Grouvee

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Extra Life

Hi everyone.

I want to talk to you today about the Extra Life charity today. Extra Life is a charity group that supports the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) group. They hold an annual event where gamers gather around the world for a 24 hour gaming marathon in order to raise money for the CMNH. It’s kind of like a 5K run/walk, except you sit on a couch/chair/beanbag/floor for a whole lot longer, drink a bunch of caffeine, and play games instead of run.

So what does Grouvee want from you? We want you to join our team! Basically that means you create a fundraising page, join the Grouvee team, and attempt to raise money for the CMNH hospital of your choosing. Simple!

This year, the gaming marathon is occurring on October 25th, starting at 8am Central time, and ending 24 hours later. If you can’t do it on that date, or you can’t do it for 24 hours straight, no big deal! Do it on your own time, at your own pace. The marathon is more of a symbol, and the fundraising is the more important part of the whole thing. The marathon just helps get people to donate.  

We had a modest goal of $500, but we’ve already surpassed that, and would love to get to $1000 by the day of the event. If you don’t want to join our team, consider donating to the cause to help out! Simply click here, and click the donate button in order to donate to the team. We will love you forever!

If you have any questions, email me at peter@grouvee.com.

Thanks,

Pete

New features!

I built a couple of new features into Grouvee today!

The first, which I’m most excited about, is you can now let Grouvee tell you what to play next. Simply go to any of your shelf pages, and click the Tell Me What To Play button in the top right corner. We’ll pick a game from that shelf, and tell you to go play it! This feature has the potential to be a lot more advanced, but for now, random works pretty well.

The next feature is one that many people have asked for. You can now suggest games to be added to the Grouvee database. Go to www.grouvee.com/games/ and click on the Suggest a game button. That will take you to a page where you can fill out a couple of fields, upload some box art, and submit it for us to take a look at.

What we’ll do with the submitted information is verify that it needs to be added, then we’ll go add it to the Giant Bomb database for you. Once it’s moderated over on Giant Bomb, Grouvee will pick it up in a day or two.

When submitting games to Grouvee, we need a few things: the correct, full name of a game, good, high quality box art, a unique, short description of the game, and any other pertinent information you want added (developer, publisher, release date, Steam page/game webpage, etc.).

I’m pretty excited about these new features. Take a look at them, and let me know if you want to see anything tweaked. As always, you can get a hold of me on Twitter (@grouvee) or email peter@grouvee.com

-Pete

What I’ve been working on

There’s been a few little changes here and there on Grouvee in the last few months, but not a lot of feature development. 

I’ve been working on changing how the collections on Grouvee work, and it’s kind of taken me away from developing many of the features everyone has been asking for (export a collection, import a collection, mobile app, etc.). (I’ve also been playing and replaying Dark Souls 2, so that’s taken away a lot of time too :) )

Here’s a brief explanation of how collections currently work on Grouvee. Everyone has a series of shelves. Each shelf has its own list of games. A game can live on any one of those shelves at any time. So when you add a game to your Played shelf, and your custom PS3 shelf, it gets added to each shelf’s list of games. In order to determine what games are in someone’s collection, we have to grab each shelf that is owned by that person, then merge all of the games from each one of those shelves’ list of games.

That all sounds fairly reasonable, but it presents a lot of data problems. Not to mention it’s not terribly efficient! If you want to specify which platform you own a game on, you have to do it per shelf currently. When you remove a game from a shelf, you lose all of the platform data. Very annoying!

What I’m doing currently is moving the collection data model over to a system where each user has a master list of games, and shelves are more like tags vs. being their own list like they are now. In other words, you’re going to have a master collection, and you’re going to be able to tag and untag games without losing platform data because removing a game from a “shelf” doesn’t mean removing it from your collection anymore.

It’s taken me a while to wrap my head around how it should work, but I think I’ve got it straightened out now.

It’s a tricky process doing the data migration, and with a full time “real” job, as well as Dark Souls 2 taking up my free time, I don’t get to spend a ton of time working on Grouvee. I hope to finish the data migration off fairly soon so that I can get back to building the features people have been asking for because I want to keep everyone happy and coming back!

I love everything about Grouvee, and the people that make up the community. I felt like I’ve owed an explanation for what’s been going on for the last few months. If you have any questions or comments, shoot me an email: peter@grouvee.com

-Pete

Specifying the platform for a game

I pushed out what I think is a pretty cool new update to Grouvee this evening. You can now specify the platform for a game on a shelf. 

What the heck does that mean?

That means in addition to putting BioShock Infinite on your Played shelf, you can also specify that you played the PC version of the game.

How do I do that?

When you add the game to any of your shelves, a little notification comes up in the bottom left corner of the screen. Now that little notification has an “edit” link:

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When you click the edit link, a dialog will come up with a drop down box containing your shelves on the left, and a list of platforms the game is available for on the right:

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Check all the platforms you want to put on that shelf, and click the Save Changes button on the bottom right side of the dialog. 

You can also bring this dialog up by going to a game’s page, and underneath the shelf buttons, there will be an Edit Shelf Details link if you have the game on a shelf already. Lastly, on your My Games page, there is an Edit link under the new Platforms column.

What does this do for me?

Good question. When you go to your My Games page, you will see a new column called Platforms. This will list all the platforms you have specified for that game on that shelf. 

You will also be able to filter your shelf by platform. In our little example here, you put the PC version of BioShock Infinite on your Played shelf. If you were to go to your Played shelf, and filtered by the PC platform, BioShock Infinite would show up. You could almost call it a smart shelf.

This is a feature a decent amount of you have been asking for recently, and I’m really happy to be able to show you a version of it. I’m sure there are ways we can make this feature better, but for now, I need everyone to try it out and let me know what you think!

There’s a bunch of ways to give us feedback. The feedback button on the right side of every page is an easy way to send us an issue or idea. We check the Twitters all the time (@grouvee). Email works support@grouvee.com. Whatever works for you!

As always, thanks for using Grouvee!

-Pete

Grouvee User Directory

We pushed a new feature today that I’ve seen quite a few people ask for. There is now a searchable user directory on Grouvee located at www.grouvee.com/user/!! I’ve had lots of people complain that they couldn’t find their friends despite knowing their username, so this should alleviate that problem. 

This also opens up the possibility of showing off cool new stats for people to see. Keep an eye out on that page for cool new stuff. 

Also, I changed up the navbar a bit. I shrunk the logo down, got rid of the textured background, and made the search bar not look goofy. Hope you like the minor new look!

-Pete-

Sep 2

Import your Steam games into Grouvee!

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You can now import your Steam library into Grouvee!!!

So instead of spending a whole bunch of time going through your Steam library and adding them manually to your Grouvee collection, you can let us do it automatically for you! All you have to do is set your custom Steam community URL in your Grouvee profile, and we’ll take care of the rest. You can read more about it here: http://www.grouvee.com/help/

We also import any time play reported by Steam and automatically add that to the Grouvee database.

There is a little catch though. We don’t have every Steam game mapped to its proper Grouvee game. You can help us out with that though! When your library is imported, if there are any games we don’t have mapped to the proper Grouvee game, you’ll get an email with a link that will let you quickly map Steam games to Grouvee games. We make our best guess at which game it should line up with, and you tell us if we’re right or not. Once one person maps a game, anyone else with that game in their Steam library will get the benefit of you helping out!

So head over to http://www.grouvee.com/settings/ right now and fill in your Steam Community URL right now!

Aug 4

Grouvee Facebook Integration

We have a beta version of Facebook integration working currently.

If you have our integration enabled, whenever you add a game to your collection that isn’t already there, Grouvee will add it to your Facebook timeline.

To enable the integration, you first need to connect your Facebook account by going to your settings page (http://www.grouvee.com/settings/#tab_settings) and clicking the Connect Facebook button. Login to your Facebook account, and accept the permissions that Grouvee asks for. Once your Facebook account is connected, you can then go back to your settings page and check the box that says Post Games to my Facebook Timeline. Save your settings, and you’re all done!

At first your games most likely won’t show up on your Timeline, but will instead be put into your Activity Log. To make the games show up on your Timeline, you’ll need to go to your Activity Log on Facebook, find the Grouvee stories you want to display, and “Highlight” them on your Timeline. The more games you do that to, the more Facebook will start to think you value Grouvee, and will feature more games on your Timeline. 

Thanks again for using Grouvee!

-Pete-

Jul 4

Blog widget

I just pushed an update today that has a pretty cool new feature in it. If you’ve wanted to show off a particular shelf on your own website or blog, I’ve built a simple little javascript widget that should let you do that.

All you need to do is go to the page of the shelf you want to feature, click the “Widget for this shelf” link, then copy and paste the code over to your site. If you run a Wordpress site, I believe you’re going to need to install a javascript enabling plugin to make this work. http://wordpress.org/plugins/html-javascript-adder/ is a good one that lets you add a javascript widget to your sidebar.

If you have any questions, or issues with it, let me know!

-Pete-

Notifications

I’ve been working hard on a lot of new features for Grouvee recently, but I haven’t pushed anything new out in a while. I decided to divert off of some of the stuff I’ve been working on recently and build a real quick notifications system.

It always bugged me when I wouldn’t see a comment on a status or a review of mine when I’d miss the email. Plus, email can get delayed occasionally, and some people don’t check it all that often, etc. All I wanted was a little spot in the upper righthand corner that said if something new had happened that you should probably know about. 

When you login to Grouvee next time, you’ll see a new link in your header bar that says New Notifications. When you click on it, the last 5 notifications for you will show up, as well as a link to see all of your notifications (up to 100). 

Let me know if you have any issues with it, or if you want to see something changed.

Thanks (-Pete)

Twitter Integration

We’ve added some pretty cool Twitter integration to Grouvee in the last few days.

You can now sign up/sign in to Grouvee using your Twitter account if you so desire. If you already have an existing account, head over to your profile and click the button that says Connect Twitter. If you don’t have a Grouvee account, you can now easily sign up for an account using your Twitter credentials.

If you use Grouvee status updates, you’ll now see there’s a new checkbox underneath the status box. If you check the Post to Twitter box, Grouvee will tweet out your status for you!

People have been asking for more Twitter integration, so we built it for you! Hopefully you enjoy. Feedback is always welcome.

-Pete