After watching Adam’s Dev Update from 2/21/23, I decided to approach my reporting on the Character Tools in a different way. Adam ask to take a look at the tool from a 10,000 feet perspective. To center more on form and flow rather than specific problems, which they are well aware that exist at this stage of development.
On my PC I pulled up a character that I created here on Demiplane and compared it to a similar character on D&D Beyond. The immediate difference I noticed was the general layout. On the Demiplane characters main landing page was much more vertical and required much more scrolling than it was on DDB. On DDB roughly 70% of the characters information can be seen right off the bat with little or no scrolling because the sheet seems to be laid out more horizontal. Most of the info you need to see can been seen in one quick glance. The only scrolling that was needed was for Actions, Inventory, Features and Traits, Descriptions, Notes and Extras and any sub-categories within, if any.
When I view my Demiplane character, categories like Skills and Actions, Equipment, Spells, Feats and Features and Details, needs to be scrolled down to view it in its entirety. This may be deliberate if you are focusing more on mobile devices like phones, but it comes across as a bit awkward when viewed on a wider screen like on a desktop PC. Since online gaming has increased in popularity, it would seem more convenient to the user to have most of the characters info available right on the main character sheet and to have as little scrolling as possible needed. Or to have multiple viewing formats that cater to both mobile and desktop devices.
I hope this is a bit more helpful than nitpicking specific problems.
I had already pointed out the scrolling issue. Unfortunately, PF2E requires a bit more options than D&D5E for the characters skills, actions, etc, but those might be able to be split off instead of all being on a single panel and there is optimization that can be done (there is a lot of space/layout that could result in less “lenght” of lists).
I mentioned maybe putting all the upper info on the right side of the sheet, with all the lists on the left, with tabs (as they are now). This would leave the full leght of the screen to be available for skills, spells, equipment, etc, but it comes at the cost of width: you’d need to do more “drill down” on everything.
Another thing is that they could use the whole width of the screen instead of limiting themselves to “tablet sized screen”. I have a 4K 28" monitor but 2/3 of it is unused when looking at character sheet. Maybe have a different layout for different devices? Because they’ll have to do it anyways if they intend to have players use their phones…
Another thing that doesn’t help us when asking feedback is that we do not know always which issues are “already known”. I personally load the forum page completely (scrolls to the begining) and do a search on some keywords that might have been used before I report something, but not everyone does that, nor is it easy for everyone to put meaningful subject lines (I try, but I ain’t perfect either).
Having a pinned comment which would be the list of every “already reported issue” could help a bit.
Same for “not yet supported parts” (ie: “that’s not finished yet so don’t bother reporting yet”)
I like the idea of having a pinned comment on issues that Demiplane is already ware of. That could eliminate a great deal of repeated issues reports. It would also save time and effort for all parties involved.
I’ve asked if there’s a backlog or bug board where we could see known issues and features due further down the line.
What may be handy is if we were to start an issue page each week and post a quick description for everyone’s awareness. We could also edit the posts when fixed to confirm.
Thanks for the feedback - we appreciate the posts.
This isn’t going to happen while we are in the Closed Alpha, because A) by the time we compiled the list and got the process working, we will already be close to the public release for Open Beta, and B) the team members that would spend the time and effort to create and maintain those lists are fully engaged on work that is going to get us to the Open Beta faster where the lists won’t matter as much.
At this point, we have gotten exactly what we need for the Closed Alpha phase - our goal now is getting the development and polish completed as soon as possible. That’s not to say that we are no longer reviewing or responding to feedback, as we look at all of it to make sure that we aren’t missing anything from our internal punch lists, but we have accomplished our goal for this phase of the development. As I have mentioned in Dev Update streams, we probably wouldn’t even be letting any additional waves of testers into the Closed Alpha at this stage if we didn’t have so much interest and people asking to get in so much (not at all complaining about that!).
Now, once we move into the Open Beta, the amount of organization, communication, and tracking will certainly increase, as that is the milestone where everything will be publicly released and not just informal testing like we have been looking for in the alpha. We will clearly lay out what is in, what is being worked on, and what known issues are at any given time.
We will be there before too much longer, so you’ll see that soon. Thanks!
What I’m loving is that the majority of feedback is positive and constructive, wish it was like that on my projects at work!
When you move into open beta and have a more formal feedback process, will there be guidelines on what information will help you address issues? (Minimum datasets, recreation steps etc)