I don't like spamming, so I try to keep this Patreon a low activity one, so I generally only update you all about big releases, but I also haven't posted anything in a little while so I wanted to post a little status update to summarize all the stuff I've been up to and things that are in the pipeline.
Let's see if I can manage it without this post also becoming another Chinese Wall of Text!
If you haven't been following, we've celebrated last week the 1 year anniversary of The Forge's public release! We did a live stream of the celebration where we did a couple of giveaways, and you can see the VOD of that on YouTube : https://youtu.be/ytGV78U3tsU?t=384
One of the surprise announcements is that we've increased the assets quotas for all the tiers, now using multiples of 5GB for all the assets quotas. 🥳
There hasn't been any major releases for the past month or so, as I've been mostly working on my own sanity and health. Taking the time to forcibly slow down the frenetic pace I've held for over a year and trying to rest and not burn out has been greatly beneficial. It doesn't mean that nothing has been done for the past month, because plenty of stuff happened behind the scenes, just no major feature/milestone from publicly visible projects. On The Forge's side, there has been a lot of work on the overall stability of the service, and polish, tons of research with regards to service providers and a new infrastructure design, which I've done to get ourselves a much more stable and efficient server setup. We've also been working on a couple of things that we'll announce soon, but I won't say more for now :)
Within the next few months, I have many things in my TODO list that I plan on working on. Unfortunately, there are so many projects—and I'm bad at multi-tasking—that I have to pretty much concentrate on one at a time until it's done, move on to the next, and repeat the cycle until I go back to the top of the list. This means releases for specific projects are generally a bit far apart as I'm still cycling through my many tasks. Here is my current TODO in order of priority for me :
- Beyond20: A Beyond20 release is coming soon! Yeay! It has a few small bugfixes, and also has support for Foundry 0.8.x. The development version already supports 0.8.5, but there's also a couple more fixes I want to put in it. This will be v2.4.2, another minor release and I expect it to be out within the next couple of days (I avoid releases at the end of the month since Patreon's idiotic system of charging everyone on the 1st of the month makes some people who join my Patreon at the end of the month feel like they got double charged).
- D&D Beyond Integration with The Forge: The DDB Integration has not had a lot of progress on it in terms of code, but a lot of progress in terms of brainstorming and design. Creating specs for how the walling/lighting data needs to be so every adventure is consistent, as well as how to store/link/release that data has been a challenge but we're getting there. There are some tools I want to write first to help with that work, but then I should be able to advance faster on that front. No news here, but I expect that's the next project I want to concentrate my time on. I was pleasantly surprised to see that most people liked the integration as it is already, and I haven't received any negative feedback as a whole, just some small bugs/issues being reported, so that's pretty cool! :) Thanks everyone who joined in and tested that.
- New Forge servers: The Forge infrastructure has been redesigned, and now it's time to put that design to the test. This will likely happen slowly in parallel with other tasks as it has been for the past few weeks, but another thing we announced during our celebration anniversary was the addition of the Australian region, since the Singapore datacenter is not always optimal for people in Australia. That region will be the first to use the new design and new server provider, and will be helpful to see how it functions. We will then slowly move the other regions to the same design on the new server provider's datacenters.
- New CDN provider for the Forge: I am a big fan of Bunny.net for our CDN but their reliability has been a huge thorn in our side for the past few months. Things seem to go well, then they break, and it obviously affects our players and us. We have given Bunny a lot of chances while we've also evaluated alternative CDNs. Cloudflare is the most well known, and holds a huge portion of the internet in its palm. They unfortunately do not provide us with the same capabilities that we currently have, so there is some work to do on our side before we can give Cloudflare a try. We've already started working on that, but this will take some time.
- The Time Machine! : In the last few weeks, there has been a lot of progress on the design of the Time Machine feature. Some of the issues that were blocking me have been resolved, so I think this feature might get worked on sooner rather than later. Exciting things ahead!
- Database rewrite on asset sync: We recently released an update to the Forge module for local Foundry installations to allow users to sync their assets library with their local Foundry data folder. This is a great way to backup all those assets, but if you want to use Foundry in an offline environment, it wouldn't work because the world database still links to the online assets. Having a "make available offline" option to rewrite the entire world database to use local files instead of Forge hosted assets, will be great to have. It's a feature we've been looking to do for a while and we couldn't include it in the original release of the assets sync, but I want to work on that soon and get it done.
- Creator oriented Bazaar UX: The Forge has brought a massive improvement to the user experience of Foundry users, by simplifying the hosting entirely and adding a ton of quality of life improvements on top of the software as well. One aspect of Foundry that is still very hard to use is the module/compendium development, hosting, releasing, selling, distributing, etc.. the content for a content creator. We've already done so much by providing the first and only Foundry marketplace available where people can purchase premium content and enable them in their games on the Forge. The Bazaar however provides only one aspect of the simplified experience for creators that we want to create, which is with regards to selling the content, but there are many improvements to be made elsewhere. I have these ideas in my head that I want to see implemented, so we can bring to the Foundry creators the same ease of use that The Forge brought to Foundry users. This will require quite a bit of work, and will make the Bazaar better and make The Forge a platform for content unlike any other, but it will mean that users will not see any immediate changes (other than even more content being added and their favorite creators being happy and wasting less of their time)
- Hiring: As evidenced by the list above (and the many many other things in my TODO I decided not to include), I have a lot to do, and I don't think it's humanly possible for me to take care of all my projects (and subprojects) all on my own within this lifetime, so I want to start hiring people to help out with development. It's difficult to find people you can trust to do the job as well as you would do it yourself, and who can understand your needs without having to hand hold them, so I'm not yet sure how this will happen, or when exactly, but at some point in the future, I'll have to start seriously looking at hiring full time employees to take care of some of this stuff for me, under my direction. I feel like this is going to be a huge undertaking on its own, hehe.
That's it for now. There's more of course, and those who talk to me on Discord likely know about the other projects that are in the pipeline, but this list above is what is currently keeping me awake, so I hope to be done with it all soon enough and move on to even newer and shinier stuff!
Thanks everyone for supporting me and thanks for using my software. I truly appreciate it!
Have a great summer, and I wish you all lots of natural 20s!