Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's Alive (again)! (elthos web application news)

Ok this post is about the trials and travails of hosting Elthos RPG Web Application out there in the horrible "real world".

First off the hosting company migrated my project to a "new platform" in mid April. Fine. Except: they broke the site in numerous ways that made it all but impossible to work on, or even get to, for quite some time. You have no idea what I've been through with this. Good thing I don't have any users on the system at this time. Whew. Because otherwise I'd have been S.O.L. It took until two days ago (July 19) for them to get the site back online. That was April-July. Wow. That's like totally crappy service! Amaaaazing.

But anyway, after much gnashing of teeth it is online again. Superior! I can now go back to what I was working on. My World.

And now for the good news. I really like the Elthos RPG Web Application. I mean like A LOT. Why? Because it does quite a lot for me. The coolest thing, I think, that I realised today, is that it stores my world information in a nice tidy place so I don't lose stuff. Instead my stuff accumulates over time. In a nice easily accessible-from-anywhere location online. That's pretty sweet. So I can be on go, and see something that gives me cool game-world idea and through the website I can update my world. I can upload photos of places I see along the way from my phone, if I want, and add them to my world, too. That's just freakin cool, as far as I'm concerned.

The other things I like:

1. The math is simple so that even though the computer does the math, with a little effort I could easily do the math too. But the computer is faster, and makes fewer mistakes than I do, so still the computer is a plus on that.

2. The Web Application lets me print out my stuff in quick, but convenient (though not very fancy looking) format. So I can print-n-run to the game, and I know I have everything I need.

3. The Elthos Rules can be played pretty much on a picnic table with minimal equipment or books. That's a plus.

4. The rules are simple enough so that I can be reasonably sure how to build scenarios that balance without struggling with a zillion gotcha-rules. It makes improv-GMing much easier.

5. And it's must faster to generate monsters and NPCs using the Adventure Group Generator. The nice thing is that it gens not only the NPCs randomly, but equips them based on their race or class as well. So minimal post-gen work is needed. It doesn't, for example, assign spells or miracles to the mystical classes.

6. It's kind of fun to use, to. Oh, and if I do the data entry, it also keeps a nice historical record of what has transpired during the campaigns, and what each character did, and even records stuff that lets me determine the alignment of actions taken and adjust the character's alignment accordingly - automagically. It's a neat feature, though I suspect not everyone will use it. It's not necessary, but it's still pretty neat. And for my World of Elthos, Alignment makes a difference, so it works for me.

So anyway, enough about how great this is... the game sessions continue at pace, and we are making good progress through the Game Testing Phase (one of them, anyway). So that's great too. I'm pretty thoroughly psyched.

The bad news: I can not for the life of me figure out at this point whether or not I should throw the doors open to the world and let the Application out into the "wild", or if I should (and must?) get a patent, and build up a legal framework by which I can continue to control it going forward.

There are Pros and Cons on both sides, and I'm having a devil of a time working my way through the details via research and conversation with those who may know something helpful. It's a slow process.

But in the meantime, things are going well. The master is pleased.

:)
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