The Procurator is a website tool that let’s you create and manage character sheets and characters for any game. The interface will be easy to use and won’t require you to be a programmer to make your own sheets. You simply create a new game sheet (or copy an existing game sheet), then drag and drop the elements that you want to track onto your sheet. Move them around and line them up until your sheet looks the way you want. Once you have created a game sheet you can start making characters using the sheet you just made. (See the demo below)
What am I doing here?
My name is Sterling Heibeck. I’m a developer by trade and gamer in my spare time. In particular, I have a love of role-playing games. I'm also the one who always ends up running the games I play. I love the creative process of being the Game Master, creating a world and pitting my friends against it.
Anyone who game masters a lot eventually starts to realize what an overwhelming job it can be. You have a lot of information to juggle and you come to appreciate any tools that help make your job easier. That’s where my story begins.
Now that's a problem...
One day, as I'm cruising the net trying to find some of these handy tools to make my game mastering career easier, I find a website that lets me create and manage my own game world. I think to myself, "Great, I have a convenient place to organize my world." I sign up for an account and start spilling ink. Life is good, right?
Then I hit a roadblock. My world is full of people (a.k.a. characters). There are some pretty important people that drive the story that's slowly coming out of the haze in my head. But I don't want to just put my characters into a block of text, and I don’t just want a slew of word documents to keep track of - that’s just more work! I want to record stats and powers and the meat that makes my characters tick; I want a character sheet!
Let's just do a little search for character sheets. Easy right? Wrong. Oh sure, you can find excel spreadsheets up the wazoo (good luck keeping up on one of those for each character in your entire campaign), you can find sites that have character sheets for one specific game, or some hacked up website that supports that game no one plays anymore. Maybe you'll even get lucky and find a place that actually has characters sheets for the game you play. Maybe.
But, let's face it. You aren't going to be satisfied using someone else's character sheet are you? Heck no you aren't! If you could remake a character sheet for your favorite game (and you know you've already done it) you could make it better, stronger, faster!
Enter, The Procurator!
The Procurator is not just a place to put your characters, it's a place to build your own custom character sheets (We call them game sheets.) It's not just for role-playing games, it's for any game. You can build your own character record sheet, weapon sheet, vehicle sheet, city tracker sheet, any kind of sheet you can think of! And all your sheets and all your characters for all your games will all be in one place.
You want a Talisman character sheet? You can do that. Call of Cthulu? Yup. Dungeons and Dragons? Any edition you want, the way you want it laid out. Pathfinder, Rifts, Fate, Star Frontiers, Palladium? Yes, yes, yes, yes, no ... just kidding YES! You can make a sheet to track anything from any game (RPG, Table-top, CCG) you can think of.
Why should you back this?
I’ve been a software developer since 1991. My specialty is web development and I have a degree in Graphic Design from Western Michigan University. I create games in my spare time. I play games in my spare time. I make websites in my spare time. I make websites for a living. What does all this have to do with you backing this project? In short... I can make this happen. I have a passion for games, the skills to see the project to completion, and, let’s face it, it’s a good idea and people will use it. I know you’ll use it or you would have stopped reading by now.
Oh, and let’s not forget the best part, it’s not just me that’s going to be working on this. I’ve got a world class web development company who wants to be a part of this project. The company is BizStream, and they are partnering with me because they think this is a good idea. You can read more about BizStream in the Risks and Challenges section below.
And, yes, I do work for BizStream. I’ve known these guys for years, and they are a great group of passionate web developers. They are a successful company and trust me when I tell you that these guys rock and they will do whatever it takes to make it happen.
Where we are at today
I've been a developer since 1991. I've worked on a lot of web applications and here are a few that I've done in the last year with the BizStream team:
Each of these projects took about four months from conception to production, and are custom built from the ground up. I was the lead architect and lead developer on both of these websites.
I've also worked on the website for Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation (http://www.maryfreebed.com/) which is currently nominated for best Kentico Site of the Year for 2012.
Here's the BizStream portfolio which shows the many other websites that the team has worked on over the years: http://www.bizstream.com/Our-Work.
As for the Procurator, we have a large head start on the project already. The drag and drop interface is 80% complete. I'm going to show you a demo of what we have so far so you can see where we're at and get a taste for where we are going.
Remember, this is a demo only and is not the finished application:
If The Procurator is successful our plan is to start developing again on March 1st with early beta access to be available by mid March and final beta by April 1st. We'll be shooting for early May as the official public launch. (The reward delivery dates are based on this date.)
We've already put in approximately 100 man hours of work over a three day period of development (3 developers working 3 10 hour days, which is not the norm, FYI ;) The following features are left to develop with estimated hours.
- CSS for Game Sheet View/Edit mode: 30 hours
- Game Sheet component properties: 8 hours
- Game Sheet printing tweaks: 2 hours
- Create a character using a sheet: 20-40 hours
- Allow uploading images for sheets: 10-20 hours
- Search functionality: 4 hours
- Email configuration (for user feedback): 2 hours
- Support forum configuration: 2 hours
- Support forum styling: 2 hours
- Testing and Bug fixes: 40-60 hours
You can see that we have about 118-160 man hours of work left before we're ready for production. This obviously won't be the only project for BizStream to work on, thus we'll be working on this over the course of the month of March with a Beta Release of the Core features in April. Keep in mind that Project Plans must be flexible, and they are best estimates and can be subject to change. Our goal is to keep you guys in the loop as things progress and we'll let you know exactly where we're at with things.
We have lots of ideas
Let's talk about goals. We want to be very clear about our goals and about how the website will function. Firstly, The Procurator will be free to use for it’s basic functionality; building character sheets and making characters. However, we will also have membership levels that give you access to more character sheet slots and any additional features.
We've got lots of ideas and features we’d like to see be part of this product to enhance your gaming experience, however, a lot of that depends on you guys telling us what you want by supporting us. The list below is a very terse description of some of the milestones we’d like to include in the final product. We've got more ideas to include as we reach some of our goal levels and we’ll be revealing them (and more details about each level) as we get closer to funding them.
Milestone #1 ($30,000) Game Sheet Core
- A drag and drop interface that allows you to create game sheets.
- Support text boxes, radio buttons, check boxes, drop-down lists, labels, multiple columns and pages.
- Allow users to custom roll their own CSS to make advanced layouts possible (Advanced users)
- Create unlimited characters from any sheet in your collection.
Export a sheet/character to PDF.
- Copy game sheets to your collection.
- Default game sheets from some of the most popular games if you don't want to make your own
- Manage your account profile/avatar
Milestone #2 ($40,000) Socialize
- Allow users to share and rank game sheets and characters.
- View stats on your game sheets (i.e. number of times used, number of times copied, number of characters created, etc)
- Facebook, twitter integration so you can get props for your awesome game sheet
Allow tagging/grouping of your sheets and characters for easy organization and searching.
Milestone #3 ($50,000) Game Mode
Enter a game mode with an easy way to view and interact with your sheets in a browser, mobile device, or tablet so you can “play” your character during a game.
Milestone #4 ($60,000) Calculated fields
Allow game sheet fields to have dependencies on other fields for auto-calculating values.
Milestone #5 ($70,000) Import
Import characters from third party sources that have an accessible API.
Milestone #6 ($80,000) Versioning
View a history of all the changes you've made to any sheet and roll-back to previous versions.
We are excited to hear your ideas and feedback so we can add YOUR features to YOUR Procurator