EpicTable 2 Preview – Main Screen Layout

Posted in EpicTable Development on February 21, 2019 at 6:46 pm

This is a video tour of the main game screen for EpicTable 2. It’s still a work in progress, so there are missing features and the visual theme is a little bland. Unlike previous videos, I’m not trying to show features in this video. I’m more interested in showing you how the main elements of the application are laid out and solicit your feedback.

Before we get too far, let me apologize for the sound. It’s…not super. If this were a long-term video for the user guide or a how-to video, I’d re-record it with a different mic, but since this is just a snapshot in time, I hope you’ll overlook the poor sound quality in the interest of having it posted sooner and having me back at work on EpicTable itself rather than video editing.

This has been a hard video for me to put out, because I don’t want you folks to be underwhelmed, since unlike some of the others, this video isn’t showing flashy new features. On the other hand, it really does represent an important milestone. Here’s why. The other videos were closely focused on new features while I was exploring what was possible, but they weren’t integrated. There was no EpicTable 2 application. That’s not the case here. Everything you see in this video is in the app. So, skeletal as it is right now, it’s pretty real. There are a lot of moving parts to EpicTable, so having the skeleton assembled is a big deal. More than that, though (and here’s where I’ll geek out with you a bit), this whole thing is pure WPF. Most of EpicTable 1 predated WPF. It used a Microsoft .NET technology called WinForms, and while it was fine for building basic business apps, I had to make it do some unnatural things to produce EpicTable. Later, I re-wrote the map code in WPF, but to avoid a huge ripple I had to host the maps as WPF controls within WinForms. This led to some crazy complexity and occasionally hard-to-debug weirdness. Finally, WinForms just wasn’t good at handling new monitors with higher resolutions, so a few folks on new, fancy laptops hit things that I just couldn’t fix. Mostly, it was small stuff, but it led to a poorer experience than I wanted to provide. EpicTable 2 is all WPF–there’s no mixing of technologies. I’ve cut so much code and complexity out of it. I’m very happy with it from a technical standpoint, so while this is a skeleton, it’s the skeleton of a brand new creature that could eat the previous generation.

So in summary: don’t panic if your favorite feature isn’t shown here and don’t worry about color, etc. Do please tell me what you think about the new layout. Thanks, and stay tuned for more updates as I add more of the features to this skeleton.


Delay in EpicTable 2 Work

Posted in EpicTable Blog, EpicTable Development on September 15, 2018 at 10:09 pm

I know you folks have been waiting for EpicTable 2, but I regret that I need to announce a delay. I recently started a new job, and between a different schedule and a lot of ramp up in a new area, I’ve found it difficult to get much done on ET2. Those of you who have been with EpicTable for a long time know I never announce release dates. However, I’d secretly hoped to open the ET2 beta this fall…then it shifted to end of year. Realistically, in light of my new work situation, I believe it will be late December or early January before I’m back to making meaningful strides on EpicTable 2, and I’ll have months of work left. I know this comes as a disappointment for some of you. I delayed this announcement, hoping to have better news, but I really can’t put it off any longer. I will update you on the status of ET2 around the end of this year. Thank you for all the kind words and support over the years. I hope you hold on a bit longer. In the meantime, nothing changes with respect to ET1, and EpicTable 2 will be a free upgrade for EpicTable 1 licensed users.

Thanks and Happy Gaming,
— John

John Lammers
EpicTable Creator


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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