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Author:  trevor [ Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:33 am ]
Post subject: 

Good points and ideas

Author:  lmarkus001 [ Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RttToEE

Session/Technology Update
MapTool 1.3b49

Over the New Year's weekend we had our 20+ year marathon event (we get together from all over for a long gaming weekend). For that weekend we played strictly tabletop environment with no MapTools. The D&D 4E stuff was painful without MapTools. 4E battle is FAR more cumbersome than earlier D&D versions and MapTools takes all of that burden away. Our D&D3.5 adventure worked well, and since there were 13 players and a DM, I am not sure MapTools would have been the right answer for that chaos.

So, our weekly game session continues and I continue to use MapTools to run the Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. With b48/49, I added a first cut at a character sheet for the tokens. Additionally, the story has now progressed to the point that I need to map out the 300+ "room" dungeon. Urk.

I quickly tossed out the idea of putting this monstrosity all on one map. That is just too much to ask of poor ol' MapTools (and my PC). Plus, thanks to CJack42, I have some gorgeous maps of many of the areas in the dungeon (vs. the muddy crap that comes with the module). So I really want to make use of these amazing maps. My compromise has been to make one map that is the mega overview where I will manually uncover fog as the PCs explore. Then I am making a new MT map for various sub areas. Here I am dealing with tool limitations...

1) Light sources
Initially I had 20 light source objects (torches, lanterns) plus what the PCs carried. This brought the tool to its knees. So I quickly turned off most of my added sources and once I got down to 10 or less light sources we were able to proceed. So torch lined hallways may be cool, but they require serious processing.

2) Cross map tokens
Since my massive dungeon is broken into chunks, tokens will be moving from map to map. The cut-paste mechanism works, but is non-intuitive, and scary. I am always afraid I am going to copy instead of cut, or I will fail to paste or some other potentially loss inducing operation. I live with it, and it is bearable, but not smooth.

During the session we had a couple of tool hiccups noted here:

  • Frames. The character sheet, and image handout functions I use, open up frames. A very large percentage of the time, the frames fail to open visibly and then the client needs to have Window--Restore Layout run. This totally hoses the window layout and causes one heck of a lot of moaning and whining and I often have to wander around and help people reset their windows. (The windows in MT are very flexible but most of my players have not encountered that type of docking before and get confused and frustrated by them.)
  • Library token. My Handout macro sends a link to chat for folks to click to have a frame with an image in it show up (thanks Potace for the great idea!). This worked on my GM machine just fine, but my players got an error when they would click the link. In the end it turned out the Lib: token needs to have checked Visible to Players. It can live on the Hidden layer though.

Maptools with 3 unstacked character sheets open to different parts of the sheet:

P.S. - MapTools keeps getting better and better. Any "issue" comments I make here are really just to help with the betterment of the tool, but overall it is quite wonderful!

Author:  trevor [ Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RttToEE

Could you email me your full 20 light source map ? I'd love to profile it.

Hopefully the updated libraries from JIDE Soft will resolve the docking issues

Thanks for the report back !

Author:  lmarkus001 [ Sat Jan 31, 2009 5:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RttToEE

Session/Technology Update
MapTools 1.3.b50

My session last night went really well. The light performance enhancements helped a ton! I had 7 player PCs (8 players, 2 shared one machine) connecting into the server machine, and had a session high count of tokens and light sources and it worked really well! Including spell and effect timers, I think we had near 20 items in the Initiative panel.

Our only point of failure was with the Initiative panel. There is a long standing bug around deleting tokens that have entries in the Init panel. Well this accidentally happened and all of the connected machines lost their initiative panels (either the panel vanished or ceased to function) while it kept working on the server. We kept playing and I (the DM) just called rounds as this happened late in the evening. When we called a stop, I did a reload and had a few folks reconnect and that restored their initiative panels. I will work on an example case and if I can make a reliable one I will post up a bug report. Note that this is better than it used to be, in the past deleting a token that was in the init panel would totally crash the MapTools server.

We did notice some slowdowns later in the evening and my memory use on the server had creeped up to 630 MB (on the same map I previously had not gone over 450MB). We were so busy playing it was not possible to spend the time reloading to see if that helped performance.

Author:  trevor [ Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RttToEE

I'm glad the performance improvements helped out, it was your campaign that directly contributed to that improvement :)

Author:  lmarkus001 [ Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RttToEE

Spoiler alert, don't click this if you are playing RttToEE:


For my members that miss the night, I am now including a composite screenshot that shows where they ended for the evening. The image on the left is the map they were on, on the right is the overall dungeon map.

I have one map in MapTools that is the entire dungeon and I manually expose the fog on that one. This gives them a nice overview.

I am using CJack42's maps of the CRM for strategic battles and exploration, and they are really wonderful. I am only sad he seems to have gone away from the forums and I have lost touch with him.

Author:  Paradox [ Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RttToEE

lmarkus001 wrote:
Spoiler alert, don't click this if you are playing RttToEE:

http://groupworld3e.webexone.com/ann.da ... 090220.png

This image seems to be password protected. At least when I try to look at it.

Author:  lmarkus001 [ Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RttToEE

Oops, ok reposted it somewhere you should be able to see now.

Author:  Azhrei [ Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RttToEE

Cool. I like the one on the left -- it looks like it's custom and not the one from the module, right? Be sure to save those, since I'm certain that the ZansForCans site would love to have those images! Or even the MapTool campaign file!

My old OuterFane and InnerFane campaigns were built with 1.2 and I don't have any way to get them into 1.3. :( So I'm rebuilding the InnerFane map using 1.3.b50. I'll post the new campaign file on my site when I get it done and provide a link to it.

Author:  lmarkus001 [ Sun Mar 08, 2009 6:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RttToEE

Yeah that is from the set that CJack42 did, they are really nice!


Author:  lmarkus001 [ Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RttToEE

Spoiler alert, don't click this if you are playing RttToEE:

End of Night Screen Shot

MapTools continues to enable us and allow us to play when otherwise we might not be able too. Last week I had 3 remote users, one because of baby, one because of far away, and the last because he had gotten two tickets for an invalid vehicle registration because he had put the wrong sticker on the wrong car ... so he dared not drive!


I had a couple of technical issues last session. One is new to b53, one is very old and ongoing.

I host MT on my desktop, then remotely connect in with my laptop and use that remote connection to display MT from the desktop. I do this because the desktop is beefier and has all of my image resources readily available. Well I had some very stinky Troglodytes, and one PC was carrying around a copper piece with Silence cast on it, so I thought this would be an EXCELLENT opportunity to use the new Aura feature. At first, folks had a hard time seeing the auras, but I tweaked the colors and it worked great for everyone but me. It turns out my laptop display washes out the auras for some reason. (Later I tried using the laptop with MT running on it instead of using the remote window, and the auras were STILL washed out.) So I am not sure what is up there, but the auras are very washed out and I just could not make them dark enough to see. (Maybe an opacity parameter would be good?)

My other continuing long term issue is cross-map token movement. I have put up a feature request for a function that would be HUGE in easing these issues: viewtopic.php?f=26&t=7722 . I have monsters and PCs running from map to map constantly (the CRM is a MASSIVE dungeon and really must be broken up for performance). Well I have to Cut/Paste them which causes these issues:

  • Lost from Initiative -- The initiative panel is map based. I just live with this, but a setting map/campaign for the panel would be nice.
  • Broken Frames -- We use a character sheet frame, and that is tied to the token ID which changes when you cut/paste. So those frames have to be closed and reopened every map change.
  • Wild and Crazy Paste Placement -- When I Cut a group of tokens, then paste them, they get pasted all over the darn place. One last week ended up about 2000 units from any active map space.

Author:  trevor [ Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RttToEE

b53 items noted, thanks for the report !

Author:  Azhrei [ Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RttToEE

lmarkus001 wrote:
It turns out my laptop display washes out the auras for some reason. (Later I tried using the laptop with MT running on it instead of using the remote window, and the auras were STILL washed out.)

Have you looked at the Display properties in detail? Specifically the number of colors and how much hardware acceleration is being applied? You might find that the JVM is using features of the hardware that other applications don't, so setting that haven't made any difference in the past may make a difference now.

Author:  lmarkus001 [ Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RttToEE

I run at 16 bit color for performance, and have the ATI settings optimized for performance as I also run EverQuest on that laptop. The performance settings probably do have an impact, if I find myself bored sometime I will run MT and play around with those settings to see what happens...

Author:  lmarkus001 [ Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RttToEE

Spoiler alert, don't click this if you are playing RttToEE:

End of Night Screen Shot


MapTools worked swimmingly!!! No significant issues at all. We were stressing macros with tons of timers and states and character mods and it all worked great!

There was this one issue with my data population where my Manticore was getting full STR bonus to its ranged tail spikes... this about annihilated the first recipient until someone called foul (I dump all combat mods to chat so all can see) and viola, life was returned to the previously unfortunate fellow...

My issue with visible auras (see last update here) was just that, MY issue. It turns out I had set the Vision Opacity to 20... so yeah the auras were hard to see at that setting.

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