In this post we are going to look at patch 2 for the Owlbear Rodeo beta. We've got some big updates to asset loading, ease of use and major performance enhancements.
Easier Scene Creation
Continuing our goal of making Owlbear Rodeo as easy to use as possible we have some updates to scene creation that reduce the steps needed to share a map with your players.
In 1.0 you were limited to one map at a time, while this made some use cases (like multi-floor encounters) harder it meant that it was quick to import a map and share it right away.
In 2.0 we now have the concept of a scene which allows for multiple maps to be shared at the one time but due to this the workflow for sharing a single map has a few more steps then in 1.0.
This workflow is generally something like this:
- Create a new empty scene for a map.
- Open the new scene.
- Upload the map to your images
- Drop the map into the scene.
In this update we're giving you more options for scene creation. Specifically a new From Existing Map and From New Map option.
Clicking on From Existing Map will open a dialog that will allow you to select any map you already have uploaded into 2.0. Once selected a new scene will be created with that map already in the scene.
Clicking on From New Map will open a file import dialog that will allow you to select a map from your computer. This map will then be imported directly into your images and a scene will be created for that map automatically.
Lastly the scene dialog now supports drag and drop so you can directly drop images from your computer into the dialog to create a map and scene for all those images.
With this update the workflow for single map scenes now looks like this:
- Upload the map into the scenes dialog
- Open scene
This matches the ease of use of the single map model of 1.0 but still allows the flexibility of multi-map scenes from 2.0.
Revamped Asset Loading
We've completely replaced the underlying asset networking system in this update. Before this patch all your assets were loaded as a big batch up front when you opened the site. In this patch we're moving to a more cloud native approach of asset loading by only loading assets when needed.
This means we have lots of smaller network requests instead of a big single request. This has a few benefits.
Firstly, having thousands of assets will no longer slow down the initial load of the site, instead having 5000 assets should load in the same amount of time as having 100 assets.
To support this we now have an infinite scroll mechanism which will load new assets as you scroll the UI.
Secondly, we can now sync asset changes across tabs, browsers and even devices in near real-time, without needing to refresh your page.
Here is an example of this, loading an asset into one tab and having it appear a moment later in the second tab.
With this update we have made a necessary change to the design for folders to better suit this new model.
Now instead of showing a small preview of the assets inside the folder we will show a colored folder icon overlaid with the initial of the folder name.
New Rendering Modes
We want Owlbear Rodeo to work on as many devices as possible and a big part of this is creating a site that is as fast as possible so that lower end devices can still have a great experience. With this in mind in this patch we've put a big focus into increasing the performance of the site.
One of the largest bottlenecks for performance in a web browser environment is high resolution images.
In a lot of use cases a high resolution image can lead to slow performance when interacting with the viewport or in some use cases (iOS or iPadOS) high resolution images will lead to full browser crashes.
In a VTT, high resolution images are important because you will regularly be using large maps with many grid cells to represent sprawling areas for your players.
To accommodate this but also to make sure performance is maintained we now have a new High Performance rendering mode.
In this mode as you interact with the viewport we will automatically show a lower resolution version of your scene and when you're done panning or zooming the full resolution will automatically be shown again.
For videos we will also show a still image for that video as you're panning around.
Doing this means that you can get the benefits of crisp maps when viewing the scene but still get the performance of low resolution images when interacting with the viewport.
It should also help prevent some of the crashes users were experiencing on iPads.
The High Performance mode is the new default but for those who have a high end computer with the resources to run the site at full resolution we have a High Quality rendering mode which will show full resolution images while interacting with the viewport.
- Importing scenes will now respect the current open folder.
- Added a new Move To option for the scenes dialog to match the images dialog.
- While a large image is loading a low resolution preview will now be shown.
- While a video is loading a preview thumbnail will now be shown. This is a breaking change to .webm videos which will need to be re-uploaded to receive a proper thumbnail.
- An empty label will now be shown when editing an image with no text added.
- When first opening a room the scene selection dialog will automatically open to make it quicker to get started.
- Fix a bug where a third item would be created when using the duplicate shortcut.
- Fix a crash when editing text in the image editor without a scene open.