Synk - Q3 2022 Update

Update 9/29/2022

Unfortunately there has been an issue discovered with Auth0 and Google OAuth login flows that has made it yet again impossible to log into the website with. I wish a single auth provider could reliably work without having to deploy a fix every month or so but that seems impossible. So until further notice the website will be unavailable. The data you have uploaded and managed will be stored and recovered at a later time.

Below is the original posting

Hello! When given unlimited time an engineer will rewrite the same thing multiple times in order to optimize anything unnecessarily. When you’re a solo engineer you can’t afford to let technical debt become insurmountable. Synk started as a modest side project in 2016 born from the desire to have synced audio without the need for a direct stream. With version 0.7 that has been achieved to the point where I’m comfortable leaving it as is for the moment. There are plenty of features still yet to implement, and they will come in time!

Update 0.7 isn’t as large as 0.6, but it’s only been 2 months since the last update. I’m trying to keep these updates much closer together so that the development version is as close to production as possible. High levels of automation have made that possible. The pipeline is completely autonomous and portable across a variety of cloud providers. Built into the application fabric is a chaos-resistant framework of primitives that allows D20Kit to be resistant to a lot of different kinds of infrastructure failure.

Synk Editor

With update 0.7 the Synk editor sees a new facelift. Gone are the days when you have to scroll the entire editor. Scenes will now have a maximum height of the browser window, if there are more tracks than the height allows then only the tracks will scroll.

The volume sliders are a little different with this update. For the major controls such as the local and scene volumes they will retain their color. Individual tracks now only have color when moving the slider. When not interacting with the volume slider a bar will show at a glance where the volume is. Individual tracks are now slightly larger to accommodate potentially longer track names.

Multiple improvements were made in the editor to call out when an issue is found. This is mainly relevant for newly created rooms where the UI can look quite sparse. There is more work to do in this area, but that will have to wait until a later time.

From Synk to D20Kit and Beyond

I started Synk roughly around February 2016 at the time the simple goal was to have a simple tool which allowed linking to an audio file and synchronizing it with all the people within the same room. Around this time Critical Role started to gain a massive following, this is also when I streamed D&D games of my own. I’ve always felt a drive to create experiences for people that are unique, something to remember. In the pursuit of this I wanted to create an ambiance that players could feel.

Tabletop storytelling has a lot to offer and I want to enable groups to experience immersive stories. What lies ahead is months to years of work. Six years of fiddling with Synk has left me wanting to bite off a new challenge. In those six years I’ve had a lot of opportunity to think of ideas that could help fill the gap between experienced and new storytellers.

Synk will remain free to use and will be supported for a long time. Synk will have its features frozen for the time being, but it is not the end of feature development. Stay tuned! If you would like to support the development please check out my Ko-fi.

Why now?

A lot has changed in my life over these past six years and a lot within the past year has had me change perspective on a lot. D20Kit is a huge project and being a single person building it all means that a lot of decisions have to be made, and I’m the one who lives with all the consequences. Most single developers have a few choices when it comes to building software. A lot tend to choose to pull software that is hosted by companies, either by temporarily skirting by on the free tier or shoveling money into the SaaS ecosystem.

Using SaaS projects can be a great way to test out projects and ideas, but to build a business on SaaS is to hand over a significant amount of control of your application to corporations which may not be aligned with your business goals. With the market downturn it has become apparent that a lot of these open source companies with their very generous free tiers are unsustainable. I want to offer a sustainable product that won’t be at risk to large price adjustments. I hate when companies grow so large too quickly that their pricing tiers can’t keep up with their own growth. So they opt to break customer trust and raise the price on them. I hope to never have to do that to anyone that finds supporting D20Kit worth their earned money.

Growth of a product is hard and once a platform is released the amount of time and effort to forward migrate during discovery phrase increases exponentially the more that is written. The plan from here is to start tackling the larger feature set. The current version will remain up while the application gets an overhaul to fully utilize the stack that has been developed over the last few blog posts. I’m also going to be moving a lot of the progress and update news to my Ko-fi. Large updates to the production version will still be posted on this blog.

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