EpicTable 1.3.6.2 Patch Released

Posted in Announcements on January 4, 2017 at 12:48 am

EpicTable 1.3.6.2

EpicTable 1.3.6.2 is now available. It’s a quick fix for a mistake I introduced in 1.3.6 (originally released on 12/21 as 1.3.6.1). It addresses one thing and one thing only: an error in loading “count successes” dice rolls into the dice roll editor. If you don’t use this kind of dice roll, there’s no need for you to upgrade. (And in that case, let’s just forget we had this little conversation.) If you’ve not already upgraded to 1.3.6, go ahead. There are other worthwhile things there. As always, it’s a free upgrade, and as always, it’s completely backwards compatible. Just download it and run the installer.

— John


EpicTable 2.0 In Development

Posted in Announcements, EpicTable Blog on December 31, 2016 at 1:02 am

If you’ve been watching EpicTable lately, you might be wondering… There’s been a flurry of dice roll work on 1.3, a new help site, a user guide started… I’m happy to report that I’m feverishly working on EpicTable 2.0. There’s some pretty significant stuff in it, including a lot of enhancements to the chat window that people have requested. The chat stuff is looking really good, and that’s why I took a moment to backport some of the improvements to the dice roll grammar to 1.3.6.

You know what else uses dice rolls? Mini-sheets. These are small, flexible sheets with key stats and rolls. I previewed mini-sheets awhile back, and they’re definitely going to be there.

Also, there are some improvements to how game objects and other resources are managed that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I won’t hold up 2.0 long enough to do everything I’d like to do, but I think that at least these three things are must-haves for the new EpicTable.

Licensing, Backward Compatibility, and Other Stuff Not to Be Afraid Of

Licensing

In appreciation for your support and encouragement over the years–or over the hours, for some of you ūüėČ I’m making EpicTable 2.0 a free upgrade. The licensing model will be the same “kitchen table licensing” that EpicTable 1.x uses. That is, no subscription, no need for player licenses. It’s your table. Play your game.

Backward Compatibility

I’m going to do my best to make sure EpicTable 2.0 loads all existing 1.x games. If it doesn’t, I’ll consider it a bug and work to help you. You won’t necessarily be able to take the same game back to 1.x after you’ve loaded it into 2.0. (As of this writing, I do that all the time during development, but it seems like the kind of thing that’s going to bite me someday.) The other thing I know you won’t be able to do is have a mix–some people on 1.x and some people on 2.0 in the same game.

The Road Ahead

As usual. I’m not forecasting a date. I hope to be leaking some previews soon, though. And yeah, there’s going to be a beta. Details to follow.


Introducing the EpicTable User Guide

Posted in Announcements, EpicTable Blog on December 28, 2016 at 12:29 am

My goal has always been for EpicTable to be easy enough to use that you don’t need a user guide. That said, perfection is an elusive thing and sometimes there’s a bit of functionality that’s not as obvious as I’d like or someone has a question about how to do something and having something written down would save their having to ask (or not asking and being frustrated).

So, with that preamble, let me introduce the EpicTable User Guide. It’s on the newly refreshed EpicTable Help site. It’s just starting out, but I’m adding to it bit-by-bit, and as I write new features, I’m adding draft documents that I can turn on as they’re released. You guys have been getting by with videos and exploration for too long. The User’s Guide is going to happen.

One thing that’s slowing me down a little… EpicTable 2.0. That’s right, there’s going to be a 2.0, and it’s going to change things a bit. So, if I’m light on screen shots or documentation is lagging in some areas, it could be that there’s some 2.0 documentation cued up. I’ll start leaking info about 2.0 soon.


EpicTable 1.3.6 Released

Posted in Announcements on December 21, 2016 at 4:16 am

EpicTable 1.3.6

EpicTable 1.3.6 is now available. As always, it’s a free upgrade, and as always, it’s completely backwards compatible. Just download it and run the installer.

What’s in 1.3.6?

  • A fix for an issue a user reported that left a player unable to control his own character.
  • Bugfixes for certain scenarios in the dice roller–fairly subtle stuff like exploding dice paired with dropping the lowest N dice, exploding paired with success counting in certain scenarios, that sort of thing.
  • An expanded grammar for entering dice rolls from the chat window. You can find the EpicTable dice roll grammar documented through numerous examples on the new EpicTable Help site.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

— John


EpicTable Installer Certificate Issue

Posted in EpicTable Blog on September 18, 2016 at 11:58 pm

A couple users recently reported issues with Internet Explorer and the new Microsoft Edge browser claiming that “The signature of EpicTable-1.3.5.0.exe is corrupt or invalid.” ¬†It’s neither. It is, however, signed with a hash algorithm that Microsoft browsers no longer like. If you right-click on the file in Explorer (not to be confused with IE or Internet Explorer) and select Properties and then Digital Signatures, you can see that Windows says it’s a valid signature. IE and Edge don’t like it. Chrome is fine with it. It’s also the case that despite the browsers’ complaint, the file downloads just fine, and you can go to your Downloads file and double-click on it to run it, and life is good. Meanwhile, I’m going to go figure out how to make my not-so-cheap signing certificate with a year left before its expiration more palatable to the Microsoft browsers.

A big thanks to the people who reported this to me.

— John


EpicTable 1.3.5 Released

Posted in Announcements on September 15, 2016 at 11:20 pm

EpicTable 1.3.5 is available now via http://www.epictable.com/download.

Based on feedback from a new customer, I’ve addressed a couple issues with sharing/unsharing maps and tabletops and the interaction of that with the two ways of opening a map or tabletop: “Open (Shared)” and “Open (Private)”

Fixes

Inconsistencies in Sharing / Unsharing Maps and Tabletops
Ensures that when you open a map or tabletop as Shared, it will be shared with all participants. Likewise, if you open the map or tabletop as Private, it will unshare it if necessary.

Compatibility

This release is a free update and is backward compatible with earlier versions of EpicTable. To install the patch, simply download the installer from http://www.epictable.com/download and run it. You can install it right over top of your existing installation.


EpicTable 1.3.4 Released

Posted in EpicTable Blog on September 6, 2016 at 6:00 am

EpicTable 1.3.4 is available now via http://www.epictable.com/download.

I took a little timeout from work on the new version of EpicTable to address some issues that people have reported.¬†I also sneaked in a minor enhancement. The new features are taking longer than I’d hoped, so I’m addressing some of the pain out there. Please check out this update. It’s worth having and should bridge the gap until the new stuff starts rolling in.

Fixes

Character note changes not being propagated or saved in some cases
Fixes scenarios in¬†which the notes section of the character edit form aren’t propagated to other players or saved.

Some actions not triggering surface save
Fixes bugs that caused some actions taken on tabletops and maps to not trigger a save. Most notably, edits to drawings and the content portion of index cards weren’t triggering the autosave feature.

Focus action on a map not popping the focus request dialog for all participants
Fixes a bug that prevented the focus request from being offered to the participants. (This is the way a GM tells the players what map should be showing and what the zoom and scroll settings should be.)

Fixed unhandled exception reports due to concurrent access to files
Fixes a bug¬†that¬†caused certain files–storage for pens and brushes, as well as surface view information, such as zoom and scroll settings–to be accessed at the same time, causing one of the two accesses to generate an error that prompted the user to submit a report.

Workaround to prevent unhandled exception reports caused by bugs in underlying control libraries
Handling intermittent, non-reproducible errors caused by Microsoft and/or DevExpress libraries at a higher level, allowing me to gather the data on these errors (from those participating in the quality improvement program) and suppressing the prompt to the user to submit a report.

Enhancements

Edits to index cards, text fields, and rich text notes now get saved and propagated to other participants, even if the person editing hasn’t left the object.
It had been the case that clicking away from an index card or a rich text note or a text field on a tabletop was the signal that the change was done and should be sent to the other participants and saved. However, this caused confusion and lost work when people spent a lot of their time editing one of these objects without clicking away. Now, every 3 seconds, changes will be saved and propagated to other participants.

Character tokens should stop sizing to grid once you manually change their size
It had been the case that a¬†character token’s size was always based on the size of the grid and the character’s size. However, this caused confusion because people would manually resize a character token only to find that change undone the next time the map was loaded. Now, once you change a token’s size, that takes precedence over its size as based on the grid and character.

Allow rolled dice to be displayed in sorted order by value
You can now sort dice in the result of a dice roll. The sorting is pool-based. That is, dice of like size and color comprise a pool and those are sorted independently. Thus, one cannot, for instance, sort d6s and d8s together because those dice are never presented together. You can, however, sort one or both pools. This is useful when playing games that rely on dice comparison or pay special attention to the highest die. Sorting can be done on text-entered rolls by adding “>” for sort high-to-low , or “<” for sort low-to-high. For instance, to roll 10 d6s and sort them high to low, you would type: “/roll 10d6 >” in the chat window. You can also apply¬†sorting to dice pools in the dice roll editor by dragging one of the new “dice evaluators” to the pool, as shown below.

Dice Sorting

 

Compatibility

This release is a free update and is backward compatible with earlier versions of EpicTable. To install the patch, simply download the installer from http://www.epictable.com/download and run it. You can install it right over top of your existing installation.


EpicTable Update: Character Mini-Sheet First Look

Posted in EpicTable Development on May 2, 2016 at 1:00 am

Here’s your first look at one of the things currently under development: the “Character Mini-Sheet”. This is a little card that you can pop up next to your character/monster token on the map. It’s meant to give you quick access to the values and actions that you need most often during play. Here’s a quick example.

Mini-sheet concept

On this card, configured for a D&D or Pathfinder game, you’ve got icons for armor class and hit points, followed by icons for a couple melee attack rolls and a ranged attack roll. These are all interactive. That is, you can type a numeric value or use the arrow keys in the AC and hit point icons, and you can click on the dice roll icons to make the corresponding roll. The second row has a rather unlikely set of conditions–wounded, hasted, and dead. You’ll be able to configure¬†a set of conditions for your game, so that you can easily add them to a character during play. Notice the little grey plus signs? Those indicate unfilled slots where you can add additional icons.

As always, EpicTable is game system neutral, so you’ll be able to configure the mini-sheet to suit your game. As the mini-sheet concept develops, I’ll show you alternative configurations of the mini-sheet and some of the surprises lurking under each of these icon types.

 


EpicTable Status Update – February 2016

Posted in EpicTable Blog on February 14, 2016 at 3:18 am

Some of you have asked how things are going on EpicTable. Some have even asked if EpicTable is still under active development. Obviously, an update message like this is long overdue…

EpicTable is very much still under active development. I’m working on a mix of things, and I’ve been reluctant to post about them, because the timing is difficult to predict. You might reasonably ask why that’s the case. Predictability is difficult because EpicTable is a labor of love for me. Many of you already know this, but for those who don’t. EpicTable is a nights and weekends project. I have a full-time job and a family. Rest assured that I still love working on EpicTable and don’t have any intention of stopping.

Those of you who have been with me for a long time may have noticed that it’s taking longer than normal this time for me to get out the next update. Here’s the deal with that: for years–literally years–I worked on EpicTable almost every night, seven days a week. There were usually a couple days of Gen Con (note that I don’t say all four days) during which I took a night off, and sometimes a night here or there on a family vacation or holiday, but it was rare for me to be away from EpicTable for more than one night. EpicTable has been worked on at Disney World resorts, cabins in the woods, hotels in Seoul when my wife and I adopted our kids, hotels London on business, airplanes, cruise ships…you get the idea. I was absolutely consumed by the need to get it to a viable state.

As you might guess, one makes sacrifices in exchange for that level of focus. For me, those sacrifices were sleep and exercise. I made a deal with myself that once EpicTable was on its feet, I’d re-balance a bit and not drive myself into an early grave. While the EpicTable you have is still not the EpicTable that’s in my head, I have to acknowledge that it’s met the criteria for my backing off a bit. So, these days, I still work on EpicTable, but it’s not every night. I sleep a bit more. I exercise first, then work on EpicTable. This is dragging out the development work, but it hasn’t halted it.

So, what’s coming up? There’s an update in the works that has some bug fixes. I actually could/should release that, but I’m always a little reluctant to put out an update with just bug fixes when it’s been so long. In addition to those fixes, here are other things in the works:

  1. a rewrite of the chat window in WPF to address issues some of you have seen on newer display hardware. This is coming along well. I’m just forcing myself to be disciplined about it rather than rush to get it out there.
  2. enhancements to the character token to let you attach conditions, value trackers (e.g., AC, hit points, etc.), and dice rolls. As with everything EpicTable, this will be system-neutral and end-user configurable, so that takes a bit more time. I’m toying with the idea of putting out a beta (or alpha) release of this in a system-specific form to get feedback on the basic feel of it while pursuing the more difficult configurability of it. Interested?
  3. integration of the Fantasy Art Kit from Raymond Gaustadnes. I’m not just dumping this on the disk. I’m integrating it into a new file chooser, so that when you choose a character token, for instance, you have the option of selecting a token from that art kit.
  4. cloud-based resource distribution, which is a fancy way of saying that when you use an image for a map or a character token or portrait, EpicTable will handle making that available for download by all of your players from a central source that isn’t you. This means that you’re no longer bound by the upload speed of your computer, which has been an issue for some people.
  5. bulletproof boots for people selecting resources like images for maps, handouts, character portraits, and tokens. This is often the larger part of the resource distribution challenge discussed above. People sometimes shoot themselves in the foot by selecting resources that are way, way too large for their intended use. I’m not throwing stones at anyone. It’s easy to do–I (allegedly) know what I’m doing, and I’ve selected resources that are too large. Here’s what can happen. You’re selecting a map background. You find this beautiful map done by Christopher West over at Maps of Mastery. But Chris’ maps are usually meant to be printed out on a plotter for use at the physical tabletop. They’re huge–often 6000×6000 and 600 dpi. That’s never going to be used on the virtual tabletop. Your monitor doesn’t even display 600 dpi (here in 2016). So, you pay to load all of that across the network (once per player until that “cloud-based resource distribution” is done), pay to load it into memory (if your system even can), and then most of it gets thrown away by Windows as it’s adjusted for your display. That’s an extreme example, but a more common one is selecting a 1000×1000 image for a character token. By default, character tokens are displayed at 50×50. Lets say you zoom in to 300%. That’s still only 150×150. Yet, you’ve transferred and loaded 1000×1000—and it’s worse than you think, because it’s not linear. 1000 is only about 6.667 times 150, right? But a 1000×1000 image is 44 times larger than a 150×150 image! So, EpicTable, as the “user-friendly virtual tabletop”, should just never let you do something like select an image that you can’t reasonably use. But also, EpicTable, as the “user-friendly virtual tabletop” won’t just tell you “don’t use that image”. It will scale it down to reasonable proportions for you and/or suggest options for dealing with large maps that you don’t necessarily want to scale past a certain point. For instance, you can chunk maps up. Ultimately, the EpicTable in my mind, would chunk the map up for you and load pieces dynamically, and you’d never know–basically what Google Maps’ satellite view does. But first thing’s first, right? Start by making it harder for you to do something that’s going to create a bad experience for you.

There are many other things on the horizon, but those are the near-term things. I won’t say how near-term, because you know–sleep and exercise–but they’re at the top of the list.

Cheers,

John

Comments…


EpicTable 1.3.3 Released

Posted in Announcements on May 1, 2015 at 9:52 am

EpicTable 1.3.3 is available now via http://www.epictable.com/download.

This release addresses the following two issues.

Issue with custom data folder reverting to the default
The feature that lets you specify the folder where EpicTable data is stored had an issue that caused it to keep getting reset to the default location. I’ve helped a few of you address this manually to get past the bug. If you’re one of these folks, there’s no need for you undo any of that. This update will just make sure that the right thing happens the next time.

Issue with permanently removing maps and tabletops from the game
Some of you reported that you were unable to remove maps and tabletops from the game via the right-click menu in the Maps and Tabletops gallery. You were doing it right. There was a problem that is fixed in this release.

This release is a free update and is backward compatible with earlier versions of EpicTable. To install the patch, simply download the installer from http://www.epictable.com/download and run it. You can install it right over top of your existing installation.


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