"One Sunday a few years ago, my mapper was mentioned on a Kotaku article and got a lot of traffic and i quickly had to retool some parts of the site to cache database queries and optimize to not get me in trouble with my hosting provider."
Dave of Dave's Mapper is today's creator.
How did you get into creating RPG Tools?
Dave’s Mapper is the only real big generator project I've done.
I'm also a puzzle author and software engineer so sometimes I make little toys like maze generators for my own amusement, but in the case of the mapper, I got into it because i found a quick thrown-together generator for the same purpose and helped fix a bug on it.
After that, I just got permission to keep adding more and more features and stuff and maintaining it as my own shindig.
What are the most painful lessons you've learnt from creating rpg tools?
I think some of the biggest headaches are less about programming and more about people.
For instance, I often get requests for permission to use the art for commercial purposes, which I don't have the ability to grant for anyone but myself. There's a lot of work involving communicating with the artists who've contributed, which i think is a unique challenge related to this type of generator versus purely computer-made content.
I also painfully learned how to troubleshoot catastrophic growth, which i think is referred to as the “hug of death” around here on reddit. One Sunday a few years ago, my mapper was mentioned on a Kotaku article and got a lot of traffic and i quickly had to retool some parts of the site to cache database queries and optimize to not get me in trouble with my hosting provider.
What are your next big projects (rpg tools or otherwise) that you can talk about?
These days I keep pretty busy at my day job, but i plan to spend some time soon to reorganize my backlog for all my projects. They’re really varied: there’s the mapper, my puzzle blog at thegriddle.net, a small puzzle web app called Interst8, a small book project involving some illustration, and and my other illustration and art related interests. My work as a software engineer has given me some great ideas on how to fix some issues and make the mapper easier to use and I’m hoping to put the first part of that into place before the end of the year.
Where can people find you on social media?
On social media, I have accounts for the mapper at @davesmapper on Twitter and a FB page, I’m also on FB and Twitter as myself, David Millar (@davemillar), I’m on Mastodon at @email@example.com, Instagram at @davegoesthedistance, and the hub for all the random things I do is Dave Goes the Distance.
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