4 min read

LK Weekly: The Phantom Telescope

Let's explore an upcoming major update to LegendKeeper that aims to make worldbuilding even easier.

LK Weekly: The Phantom Telescope

Hey squad, time for another weekly! I'll take this opportunity to dive into our current development project, "Unified UX", and its philosophy.

The Lenses of Worldbuilding

In Mark J.P. Wolf's book, Building Imaginary Worlds, the author splits imaginary worlds into four primary infrastructures:

  1. Narrative
  2. Maps
  3. Timelines
  4. Genealogies

These give form to a fictional place. We like to think of LK's Atlas, Wiki, and Boards as different "lenses" into these structures. The act of worldbuilding is, in effect, the swiveling of a cross-dimensional telescope–one that pierces the veil of reality into the worlds of our imagination. This "discovery via creation" is one reason why worldbuilding is so fun.

A New Lens

Late last year, we added multiplayer whiteboards to LegendKeeper. Boards are a perfect fit for collaborative worldbuilding–they offer new discovery methods in all four of the infrastructures defined above. Family trees, plot diagrams, dungeon crawls, conspiracy boards–too many possibilities to list.

However, the addition of this new lens to our phantom telescope gave me an uneasy feeling. While boards offer a unique array of options, I felt LegendKeeper's complexity increased beyond what I was comfortable with. It felt like LK was being over-burdened with unnecessary rules:

Currently, wiki pages and boards live in separated spaces. Maps are exclusively attached to pages, but are accessed through their own tab in the navigation. Finding a specific map is a hassle. You can't hide or tag a map separately. You can drop a pin to page but not to a board or another map. The atlas doesn't offer a way to traverse the many maps of your world directly. (Even worse, many users still think LK only supports one map per project! 🚨) It's confusing!

Adding boards made one thing clear: these rules don't make sense. The last thing we want is our creative tool to get in the way of creating.

Simplicity is Power

Our solution is this: Make LegendKeeper simpler and, consequently, more powerful. Fewer rules, better tools. We're calling this effort "Unified UX", which will be deployed in the next major update. Here's exactly how we plan to do that:

Elevate maps to "first-class" status.

Instead of being attachments for a wiki page, maps become their own thing and can be accessed via the left sidebar (the "project browser"). This comes with many other benefits too: Maps can be tagged and hidden separately from wiki pages.

Merge boards into the project browser.

Instead of being separated in their own tab, we will move boards to the new centralized project browser.

Access wiki pages, maps, and boards through the same experience.

Fewer rules! Now that the three main types (Pages, Maps, and Boards) live in the same space, they can be nested and linked with each other.

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Navigating a unified world. Note the removal of the main navigation bar. I guess the brand new UI is worth mentioning too. :)

Provide new ways of interlinking content

Better tools! With everything unified under a single project browser, drag and drop suddenly becomes more powerful.

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UI designs not final. Map image (c) Wizards of the Coast.
An early example of a map link from a janky development build. 

Make it work.

These are simple but profound changes. We'll need to ensure that existing projects migrate to this new paradigm in the least-surprising way possible. Long-time LK users might need some time to acclimate, but overall we think these changes make LK both 1) more accessible and 2) more powerful.

I expect to deploy these changes in the next several weeks, barring unforeseen externalities. Before we make the change, I'll make an announcement with what to expect in regards to how your projects will change.

Marketing

Adam has made great progress on our Content Writing Guidelines and our Content Publishing guide. As we further explore the LegendKeeper brand and hire writers, it'll be essential for us to understand our brand voice and writing process. We want everything we publish to be helpful, interesting, consistent, and impeccably well-written! This is a great exercise for us, as it forces us to put our definition of "quality" into words.

The Publishing Guide allows us to systematize the actual delivery of that great content. This includes deciding what to write about, who to hire to get it done, how we create and edit drafts, requisition art, etc.

Adam has also gotten in touch with a few freelancers to make our next wave of content, immediately putting those previous two guides into use!

The Wizard's Door

We recently emailed our backer reward to everyone who switched to our new billing system before Feb. 14th! Thank you so much to everyone; this was a scary but critical move for us, and it was a big success!

If you didn't get the email and feel like you should have, send Adam a message at adam at legendkeeper.com or reach out to us on Discord.

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That's all for now! Reach out on Discord if you have any questions!

Braden

Published
Written by Braden Herndon

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