Announcement on the future of RPG Ambience
As those of you who follow this blog and other channels will know, I have been working on a new version of RPG Ambience to varying degrees over the past few years. As my main obstacle to actually getting it released has been time, I wasn’t able to put a significant amount of effort into it until I recently made some significant career changes. Even then, however, it has been a complex process, since my goal has always been to create something that is polished, production-ready, and suitable for a wide range of different users—while still wanting to enjoy the development process itself—and that kind of a project takes a lot of effort. While I have made progress, a lot of work still remains in order to get RPG Ambience to the state that I have been aiming for.
Recently, I have shifted my focus in life to other priorities, and as dear to me as RPG Ambience is, it cannot measure up to these other aspects of life. While these are changes that I gladly make, they also mean that I can no longer work on RPG Ambience in the way that I have up until this point. Here is what that means specifically:
- As has always been the case, the time that I have available for working on RPG Ambience will be limited and unpredictable. This is nothing new, but it’s worth repeating in this context.
- Even with the time that I do get, I will no longer be able to work on making RPG Ambience a complete, polished experience aimed at all types of users. Creating such an experience is simply so much more work than an ad hoc one.
- More specifically, and most importantly, I will no longer be able develop RPG Ambience with anyone but me as the intended audience. The pressure, however subtle, of wanting to serve an audience of other people simply isn’t something that I can justify having as a factor in my life at this point.
Please note that none of this means that RPG Ambience is canceled or definitively put on hold. It does mean, however, that its scope will change significantly and that it will become a project developed only to the extent that I can and want to develop it for my own needs. As with other such projects, it may or may not be released publicly from time to time, and any such releases will come with no promises of being useful or even functional to anybody else.
Although RPG Ambience has never had a large audience in the grand scheme of things, I truly appreciate each and every one of you who has written to me about your experiences with the application, as well as everybody else who has ever benefited from it. As far as programming projects go, RPG Ambience means very much to me. Even more important, however, are the ideas and concepts that RPG Ambience tries to embody: allowing people to bring environments to life with technology and art. I look forward to seeing how applications like these evolve in the future and find their way to larger audiences, but at this point I sadly do not believe that RPG Ambience will be one of them.
The current version of RPG Ambience will be kept online for as long as it is feasible. Since the costs required for hosting it are negligible to me, the server itself will likely remain online for the foreseeable future, barring any unexpected difficulties in migrating the application to new servers in the future. Because RPG Ambience relies on integration with Google Drive, however, some parts of it are beyond my control and I cannot predict whether any changes on Google’s part will affect the application in the future. If they do, I also will not be able to make any guarantees about whether and when I will be able to adjust the application to account for any such changes.
If you are a regular user of RPG Ambience, and especially if you are one looking forward to a new version, I understand if this announcement is disappointing to you. While these changes, as I explained above, do not mean that RPG Ambience is canceled or on hold, I still cannot in good conscience recommend that you hold out hope for seeing a new version released in the state that you would expect. If you are looking for a reliable and evolving application for managing sound and visuals during roleplaying sessions (or in other contexts), I recommend that you look for an alternative. I do not have any specific applications to endorse (especially since I do not use any others myself), but I know that there are several out there and hope that you will be able to find a suitable substitute among them.
That being said, the current version of RPG Ambience will remain online as explained earlier, and if after reading all of this you understand the implications and still want to remain a user, I will gladly have you as one for as long as RPG Ambience stays running!
If you are a developer and would like to build upon RPG Ambience yourself, either to improve the existing application or to create a new application based on it, you are free to use any of the code as per the GPL license. If you need advice on how the code works or which parts would need to be changed in order to add some functionality, get in touch and I will try to help you out. That being said, RPG Ambience (like so many other software projects) has not been developed with source code flexibility and extensibility as a main priority, and I do not guarantee that working with the existing code will necessarily be easier than writing a new application that is based only on the concepts, not the code, of RPG Ambience.
Once again, I’m thankful for all of the feedback that I have received over the years and I appreciate knowing that RPG Ambience has been of value to people across the world. If any other significant changes to the project take place, I will write about them here. For now, however, I will conclude by simply saying: thank you!
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