Hello fellow EcchiDreamers!
In July of last year, we started the process called ‘The Big Update’ Open-beta, where we set out to finish our major update to the community now that it was on the IPS4 software made by Invision Power Services. Today, 6th September 2016, we come out of Beta into “Full Release”.
I want to thank members of the community who did come out and give us feedback, as well as the other members of staff who’ve all been working hard during the past year in this heavy developmental process. We expect that updates will continue; however, the main bulk of this big update is now over, and we can actually start getting back to what we love more.
Other Features and Updates
There have been so many changes, some of which didn’t stay for long during the beta period, and I apologise for not getting announcements on those during this time; I’ve also been quiet on the announcement front, so I hope to correct this and cover as many new features as possible in this announcement.
There are changes that did get their own announcements as planned, however:
- Leave of Absence Improvements - This is where we discussed the evolution of our LoA system; where we turned what was once a “post as a topic” thing into an account setting option.
- Help Section and more Updates - In this announcement, we talk about the new community help section, as well as information on our EcchiTheme Update, Chatbar (EcchiChat), Activity Feed, Account Deactivation and so on.
- New Feature: Community Dashboard - A still somewhat new idea to improve on with feedback. A friendly GUI navigation menu, that is mobile and desktop compatible.
- Roleplay Suite Updates - Major changes to the scenario roleplay area, and grand overhaul of the entire section.
- Roleplay Suite Updates (Part 2) - Did I mention… Grand overhaul? This announcement focused on the Private Roleplayers Bulletin Board, as well as a new ‘EcchiApp’ called a Sandbox.
Community Help and Support Area Updates
The Community Help and Support area has been radically updated since this announcement, and it’s become the one stop place for everything involving help and support on EcchiDreams. There is a new feature as well as an old feature that have now been blended into these sections.
The Frequently Asked Questions section is something we had tried to do before, back in 2011-2013. We’ve tied this into the Community Help Area to help those that might be confused a little when they first sign up, as well as veterans to EcchiDreams who might not have been on in a while alike.
The bug tracker is somewhere that Dreamers can post bugs they’ve found. Usually there is a bounty in the form of EcchiCredits for each one found. We are always vigilant for bugs, and attempt to correct them as quickly as possible. We thank everyone who reports them and we welcome these mistakes being pointed out to us with open arms. Bugs are classified in a number of ways:
- Spelling/Grammatical Mistakes - If something is spelt incorrectly or words don’t flow correctly, then we welcome this and will update them as quickly as possible.
- Permission Error Bugs - Something that you should have access to, but don’t. Or something you shouldn’t, but do.
- Application Faults - An App that has gone wrong or doesn’t function in the way it should.
- Security Flaws/Faults - Something that allows you to do something you’re really not supposed to do, which causes security issues. Things such as being able to hijack other accounts and read other people's EcchiTexts for example (These are exceptionally rare - and offer the biggest bounty)
- A link (that isn’t in a post) that doesn’t work correctly.
- And so on...
Major ToS Updates
The Terms of Service on EcchiDreams have been radically updated, and now goes in the complete opposite direction to a number of sites online today; specifically one of our major changes, Section 15 under Offensive or Inappropriate Posting:-
The term “Offensive Post” is subjective to an individual, and EcchiDreams promotes free speech and free expression. Your right to free speech on this site only ends when you call or advocate to violate other people’s individual universal rights. If what you're saying is promoting or endorsing the violation of rights of another individual it may not be posted here. We do not consider ‘the Right to Not be Offended’ as a valid universal right. We are all adults and we can all be civil; with that said, disruption of topics can be moved elsewhere by staff and the report button is available to all members. Freedom of Speech is a core principle of what EcchiDreams believes in, it’s the freedom to make a fool of yourself, and it’s the freedom for others to tell you you’re being a fool, in an open marketplace of ideas.
This protection doesn’t rely on the First Amendment of the United States Constitution; instead we are going to call upon Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We don’t expect to be perfect; we expect mistakes to be made, but we will try to minimise these mistakes and correct any that are made as soon as possible. We also outlined some of the new features and updated the roleplay section.
Lastly, from now going forwards, all documents in ecchidreams.com/rules will have the document’s last updated date in an effort to be more open and transparaent about changes. The last updated signature will be located at the top of the document:
EcchiCredits has made a come back, although it’s not yet up to the same level of features as the previous one. With the above link you should be able to see the transactions of the entire community (as this is an open and transparent system). We aim to slowly improve on this over time, making the EcchiCredit system more useful as an internal contribution-based economy within EcchiDreams. So far, the only thing you can really use EcchiCredits for on this site is the Roleplayer Adverts, or if someone is selling their on site services for EcchiCredits. https://ecchidreams.com/help/tutorials/roleplay/more-information-public-roleplaying-r26/
The Homepage has had some very major changes since we opened back up a year ago into Beta. For a start, we’ve made the homepage for guests more informative, and much quicker to load. We’ve explained as best as we could, whilst keeping it concise, what goes on on EcchiDreams, as well as what we do and why.
For people who are logged in, the homepage is useful for another purpose, although this is still experimental, and we hope to improve it with feedback as time goes on. When you’re logged in you will be welcomed by site depending on what time of day/night it is; we hope to eventually make this change on an hourly basis. At the moment it contains everything that used to be on the community index page. Such as:
- Personalised Greetings Message
- What staff are online right now.
- A userbar that shows a piece of your profile cover, avatar, “dreams” count (posts on the Forums/Roleplays and images in the Gallery), as well as reputation.
- Dreamer of the Month widget.
- RP Advert
- Latest public and custom posts and topics (With Private ones coming soon)
- Dashboard buttons
- Latest Gallery Uploads
- Recent Status Updates (with the ‘Read More’ option that I touched on in the first announcement)
- Who’s been online in the last 24 hours.
- Who’s online right now.
We have also made sure to make it as mobile and desktop friendly as possible.
Further Roleplay Section Enhancements
There have been a number of updates to our Roleplay Suite, as we’ve now finished the bulk of it and even most minor tweaks. The section has fundamentally changed since EcchiDreams first started, and even since we first went into Beta last year because of the Big Update. As such, we’ve written a handful of guides to help you get started, as well as made some enhancements.
Roleplay Adverts Enhancements
Last year, we introduced Roleplay Adverts; the idea was that people who wanted to advertise their roleplays on EcchiDreams could do so. You might be thinking “I bet I have to pay for this…”, and you’d be right… though we only accept EcchiCredits. We’ve made this system better, so you can keep a track of all roleplay adverts running on our site:
Each one also contains a log including things such as when it was last active, when it last ended, how many times it’s been run, and an advert status, as seen below:
The statuses are:
- Awaiting Approval - Each advert is manually approved before being put into the advertising system, which then goes live on EcchiDreams. This is the default setting when submitting an advert.
- Awaiting More Information - It was manually checked; however, there are pieces of information missing or unclear. We’ll send you an EcchiText in these circumstances.
- Rejected - The advert in question violated our advertising policy, and will be hidden from all members but you and the staff. You’ll either get an EcchiText explaining why it was rejected, or a comment will be left.
- Approved - The advert is accepted and is currently running on EcchiDreams.
- Approved, Not Started Yet - The advert is accepted, and will begin running on EcchiDreams on the date you specified.
- Expired - The Advert was accepted, and ran for the duration of the advertising period without problems.
- Campaign Suspended - This could be for a myriad of reasons. If the advert is reported for false advertising for example, and it’s been confirmed by staff, then the advert will be suspended. If the roleplay goes under construction, or the dreamer has been banned or they’ve had to leave on an emergency Leave of Absence. It’s not necessarily wrong doing. If you didn’t literally ask us to suspend the campaign we’ll tell you that it has been.
In the future we’ll inform you how many views and clicks your advert got during its runtime.
Public Roleplay Tags
During the Roleplay Overhaul, we changed the tags of the public roleplay section, so that they mentioned their Difficulty Rating. However, a Dreamer brought up an issue we hadn’t considered while doing it. We’ve since changed these, and have updated the guides to reflect the changes.
The new prefixes that go near the topic title are as follows:
- Open - Open to everyone. You would require your roleplayers to fill out a Character ID. This doesn’t stop you from putting in your own restrictions though. For example you could only want human characters or something, it just means that people can make a Character ID and start roleplaying with no troubles.
- Invite Only - If you're setting up an RP for a group of your friends, or you'll be inviting others to the roleplay, then this is the option for you. Dreamers might still ask if they can join; and should take no for an answer, if that's your choice. If you want you can choose to put “I will ask you, don’t ask me.” Or something to that effect in your opening page, under the rules.
- Apply to RP (Open) - You want people to apply before roleplaying. Great for higher difficulty roleplays, where you want to screen roleplayers, for quality reasons first, there’s no reason why you can’t even ask to see a Roleplayer Preferences sheet as in theory, if filled out correctly this should contain a lot of information you’ll want to read in order to decide if that person is good enough to roleplay with. You'll need to put the detailed application instructions in your OOC or Extra Information Topic, wherever you feel it's appropriate really and link it from your opening post. You can take applications over EcchiTexts or the OOC, which ever you are more comfortable with.
- Apply to RP (Full) - You wouldn't and really shouldn’t start with this. When you have everyone you need to start the roleplay, you can edit your first post and turn it from open to full.
- No CID Required - This is rare; outside of casual and cannot be used with Intermediate Roleplays or higher... Usually. If in doubt message a staff member first.
Game Masters Corner
The Game Master’s Corner is a brand new feature to the Public Roleplaying Section. The idea behind this is to be a place where you can talk with fellow Dreamers when setting up a roleplay, to bounce ideas, and even get people who are willing to join the roleplay.
If you are trying to design your page for the roleplay section, write a guide, store a note, or maybe get to grips with how our editor works, and so on, and you’d like somewhere to test or build it before making it live, this is the forum for you. Only you and staff members can see your topics here. We highly recommend against using the sandbox to store passwords, accounts, and personal (considered) private notes for two simple reasons: as mentioned before, staff can see this forum and all topics within it, and it's just not a very smart idea in general.
We’ve added a fair few roleplay guides to get you started with our Roleplay Suite; they are extensive, fully detailed guides, written by roleplayers for roleplayers. Of course, you are free to make a guide if you want to as well; you’ll be credited as it’s author and shown automatically as the poster of the guide. The guides we’ve included so far are:
- Public Roleplay: The Game Master’s Guide - This is an extremely large guide that is great when you might be stuck for ideas, or what to do, when making your own public roleplay. We talk about the things you should consider here, such as what the guide covers, stuff to think about before you start making your roleplay, what the premise, plots and storylines will be, how your universe works, the characters and NPC’s within the story, opening post formats, tips, tricks, and protips. It’s an all encompassing guide that will help you get started making your own roleplays.
- Introductions: Crash Course in Roleplaying - If you’re new to roleplaying, or new to EcchiDreams, and would like a ‘crash course’ where we explain what roleplaying is, what it’s about, define what the abbreviations, terminology and roleplaying jargon is on the site, start here. We talk about the ground rules, and what most people expect, or don’t like or want in their roleplays, how to join a roleplay on EcchiDreams, and even briefly touch on how to create a roleplay on EcchiDreams.
- Private Roleplaying and You - This brief guide tells you, in a simple enough way, how to create a Private Roleplay. It also outlines some baseline rules in regards to the section.
- Premium Roleplaying and You - Same as the previous, except for the fact that it’s for Premium Roleplays.
- Public Roleplaying and You - Same as the previous two, except it’s for the Public Roleplays.
- Roleplaying Etiquette - A guide that helps you with the etiquette when roleplaying, and interacting other roleplayers like making sure to read posts properly, and to not have your character suddenly interrupt the interaction between characters when it is unwelcomed and not discussed before hand. This is especially handy for newer roleplayers, who want to know how to treat other roleplayers.
- How to make a roleplay character - A guide that helps you with the process of creating a character. It goes through a step by step process of creating a character that shows you some tips and tricks to make a good, detailed character.
- More Information: Public Roleplaying - Something that is linked to the homepage under this topic. It’s a basic informational page that goes into more information about Public Roleplaying.
- More Information: Private Roleplaying - The same as the previous; except it goes into more information about Private Roleplaying.
- More Information: Premium Roleplaying - The same as the previous two, except it pertains to the Premium Roleplays.
- EcchiDreams Standard Character ID - This is adapted from the Character IDs from the old Scenario roleplays. Its purpose is to be a default that Game Masters can use for their own roleplay. It’s not a rule to have to use this, but it’s a good point to start from. Add or take away from it as much as you like; you’re free to use it.
- EcchiDreams Standard Roleplaying Rules - Again, this is adapted from the Rules of the old Scenario Roleplays. Like with the Character ID, its intended purpose is to be a default set of rules that a Game Master can apply to their own roleplay. Rules can be removed, or added depending on what the Game Master wants. It’s not a rule to have to use this, but it’s a good starting point. Please note that, regardless of the rules you use for your roleplay, you are still bound by the standard rules of EcchiDreams.
- Roleplay Difficulty Guide - This outlines the difficulties found within the Public Roleplays. It also gives you an idea of what to expect from a roleplay of that difficulty, such as detailed character IDs and extra information for an Expert Roleplay.
General Navigational Tweaks
We’ve made navigation slightly easier on EcchiDreams; for example, clicking ‘Explore’ will no longer take you to a page, as this was frustrating for many EcchiDreamers. In addition, we’ve made the navigational menu follow a certain, logically set behaviour, to make it less of a nightmare. In the most recent beta update we also gave each menu its own icon, as well as turned ‘+Create’ into a pencil, and gave everything under that its own icon too.
A little while ago, we also enhanced the search button to make it easier to search for things on EcchiDreams. As you start typing in what you’re looking for, it will scan the indexes and find the thing you’re looking for based on what you type in. The more you type the more accurate it becomes. In a way, it predicts what you might be looking for in a similar way to autocomplete.
We listened to the numerous complaints about how navigating EcchiDreams was like ‘trying to navigate around a Kraken’ and, well, we hope that this helps you tell the tentacles from the tits.
A feature of IPS that we simply love. Discover the latest and newest dreamers, posts, topics, images, and other content (or ‘Dreams’) with our Activity Stream. It is an evolution and enhancement of our VNC (View New Content) system from before the update. If you, for example, have an RSS feed on your phone or computer, then you can stay up-to-date with everything EcchiDreams through this feed. All the lists update automatically, and can easily be expanded and condensed.
There are several streams you can choose from such as:
- Site Wide Activity
- Only Unread Content
- Content you Started
- Content you Follow
- Content from Dreamers you Follow
- And so on.
And if you think we were done there, then boy, do we have a surprise for you. In addition to our default streams, you can also customise and make your own streams to better discover the content you want, which you can even share with other Dreamers; for example, if you want a stream when someone posts a new roleplayer preferences sheet, or if there have been any updates in the news and announcements area, or even if someone posts a private roleplayers bulletin notice - you can totally do that, and all of them have their own RSS feeds too. Our Activity Streams is extremely customisable and powerful.
If you’re sent an EcchiText by a member of staff on this community, you are treated to this verification badge that allows you to easily check and verify that the person who sent you the message is indeed a member of staff.
The gallery has had some new categories put in, such as Character IDs and Extra Informations. The idea is that you can create albums in there as appropriate, so you can easily find them later. The gallery has also been somewhat opened up again. Unlike previously; you can have a practically infinite number of albums to upload your images to, rather than just three like you used to have.
One of the major criticisms we had was the classic American/British English divide, where the site would spell things like ‘Color’ as ‘Colour’. Obviously this made the American Grammar Police shit their bed; likewise, when we changed it to American English, we had problems from the British Grammar Police. Well, in order to settle this once and for all, there are now two languages you can chose from: English (USA) and English (UK), although it doesn’t change spelling within Dreamers posts or anything like that. What it does change is the date format (MM/DD/YYYY > DD/MM/YYYY), which can be quite confusing for some, especially on a day like 05/06/1990 which could be either the sixth of May, or the fifth of June, and 06/05/1990 which has the same problem.
If you’re from the UK or used to UK Formats, then selecting English (UK) will get rid of this headache for you. Likewise if you’re from the USA, set it to English (USA)
Dreamer of the Month
Dreamer of the Month is something new we wanted to try out. Dreamers are elected by others in the community to become the Dreamer of the Month for the next month, and the person with the most votes becomes Dreamer of the Month. We plan on introducing awards (profile trophies) to be given to Dreamers who win this.
Plans for the Future
Despite all of this, there are many plans of the future, some of which we will share with you today. It’s largely dependent on feedback we get (if any), and we look forward to further empowering this community to do more. Some of the improvements we’re prepared to talk about today are...
Improvements to Roleplayer Preferences
We have some ideas penned out for an update to our EcchiApp: Roleplayer Preferences. At the moment, this is rather basic, albeit very functional; however, we want to bring more information, settings, and customisability to it, while keeping the interface easy to use and intuitive. The basic idea is that you’ll want to spend ten or fifteen or so minutes filling it all out, and yet only take a fraction of that time actually reading it, because while you might not be editing it everyday, it could be read everyday.
We are currently working on an update to this, although we don’t have any time scales or release deadlines, as the improvements are in the very early stages.
Community Help and Support Unification
Hopefully before Christmas 2016, we’ll have made an update to the Community Help and Support Section, to help Dreamers better get the help they need. By this time, we hope to have more FAQs in our new FAQ system, as well bring in the bug tracker to be a part of the section. By January 2017, getting help and support should be a lot easier and more intuitive, as well as being mobile and guest compatible.
We aim to be more open as to how many EcchiCredits people will earn through reporting bugs, in the interests of openness and transparency. This should be more clear in the bug tracker section before the end of October.
External Site Link Information
Hopefully, by next week, we should have a new system in place that alerts you that you’re leaving EcchiDreams when clicking a link that takes you away from this site. This will also host our disclaimer that we’re not responsible for the content of the site you’re being linked to, nor is it to be considered an endorsement, yadda yadda yadda… You know, all that ‘legal’ stuff, and information that should basically say something along the lines of ‘If you believe this link to be malicious, spam, or otherwise in violation of our ToS, please go back and report the post so that it can be reviewed by staff.’
To gain little profile trophies for doing tasks on EcchiDreams; like ‘Achievement Get’ things. This is in very, very early stages of development, and isn’t likely to come about until after EcchiCredits are a lot more useful. And finally…
We realise there isn’t a lot you can do with the EcchiCredits at the moment. This is something we’re looking at further working with a third-party developer to make better. The current system is primarily in place so you can earn EcchiCredits for when the system does get its own major overhaul. We fully intend on making this worth it in the end, and will happily take suggestions on what to do with them. There is no roadmap for this, or any fixed timelines, but I promise I will keep you up-to-date as things develop, with full announcements even if it’s not good news.
Article Image Credit: Wolfy-Nail