OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


OngoingWorlds site Beta version is launched

The OngoingWorlds website has now gone into public Beta! This means that the site is on a live URL (not ongoingworlds/alpha as before), and is ready for people to start signing up and using it as it was intended, and not just testing.

How to use the site

Find games page on OngoingWorlds

This is the "Find Games" page on OngoingWorlds, if you create a game it will appear here.

I’ve tried to make OngoingWorlds as easy as possible to understand. If you want to create a new game click “Create Game” and if you want o find an existing game to join, click “Find Games”. You’ll be able to browse through all of the games that are currently available. Most of these currently listed are example games I’ve created for testing purposes, which you are welcome to join – but aren’t necessarily going anywhere! (unless you want to make it your own and continue the game on).

Click a game you like the look of, and you will see the game’s homepage, which will show you the full description of the game, as well as summaries of the four latest posts.

You can join a game by the “Click here to join” link on the left. This is where you will have to create a character profile for the character you want to play in the game. You will then have to wait for a moderator to review your character, and either approve you or deny you from joining the game.

Options for Game owners and Moderators

As a game owner, you can allow members to become moderators of your game, which means they can edit and delete posts, as well as approve users and also unsubscribe users.

The join-a-game page for OngoingWorlds

When joining a game youy must supply a character profile. The Moderator of the game decides what questions should be asked

As a moderator you can also have control over the fields on players character profiles. You can change the names of these fields so that you’re collecting information which is relevant to you and your game.At the moment this is basic, you’re able to have a maximum of 10 custom fields, which are all free text – but soon that should change to a much higher maximum number and allow different types of fields.

You can also set character groups, so for example a Star Trek game can group characters up into Departments like Command, Security, Medical etc.

Things to come

There are still a few major features which haven’t been included into the website yet, this is because they are still being worked on, and need some testing before they go live. The most important feature and one that I am most enthusiastic about is the character tagging, where you can tag a character in an post, so that you’ll be able to instantly see who is involved in this post by a series of thumbnails of the character’s photo down the right hand side. One of the reasons for this not working just yet is that you can’t actually upload an image for your character just yet. Uploading images is a security minefield, so I’m making sure I’m doing it the correct way before adding it as a feature.

Please give feedback!

There is a Contact Us page on the site, with a form to send a message directly to me. This site will improve greatly with your feedback, if you have any problems or suggestions please let me know about them.


What I look for in a PBEM website

I’m a relatively lazy person and I think everything should be easy. I’m a fan of Steve Krugs book titled “Don’t make me think”, about how websites should be so usable that the user should just be able to use a website without even thinking too hard.

Confusing navigation should be avoided

Confusing navigation should be avoided

When I first visit a webpage I think it should communicate a lot of information straight away. As a web designer/developer I have to think about this problem daily. Creating a website without enough relevant content on the homepage will lead to a high percentage of your users navigating away instantly. They will only stay if they are “hooked” by the information and navigation items you provide.

A website should allow you to complete certain tasks that you want to do. For website about a PBEM site, I want to perform these tasks:

  • Find out how this game is played
  • Find out if the game is still running
  • Find out how to join this game
  • Find out how to contact the GM
  • See the game’s posting archive

I think these are important for the following reasons:

Find out how this game is played

There are many types of text-based online role playing games, and these can be played in many different ways. Either by email, forum, or real-time chat. I want to know which type this game is. I don’t need a lengthy user guide explaining in great detail how to play, but I do need to know the basics.

Read More