Warhorn is dead, long live Warhorn!

After ten long years I’m both saddened and excited to announce that Warhorn v1 has been shut down. Saddened for the obvious reasons, but mostly excited because now we can get on with the business of developing the modern edition of Warhorn without distraction (either financially or administratively).

The King is Dead

As a single example of the kinds of things you can expect to see going forward, in the last few months we’ve been working with some of the Pathfinder Society campaign volunteers to build deeper support for PFS into Warhorn. They’ve put together a comprehensive catalog of all sanctioned PFS scenarios, and we’re creating a way for event staff to choose from this catalog when specify scenario offerings rather than tediously entering these details. This will save you time setting up your events and also enable us to publish statistics about Pathfinder Society play on Warhorn which we think will be interesting to many in the community. We’ll be doing the same for Living Forgotten Realms and eventually for all game systems and organized play campaigns.

We’re also committed to  building on the quality of life improvements that have been slowly making their way into Warhorn. For example, now that event staff can specify the time zone for an event and you can see that time zone on the schedule, we plan to give you the ability to set your preferred time zone so that even if games occur outside your time zone you can see them in your local time. And why is it that you can’t save information about your characters so that you can choose a name when signing up for a game and have its class, level and combat role information automatically come along for the ride? No good reason. We plan to fix that.

Further down the line, we’ve got some really exciting ideas about making it easier for you to find games you’re interested in. If you’ve been signing up for games on Warhorn for a while, shouldn’t we be able to point out games in your area that you might not already know about? And shouldn’t you have more powerful tools for searching for any kind of game you like?

Also, we want to acknowledge  that gaming is something you do with your friends for fun. You should be able to sign up for games together and choose to play together when lots of people have signed up for the same game. You should be able to have a public presence on Warhorn (but only if you want one) and show off what you’ve accomplished in-game. If you participate in organized play campaigns, you should be able to see and talk about your and others’ characters and play histories.

I wrote the very first lines of code for Warhorn v1 back in 2003 because I wanted to get a bunch of RPGA friends together in a hotel meeting room to play D&D all weekend. It went through rapid change for a few years and then more or less settled into the state it existed in until today. When we first contemplated a new version we thought we’d just tear it all down and start from scratch, but that was too much for two people to handle. So Warhorn v2 essentially became a faster, slicker, mostly easier to use little brother of v1. That was fine for its first six months of life, but 2014 is the year where Warhorn v2 grows up and comes into its own right. We hope you like new stuff because we’re gonna throw a bunch at you!

PS: If you have any suggestions for improvements we can make, please send your ideas to us at https://warhorn.uservoice.com/forums/217440-general. That’s a community-sourced list of ideas that you can vote on to show your support; the more votes an idea gets the stronger consideration we give to it. Tell us what you want!

Posted in Announcements

Venues!

We’re excited to announce a significant new feature for Warhorn event organizers: venue support! Event staff can now enter addresses and phone numbers for venues where event activities will be held. The event schedule groups activities by venue and allows users to view venue details and maps. For example:

Because venue support has a few different parts we’ve provided a knowledge base article explaining how to set up venues and use the new schedule features (yup, we’ve expanded our support site to include a knowledge base; we’ll add more articles over time as we build new features and revisit existing ones). We always try to build features that are straightforward and intuitive to use the first time, but this information is here to help in case we missed the mark somewhere.

Venues vs event listings

You might be wondering how venues relate to an event’s location in the event listings. The answer is, there’s no specific relationship between the two. You have the freedom to specify whatever location you like for the event listings without regard to the geographic location of any venue you might configure.

Take for example the Central Valley PFS event. The event staff specified a location of “Central Valley, CA, US” for the listings but have defined a number of different venues in various cities in the region.

Browsing listings by location

Another improvement you’ll notice is that the locations in the event listings look a lot more consistent. That’s because we normalized the listing locations to use separate fields for city/region, state/province and country (event staff, see the Event setup > Location page). This improves your ability to browse listings by location because we can more intelligently order the listings now.

Event listings ordered by locationCountry-specific date formatting

Those of you not in the US will be relieved to see that we’ve introduced date formatting more appropriate to the event location. For example, the dates for this Australian event are in DMY format rather than the MDY format commonly used in the US (and Belize…?):

Non-US date formattingOver time we will add more localization features so that users can see event information in ways that are more natural to where they are (such as explicit event timezone support and the ability for users to set date formatting and timezone preferences). We want to reduce confusion and make the site as comfortable as possible.

As always, please don’t hesitate to give us feedback or make suggestions about what you’d like to see. There’s a “Feedback & Support” link at the top of the page for that very reason. We hope you like the new venues feature and all the other associated changes!

 

Posted in Announcements

New features for October

Happy October everybody! Things have been quiet over here for a few weeks but that doesn’t mean that we haven’t been working. On the contrary, we’ve been quite busy putting together various new features, making improvements under the hood and fixing a number of bugs. Here’s a quick summary of the highlights:

1. Event staff can now specify custom copy for their event’s registration page. This lets you provide custom registration instructions for your event, such as “All PFS players must purchase a convention badge” or “Registration includes free pizza”. If you know HTML you can use a few tags to apply some basic formatting to your text and include links or images.

2. Similarly, event staff can now provide custom copy for each scenario. This is distinct from the scenario blurb, which is intended to convey the short description of the scenario that is typically provided on the front page of the scenario as a teaser. While every event will probably use the same blurb for a scenario, the custom copy is meant to let you provide additional event-specific information about the scenario such as sponsor links and images, links to external rules documents, etc. As an example, check out what the GottaCon folks did for their v1 site last year. Any custom copy you provide for a scenario shows up in the event schedule alongside the blurb.

3. We’ve gotten some support tickets recently from people saying “I just signed up for an account but I can’t figure out how to register for event XYZ”. In every case this was because the event had not yet enabled registration or had closed it in preparation for the start of the event. We’ve tried to make this more clear by adding a disabled button that says “Registration closed”, so hopefully this situation will be less confusing. Let us know if our remedy worked.

We’ve got another big announcement coming soon, so keep an eye on the usual channels (blog, Facebook, Twitter) for our next update. Til then, good gaming!

Posted in Announcements

Manual event registration

Yesterday we rolled out the ability for event staff to manage an attendee’s schedule. Today we’ve released a complementary feature: event staff can now manually register an attendee for the event.

Manual event registration is another v1 feature that didn’t initially make it into v2, but it’s clearly very important to a number of our event organizers. It’s common for an organizer to disable end-user registration when an event’s start date approaches but still want to register walk-ins on-site. In combination with the feature we rolled out yesterday, event staff can now take the attendee’s registration, record their fee payment and sign them up for activities without having to leave Warhorn.

How it works

When you register an attendee you must provide their first and last name. You may also provide an e-mail address, but note that the address must not already be in use for a Warhorn account. If you do provide the attendee’s real e-mail address then they will be able to log into Warhorn with that address just like a user who signed up for their own Warhorn account. If the attendee does not want to provide their real e-mail address or establish a Warhorn account then you can just leave that field blank; the system will generate a fake warhorn.net address.

You can also clear the attendee (only really useful if a real e-mail address is provided), assign them to the event staff, select fees and enter comments about the registration (visible only to event staff).

Screen shot: manual user registration

We hope that these recent changes make the migration from v1 to v2 more attractive for those who haven’t switched over yet and fill in some gaps for those who have.

Good gaming!

Posted in Announcements

New for this week: attendee schedule management

After launch quite a few event organizers told us that they missed the v1 feature that allowed event staff to manage an attendee’s schedule. We didn’t include that feature in v2 originally because we weren’t sure how many people actually used it before (the v1 platform didn’t give us a good way to measure the usage of the feature), but we heard you loud and clear these last couple weeks and have added this capability to the new site.

Here’s a screenshot that illustrates what the Schedule section of the Manage Registration page looks like. Notice that you can sign the attendee up as a player, GM or staff volunteer (if you’re using the volunteer features) and cancel an existing signup. When signing an attendee up to play you can specify their character details if the scenario allows and then edit the character details later.

Screenshot: manage attendee schedule

Custom contact e-mail address

We also slipped in another feature under the radar a few days back: the ability to specify a custom contact e-mail address for your event. You could do this in v1, but when we launched v2 users were directed to contact the organizer directly. This isn’t appropriate in all cases, so you can now specify whatever address you like and that’s where we’ll direct folks when they want to contact you. Especially useful when you have an alias or group set up to handle support for your event. Here’s a screenshot:

Screen shot: contact e-mail setup

We hope you like these new features. Catch us here, at Facebook or Twitter, or drop us a line at info@warhorn.net to let us know what you think. We’ve got a bunch of additional updates cooking based on your requests, so stay tuned!

Posted in Announcements

Post-launch status report

Hey all, just wanted to share some of what’s happened this week since launching Warhorn v2 on Sunday night:

  • 609 users joined the site
  • 98 events approved
  • 91 support tickets closed
  • 8 bugs fixed thanks to your reports
  • 5 features added on the back end to support things you’ve requested like changing an event’s organizer and adding more game systems

As the number of support incidents starts to drop (hopefully over the next few days) we’ll be able to turn our attention to the next few projects on our plate:

  • A knowledge base where users can search for answers to questions before contacting support
  • A forum for making feature suggestions and giving feedback on others’ suggestions
  • The ability for event staff to directly manage attendees’ signups
  • The ability for event staff to register people without Warhorn accounts for events
  • A new version of the API for the v2 site

And we’re also starting to talk about longer-term plans to build some of the features that you guys have been asking about for years. I won’t tease anything specifically because a) we don’t have a great record for delivering on things we tease ;) and b) we haven’t decided on specific priorities yet.

Finn and I couldn’t be happier about the overwhelmingly positive response to the new site and want to thank everyone who’s reached out with comments, questions and suggestions. Please keep them coming – your feedback is what helps us decide what to do next and how to shape the site over time. And for those who are disappointed with choices we made when building v2 or who prefer some aspect of the v1 site – please let us know that too; we can’t meet your needs if you don’t let us know what they are. As always you can contact us at info@warhorn.net.

Thanks and good gaming!

Brian and Finn

Posted in Announcements

Warhorn leveled up.

We’ve been talking about it for years, and now it’s here: Warhorn v2. To everyone who’s supported Warhorn financially, given us feedback, or offered us suggestions: THANK YOU. We seriously would not have gotten here without you.

A sampling of the great new stuff you’ll find at https://warhorn.net:

Single signon

Once you create your new account on Warhorn v2, you’ll never have to do it again. One account gives you the ability to register for every event within Warhorn.

The dashboard

Every time you log in to Warhorn, you’ll have one-click access to every event for which you’re an attendee or an organizer. You’ll also see a list of events added since your previous login. Never miss another upcoming event!

Event setup wizard

Setting up a new event is now a simple, step-by-step process with plenty of advice and help text for new organizers. Veteran organizers, never fear: you can breeze right through without any distractions. Everyone will appreciate a new WYSIWYG editor for event site home pages. No more tedious HTML hacking!

Making changes to your site is just as easy. You can access any of the wizard steps individually after they’ve been set up. No need to hunt through a big page of controls.

Event schedule

Why sign up for a con if you can’t find something to play? Warhorn v2 shows you every game session in every slot for each day of the con. You can tell at a glance whether a session has room or needs GMs. Need more detail about a scenario being played? It’s there in one click.

Head on over to https://warhorn.net to experience the new Warhorn for yourself. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions at info@warhorn.net.

Happy gaming!

Brian and Finn

Posted in Announcements
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