SmiteWorks Hires D&D Beyond Founder as Chief Development Officer of Fantasy Grounds

D&D Beyond founder joins virtual tabletop.

Adam_CDO.jpeg


SmiteWorks, owner of the Fantasy Grounds virtual tabletop, announced today that they hired Adam Bradford as their Chief Development Officer. Bradford was the founder of D&D Beyond, before leaving to join Demiplane, a generic D&D Beyond-style platform aimed at some game systems.

SmiteWorks USA, LLC, the developer behind the leading virtual tabletop software, Fantasy Grounds, is excited to announce the appointment of Adam Bradford as its new Chief Development Officer (CDO). Adam Bradford, a prominent figure in the tabletop gaming industry, brings a wealth of experience and expertise that will be instrumental in driving the company’s growth and innovation.

Adam Bradford is well-known for his pioneering work in the digital gaming space. He founded D&D Beyond, a digital toolset that transformed the way Dungeons & Dragons is played. Under his leadership, D&D Beyond experienced significant growth and was eventually acquired by Hasbro. Following this success, Adam joined Demiplane, another online tabletop roleplaying game company, where he led the development for a digital tools platform for a variety of other games, further cementing his reputation as a visionary in the industry.

In his new role at SmiteWorks, Adam will focus on expanding Fantasy Grounds’ market presence, enhancing user engagement, and user experience. He will oversee strategic initiatives across product development, business development, marketing, community engagement, and user acquisition. Adam’s innovative approach and proven track record make him an ideal fit for SmiteWorks as the company continues to push the boundaries of digital tabletop gaming.

"We are thrilled to welcome Adam Bradford to the SmiteWorks team," said Doug Davison, President of SmiteWorks USA, LLC. "Adam's expertise and vision will be invaluable as we work to grow Fantasy Grounds and provide our users with the best possible tabletop gaming experience. We have a lot of great things in the works for Fantasy Grounds and we believe Adam is the perfect addition to help us achieve our goals."

Adam Bradford expressed his enthusiasm for joining SmiteWorks, stating, "I am incredibly excited to be joining SmiteWorks and to have the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing success of Fantasy Grounds. The virtual tabletop space is evolving rapidly to make playing these games we love more convenient than ever, and I look forward to working with the outstanding team at SmiteWorks to continue driving innovation and growth in the tabletop roleplaying space."[/callout[]
 

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UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
The problem with this is FGU is not Windows-exclusive...
Well, yeah, that is an added complication but could be solved again by appropriate choice of languages and libraries. We (or at least I) do not know about the current architecture to say more. It is a problem that can be solved with enough effort. If that effort is worth the developer time and cost is another matter.
 

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The current feedback from their development team is that they have chosen to use the Unity Engine for their language and libraries so that unlike the previous version, they don't have to maintain that and can just purchase them. They also insist on only using libraries that are cross platform capable so that they do not need to have more than one development pipeline and they do not want to have to make adjustments to the various platform executables before they are delivered.

This decision has some downsides, but it also has a lot of benefits. The biggest benefit is it allows them to develop more quickly. If you look at the last few years of releases, you can see that they are releasing major updates roughly every 6 months. With minor updates about monthly. (Both very rough timelines.) Rulesets updates every few weeks and content updates every week. All of this while maintaining backwards compatibility and support a library of over 3000 DLC products.

No other VTT has that frequency of releases while having anywhere near the legacy content to support.

Sure, they could make pop out windows. They could make animated spell effects. They could do all sorts of things. But the costs, both in what other features don't get released or in the overhead that would get added to their pipeline has detrimental effects.

They are also the only big VTT that has been around for 20 years. It seems to me that they are making the right decisions to look towards the future.

The addition of @BadEye to the team (which seems to me like a great addition) and his statement that they are looking at usability and user interface, along with the architectural changes they have been making to the code that will support such, seems like they are doing thing right. It won't happen this month or next, but if they don't overwhelm their development pipeline with overhead, they will be able to maintain their awesome pace of innovation and in a few years there just may no longer be much debate about which premium VTT to chose.
 

timbannock

Hero
Supporter
in a few years there just may no longer be much debate about which premium VTT to chose.
Oh there will be. Seems like VTTs are where all the money is in TTRPGs right now, and I doubt that will change significantly in a few years.

In fact, I'd argue this news, Roll20's buying spree, and Hasbro dumping millions into DDB and its forthcoming VTT suggest we're in the next phase of what the TTRPG industry becomes.
 

In fact, I'd argue this news, Roll20's buying spree, and Hasbro dumping millions into DDB and its forthcoming VTT suggest we're in the next phase of what the TTRPG industry becomes.
Maybe. We certainly have had a whole slew of VTTs popping up and closing down over the last few years. But neither Roll20 or WotC have a very good track record of actually implementing VTT technology. So I wouldn't count on them as the drivers of the market.

If Foundry were to get some real capitalization so they could expand their employee base and then prove that they can actually run a business with more than a few employees, then I think they will be the real challenge. But at this point they don't have the money to keep up much longer. They are soon going to start having problems with pipeline overhead and technical debt that will not allow them to keep up their innovation unless they can support more people.

Competition is good. It's essential for consumers. It spurs development. It provides feedback. All of these pop ups helped explore what does and does not work. I believe a lot of this competition has been the impetus for a lot of the beneficial decisions the leading VTTs have made. It has helped drive a lot of improvements not just to FG, but to Foundry, and even Roll20.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
As I understand it (not a programmer but a longtime FG user) they could have chosen to include that pop out UI capability, but it would have broken peoples' existing libraries of purchased content and they decided it was too much to ask folks to re-buy material.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
As I understand it (not a programmer but a longtime FG user) they could have chosen to include that pop out UI capability, but it would have broken peoples' existing libraries of purchased content and they decided it was too much to ask folks to re-buy material.
As an ex-developer, I am having a hard time imagining a situation where this could be true, in an absolute sense.

I could see this being an issue when the split from Classic occurred and allowing free windows in the Unity version would break data compatibility from Classic and they did not have the resources to convert the existing modules.

But in the current version I would imagine that this is doable but a resources and development cost issue. In essence, is the cost of doing this right and seamlessly to the user going to cost more than the return in additional sales from ease of use?
 

Cordwainer Fish

Imp. Int. Scout Svc. (Dishon. Ret.)
The problem with that is that making new windows like that are very complicated programming wise I understand. There's very few programs out there that do this (AFAIK).
It ain't, but I don't ever want to see it happen. My screen is cluttered enough as it is.
 

As I understand it (not a programmer but a longtime FG user) they could have chosen to include that pop out UI capability, but it would have broken peoples' existing libraries of purchased content and they decided it was too much to ask folks to re-buy material.
They could have included the ability in FGU if they had abandoned the desire to be multi-platform. The last time the developers commented on this, they said that at that time their were no Unity libraries that they could purchase that would allow pop-out windows across all of their supported platforms. They could have a Windows only program that does this, but they would have to leave behind MacOs and Linux users. And then of course, iOS and Android users would probably be left behind too. (FG currently does not support iOS and Android, but they have announced they are working on it.)
 



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