Well I suppose it had to come. Google Wave is in the final stages of its death throes and by the end of the next month will completely disappear. Our Blackengorge adventure went through 21 months on this platform (we started in June 2010), evolving as we went, until we had something that we really enjoyed and found easy to use.

Unfortunately, we’ve had to change our plans somewhat, but with a great combined will to carry on we’ve moved to another platform, and continue the same style of gameplay.

AS DM (and possibly the most technical of the bunch) I looked around for a number of alternatives to Google Wave. The Apache-incubating Wave project looked promising, and perhaps might be so in the future. Wave-in-a-Box (WIAB) sounds a really good premise, but the functionality and stability we are looking for isn’t there yet. I’m sure the chaps doing the development will get there at some point, the development groups seem to have a good swell of activity. I also looked at Rizzoma, and Kune, and WaveMio, but none of them offered the seamless experience of good old Google Wave.

Hmm, a content management system (such as Drupal) or a blog (such as WordPress) then?

Well, we quite liked the style of Google Wave and the way the posts slipped together. Neither WordPress or Drupal suited this out of the box, and a good search for extensions, plugins, and themes didn’t really give us what we wanted. I think something could be done on these platforms, particularly Drupal, if I had the time. PHP is quite powerful for the type of thing we want to do. I think that is definitely one for the future when we have more time.

So, for now, I have resorted to manual HTML, and the players posting in their turns via e-mail and using a dice server. So far it seems to be working quite well. Once I had a template for the ‘post’ it was quite quick to get any new actions by the players up onto the site. The downside is that I need a device that I can type on (quickly) and have access to the web server to download/upload the resultant HTML.

Here’s the first full chapter that we’ve had within the new style of playing.

I haven’t managed to sort out an automagical way of alerting players to new posts (or edits to previous ones) yet (although I think it would be a fairly simple script to create an RSS feed from the HTMLs). And I can’t see a foolproof method to allow players to edit/post new sections. However, we are fairly pleased at the moment and I’m sure it’s only time before we add new functionality.

I’ve also yet to add all of the historical Wave content (probably via PDFs) and update some of the text on the miscellany sections. All that will come in time!

Strangely, the demise of Google Wave came at a point where the players were returning to Blackengorge (bloodied and battered) from their first major sortie out into the world. The next chapters will see them venture out even further than they have before (assuming they get there alive).

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