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 Post subject: Re: [Crazy?] Going 3D?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:40 pm 
Telarus wrote:
We mostly have this for the 2d maptool images... primarily because of a core group of pretty killer 2d artists which have setup a... non-verbalized 'style guide'... things like the downloadable art-packs give maptool it's own style. So far it's developed rather haphazardly (as a Discordian, I appreciate that an 'almost-coherent' style has emerged :twisted: ).

This is an interesting point.

We want MT to be usable for RPGs, wargames, board games, and even card games. Is 3d really a good thing for board games or card games? It would really up the hardware requirements without providing much (any?) advantage to the person playing one of those two categories of games.

Since MT is used primarily for RPGs, and because there are certain technical reasons to choose the values for some of the graphics variables (like resolution, color palette, and so on), we do have some basic standards that many artists use. ("Standards are great. Everyone should have one.")

And so most artists have 50px, 100px, and/or 200px tilesets for example. You won't find any less than 40-50 because there just isn't enough resolution to make a nice looking table or chair, and you won't find many above 200px because with desktop resolutions running about 100dpi, there isn't a lot of return on investment for adding that additional detail.

But with simple standards like that, comes the capability of supporting a wide market of artists. And hence we can get medieval, fantasy, and modern/future artwork packs put together. One thing I've learned about the creative process -- and the people who enjoy creating -- is that you try to put a leash on them they're simply going to pull harder on the leash. It's best to give them plenty of length to run and try not to get in the way. ;) (That includes programmers, of which I consider myself one. :D)

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But a doc laying it out for new users would be helpful. That might be something I'd be in to helping with.

We'll take any documentation we can get. Whether for the tools themselves or the process of interfacing with those tools.

Quote:
I have a few years of 3d lighting experience, and it can be intimidating for some-one who is just starting to think in 2d photoshop-style space to have to think about light rays bouncing all over a 3d space, and what the intensity of the source means for the ambient shadows :shock: much less how the reflective surfaces behave, or getting into what Normal Maps are.

I have read some articles on some simple techniques for defining a reflectivity coefficient for certain material types and the math involved in making it look right in a 3d scene. But as I'm not really into 3d I didn't pay much attention to the details.

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I would recommend anyone interested in this line of art to take a look at the 3D forum over at the Cartographer's Guild [...]

Yeah, CC is a great forum! We have a lot of cross-pollination between our forums. :)


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 Post subject: Re: [Crazy?] Going 3D?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:10 pm 
Now that you mention it Maptool does seem to have a kind of 'FF3 on super Nintendo with better graphics' kind of charm to it. Thats beautiful. Don't ever lose that. I would love to see some dynamic environmental elements like running water or flickering firelight that enhance that style though. Maybe something like this...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3qadzrMPz0


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 Post subject: Re: [Crazy?] Going 3D?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:52 pm 
What ever happened to the guy who was playing around with the NWN models?

http://www.assembla.com/spaces/vmat/wiki

He just kinda dropped off - seems abandoned now.

Too bad, I was looking forward to playing around with it.

skester


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 Post subject: Re: [Crazy?] Going 3D?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:37 pm 
Oh yeah- I have been reading some posts here and on the cartographers guild about 2D maps rendered in 3D. I was musing about how to make a bunch of 3D buildings for my library and then I started playing around with sketchup- http://sketchup.google.com/
One of the tools lets you take a picture of a house and make a 3D model of that house rather easily.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSuDoX8SPtU
With a handful of people casually making 3D models of interesting old houses and barns you could have a lot of cool structures in short order...

Is anyone else interested in this?

Edit- apparently a TON of people are into this. http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/ All of the 3D skyscrapers make me want to play Shadowrun :)


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 Post subject: Re: [Crazy?] Going 3D?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:45 am 
But buildings aren't enough. In order for things to not look so strange, you'll need 3d creatures as well: people of all races, animals (dogs & cats, horses, oxen, etc), and monsters (space aliens, owlbears, and so on).

It's those items that are going to take a lot of work. Look at the 2GB+ archive of 2D images (that provides about 70% of what you need for a typical game) and then imagine doing all that work again in 3D.

That's a lot of effort! It might be interesting for an isometric game, but still...


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 Post subject: Re: [Crazy?] Going 3D?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:10 pm 
I was thinking of using the buildings in more of a 'flash intro' capacity- where you got your panning camera shot that zooms in on the tower of the castle and then resolves to a top down view, maybe some flickering flame or running water... I hadn't considered creating that much 3D content but if you did; you could could potentially make it easier by going with Final Fantasy Tactics style sprites. I think that preserves or even enhances the 'style' of my maptool library favorites...

heres an FF Tactics vid for nostalgia- you're welcome :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBF1eiR1 ... re=related


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 Post subject: Re: [Crazy?] Going 3D?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:56 am 
Soultroubadour wrote:
I see the mystique of Maptool 3D especially since rumor has it that Telarus has a 3D world map for Earthdawn ;) but i can see that the real issue here is risk vs. reward. As it stands there are some great tricks for creating a '3D like' environment in 2D- such as RecklessEnthusiasm's canopy trick. Also the use of columns with VBL gives a 2D the illusion of depth, and setting some trees as objects over a weather overly on the background layer gives the illusion that the trees are higher than the fog. The addition of animated token movement, doors and traps adds much to the feel of the game and artful use of teleport pads allows you to give the illusion of traversing buildings with different levels.
There are a lot of things that can be done to improve the production value of our games without going full 3D. My feeling is that the more we can make those slick elements accessible to the uninitiated- the more popular maptool is likely to become.


Which trick are you talking about? I'm fairly well known with his work and we correspond fairly often about his use of my work for MT, but this hasn't come up yet, so you made me curious...

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 Post subject: Re: [Crazy?] Going 3D?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:05 pm 
My bad Wolph- Its the one with the tree trunks and invisible canopies- I believe the trick I was attributing to Reckless is actually yours (or both of yours?) Some of the text on your bag of tricks page seems to credit him for it. Just tryin to give credit where its due :) Thanks for making the bag of tricks by the way- i freakin love that!


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 Post subject: Re: [Crazy?] Going 3D?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:25 pm 
Soultroubadour wrote:
My bad Wolph- Its the one with the tree trunks and invisible canopies- I believe the trick I was attributing to Reckless is actually yours (or both of yours?) Some of the text on your bag of tricks page seems to credit him for it. Just tryin to give credit where its due :) Thanks for making the bag of tricks by the way- i freakin love that!

Ah ok. I was hoping I had missed something. I guess RE and me inspire each other. My BoT inspires him to 'misuse' it for things I would never think of which again inspires and motivates me to add functionality. I think the oneway teleports are an excellent example; he used the standard ones for doors which made me think of creating one ways but I created them much later when he actually requested them. Most things in the bag are inspired on things I see here on the forum such as the feat I added today: force selection.

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GETTING STARTED WITH MAPTOOLS - TUTORIALS, DOCS, VIDEOS, TOOLS, ETC

My stuff
Excel Tools: Table and Light editors
MT Tools: Bag of Tricks: Tools for Maptool, Dungeon Builder I, Dungeon Builder II,onMouseOverEvent and
DPI.
Frameworks: Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, Deathwatch, Black Crusade, Only War, SET Card Game, RoboRally
Wiki: Debugging Tutorial, Speed Up Your Macros, Working With Two CODE Levels, Shortcut Keys, Avoiding Stack Overflow, READ THIS


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 Post subject: Re: [Crazy?] Going 3D?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 11:48 am 
As GM i am always searching for ways to improve the experience of gaming for my players...

My thoughts about 3D gaming tables:

There was a time i used high detailed Maps for my game sessions made with CC3, Dundjinni etc.. I introduced this maps to my campaign but my players do not liked it??? WTF? As GM you always search for ways of expression - How your Players "see" your world... but between storytelling and the imagination of your players will be allways a gap! This gap is filled up by your players with their own visualization of your world. I always tried to fill this gap with Handouts, with visual effects and so on so that my players "see" what i have imagined... this was my first failure! Dont´t steal your players their own view of your world!

Style.. A long time i used different resources for mapping and handouts and all that stuff you give to your players. All things i used come from totally different artists. My second failure! To give your world the feeling that it is a World you have to choose one style for it. I as GM wanted to use 1000 textures for different settings, but my players liked to have 10 cause they feel more like: "this is the world i know - the world i am playing"

Conclusion

- Too much detail destroys the gaming experience of your players
- The World of a GM is NOT the world of a player and it will be never ever since the Matrix becomes real..
- The Style of Maps/Battlegrounds should be easy to understand and should be "one campaign one style" like

All what i wrote does not fit with an 3D environment - we are far away from a 3D gaming table IMO.. maybe the next generation of tabletop gamers needs this things for imagination - my generation of gamers do not need it!

[sry for my bad english - its not my native language]

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 Post subject: Re: [Crazy?] Going 3D?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 1:31 pm 
Yep, I agree with all of that!

I hadn't thought about the "one style" argument but it's a good point. In the largest sense, you wouldn't want to use color maps in some places, black and white in others, grayscale in other places, and just line drawings in yet another case. The styles wouldn't produce a cohesive view of the "world".

I hadn't thought about how the same thing would apply in other more detailed ways though. For example, some tokens using portrait style and others using top-down. Or some maps with wall shadows and others without. Or different scales on textures (like bricks vs. sand vs. grass).

I'm going to have to be more careful with that myself in the future. :)


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 Post subject: Re: [Crazy?] Going 3D?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 2:39 pm 
I agree that is the major hurdle, when it comes to art assets. I think that the technology is maturing to the point where we could do 3D tabletops for certain games, if a collection of art assets is gathered and curated first and then backed up with code to emulate the game mechanics. Getting to an coherent style at the same time as learning new 3D software can get tricky.

So...

Just as an example, if Wizards did the unthinkable and released all of the art assets from the Eberron online D&D game for non-commercial remixing... Then you would just need to pick a 3D engine and develop some GM and player workflows.


I think 3D gaming for home RPGs is worth exploring, but I've had a few years of experience with 3d software, so that's a personal perspective.

One thing I've seen that really jumped out at me was one attempt at a 3D Tabletop's take on Miniatures & Movement. It was an unnamed "Virtual Tabletop" from racingspidergames.com (website now expired). I found a few pics on the web tho.

1st, his idea that you can do "Paper Cutouts", basically the same idea as the top-down tokens, but grouped up in formations. Here's a small pic, but it sells the idea.

Image

The other great idea he had was Movement Arrows (& a Ruler/Tape-Measure) which you could drag across the landscape. Found an old archive image of that too (notice the airplanes in the background have a highlighted "base").

Image


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 Post subject: Re: [Crazy?] Going 3D?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:05 am 
Pretty cool. That arrow idea could be useful in turn-based games as well, so that one player can plan out their entire turn, then the next player does, and so on. None of them can see the others moves until they've all signaled they're done, then a macro framework resolves any conflicts. This would be sort of like the games where various phases take place simultaneously but the advantage here is that no player needs to see the other players' moves in advance of making their own.

We would need the ability for macros to draw on some map layer, and for those layers to be visible by some players but not all players. We have plans for features that would allow both of those, although perhaps not exactly like that...


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 Post subject: Re: [Crazy?] Going 3D?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:21 pm 
Most tabletops use really simple rules for movement - and i ever thougt thats not very realistic - first person moves, attacks - second moves, attacks and so on...

Simultanious movement would be awesome! And i tell you why - when you play on a normal tabletop (offline - not virtual - no projector) simultanous movement is impossible. Until now i haven´t seen any program that could make this with a projector battlemap.

If anyone could make this real - it would really improve gameplay mechnics of tabletop games! (one step for a token, but a revolution of movement for them all!)

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 Post subject: Re: [Crazy?] Going 3D?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:35 pm 
GrindGod wrote:
Simultanious movement would be awesome! And i tell you why - when you play on a normal tabletop (offline - not virtual - no projector) simultanous movement is impossible. Until now i haven´t seen any program that could make this with a projector battlemap. If anyone could make this real - it would really improve gameplay mechnics of tabletop games! (one step for a token, but a revolution of movement for them all!)


It's not all that hard to have simultaneous movement for classical table tops. Wooden Ships and Iron men had that. You plot your course for a round or two and then it is executed simultaneous per hex. It is pretty cumbersome for more than a few ships per player without electronic aid. I know that you can play WS&IM online and it is also a pretty cool game, although (IMHO) it needs a lot of house rules from the orginal published rule set. I guess there is no framework for maptool, is there?


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