The Dicenomicon: iOS 7 and OS X

Simulated dice for role playing games
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gandreas
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The Dicenomicon: iOS 7 and OS X

Post by gandreas » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:59 pm

As everybody is aware, iOS 7 is coming, and with it, a great many visual changes (and a whole lot of internal ones too). One critical change is that iOS 7 will support rich text capabilities that are on par with what are available on the desktop. In the mean time, I've also made great progress in rewriting the various chunks of functionality that make up the Dicenomicon to also run natively on OS X.

One of the most important things to realize is that what works good for a touch based UI with a single "focus" does not work well with a mouse based UI (that includes a keyboard) with multiple focus/windows/documents. As a very simple example, shaking an iPhone to make dice roll is a natural thing. Shaking your laptop, not so much.

What device you'd bring to a gaming session is also different:
- Players are unlikely to bring a laptop, may well have an iPad, almost certainly would have an iPhone/iPod Touch. Players also don't have a lot of "upkeep" away from the gaming session.
- Dungeon Masters are more likely to bring a laptop, or at least an iPad. DMs have lots of upkeep away from the gaming session (creating new adventures, etc...), and doing this on an iPhone is problematic at base, better on an iPad, even better with a laptop.

One important technology that I've got working on OS X is the concept of "dice rice text". This is best explained with screenshot:
Image

Simply put, it allows for formulas which roll dice (or just resolve silently) to be embedded in rich text formatted documents, including being able to determine that the roll is actually part of an encounter table, and pick the appropriate result from there (it actually converts the table to an ELDERScript formula:

Code: Select all

“%” % {
     2…4:“\eEncounter\p:Hobgoblin Patrol\n \eNumber\p:%(3d4)”
| 5:“\eEncounter\p:Hobgoblin Shaman\n \eNumber\p:1 plus %(2d4) hobgoblins”
| 6…9:“\eEncounter\p:War Dogs\n \eNumber\p:%(2d4)”
| 10…12:“\eEncounter\p:Carnivorous Apes\n \eNumber\p:%(1d3)”
| 13:“\eEncounter\p:Gnolls\n \eNumber\p:%(2d6)”
| 14…16:“\eEncounter\p:Escaped Slave\n \eNumber\p:1”
}[2d8]
and then evaluates that). So by clicking on the formula link at the top left cell, it rolls the encounter table. Clicking on, say, the 2d6 would just roll that.

Thanks to iOS 7, this functionality can be supported on iOS. Unfortunately, due to a number of other issues, supporting this as well as supporting older versions of the OS at the same time is difficult at best (especially if iOS 5 is also supported). This leaves us with several options:
1) Not support this at all, make cosmetic patches to make things work/look OK on iOS 7
2) Drop support for iOS 5 & 6
3) Split the product line

My current plan is option #3 (with option #1 being applied to the existing product). As a result, there will be:
1) "The Dicenomicon: Classic" which is the product you are using today, with some enhancements to make it work reasonably well under iOS 7
2) "The Dicenomicon: Pro" A new iOS 7 only version of the app, with new features, designed for the player
3) "The Dicenomicon: GM" Another new iOS 7 only version of the app, possibly for iPad only, with all the features of (Pro) and a whole lot more designed specifically for the GM
4) "The Dicenomicon: Sanctum" An OS X version that includes all sorts of content creation support designed to work specifically with "TD:GM" (for example, a map editor that will work as a virtual table-top).
5) "The Dicenomicon Light" (for both OS X and iOS). This is the simple "roll your basic dice, customize their appearance" app.

* Names Subject To Change

There's a whole lot more behind all of this (including explicitly factoring out the differences between a game/rules, a setting/world, and your specific campaign), but that's the gist of it. You will be able to continue using your existing app on iOS 7 devices, but major new features will all go into the iOS 7 specific apps

Uranium Dragon
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Re: The Dicenomicon: iOS 7 and OS X

Post by Uranium Dragon » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:49 pm

My players and I (as DM and as a player) don't fit your mix. I do have a player that brings just an iPad, but another player and myself bring a laptop (for note taking) and an iPhone (for dice rolling). The iPhone is only because there isn't a Mac version of Dicenomicon yet. I've used just an iPad for dice rolls and note taking (with an Apple bluetooth keyboard) but using the multi-finger gesture to switch apps always screws up Dicenomicon cause of the tilt-the-world not-a-switchable-option-yet feature.

Also, I probably won't go for your GM version as I already have apps for things like character sheets (iPlay4e), initiative tracking (InitiativeBoard), hp tracking (Numbers), map design (BattleMap2), etc. Unless it was something that really wow'd me, I don't think you could sell me on it.

With switching apps so easy, making one "catch all" app just doesn't work anymore. Dicenomicon does dice rolling great. Keep it at at that and make separate apps for separate things.

My opinion, for what it's worth...

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Re: The Dicenomicon: iOS 7 and OS X

Post by BeeJay » Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:48 am

Sounds very interesting.

Personally I'd love to see more documentation and examples for certain features that we have at the moment so that I can fix a lot of things in the Pathfinder sheet that I'm still mashing away at.

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Re: The Dicenomicon: iOS 7 and OS X

Post by hansvanderdrift » Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:41 pm

Since the upgrade to IOS7 the app no longer works properly. It is constantly crashing and I need to restart the app to just have the ability to roll single die.

That's all ok, stuff like this happens. But what I am interested in is the time frame for the above versions for Ios7.

Keep up the great work, and I appreciate your work and creativity.

Hans

Uranium Dragon
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Re: The Dicenomicon: iOS 7 and OS X

Post by Uranium Dragon » Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:06 am

Refer to this thread
viewtopic.php?f=27&t=1300

hansvanderdrift
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Re: The Dicenomicon: iOS 7 and OS X

Post by hansvanderdrift » Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:15 pm

Thanks for the update.

Is the above (#3, Split the product line) plan still in action? Or, are you just sticking with option 1 (Not support this at all, make cosmetic patches to make things work/look OK on iOS 7)?

gandreas
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Re: The Dicenomicon: iOS 7 and OS X

Post by gandreas » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:11 am

#3 is in progress, with some refinements (ideally I'd like to narrow the number of apps down and use in-app-purchase to add new features, but knowing people impacted by certain patent-trolls makes me wary of using iAP). Right now I'm internally calling them "quick-start", "blue-box", "red-box", and "advanced"

3.1.4 will (hopefully) be the last patch version - a 3.2 that requires iOS 5 will probably be the next step.

hactar
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Re: The Dicenomicon: iOS 7 and OS X

Post by hactar » Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:14 am

Personally, being a one person iOS dev team myself, I would suggest doing option 2 or a mix of option 2 and 3. Here's why:

- Every moment you are spending testing/fixing ios 5,6 stuff, is a moment you are not spending actually improving your app.
- ios 6 and 7 are very different
- most people are on ios7 already (check the web for stats)
- nearly all paying customers are on ios7, ios5,6 customers are on that for a reason (jailbreak was a main reason, don't know how to update and hence dont to much purchasing, etc)

I'd really urge you to drop the old support and spend the hours gained in new features. An easier cleaner char sheet generator, coupled with your dice rice text system, coupled with a way to link or copy out spell descirptions from the official pdfs, could revolutionize the way rpgs are played, and you're the closest one to being there.

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Re: The Dicenomicon: iOS 7 and OS X

Post by LordFlameStryke » Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:11 pm

Just like to chime in here on the idea of dropping support for earlier IOS versions. I'm using a third generation iPod Touch. I don't have the money to upgrade to an iPad or a newer Touch, thus I'm stuck with IOS 5, as Apple has discontinued support for this model, much to my total disapproval.

I do understand the reason for not supporting 2 models, and if this was a free app I'd just suck it up, but as I paid for the full version I'd like to continue to get support for it.

Just my 2 cents worth, feel free to do with it what you will.

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