Desktop vs Website


#1

Would you prefer if Power VTT was a website vs. a desktop application?

  • Yes, I would prefer a website
  • No, The desktop app is fine
  • Doesn’t matter to me

0 voters

Reason for Asking

Auto-updater is killing me. Every single time I go to update a dependency (because of stability/bugfixes) something new is broken and it causes a mess every single time I go to release something.

I use a technology called Electron behind-the-scenes which means the entire application is nearly ready to use as a website (there would be a medium-size amount of work to rewrite a small layer that utilizes Electron, the rest would work out-of-box.)

Pros of Website

  • Nothing to install, would function like Roll20 - Sign up and go
  • Bought packs would show up automatically, no installing
  • No updating, ever. Everything is always up-to-date
  • No dependency/operating system problems

Cons of Website

  • Will always require an internet connection
  • No more local storage. I would probably cap it at 2GB to start and see what people think from there if we went this route. Assets imported into your vault would be subjected to the 2GB limit unless you had a subscription. (Note: Storage would not be counted against your saved maps/characters since that is only data and all bought/free assets already live on the Power VTT servers.)
  • Chrome/FireFox only. I cannot support older browsers. WebGL is required for many of the features (grid, rain, dynamic lighting)

This is a heavy subject and one I want to weigh seriously.

As much as the updater is killing me, is it affecting you? Would you prefer to use a website over an application? Why or why not?

Best,
Tom


#2

Not being able to store locally is the real deal breaker for me. If this could be solved in any way, be it downloading or something, allowing the website to store locally (I know next to nothing about this stuff, sorry if I make zero sense).

I would still prefer a website though, with all the pros listed. I’ll just have to figure something out for my storage related issues. :slight_smile:


#3

Same here. I built this as a desktop app first figuring the local storage was a real win for most users.

The debate right now is, do I want to:

  • Invest more time into auto-updater, ensure it works? This would mean slow, methodical updates until I get it 100% stable; or
  • Stop everything and start to port it to a website knowing that once it’s done, there will never be an installation issue again.

No immediate decisions will be made just yet. For now I’m attempting to make the auto-updater work but this is something I definitely want to make sure I consider before investing more time down the road.

Thank you for your feedback! It helps me weigh the right choice down the road.


#4

For me, the major advantage of a website-only solution is that my players wouldn’t have to install anything. That is the main reason why I am using roll 20 right now. I like that flexibility.


#5

Would we lose features if we went web-only for the VTT client? I’ve wondered if some annoyances in the Roll20 interface are due to technological constraints vs. intended design.


#6

@zen No features would be lost! Only storage would be affected as I would not be able to store an infinite amount of assets for everyone.

The entire platform is built using the same technologies found on everyday websites. A straight port (or close to it) is entirely possible.


#7

Good deal. That’s what I was hoping. :slight_smile: I was thinking about it the other days and I think there are two layers to this - Prepping the Game and Running the Game. For prep, a desktop version is ideal because of local storage, but running the game via browser so players don’t have anything to download is also nice.


#8

#9

I would prefer the computer client. While there are issues, the offline storage is significantly better for me than the online one for a number of reasons (including being able to work on maps when the internet is offline and not having to worry about service being down.).


#10

Hello @BrianB :wave: and welcome to the community!

Thank you for taking the time to voice your thoughts. I agree with you as these were the exact reasons for starting a desktop app.

The good news is there might be a compromise. For those familiar with “Slack” they basically operate by hosting a web version of the app inside an Electron container. The benefit is anyone who wants to use the web can, and anyone who wants to use the app could do so as well.

I already know how the architecture would work, in fact the marketplace works in this exact fashion. I would need to put a lot of thought into how each platform would behave (local storage vs hosted) but at the end of the day, it’s possible.

Again, I’m in no real rush to rewrite the app for the web. I do want to make sure I have the full input from the community though - your suggestion helps a lot!

Thank you again and always feel free to reach out if you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns.

Best,
Tom


#11

I have to say I really like the desktop version of this right now. Unlimited storage is a huge issue if your working with a lot of PNG files for transparency. The way I tend to do it now is to build my map with the App and export the finished product as a jpeg because the file size is much smaller. I kind of feel if we had limitations on our vault it would lead to a lot of micro managing of adding or deleting stuff as a game went on.

Having both options is great, if possible. I know DIscord works in a similar fashion with having both a website version of the program and an app you install.


#12

Hope I’m not too late in my reply…

I like the editor being a resident program. It is nice that I am not uploading a bunch of assets onto a server, or even needing to keep an eye on my storage.

If you do eventually go the browser route, please leave the final program functional at least as an editor.

Is hotlinking the assets a possibility? Cloud storage and ISP allotments would give us some readily available “free” storage.


#13

Hello @frogimus :wave: and welcome to the community!

Not too late at all for thoughts. This isn’t an overnight decision and one that will require a large amount of community input, your thoughts help immensely.

Right now I’m focusing on the stability of the application. I’ve already identified some key pain points and will be working to improve them. I estimate in about a year’s time I’ll have a final decision on web vs. desktop but for now, desktop it is.

Thank you again and always feel free to reach out if you have any suggestions, comments, questions, or concerns.

Best,
Tom


#14

Do you see size of Gabriel Pickard’s assets
I has 2gb on roll20 and this is too small for me (40 gbs of maps, 4 gbs of tokens, 12 gbs of illustrations). Understanding that for 1 year I will get problem with storage again - I hope Power VTT will be more standalone application


#15

And I voted doesn’t matter, but I see potential of Power VTT and your wishes to creating user-friendly app. I want to see Power VTT as not-web VTT. In web we already have Roll20 (which will be your main competitor for nearest time


#16

I have a tendency to agree that 2gb is a little to tight for my uses as well.
My folders have become large and that is because png aren’t tiny files to begin with.

Nonetheless I’m of thought “why not both?”, and I get it from a development side that this is terrible with such a small team. But having a option of logging in website side and then have it possibly draw from a Dropbox option for a game might be amazing. This gives a solution for us to maximize content on a local machine and then use the web as well. Simply providing the Dropbox link for a campaign folder on ones desktop might be easier. I already have one of these I share with players that contain a a large number of PDFs, images, and content.

Why reinvent a wheel?

That said I still really like the desktop app and is what I’d want especially for just the editor portion for offline work. My day to day has me doing a lot of traveling on trains and I like having the opportunity of doing prep on them and not chew up my mobile data to do so.


#17

I vote for mobile. Currently my group uses Roll20 but we always play in person. What we do is, we drag a big monitor to the table or use the TV and I (the GM) use a laptop. Sometimes we cast the player view from another tab using Chromecast or use and HDMI. We can play on each other places and I know that I can just use any laptop without having to install anything or worry about local storage or note.

Local storage for me is a big disadvantage, as I have to case if I change PC, or want to format my PC, or have any other problem with it, my game is compromised. On the other hand I see that it is a big deal to a lot of people. Moving forward, if you choose to go to the website route, perhaps we could have some companion app/browser plugin that you’d have to install to enable local storage, and the website would interact with it to access the files.

Also, when working with the auto-updater, you also have to care about maintaing/supporting a wide range of different versions. As some people will try to make things run in older version, ask about bug, missing features or try to install a bundle that maybe has a newer format.

It’s 2017 and the browser is king, that’s my vote!


#18

Hello @eklam :wave: and welcome to the community!

Sincerely thank you for taking the time to voice your suggestions. I see over the period while I was away you made a few topics so I want to make sure I take the time to address each one. Thank you again!

Thank you for describing how you use other software as it gives me a much better picture of the type of people who will be using PVTT. Obviously this is the early stages but I’m super excited to see it fulfilling real uses already.

Your suggestions are valid and are already considered for the v1.0.0 release in a week or two. The new Desktop app simply loads the website like Slack or Discord and caches the local files to use offline. There’s not much else to it.

Hopefully this addresses your concerns of version control and consistency. I’ve already ran into these issues since February which is why I took the time to port the desktop app to a complete website these past few weeks.

Thank you again for your suggestions and thoughts! Expect a few more messages from me around the site :slight_smile:

Best,
Tom