Obsidian Portal - site update (Jan 2016)

135

Comments

  • andreww38
    andreww38
    Posts: 239
    FYI: We're in the process of bringing in reinforcements to help with customer support at the "helpdesk":http://help.obsidianportal.com and manage the forums, provide support on member-led initiatives like COTM/COTY, posting on the blog, as I'm hitting the 24 hour/day ceiling (Temporal distortion is only a cast once/week spell so it's not helping much).

    So I'm not quitting, being fired, being beheaded by Joffrey.

    I'll be focusing more on managing the tech team, diagnosing/debugging bug fixes, working with the inner council to spec out new features, and also seeing how we can get the beta test group going for new features.

    If you want to, this is a notice that pre-beheaded Stannis will be joining the fray, though he will likely be joining the battle under a different name.

    Questions? Post them below.
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,956
    Glad that you are getting help-way too much work for one person

    Just trying to help out.

  • andreww38
    andreww38
    Posts: 239
    Hey all, please welcome Aaron (username: aasampson), who'll be helping with customer support and community management.
  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 1,900
    Hi Aaron

    Keep the fire burning!

    twiggyleaf
    CURRENT CAMPAIGN: "Mysteria":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/mysteria - set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.
    Previous CotM Aug 2012: "Shimring":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/shimring

    "I met a traveller from an antique land....."

    CotM May 2016: Mysteria: set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.

    Previous CotM Aug 2012: Shimring: High Level Multiplanar Campaign

    Inner Council Member

  • AaSampson
    Posts: 20
    Hello Op Community. I'm happy to join you and I'm looking forward to assisting all of you. Feel free to message me your comments, concerns, ideas and campaign updates anytime. May the dice be ever in your favor.

    twiggyleaf- (fire to serve community intensifies)
  • Lxcharon
    Lxcharon
    Posts: 189
    Welcome Aaron! I for one look forward to seeing you around!
  • UselessTriviaMan
    UselessTriviaMan
    Posts: 541
    And I for one welcome our Ant Overlords...


    ...Wait, what?

    Ptolus, City by the Spire - 2016 Campaign of the Year

    "Please pay attention very carefully, because this is the truest thing a stranger will ever say to you: In the face of such hopelessness as our eventual, unavoidable death, there is little sense in not at least TRYING to accomplish all your wildest dreams in life."  - - Kevin Smith

  • Basileus
    Basileus
    Posts: 589
    We have new overlords? Already?

    I was just getting used to the Giant Octopus overlords - now I'm going to have to learn a whole new set of recipes for human!

    - grumble - ...never should have come to a planet where the management was in transition... - grumble -
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,956
    Hi Aaron- a few questions-
    Can you tell us something about yourself? Male/Female, what did you do before, qualifications, etc...
    Does this mean Alex_Redeye is not coming back? Someone may want to let him know, by the way..
    killervp
    "A God...Rebuilt":https://a-god-rebuilt.obsidianportal.com

    Just trying to help out.

  • andreww38
    andreww38
    Posts: 239
    @killervp - I believe Alex told Kaleidoscope's management that he had to take a leave of absence due to his medical situation.

    I've told Alex he's welcome to come back to OP once his situation improves and he's feeling better. So the door is open.

    -
    I'll let Aaron do his intro when he gets on.
  • andreww38
    andreww38
    Posts: 239
    @UselessTriviaMan - or mayhap Ent Overlords!!!?
  • andreww38
    andreww38
    Posts: 239
    OP's Fri/Sat/weekend prep.

    After having gone through last weekend's 500/502 errors, here's what we've done this week.

    1) We've upgraded 2 of our OP servers. The site seems speedier and is throwing up fewer 500/502 errors (they should be a rare occurrence now).
    2) We've scheduled all OP updates we've been developing this week for deployment in the early part of next week (Mon, Tues).
    3) We have our techs on standby over Fri, Sat, Sun.
    4) We're cast a few blessing spells, enrolled a High Cleric, a Paladin to case a few runes of protection over the servers

    Barring Ragnarok, the servers should be pretty solid.

    If you see/experience any weirdness, post on the "help desk":http://help.obsidianportal.com or post in the forum.

    Else, have a great gaming weekend
  • andreww38
    andreww38
    Posts: 239
    Hey all,

    It looks like the weekend was a realively peaceful one, we did not have to contend with Ragnarok (yet).

    We're pretty sure that we've taken care of about 80-90% of the hardware and software issues now. We're aware that there could be account-specific issues that some users like Tau_Centaurean are facing and we're having the techs look at their campaigns on an individual level. There could be data corruption or other issues that affect individual users, so as far as possible we want to make sure that no man is left behind, while still working on fixing the issues/bugs flagged in the help desk, some issues dating back to 2013, the kickstarter stretch goals and the occasional spate of "random encounters" in the form of 500/502/404 errors that keep us on our toes (would still be easier to make camp in the middle of the dungeon, than have to phase door back to town though. sigh).

    -
    So our aim is to improve OP a little more, on every front - the techie stuff, making the site faster, getting image upload and youtube embedding working again, shifting the forum focus from reporting bugs to more discussions about game craft, getting useful gamer-focused content posted on the OP blog more regularly (preferably on a predictable schedule).

    We've had several players step up to lead the charge on starting up the COTM/COTY awards again (thanks killervp and team), the OP blog (thanks Kallak) and our inner council members wolfhound and ChainsawXIV have been working very closely behind the scenes to flesh out, plan out and design some of the reforged features that don't exist beyond a concept now. In the coming weeks, we'll be rolling out more DST (dynamic stylesheet template) stuff that Chainsaw particularly has a passion for, and the quality of his campaign pages just blow me away. Check out his "Sins of the First Age":https://sotfa.obsidianportal.com/ campaign to see what I'm talking about and the character sheet for "Kadon":https://sotfa.obsidianportal.com/characters/kadon (styled using DSTs).

    -
    Some quick updates:

    1) We'll be rolling out some feature updates at about 3am-5am Monday EST. In most cases, if there is any downtime it will be for a few seconds, and most OP users on the site won't notice it.
    2) We'll continue to hold our fixes till this time (Mon 3-5am EST) as this seems like the period of lowest usage on the site.

    -
    And by the way, some promises:

    1) We promise that stuff will break as we put in new features. As we're getting better at this, I expect that we may have service outages of 1-2 days as we put in new stuff, and old stuff that doesn't want to play nicely with the new stuff will quit working. Our techs will get this up asap though, and it'll be way before the Fri-Sun gaming window.

    2) Help is always welcome: We want OP to be user-powered, so you can contribute in various way - like posting useful content on the blog, making help videos to GMs setting up their first campaign, being part of the team that manages the DSTs at the "DST page":https://www.obsidianportal.com/dynamic_sheet_templates. As long as you're raising your hand, we'll use all the help we can get to make stuff better.

    Er, enough writing for now, I think I've exhausted my mana.
  • SkidAce
    SkidAce
    Posts: 830
    What were the updates?
  • andreww38
    andreww38
    Posts: 239
    Hey all,

    The following updates are in:
    1) Ascendant accounts now have 10gb file storage (this is "per account". Was 5gb previously). Even the biggest power users on the site should have some room to grow.
    2) DST scroll bars: This has been fixed. Description of issue: "DSTs should stop forcing scroll bars on designs that do not merit there presence"
    3) Separation of PCs and NPCs on "Characters" page: Take a look at the "Skies of Glass":https://skies-of-glass.obsidianportal.com/characters campaign as an example. This option can be toggled on and off, from the "Settings" page, "Advanced settings", with a checkbox at "Separate player and non-player characters".

    We can do do adjustments, eg: we can reduce Ascendant to 8gb or lower across the board..... just kidding.

    Like for #3 - I am thinking an option to choose white or black text for the text for "PLAYER CHARACTERS" and "NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS" might be useful, so you can choose the best match for your background images, and adjusting it from the panel might work better than doing it in CSS? Or would you prefer to do your own settings? Let me know.
  • andreww38
    andreww38
    Posts: 239 edited January 2016
    FYI, we are aware of free users experiencing issues like

    File Storage Locker:
    Storage used: 6mb | Storage available: 0mb (-200%)

    -
    This is because the user might have 3 campaigns set up with 2mb of data each. (eg: 2 mb per campaign, 6mb total).

    -
    I've mentioned that some of the goals of the kickstarter like 250mb per campaign for each free user account, doesn't quite balance out. Cos the 'game balance' will work if we raise Ascendant prices to cover the costs of 'sponsoring' the free users.

    So I would like to retain the existing 2mb file storage limit for free users, and enforce that on a per account level, instead of a per campaign basis.

    -
    What to do if you're a free user who's over quota?

    2 options:
    1) Delete files so that the total size of storage user ACROSS THE ACCOUNT is 2mb or less.
    2) Upgrade to Ascendant, support the site. Your membership funds development of bug fixes, new features, pays for my 10' pole, iron rations, and a few vials of holy water...

    But seriously, we appreciate our Ascendant member base and your continued support helps us make the site better.
    Post edited by andreww38 on
  • andreww38
    andreww38
    Posts: 239
    Thanks SkidAce for asking. We're working towards announcing the bug fixes, upgrades on Mon/Tue and going for Mon where we can. Though some last-min feature testing sometimes prevents us from doing it.

    Feel free to continue ask "where in Odin's beard, are the bug fixes?"

    We'll refrain from putting anything new on the site on Thurs, Fri, to prevent Loki from wreaking havoc during the Fri to Sun sessions when Midgaard is busiest.
  • Kallak
    Kallak
    Posts: 1,090
    Regarding the return of the separation of PCs and NPCs on the character listing page (*+wonderful+* to have that back BTW, and as an option so people can choose.. thumbs up) and the subsequent issue of text color for the headings, perhaps this is something that could be added as a color choice box in the "Campaign Colors" section under the "Style" block? This would let CSS users style per normal while allowing non-Ascendant members to still get whatever color matches their theme.
    All the best,
    - Kallak
  • andreww38
    andreww38
    Posts: 239
    Thanks for the suggestion, Kallak.

    I'll put that up as a refinement of the fix.
  • ChainsawXIV
    ChainsawXIV
    Posts: 530 edited January 2016
    I'd say the section headers for characters should follow the color and font rules similar to those for the campaign title (class: campaign-title in the existing CSS). That would make them consistent in appearance with other text of similar weight that hangs directly over the site background.

    Customizing the color would be great, but I would (though it will be a bit more work) apply the selected color to all text that's shown directly over the background image, as that will fix a variety of other elements being hard to see as well as keeping things consistent.
    Post edited by ChainsawXIV on
  • GrayGriffin
    GrayGriffin
    Posts: 19
    As a free user, this makes me feel very unappreciated. Not only are we not getting what was promised, but our limits are being reduced even more. You even specifically say you only appreciate your Ascended user base, which doesn't help my feelings much.
  • GamingMegaverse
    GamingMegaverse
    Posts: 2,956 edited January 2016
    andreww38- Huge props for the upgrade in Ascendant storage, and I still agree that most always felt it was per user, not per campaign. I agree with Kallak, who was the person that made the workaround for characters, that this is most welcome, and I agree with Chainsaw on the headers.

    GrayGriffin- I do not know of a single site that does not value its paying members more than the free ones- they are the ones that keep the doors open. Andrew did not say he "only" appreciates his Ascended base, just that he does appreciate them. Lastly, the limits were set by previous ownership, not very clearly, and Kaleidoscope has been trying to clarify them.
    As always, just my 2 cents and personal opinions....
    killervp
    "A God...Rebuilt":https://a-god-rebuilt.obsidianportal.com
    Post edited by GamingMegaverse on

    Just trying to help out.

  • Maesenko
    Maesenko
    Posts: 325
    All the same, it does hold that there are more free users than Ascendants, and while they may not be posting up as much in file storage as an Ascendant might, they _were_ promised an expanded file locker. I don't feel we should completely alienate a large user base by denying them that completely. Especially since Ascendants get a whopping 10GB per account. But, 250MB per free user will eat up a _significant_ amount of space, especially among those rarely-to-never active free users that never even use the allocated space to begin with.

    Would it be possible instead to allow free users a lower amount of expanded storage for now (maybe 10MB), one that would not incur greater costs to Ascendants and the site overall? Or offer a structured available-by-request increase similar to how we previously discussed for Ascendants, with a maximum free cap at 250MB?

    As Always,
    _~Mae_

    ~Mae

    CotM Selection Committee

  • Keryth987
    Keryth987
    Posts: 992 edited January 2016
    I have to admit my reaction to GrayGriffin's comments is that no offense was intended to the Free users by Andreww, he was merely showing his appreciation for those users who do pay for the services OP offers. Regarding the space for Free Users, if any free users need more space than they have, well, then perhaps they should look into become an ascendent user instead of not paying anything. While I do somewhat agree with Maesenko's statements, I am sorry you feel unappreciated, but then again, honestly, you are using OP free of charge. There are not many sites like this one, or similar, that do that. For a free user, you get ALOT from OP. And, to be honest, if you are not happy with what they give you, FOR FREE, well, you honestly have nothing to complain about because IT'S FREE. And yes, Mae is right, there are more free users than ascendents, which just adds more of a burden to those actually paying for using OP.

    Sorry, perhaps that is a bit harsh, but that's how I see it

    Keelah Se'lai,
    Keryth
    "Shadows Over New York":http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/shadows-over-new-york
    "2013 Campaign of The Year":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/2013-coty-shadows-over-new-york/
    "Campaign of the Month July 2013":http://blog.obsidianportal.com/shadows-over-new-york-julys-campaign-of-the-month/
    Post edited by Keryth987 on

  • GrayGriffin
    GrayGriffin
    Posts: 19
    *SO* happy you think of me as a burden to you guys. I don't want to pay for Ascendant membership because I will never use half the features it offers and I am also a poor college student with a limited budget. The only thing I'd even think of paying for Ascendant membership for is the ability to look at past versions of my pages. Although come to think of it, since this data is apparently being stored for both free and Ascendant campaigns anyways, why should we have to pay to access it? I feel that if you promised to give free members some upgrades, even if you don't give them the upgrades you promised, you should at least give them *some* upgrades.
  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 1,900
    Separation of PCs and Non PCs is great.
    10 Gb Ascendant Storage is great.

    twigs

    "I met a traveller from an antique land....."

    CotM May 2016: Mysteria: set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.

    Previous CotM Aug 2012: Shimring: High Level Multiplanar Campaign

    Inner Council Member

  • SkidAce
    SkidAce
    Posts: 830
    If something was promised, the intent if not the details should be met. I was unaware that the storage limit for free was promised to be expanded. The details may not be able to be met, but something should be done.

    However, this is a fantastic asset even at the free level, and if you need more, that's what Ascendant is for.
  • ChainsawXIV
    ChainsawXIV
    Posts: 530
    I have to say, I think talking about free users as burdens does a disservice to both them and us. As with any service like this, free users are the life blood of the community. They are the players in our games, and they are the prospective subscribers who - hopefully - will choose to support the site in more direct ways in the future. There is a cost to provide that service, but that is an investment on the part of the site's owners, and (in my opinion) a wise one. If they didn't think it was, they'd be at their liberty not to offer it at all.

    That having been said, it should be understood that in any free-to-use business model, you have to strike a balance between a free user experience that demonstrates the potential of your service and builds a positive relationship with them, while holding back enough that there is still a reason to pay. At the end of the day it's a business not a charity, and they're not expecting anyone to give them money without some incentives in place to reward that.

    As with most services, what's free and what's not less a question of what costs money and what doesn't, and more a question of what takes the experience from basic to premium. Ultimately, as a subscriber, you're mostly not paying for more physical servers or anything, you're paying for the not-inconsiderable labor that went into building all the bells and whistles that take the service to the next level. You're paying to take a cab instead of ride the bus.

    I think there's a fair debate to be had about the free user feature set (for what it's worth, I think that a 2 meg account limit is pretty stifling to the user experience, and under-sells the product), but for all that, I'd encourage you not to take for granted the costs of building and running a service like this. Perhaps especially when it comes to one of the parts of the service that costs them money on an ongoing basis to maintain.
  • GrayGriffin
    GrayGriffin
    Posts: 19
    I am not taking it for granted. I know it most likely costs a lot to keep all that storage space up. I'm mostly saying that there were possibly better ways to convey that information. And I did suggest that maybe we free users could get access to page history, since that's something I actually want. I'm also wondering if a "buy extra storage space, and just extra storage space" option would be useful or not.
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