Wild Child Dev Blog 2 – Homebrew Beasts

Nope, I can’t imagine a Dungeon’s & Dragons (DnD) app without homebrewablity.
Being an absolute DnD noob, I found homebrewing and even frowned-upon meta-gaming behaviour fascinating. Homebrewing just made sense, it’s your game, your world, you build it from scratch, or tweak at something till it’s 2.0 worthy enough, for YOU. Sounds about right.

I approach building Wild Child in a way that anticipates resourcefulness as a personality trait. Chances are if you’re building a DnD app, you need to account for split-second decision making, exploring different ideas while actively doing something else and make “playing however you want” a part of your app’s offerings.

It’s the reason I made it so you can explore other beasts while actively wild shaping.
Oh, you’re Wildshaping as a kitty and sneakily following a suspicious entity down a dark alley to scope things out? Oh, flip! Your paladin bud, who decided to follow along for some odd reason, just rolled a Nat 1 on a dex check for their noisy AF armour… Now the entity just alerted four other suspicious entities! Oh, shi- time to be a damn BEAR now instead! (You can’t make this stuff up).

One of my friends knows a DM who refuses to play with Druid characters. And hey power to them, it’s their game, right? I get it. But it also made me incredibly sad. I absolutely LOVE druids! I get that there’s more management at times because of Wild Shape, but I thought – hey if I can make being a druid easier for a player or their DM, why the hell not?

Honestly, I find DnD5e’s beast list a little stifling. Expansions can solve that but would require me to introduce pay-to-use features. I’m still working out on how to approach that(That’s a future blog!).
Druids can observe a beast they encounter and then add that beast’s shape to their Wild Shape repertoire. I love that.

I want to introduce a feature where an encounter with an unlisted animal or a homebrewed beast can be added to your Wild Child’s database. So to do that, here are some considerations:

  • First off, will this feature be introduced in the upcoming beta?
  • What questions do I need to ask the creator when they’re building a homebrew beast?
  • To accomplish quick building, what existing app layouts can I reuse? 
  • What’s the best way to make homebrewed beasts shareable between app users?
  • How can I make a homebrewed beast editable and persistent?
  • Does this feature take care of a part of the problem with DnD5E beast limitations?
  • Is there a way to translate a Wild Child homebrew beast to other useful DND apps?
  • Is this a DM-specific feature, or just made with DM’s in mind?

Asking these questions helps build a creation road map. 
Whenever you’re considering a new feature, time and scope are important factors.

I want to take advantage of the fact that I have a few friends in a beta test group who are graciously helping improve Wild Child. I may or may not have that in the future. So even if I cannot have a fully polished feature, having a partially completed one opens the suggestion box for improvements I might not even think about right now. Prototyping early solves a lot of design issues. Independent development often suffers from: “Well, I know how it works, so obviously it is easy to understand”. Making this assumption can mess with the “true” usability of your app. Getting a prototype out to real people is a key factor for feature improvement.

So here are some initial wireframes for Wild Child’s homebrew beasts:

Ayeee, this is gonna be a fun layout to create *facepalm*

So hopefully, I can get this feature out to my gracious testers in time. The sharing feature might not make the beta, but I’ll try my best. Thanks for reading folks, I hope you enjoyed Wild Child’s new feature rant. Till next time!

She Codes Things | Wild Child Developer & Druidess