Written September 20, 2019
The Vesta software was created for roleplay, by a roleplayer (the main admin of this site, in fact!), in early 2019. The software was designed to remove a lot of the barriers for roleplaying that forum softwares tend to be rife with, and remove a lot of the set up steps in creating a roleplaying site, and joining one. There are a good number of features that are available with it, and we'll go over the most notable ones here. This software is still somewhat new, and people tend to be unfamiliar with it, of course, but it is very easy to use and tends to just make sense.
Unlike many forum softwares, Vesta uses HTML, not BBCode. Simply, users cannot access the HTML source of posts, and it is run through a sanitiser.
Where other forum softwares will collect email addresses, Vesta does not. It simply requires a username and password to log in. If the password is forgotten, it can be reset by answering a security question. (Due to a bug in the system, you may need to select and input this question and answer twice in your profile; the answer field needs to read that an answer is stored, not be blank.)
It is recommended to keep your username and display name different, so that it is harder to brute-force attack your account. Your password should also be at least orange on the strength bar, though the system will not bar you from using a red one.
Character Creation and Management
Characters are separate from user accounts, but fully managed by them. Users do not need to switch from one account to another; in fact, they can't. Character details can be changed from the Manage Sims screen. Once logged into a user account, find the menu button at the top of the site (it may be a three-bar icon only on mobile devices and small-screen laptops) and click or tap it. It'll pull out a menu on the left side, which has the manage Sims option.
The biography is tabbed. You'll need to click each tab in order to navigate through the biography that's offered. As of now, it's a mostly free-form system with a textarea for writing up a profile, and you may put as much or as little into it as you'd like. Simprovise does not require profiles to be approved before the character is available for play, so simply tick the checkbox labelled ready for play at the bottom and save, or click the ready to play button on the character listing screen, to enable that character to be posted with.
Also available are editing them after completion, managing thread tracker entries, and deletion. Be careful. Once a Sim is gone, they are gone.
Automatic Thread Tracker
When a character posts to a topic, or creates one, that topic is automatically added to their thread tracker. This keeps track of all the threads that a character has participated in, to give an idea of what a character has done and their journey and development since joining the site. Tracker entries cannot be added manually, so a character must manage at least one post in a thread for it to be added. Entries added by mistake can be deleted, and entries may be edited to add in short summaries of threads and the events that occur in them.
The alert system does not make sound, but will denote a new alert has been received at the top of the site on the bar. Clicking the alert button on the bar will show a drop-down of alerts you've received and their summaries, as well as mark them read. You can then visit the alerts page, linked in the drop, to view them all and remove alerts.
Alerts are sent for: new posts in subscribed threads; new personal messages; news items posted on the site; @ mentions; custom alerts sent from the staff. Subscribed threads can be removed in the manage subscriptions section.
The mention system works how it sounds. By inputting a certain code, you'll be able to tag another user into a thread, linking to their profile and alerting them of the mention. This is useful for creating threads for certain players, and making sure they see the new thread (following the thread will afterwards remove the need to @ mention every post, so please don't, as the system will then send two alerts every time and it can become grating).
To do this, type a username in between the brackets: @  (no space before the first bracket and the @). It will convert when posted. Usernames with spaces in them cannot be @ mentioned at this time, this will be fixed in the next version if I can figure out why RegEx is being rude.
The editor has a timer on it when composing posts and new threads. Every few seconds, while a user is active typing, Vesta is saving the contents of your post to the database. If your computer or browser have technical issues, or your internet goes out, your post is stored safely in the database for you to come back to it later and continue your work.
Draft saving is automatic. It will work for new topics, posts on the forum, and in the messaging centre, but in the next version of Vesta, it will work globally, and store message data in browser local storage.
Mature content is possible in Simprovise; Vesta has a functionality for it that makes mature content need to be opted into rather than just there. Members need to flip the mature switch on topics when it's become mature, to hide it from users that don't have it enabled. Users that are under age will not see it either; Vesta needs a valid birthdate along with mature content being turned on for a user in order to display it. Otherwise, it will hide it.
The messaging system can be used to contact players one on one. In order to do this, you'll need to visit your own messaging inbox and click create. From there, fill in the user's name. You can add more than one separated by a comma, no space, to send to multiple users. While it is not easy for users on the site to view these messages if they are not involved in it, there are ways of doing it in the backend, so don't state anything you wouldn't be okay with the admin seeing. I don't rifle through these messages for fun, but sometimes I see them doing maintenance.
The tagging system allows adding tags to threads that describe them in some way. Here on Simprovise, we use them to add characters' first names so that we know who is in what threads, and also add in complete and open tags as appropriate. Because users cannot lock their own topics, please add the complete tag and a staff member will be by to lock it eventually.
The timeline lists out all of the in-character threads in chronological order. This makes it easy for other players to remember what happens when, both absolute dating and in relation to other events. This helps everyone stay on track, and not accidentally contradict one another, or metagame or retcon.
Due to its presence on the site, thread starters will need to date their threads. If it is not dated, it did not happen, as far as site canon is concerned. (Unfortunately, it's either we have a timeline, or we don't. It cannot be optional.) If you're not sure what the date should be, you're always welcome to ask.