    *The Fluff:*
    The player journals were very intreguing and well written. Most of the text on the wiki proper is quite spartan in comparison, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Overall, I feel the information is very tight and well presented.

    *The Art:*
    The Banner image is good, but the background image is a little bright. The phone graphics are excellent and the icons are very authentic. I would suggest you make the icons for some of the sub-menus (notably the Org menu) of a uniform size.

    *Other:*
    The idea of using the Items tab for Evidence is pretty clever, and the pictures were damn authentic.
    The journal layout isnt bad, but contrasts poorly with the excelent look you got going on everywhere else.

    *Overall feeling:*
    A masterfully well crafted navigation, interesting characters and curious story. The faults are few, which ironically make them stand out from all the good work you've done.

    _I gave it a 8/10_
  • vstraydogstrutv
    vstraydogstrutv
    Posts: 209
    Oo do me, do me!

    "Heurdenvaar(stray's current campaign)":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/heurdenvaar
  • gaaran
    gaaran
    Posts: 740
    Hey, I like this, I wouldn't mind getting some feedback on my campaign, it might inspire me to get some work done on them.

    My main site is, "The Melekar Chronicles":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/melekar which has been around OP for a while, but I haven't worked on it in a while. I wouldn't mind getting some opinions on the pages, as it will hopefully encourage me to get some more work done. There are a few pages that have the old layout on them still that I haven't ever figured out what I want to do to update them, just to warn you.

    Also, thanks for the kind words on Dark Queen of the West's iPhone layout, I'm pretty proud of what Rase and I have come up with for that design.
  • vstraydogstrutv
    vstraydogstrutv
    Posts: 209
    Yeah I adore the phone bit. That's pretty damned innovative!
  • killervp
    killervp
    Posts: 2,633
    Gaaran- I have always loved the wax buttons... This site has so much going for it, and I have borrowed ideas for a long time. The card catalog sidebar is also really cool, but the denizens link is often way too low to see.
    Planescape- Image cleanup is the big issue. I have always loved reading your campaign Rase, and since I know you were the inspiration for Arsheesh and Duskreign I have combed over your site many times. The Sigil detail has always been one of my favorites.
    Vstray- I have always had a problem with the name of your campaign- stupid, I know, but there it is. Your sidebar is way left, which means that some will find it hard to read. I always want to put a sweater on, which means the cold comes across well. The rules click goes to the rules tag page, which is a little wonky. I love the background for the dreams segment (and the best writing on the site) which I hope you use more often.

    If any of you want a more thorough review, hit me with a pm.

    killervp
    "A God...Rebuilt":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/a-god-rebuilt
    Duskreign's "COTM for November":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/wyrmshadow/wiki_pages/112011

    Just trying to help out.

  • killervp
    killervp
    Posts: 2,633
    Ok, while I seem to have players that really care about our site (yes, I know that I am lucky) I am always begging for feedback... So please, have at it!!

    killervp
    "A God...Rebuilt":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/a-god-rebuilt
    Duskreign's "COTM for November":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/wyrmshadow/wiki_pages/112011

    Just trying to help out.

  • vstraydogstrutv
    vstraydogstrutv
    Posts: 209
    Haha I love that you hate the name. It's a joke name around here, at best. We love using a Swedish accent to say it. You aren't the first person to comment on my sidebar, and when I set it up I did so for my display which is 1680x1050, landscape. I've since thought about making it far smaller, possibly using text instead of images, maybe float it to the right instead of the left. I'd rather cover up OP's sidebar than not be able to use it because it's cut off on lower res'. Thanks for the critique KVP!
  • Morrinn
    Morrinn
    Posts: 166
    * Heurdenvaar

    *The Layout:*
    It's very spartan. Escentially, you've just put all the info on the main page and present links to short descriptions about individual items. It really could be spruced up a bit and the main page might be cut up and made more appealing with some creative coding. The upside of your current layout is how easy it is to navigate.
    (Addendum: I only noticed as I was wrapping up this review that you had a custom sidebar. It was rather well hidden on my low res screen. Personally, I'd go for a more minimalistic approach to the navbar. Slighter buttons with less intricate fonts, but then it's all a matter of taste.)

    *The Fluff:*
    Easily the best thing about your campaign. I'm not sure if you pulled all the info from some other setting or if it's all an original body of work. If the latter, then I'd say you've really created a wonderfully immersive setting, and it's obvious that a lot of thought has gone into the ecology and inner workings of this frozen land. I had a lot of fun reading about the history of the region, the characters and landscape, and you paint a very vivid picture of the environment and cold tundras. I agree with Killervp, looking through your campaign makes me want to put on something warm.

    *The Art:*
    It's hard to judge seeing as you don't seem to rely much on artwork for your campaign. I'm not sure about the banner you are using, it's a little busy and loops a little awkwardly. But it certainly conveys a feeling of dreaded frost and dark nights, so it might get a passing grade.
    I'm not a fan of the background art for the 'narrators box' in the journal section. The idea is good, but it could both use a border, and a slightly muted tinge of blue, so it doesnt clash as much with the blue links.

    *Overall Feeling:*
    All nitpicking aside, you've done very well with your wiki. I found the journals to be an entertaining read and the setting is very immersive. The look could be tighter, but in the end, it's how you and your players like it that counts the most.

    _I give it a 7/10_
  • Morrinn
    Morrinn
    Posts: 166
    * The Melekar Chronicles

    *The Layout:*
    It feels weird to be asked to review for one of the guys who wrote the book on textiling for OP. Your layout is good, and you know it's good. But here are my nitpicks. Firstly, you seem to have two different navbars (Or three, if you count the default OP bar), which make things a little awkward to navigate. It almost makes it feel like I'm looking at two different wiki's. Navigation issues aside, you seem to have an amazingly good hold of the format, and it shines on every page. I'd particularly like to commend you on the adventure log, I might just have to borrow that idea in the future.
    A secondary concern, that is easy to avoid, is to remove the image annotations in unnecessary places. The Nav bar for example gives you the mouse over message "Card catalog X", and running a mouse over the wiki and lingering on a header sometimes brings up some unnecessary title information.

    *The Fluff:*
    There's really nothing I can say to adequately cover the immense body of work you present here. For your players, you have provided an almost encyclopaedic wealth of information and lore for them to soak their heads in. I'd say it is an enviable position to get to play in your world, sir.

    *The Art:*
    Right off the bat, I have to criticize the File Cabinet nav bar. The Idea is good, but the icons are blurry, and the font contrasts too sharply and doesn't look as authentic because of it. I'd also suggest a font with slightly less elaborate flourish.
    Everywhere else, the art is absolutely fantastic.

    *Overall Feelings*
    It's one of the bigger and more immersive wikis on OP, and I've long been a fan. There's really nothing I can say that would redact the sheer awesomeness of the effort you've put into making it. Good job, man.

    _I Give it a 9/10_
  • vstraydogstrutv
    vstraydogstrutv
    Posts: 209
    You should've seen the looping before I fixed it >.
  • Morrinn
    Morrinn
    Posts: 166 edited November 2011
    Did you make the map yourself, or did you commission someone to do it for you?
    It's really quite excellent.
    Edit: Also a minor concern I just noticed, whenever I click one of the bulletins on your Map, the navbar pops up! Do you include the code for it in the bulletins?
    Post edited by Morrinn on
  • vstraydogstrutv
    vstraydogstrutv
    Posts: 209
    I did make the map myself. You should have seen the first run of that, too ;). Arsheesh can attest to the awesomeness of the before and after.

    I did indeed include the code as an experiment. The problem is, it pops up in funny places. I was thinking about maybe designing a radial menu to pop from them, though. Mainly because I've never seen it before and think it might be interesting.
  • RaseCidraen
    RaseCidraen
    Posts: 890
    Morrinn - Thanks so much for taking the time to look at everything! I've started some work on rebuilding the wiki, and hopefully fixed the 'journals' splash page to tie into the wiki major a bit better. Still a bit of design restructuring to do (a lot of things are NOT going to fit on the phone and look decent), but that'll come in due time.
  • killervp
    killervp
    Posts: 2,633
    Vstray, what is the difficulty of doing portal updates while playing? I ask as I know again that I am an exception now, as I have players not in the same room as me now, just on Skype.
    On a separate note, hoping to get the full Morrinn treatment, and anyone's feedback on my site.

    killervp
    "A God...Rebuilt":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/a-god-rebuilt
    Duskreign's "COTM for November":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/wyrmshadow/wiki_pages/112011

    Just trying to help out.

  • arsheesh
    arsheesh
    Posts: 850
    _"Arsheesh can attest to the awesomeness of the before and after."_

    Yup, the second map definitely showed marked improvement over the first!

    On a side note, this is a really good idea for a thread; so much so that I'm considering making it a sticky. However, before doing so, is there anyone else out there besides Morrinn who thinks that they would be willing (as time allows) to give feedback to new contributors? If so I'll go ahead and make this a permanent discussion of the forums.

    Cheers,
    -Arsheesh
  • RaseCidraen
    RaseCidraen
    Posts: 890
    Hey Arsheesh - I'm more than willing to give critiques and feedback! I have plans to do so, as well, but I'm just in over my head in a coding project at the minute.
  • StephenWollett
    StephenWollett
    Posts: 584
    Morrinn put me in the que. I would love to hear your thoughts on my campaign as well.

    thanks
    -Steve
    "Star Trek Late Night":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/star-trek-late-night
  • killervp
    killervp
    Posts: 2,633
    I will also volunteer to give feedback...

    killervp
    "A God...Rebuilt":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/a-god-rebuilt
    Duskreign's "COTM for November":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/wyrmshadow/wiki_pages/112011

    Just trying to help out.

  • gaaran
    gaaran
    Posts: 740
    Whoa, lots of posts... thanks Morrinn that's exactly what I was looking for. I haven't done any work on the site for a while, and I've been wondering where I should start. I appreciate the nitpicking, the criticism is great to help give me an idea where to do that. Thanks!
  • Morrinn
    Morrinn
    Posts: 166
    Hey dudes.
    I'm delighted (and puzzled) to see some of the more creative minds on the portal seem to think my two cents are grounded in some kind of stable currency.
    But you seem eager for the punishment, so who am I to complain.
    ______________________

    * A God Rebuilt

    *The Layout*
    The code on the campaigns page could be tighter. A lot of the tables have unnecessary line-breakers.

    is your friend! Some of the journal entries by the players however are in desperate need of paragraphs. Also I'd suggest deleting all image mouse-over annotations to avoid flashing unnecessary 'Button_2.jpg' labels.

    *The Fluff*
    The pure amount of lore, journals and videos is staggering. I'd like to think I've read through most of the journals, but I'm certain I've only just scratched the surface. All of the lore is fun and interesting, and the setting is both wonderfully fleshed out and excitingly open for further world building.
    The idea of piecing together a god is one of those annoyingly creative ideas that has you thinking it's so simple as well as cursing yourself for not coming up with it yourself.

    *The Art*
    Right off the bat, I'll have to say that your banner is super duper kickass. Whoever made it must be really awesome and deserves a big cookie.
    For other artwork, it's really all over the place thematic wise, which for a rifts game need not be a bad thing, but I can't help but think you'd be better served with a more uniform artistic style. Mixing photographs, western illustrations and anime together gives the wiki a less cohesive tone, the tradeoff from collaborative work being lesser art direction as your players choose what fits their character, rather than what fits the wiki. The art has a wide range of quality as well, and there are several pictures with ugly stretchmarks from drastic resizing.
    Finally, I feel like you would really benefit from using better textures for some of your text backdrops. Many of them have an ugly seam wherever they repeat. Solving this requires a bit of code and graphical tweaking, but the result would be worth it methinks.

    *Overall Feeling*
    I'm going need you to share with me your secret to get your players this involved with the wiki crafting. But then it's easy to see why they are so eager to be a part of it. I just love A God Rebuilt. It's funny, its creative and its pretty damn nuts.

    _I give it a 7/10_
  • vstraydogstrutv
    vstraydogstrutv
    Posts: 209
    bq. Vstray, what is the difficulty of doing portal updates while playing? I ask as I know again that I am an exception now, as I have players not in the same room as me now, just on Skype.
    On a separate note, hoping to get the full Morrinn treatment, and anyone
  • arsheesh
    arsheesh
    Posts: 850
    This thread is now a sticky, let the "punishment" continue.

    Cheers,
    -Arsheesh
  • killervp
    killervp
    Posts: 2,633
    First off, Arsheesh, if this is punishment, I want more. The feedback Morrinn gave really helps!! Hoping for other reviews.
    Morrinn, thanks for the feedback. Will tackle the backgrounds first, in the upcoming weeks. The detail is truly helpful.

    killervp
    "A God...Rebuilt":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/a-god-rebuilt
    Duskreign's "COTM for November":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/wyrmshadow/wiki_pages/112011

    Just trying to help out.

  • Duskreign
    Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    I am too self deprecating to subject myself to critiques like this. I see the value of it, totally, but I just know I'd hear something that would flip the "I suck at everything and now the whole world knows" switch in my crazy, crazy brain.
  • StephenWollett
    StephenWollett
    Posts: 584
    Dusk, you do suck at everything and we are all laughing behind your back!!!

    seriously though, your stuff is good, and I couldn't have pulled off the coding on parts of my page without you.

    So blow some hot air into that ego and float above the rest.
  • Sommerset
    Sommerset
    Posts: 32
    Man. This is a little terrifying. Why don't you take a look at Lodestar?

    WINCE.
  • kettle
    kettle
    Posts: 72
    I love the Idea for this thread. I would love to get some feedback on my campaign. While I am way behind on my adventure logs, I am blessed with Players who are willing to write journal entries. We are currently on the 11th session. This campaign is a Deadlands Reloaded game using the savage worlds rules system.

    "Once Upon a Time":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/once-upon-a-time

    Thank you,

    Kettle
  • gaaran
    gaaran
    Posts: 740 edited November 2011
    I suppose I'll be down for short bits of advice and critique for page design as well. I unfortunately don't have the time I used to to keep up with these forums, but I try to check in when I can. I figure I might be of help this way :).

    I'll start with Kettle's "Once Upon a TIme":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/once-upon-a-time

    In any game, I find the best judge of it's quality is in checking the adventure logs. You really get a feel for if the game is original and if it sounds fun to play. So after checking out the layout (which I will come back to), I went to the A-log. Big Mistake. They were huge! ;). I unfortunately didn't have time to dig through them, but what I read of the first session, it sounds like you have a great, authentic, western feeling going on, and I like the idea of starting with the characters doing normal wild west things (as you talked about in your "GM Journal.)":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/once-upon-a-time/wikis/gm-journal-1 That is the same approach that Rase and I decided would be fun for our Mage campaign (which he is running), Dark Queen of the West. It really brings the characters together in my opinion. You obviously put a lot of thought and effort into your setting, and I've always wanted to play in a Deadlands game. Yours would be a fun one to start in :).

    For your site design, I like it. It's nothing too complicated or flashy, and that's a good thing for the Wild West. I like the parchment design, and I like the western _vibe_. There are a few things I could point out, if I'm nitpicking, and I think that's the purpose of this thread, so here goes. I'm not sure what level of customization you do with your images, and how comfortable you are with them, but it seems like you do at least SOME combining of images and such. For the logo, I thing the very blown up Deadlands logo could be cleaned up a bit, perhaps by finding a new version of the logo to work with that's a little bigger to start. If feels blurry and stretched out. The image BEHIND the Deadlands logo is great though. On the main wiki, I like the organization for all the links, but the parchment background on the links doesn't quite match up with the background. One trick if that's what you're looking for, is to use .png files. They can have transparency, so they can just be the text with a transparent background, so you don't have to try and match it. Lastly, a few of the character images and such are stretched out. I think they'd be better not being a uniform shape than stretched.

    Like I said, it's pretty nitpicky, and doesn't really detract at all from the great start on the content. It looks like you're only a couple sessions in, and there's already a ton of stuff on there. I don't want to give number ratings on here, because I can't really grade on a curve when there are so many sires I haven't seen, so I say great job, and I just hope to see some of it a little more polished up. :)

    EDIT: I see now that you're further than I thought in the game, just that you're behind in adventure logs. With how massive they are, I completely understand. :)
    Post edited by gaaran on
  • kettle
    kettle
    Posts: 72
    Gaaran, thank you for your comments. I will definitely fix the site design issues you mention. I am not great at Photoshop, but I'm learning. I realize that my adventure logs are very very very long lol. My wife suggested that I break up the sessions into "acts" so each page was shorter and I also want to add some art in there to break up the text. Anyways, thanks again for the comments. If anyone else has any comments on the site, let me know.

    Kettle

    "Once Upon a Time":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/once-upon-a-time
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