EpicTable 2 Development Dec 2017 Update

Posted in EpicTable Development on January 1, 2018 at 2:12 am

Hi folks. As we close out 2017, I thought I’d update you on EpicTable 2 and what I’ve been working on lately. I’m really excited with the way things are going, and I wish I had some visual way to show that to you. Unfortunately, what I’m working on at the moment is infrastructure stuff–storage and messaging–and there’s not anything very visual about that. I have a cool video planned where I’ll show you why it matters to you, but 2017 John doesn’t want to steal 2018 John’s thunder, so I’m not going to describe that to you. You should see that fairly early in 2018. Instead, let me tell you why I’m working on infrastructure and why it matters.

EpicTable 2 is entirely WPF-based. To the non-developers out there, that won’t mean much, but it’s essentially this: EpicTable 1 was built mostly before the current set of Windows development technologies existed. So, in the early versions, I had to do some things that were crazy by comparison to today. In version 1.2, the tech used for maps got an upgrade, but everything else stayed the same–you know, so it could get out there quickly(ish). But that left some strange artifacts that you guys see on occasion–flickers, maps going black when you do certain things and then reappearing when you click back onto them. Chat didn’t get a tech uplift at all, and so many things I wanted to do, like making the dice and fonts resizeable, just weren’t practical. Worse, as a new generation of laptops came with varied video resolutions, it was becoming harder for chat in particular to avoid rendering weirdness. I’m happy to report that the new chat looks awesome, and the new maps, sitting in a brand new all-WPF shell, have none of the flicker and other oddness.

The main difference with messaging and storage is that in ET2 I’m using a cloud-based relay for some things that used to be peer-to-peer. You won’t see any functional difference, but the time to send resources from the GM to the players, or vice versa, is way, way shorter. Especially you guys that sometimes find yourselves on slow networks will appreciate that. This was actually one of the most common problems I’d see people encounter–bogging down a GM with a slow network. This will become more important because EpicTable 2 will incorporate video in some of its features.

Basically, the theme of EpicTable 2.0, in addition to bringing in some new features, is making everything work better and making the codebase simpler so that it’s easier to add new features. So when are you going to see any of this? You know I don’t give out dates, because any tech hurdle that arises throws a schedule based on nights and weekends way out of whack. However, the milestone I’m currently working on is getting the new data storage done and all the pieces–chat, maps, dice, etc., fit back into the “shell” with no themes or anything. Once that’s done, I’ll be able to better project when you can have a beta to play with. As always, I’m fighting with perfection as the enemy of done.

In the meantime, here’s a reminder of work toward EpicTable 2: the EpicTable 2 Preview playlist on YouTube. I’ll continue to add to this playlist and update you here as work progresses. As a side note, December 2017 has been the best-selling month in EpicTable history. Thank you all for your support. I’ll work hard to get you EpicTable 2 as soon as I can.

Best wishes in the new year.
— John

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