Hey folks, it's time for a little dev update on what we are doing with HeroForge integration.
We've been experimenting with this for a little while now, and this is our current view of how we'll expose it inside TaleSpire.
A quick aside on modding
This update doesn't cover the upcoming TaleWeaver modding tools nor the custom-mini-creator stretch goal.
We have kept the systems handling HeroForge integration and modding separate, so one will not impact the other.
Connecting your account
We expect this to be a simple option in the settings menu where you link your HeroForge and TaleSpire account.
Doing this allows TaleSpire to fetch data so we can do things like presenting UI to show you your HeroForge collection. And handle syncing your minis to all players.
Speaking of your collection. HeroForge has confirmed that all the miniatures you previously purchased via the '3D tabletop' option will be available. This also includes any you acquired in a 'monthly featured premade digital pack' in the 'pro+ download subscription'.
Adding a mini to a campaign
GMs are the ones who can spawn creatures in TaleSpire, and so they need to be able to see the minis you want to use.
However, it would be weird to let a GM see your whole collection. So the UI in TaleSpire will let you pick which minis from your collection you want to associate with the campaign. This will then allow your GM to spawn them.
This is analogous to bringing part of your collection to a friend's house. Although much more flexible as you can add the same mini to many campaigns concurrently, and the GM can spawn many instances of the given mini.
Once you have added a mini to a campaign, it is available even if you are not currently playing the campaign. This ensures that your mini won't disappear for other players if you can't make a play session that day.
When someone joins a board, we check to see if they have the required minis. If not, we download them, convert them, and load them on the fly.
As a mini can take a moment to download, we show a temporary loading graphic in place of the mini while it is pulled and converted.
The conversion simply takes the model format we receive, collects what we need, and applies the classic TaleSpire mini shader process to ensure they graphically fit well in the game.
The models coming from HeroForge are not STL files and have polycounts much more appropriate to games. In general, the number of polys is higher than Bouncyrock produced assets but far better than you would get from converting the STL files directly.
Leaving a campaign
If you leave or are removed from a campaign, this will detach all your minis from the campaign. To the players still in the campaign, the creatures will revert to a default graphics.
You can, of course, detach a mini from a campaign at any time.
We are, as always, super cagey about announcing release dates. We are a tiny team, so it's easy for life events to throw a wrench into plans. In those situations, trying to meet deadlines can lead to crunching, which isn't ideal.
Where we are at
We have good progress on the backend, and the model conversion process is working well. Once we have the backend finished, we can focus on the UI.
The other big thing that needs doing is writing the TOS for the integration.
As some of you lovely folks will now be interacting with a 3rd party service via TaleSpire, we have to add legal documents that say obvious stuff like "hey! you are contacting a 3rd party" and "hey! don't attack their servers", etc. etc.
We have always found legal things to take a while. We have seen previously that sometimes lawyers write in a way that gives us (the game developer) broad protections but in ways that don't feel great to players. You've probably seen this with other games before. That back and forth editing process can take time.
We also have to run this by lawyers in multiple regions as laws differ from the EU to the US (and even between states in the US).
All this is to say that we might end up with the technical stuff done before the legal bit is ready. If it happens, we'll let you know.
This is one of those bits of making games that is easy to forget but is all part and parcel of shipping!
Thanks as always for dropping by to read this. It's very exciting to be getting this into the game, and we can't wait to have more to show you.
Have a good one folks.