Developer Update August 2023

Greetings PaperDemons! In the interest of transparency, I attempt to post a developer update every quarter on what we've improved on along with a peak at what's to come. This is that update.


Unfortunately we haven't done an update since December 2021 (that's like what, 18 months?). My first son was born in early 2022 and I didn't have much child care until October of 2022. I had to prioritize getting things done over talking about things I got done. Hopefully that's a good enough excuse? Please forgive me!


Despite the lack of child care, a ton of shit got done. (Hooray for long naps).

We've had 46 releases since December 2021. Our current release is v51.2.0


What's coming in the rest of 2023 and early 2024


We had a huge boost to our player base this year thanks to some of our marketing efforts. With that influx of new users came a lot of bug reports and a chance to evaluate some of the usability problems with our site and the PDARPG.


The site is really confusing to navigate, especially on mobile. We're rethinking the navigation and organization of game content and will release an update in the coming months. Players have also had some difficulties with entering their submissions to queues and tagging characters so we're working on ways to make small incremental improvements to help new players get started easier.


We're also going to make major changes to our Apprenticeship challenge series to make it more fun and exciting for new users and introduce players to battle mechanics earlier.



This isn't a fun topic but needs to be mentioned. We have some old code we need to migrate to our new front end and a whole bunch more we need to delete to prepare for some upgrades. We recently made an announcement about the changes that will impact Writing and Comics. So please check that out if you haven't already.


Boss Battles

We're adding and expanding mechanics to our battle system. Bosses are stronger and some change form after they dip below a certain HP. We're also going to launch "flash battles" which are battles we'll run during a livestream with a much shorter cooldown (like 10 minutes). We'll all get to draw together in real time and smash the boss together! Fun times are ahead!


We're going to expand the elemental system with triocasting! Along with this will come 4 new elements to our elemental system.



We're planning a whole set of new potions and crafting materials so you can really get your craft on! We have a set of 7 potions made from 12 new crafting ingredients as part of a collaboration with a TTRPG creator.


Our current plan is to lock the crafting materials to drop in specific portals so that each portal will have a unique set of drops to encourage revisiting existing portals.



We'll be expanding our existing Portals to add expansion prompts that either require using a potion to access (like a water breathing potion) or a vehicle (like a submarine). These new prompts will offer higher rewards.



We've got collaborations in progress with some tabletop RPG content creators to help us expand our lore and item compendium.


Ability Tree

We're working on a Class system where you can choose a class for your character. Each class will have its own ability tree. Your AP can be spent to buy abilities on the tree. This will take a lot of planning and coding so don't expect this to come out until 2024.


Guild nights

We ran our first live text roleplay event, Guild Night, back in June. Because the event is mostly organized by volunteers, we're not sure when our next event will happen. Our team has been focused on processing queues from the influx of new players. As we get a better handle on the queues we'll regroup and get another Guild Night planned on the schedule.


And of course, more great ARPG content

We have more special events, boss fights, portals, and even a campaign planned to come out this year. While we on occasion are late by a week or two releasing an event, on the whole we've been fairly successful at sticking to our content schedule. We have so much planned we have to overlap it all.


We have a ton planned. This is just some of it. Consider becoming a Patron on Patreon to help make these dreams reality, get early access, and get more behind the scenes content.


I'm not sure how frequently these Developer updates will be going forward. Perhaps once every 6 months will be an easier pace for me. I may also just decide to make a new news post with every release so I don't have to bundle everything all together like this.


Release Highlights

The list of new things since December 2021 is crazy long so here's my list of highlights from each release from v36.0.1 through v51.2.0


  • Character sheets have had some design changes. Points box prominently shows how many points your character has and we've hidden some of the data in the data table to clean up the look. Your character's unique id is easier to find, right next to your character's name.

  • Prismatic Spectacles are now usable in-game.

  • Auto-publish written entries (this tripped up a lot of new users)

  • To avoid overwhelm, we only show the current step of the apprenticeship tutorial, rather than all steps.

  • When you submit to an event form, it will show suggested characters

  • Partnered ARPGs are now highlighted on the homepage!

  • We've redesigned some introductory information on the homepage about pdarpg

  • Relevant links for PDARPG now appear under new player tutorial to help new players continue their journey

  • ARPGs that have been inactive have been removed from our directory. A new game has been added for Tales of Equestria!

  • 🏪 Say hello to the new traveling merchant, Keziah! She will be popping into the Inn once a month with rare and discounted items available for you to browse! This traveling merchant feature is also available to our partnered ARPGs. We'll send an announcement in discord when she's in town.

  • Stale indicators on queue page make it easier for our admins to process and prioritize queues.

  • 👗 Submitting battle art just got easier. No more having to hunt for the right tags to tag your artwork. You can now search and select the character when you submit your attack. Your character sheet also now has an HP bar so you can easily see if your character is low on health.

  • 🏪 Art RPG shops got a face lift.

  • 🏪 ARPG owners can schedule sale prices for their items.

  • Improvements to the Guides page for ARPGs

  • We made many visual design improvements to the shop

  • We added a new character creator tutorial which guides you through step by step drafting your character sheet and streamlines the approval process. This makes it much easier for our admins to process and get characters approved at scale. We've iterated a lot on the UI over the past few months and will continue to do so.

  • We've reorganized pages and adjusted the navigation to make it more mobile friendly and beginner friendly. Events, Guides are now on separate pages from the group homepages.

  • Game homepages have been redesigned to allow more customization and design flexibility. They now show leaderboards, latest artwork, latest approved characters and more.

  • submit pages for events are now on their own page for better usability. Submit flow for submitting art to challenges has also been improved

  • The event sidebar was removed because it caused usability issues.

  • we're working on building out a starter kit for new players when their first character gets approved. More details on how to get this starter kit will be announced soon.

  • draft characters are no longer browsable by non-admins. We've been getting a lot of copyrighted drafts and we don't want this content visible publicly until characters are vetted. Permalinks to character drafts are still visible.

  • We've introduced some automations to allow our admins to approve characters much faster

  • PDARPG players are limited to 1 character draft at a time to keep the queue moving quicker and more fairly.

  • Partnered ARPGs can now specify the flavor text for their rollers.

  • Talismans are now fully functional! Head to the shop if you want to buy one. We've reworked our battle rollers with new mechanics.

  • Elemensha is now self-serve. Just visit your character sheet to use it. No new artwork required.

  • Our main navigation has changed to better reflect the more common links people navigate to in the PDARPG. Some of these changes were financially motivated to make it easier for people to make a purchase in our shop. You can still browse art and writing by clicking the links from the homepage under the newest submissions. We're going to also make further changes to make the navigation better when browsing other ARPGs.

  • We've made the account menu easier to find

  • We've migrated a lot of documents out of the wiki and onto our main site so it doesn't look like a webpage from 2002.

  • Fix a bug where replies to private messages were not showing up as unread and in the notifications list or sending email notifications. It should now show an accurate unread count in your notices bar and send you email notifications.

  • Fix a bug with the character points editor. If you unselect a character, it should no longer save points for that character.

  • fix roller so it sends a notification even if there are no item drops so they get notified of completion of processing and of points

  • fix flavor text in email notifications

  • fix bug with roller being broken if admin manually added characters

  • move character point box below submission form per request from Dracostryx staff

  • Nifty upgrades to our queue system to allow admins to fulfil rewards and process artwork faster and more accurately. These features are also available to partners with simpler reward queues. Players will also get more informative notifications when they complete PDARPG challenges. This means a lot less PMs.

  • This release includes something special for DracoStryx players. Check the Dracostryx page and discord in the near future for more information.

  • We've added tags to tell AI bots not to scrape our images. Whether or not they actually listen is up to them 🤷‍♀️

  • Our site rules have been updated to explicitly state we do NOT permit AI generated artwork on our site.

  • Dracostryx Stryxmas rollers updated

  • Updates to our marketing page based on user input/common questions

  • 🎁 Check the Inn each day of December starting on December 20th for a little something special 🎁

  • 👗 we've adjusted the wing color appearing next to your name so that premium members stand out a bit more.

  • The Inn has been completely redesigned.

  • We've introduced an improved new player tutorial in the Inn which detects which steps you've completed.

  • Players will see notifications for new events and announcements here for ARPGs they play (Partnered games only).

  • send notifications to players of announcements and new events.

  • edit/add/close/delete their queues, events, guides, and announcements.

  • event countdowns!

  • delete images from character sheets

  • display artwork thumbnail in the character change history

  • make net point change easier to see in character change history

  • allow backfill of point tracking

  • Submission point tracking is here!

  • Now when you submit your art to partnered art rpg queues, you'll get a special UI for attaching your character to the queue and enter in points.

  • Admins can now quickly approve points and update all character sheets with incremented points in a single click.

  • the approved points you received will appear on your submission in the characters list

  • your character sheet will list all artwork and the amount of points your character was awarded for that submission

  • the game's official tag and your characters will automatically be added to your submission.

  • Homepage has had a refresh

  • When boss fights are happening, it will feature the most recent attack and the HP for the boss.

  • We've reorganized the PDARPG links on our homepage for better ease of use

  • The top banner advertising PD is now hidden for logged in users to conserve space

  • We've moved the boss attack form to a separate page and made it easier to access from the homepage and battle thread.

  • Get hyped because ✨ELEMENTAL WEAPONS✨ are coming soon!

  • Rank 2 is now required for participation in boss battles

  • Battle Tokens and Kitemail will now disappear after the battle ends if you participated in the battle

  • you'll no longer be able to use your own character for the second character in a duocast

  • you must draw the second character when duocasting

  • The bug with submission tagging has been fixed. Thank you to everyone who reported it.

  • Private message folders are implemented in the new UI. Private message functionality is now fully operational.

  • We've made changes to the "Potion of don't-look-at-me". It's been renamed "Potion of Major Hiding" and a new weaker variant "Potion of Minor Hiding" has been implemented. Please note that the crafting recipes have changed.

  • 🐛 URLs were getting mangled in the new rich text editor when posting/editing forum posts, characters, items, submissions, and more.

  • 🐛 Duplicate tags were appearing when tagging submissions. It will now only show a tag once. You might have some submissions that still have double tags. Just edit them and remove the duplicate and you should be good. You may have to re-add the tag again but it will only add once this time.

  • Your Art RPG characters which you've tagged in your art and writing submissions will now appear on the submission and link to your character sheets. This is in preparation for a new point tracking system which will come later.

  • the rich text editor used in the forums, art submissions, and writing system has been replaced with a better editor. it includes some new formatting options including the option to insert remote images.

  • new features and mechanics added to our battle system. These will be detailed in a future news post.

  • Art RPG queue history is now tied to the writing chapter instead of the entire writing submission, making it easier to track approvals for individual chapters of submissions. This is in preparation for a new point tracking system which will come later.