Saturday, December 16, 2017

Change Log: 2.59.1152

Tablet resolution of Family inheritance!
The lightning round continues!

Release 2.59.1152 mostly pushes back-end code related to logging, asset attributes and other API miscellany related to the alpha release of  The Watcher.

This release does push some new beta functionality to the legacy app, however. As of 2.59.1152, subscribers with the "beta" preference set to "enabled" can try out "Family" innovation inheritance.

Check out the feature demo on the right to see how it works.

Finally, as far as corrections and fixes go, release 2.59.1152 pushes a handful of corrections/fixes for issues introduced into the legacy webapp due to the speed at which we're moving on back-end development/enhancement.

As I mentioned last time, I'm pushing a ton of low-level API code lately for The Watcher, and that is resulting in downstream (i.e. legacy webapp) bugs.

Thanks for your patience! And thanks again for using the Manager!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Change Log: 2.59.1140

I realized a day or two ago that we're into a kind of development "lightning round" right now and that I'm going to be doing small (probably daily) releases of the API as bugs and enhancement requests roll in.

Release 2.59.1140 is exactly that sort of push. It addresses a major bug in the Manager that was introduced one or two releases back, and pushes some new feature code for The Watcher and...that's about it.

All of which is to say that you can expect the next several releases to be similar to this one, with respect to scope and impact.

I expect that we're going to be in this "lighting round" kind of mode until The Watcher starts to stabilize and move into beta, at which point I expect to get back to a less frantic pace with releases.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Change Log: 2.59.1137

Tablet resolution demo: enabling Beta content and
managing a user's collection on the Dashboard.
First, before I get into the change notes, I want to mention again that The Watcher now has its own subreddit!

If you've got questions, comments, concerns, feedback, etc. re: The Watcher, create a new text post over at /r/thewatcherapp/ and the whole dev team will see it (including Yours Truly).

Second, moving on to the release notes, release 2.59.1137 is kind of boring, with respect to what it does for the Manager: most of the code in today's release facilitates future features/functionality of The Watcher, so there is not much to report on, as far as the Manager is concerned.

The main user-facing element that this release pushes is a beta feature that allows subscribers to manage which expansion/add-on content they own (IRL).

This feature, which we're currently calling user Collection management, does not do anything presently, but will be tied to upcoming features of the Manager and The Watcher.

(I don't want to say too much about those features just yet, however, as they are still very much under development.)

Finally, and it feels like I'm maybe burying the lede here, I should also mention that there is a pretty major correction in this release: Percival is now an expansion.

When she was released, I initially filed her assets under "White Box", but we determined, after a thorough, rigorous, non-partisan inquiry, that she is, in fact, expansion-type content, so now she is officially an expansion in the API and the Manager.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Change Log: 2.59.1125

The Watcher alpha release has begun!

As usual, /r/kingdomdeath has really been coming through with support, signal amplification and assistance. Thanks again!

The first round of alpha testing and tickets brought our attention several non-trivial issues related to how we manage assets behind the scenes in the API. Release 2.59.1125, therefore, is mostly focused on those issues, i.e. on the back-end, e.g. tightening up how game asset definitions are typed/retrieved, correcting some bad math, etc.

This is important to users of the Manager because the high volume of big-deal back-end updates in this release basically guarantees that there will be some unintended downstream consequences, e.g. errors in the legacy webapp at

Please report all issues! Every bug you submit against the legacy webapp helps improve The Watcher and, at this point, we need all the help we can get!

(And thanks in advance for your patience as we work through these growing pains!)

Finally, in terms of what's going on in the legacy webapp, this release (finally) implements API support for survivor avatars! In fact, all avatar-related code has been deprecated and removed from the legacy webapp which a.) fixes some outstanding issues that I have been ignoring a year and b.) will improve UI/UX by no longer requiring the Survivor Sheet to refresh/reload when changing an avatar.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Feature Demo: Survivor Avatar Upgrade!

Tablet resolution feature demo!
A few releases back, some API changes broke the feature that allowed new survivors to be created with an avatar: you could still change them from the Survivor Sheet, but if you tried to create them with an avatar, you got a nasty traceback.

The next release of the Manager (which I expect to put into production at some point this weekend) not only fixes this issue, but moves avatar support to the API, which means that changing survivor avatars will no longer require a reload or refresh of the Survivor Sheet.

Check out the feature demo on the right to see how it will look at tablet resolution.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Send me your Survivor Color Scheme ideas!

Release 2.58.1104 of the Manager adds support for a subscribers-only feature called Survivor Color Schemes.

Individual color schemes are simply HTML style strings (i.e. a series of CSS properties) that are applied to certain display elements in the Manager. If you are a CSS developer and you have an idea for a Survivor Color Scheme, I encourage you contribute your idea to the Manager!

Hit the jump for complete instructions!

Change Log: 2.58.1104

Color-coded survivors have arrived!
Release 2.58.1104 pushes a bunch of code related to the Alpha Release of The Watcher: in fact, most of what you see in the change log below is directly related to the alpha release, which should be happening...any day now!

This release also includes a the new, subscribers-only feature that lets Survival +5 subscribers color-code their survivors by setting a Survivor Color Scheme from the Campaign Summary view.

Check out the feature demo for that in my last post.

Also, in addition to supporting code for The Watcher and the new color-coding feature, release 2.58.1104 also contains a handful of upgrades/enhancements intended to improve performance.

As I discussed briefly in one of the recent downtime updates, CPU performance is becoming an issue due to the high amounts of traffic we're processing lately (and the large amount of data that goes along with that traffic).

Release 2.58.1104 therefore makes makes a few strategic adjustments to the World daemon, which can be pretty processor-intensive, that should help overall CPU use.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Feature Demo: Survivor Color Schemes!

Tablet resolution feature demo!
Starting in the next production release of the Manager, Survival +5 subscribers to the Manager will be able to select color schemes for their survivors.

Survivor Color Schemes modify the color of the survivor's tile on the Campaign Summary view as well as the background for their quick access menu.

All players in a campaign, whether they are subscribers or not, will be able to see these colors, though non-subscribers will not be able to change them.

As future functionality/features are developed, they will include Survivor Color Schemes.

Check out the tablet resolution feature demo on the right to see how it works!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Upgrade Complete!

Depending on how long it took the DNS updates to propagate to your preferred DNS lookup server, the Manager and API were down for a little over 10 minutes.

The system is back up and running on two processors and we're no longer pegging the processor:

Obviously I'll be keeping an eye on utilization and performance for the next 24 hours or so and, if we need another processor to keep us above water when traffic picks up in the evening, then I'll be adding another one (which will require another downtime). 

Thanks for using the Manager!

Scheduled Downtime this Afternoon!

Usage of the Manager is at an all-time high!

The last 30 days have been the Manager's busiest 30 days ever and, as we get closer to the alpha and beta releases of The Watcher, traffic is only going to increase.

Most of the recent increase of traffic has to do with the 1.5 release and represents new players getting into KD:M for the first time. Just to give you an idea about how many new players are trying out the Manager right now, there are currently 1052 registered users of the application, and 1291 of those registered in the last 30 days!

What's more, I recently learned from the front-end team that we've currently got over 1000 users registered for the beta release of The Watcher.

The bottom line is that performance has already been impacted by this increase in volume and it is time to resize the main production host and add some processor overhead.

Accordingly, there will be a brief downtime this afternoon during which the Manager will be totally unavailable. This should only last for a few minutes, but could go on as long as an hour.

As usual, I will check in here and on Twitter when I am able to issue the official all-clear.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Change Log: 2.57.1091

Finally finished my Lonely Tree!
Release 2.57.1091 is primarily a unscheduled tools/admin update to the API.

As usual, you can hit the jump for complete details, but, the executive summary of this release is that I had to call an audible, push back some planned feature work and roll out a non-trivial overhaul/upgrade of the CLI tools I use to administer the Manager.

(In case you are wondering about why I made the decision to postpone planned feature work to focus on administrative tools, the main reason is that administration has been sucking a lot of my time lately.

At the time of this posting, over 100 users have purchased a subscription, more than 1200 new users have registered in the last 30 days (!) and, basically, during the last two weeks, supporting all of that user activity has been a high-touch/manual activity for me and I needed to create some new efficiency.)

Status flag survivor tags!
But it's not all admin tools in this one. In addition to the usual corrections and fixes, release 2.57.1091 finally gets around to a feature that I've had on the back-burner and only just now pulled the trigger on: survivor status flags in the Campaign Summary view "survivor tags".

Now, when survivors have a disability/status on account of an impairment, you'll see a little flag for it right on the Campaign Summary view.

Finally, and probably most importantly, release 2.57.1091 changes the way that multiple/bulk survivor creation works:

  • First off, the feature is now a Survival +5 subscribers-only feature. Like all of the non-essential/super-user functionality of the Manager, its proper place is behind the support wall, and that's where it shall live henceforth.
  • The controls have been (dramatically) improved and now allow survivor parents to be specified. 
  • Creating multiple survivors no longer reloads/refreshes the view. Instead, once the new survivors are created, users may immediately click into them without leaving the current view.
Check the feature demo here for a quick run-through of how it looks/works.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Bulk Survivor Creation upgrade coming in the next release!

Mobile resolution feature demo!
The next release of the Manager will include a major upgrade to the feature that allows settlement admins to create multiple survivors.

In the next release, the feature will change thus:

  1. The feature will only be available to Survival +5 subscribers to the Manager.
  2. Adding survivor parents will now be possible on bulk survivor creation operations.
  3. The page/view no longer reloads or refreshes when creating multiple survivors.
  4. Once the request to create the new survivors is finished, a list of buttons is displayed and clicking on a new survivor's button will take you straight to their Survivor Sheet.

Check out the feature demo in this post for a quick feature demo (at mobile resolution).

The next release of the Manager is probably going to happen on Saturday or Sunday morning and it will include this feature upgrade as well as the usual corrections, bug fixes, etc.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Change Log: 2.55.1066

Release 2.55.1066 is a break/fix type of release that addresses a number of the smaller issues (and a couple of the bigger ones) that have been percolating up this week.

And, speaking of this week, I would like to point out that user feedback/collaboration has been really excellent this week! Thanks again to everybody from /r/kingdomdeath who checked in this week and everyone else who opened tickets and sent emails. You are awesome!

I'm going to be taking a few days off of active support (for the American holiday weekend), but I'll be back early next week, so keep those issue reports coming in!

Thanks for using the Manager!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Change Log: 2.55.1053

Release 2.55.1053 implements full HTTPS support for the Manager.

(Previously you could do some things using HTTPS, but you would run into errors due to hard-coded HTTP elements, browser rules about mixing HTTP/HTTPS requests, etc. With today's release, you can do everything in full HTTPS.)

I am an EFF supporter (and you should be one too) and I used Certbot to create the certificates for and

The next production release of the Manager will make HTTPS mandatory, i.e. any HTTP requests will be redirected to port 443 of the webserver automatically.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Change Log: 2.52.1049

Release 2.53.1049 devotes a lot of effort to paying down technical debt and optimizing for performance.

Last December, I wrote about working on improving page render times by optimizing the legacy webapp architecture for speed. Later, in January of this year, when I put out the Anniversary Release of the Manager, I set out my three-part plan for improving the Manager in 2017:

  1. Pay more attention to presentation and aesthetics.
  2. Require fewer page reloads/refreshes.
  3. Implement more and better multiplayer support.

To me, the goal of having fewer page reloads/refreshes was the first step towards the larger goal of improving the UX of the site overall.

The second step, as I wrote about in another performance-related post back in January, was to embrace the RAIL philosophy, leverage Google's optimization tools and, ultimately, get views to render in a way that felt more responsive.

And so, for all of those reasons, when I was working on 2.53.1049, I spent a lot of time researching performance optimization techniques for AngularJS apps (and JS in general) and this release chips away at the time penalty incurred during the up-front/page load.

Release 2.53.1049 improves performance on all views, but the "Create New Settlement" view has been totally hot-rodded out and goes really fast now; it literally renders in half the time that it used to and, under optimal network conditions, will always be fully rendered in under a second.

I don't think other views will ever get to this level of performance (mostly on account of how much data they need to retrieve from the API), but I had to start somewhere, and the performance on this view is a major improvement.

At any rate, the optimization work is obviously far from finished, but I think I have made a lot of progress since the Anniversary Release on the performance front.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Change Log: 2.52.1009

Release 2.52.1009 is a break/fix release that does not add any new front-end functionality to the Manager.

Given the amount of back-end upheaval going on lately in the ramp up to the upcoming alpha release of The Watcher, it is not especially surprising (to me) that yesterday's release broke as much stuff as it did.

And while it is somewhat embarrassing to have to do these day-after releases, we're moving really fast now on API development, and, given our extremely limited resources, messy releases and daily break/fix work are both kind of just...the cost of doing business, at this point.

At any rate, thanks to everyone who reported issues in the last 24 hours! You guys are the real unsung heroes of this upcoming alpha release.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Change Log: 2.52.1001

Before I get into release notes, I would like to thank everyone who has subscribed to the Manager so far!

It has been about two weeks since I launched the subscription feature, and more than 30 people have subscribed already! In honor of all the subscribers, release 2.52.1001 adds the webapp's first, proper subscribers-only feature: the Campaign Summary storage view.

(I teased the feature in my last post, if non-subscribers want to take a peek.)

The release also pushes some pretty non-trivial bug and presentation fixes, release 2.52.1001 cleans up settlement storage presentation, adds more detail to storage assets (e.g. keywords, rules, etc.) and implements the rest of the freemium/support-wall features.

There's a bunch of stuff for The Watcher in here as well, since the alpha release of that is right around the corner...

As usual, hit the jump for full release details and thanks for using the Manager!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Feature Demo: Subscribers-only Campaign Summary storage view

Mobile resolution feature demo!
One of the main features that advanced users of the Manager commonly write in and ask me to implement is a way to view settlement storage from the Campaign Summary.

I never implemented the feature because a.) I didn't want to put settlement controls on the Campaign Summary (i.e. because they belong on the Settlement Sheet) and b.) because space is at a premium on the Campaign Summary view.

Once I added the concept of subscribers and subscriber-only features to the webapp, however, a settlement storage view on the Campaign Summary felt more like something that I could/should do, and so I'm going to roll it out in the next release.

(The next release will be out...before this weekend. Probably not tomorrow, but soon.)

If you are a subscriber, you'll  see the new button as soon as the release comes out. If you're not a subscriber, go buy a subscription!

Thanks for using the Manager!

Tablet resolution feature demo!

Change Log: 2.50.972

Release 2.50.972 is a break/fix release that cleans up some of the problems introduced in yesterday's JS overhaul.

It introduces some new functionality as well, in the form of Settlement Storage keyword rollups.

We're gearing up for the alpha release of The Watcher, so expect the next release to be mostly focused on that (and not so much on enhancements to the legacy webapp).

Thanks for using the Manager!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Change Log: 2.50.961

Release 2.50.961 is focused on improving UI/UX by optimizing Javascript performance.

Prior to this release, most of the AngularJS application (i.e. the part that renders the forms) was built-out at random: I just added functionality/features onto it as I went, and never really stopped to think about how that might be affecting performance.

Turns out it was really messing things up.

With release 2.50.961, I wouldn't say that things are perfect, but they are greatly improved over the last few releases. I haven't had the time/opportunity to officially clock it, but page loads seem to be taking less than half as long as they have been taking.

(The Survivor Sheet is still pretty sluggish, so I'm going to the drawing board on how to make that go faster, but all things considered, loads seem way faster.)

Thanks for using the Manager!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Change Log: 2.50.931

Release 2.50.931 is a tiny break/fix release that deals pretty much exclusively with a major feature bug (hit the jump for complete details).

Beyond addressing that issue, this release also adds a warning to the dashboard for non-subscribers about how their settlements will be automatically removed/purged after six months.

I thought long and hard about this and ultimately ended up putting long-term storage behind the $1 "support wall" because I believe it is fair.

While actual storage cost for old settlements is absolutely trivial (we're talking literal millionths of a dollar per), the effort that goes into keeping older settlements compatible with the Manager, the API and ultimately The Watcher has a non-trivial cost (i.e. that is paid in development and support hours).

As usual, if you have a question/comment, find me on Twitter or use the comments here, etc.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Change Log: 2.49.926

Release 2.49.926 rolls out the first beta/subscriber-only feature: Basic Hunt Event deck simulation.

The basic inspiration for the feature is the inconsistencies in the color of the Basic Hunt Event cards (among the promo, core and expansion cards): since the core card backs are one color, the expansion card backs (i.e. for the Lonely Tree) are another and the promo cards a third, it's impossible to randomly draw a BHE card.

(You know, because you always know which ones are 'Random Event' cards and which ones are the special events.)

The feature, then, simulates the creation of a "deck" including 12 "Random Event" BHE cards and one each of any of the three additional BHE cards and then draw them off one at a time.

(It even rolls the d100 for you...because that took ten seconds to implement and what the hell, you know?)

At any rate, if you're a subscriber and you want to check it out, click the "System" tab and make sure that you've got the "Beta" preference set to "Enabled". From there, click into any of your Settlements/Campaigns, click on the sidenav/burger and click the "β Hunt Phase" button.

And please, if you do end up messing with it, let me know what you think: how could it be better, how would you incorporate it into the existing tools, etc.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Change Log: 2.48.922

I said yesterday that I wasn't going to put a new release of the Manager into production for a while, but I ended up getting some pretty significant bug/error/usability issues from users on /r/KingdomDeath yesterday.

Mostly by accident (since I'm terrible at this and totally scatterbrained about branches) I ended up working those issues on a feature branch that I started a couple of weeks back and, long story short, I've got a release to put into production today.

Release 2.48.922 mostly implements break/fix and performance optimizations for the Dashboard.

The release also implements a new feature I call 'survivor tags', which are basically little informational items that appear beneath a survivor's vital stats on the Campaign Summary view. For now, they only include Fighting Arts, Disorders and A&Is, though I have some vague plans for expanding the feature in the future (once I know more about Advanced KD:M).

Finally, this will be the last release of the Manager for a while (I mean it this time). I'm going to take some time to start working on subscriber-only features and the next major release of the Manager will include the first one of those.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Change Log: 2.48.916

Before I get into the release notes, I would like to thank everyone who has subscribed to the Manager: it has not even been a full 24 hours since the feature went live and...honestly you guys caught me off guard!

When I woke up this morning and checked my inbox, I saw the subscription orders and realized that I'm going to have to step up my plans to implement subscriber-only content.

Therefore, release 2.48.916 delivers a single new feature that paves the way for the introduction of subscriber-only content: API-based preference management on the dashboard.

( terms of features, is honestly not a huge deal, but is still one more element of the legacy webapp to be migrated to the API and thus should improve overall performance of the Manager, etc.)

As of release 2.48.916, Survival +5 subscribers to the Manager will notice a new preference called 'Beta' under the 'System' tab on the Dashboard.

Enabling this preference is basically an opt-in flag that will cause new/experimental features and functionality to be accessible to you when you use the Manager.

A few things about the Beta opt-in preference:

  1. Beta features will always be clearly identified as such in the webapp. For example, if there is a new feature in the side nav called "Hunt Phase" it will say "Hunt Phase (Beta)" or similar.
  2. Beta features are always going have bugs, problems, issues. If you are opting in on the beat stuff, expect it to be a little wonky. 
  3. Many beta features will ultimately become subscriber-only features, but some will (eventually) become regular features of the webapp. 
  4. Ideally, if you're opting in to see beta features, you'll report back (using GitHub or the in-app controls) to me about your experience. 
At any rate, now that all of that new preference management code is in production, I am going to take a little break from daily releases and start working on some of what I've got planned for subscriber-only features!

Thanks for using the Manager!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Change Log: 2.47.897

Tablet QA by lantern light.
Release 2.47.897 of the Manager fixes a handful of bugs (including a major one that prevented Settlement Sheet milestones from being saved) and introduces the concept of lifelong subscriptions to the Manager.

At present, I have no plans to require users of the Manager to pay to use it. The Manager will remain totally free to use as long as I am maintaining it.

Starting with release 2.47.897, however, users will have the ability to purchase what I am calling a "lifetime subscription" for either $1 or $5 (US) from my Shopify.

The license is good forever and is intended primarily as a way for users to show their support for the Manager: on average, I get one or two emails a month from people who say that they would like to support the project financially, and these "lifetime subscriptions" are mainly for them.

In order to provide some incentive for others, however, I plan to start rolling out some new features that will only be available to those who have purchased the $5 license (the carrot) and restricting certain functionality to those who have purchased the $1 license (the stick).

Feel free to contact me directly on the Manager's Twitter or over at /u/toconnell on Reddit with any questions/comments/concerns.

And thanks for using the Manager!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Change Log: 2.46.888

Release 2.46.888 is a tiny, break/fix release that deprecates some old, vestigial code and wraps up the last couple/few bugs that have been surfaced since Friday.

At this point, I'm working on a few more items in the 1.5 upgrade project that I plan to deliver before I close it out, and then I plan to get back to work on upgrading the API so that it can support the Alpha Release of The Watcher.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Change Log: 2.46.883

Alright, release 2.46.883 is your standard post-release, break/fix release: it doesn't really contain any new features/functionality per se, but it does contain a few quality of life improvements for the legacy webapp.

Notable features of this release:

  • Fixes the numerous, minor problems with the Timeline: it's now 100% 1.5 compatible.
  • The Settlement Event log now will highlight certain (special) settlement events.
  • Departing Survivor management controls now include buttons to +1/-1 survivor Hunt XP
  • Moving survivors to the Departing Survivors group on the Campaign Summary view no longer blocks controls while it refreshes.

As usual, hit the jump for the complete notes and thanks for using the Manager!

And special thanks to everyone who has checked in with an issue in the last 24 hours!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Upgrade complete!

Second major upgrade of the year. Hopefully the last one of its size.
There were about half a dozen users active during the deployment of the 2.46.871 release of the Manager: everyone got kicked out of the app while the deployment took place.

During the first hour after the deployment, a couple of you ran into fatal errors (i.e. tracebacks) due an a couple of out-of-the-gate issues which I tried to patch as soon as I saw them.

(Sorry about that, but...somebody had to be the first guy out of the boat, if you know what I mean.)

At any rate, during the last hour there have been between eight and 12 active users and I haven't seen any errors since my last patch, so I'm about to hang it up for the day and celebrate another action-packed, edge-of-your-seat deployment.

Please continue to report issues here, in the app or on Twitter!

And thanks for using the Manager!

Change Log: 2.46.871 (1.5 Upgrade Release)

1.5 Upgrade Release!
As of release 2.46.871, the Manager now supports Kingdom Death 1.5!

Release 2.46.871 also contains a bunch of feature upgrades and enhancements. This is probably the biggest upgrade of the Manager since the Anniversary Release:
  • Settlement Sheet storage controls have been (massively) upgraded and no longer reload the Settlement Sheet when you update storage!
  • Endeavors are a first-class citizen of the API now (i.e. they're no longer just attributes of Innovations) and the Campaign Summary endeavors UI has been (massively) upgraded, both in terms of functionality and appearance.
  • Campaign Summary controls for managing Departing Survivors have been upgraded so that returning survivors from Special Showdowns is now supported.
  • Numerous back-end enhancements intended to improve overall performance of the Manager.
As far as overall performance goes, anyone who has used the Manager in the last two weeks has probably noticed that general performance has gotten progressively worse over the last few releases.

For release 2.46.871, I identified and solved several problems affecting performance on all views. Things should be noticeably faster/better now, though not perfect. Performance will be an ongoing concern through the next few releases.

(Since the first release of the API, the legacy webapp has been double-dipping on its API calls. This has been a major source of poor performance since the Anniversary Release of the Manager last winter. As of 2.46.871, this is no longer a factor.)

At any rate, this release is a big-ass release (of the kind that I really don't like to do, but keep ending up doing anyway...) and it will certainly have bugs. I expect I'll be doing break/fix releases through the weekend, so please report any issues when you see them!

...and that's about it for now! Happy 1.5 release!

Thanks for using the Manager!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

1.5 Upgrade Tomorrow! New Storage/Endeavors feature demo

OK, so I definitely bit off way more than I could chew and tried to do the 1.5 upgrade at the same time that I tried to finish up a couple of pretty non-trivial feature enhancements. The end result is that I will be a few days late with support for 1.5.

Ultimately, I put myself into a position where I had to either push the 1.5 upgrade without addressing the performance issues that the Manager has been experiencing lately, or to take a little bit longer, address the performance stuff and miss my (self-imposed) deadline for the 1.5 upgrade.

As of right this minute, I've got 95% of the next release of the Manager ready to go and...I gotta say, I feel like I made the right decision: the Manager looks and works really, really well right now.

But don't take my word for it. Check out this tablet resolution feature demo: it teases the new Endeavors and Storage features of the Manager and hopefully gives a sense of how big of an overall upgrade the Manager is going to receive when I roll out my 1.5 support update.

I'll probably roll out the new release tomorrow afternoon: I've got a couple of small items to wrap up and then I'll want to do a little more QA on a couple of things before I push the release.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Special Showdown Vector (.AI file and high-res .PNG export)

As part of the project to upgrade the Manager to 1.5 rules and assets, I ended up having to vector a Special Showdown logo/icon.

Here is a large PNG version of it:

Download the AI file here: 

Download the PNG here:

For bonus points, if you end up using it in one of your own projects, hit me up in the comments!

1.5 Support Coming Monday! will be upgraded to support 1.5 rules and assets tomorrow, Monday, October 23rd.

Given the architecture of both the API and the webapp, there is no way to simultaneously support both releases of the game, so when the next release of the Manager goes out tomorrow afternoon, everything will be upgraded to 1.5.

If you are interested in either following my progress on upgrading the Manager (or in seeing what basically amounts to a 1.5 change log), check out my project board on GitHub.

Otherwise, expect 1.5 support to arrive on Monday.

(And another small release of fixes/enhancements to arrive either Tuesday or Wednesday.)

Thanks for using the Manager!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Change Log: 2.38.785

As the whole world hopefully knows by now, we're getting real close to the Alpha release of The Watcher.

Accordingly, release 2.38.785 is mostly dedicated to tickets related to that: there are no feature/functionality enhancements for the legacy webapp in this one.

Also, if you're interested, we've got a public/world-facing "roadmap" (kanban board) for The Watcher: it's brand new, but as we dig into the Alpha release updates/support, I expect it to improve in quality/clarity.

Finally, I just got my 1.5 box, so I will be upgrading the Manager to support 1.5 rules/assets/etc. starting this weekend!

Thanks for using the Manager!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Change Log: 2.38.777 (API r0.61.581) Alpha release coming soon!
Before I get into the notes for release 2.38.777, since 1.5 shipping is already underway, I should reiterate that I'm probably going to be going back to daily/every-other-day updates very soon: this release will probably be the last "major upgrade" type of release (where I add/enhance multiple features) for a while.

Also, hanks to everyone who responded to The Watcher alpha-release survey when it went out yesterday! We're going through the responses now!

OK, so as far as this release goes, I am happy to announce that release 2.38.777 (finally) pushes the major upgrades to the Campaign Summary view that I have been teasing lately, including:
  • The view pulls all settlement data from the API now: literally nothing comes from the legacy webapp, which should dramatically improve load times.
  • Survivors can be moved into/out of the Departing survivors group without reloading the view (though it does spin the wheel for a second while it refreshes...for now).
  • Individual Survivor's basic stats (Courage, Understanding, etc.) can be updated from the Campaign Summary view, i.e. without having to open their Sheet.
  • The Campaign Summary view checks itself on load and, if you cannot manage any survivors, will reinitialize until you can.
  • Dead survivors get a big, red 'X' over their avatar on the Campaign Summary. Which...just makes me happy, for some reason.
There is also a heaping helping of bug/presentation fixes in this one as well: as usual, thanks to everyone who has checked in with an issue since the last release went out!

And thanks for using the Manager!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Campaign Summary upgrade release tomorrow!

Tablet resolution feature demo of the Campaign
Summary view upgrades, including Survivor 'Quick
Menu' functionality.
The work on the Campaign Summary upgrades that I have been teasing since the last release is almost done!

As of right this minute, I've got a few more tickets to close and then I plan on pushing the new release to production sometime tomorrow (probably early, since that's when we tend to have a low user count).

In the meantime, please enjoy this new, tablet-resolution feature demo of the upgraded Campaign Summary view controls, including Departing Survivors management and a new UI/UX concept I call Survivor "Quick Menus".

(Basically, it's a little modal that pops up BEFORE you load the survivor sheet that lets you do a quick reference/review and, if necessary, rapidly bump some attributes up or down.)

Thanks for using the Manager!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Feature Demo: upgraded Campaign Summary view!

I mentioned (a few times, I think) that the next big feature upgrade for the Manager was going to involve the Campaign Summary view.

At present, the Campaign Summary view takes a long time to load and managing the Departing survivors requites a lot of refreshes and reloads. In the next release of the Manager, all of that is going to change, and the view is going to have much better performance.

Just to give you an idea of how much of an upgrade this is going to be, the feature demo on the right shows a preview/teaser of the new Campaign Summary view controls at mobile resolution: if you've used the Manager at all, it's going to look pretty revolutionary.

Barring anything unforeseen, I think I should have this release ready to go early this coming week, if not sooner.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Change Log: 2.37.747

More work in progress on this guy.
 Release 2.37.747 contains a number of UI/UX improvements, including:
  • Survivor Sheet "Disorders" controls no longer reload the page! 
  • Survivor Sheet "Lineage" controls and presentation have been completely re-done and upgraded to show more/better data, including basic survivor biographies.
  • Changing a Survivor's parents no longer reloads the page.
  • Integration with the Manager's Twitter account.
  • A good-size handful of bug and presentation fixes
Counterweighted Axe detail.
As far as the Twitter thing is concerned, the tl;dr is that rather than doing updates/alerts via the application, which requires pushing code to GitHub, I decided to just outsource transient status updates to Twitter.

The account has been around for a while now, but as of release 2.37.747, I finally got around to integrating it and replacing the old alert mechanism. Effective immediately, the pink "alert" box on the dashboard has been replaced with a blue "!" box.

Another thing to point out about this release is that a lot of what it does is intended to help page load speeds.

For instance, a major part of the lag on rendering the Survivor Sheet in the legacy webapp was the "Lineage" information: gathering that could take in excess of two seconds in some cases, and it slowed down the page load substantially. In release 2.37.747, the API does the lineage stuff asynchronously (i.e. in parallel with the main page load) and the Survivor Sheet should be able to load that much faster.

Another small improvement that some users might notice in this release is that the Survivor Sheet no longer totally refreshes/re-initializes itself when making trivial changes (e.g. adding/removing epithets, changing Survival, toggling "Favorite" status, etc.).

At any rate, work on The Watcher continues in the background, and I expect to have a pretty major announcement about that in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

And thanks for using the Manager!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Survivor Sheet upgrades coming tomorrow!

Survivor Sheet upgrades!
The Survivor Sheet is getting a major upgrade tomorrow and I am currently putting the finishing touches on it, so I figured I'd put out another quick feature demo.

The main things to notice here are:

  • The SotF re-roll toggle has moved
  • The "Insanity" value turns maroon when the survivor is insane.
  • Fighting Arts now "fade" when the survivor's ability to use Fighting Arts is toggled off.
  • Disorders can now be added to the Survivor Sheet without refreshing the page! (They can also be removed, I just forgot to demo that.)
At any rate, as I say, I'm wrapping this one up now and doing my QA process today and I expect to have it out tomorrow/Thursday.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Upgraded "Lineage" controls feature demo

No, it's not part of the game. Yes, it's still
an important feature of the Manager. 
I mentioned on the Manager's Twitter that I might push a new release today or tomorrow, but I'm actually going to hold off on that until maybe Thursday or Friday, because I decided to refactor the Survivor Sheet "Lineage" controls and that's taking a bit longer than I expected.

In the meantime, please enjoy this tablet-resolution feature demo of the new/enhanced "Lineage" stuff.

(It also shows the 'first time sign-in' modal, which will have its presentation fixed/upgraded when the next release finally comes out.)

And thanks for using the Manager!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Change Log: 2.33.712

Dragon People:
work in progress.
Release 2.33.712 is focused mostly on back-end (i.e. API) enhancements and contains no user-facing application improvements.

Rather, the scope of this release is limited to a handful of updates for the API's admin panel, including some new methods for API performance monitoring (with is equally important for both The Watcher and the legacy webapp).

There are also a few legacy webapp bug fixes for yesterday's release, but nothing major.

(At this point, I think I have had some kind of communication with everyone who was affected by yesterday's deployment, but in case I missed anyone, thank you for your patience!)

And thanks for using the Manager!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Change Log: 2.33.709

Rawhide set + Deranged Expression (work in progress).
The dashboard upgrade is finally here!

Release 2.33.709 pushes a major update to the Manager's dashboard that improves page load times* and enhances/expands the information that you see on the dashboard about your settlements. It also adds a first-time user message for new users (i.e. anyone who is not currently involved in any campaigns)!

The next view on the agenda to be upgraded/refactored is the Campaign Summary, which is the heaviest/slowest of the views, since it depends the most on the legacy webapp and leverages the API the least. I'm going to try to get some more work on that done before the end of the month.

I also plan to get some more improvements to the Survivor Sheet rolled out in the next week or two: one of the final controls that needs to be refactored/enhanced is the Disorders controls, and I'm going to knock that out very soon!

In back-end news, work on The Watcher is really ramping up: release 2.33.709 includes many enhancements to game asset definitions and the routes that retrieve those assets that are intended to facilitate the new UI/UX design requirements.

Finally, since it looks like 1.5 is going to ship in the very near future and I've seen the question come up on BGG/Reddit a few times, and I would like to officially reiterate that, once my copy shows up, my plan is to go into lock-down/overtime mode and push updates until I have full 1.5 support in both the app and the API.

* Prior to release 2.33.709, render times for the dashboard have taken, on average, anywhere between a quarter of a second to a half of a second, which is no bueno: if it takes half a second just to create the HTML for the view, there's no way we're getting the page rendered in under a second, even given optimal network conditions, etc.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Change Log: 2.32.691

Slendermania continues! (Work in progress.)
Release 2.32.691focuses on the Manager's second most popular browser, FireFox, and addresses a number of issues affecting performance, presentation, etc. in that browser.

Basically, to get this one done, I worked on a few low-impact items from the backlog, but, instead of debugging/QAing in Chrome, I worked in FireFox and just fixed things as I went.

Beyond the FireFox-based adjustments, this release also chips in a little more work towards resolving the long-standing issue where some non-Chrome browsers fail to load a view based on JS/API failures: a number of order-of-operations, timeout and scope problems that have been associated with  never-ending page loads are addressed/corrected in this release and, in a worst-case scenario where the browsers loses the cookie or the authentication token info, the javascript app will just straight-up kill the legacy webapp session, logging the user out (i.e. so they can start from scratch).

Finally, in terms of big-picture progress, release 2.32.691 also puts in some more groundwork on an entirely API-based dashboard view, which should massively decrease the time it takes to load the dashboard (once its finished: for now, sucky dashboard load times are here to stay...but their days are numbered).

Thanks for using the Manager!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Change Log: 2.30.670

Slenderman work in progress.
Release 2.30.670 is mostly focused on back-end enhancements required for The Watcher, but there are one or two enhancements/upgrades to the legacy webapp in this one that users might notice.

Most noticeably, the mechanism by which individual survivors are "favorited" has been enhanced so that multiple users can mark a survivor as one of their favorites. Since the beginning of the feature, once a survivor was marked as a favorite, every player saw it as a favorite. Now, individual users get a customized display that only shows them their own favorites.

Another thing that some users might notice is that API failures in the legacy webapp (e.g. when you try to save or update something and it fails) now produce a full-screen, modal error that has to be clicked through. These API modal errors contain the API's response as well as some specific information about the route, assets, etc. that were in play when the error occurred.

Hopefully this helps with error-reporting.

Otherwise, there isn't too much for the user experience in 2.30.670. At some point in the next release (or maybe the next one after that), I'm going to re-do the dashboard and finish the Survivor Sheet upgrade, i.e. so that none of the controls on the sheet require a reload/refresh.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Change Log: 2.29.654

Illuminated Lady (work in progress).
Release 2.29.654 is another pretty big one, so be on the lookout for issues.

The release is primarily focused on back-end enhancements, but the one major user-facing aspect of the legacy app that does change in this one is the way the login screen works.

And boy howdy does it change.

As I teased in my last post, the whole sign-in experience, from presentation to the back-end/API stuff, has been totally redone and massively upgraded. The legacy app now authenticates versus the API for everything, including password resets.

In other UI/UX news, release 2.29.654 also address a couple of performance issues that have been escalated recently.

There's a ton of stuff in this release: hit the jump for more details (and another funny work in progress shot on my Illuminated Lady)!

And thanks for using the Manager!

Friday, September 8, 2017

New Sign-in UI Feature Demo

Mobile/phone resolution feature demo!
As of right now, I'm working on polishing up a pretty big release of the manager. If everything goes according to plan tonight and tomorrow morning, it should be deployed early tomorrow.

Among other things, the release implements a brand-new sign-in, user registration and password reset interface.

Since I haven't done one in a while, I decided to create an animated GIF feature demo showing how password resets will work once the release goes out. Enjoy!

And thanks for using the Manager!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Change Log: 2.27.614

Release 2.27.614 adds a "random" option to the top of the Fighting Arts picker and corresponding support in the API.

(The changes in this release should have gone out earlier, but...I'm an idiot.)

Thanks again for using the Manager!

Change Log: 2.26.608

Release 2.26.608 implements API-side controls for managing survivor Fighting Arts! This means that the Survivor Sheet in the webapp will no longer have to reload when fighting arts are added or removed!

Also, as part of all that, 2.26.608 completely overhauls and upgrades the presentation of the Fighting Arts, so that they look a lot better, overall.

(Also also, I should mention that I finally got around to fixing the alignment of the Survivor Sheet "Survival" number input at all three breakpoints. That's been bugging me for months now, and it feels really good to finally get around to it.)

And speaking of presentation, this issue addresses a handful of issues affecting Firefox. I have been monitoring browser/OS information a little more closely lately, and it looks like more users are coming in with Firefox, so I'm going to start using it more in my QA/pre-release process.

Finally, I should stay that Survivor Sheet Disorders are next on the list of UI/UX elements to improve (i.e. by making it so they don't reload the page), but I've got a handful of javascript revisions/bugs I need to do first, as well as some authentication/user-creation work that I've got to turn in for The Watcher beta, so it'll be a minute before I get around to fixing up the Disorders.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Change Log: 2.25.579

Release 2.25.579 pushes a refactored dashboard "World" panel that automatically refreshes itself.

The code is primarily based on the work I've been pushing this week on the new API Admin Panel, so, in a way, this is the user-facing payoff for the last two production releases. The new "World" panel not only looks better at all three CSS breakpoints, but should help the dashboard load a little more quickly.

(Current average render times on the dashboard are hovering around 0.480874010989 seconds, and I'd like to get them down to less than half of that. Signing into the legacy app now hits the API, which slows it down, so I'm trying to compensate for that.)

At any rate, work on The Watcher will resume with the next release.

Thanks again for using the Manager!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Change Log: 2.24.566

Release 2.24.566 is focused on the new Admin Panel for the API and, like the previous release, does not do much for the legacy webapp, though it lays the ground for the dashboard upgrade that I've been working on for a while.

I figure on maybe one or two more days of work on this Admin Panel, and then I should be able to get back to work on The Watcher and the legacy app improvement/API migration project.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Change Log: 2.24.559

This release implements the first draft of the API's admin panel.

This doesn't really mean anything to you as a user, but the legacy webapp's admin panel is my primary insight into who is doing what with the Manager, and it helps me pick up on unreported bugs, issues, workarounds, etc.

Expect another tiny release in the very near future as I continue to work on getting this new panel cleaned up and workable.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Change Log: 2.24.558

I'm back!

Release 2.24.558 is a tiny break/fix release that addresses a few user-reported bugs and cleans up a couple of annoying UI/UX issues.

Now that I am back from vacation/moving, regular updates and work on The Watcher will resume and the next release will pick up where I left off on optimizing the Survivor Sheet by expanding the API's ability to support survivor management operations.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Out of Office

Starting on Friday, 2017-07-21, I am out office until the end of August.

While I am out, I will not be able to respond to emails/issues/etc. If you find a bug/issue, I encourage you to report it using the controls in the webapp or by opening an issue in GitHub.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Change Log: 2.24.539

Release version 2.24.539 tidies up some minor UI/UX annoyances on the SurvivorSheet. It also ties the javascript downloads to the release version number, so we should have fewer cache-related user issues from now on. 

The release adds no new functionality, but I suppose you could call 2.24.539 a "quality of life" release. 

With any luck, this tiny release will be the last release until the end of August.

Change Log: 2.24.531

Release 2.24.531 is basically a break/fix patch to undo the damage caused in Monday's deployment.

So yeah, uh...sorry about that.

In order to apply this fix, I had to finish up and push out a couple of new API routes and, whenever I do that, there is always risk of unintended consequences, so I'll be keeping an eye on this release and potentially doing another patch tomorrow or this weekend.

Otherwise, assuming that this release looks OK and sits well for the next day or two, I do not plan on doing any additional releases until late August, so this may be the last you hear out of me for a while.

Thanks for using the Manager!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Settlement Sheet monster controls are broken!

I am currently out of office (work travel), but I just got done reading a few write-ins about weird behavior affecting the Settlement Sheet and checking logs and it looks like I made a pretty bad mistake in my haste to get the last release of the manager into production.

Basically, I accidentally pushed out some code that I wasn't done with and, long story short, the Settlement Sheet controls for managing quarry, nemesis and defeated monsters are broken: they're not working at all.

I have opened an issue in Github and will be working on a patch over the next 48 hours: I'll have some updated code in production by Wednesday night (USA Central time).

Change Log: 2.24.521

Release 2.24.513 did not break as many things as I expected it to, so this follow-up release is not very extensive, but should clear up a the major/disruptive issues introduced in the last one.

Specifically, the bugs affecting the automatic application of settlement principle buffs (specifically the "Conviction" principles) and weapon mastery are addressed. Problems with updating survivor sex and retirement status are also addressed.

As of right now, I think I will probably do one more 'stabilizing' release this week as minor issues trickle in (assuming they do trickle in).

After that, there will not be another major release of the Manager until mid-August. Thanks for your patience.

And thanks for using the Manager!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Change Log: 2.24.513

Survivor Sheet upgrade!
The Survivor Sheet Upgrade release, otherwise known as 2.24.513, is finally here!

It is also is probably the biggest release since the Anniversary Release back in January.

As far as features go, this one overhauls most of the controls on the Survivor Sheet:
  • Adding Abilities & Impairments no longer reloads/refreshes the Survivor Sheet
  • Settlement Sheet "flags" (e.g. "Cannot use Fighting Arts") are now automatically set (though you can still toggle them) based on A&Is
  • Survival Actions on the Sheet now also appear/disappear automatically as A&Is add or remove access to different SAs.
  • A number of Survivor Sheet controls have been refactored to no longer require page refresh/reload, including Cursed Item controls and Savior controls, Dragon Traits and "The Constellations", etc.

This one is also a major API milestone: as of 2.24.513, we've got API-side survivor normalization and we're starting to enhance the survivor data model so that it can support all of the UI/UX magic we've got planned for The Watcher.

Speaking of that, this one also pushes a slew of new API routes for working with survivors: there are now 20 documented routes for managing various aspects of the Survivor Sheet via the API.

As of  2.24.513 (API release 0.51.381), I would say that we're about 60% finished with migrating the old survivor update methods from the legacy webapp to the API, which is one of three major prerequisites for the alpha release of the Watcher (the other two being API-based user and settlement management).

Finally, if precedent is any guide, this release, since it is such a major overhaul of the front- and back-end components of the Manager, is almost certainly going to be associated with some usability/presentation issues. Thanks in advance for your patience!

And thanks for using the Manager!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Major Survivor Sheet Upgrade tomorrow!

The Survivor Sheet upgrade release is ready to go, but I want to spend a little time QAing it before I release it, so it's probably not going into production until tomorrow afternoon.

In the meantime, I made a feature demo GIF showing how the new, improved Survivor Sheet will work for PotStars campaigns, with respect to updating the Dragon Traits/Constellations table without having to reload or refresh.


Controls for Fighting Arts and Disorders still require a reload/refresh of the page.
That will be addressed in the next release of the Manager!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Release postponed! New feature demos

I woke up this morning planning to deploy the new release, and then ran into a number of issues with survivor creation (which is moving from the old webapp to the API) and decided to hang back.

At this point, the plan is to have the new release ready to go before this weekend, e.g. Friday or so, if everything keeps going the way it has been going.

In the meantime, I created some mobile resolution feature demo GIFs that show some of the new functionality that will be included in the next release of the Manager.

The left one shows how settlement event logging will improve and will list all bonuses applied to newborn survivors; the right one shows the new "Seven Swordsmen" survivor creation option and how Cursed Items will work without refreshing the Survivor Sheet:


Monday, July 10, 2017

Survivor Sheet feature demo: new Cursed Item and Savior controls!

Progress on the next release, which will include a major Survivor Sheet upgrade, is going well and I still plan to deploy on Wednesday.

I put the finishing touches on the new Savior management controls and, in order to document a little bit about where I'm at with the whole thing, and made a new feature demo GIF of how the controls look at tablet resolution.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Survivor Sheet feature demo: teaser for the next release!

Contrary to what I said last time, there will not be a new release of the Manager deployed today.

Instead, I've got a short good news/bad news post.

Good News

The good news is that I've been diligently plugging away on the next major release, and I've got some good progress to show for it.

Check out this new feature demo, which shows the refactored, no-page-reload controls for Survivor Sheet Abilities & Impairments, Survival Actions and permanent affinities:

Some things to notice:

  1. Affinity controls no longer need a page reload.
  2. The epithet picker refreshes itself and prevents duplicate epithets
  3. Survival Action tool-/title-tips are now tablet/phone friendly and appear when the element is clicked/tapped
  4. The A&I picker refreshes itself, preventing duplicate picks when duplicate picks are against the rules
  5. A&Is, once applied, can automatically update survivor epithets (among other things...but more on that later).

Bad News

The bad news is that all of the new stuff that will come out in this release is basically requiring me to port like, 80% of the survivor management code from the legacy app to the API, and that is taking up quite a bit of time.

All of which is to say that the next release of the Manager is taking longer to put together than I initially predicted, and I will probably not be able to deploy it until some time later this week. I'm thinking Wednesday, latest.

It will be worth it though: Survivor Sheet automation is about to take a major leap forward.

Thanks again for using the Manager!