AoS Reminders - One Year Later

13 Sep 2020

It’s been one year since I launched AoS Reminders “for real”. Before this date last year, it was a side project that started as something personal for me and evolved into a community-driven website.

We’ve gone from a small website with zero UI and exactly one army (Seraphon) to a huge open-source community-driven project with contributions and help from tons of community members with well over 500 active subscribers.

We have an incredibly high subscriber retention rate - only around 60 people have ever unsubscribed. Our average subscribers stay subscribed for a long time (a year now, in some cases!) and get a ton of use out of the application.

We’ve noticed that some power users really love to save and load different army combinations on the fly. Dark mode has something like a 80% adoption rate among subscribers. And our meta statistics (reviewed by AoS Coach) have helped shape understanding of where the game is heading.

We’ve patched well over 1,500 different issues and bugs along the way. We are communicative and prompt to fix anything that’s gone awry.

Our website has had incredible uptime over the past year. I can’t really take credit for that, it’s just hosted on S3 and S3 didn’t go down this year :)

I’ve met a lot of great people on the journey of launching this codebase and had amazing experiences along the way.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with over 25 contributors to the codebase. It’s helped me personally and professionally, and I’ve loved every minute of it.

I’d like to thank all of my subscribers and the people who’ve helped promote the website.

No man stands alone, and I am profusely grateful to all of the people who have reached out to talk to me, to file bugs, to fix errors, or hell, just to complain. Every bit of feedback and input makes the application better.

When I went to NOVA and saw tables covered littered in AoS Reminders printouts, it helped me realize that I needed to be more conscious of how much whitespace a typical printout used. We rolled out “Compact” mode shortly thereafter, which generally resulted in about 3x less paper being consumed by printouts.

Little changes like that became frequent as we saw the printouts at more and more tournaments. We tried to get better at grouping spells together. We learned that we needed to implement drag and drop to re-order reminders per player preference. We added dark mode (my favorite feature to date).

Some contributors began to really come into their own, adding entire features like Play mode and constant streams of data input and bugfixes.

We learned a lot of things together. And then 2020 happened, and it slowed things down a bit.

A lot less people were playing Warhammer. We still had activity from a few people who were in less-affected countries and those who were using Tabletop Simulator.

Personally, I played a few games of Tabletop Warhammer and just didn’t quite feel the excitement I normally felt. I think I need the actual sensation of moving models around and creating physical narratives. The 3D substitute just didn’t do it for me.

It’s been hard to muster up the desire to paint models or start any new Warhammer-related projects.

Every once in a while, I think about writing up a proposal for Games Workshop Warhammer API idea that I’ve been mulling about. I’d really love to see this game move forward in terms of keeping rulesets and players up-to-date.

I think that there is a way to bridge the gap between gating information behind a paywall and still offering a solid user experience for both free and premium subscribers.

Coding-wise, I have solved some gnarly bugs this year that I’m pretty proud of. We have a great test suite with over 500 unit tests. We have a fairly bulletproof, offline-first application that users can always depend on. We always have consistently fast page load times (under 2s). We do not display ads. We have a build pipeline that allows newcomers to come in and contribute without fear of breaking anything else in the codebase.

AoS Reminders does one thing and it does it really well. That’s how I think tools should work.

You know, I really love Warscroll Builder. I think that one day I’d love to see a button on that application that says “Export to AoS Reminders”. Just a shower thought.

But I think the AoS community is currently pretty well served in terms of AoS Reminders, Warscroll Builder, and Azyr. I still wish I could get some form of official guidance or communication from Games Workshop. I’d love to work more closely with them.

I have really liked the new rules coming out and the look of new models. I think Games Workshop is taking this game in a positive direction.

I really hope to get back to gaming and playing with friends. I think as the months get colder and I’m forced indoors, I’ll come back to the game with more vigour.

I haven’t totally slouched during the pandemic. I’ve completed 4 Mournfang Riders, 8 Ironguts, 2 Stonehorns Beast Riders, and Giant!

I think I’ve sufficiently rounded out my Ogor collection. The Lumineth Realmlords aren’t really my style.. we’ll see what interests me in the future.

I had big plans this year. I had 5 different tournaments lined up. I gave a ton of merch to Adepticon and was planning on attending as well. I was going to be interviewed by some podcasts. I was going to meet some of my Warhammer heroes. I was practicing tournament lists with local players. I was reading up on the meta and asking experienced, high-profile players for their advice.

And then it just… stopped.

I wrote this post because I wanted people in the AoS community to know that we’re still alive, we’re still kicking, we’re still improving and helping players around the world.

Although the pace of development has certainly slowed down, we’re still committed to providing an amazing gaming aid for Age of Sigmar players. AoS Reminders will always be kept up to date with timely updates.

I’m even planning a new feature that will be announced shortly… stay tuned.

If you like this article, or the work I’ve done on this project, consider subscribing to support me. It would be a pretty cool thing to do!

In the meantime, I’ve been busy working on my house, specifically my front and back lawns. I’ve been hanging out with my girlfriend, Amanda, and I am so thankful I have her during these times.

My dog Roxy is turning eleven this year and I am glad I can spend a lot of time with her.

I have been playing a lot of Rocket League and lately, Fall Guys.

I will be presenting a talk at JupyterCon 2020 in October. It’ll be interesting if you’re into React, Typescript, or JupyterLab. I’ll post it to this blog once it’s public.

I hope you and your family and friends stay safe and have a good, uneventful rest of 2020.

Take care.