I've put most of my energy the last couple of weeks into reviving my weekly Westgate Campaign, including getting three new players on board. I'm very much looking forward to relaunching it in Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition (NWN:EE) on February 10th.
The agenda for the DMFI from the January 2019 project focus note hasn't changed and still reflects achievable long-term plans. However, my thinking on what is really necessary for supporting DM'd gaming in the community has evolved some, including a shift in personal priorities in the short term.
It's hard to get around the fact that it's difficult, or at least requires a lot of work, for new NWN DM and player groups to find each other, set up a game, and have everything needed on hand to support it, with no central multiplayer hub. For existing gaming groups, there's also not a central resource for bundling game scheduling, forums, chat and other resources. Persistent Worlds (PWs) are booming again in the NWN:EE era, which is a good thing to see, but by their nature are individual fragmented projects. There is still a demand for classic-style, small group multiplayer gaming, as shown by a recent Reddit topic ("Alternatives to Persistent Worlds").
After the demise of the old NeverwinterConnections.com site, which fulfilled the MP community hub role (and more), and with the pre-NWN:EE decline in the number of NWN players, the dropoff in campaign and small-group gaming was inevitable. I thought it was a natural phenomenon and was happy with just running my own DM'd campaign here, thanks to the resources offered by NWN Campaigns and Venture.
Post-NWN:EE, with a rising playerbase and an improved platform with technical support and ongoing development, it seems there's much more of an opportunity - and need - to have the community tools available to support DMs and players. For the DMFI, I assessed that getting the project framework and NWVault module links back up offered the biggest initial bang for the buck, in terms of making resources more easily available to the community again. Now, I would say that the biggest obstacle to supporting more DM'd gaming / small-group multiplayer is the lack of a central community site in the mold of Neverwinter Connections.
I'm therefore working on getting a new Neverwinter Connections (NWC) site and functionality up, with the idea of it being a free resource that anyone can use for scheduling games. NWC Forums would link here to the old Neverwinter Connections backups, which would be revived and updated. NWC Chat would be linked to the existing Neverwinter Connections Discord. Both site admin have indicated that they would welcome the integration.
I'm inclined to get a site published and publicly available that at minimum works for scheduling games with individual event pages and comments, is cleanly organized with the integrated links, and is simple to use, rather than waiting months to make it sexy and duplicate all of the old NWC features. (Given my current skills that would probably take far too long, in any case.) I'd plan to use it for scheduling my own campaign - which has players in five different time zones and is currently a big pain to coordinate times manually - and any side games I run, so even if the community doesn't do much with it, it'll still be personally worth doing.
Once that is launched, I expect I'll re-focus on the individual DMFI projects assigned to me, putting a NWN:EE DMFI base mod and an update of the DMFI 101 mods at the top of the list. I naturally still welcome comments on and interest in the DMFI agenda across the Design Team, Review Team and DM Training mission areas.
I've posted separately on the new NWC on its own topic in the backup Neverwinter Connections forums on this site:
A revival of the DM-Friendly Initiative (DMFI) for NWN
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Further to the above, and as posted elsewhere, the new Neverwinter Connections is now up and running: