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All Multiverse, All The Time

It's been a little while since I've posted here. What have I been up to?

The answer, most emphatically, is Multiverse.

What is Multiverse? It's an online database for home-made Magic: the Gathering cards, that I wrote in September or so and have been adding features to since then.

Does anyone bother using such a site? Somewhat to my surprise, yes, people do. The site's got over 50 cardsets, with well over 3000 cards between them, and almost 3000 comments discussing them. Definitely most pleasing is the number of active users, though. It delights me when over breakfast I check the Recent Activity view and see that six different people have been active on five different cardsets just in the six hours since I last checked.

So you've been spending a lot of time on it? Er, yes. In two modes: producer and consumer, you could say, or developer and client. This is what comes from writing a piece of software that I'd want to use: now I use it... So my default activity for a bit of time on my own, either during a coffee break at work or during the evening if Rachael's gone to bed and I haven't, is to spend some time on Multiverse.

As a consumer, I'm designing a steampunk-themed set, and I've been gradually filling in card designs towards the 249 that'll make a complete set; and as a developer, I've been manically coding new features and bug fixes. I'm making about one release a week, with 2-3 features in a release, plus bug fixes and minor usability enhancements sometimes going live between releases.

It's great being a consumer of my own site. It means that I get the feel of what things are easy and fun to do, and what things aren't and should be. It means that I'm engaging with the community – I try to look at every new card design on the site, and although I don't always manage, I'd guess I've looked at 2500+ of them, and posted comments on a whole bunch of those :) And it means that whenever I use some feature on the site and it just works so well it's a pleasure, I get a glow of satisfaction at having built something that works well!

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