NearbyGamers

Upcoming Improvements to NearbyGamers

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Official NearbyGamers Site News
2009-02-13 14:38:22
Official Hat

I wrote about it on my personal blog, and I wanted to make sure everyone here has a chance to see what I plan to improve about NearbyGamers during March:

Performance Improvements
Despite what I did in November, some parts are still laggy; on the Internet if it isn’t instant, it’s slow. I’m aware of FireRuns Manage and NewRelic’s RPM for production performance monitoring. I’ll almost certainly end up with Manage (30-day trial) because RPM’s trial (30 minutes of data, useless for a small/young/low-traffic site) is so weak, but I’d really appreciate comments if anyone knows of other good tools.

News Aggregation
There are a lot of tabletop gaming/board game/RPG blogs and hand-edited news sites, and I think NearbyGamers would do well to aggregate those similar to Reddit/Digg. It’d bring gamers back to the site more regularly (rather than the common ’signup, leave for a few months until someone new messages you’) and drive discussion, which is the best way to meet folks.

Groups
One of the biggest uses of the discussion forum is folks trying to organize gaming groups. Now that I’ve seen this happen a few times, I can build proper support for groups: a marker on the map, a dedicated forum per group, and advertising open slots for gamers, to start. Then there’s the next obvious feature for them:

Events

With or without a group, it should be possible to display upcoming events on the maps. List date and time, attendance information, link to a homepage if one exists, maybe have a dedicated forum.

Stores
It would also be good to list gaming stores on the map, which are oddly often difficult to find. This especially relates to the previous; I’d love to see what events my local stores have on their calendars. I also think gaming stores are nicer for browsing than websites, I’ve found so many interesting random games at stores that I wouldn’t have glanced at online. I’d like NearbyGamers to help stores stay in business and grow because they incubate local gaming communities.

Any questions? If you have feature suggestions, now is the time to suggest so I can schedule.

Gamers posting in this discussion

If you can see this, you're blocking JavaScript. Or I broke the maps.
preload gamer marker preload gamer_group marker preload group marker
RPGing since '84, and still loving it!
2009-02-16 07:14:28

Hey Harkins,

Sounds like a great set of new features!

One other thing that I thought of, was that it might be nice to have a field that shows when the last time a user signed into the system, that way we could see if a user may not be an active user anymore.

Thanks for having this site up for us gamers!

I know how thankless this kind of stuff can be, so let me just ensure that you know we appreciate this site!!!

Thanks a bunch Harkins!!!

— Leva, Älska, Spel! / Live, Love, Game! / Degero, Amor, Venatus!
The gamer that runs this site
2009-02-16 13:15:53

I've thought a lot about that feature and I'm not sure it's a good idea.

If there's someone contacting you through the site you don't get along with, it should be possible to ignore them. It's not the best social strategy and it's not polite, but the alternative is users don't log into the site, thus ignoring everyone.

And when you do message someone, it sends an email to their account so they know to come and log into the site again. People who haven't logged in for months are slightly more likely to have an invalid email address, but there's no harm done in this case.

Thanks for your kind words and suggestion.

RPGing since '84, and still loving it!
2009-02-19 01:06:00

Could it be an opt in feature, like a checkbox on your profile to display the date or something, that way people who want to use it can...

Just another thought :)

— Leva, Älska, Spel! / Live, Love, Game! / Degero, Amor, Venatus!
I like to GM but being a player is fun too!
2009-02-20 15:36:24

Hey buddy, just want to say that this is really a great beginning to setting up a community finder for gamers. I'm glad to see someone out there has helped take initiative in this area. I have a few suggestions.

1) Get your site to the top of google. It is impossible to find you on google without knowing the name of the site.

2) Start a blog, or have someone start a blog for you. Then join RPGbloggers.com. it's a great site and it will run a lot of traffic through here.

3) Consider getting advertising on your site for other big sites (like Enworld.com, etc.) and get them to run ads for you.

4) HAHA, speaking purely of color scheme, can the look of this be a little....less beige...?

Anyhoo, I really love this site. I am very impressed that you had the insight to add a map feature. I may be just out of the loop, but I haven't seen ANY other gaming or community building site do that (not even meetup.com iirc).

-Dave

My profile lists some of my gaming, your invited!
2009-02-21 02:22:14

Some great ideas!

Looking forward to them.

A couple more.

A character archive. So that users can get their character out if they forget them, or so that they can point their DM's at them. Or so a DM could pull them into a virtual table top.

A character tracker. So that progress and adventures and logs could be stored and shared.

Mainly I'm thinking of things that a living campaigns would need.

The gamer that runs this site
2009-02-21 03:14:46

I'm working on marketing issues -- I did try advertising on EN World once, actually. The response was nice, but it was a six-month long hassle getting set up to display ads. I've run Google ads, will probably turn them back on again soon.

I admit I'm not very good at choosing colors. I'm going to tweak some other parts of the design as I add features, I'll see if I can find any productive to do to the colorscheme.

darjr: Hm, I hesitate to do anything too complicated. Maybe I'll just make it possible for groups to share files; then people can share info from whatever programs they prefer.

Like the fish.
2009-02-21 17:37:35

Keep the beige.

Running with scissors for the gold
2009-03-01 14:53:37

Is it beige? It's all orangey to my eyes.

I suggest having a slightly larger default font size. I often find myself leaning in and squinting to read the text here on NG.

The ideas for supporting gaming groups and events sound great. What about a calendar-style page, where people can filter by their location, or a radius from their location, and view events ordered by date?

Also, consider differentiating different types of entities and events on the map by color or icon shape. Like players are blue pawns, GMs are red pawns, conventions are green dice, stores are purple books. Something like that.

The gamer that runs this site
2009-03-01 15:21:24

Looks like a peachy-orange to me, too, but I always have my brightness way up. I can see how it'd look tan or beige under different monitors and lighting.

On the font size issue: it used to be larger, but way more people complained. I'm going to leave it where it is and suggest you use your browser's resizing (usually ctrl + and ctrl -). I use the Firefox extension NoSquint so it remembers these settings for me on different sites.

A calendar is a great idea, and I've got some more icons for the map.

If anyone's curious, On Friday I launched the first of the three small projects I'm getting out the door before I turn to NearbyGamers, this one is ListLibrary.net.

RPGing since '84, and still loving it!
2009-03-01 19:39:31

Hey Harkins,

I just noticed that http://www.nearbygamers.com/ doesn't come here, but it goes to a squatter's page at http://searchportal.information.com/

http://nearbygamers.com/ still works OK though.

Did someone hack this site?

— Leva, Älska, Spel! / Live, Love, Game! / Degero, Amor, Venatus!
The gamer that runs this site
2009-03-02 00:56:32

Hm, I can't replicate that. I just checked out all the DNS info, and it's correct.

I think what might be happening is that your ISP is hijacking typo'd domain names to a spam page, Verizon does this to me. Try typing "www.nea" in your browser and lean in to see what your browser autocompletes it to... I suspect it's one letter off or something.

RPGing since '84, and still loving it!
2009-03-03 04:31:56

Must be, but even when I click my bookmark it now sometimes drag me to that site... and yes... I did 4 different scans on my PC, even tried it on my work laptop...

The weird thing is is that this is what is in the URL bar:

http://www.nearbygamers.com/parking.php?domain_name=nearbygamers.com

and all the links there start with: http://searchportal.information.com

I even asked a friend in the UK to try this and they got the same thing... with the www. it never comes here, and without the www. it usually comes here.

— Leva, Älska, Spel! / Live, Love, Game! / Degero, Amor, Venatus!
The gamer that runs this site
2009-03-03 15:56:04

A Google search for "searchportal.information.com" turned up a lot of angry and confused browsers and site owners. It sounds like information.com makes money by abusing DNS in a variety of ways to trick people onto their site to click advertisements.

As far as I can tell, none of the hosting companies involved with NG have made deals with these scum. There's a lot of things they could be doing to your ISP, OS, or browser (and, from search results, it looks like they've done EVERYTHING at one time or another), so I have no idea where to suggest you start debugging this. I'm sorry I can't be of more help.

RPGing since '84, and still loving it!
2009-03-03 22:11:04

No Problem ;)

I just wanted to make sure you knew about it.

I know about crap like this and just back out of those pages and try again with/without the www. and going to the root web address.

As long as I can still get here somehow, I'm happy :)

The funny thing is this is the only site, so far, that this happens.

Have a good one, and keep up the great work...

Counting 6 gamer meet-ups with 3 of those added into our group :) not a bad ratio!

— Leva, Älska, Spel! / Live, Love, Game! / Degero, Amor, Venatus!
norddeutscher Edelrollenspieler
2009-03-03 22:36:04

Hi, do you intend to change the size of the map area shown? The map looks lost in a sea of beige even on my laptop's 13" screen.

Cheers, Harald

My profile lists some of my gaming, your invited!
2009-03-06 00:32:33

http://ww2.wizards.com/StoreAndEventLocator/

Have you seen the above. It's neat... but I've noticed some issues with it.

The gamer that runs this site
2009-03-06 02:21:59

darjr: I hadn't seen it, thanks for the link. I'd like to know what issues you've seen with it (besides the "only Wizards products" focus).

My profile lists some of my gaming, your invited!
2009-03-11 23:26:07

It is REALLY slow at times.

The pins don't have tags, cept when you click on them and then the 'text balloon' balloons to take over the whole map. It's very herky jerkey... jittery almost.

Some of the locations, from personal experience, are way off the mark.

Awesomesauce. Laid-back gamer (RPG and wargames).
2009-03-12 02:28:10

If I go to facebook.nearbygamers.com, I get the SearchPortal page.

Lazy Gaming at its Best
2009-03-15 14:52:17

The Facebook Application is completly nonfunctional currently.

RPGing since '84, and still loving it!
2009-04-16 01:59:09

Hey Harkins,

Just noticed that the "Gamers within 50 miles of " script isn't sorting correctly...

it seems that it reports someone who is 19.2 miles away as closer that someone 2.7 miles away.

just thought I'd let you know.

— Leva, Älska, Spel! / Live, Love, Game! / Degero, Amor, Venatus!
The gamer that runs this site
2009-04-17 13:49:04

Oops, it was sorting lexiographically instead of numerically. Eg, "1, 10, 11, 12, 2, 21, 22, 23...". I've fixed it.

GM & Player - My campaign is always lfm
2009-04-22 04:53:58

I've just joined this site and I have to say its great. I'm excited to see what you are going to do with the adding of Groups, Stores, and Events. Thanks for providing this site.

2009-04-30 17:17:16

I'm one of those people mentioned earlier who doesn't visit this site too often. Months in between even. However, many of the proposed features sounds greatly beneficial.

I've been trying Facebook and Twitter for a couple months now and there are things about both that I like and many more that I dislike.

I've been contemplating useful features from various social/blog/CMSs out there but don't have the programmer experience to do it all myself. But a portal that has components similar to the Google homepage I think would maybe be a good solution.

Here's my dream game site... Have a site that give all users a work/gamebench with common internal links and optional add on modules, such as: the interactive map; a calender; forums; shared files storage space; bio page; an internal or 3rd party messaging system like IM, Twitter, or whatever; a wiki or other shared idea space; personal game blog space; picture gallery or video gallery posting/linking options; and maybe a couple other simple networking toolsets and I think I'd be really content even if there would be some advertising so long as I was able to connect to other gamers to play online RGPs and to discuss gaming and schedule events through the whole thing. Also, add CSS skin options so that if people want to have beige or orange with small or large type all they need to do is select a skin from a drop down or settings preference.

-David-

RPGing since '84, and still loving it!
2010-01-31 20:48:35

Hey Harkins,

Another feature that would be really useful would be an RSS feed or allow us to get an email when things get updated either site wide or on a specific thread or tag.

Not sure how easy this would be, but it would help with keeping people coming here when new stuff shows up :)

— Leva, Älska, Spel! / Live, Love, Game! / Degero, Amor, Venatus!
The gamer that runs this site
2010-02-02 21:12:14

Yeah -- there used to be a feed of new discussions, but it didn't get updated to per-forum feeds like it should've been. I'm putting it on my to-do list.

Who do Cthulhu?
2010-03-01 04:54:12

I would like to be notified if a new gamer registers within a certain range that I define. So I would say "email whenever a new registrant registers a location within 20 miles of me."

That way I don;t have to keep coming back just to see if someone new registered in my area.

ˇThanks

My profile lists some of my gaming, your invited!
2010-04-04 17:06:34

Just thought of something, profile views.

It'd be nice to see if my profile is getting viewed, even nicer if I could see by whom.

Also I've been thinking of putting together a social event at Gen-Con for nearby gamers. Sound like a good idea? A bit of a party? Say Wednesday night before the con?

ROLEplayer
2010-08-10 05:57:14

1. Allow people to setup a notification alert based on distance. When a new account is created within X miles, a notification is sent to your email address with a link to that user's profile.

2. Allow people to opt out of an annual email. The email will send:

a. Reminds the user to login and update their profile. A dead account is less useful, pluse it reminds people of the website. I don't know when I last visited here.

b. List of new players within 15 miles (or within X miles according to your own settings) that have started an account that year.

c. List of all the stores within 50 miles that are signed up on the site. Reminder that you can do #6.

d. List of new features added over the year.

3. Add a LFG flag that users can set. Allow for it to be customized by specific games, or a general ANY setting

4. Allow people to setup a notification that alerts them if anyone within Y (different setting than #1) distance enables their LFG flag. Allow for it to be customized as in 3.

5. Setup a means for gaming stores to setup their own type of account. From this account they can announce sales, or events. Break the events down into different types. a. Allow game stores to know general numbers of people (not specific names) that are interested in hearing about sales, or events occurring at their store. b. Allow game stores to be able to quickly examine the breath of interest the players in their area is interested in. This information is already available if they simply examine each profile, but this feature would allow them to quickly examine.

6. Allow people to opt out of receiving emails notifying them if a store within 20 miles, Z distance, or specific stores are having sales, or events. Much like 5, allow the players to select which events they're interested in attending.

7. In conjunction with #5, setup a "Recommend" email that a user can either print out and show, or submit to have sent to an email address of their local store. Let us do your promoting.

8. Create a flyer, both full size page, and a small index card. They're simple ads, that us users can print out and post where we think we can capture more gamers. I'm always recommending this place when I encounter new gamers. Again, let us promote this site. It helps us both.

ROLEplayer
2010-08-10 06:00:10

One's profile status should state when that status was updated.

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