So, I’ve had a busy couple months…

PlayerLink Online started in 2010 as a small web tool for showing online pairings to players at Legion Grand Prix. Since then, it has been a catalyst for personal growth, providing a place for me to learn about practical web development, server infrastructure and configuration, internationalization, and more.

At the same time, the platform has allowed me to grow into the event community, providing a catalyst into working with several different organizations, and building out tools and features to fit their specific needs.

Grand Prixs have also evolved in these past several years. When I started, smartphones and mobile computing were still breaking out of nascency, 2000 players was the exception, and organizations tended to run — at most — 2-3 events a year. Today, Grand Prixs, along with most other large events, are monoliths of players and logistics, and mobile technology is pervasive in most cultures worldwide.

The evolution of Grand Prix in 2018 also provided a unique opportunity. Previously, my efforts were split, as I was balancing increasing loads at my full-time job, increasing demands (and costs) of event technology, and increased travel to scorekeep, my bandwidth to improve the platform had disappeared. That has, thankfully, changed for the better.

In partnership with CFB Events, I would like to introduce PlayerLink Online, version 4.

There’s a lot of things to talk about here, and development will be both active and ongoing throughout 2018, but here’s a partial list of what the new site entails:

  • Brand new architecture, built on well-established frameworks: Symfony 4, and Bootstrap 4.
  • Support for an arbitrary number of events, with each event holding an unlimited number of tournaments. The entire platform is built around working equally-well for one tournament, 100 tournaments, and dozens of events.
  • Support for online registration, including credit card payments for nearly all currencies via integration with Stripe.
  • Tournaments supporting registration caps, timed registration cutoffs, waiver acceptance, etc.
  • Any tournament can be configured to accept decklist submissions. Decklist submitting has gone through some iterations, and is both restructured physically while having a couple new features. (for example, you can now import from a file, in just about any decklist format out there)
  • User account support.
    • For players, this currently provides basic DCI# validation, along with information autofilling when registering for events, or submitting decklists.
    • For staff, specific tools can be enabled at the account level, including decklist access, side event information portals, on-site registration tools, player exports for WER/WLTR, and more.

Features on their way…

  • Online pairings, using a brand-new communication architecture to enable near-real-time updates of online information.
  • “My Events” portal for players, where they can see pairings, decklists, and other information for all events they are associated with, from a single page.
  • Much more…

One important thing to mention here. PlayerLink Online v4 — just like the previous versions — is not exclusive to one organization or event. Initial versions are being built specifically to provide functionality for Grand Prix tournaments, but other tournament types (from conventions to stores) are being considered and built for. There are not any timeline for a full release, however if you have an event (or series of events) that this platform may be a good fit for, I would encourage you to get in touch.