Flash Based Maptools

We are always looking for new tools to create to help facilitate the table top gaming experience. Let us know if you have an idea for a new gaming tool you'd like to see. (Note: this is NOT for feature requests on existing tools!)

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loogie
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Flash Based Maptools

Post by loogie »

As mentioned in the "Web version of maptools" thread, I've been interested to see how well flash could do at quickly displaying a maptool-like mapping system, possibly with some of the effects that flash has available to it (dynamically create drop shadows or the like? that'd be a cool option!) In the end it would have the potential to be an web based maptool, as well as possibly a stand alone program as well (using java/javascript to run the server and speak to flash through get/post methods or js calls)

To me it seems it would be possible, but i haven't delved into the guts of flash for a few years now, (since flash mx i believe) so i'm behind the times. Anyone here have any actionscript experience or hints as to where i should start?

I think my first step will be to go for a "GM Map creator" style app, where you are able to choose and load images on the hd, and "upload" them to flash, creating a token or object from them... from there possibly create an XML map document and save it, then open a viewer to load the XML into a visible map? obviously those are not "Starting points" so i'll probably start with a small portion of that, making a stage on screen, and loading an image from the HD into flash...

I'll try to keep everyone up to date on the developments (if they happen :P)... i would LOVE help if any could be had, or even just hear your thoughts on the idea...

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brad
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Re: Flash Based Maptools

Post by brad »

So, this is a little off the topic, but related. Could you do a first step of having a flash app that could connect to a MapTool server and just display the map. I think a lot of people would use that. Especially if you could eventually add in basic functions like moving around a token. Suddenly the player side in either remote or face to face games becomes very easy.
View MapTool video tutorials at RPToolsTutorials.net

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jstgtpaid
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Re: Flash Based Maptools

Post by jstgtpaid »

I think that having something that could be executed from the web would be huge. However, I would beg and plead with you not to use flash. Will HTML 5 provide you with the tools you think you would need for this effort?

Using flash may limit access to the end product for those that use Apple products and linux based machines.
When the boogeyman goes to bed everynight, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

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Azhrei
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Re: Flash Based Maptools

Post by Azhrei »

Agreed about Flash for Linux; as it's not free software there are those (myself included) too principled to use it on that platform. Of course, I use it occasionally on OSX without a problem. ;)

I came across a gaming framework called Unity the other day. Very cool! It's apparently based on .NET (and uses MonoClasses) and runs on Windows/OSX/Linux as well as the iPhone and other places. :) It provides a 3D graphics environment with support for translucency, layers, font selection, and so on. I don't remember the URL off-hand, but Google for "mars explorer" and you'll probably find it. That's one of the demo games written by the developers.

I don't understand their licensing as they claim it's "free" in multiple places but if you're making money on it they want some $$$ from you. Not sure how that would be used for an open source project such as MapTool. It would have one nice side effect (well, it's "nice" depending on your point of view): if a large third-party company were to pick up the MapTool source code and built a commercial product of it, they'd have to pay Unity the license fees while the open source product wouldn't. ;)

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Re: Flash Based Maptools

Post by neofax »

First, Flash works on Linux just fine with the Adobe provided files. They just released a native version for x86_64 like last week. Also, if you do not want any proprietary software on your system, Gnash supposedly is very good.

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Azhrei
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Re: Flash Based Maptools

Post by Azhrei »

neofax wrote:First, Flash works on Linux just fine with the Adobe provided files. They just released a native version for x86_64 like last week.

Didn't say it didn't work, just that I won't use it for other reasons.

Also, if you do not want any proprietary software on your system, Gnash supposedly is very good.

I've never tried it; I may give it a shot.


Okay, I found the Unity web site (browser history is great that way). This link takes you to their live demo page which has a FPS as the demo. Move around with the arrows (and maybe the AWSD keys as well) and change viewing angle with the mouse. Shoot by clicking the left mouse button.

Pay particular attention to the buildings and how the perspective changes as you change your viewing angle up and down. It's pretty simplistic on this demo, but I've seen some others written using Unity that were very impressive. And the whole thing is done using a scripting language built on .NET. If you check out the licensing page, they give credit to a bunch of open source/free software projects.

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Rumble
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Re: Flash Based Maptools

Post by Rumble »

Azhrei, were you running the Unity Web Player on a Mac, or under Linux? Doesn't seem to be a Linux version (I'm on my netbook at the moment, and I didn't see a Linux player download).

Edit: ah, nevermind. Linux not supported.

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Azhrei
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Re: Flash Based Maptools

Post by Azhrei »

Rumble wrote:Azhrei, were you running the Unity Web Player on a Mac, or under Linux? Doesn't seem to be a Linux version (I'm on my netbook at the moment, and I didn't see a Linux player download).

Edit: ah, nevermind. Linux not supported.

I was running it on a Mac.

Huh? Not supported?! I was sure I read that all three platforms were there...

Doh! That rags. :( Okay, forget I mentioned them. I could have sworn I saw mention of Linux support but looking through their site just now I couldn't find anything. I browsed through a few dozen threads on their forum last night so maybe it was a request for Linux support that I saw and not anything official. (Yep, lots of those requests on their forums...)

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Re: Flash Based Maptools

Post by neofax »

Yeah, I don't see why Linux is not supported as it uses Mono. I tried installing it using Wine, but it does some kind of check and errors out on the last part of the install. It looks really neat though.

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Azhrei
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Re: Flash Based Maptools

Post by Azhrei »

It's written in C++ and uses Mono for the application scripting language. So the port would be difficult.

I don't expect much of it would work in WINE simply because not enough of the Windows DLLs are implemented by the WINE framework yet. It uses OpenGL though and I would hope that the OpenGL calls would simply be passed through to the underlying OS by the WINE DLLs, but there are multiple versions of OpenGL and it may be that the issues are more than they want to deal with.

There are a lot of folks on their forums asking for a port to the Android and Nexus. It's possible to do some pretty hot stuff with it and it would be way cool to have those games on an open source platform. :)

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loogie
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Re: Flash Based Maptools

Post by loogie »

Well, sorry to say... I'm not going to even attempt it in anything but flash.... as we see with scenegrinder, HTML 5 along with javascript is a plausible alternative, but i'm not even going to attempt it for one specific reason... i find it impossibly complicated to use... HTML5 is the new wonder code for web design, but to me, its already the same old same old... i don't have the time, or patience to attempt to learn HTML 5 for IE, Firefox, and every other browser under the sun because i know they will all have differences, work arounds, and other crap just to get things to work... for instance, scenegrinder has to rely on silverlight for its stuff to work with IE... why? cause microsoft has not jumped on the HTML5 bandwagon...

I've been working with FLEX for a couple of months now and I can't help but love it... Its simple, easy to use, and being that I loved flash when it was macromedia, i still love it... it works like it should work, and it works well... I'm sorry if it ends up leaving people behind, but if i'm going to attempt it, for my own sanity, i'd need to go with flex.

unless of course there were others who know enough about web design to help me... but in my experience its hard to get people to jump off the ledge with you until their sure they won't fall to their death...

I will keep everyone posted regardless... and if it does come to any sort of completion i assure you it will be for an affordable price, if need be (most likely i would need to host games somewhere, so there would need to be some sort of fee.. even if its a couple bucks)... if i must, i was thinking of a pay for server, players are free.. like a few other systems out there..

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jfrazierjr
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Re: Flash Based Maptools

Post by jfrazierjr »

Why not have your first try to be a connected browser client to a standard Maptool server. Just getting it to render and respond to token moves would be a good first step and also small..
I save all my Campaign Files to DropBox. Not only can I access a campaign file from pretty much any OS that will run Maptool(Win,OSX, linux), but each file is versioned, so if something goes crazy wild, I can always roll back to a previous version of the same file.

Get your Dropbox 2GB via my referral link, and as a bonus, I get an extra 250 MB of space. Even if you don't don't use my link, I still enthusiastically recommend Dropbox..

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