World Anvil has redefined what a worldbuilding timeline maker should be: a sleek modern interface that’s quick and intuitive to use and easily customizable. And most important of all, a tool that visualizes and describes the history of your world more clearly!
We’re so excited to share this amazing new update with you – just one part of our worldbuilding toolset – so let’s dig in.
What’s new in this Timelines Redefined update?
With the Timelines redefined update, we’ve overhauled the basic timelines feature and created something really special.
As you can see in the video above, the new timelines feature – called Standard Timelines – has two different modes: List mode and Timescale mode.
List Mode is similar to the old timelines on World Anvil. This will be ideal for showcasing events that happen close together in time, like RPG sessions, novel plot beats, or other events that unfurl over a few days, months or years.
But the really innovative addition is Timescale Mode. This shows your time as distance on the map: so the longer an event is (or the gap between events) the longer that appears. This is excellent for getting the grand scale of time, and it’s perfect for true worldbuilding timelines, like the history of your world, an entire civilization, or a long-standing city. You can track time in multiple lanes too, meaning you have many more options for creating parallel timelines, and tracking cause and effect between events that happen simultaneously. These timelines can get long, so we have added the mini-map and the quick jump arrows on the side to aid navigation.
Why these two modes? We learned from your feedback – especially your comments in our 2022 survey and our early Beta tester (A.K.A. the Alchemists Guild!) feedback – that you all use timelines in different ways! For those of you tracking time over decades and centuries, you wanted to be able to show that time in scale. Others use timelines for lists of events that happen quickly one after another. With Standard Timelines, you can swap back and forward between List Mode and Timescale Mode on the same timeline, giving you different perspectives on your events and history.
Quality of Life & Ease of Use Improvements to Timelines
Our other improvements have focussed on quality of life and ease of use. You can now create events and eras VERY quickly (I managed to make 24 in ONE minute while testing!). The advanced filtering system means you can more easily find and sort events by title, subscriber group, private/public, or tags. You also have more power to customize the timeline, events and eras, and even use gifs for animated era backgrounds, to add some extra flair! And, of course, guild members have access to advanced CSS capabilities, if they want to go EVEN further.
GIVE US FEEDBACK ON THE WORLD ANVIL TIMELINES REFRESH!
How to use World Anvil’s new timelines?
Of course, we’ve created the full tutorial for World Anvil’s timelines so you can learn all the ins and outs of this powerful new worldbuilding feature.
With this addition, you may also be wondering which type of timeline will best serve your worldbuilding needs? Well, we’ve created this handy quick guide to walk you through!
What about users with pre-existing timelines?
If you already have a timeline in World Anvil, then GOOD NEWS! You can easily port it over to the new system with a simple click of a button! Go to the Timelines list page and click the Legacy button, to swap. If you want to
WHO’S DONE ALL THIS GREAT WORK?
Timelines has been (fittingly) a LOOOOOOONG project – it’s a complete redesign from the ground up, while maintaining compatibility with our old system! So a massive shout out to the whole team: Dimitris for spearheading this initiative based on feedback from our 2022 user survey: Dimi and Quentin for the beautiful designs; Anna, Nondas and Mikolaj for building a beautiful system, Stephan and Katerina and Manu for back end, component and design. And of course, our in-team user advocates (shout out to Roc and Ioanna) for all the testing and support, as well as the incredible Alchemists Council – our community beta-testers – who have helped us refine and finalize timelines into something truly spectacular!
Oh, and if you DO find a bug that managed to crawl through all our many tests, please let us know! You can report World Anvil bugs here.
What about other new features on World Anvil?
We have MANY more upgrades in the works for World Anvil features, so make sure you subscribe to the blog to hear about them first! We’ve already announced that we’ll be making more efforts this year to bring time into closer alignment across the website, so expect to see more upgrades in that area later this year.