We are raising funds to add a bunch of new features to GM Binder so that readers, GMs, authors, and publishers can get more value from GM Binder.
Over 1,000,000 people have used GM Binder since its launch, and we are confident that we are able to make our platform even more robust with your support! You can support us by grabbing a GMB Metal Dice Set, a GMB Foldable Dice Tray, one of our "It's Fancy" t-shirts, or even a membership to GMB+ - our advanced program for authors and publishers who need just a little more than our free tools offer!
Read on to learn more about what we're adding to GM Binder. But don't forget to click that "Back This Project" button above!
Check out Update #6 to learn more about our recent partnership announcement with the fine folks over at DungeonFog!
After you check that partnership out, check out our partnership with World Anvil!
I am Levi Rosol, my company is We Write Code, and we are based in Des Moines, IA. We are a custom software development company, and building scalable systems is what we do day in and day out. We are also pretty avid TTRPG players with 3 ongoing campaigns being played from our office on a weekly basis. We homebrew, we cuss, we drink, and we have a great time doing it!
When I created GM Binder back in Oct '17 I did it to scratch my own itch. I wanted more features than I could find in the existing tools available, and wanted to ensure the long term access to my data. After creating the initial tool, I realized that 1000's of other people had the exact same issue I had. This caused me to put a tremendous amount time into GM Binder building it into what it is today. With over 1,000,000 users of the platform today, I want to ensure that GM Binder better serves this community, and is a platform that creators and readers can count on for years to come.
GM Binder has been a pet project for myself and my co-workers since its inception. At first this was ok. However, our business, the company that pays our bills, has gotten very busy and it's more and more difficult for us to prioritize putting time into GM Binder over paying client work. The goal of this Kickstarter is to not only create a funding injection that will allow us to dedicate development time and resources to GM Binder immediately, but to also build new features that provide more than enough value for users to pay for a monthly subscription called GM Binder Plus.
What is GM Binder Plus?
GMB+ is monthly subscription program intended for users of GM Binder who need more from the platform. This paid subscription will get users features within the system that typically make creating and publishing documents easier and more efficient. In many cases, users who get value from GMB+ will be users who publish or sell their content on other platforms.
It is important for us to be clear that many of the features that exist today will remain free for all users, and many of the upcoming features will also be free for everyone as well.
The success of GMB+ will help to ensure that we are able to not only maintain the infrastructure behind GM Binder, but to also allow us to continue to build new features and support the platform in a timely manner.
Features that are for GMB+ will be indicated below with a GMB+ notation.
Ok, so now let's talk about what we're planning to add to GM Binder. As mentioned above, our goal is not only add features for everyone, but also features that help to justify a $5 monthly subscription for our users. In the tiers below we will indicate what features are intended for everyone, and what features are intended for the GMB+ plan.
Revamped Home page with suggested relevant content
With an endeavor like this, the first thing we need to fix is the front door right? With this feature we'll be adding a much more modern and useful home page to GM Binder. We'll do a much better job of presenting the features of GMB, trending documents, suggested authors, etc.
Revamp of the save process
Oh Boy! This is literally at the top of the list because this is the one of the biggest improvement requests that we get! By rebuilding the save process, we will do away with the current "1000 lines save delay" threshold, and will improve the speed and reliability in editing and saving your documents.
New default GMB document theme
So... let's talk about the elephant in the room. When I created GM Binder, I intentionally chose the name GM and not DM because I wanted GMB to be game and genre agnostic. But... our default theme is a very specific book in a very specific game. With this feature we'll fix that. We're going to create a game and genre agnostic theme for GMB documents to use as a default. You'll always have the ability to create your own, and to use the existing themes already in the system, but this will help us to get back to our roots.
One thing we've learned in the last 18 months is that creators want to be social. Creators want a place to show off their works! That's what we're going to start here. Author Profiles will be leaps and bounds improved over what exists today, and will set the stage for even more features like following, commenting, etc.
Robust Document and Binder Management
Alright, it's time for me to admit it. I'm not a UX designer, and what should be the crown jewel of GM Binder is one of the most lazily put together screens in the system. Our plan here is to update the library screen to be way more useful and intuitive for all users with things like searching, filtering, sorting, etc.
Ability to follow an author and/or document
How many times have you found a kick-ass document online, used it, come back to the source months later to find out even more has been added to it but you had no idea? Well worry no more! Now you'll be able to follow not only specific documents, but authors as well. You'll get notifications (if you want) of changes, giving you quick access to the original source.
Automated PDF Generation (with trailing GMB credit page)
Oh boy! The number one customer support issue we see is generating PDF files from your content. Browser printing is certainly a thing, but when we have to account for all of the different OS / Browser / Version options out there, it's hard to keep up. This feature will allow us to consistently generate PDF files, store them, and serve them up for easy download.
This will include a last page for GM Binder credit, but we will not add any sort of watermark over your content.
Automated PDF Generation (without GMB credit page) - GMB+
Same as above, but with no credit added at all.
An often requested feature for the overall user interface. Not just in the editor, but throughout the site.
Full data exports
Now you'll have the ability to download all of your documents for offline storage.
Table of Contents Driven Navigation
When GM Binder first came to life, large document navigation was much better. There was a ToC in the editor, and it helped you jump around your document. Well, that's currently broken and we're not only going to fix it, but we're going to add more to it. In addition to this navigation in the editor, we'll be adding ToC navigation to the document view as well so that your readers can leverage this to move around your document.
And as an "if we can" feature, we'll carry this over into the PDF generation as well.
Private Sharing - GMB+
Right now you can keep your document private, or you can share it with the world. There's no in between. With this you will now be able to share your documents with multiple people privately. This will be great for party sharing!
Snippet Authoring - GMB+
Snippets are great! They make life for creators so much easier and reduce repetition. However, you're limited to only the snippets we've made. Until now! Now you'll be able to create and manage your own snippets.
Powerful content searching (top lists, tags, categories, etc)
Here's where we start to get fun. For the most part this is going to focus on the home page, but elements of this will tie into the settings of a document, author profiles, and your search settings.
This marks the beginnings of what should turn into a pretty robust system for evaluating content at a glance. Nothing will ever replace fully reading a document to see if it's for you and your party, but content ratings will give you, the reader, a quick glance into how many people have rated a document and what they thought on average.
The specific system is still TBD, but we absolutely understand the importance of doing this right, and will build this in such a way that it actually provides value - not just vanity.
Ratings are one thing. Comments take feedback and reviews to a whole new level! The goal here is to allow comments and feedback not only at the document level, but at a page or content level. This could be in the context of pointing out a typo, or simply drawing attention to a specific area of the document for feedback.
Image blender - GMB+
In an effort to reduce the amount of code (markdown and CSS) needed to make good looking documents, we're going to add a tool for image placement and blending. This will allow you to place an image, and tweak the blending for a smooth art transition in your content.
Content Bookmark Tool
A big part of this overhaul is to create tools that make consuming content easier and more efficient. With a bookmarking tool you'll be able to better manage the external (non-GM Binder) content that you have found, giving you quick access to everything you've saved for your campaign in one location.
This will also include a Chrome Extension tracking non-GM Binder content as well.
Rich Text Editor (WYSIWYG) - GMB+
With the goal of reducing the need for writing code (markdown and CSS), this will put a true rich text editor into your toolbox allowing you to do most everything you can today, but without code. However, if you want to jump back into the code to tweak something you always can.
I need to give a big thanks to https://dndice.co.uk/ for all of their help with the merchandise sourcing and support. They saved us so much time in sourcing the amazing dice, tins, and trays that we'll be sending backers, and will be instrumental in the fulfillment of EU orders that get placed.
A Special Thanks From Levi!
A community like this doesn't happen with a single person, and I'm not the type of person who thinks they know exactly how thousands of people want to see a community like this evolve. I am honored to have worked directly with users of GM Binder from all over the world since day one. Collecting, aggregating, and ultimately making decisions based on the valuable feedback that they've given. I am so grateful for every single person I've interacted with over the last 18 months, and we would not be 1,000,000 people strong without them.
Most recently, a small group of people have really stepped up to help define the future of GM Binder, and pull this campaign together. You all know who you are, and from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I've asked you for a million opinions at random hours of the night, we've debated topics, and you've all provided a ton of super useful thoughts, and I want you to know I appreciate it all very much.
Risks and challenges
The ultimate risk we run is that we don't generate enough support in this campaign to fully finish the features that we have planned. This has the chance of impacting the long term goals of monthly revenue to cover the ongoing development efforts.
However, what is not at risk is the long term support as it exists today for GM Binder. We generate enough support from our existing Patreon to cover hard costs like servers and 3rd party tools and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
To be clear, the only thing at risk is the development of new features.
In an effort to cover all of our bases here, it is worth mentioning that there is a risk in just how far some of the features listed above will get built out. Many of the mocks above are just that - mocks! - and as such, we might uncover complexities that we did not anticipate during our planning phase.
With that said, we feel confident that we will be able to deliver on the intent of each and every feature listed above. Many have already been Proof of Concepted, so the remaining work will be to get them ready for 1000's of users!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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