SceneGrinder Update: The Journey So Far

What's been happening at SceneGrinder

Hey everyone!

We know it's been a bit quiet on our end, and honestly, we've missed chatting with you. But, we've been on quite the adventure with SceneGrinder since last July. We took a step back, dug deep into your feedback, and had some hard talks about where we stood.

A Heart-to-Heart with Ourselves

First off, a big thank you for sticking with us. Your insights have been a game-changer, and we’ve realized something important – we were on the right track with SceneGrinder, but not quite there yet. Not quite the “groundbreaking browser-based 3D virtual tabletop for all role-playing games we dreamt of…” yet.

Our promise:

  • Embrace Every Game: We're here to support every role-playing game, no small feat but one we're committed to.
  • Easy Access: No downloads, no hassle. Just hop on SceneGrinder from Chrome, Edge, or Opera and dive into your game.
  • Build Your World: Offering the tools for game masters to create the perfect 3D space for their epic tales.
  • Flexibility is Key: We're all about making sure GMs and players alike get a seamless, engaging experience.

Tackling the Giant

Aiming to truly embrace every game system, from D&D to the countless other systems, each with its own charm and challenges, was a taller order than we initially conceived. We're learning, though, and every obstacle is teaching us how to be better.

Regroup and Recharge

After those tough, soul-searching meetings in July, we realized it was time to shake things up. We reassessed, replanned, and reignited our passion for making SceneGrinder what we all believe it can be.

Yeah, Yeah... So What's Been Going On?

Foremost, we're bringing on new team members. Ariana (aka Adelaide will be our new (and first) Community Liaison. You'll be seeing her a lot on Discord (and X/Meta/Reddit...). She'll will be releasing details (examples, videos, etc.) on each point about once/week for the next couple months while we continue working on improving SG. Then we have Clay (aka Hellpigeon on Discord), who will bring his wealth of 3D modeling and web design experience, as well as content creation and a bunch of other thigns too varied and numerous to label.

This week we’ll be updating our production server with the changes we’ve made in Test. We’re still tweaking a few things here and there, but we feel the changes are good enough to share with all of you to see what you think. (We’ll continue working on the rough edges - and Adelaide will give everyone updates when we make changes.)

After we update production, Adelaide will start posting updates every 1-2 weeks with details on specific features, and where needed, someone else on the SG team may do some videos or host event meetings for the community like we did at the start of Beta.

Here are the new changes you’ll see when we update production this week:

  • Tables - the UI has been vastly improved and we now support CSV imports!
  • Triggers & Actions (with Python integration optional for extensive customizations) - this is how you can do cool things like have a trigger that causes a gate to raise or lower if a player clicks on a lever (or if a player gets close to it - it’s up to you!). You could also have triggered sound effects, so you can make a fountain sound play if a player gets within 20 feet of a fountain model.
  • Action Flow - this is basically an advanced version of the triggers and action feature using simple scripts. This is how you can do cool things like letting players select the spell level when casting in 5e and have SG default the correct dice, and also increment the spells per day counter on the players character sheet automatically.
  • Opposed Rolls - this is basically an advanced example of what you can do with Action Flows. We’ve already added handling opposed rolls to our 5e and Fate integrations, and we’ll show you how these are structured and how they work on game night. Also, for the game designers out there, we’ll be happy to work with you to add opposed rolls to your favorite game RPG.
  • Character Templates 2.0 - you can now create a character sheet using HTML. This gives game designers the flexibility to do pretty much whatever they want when designing character sheets. And, of course, our standard 5e integration now has a new character template, as will all of the other systems integrations we create.
  • Dice Roller 2.0 - the dice roll popup screen is now greatly streamlined, and supports game system specific logic such as correctly applying dice when casting 5e spells at a higher level, and allowing characters to select aspects to modify dice rolls in games like Fate.
  • Dice Improvements - we’ve made significant visual improvement in how dice look and roll, and over the coming months we’ll also be releasing a lot of new dice sets for people to choose from. We’ve also added support for Fudge dice as an example of how SG can handle non-traditional dice.
  • Scene Building Improvements - objects now optionally stick to walls and other objects. Also, adding a door or window to a wall is as simple as just placing the model where you want on the wall - and that works with any door/window model. This can be combined with actions & triggers to have doors and windows open and close based on player actions.

That doesn't even really scratch the surface of what's already been done, but those are the big ones. We'll be doing deep dives into these features for you in the next few weeks.

What's Coming Next...

Here are the major new features we’re working on over the next several months. As always, this list may change based on your feedback and our research, but if it does change, Adelaide will let you know.

  • Handouts 1.0 - there’s a lot we want to do with handouts and world content management, but for now we’re focusing on the basics - letting the GM give players pdfs, videos, documents and URLs, and available both when you’re playing in a game and also when you’re just browsing your character info outside a scene. Of course, GM’s will also be able to restrict which handout each player can see.
  • Journal 2.0 - we’ll give more details on this soon, but look for an improved layout, and cleaner tracking of encounter details and story notes
  • Player Fencing - this feature will give GMs the ability to quickly/easily limit areas of the scenes players can move into.
  • Movement 2.0 - we’ll have better tracking of spent movement points/distance during encounters and also vertical movement support.
  • Gameplay UI 2.0 - the current UI has a number of things scattered around - left, right, top, bottom. So, we’re going to make things more streamlined and move almost everything to the bottom - so you’ll have basically the entire screen to view the gorgeous maps people create!
  • Existing Marketplace Enhancements - we’ll be adding the ability to sell scenes, character models and other game assets in the marketplace. Initially this will only be available when logged in to SG.
  • Ghosting - this will give GMs the ability to make models transparent so it’ll be easier to build and run games in complex scenes such as multi-story buildings, heavy forests, and in caves.
  • Public Site Marketplace - everyone (even people without SG accounts) will be able to see everything that’s available in the SG marketplace from our website, and you’ll even be able to purchase things like scenes and models from the website so they’ll be available to you the next time you login to SG.
  • Improved World Management - we’ll be adding a lot of features such as the ability to copy scenes in your world, the ability to reorganize the scene hierarchy, easily seeing characters in scenes in your world, etc.
  • Game Template UI improvements - we’ll be making the game template designer much more intuitive and easy to work with.

That’s all for today and thanks again for all of your patience and support!!!

–SG Team

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