Starting in July, I am actively developing a LARP administration web application (fancy term for a website that has a whole bunch of functionality) geared towards games that span across multiple cities/chapters.

For those going WTF - Here's your FAQ

Why are you taking on this project?

To prove to myself that I can.

Because I believe that access to a good tech infrastructure should not be limited to LARPs that can pool together $$$ or find ways to hold onto tech-savvy volunteers beyond the burnout point.

Part to teach others what it takes to build such a framework and whether their game / network "needs" it or whether other readily available tech solutions may be a better fit.

What experience do you have?

I was part of the original team that started building the OWBN website in early 2010. Back then we chose Drupal because the open-source framework meant we didn't have to do everything. The downside was that developers not only had to understand PHP + MySQL, they had to also know how to maintain a Drupal site across multiple updates - both on the module side as well as on the server side. 

Fast forward to when I ran my own LARP club in 2015-2018: I built out a LARP network administration app using Laravel, a web app framework that anyone with a basic understanding of PHP and MySQL could make edits to the code.

Along those lines - my "day job" involves playing around with databases to build reports, dashboards, and apps to make work simpler for the end user. 

I also have a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and have been building web tools for passion projects since the early 2000's.

What platform(s) are you using to build this?

The server will have a LAMP stack (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) using Laravel as the MVC (Model / Views / Controller) framework. 

I'm also leveraging Vue.js to make dynamic web pages.

To prevent the risk of breaking a production website, I'm going with the three environment model for development.

  • E1 = development environment. This is where I do all of the coding/experimentation.
  • E2 = testing environment. This is where the breaking & documenting happens
  • E3 = production environment. The live code. 

Why aren't you using [insert programming language / framework here]?

I have 10+ experience in developing in PHP and playing around with different PHP frameworks. Developers go with what they are familiar with.       

What features are you planning for this app?

I'm building this app to include functionality that's common within multi-game LARP organizations. 

  • Responsive, mobile-friendly layout (I mean, that's a duh)
  • Localization (a fancy term for toggling language without having to use Google Translate)
  • Option for two-factor authentication
  • Roles-based permissions that impact what the user can view/do
  • Records for each individual LARP chapter (some clubs call these "chronicles")
  • Character records that can be linked to an individual account (ex: a player's character). 
  • Tagging system for characters that are considered who require additional oversight
  • A voting platform that can be used either on a national level (ex: organization-wide issues) or on a game level (ex: local issues/elections)
 

Who is paying for this project?

I'm doing this for exposure and experience points in the LARP club of my choice (KIDDING! My experience goes on my resume, not a character sheet.)

The core programming / documentation will be  open source on GitHub so that any LARP club can utilize the core functionality. The average club does not have $30-$100k to hire out the web development components, and getting programmers/developers to volunteer for long-term projects is hard AF. 

I'm open to freelancing for club-specific functionality or to assist with migration tasks (ex: converting a current club's database so that it can be imported into the new framework).

As for $, I'm open to donations and plan on using the experience to create online courses to help game/hobby organizers plan and implement the IT structure for their group even if they have minimal experience with coding or project management.

Can I request features to be added?

I have a core list of features to create a minimally viable product (MVP). Once those features are complete, I will open up a process for additional feature requests. 

How can we track progress?

I will be doing live-coding sessions on Tuesday nights on The Mystic Geek's channel on Twitch.tv

The testing version of the app is hosted on my server at http://testapp.themysticgeek.com

The website repository is on Github at https://github.com/themysticgeek/larp-boss

 

How can we support your work?

Follow me on The Mystic Geek's channel on Twitch.tv

Check this out for other ways to support my work. 

Can you teach me your ways?

I will be doing live Q&A's on Tuesday nights on The Mystic Geek's channel on Twitch.tv - if you don't mind me riffing in a publicly accessible space, go there. 

I'm not doing 1:1 tech teaching sessions at this time. Depending on interest/demand, I may develop learn-on-demand courses that cover IT related topics for LARPs and other types of hobby organizations.         

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