Posted in EpicTable News on March 23, 2013 at 3:31 pm
Posted in EpicTable News on December 2, 2012 at 12:21 am
Posted in EpicTable Development, EpicTable News on July 29, 2012 at 11:34 pm
At long last, EpicTable is ready to cross the line from beta product to released. Note that I don’t call this a finish line. It’s a milestone, but it’s not the end–not by a long shot. There’s a lot I still want to do with EpicTable. There are features which didn’t make the 1.0 cut, and there are brand new features that I can’t wait to get started on. So rest assured, EpicTable is going to continue to evolve, expanding in some areas and deepening in others. There’s plenty left to do.
I want to thank all the beta testers. Your forum posts and emails have made EpicTable so much better than it would have been without you.
What Does the End of the Beta Mean?
As you know, EpicTable is a commercial product. Instead of getting into a big philosophical discussion about why it’s commercial and not free, let me just say, it’s commercial but its pricing and licensing scheme are meant to be friendly to the typical gaming group. You can read more about that in the [forthcoming] article about EpicTable’s "Kitchen Table License Model". I hope many of you will make the transition from beta users to licensed users. To those that don’t, you have my thanks for your participation in the beta. I’ve endeavored to give you a gentle off-ramp, so you have time to move your game.
Transition from Beta to 1.0 Release
- The beta won’t expire until September 1st.
- After September 1st, your EpicTable beta license will convert to a 30-day evaluation license.
- You’re welcome to use the beta right up to the end, if you like.
- The beta will no longer be officially supported, and all new work will be on the 1.0 product
- You can’t have a group mixed, with some running the beta and some running the released product. However, there’s no reason to do that, due to the Kitchen Table License Model.
- Your games from the beta will load just fine in the released product.
What About Features That Didn’t Make It Into 1.0?
The short answer is that I’m continuing to work on them. I’ll continue to take feature requests through the support site and discuss features there and in the forum. There’s nothing that’s been cut from the product—just things that slipped over the 1.0 line. Foremost among those is TrueVision.
So, what’s up with TrueVision?
For those unfamiliar with TrueVision, that’s EpicTable vision and lighting model. There are many reasons why it’s not in 1.0, and they all kind of boil down to my making decisions based on ensuring that EpicTable fulfills its mission to enable you to play any game you want, online, without hassles and technical issues. On a couple of occasions, that’s meant spending time on an area that I’d not planned on, rather than work on TrueVision. With that said, I think we’re arriving at a point where EpicTable can absorb a large new feature like TrueVision, and I know the need is there.
I’ve felt the pain of getting by without it—I was grinding my teeth while running a Pathfinder adventure in an old monastery that just screamed to be run in TrueVision. Not only did I have to live without the feature, but I had to live with the irony that it’s the very first thing I worked on when I started EpicTable. I could swear, if I looked hard enough at the screen, that I could see the dormant code there, desperately wanting to help me out. You see, TrueVision is actually sort of in there—that’s the salt in the wound. Of all the big new features on the EpicTable drawing board, TrueVision is the one with the most code behind it. Some of you have even seen a demo of it at our Gen Con booth. It works…but it’s incomplete, and putting it in would send a release-killing ripple through the product right now. Not so much due to the fact that it’s incomplete, but because so many people have been waiting for it that I expect the feedback and enhancement requests from this one feature to be at a volume similar to that of the 1.0 beta.
So, TrueVision’s not in 1.0. It was a bitter pill for me to swallow, even though, as early as last Gen Con (August) I was making uncomfortable noises whenever I talked about TrueVision and its chances for 1.0. The feature’s not dead. I’m giving myself the time to handle TrueVision right. I have a lot of time and thought invested in TrueVision, and I won’t let it just drop off the list.
What about my feature requests?
Life remains startlingly similar in the post-1.0 world. I’ll still be enhancing the product. In general, I think about the support requests as falling into these buckets:
- Bugs with existing features
- Small enhancements to the way an existing feature works to make it better (e.g., many have requested smaller dice in the chat window)
- Extensions to existing features (e.g., new dice roller options, or new object types to put on the tabletops and maps or new things you can do with them)
- Totally new features (e.g., TrueVision, character sheets, combat trackers)
My plan is to release periodic updates at a similar or slightly lower frequency than the beta builds to address bugs and small enhancements. Larger things will be targeted at larger releases. Honestly, I’m trying to walk a line between giving you more information and inadvertently misleading you about when a feature will emerge. The last thing I want is for someone to buy EpicTable for “tomorrow’s feature” and then tomorrow never comes. I’ll be working on a roadmap, and I’ll share that when it’s ready. What you might see on that roadmap, in addition to some idea of where features stand relative to each other, is some insight into…the “EpicTable value system”, for lack of a better word. That is, how features are weighed against expressed values of EpicTable. That will help you judge how close a feature is… or such is my hope.
Where/When Can I Get EpicTable 1.0?
Here. Soon. Very soon. And at Gen Con next month. We’re doing a bit of a site redesign and getting the e-commerce site setup. As soon as it’s ready, we’ll flip the switch. I hope you’re as wow’d when you see the new design as I was. (Thanks, Brennen.) Seriously—it looks so nice, I almost bought EpicTable! All kidding aside, those who have seen our Gen Con booth or been involved in the beta know that the site branding is out of sync with the rest of the product branding. I just didn’t have the heart to deepen the rift with more of the new product branding entering the scene, in the form of the e-commerce site, CD jacket art, the box set…. Oh—did I say “box set”? Hmm…. Maybe I should talk about that in a bit.
In Closing, Thanks
Whether or not you follow EpicTable from beta into released product, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback, for discussing it in the forum, for telling me what’s important to you. EpicTable is a different product than the one that was in my head back in (I hardly want to say it) December of 2007, when I first introduced EpicTable to the community. I cringe when I think about how long we’ve been talking about EpicTable, but it’s a much better product as a result of all that discussion. In response to your feedback, I’ve released 21 builds since the start of the beta, over half of those since last August. At one point, I knew personally everyone who’d used EpicTable. Now, close to 1,000 people have used EpicTable, and the usage continues to climb month after month. To those who have lent your time and talent and support to EpicTable: Thank you all for helping to turn EpicTable into a reality.
Posted in EpicTable News on July 27, 2012 at 12:02 am
Posted in EpicTable Development, EpicTable News on January 20, 2012 at 2:06 am
Posted in EpicTable Blog, EpicTable News on December 24, 2011 at 11:22 am
I met Jenn from the Jennisodes podcast at Gen Con this year and recently had the opportunity to discuss EpicTable on her show. You can check out the EpicTable episode of the Jennisodes now.
Posted in EpicTable News on August 20, 2011 at 3:12 am
For those of you in the beta, especially those who saw beta-11 at Gen Con and have been wondering where all the extra stuff went, here’s the beta 11 update: I have a release candidate of beta-11, which means I don’t intend to add any more features or fixes before releasing it. It’s been through testing on my dev machine and looks pretty solid. From here, I do a build on my “Official Build Machine” and verify that the installer works and that the updater works. I’ll then collect the list of changes for the “what’s new” page and upload the installer and turn on the updater. All that should happen Saturday.
What’s in beta-11? I’ll go into that in detail, including recording a screencast or two, but for tonight, lets leave it at:
- Fixes for some of the bug reports that have come in lately.
- Ad-hoc drawing (draw on the background of a map or tabletop, just like you would on your battlemat)
- A much-enhanced text object for maps/tabletops. You can set font, color, size, border, and fill.
- It accepts and records license keys, so those who took advantage of the pre-release deal at Gen Con have something to do with the license key they got!
Watch for more later tonight/today. Also, don’t forget that the first in a new series of demos starts tonight at 10PM. Hope to see some of you there!
Posted in EpicTable News on August 20, 2011 at 2:45 am
Missed us at Gen Con? Now’s your chance. Saturday at 10PM EST (GMT-4), I’ll be running the first of a series of EpicTable demos.
You can signup for Saturdays session, or if that doesn’t work for you, feel free to request a different day/time in this other thread. I can’t guarantee that I can accommodate every requested day/time, but if you give me some candidate time slots, I’ll do my best.
Posted in EpicTable Development, EpicTable News on August 10, 2011 at 8:50 pm
Brennen, Jeremy and I are back from Gen Con, and I’m hard at work on getting EpicTable beta 11 out the door. Beta 11 is what we demoed at Gen Con, and I’m pretty excited about a couple of the new features we were able to get in:
- ad-hoc drawing tools, allowing you to draw freehand on your map or tabletop
- lots of options for customizing your “plain” (until now) text objects on the tabletop
Look for details in the next couple days.
Here’s another exciting piece of news. We sold pre-orders at Gen Con! The beta has reached a point where it’s stable enough for our weekly game, so while it probably has about 3-6 months of beta left, I felt like EpicTable was finally ready for some limited, pre-release sales. So, we were offering special pre-release pricing on EpicTable demo at our booth. Don’t worry forum folks–I wouldn’t sell to convention goers without giving you guys a similar opportunity to pick up EpicTable before its official release. (Details on that later.)
Look for some new faces on the forums. I let loose the 3rd wave of beta participants, and of course, the pre-order folks have access to the beta.
Finally, if you couldn’t make it to Gen Con, you’re not out in the cold. I’m going to get a virtual demo booth going, and we’ll run a set of demos. Whether you’re in the beta currently, or just curious, you’re welcome to visit the booth. I just have too coordinate with my three year old boss, who was at home with her Mom while I was at Gen Con….
Posted in EpicTable News on November 5, 2009 at 1:03 am
I’ll be giving four “guided tours” of EpicTable during FUMcon over GoToMeeting. I want to call your attention to the fact that my event times on the FUMcon site are all in GMT/UTC. Continue reading for schedule and technology information. …continue reading EpicTable Demos for FUMcon Fall 2009