Early on this year (back in the first week of January), larptickets.com opened its doors for the first time. It is the official ticket selling arm of Dziobak studios. LARPBook had a hand in its creation and I thought now might be a good time to talk about that. I’ve waited till now for 2 reasons.
- I wanted to make sure it was working – I’d rather fix a fault than tell people to look at something with issues
- I wanted to let Dziobak go first, (and they did write a magnificent blog post about its launch.)
So let’s start with what larptickets is. It is an open system for selling both event tickets and additional purchases – such as transfer busses between airports and events.
Why am I going into detail? Well, LARPBook (Rob and Stuart on this job) wrote the system working closely with Dziobak (Claus and Agata on their side).
I thought it might be a good idea to talk about the process. I don’t see the need to go into the technology as the site is about 95% off the shelf open source components. We did write a few small software extensions to get it just right. The point though is by using tried and tested open source software the cost was low but the output was high.
The project started with Claus Raasted looking for an alternative to PayPal for taking payments. He is not alone in thinking that PayPal costs are high. Especially when you are selling items worth hundred of Euros. He asked his question to the larping community on Facebook and almost universally people said look at Stripe. We actually agree. Stripe is a great system for taking card payments. It will not however run the whole process. For that you need a website.
Stuart proposed the idea of building a bespoke website and the project was born.
Most of the work ran through the week between Christmas and the New Year, and a few days into 2017. It was a quick turn around.
We worked in two ways. First of all roles were very quickly established based on ability. This broke down to
Stuart – liaison, and head copywriter. You may think of Stuart as being the podcast host. But he is actually excellent at putting copy in place.
Claus – Visionary, and more importantly editor. You may now Claus as the great larp evangelist. However to work with he is great and quickly understands what he needs and how to express it.
Agata – Awesome behind the scenes person and the one making sure the whole system could be worked.
Rob – Explaining how things worked and hitting the internal machinery of the website with a very large hammer.
This meant the team was not too big (that would have just caused far too much debate) and more importantly that everyone understood what they were doing. Also critical. If a team gets too large the issue of who is responsible for what soon rears its ugly head.
Throughout the project Claus and Agata were in one country and we were in another. Fortunately we have the Internet. We did not use email. Instead all written communication went through a group on Facebook Messenger. This made it open to all, direct and easy to pass comment. In addition a great deal of conversation and screen sharing happened via appear.in. If you’re not aware of appear.in then take a look as it allows for the quick and easy creation of online meeting rooms with chat and screen sharing facilities. It is outstanding.
Stuart held the project together during its life, by being the most active communicator, whilst the rest of us ran around and did our bits. That worked well.
If this project was about one thing it was about members of the larp community with varying backgrounds and skills coming together to achieve a common goal. I’ve often thought of larpers as being the nicest group of people I know and what happened here to quickly go through a process of ideas, decisions, education and construction really did prove that point to me. If the larp community works together then a lot of good things can happen.
Well larp tickets is up and running so what next?
Well first and foremost LARPBook will support larp tickets to help keep it running at its best. I’m sure also that Dziobak will keep coming up with cool larping ideas
It also marks an interesting point in LARPBook’s life as we created something new for another larp group. This is not going to be an isolated interested as we are already looking at an updated web site for a UK larp club and a major overhaul of larpbook itself.
Good things happen with cooperation.