Developer Update December 2021

Dec 2021 dev update blog graphic

Greetings Paperdemons. In the interest of transparency, every quarter or so I post a developer update on what we've improved on along with a peak at what's to come. This is that update. This post includes changes since the last developer update in August 2021.

We've had 10 releases since the last update. Our current release is v36.0.0.

New features and other enhancements

New writing system

Today we launched an upgrade to our writing system. Due to the complexities involved, we have not yet migrated the old writing entries to the new writing system yet. But after we give people a chance to try out the new system we'll migrate the old entries over some time next year.

The new writing system comes with some upgrades

  • Mobile friendly viewing interface

  • Images for each chapter

  • Support for our XP challenge system

  • Tags!

  • Streamlined submit experience

  • Writing comments earn you xp and have permalinks and all the other same benefits of art comments.

  • Writing entries appear on your character sheet

Under the hood we also did a lot of things differently to allow us to better maintain the writing system going forward. Art submissions and writing submissions now share a lot of the same code. This significantly reduced the amount of code in the codebase which will allow us to more easily maintain and add features going forward.

The library/gallery system has not been ported over to the new writing system and that is intentional. Like we did earlier this year with art submissions, we have replaced the gallery system with tags which offers a much quicker and easier submission experience.

Boss Fight Battle System

If you participated in our most recent Art RPG boss fight, you'll know we launched some major Art RPG features to automate boss battles. Prior to this upgrade, a human had to process your attacks, resulting in days of delay before you know how successful your attack was.

These new features allow you as the player to get immediate feedback as to how much damage your character did, how much damage you received, and has a nice visual UI to make it even more exciting. These automations also allow us to implement more complex mechanics including taking into account weapons, armor, and more. Expect more enhancements to this system next year.

XP Releveling, Spirit Points, and Mystery Boxes

We launched Spirit Points, a new reward for those who are active and participating in our challenges. Along side that, we launched automated mystery boxes where you can spend your Spirit Points to get free loot for the PD Art RPG. You can learn more about that in the Mystery Boxes news post.

We've also extended the mystery box feature to Dracostryx Art RPG, a group that is on our partner plan. They'll be using this for their Stryxmus gift boxes and may be using it for additional mystery boxes as well improving the player experience and freeing up admin time to focus on other tasks.

Misc updates

Here are a few other noteworthy updates

  • We've added a new designer field to Art RPG character sheets

  • Partners can now customize the order of their custom fields on character sheets

  • We've upgraded our signup page

See the Changelog at the bottom of this article for a detailed list of all changes including bug fixes.

What's coming in 2022-2023

I'm expecting my first child in January 2022. And given that I'm the only developer, that means development will need to slow down for a few months while I adapt to life as a new mom.

It's really hard to predict how this transition will go. So I hesitate to make promises about what is to come. But I still want to share what we're planning on doing, even if it means these goals will spill into 2023.

There is a chance that we will hire a new developer next year to help keep development moving. However even having another dev still requires work for me (training the dev, code reviews, assigning work, etc).

Migrate writing

We want to migrate old writing submissions into the new writing system and delete all the old code for the old writing system.

More automation

We're planning to introduce new features that allow players to complete more tasks on their own without an admin having to manually process things. Some of this will be in the form of integrated rollers while others will involve a new crafting UI where players can self-serve craft items at will.

Improved arpg challenge queue experience

We're looking at ways to improve the player experience when it comes to challenges and queues. A few things we're thinking about

  • A UI where players can more clearly see which of their submissions are still pending approval in the queue.

  • make it clearer for players what all the active challenges are along with how much time is left with countdowns

  • More user friendly ways to submit to queues for reward redemption.

We've noticed new players get confused with the current two step process of tagging their art and then submitting to the queue. So we're going to rework the UI to make it easier for newcomers.

We want character data to more easily attach to submissions and queue entries to make arpg processing quicker.

We want to make these improvements available not just for pdarpg but for our partners as well.

Game to Player communication

We want to make it easier for games to send announcement notifications to their players by better integrating news and blogs with the groups system.

Feature requests

We have some pending feature requests from the Art RPG community, including adding rich text comments, that we had planned to do this year but didn't quite get in yet. We can't fulfill all or even most of the requests we get but we do have plans to execute on some of these.

Point tracking

This is something we had planned to add this year but didn't quite get to yet and is first on our list. We're going to track exactly how many points each submission earned directly into the submission so it can be displayed on the character sheets for easier reference.

Comic upgrades

Like we did with writing, we'd like to upgrade comics and have it share a lot of the same code with art and writing for easier maintenance. This task falls kind of low on our priority list so it may not happen until 2023.

Growth and marketing

While this isn't development related, I still felt it was worth talking about our efforts to grow PaperDemon. We're taking a close look at how we can improve retention and the new player experience so that we can grow easier.

We're also investing more in marketing to help grow the community. We're still experimenting with various tactics to get the word out. We've completely changed our social media strategy and hired a new team to help us accomplish our goals. Mostly our focus is going to be on YouTube and video content marketing on art education topics as well as paid ads.

For a more indepth look at our marketing strategy, become a patron on our Patreon and read this behind the scenes Patreon post.

Thank you! As usual, feel free to post questions.


aae2c53 🍱 assets (arpg-directory) move doa to partner slot in directory

703dcb8 ⭐ feat (game-characters) add character field configs for Dragons of Aquella

49a7e3b 🐛 fix (comments) don't allow comments on corrupted submissions

db42722 ⭐ feat (game-rollers) Dracostryx Stryxmas Mysteryboxes

52c2514 🔨 refactor (game-challenge) gain XP for writing entries

863eb60 ⭐ feat (writing) new writing submit, browse, view uis and more

6cf4ec4 🍱 assets (homepage) update link for portal wiki and some icons

c932160 🔨 refactor (forums) support threaded art attachments

4866e1b 🔨 refactor (writing) backend support for writing in megasubmission

96647c8 🍱 assets (inn) update portal step to give choice of portal

f0ddfaf 🐛 fix (user) fix analytics tracking for acct signup

fb42a74 🔥 prune (subscriptions) remove legacy subscription notifications ui

02b851a 🐛 fix (forums) hide mature art attachments in forum posts

9872acd 🐛 fix (game-rollers) battle bot not calculating cooldown correctly

a7da778 🔥 prune (promo) remove tinkercruft

7335b7b 🐛 fix (game-player) deliver proper spirit point amount for multi-level up

4c64953 🐛 fix (user) validate new email address

0812d9e ⭐ feat (promo) manage promos ui, add hp promo

005c7ee 🔨 refactor (promo) return array of promos instead of a string

5ca1a94 ⭐ feat (promo) apis to manage promo messages

53f3c27 🐛 fix (game-rollers) fix time left display in battle bot

41f8790 ⭐ feature (game-characters) set order of custom fields, add designer

60a071f 🐛 fix (blogs) comment pagination broken, add pagination at bottom

cd4a6cb 👗 ui (user-profile) make selection of user codes easier

47be2a1 🔨 refactor (user) sign up and activate pages to new frontend

3e3cfe1 🔥 prune (events) old fanime promo page

ee4086d 🍱 assets (campaign) bug fix to eventide chapter 2

86b62c8 👗 ui (flags) open inventory link in new window

b9e0e9b 🍱 assets (projects) eventide campaign chapter 2 publish

3e3cb74 🔨 refactor (user) json apis for create/activate acct

b117c6b 🔨 refactor (user) create account in new backend

932acd5 🍱 assets (game-items) add analytics tracking for square shop from hp

54eb03a 🐛 fix (game-items) sell back modal goes blank on empty quantity

46d08a7 🍱 assets (projects) campaign ch2 beta

95a4745 🐛 fix (blogs) add/edit blog post was broken

0ea0be3 🐛 fix (forums) support IPv6 ip addresses

374016e 🍱 assets (homepage) add discord in main list of links

7ed968d 🐛 fix (game-rollers) hp link to mystery box

9f2eac9 🐛 fix (user) fix ban ip

657a33a 🐛 fix (admin) fix broken user logs link

2d8bc60 🔨 refactor (game-rollers) rename to mystery box

da94788 🍱 assets (arpg-landing) content updates to arpg marketing landing

5f3494c 👗 ui (game-rollers) update the loot box t1 icon

cf92b13 ⭐ feat (game-rollers) loot box purchase UI

72f2206 ⭐ feat (game-rollers) loot box tier 1 backend

3fc09b2 👗 ui (the-inn) add new ui icon for the inn

568f06b ⭐ feat (game-player) reward players with spirit upon level up

f59dbce 🔨 refactor (game-player) recalibrate level system and migrate existing users

df5c351 👗 ui (submissions) show tags under search box for less confusion on submit page

574f2ce 🐛 fix (game-characters) limit character names to 40 characters

d6a9c59 🐛 fix (art) submit/edit pages broken if tags empty

5587bc7 🍱 assets (inn) update martus speach and challenge info

c4bdde0 🐛 fix (app) display date and time in safari

01cf887 🐛 fix (app) attempt font rendering fix in FF on Win 7

c50edfa 🐇 perf (game-items) load item shop quicker by caching tags in items table

a794f21 ⭐ feat (forums) battle UI for boss fights

3d6a35c 🔨 refactor (game-rollers, forums) attach game data in forums, bug fixes

9e5a07d ⭐ feat (game-rollers) implement battle bot, hook up to forums

2cfa33b ⭐ feat (game-rollers) character attack boss roller

b4a39b0 🍱 assets (user) update welcome email

28ea3b7 🍱 assets (user) notice about mailing list on signup page

c7d966e ⭐ feat (user) mailchimp integration

1daba7f ⭐ feature (game-rollers) extra drop if companion equipped

f89cbc8 🔥 prune (forums) old forum images that aren't used anymore

fe14769 👗 ui (forums) update forum icons in house style

961d8bf 🍱 assets (campaigns) eventide ring update

63b5099 👗 ui (campaigns) narrow max width of body text

5f45e18 🐛 fix (writing) homepage latest writing overlap with header below

d9e88c9 🐛 fix (forums) forums choke on empty forums