Future graphics on VTT???

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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vkn
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Future graphics on VTT???

Post by vkn »

Hi guys...

Lately I've been trying to find a new modern way of handling my maps on a projected surface or touch screen...I've tried them all, and returned to Maptools as it is, in my opinion, the best software for VTT.

Still there is much to wish for...

As for my gaming group, we ONLY use Maptools for getting a nice looking digital battlemap. Not much is in use except for the FOV and token movement.

I've been trying to get the art of the maps look dynamic and crisp, and at the same time be easy to build.
Ive tried moving towards 3d with UDK and it all looks nice, but mapmaking is to time consuming.

My next shoot have been doing a new software with Unity3d, I got inspired after playing Hunters 2 on my Ipad.
Hunters 2 is exactly the way I want my maps to look and feel like.
Why don't use emitting particles, glare and other non cpu expensive graphical FX, panning textures of water etc?
It could really increase the overall look with moving backgrounds, parallax scrolling or whatever when, as an example, walking above a high bridge?

With no experience in Unity3d I've manage to set up a Map created in PS as background and spawn "torches" and move tokens in a grid, it looks freaking awesome. :)

I'm not sure what I want to say with this post, other then that its not hard at all making a more dynamic experience, why haven't we seen any yet?
Why not gather a bunch of talents and try to get a working VTT on a easy system as Unity3d?

Please take a look at Hunters 2, it got it all...FOV,token representation, dynamic lightning, animated 2d tiles etc... and its all done in 2D :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYrrIvGFTtk

And YES, I know this wont be happening with MT, but someone might get inspired and make such an app? ;)

vkn
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Re: Future graphics on VTT???

Post by vkn »

Update:
Warhammer quest will be returning to us in a digital version on Ipad!!!
The game will be made by the same team who did Hunters 2(watch link above) and I asked them if they had any plans to make a map editor, for us who like VTT.

Lindstén Anders: Any chance your going to add Mapeditor in some way???
Would eliminate the use of shitty VTT(virtual tabletop)programs out there for us RPG nerds.
Rodeo Games: Not for the initial release Anders. However, it is something we'd consider for the future.

:)

Crossing my fingers :)

Check out their Facebook page for updates.

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Ghiolekk
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Re: Future graphics on VTT???

Post by Ghiolekk »

vkn wrote:Update:
Lindstén Anders: Any chance your going to add Mapeditor in some way???
Would eliminate the use of shitty VTT(virtual tabletop)programs out there for us RPG nerds.
Rodeo Games: Not for the initial release Anders. However, it is something we'd consider for the future.


You should say <Would eliminate the use of shitty VTT(Maptool)programs out there for me being a retard and completely disrespectful person>.
Period.

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Azhrei
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Re: Future graphics on VTT???

Post by Azhrei »

vkn wrote:Why not gather a bunch of talents and try to get a working VTT on a easy system as Unity3d?

I looked at Unity at some point about a year ago or more. It's not cross-platform so it's a non-starter for MT. There are also licensing restrictions on redistribution which is also a non-starter for an open source project.

However, there's nothing to stop you from doing what you suggest. Be sure to come back here and post when you have a beta for us to look at -- I'm sure it'll be pretty slick!

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Sereptus
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Re: Future graphics on VTT???

Post by Sereptus »

Wow! I cant believe no one essentially answered his question. As a DM I would love to see some sort of dynamic lighting or just a campfire crackling to give my games that extra bit of ambiance. I've been using the kismet and matinee features of UDK to show important rooms and the players love it, but it is time consuming. I think what the guy was referring to is something like Battlegrounds has. I've always wondered why MT doesn't have that, it seems so simple, but I must digress as I am not a programmer.
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CoveredInFish
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Re: Future graphics on VTT???

Post by CoveredInFish »

Hmm ... my 5 cent: I have seen some prettier VTTs than MT - true - but that is really not the most important thing. Usability and flexibility is far more important, and I miss the advanced frameworks/macro capabilities of MT when I try out those other - it simply wins over eye candy.

On the other hand I would totally check a VTT out that would be like Hunters 1 or 2 because it looks incredible and is so close to a good VTT engine (from the user perspective at least). But whether that would be a good-to-use VTT or not nobody can say.

Lee
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Re: Future graphics on VTT???

Post by Lee »

Sereptus wrote:Wow! I cant believe no one essentially answered his question. As a DM I would love to see some sort of dynamic lighting or just a campfire crackling to give my games that extra bit of ambiance. I've been using the kismet and matinee features of UDK to show important rooms and the players love it, but it is time consuming. I think what the guy was referring to is something like Battlegrounds has. I've always wondered why MT doesn't have that, it seems so simple, but I must digress as I am not a programmer.


What was the question? The one specified in the title or the couple of questions asked in the body? The simple answer is MT devs have put a feature freeze on MT and are currently at the technology review of what will be used for MT 1.4, or the next generation MT. As what Azhrei pointed out, licensed and limited platform technologies are automatically disqualified due to the open-source, open-platform spirit of MT. When they iron things out, things will get started, albeit, it will be a while before anything is released that can be used. MT is, after all, a volunteer initiative project.

The ease of adding stuff like you stated is dependent on the VTT platform. Currently, even if MT allowed for the addition of such features, it wouldn't be graceful in implementation; which is why MT 1.4 has to be built from the ground up, one of its considerations is the use of a system of plugins to customize MT to a users preference, and "modularize" (thus simplify) the approach of adding new features easily. In your example of a crackling campfire, sound shouldn't be too hard either on MT 1.3 or 1.4, but the rest of what is involved becomes a lot more complicated; not to mention, who will be making all these wonderful objects? What will they use to make these that fit the criteria of allowance into MT? Static art assets, while abundant, are time consuming efforts done by a handful of dedicated people. Dynamic effects will narrow down the already narrow field of artists even further. While we could attract people to make them by convincing them of the commercial value of selling assets, they would have to take the initiative to make them first and offer it to the community, as RPTools is staying true to keeping all offered tools free for everyone to use.

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Xaelvaen
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Re: Future graphics on VTT???

Post by Xaelvaen »

I have a bit simpler answer from an old person's standpoint :P

If graphics had anything to do with the quality of my video games, I'd let it have an impact on my DnD, and I wouldn't have to complain about how 90% of everything released since the PS2 is absolutely lacking in any real replay/gameplay value. I wouldn't have to absolutely dread testing out a Square Game (ever since that horrid excuse of a final fantasy X).

I use MT as a projector source for DnD, and to store monster information so I don't need to write/erase things. With my customized macros, I can make maps and monsters in under 5 minutes to serve their purpose; taking away the hassle of tiles, minis, and 10 minute intervals between action.

Back to the point, I don't see one in putting a pretty glaze over the amazing functionality of MT. If I wanted that, I'd break out NWN toolset and just make all my DnD into a NWN game and forget the dice :P
"An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance. It interferes with a person's main task in life - becoming a better person." - Leo Tolstoy

vkn
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Re: Future graphics on VTT???

Post by vkn »

Just to straight things out, I never said anything bad about MT, on the contrary, I think its the best VTT out there.
When referring to shitty VTTs I was talking about iOs VTTs, as WHQ is going to be iOs exclusive.
I got them all, and they all have huge flaws in my opinion...

I just want to spawn ideas of how a new next-gen VTT might look, and if it was possible I would do it myself.
Sadly I'm not a good programmer, artwork and design on the other hand...but that alone don't cut it.

:)

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Re: Future graphics on VTT???

Post by tiorthan »

Nevertheless, I think that this example can also provide some ideas for MT's next version (MapTool Next Generation?) that don't come as built-in features but as 3rd party modules. Of course, I don't know how much the core devs want to change in the architecture. But if, for example, the standard map render engine were designed as a module, one could replace it by, say, a 3d render engine.

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Sereptus
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Re: Future graphics on VTT???

Post by Sereptus »

tiorthan wrote:Nevertheless, I think that this example can also provide some ideas for MT's next version (MapTool Next Generation?) that don't come as built-in features but as 3rd party modules. Of course, I don't know how much the core devs want to change in the architecture. But if, for example, the standard map render engine were designed as a module, one could replace it by, say, a 3d render engine.


I agree, I also wasn't trying to bash MT as it is my sole obsession(at least according to my wife!). CoveredinFish, I'm sorry we had a misunderstanding there. I'm just a lowly struggling coder and GM. It was just a thought. Cheers from the Philippines!! :D
OOOHH RegEx....YOU BITTER-SWEET BEAST!!!

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CoveredInFish
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Re: Future graphics on VTT???

Post by CoveredInFish »

CoveredinFish, I'm sorry we had a misunderstanding there.

No hard feelings here :D

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Re: Future graphics on VTT???

Post by Bhoritz »

I would like to add that it wouldn't be enough. If a VTT handling the stuff was available tomorrow, most of us wouldn't see a difference, because the ressources to put into it are not available, and certainly not in the numbers needed for covering so many different styles of play and periods.
Graphically, a VTT is simply managing what peoples are putting in it. You only find in your resulting view what you did put inside it when preparing the game. So, don't expect too much from VTTs evolution about what is basically a graphical problem.

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Re: Future graphics on VTT???

Post by yorick »

Roll20 is adding FX into their December version, and you can play with it now on their dev server. Initially for something that's triggered by a macro, like dragon's breath. If you want torches and water, I'd say become a mentor for a month, play with it, and make suggestions to the devs.

Of course, roll20 is also years behind Maptool when it comes to scripting. Not surprisingly, since the Maptool team put years of hard work into it.

Right now, it seems the choice is between Maptool, with great frameworks and a ton of community-created automation tools, but a bit of a learning curve and the occasional lightning bolt thrown by irate DMs towards Oracle's HQ (Java), or roll20, which lives in a browser, is dead-easy to use - as long as you don't want something as fancy as an input window asking a player for a bunch of stuff before making a roll. If you want that, there's not much out there in the roll20 community right now to support that. Although they may just be able to do it through Javascript, the forums darkly hint :).

The great advantage that roll20 has, technically, is that it started later, when "web everything" was much more feasible. This allows them to become mobile-compatible pretty easily, and it allows them to do things like FX with WebGL, and leave the intricacies of supporting the OS and the hardware to the browser and its WebGL implementation.
That it started later is also its disadvantage - they're playing catchup. The newest addition is waypoints. As in being able to hit space bar when moving. Only to people who pay up, right now. Yeah, MT's had that for years. Oh, and 10 bucks per month to get to use all the cool stuff is pretty hefty. Can't beat the price of MT.

I am curious whether the MT devs have considered going a "Java server (possibly headless) plus web client" route for MT 2.0. That way, the DM runs the Java server, and then everybody including the DM connect to it via a web browser. Might give more flexibility and ease on the client side.

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wolph42
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Re: Future graphics on VTT???

Post by wolph42 »

yorick wrote:I am curious whether the MT devs have considered going a "Java server (possibly headless) plus web client" route for MT 2.0. That way, the DM runs the Java server, and then everybody including the DM connect to it via a web browser. Might give more flexibility and ease on the client side.


'headless server': check
'web client': not that I ever heard of.

there's actually a lot in the pipeline, but its long and thin currently.

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