Phergus wrote: ↑
Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:40 am
That works well! Using a whiteboard as a screen?
Yes. A reflective surface can produce too much glare in the dark (like for watching movies) but with the ambient lighting needed at a game table, it has worked well, making the image brighter. The surface can be scratched easily though, so be careful with metal based miniatures.
BearFather wrote: ↑
Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:32 am
Ohh that's a great idea, I have been debating on moving the mapping from my wall hanging tv to a tv embedded in my table. But a projector and a white board would be safer for the electronics, no chances of scratching it.
My question is how high of a quality did you go on the projector? What kind did you go with?
Native 1920 x 1080 LED. WiMiUS P20
Full Bleed wrote: ↑
Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:35 pm
Looks fun. You should include your setup specs (projector, projection surface, accessories, etc.) Along with pros/cons and what you think might improve the experience having used it.
I think more people might think about splurging on such a setup if they had a better sense of how to do it and what the caveats were.
Always, the limiting factor with a projector is throw distance. When you are projecting from the ceiling, you'll be lucky to get 4' of throw distance, and most projectors aren't designed to throw that short. Even if they are, it can severely limit the total projection size.
There are some new ultra short throw projectors, but that design would only work if a significant portion of the table is dedicated to the projector or you mount it underneath the table, since the projector is designed to sit on a bench next to the wall it projects on, only a few inches from the surface. If you tried to put this under the table, I assume you'd start getting second surface distortion issues, even with a clear table on top of a white screen. Nearly all projectors can project from behind a screen, but then you still need a surface for your table.
Ideally, I'd like to replicate a Megamat (almost 3' x 4'), only with a projection.
My old setup, a Viewsonic DLP 2000 lumen, 800x600, could only get about about a 29x21 image (~36" diagonal). It wasn't too bad, but I did have to drag the map around for some encounters. With that setup, I looked into first surface mirrors and even tried some mylar, so I could increase the throw distance by projecting horizontally to the first surface and reflect down to the table. However, everything I tried distorted the image too much.
I sort of reverse engineered the screen sizes and throw distances listed to determine WiMiUS P20 might work. The price, $239 was also in line with what I was willing to spend and was listed with free returns, figured I'd give it a shot.
I thought with this projector, I'd get about a 4' x 3' image, but naively I was still thinking about my old projector, which was native 4:3, and would crop the image for 16:9. Of course, with a native 16:9, 4:3 just crops the image, so with 16:9 the largest I could get the image was 42.7" x 24". After realizing this, I started looking into native 4:3 projectors, but there really aren't any consumer models, so they were way more than I was willing to spend, starting around $800.
In the meantime, I found a 42" x 24" whiteboard and decided to try that.
Well, it turns out with my 6' x 5' gaming table, (two costco tables held together with a C clamp and a long, black tablecloth), a 42" x 24" whiteboard actually fits very nicely, allowing everyone enough room for character sheets, dice and books, while still being within reach of everyone. My mistake ended up being fortuitous.
It was a bit of a challenge figuring out how and where to mount it. I ended up re-arranging my office several times. My "office" is an unfinished room in the basement, so perfect for mounting the projector without too much fuss, with the caveat there are pipes everywhere! I'm projecting at a bit more of an angle than I would prefer, as that makes it so you cannot evenly adjust the focus, but it was a good compromise for centering the table in the room and not moving any pipes.
The mount I purchased is also less flexible than my previous one (which would swivel 360 degrees in all directions), so definitely look for a full swivel mount (360 degrees horizontally and vertically) if you're investigating this, especially if you want to setup a dual use movie projector.
Incidentally, I dropped my old projector screen while moving stuff around, so haven't used it much for movies yet. My kids want to do the backyard movie thing in the summer, and I have a nice PA sound system, so will eventually get an outdoor mountable screen.
I use the setup for face to face games, and my players are using dice and miniatures, so other than vision and initiative, I really don't use much of the other token features of MapTool. I am currently tracking HP with the tool. Even just this is a boon as tracking which enemy maps to which miniature gets hard to manage, especially for encounters with lots of enemies. Using tokens for the enemies, it's a breeze. (Obviously) I also use the vision and lighting and vision blocking layer tools - really the magic of MapTool!
I create my maps in GIMP or Krita, and use a 1920x1080 canvas, with 45 pixels per inch, targeting actual size of 1" on the projector. This makes for very small maps that look great on the whiteboard. I also find the tool is much more forgiving if you create the maps actual size and leave the player view (my player client) at 100% and never move it. You don't have to line anything up. It just works. I use the Control E feature in the server (GM view) to bring the players over and I don't have to change anything except vision. While I have player tokens for all the players for initiative, I only move one around and use Control I to expose the current view. I was initially using the auto expose on move, but that's a bit awkward and hazardous if you move an enemy with vision as it will expose their view. At any rate, the Control I is more controlled and precise.
I've run two sessions like this so far and it's been a blast. I'll make sure to get some in situ photos next time