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Thread: URPG Technical Update – 2018-02-21

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    Super Moderator URPG StaffAce Member ModeratorSuper Moderator Elrond's Avatar
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    Default URPG Technical Update – 2018-02-21

    Hello, everyone!

    URPG has gone through a major technical transition over the past month, but that’s not all that URPG is looking to do with technology. Here’s a high-level overview of what I’d like to talk about today:
    1) URPG has a new website at https://pokemonurpg.com! But there’s still a lot of work to do.
    2) I’m happy to announce the formation of the URPG Technical Team for new tech development! Please read below for more info.
    3) Automated battles are on everyone’s radar. Let’s talk timing!

    URPG’s new website is officially open!

    I’m happy to formally announce the opening of URPG’s new website at https://pokemonurpg.com! The resources from URPG’s old InfoHub and UltraDex have been migrated to their new homes here, with a few shiny new features! Please take some time to try it out for yourself. I look forward to hearing your constructive feedback in the coming weeks and months!

    Here are the primary items that I’ve got on my radar to work on, starting today!

    High Priority

    1) Staff access to InfoHub and UltraDex: The first and most important feature I’ll be working on is restoring our Mod, Official, and section staff access to edit their pages on the InfoHub. In the meantime, if you have any changes to make, please, please feel encouraged to reach out to me!

    Medium Priority

    2) Restoring functionality to URPG’s Desktop Calculator: The Desktop Calc seems to have lost functionality with the shutdown of Monbrey’s server. Monbrey and I will coordinate to make sure it’s up and running again soon! For now, please use the web calculator, available here.

    3) Re-creating the UltraDex homepage: One major piece of feedback I’ve received is that players miss the UltraDex’s homepage! Additionally, some folks were a little confused about how to reach the new UltraDex. To resolve the latter issue, I’ve added a link to the UltraDex to the pokemonurpg.com sidebar. Furthermore, I’ve heard you loud and clear, and I’ll be working on either restoring or re-creating the dex homepage after the higher-priority items are resolved.

    Low Priority

    4) Re-creating other old UltraDex resources: Once the other items are cleared up, I’ll look at some of the other resources that were available in the old UltraDex; for example, we had pages that described the underground, ability and item descriptions, and other URPG info. When I work on this project, I will likely move things around—now that the UltraDex and InfoHub are fully integrated in one site, it makes sense to have the most important info available from the sidebar!

    5) Spit and polish: Though I’m more of a developer than a designer, even I can see that there are some features of the new site (namely, the sidebar and the new move hover box) that could use a bit more artistic flair. Some of these changes may be good candidates for work to be done by the technical team! In the meantime, if you have CSS experience and know how to test edits through your browser development tools, please feel free to send me suggestions!

    Announcing the URPG Technical Team!

    Staff has asked me to lead a new team of developers to maintain and expand URPG’s current technology resources. In general, I believe we have two related goals: ensure a formal, organized process for new development; and keep as much of our important technology under one umbrella as possible. Though it isn’t obvious at a glance, part of the development of the new InfoHub and UltraDex included a vast array of new web, server, and database resources that we’ll be able to leverage in our future work!

    For those interested in joining, please reach out to me. Before the Technical Team officially opens for business, however, I have two impediments to clear up:
    1) Some of the high-priority items above, especially the restoration of Staff’s access to InfoHub, will be taking up my time.
    2) Before I begin divvying up the work, I need to determine appropriate methods of source control and access control to ensure everyone can do their work with the lowest possible risk to the game.

    In addition, I am actively considering the experience that will be required for participation in the technical team. I am leaning toward allowing members with little or no technical experience to join, learn, and help with smaller projects, so please, if you have any interest at all, feel free to let me know! Furthermore, as a current technical employee, I can assure you that there is much more to technology development than coding. I would be happy to have teammates who are good at design, writing, or just basic Pokémon-related research. So, give me a shout, and together we’ll figure out how we can best use everyone’s talents!

    Please stay tuned for more info, particularly the official opening of applications.

    The Tech Team’s first major project: automated battles!

    The subject of automated battles has been a hot topic for the past few months, and I am pleased to confirm that it was an important impetus for the formation of the Tech Team.

    Automation of any kind will fundamentally change URPG. With that in mind, we’re going to take it slow, we’re going to take it professionally, and we’re going to make sure everyone gets a chance to provide their input at exactly the right time and place. What I said above about coding being only a small part of tech development is especially true here.

    We’re going to need people to test usability, look and feel, and functionality. We’re going to need people to decide how it changes the pay structure. We’re going to need to have a long, thoughtful discussion about the scope of automation and how much of URPG we’re going to incorporate. We’ll need designers to create the look for any additions to the website. We’ll need folks who can dive into the games and dig up every relevant piece of flavor text.

    In case it isn’t already apparent, this is going to be an astronomical project. I’d like to reiterate that there are other items at a higher priority today, but the kickoff of the automated battling project is barreling towards us fast.

    I want to take a moment to provide some realistic expectations for those excited about the prospect of automated battling. Once work kicks off in earnest, I expect the project to take between one and a half and two years to complete fully. While you may be disappointed to hear that the time horizon is quite long, I hope it will inspire confidence that we intend to take the time we need to ensure we complete this project in the way that’s best for URPG.

    Closing Comments

    Thank you all for taking the time to read through all this information! I’m extremely excited to share these things with the rest of URPG, and I hope you’re excited, too! For that reason, I’ll be sharing regular updates on projects dealing with pokemonurpg.com, the technical team, and eventually, automated battles. If you’re unable to participate yourself, I hope you’ll enjoy taking the journey along with us to expand and improve URPG!

    Please stay tuned for next week, where I will share, at the very least, more info about some of the highest-priority items I described today—most importantly, Staff access to pokemonurpg.com.

    Thanks again,
    Justin
    Last edited by Elrond; 02-21-18 at 10:56 AM.

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