EpicTable 1.1 Released

Posted in Announcements on August 13, 2013 at 12:13 am

EpicTable 1.1 is out and I think you’re really going to like it. My group has been playing with various incarnations of 1.1 for awhile now, and I certainly wouldn’t go back. There are several bug fixes, some feature requests, an upgrade of the messaging layer, and little bits of added polish here or there, but the release revolves around my replacing the technology underlying maps and tabletops.

EpicTable is a free upgrade for 1.0 customers. For those of you with expired trials, there’s a fresh trial included, so you’ll get another 30 days to decide on EpicTable.

Download EpicTable 1.1 while you read about it!

Map and Tabletop Improvements

  • Scrollbars are present on maps and tabletops now, so you no longer need mysterious hand icons or mouse gestures…or hand gestures, for that matter.
  • You can directly edit notecards, text fields, and rich text notes instead of always having to popup an edit dialog. For rich text notes, you’re still somewhat limited in what you can edit without popping up the edit dialog, because there wasn’t time to build a new rich edit toolbar for 1.1, but for quick edits, you don’t need the dialog anymore.
  • Only opaque portions of objects are clickable. No more will we suffer the tyranny of transparent obstruction! If you can’t see it, it can’t hurt you. Or, you know, you can’t click it, so it won’t block the thing you’re really trying to click.
  • Any note or text object can be transparent. Just as we bring transparency to heel, we encourage it. You can now make any of the note-like objects partially transparent (or I suppose, fully transparent, but…see the previous item.)
  • Anything on the map or tabletop can have a dropshadow or a border. Feel free to overdo this and see if Brennen (EpicTable’s Visual Advisor) comes after you. (Hint: Borders are really nice for indicating character status. Dropshadows are really just visual candy.
  • You can resize groups of selected objects. Make a bunch of your dice on the tabletop bigger or smaller, for instance.
  • Drop indicator on snap-to-grid maps: A semi-transparent highlight makes it easy to see where you’re about to drop your token. It’s size-aware too, so the days of trying to figure out just where that ogre was going to land are gone.

Major Drawing Improvements

  • You can move objects and drawings at the same time.
  • There is no more Drawing Mode! It’s hard to overstate the joy behind that statement. Going in and out of drawing mode was a source of a couple tough-to-find memory issues and the cause of some general clunkiness and quirkiness. Now, the tabletop is the tabletop–no separate little universe in which you can draw things before returning to the here and now.
  • Quick! Return to select. You don’t have to go to the Drawing tab to put down your pen. The little “Select” arrow in upper left of the EpicTable window takes you back to select mode.
  • Gallery of predefined pens and brushes, so you don’t have to mess around if you just want to grab a pen or brush and go.
  • User-defined gallery of pens and brushes. Don’t like my choice in pens and brushes? Create your own. EpicTable will save them in a gallery on the Drawing tab.
  • Pens and brushes are pressure-sensitive. So, if you have the right hardware (like a Wacom tablet, the source of my hopes-dashing post about “tablet support”), your lines will be thinner or thicker depending on how hard you press. (At least one of you is excited about that.)
  • Eliminated scrolling and zooming issues encountered when moving back and forth between draw mode and normal mode. You got the part about Drawing Mode being evil, right? This was more of the evil. There were things you couldn’t do very well with respect to scrolling and zooming if you were drawing. That’s all fixed up now. Scroll, zoom, draw, whatever you like.

Networking improvements

  • New messaging server: EpicTable is now running on the latest version of the cloud messaging server it uses. This should yield better performance and better reliability. And it’s not bleeding- edge-no-one-is-using-this-yet new. It’s been out for awhile and only new to EpicTable. It has much better monitoring tools in use by the team that handles the messaging service, and while they’ve been great about support, I expect they’re quite happy to have EpicTable off their old release.
  • Participant status lights: Really just a taste things to come, these little lights in the lower-left corner of EpicTable’s main window help you to see who’s having trouble and who’s okay. It’s very coarse-grained right now, but it’s a possible area of enhancement in the future. I think it would be really cool to click on one of the little lights and bring up all sorts of stats about that user’s connectivity–are their messages delayed? Are they slower or faster than the norm? Are they still downloading resource? Having trouble? The thing that keeps me away from that is that you don’t need it very often. (And one hopes, even less often now.)
  • Better tracking of content “in-flight” and better handling of long-running content retrievals. You can’t see this–though it would be incredibly cool to give you a visual of all the content being transferred. Despite the fact that you can’t see any indication of it, the way content retrievals are done is better. There are still some things I want to do in this area, in a later 1.x release, but it’s improved relative to 1.0.
  • Better color rendering: It should probably be a rule that the colorblind developer doesn’t write the dice color changer…but when you’re the only developer… It’s better now–more true to the colors in the color picker.
  • Default values for exploding rolls: Just a minor thing, but one of those gnawing ones. You used to have to mess with a couple different settings to build an exploding dice roll. Now, the default is, if you’re exploding, you’re exploding on the high value of the die, and you’re exploding as long as you continue to roll that value. You can still configure it differently, but for this most common case, it exploding dice are just born that way.

Chat

  • Whisper indicators: Chat whispers are now indicated as such on the whisperer’s screen, so he can see what was whispered and what was said to the group.
  • Whisper target names: Both the player name and the character name are shown now, so you don’t confuse Bob playing Orrin with Karen playing Dorrin…as easily.

Wrap-up

Whew. That was a lot. I don’t intend 1.2 to take so long. It was really the wholesale replacement of the tabletop and mapping technology that made it take so long, but that’s also why the change is so profound and so satisfying. I’m really happy with 1.1, and I hope you will be too. It’s a free upgrade, and there’s a lot to love. If you want issue by issue details, you can check out the What’s New page.

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