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Kobold
 
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:36 am
Posts: 2
 Post subject: Web Version of Maptools
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:44 am 
Hey guys.

I'm considering writing a javascript version of a maptools inspired application. I'd love something as lightweight as possible that just runs in a web browser. I'm thinking something along the lines of google maps with a dnd/grid feel (tokens, grid movement, distances, etc)

I'm a web head and have started to dig into the Canvas API. anyone out there interested or have opinions? The begining sourcecode is completely available here:
http://github.com/wireframe/canvas-mapper

For the record, I'm a longtime user of maptools and don't want to start a flame war. I'm just a bit tired of needing 512MB of ram everytime i want to look at a map. :)


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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:20 pm
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 Post subject: Re: Web Version of Maptools
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:24 am 
Cool. You might want to check out the (much older) ScreenMonkey to see what they do as they're entirely browser-based as well. At least, on the client.

You might have some issues with performance when it comes to the FoW and VBL, but I'd certainly be interested in seeing what you come up with.

Do you plan to use GWT or something else? Or write it from scratch?


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Demigod
 
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:37 am
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Location: Germany
 Post subject: Re: Web Version of Maptools
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:41 am 
Wouldnt it be great to have a web client able to connect to a maptool server? Is this technical possible? Maybe supporting only map and chat, not scripting, etc etc...

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Dragon
 
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:48 pm
Posts: 290
Location: Lakewood, CO
 Post subject: Re: Web Version of Maptools
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:05 am 
CoveredInFish wrote:
Maybe supporting only map and chat, not scripting, etc etc...

A browser-based "viewer" that supported only map and chat would be useful as a way to let people sit in on games. I could also find uses for a browser based chat only


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Great Wyrm
 
Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:44 am
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Location: Atlanta, GA
 Post subject: Re: Web Version of Maptools
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:14 am 
It would be a great substitute for "projector view" as you put the browser on the second display and set it to full screen mode (F11).

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Kobold
 
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:36 am
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 Post subject: Re: Web Version of Maptools
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:21 pm 
Thanks for the feedback everyone.

My initial goal is to really focus on the "online map/grid" tool. Since my gaming group is not distributed, chat isn't high on my list (for now). I'm really focusing on an interaction very similar to the "projector" mode for my players.

initial testing shows that this is pretty promising. i will keep you all in the loop on how it progresses. I'm a jQuery junkie, so I'll be using that as my preferred framework for the javascript. once i get to a point requiring serverside storage (maintaining state and saving games), i'll probably be using a simple ruby on rails app.

Fog of war and line of sight are absolutely on my radar, but it'll be a while before i get to that.


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Giant
 
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 10:53 am
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Location: Dexter, MI
 Post subject: Re: Web Version of Maptools
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:30 pm 
Please, oh yes, please.

I run games at a conventions using a dual screen setup. Lugging a screen around is a bit of a pain, but I do it because it is easier than minis and drawing maps.

With the iPad coming out, how awesome would it be to be able to just pop that down on the table for everyone to see?

That would require either a custom view only app, or a browser based view. That would be awesome.

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Dragon
 
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 3:53 pm
Posts: 269
 Post subject: Re: Web Version of Maptools
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:55 pm 
javascript will be very challenging, with all the layers and effects, you'll find it quite hard to do... not to mention all the differences in each browser type (if you decide to follow maptools lead, you'll have to do it mainly in a cross os browser (best bet would be firefox i'd say), honestly, unless you are some web genious (i'm not aware of your skills) it'd be quite difficult.

if you ARE looking to do something like googlemaps or somesuch, take a look at ArcGIS Server, its another example of a mapping system, and it has full .net and java api's... its what i'm utilizing at the moment for work... they aren't pretty, but they can make a cool end result... also, there is a very widely used system that utlized adobe's FLEX environment (flash based scripting) called a FLEX viewer... its a pretty flashy map system, something that would be cool to take a look at... its fairly simplified then flash however... so i don't know how much use you could get out of it.

another option which i honestly think is a better idea is flash... flash is supported by pretty much any good browser, and the great thing is it works the same on every one...

the other huge benefit is flash's much more advanced effects system, you may be able to create something that rivals the effects of maptool... i'm going to play around with flash a bit and see how plausible it is... importing images, saving xml's, etc... i haven't used flash since actionscript 2.0, so i got a bit of learning to do... i'll keep you guys posted.


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Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:20 pm
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 Post subject: Re: Web Version of Maptools
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:11 pm 
mudpyr8 wrote:
With the iPad coming out, how awesome would it be to be able to just pop that down on the table for everyone to see?

Not a big enough display on the iPad or any other tablet. However, the price on mini-projectors has come way down. Heck, there's a cell phone with a projector in it now, although it's only about 1200 lumens IIRC so you'll need perfect lighting conditions for continued use (or eye strain will start to prevail).

I think the Samsung material is the way to go. It's basically a piece of mylar of just about any size that has a flat-connector on the edge that accepts a VGA signal. You plug it in and send an image to it, then unplug it -- no power required to maintain the image!! This means a single encounter area takes only enough power to push the image to the mylar once!

There are a few problems with the hardware, though: not fast enough to do animations (it just might be quick enough to do MapTool's token movement or measurement tool, but probably not lighting/sight lines), and it can be rolled up but not folded (a 2'x4' sheet can be rolled up like a poster but not as small a roll as the way posters are sold in souvenir shops).

Still, that's some very cool stuff! (Oh, and it's 15-bit color! Although you'd need to have a white, preferably lit surface to put it on or the colors would be too dark.) I'll see if I can find the IEEE article where I read about it ... this was about 10-12 months ago, at least.

There was also a product shown at CES that was made with plastic parts (instead of glass or metal) so it was somewhat flexible. But it required continuous power. They have vendors signed on already though; folks like USA Today...


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 Post subject: Re: Web Version of Maptools
PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:05 am 
Some links for things I mentioned in my previous post:

(This device doesn't have color, but it does have shades of gray)
http://spectrum.ieee.org/video/consumer ... est-of-ces

(And take a look at this one: a contact lens with a heads-up display built-in!)
http://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/bio ... ntact-lens

(Here's the projector cell phone. Check out the laser projector at 2m45s in the video)
http://spectrum.ieee.org/video/consumer ... your-phone

I still can't find the article I thought was about Samsung's mylar display, but I'll keep looking. :)


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Dragon
 
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 3:53 pm
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 Post subject: Re: Web Version of Maptools
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:23 pm 
i thought i'd bring up some points bout how pretty much every online mapping program works (google maps, mapquest, etc) so we could get an idea of how everything works. I will mainly stick to ArcGIS Server, which is the most fully functional online mapping solitions there is... it supports pretty much anything the software can do (from creating data, to preforming complex geoprocessing models all over the server dynamically, as far as i know none of the other software comes close). I've been working with it for the better part of 2 years, but exclusively for the last few months.

basically an online map is set up as a client/server application, using some sort of database to hold the data... Pretty much all online map systems use a screencap from the server to create the display on the client. This allows for fairly quick control of display on the website end, and the culmination of many different features on the server end.

To change what you see on the clients website, you send commands to the server to change the display, it makes the changes and refreshes the screencap and sends it back to the client... This includes the advanced server functions like geoprocessing and buffering, even network analysis... they can all be done from the web by utilizing the server as the workhorse and returning the results to the client... an example of such using maptool would be if a GM ran maptool, and took a print screen of every players view every time anything changed, and sent it to them over the internet...

that may be a way a maptool web service can run... it would most likely be easiest to require the gm to be on the maptool software proper, while the players can logon to his webservice from the internet. The clients receive screen caps of the display for each individual player, and send their commands down to the server who executes them and returns the results...

I'm not sure how fast this idea is, with multiple connections capping and sending stuff along may become slow... but it would be worth testing to find out.

just thought i'd pass along this knowledge since i work in the webmapping field, so i have an idea in how the programs you mentioned you wanted your end result to look like work.


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Kobold
 
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:18 pm
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 Post subject: Re: Web Version of Maptools
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:22 pm 
I deploy a quite large web application written in GWT in my day job. It is a pretty cool system, though you would want to use the Canvas element Joel Weber is working on to make it really sing, and that would mean avoiding IE.

IE is enough of a bane of my existence, and given Chrome/Win's existence, writing only for platforms that support Canvas might be a reasonable approach.

Scott


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