Jahed Ahmed

FrontierNav Report: January 2018

Progress Report

Where's December's Report?

I didn't get to do much in December as mentioned previously since to Xenoblade 2 was released, and it was a holiday month.

Changes in January

January's been a productive month. Behind the scenes, I've continued to move the application towards a more pluggable approach. It's going to be a slow process as I work on other features like new game guides and improve the user experience.

Xenoblade 2's data is fed through a spreadsheet which makes it much more easier to edit. The process is still a work in progress but I've got a good idea of where to take it. Once it's ready, I'll be moving the other games from the previous JSON-based approach to this new one.

I didn't make a release post about "Spoiler Gates" since it's pretty simple. The app can now show/hide spoilers based on the user's preference. This won't mean much for existing guides, but I can take it into considering for new guides.

Next Steps

I'll continue working on the spreadsheet pipeline this month and work on more guides for Xenoblade 2.

There are a few other features I've been thinking about that I may progress this month:

Text Guides

I've been thinking about how to integrate text-based guides into FrontierNav. Clearly there's a demand for them (see GameFAQs, Pastebin, Wikis, Steam User Guides, etc.), and it may be a good way to kick-off user contributions.

To stand out, I can eventually build on this to integrate with the more interactive components of FrontierNav. For example, embedding maps and graphs and referring to dynamic data.

The Wiki experiments I ran a few months back should make this straight forward since I have a large chunk of it in place already.

Spreadsheet Guides

Since the data is now coming from a spreadsheet, showing that spreadsheet to users shouldn't be difficult. People seem to use Google Spreadsheets a lot so providing a similar interface with move interactive, game-focused elements may be an easy win. It can be read-only at first, eventually making it the canonical way to edit and contribute data.

Social Features

Social features have also been something to consider to retain visitors and make the app feel more alive to passer-bys. Things like status updates, social/gaming network sharing, news feeds, event calendars and a Q&A forum.

The Q&A forum is an interesting one. For simple questions, the app can provide generated answers to avoid spam (e.g. where is X?). For complex questions, it'll be more like a typical forum.

Until there's more content, I won't be spending too much time on FrontierNav's social aspect since it'll require more non-technical time investment on my end to deal with user and content moderation. The Discord server is more than enough for now.