Thursday, 29 September 2011

BattleScribe 1.12.00b Released!

And here's the latest version of BattleScribe, with a nice bunch of improvements including the most requested item on the UserVoice page. There are a couple of UI improvements and you also get a side-by-side layout when viewing/printing rosters. That's something people have been after for a while. It could do with further improvement, but it's a start.

For those of you who edit data files, I've added modifiers to profiles so you can change the values of characteristics based on the selections you make in your roster. All distinct profiles (each varient of a modified one, and the original if present) are shown in the summary and marked with what they are modified by. I also thought I'd do the same for rules whilst I was at it.

Without further ado, here's the full change list.

Release Notes:
  • Alternative layout in view/print roster, with the army's units and profiles/rules laid out side-by-side. Choose the view you want from the Layout Options menu.
  • The minimum points value of entries is now shown in the left-hand tree so you can see how much something costs before you select it.
  • Rules summaries are not displayed in view/print roster unless they have a description.
  • Profiles can now have modifiers, allowing you to change characteristic values based on your selections (eg. Mark of Nurgle gives you +1 Toughness).
  • Profiles will have their names changed based on what selections of modifiers, so for the above case "Chaos Lord (Mark of Nurgle)" would be listed in the profile summary.
  • Rules can also have modifiers to change their names/descriptions.
  • Added Spikey Bits as an affiliate
  • The new installer will not overwrite your settings file, so you will not loose your saved data repositories on upgrade.
  • BattleScribe will no-longer crash if the settings file is missing or broken - it will just create a new one.
  • The selected affiliate in the menu bar will now be randomly shown. If the button is clicked, or you select your preferred affiliate from the drop-down, this one will always be shown.
Android Specific:
  • Fixed a nasty bug that prevented BattleScribe from downloading game systems from repositories and showed an error message.
My apologies if you were affected by the bug in the Android version, I really should have spotted that one before I released it. My thanks to hewhowatches and scarletsquig in the forums for helping test this release. Always appreciated :)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

BattleScribe 1.12.00b Pre-Release, Stickers

As usual, I've posted a pre-release of the latest BattleScribe up in the forums. Feel free to download and give it a whirl, and please let me know if you find anything wonky in there. The full release notes are listed in the forum thread, and you can let me know there or in the comments if you uncover any problems.

Also, to follow up on the last post, stonhinge in the comments suggested giving away stickers as a thank-you for donations/purchases. I thought that was quite a nice idea, so if people are interested I could start posting some nice glossy vinyl stickers for donations (voluntary purchases?) of say $10 or more. What do you think? Here's a first thought for the sticker design:

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Thoughts on Income

Well, that's a provocative title. Link bait you might say...

Seriously though, BattleScribe and money has been something I've been thinking about lately. As I've always tried to be open about everything I try to do with BattleScribe, I thought I should air my thoughts and see what people think.

Just to be clear though, there will always be free, fully functional versions for desktop and mobile. Forever. That isn't going to change.

So what's this all about? It's a bit of a dream of mine to be able to one day quit the day job and focus all my time on BattleScribe. Combining my two favorite pastimes - toy soldiers and programming - into a job would be awesome. I could do a much better job of supporting and improving the program, and start implementing some of the other grand schemes I've been thinking about.

Currently, BattleScribe pays it's way with generous donations, the ads on the mobile version and the affiliate links in the desktop version. I can run the project at no real cost to myself for web hosting etc, which is great.

Of course, for me to be able to focus on BattleScribe entirely, it has to go a little further than just supporting itself. So I've been thinking of ways to generate some income from BattleScribe that keep it free and provide some benefit for the user.

I've come up with a few ideas, and I'd love to hear your thoughts.

  1. Turning the affiliate links on the desktop version into a much more useful feature. The idea would be that once you've created an army list, you could click the link to go to your preferred web store. When you get there you find your shopping basket already populated with everything you need to build your army. BattleScribe gets a small cut of any sales made through the links.
  2. A paid for version of the mobile app. Make it ad-free and also give it something extra as a thank you for purchasing, such as alternative skins. The free one would still have all the same features.
  3. Direct advertising on the mobile and (possibly) desktop versions, and on the website. Companies could pay for ad space, which means they'd be much more relevant and useful to wargamers. This kind of advertising is also more lucrative, especially for a niche product like BattleScribe.
  4. A "pay what you want" model to "purchase" the desktop version (where "what you want" can be nothing - there would be a prominent "skip payment" button). I'm a little uneasy about this as it feels like I'd be guilt-tripping people into parting with their cash...
  5. Merchandise. T-shirts, stickers, mugs or whatever fun stuff people would like to buy. Not sure there would be much demand for a BattleScribe t-shirt though!

I hope you get where I'm trying to go with this. The idea is to find useful, optional or unobtrusive ways to generate a little income, without making it a paid for product or reducing it's functionality.

So, what do you think? Do you have any suggestions? Let me know on the forum or the comments. Thanks!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

BattleScribe 1.11.03b Released!

Just a quick bugfix release today - I've resolved an issue where the total roster points value wasn't being recalculated sometimes (not good). In addition, for the Android version, I've fixed a bug where rosters containing certain text characters could not be displayed when viewing them.

Short and sweet :)