POLL: Do you actually use FOW and Dynamic Lighting?

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Do you use the FOW, Vision Blocking, and Dynamic Lighting Features in your games?

Yes, quite consistantly if the map calls for it.
49
83%
Periodically, not in every case where I could, but I do use it from time to time.
9
15%
No, for no other reason other than I choose not to.
0
No votes
No, specifically because it's challenging and time consuming to set-up in advance.
1
2%
No, for a reason which I'll explain in a post in this thread.
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 59

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Paradox
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POLL: Do you actually use FOW and Dynamic Lighting?

Post by Paradox »

I'm involved with another VTT product that is just being developed. Recently a discussion broke out where someone made a statement about Fog of War and Dynamic Lighting.

Without seeking to mischaracterize them, they were sharing that in their opinion that FOW and Dynamic Lighting should be towards the bottom of the product's development priority list. They cited that while those features are nice for GMs actively running the game, it was their understanding from reading the messageboards of other VTTs that:

  • FOW and Dynamic Lighting was too time consuming to prepare on a map
  • Most VTT users don't actually care to use those features anyway

Now admitting my own bias, I use those features religiously in MapTools. I find them fairly easy to prepare on a map; and I enjoy using them as do my players.

My contention is that if the functions are easy to set up (which in the case of MapTools, I feel they are), and if they don't create too much of lag-drain on the program.. people will use them.

However, I wouldn't state whether my experience was similar to most other MapTool users. Because I don't know; and I don't think a few messageboard posts constitute a consensus.

Nor do I know what other programs, and their forums, that the other party is drawing his conclusions from.

Nevertheless, as a regular member of this community, I am curious about what other MapTool users think and do. You may choose one option, and change your vote later if you so wish.
I no longer believe that MapTools is usuable or intended just for programmers. MapTools is for everyone.

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Re: POLL: Do you actually use FOW and Dynamic Lighting?

Post by Phergus »

From the point of view of the VTT being a replacement for the simple battlemat and miniatures of typical face-to-face play, the FoW and Lighting are only slightly more important than any other feature.

Your equivalent functionality wouldn't be much more than:
  • Ability to draw a map or lay down map tiles.
  • Ability to place figures representing PCs and NPCs.
  • Ability to move figures around.

One of the main reasons (if not the main reason) people use VTTs is to connect with players across the net. Once you've entered that paradigm then a VTT must provide additional features and must do those well to make up for the lack of physical presence.

They include those already mentioned plus the ability to:
  • Communicate between players and GM.
  • Roll dice.

That's your essential set. Everything else is icing with varying degrees of value.

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Natha
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Re: POLL: Do you actually use FOW and Dynamic Lighting?

Post by Natha »

FOW and lightning has become quite essential in my games.
Dungeon crawl gains a lot with this feature, imho.
I could do without lightning but not without FOW.
Without FOW, you're compelled to draw during play ? I won't use a VTT without FOW because of that. I like to use good looking maps, so they take time to prepare and can't be done on the fly.
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The Exile
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Re: POLL: Do you actually use FOW and Dynamic Lighting?

Post by The Exile »

Any dungeon without FOW is a dungeon where the players already know the layout, and thus can be alot smarter about their movement.

Just last night my party entered a dwarven mine, and they only saw what their measly 5 squares torch showed. Thus they made mistakes, they blundered into ambushes, and so on. If they could see that a hallway is a dead end with a trap. then they would never go there.

Also, vision blocking. A MUST!, the logic of players being able to see through walls = no. :)

Just my opinion.

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keithcurtis
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Re: POLL: Do you actually use FOW and Dynamic Lighting?

Post by keithcurtis »

I could give or take fog of war in most cases. I would only use it in something like a dungeon crawl, which I run practically none of.
Vision blocking is pretty darn useful, though dynamic lighting is not high on my list. I don't mind players knowing the layout of a building, if the exploration of such is not central to the action, but I don't want them to be able to see through walls and know who's on the other side.

But for exploration of a cave or lair with traps and secret doors, I agree that Fog of War is pretty important.

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Rumble
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Re: POLL: Do you actually use FOW and Dynamic Lighting?

Post by Rumble »

Out of the vision, light, and fog options in MapTool, I generally use only vision blocking.

Interestingly, even though vision blocking is by far the most time consuming part of the trio, and fog and light are merely switched on and off, I still don't use them. Immersion is not sufficiently interesting to me to be worth the lighting/fog thing.

I also tend to dislike the easy confusion between fog and darkness, which gets me from time to time (even though I know they are unrelated).

So basically, I use fog/light occasionally, vision blocking a lot.

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Re: POLL: Do you actually use FOW and Dynamic Lighting?

Post by Thanlis »

FoW is huge for me and I use it. Dynamic lightning is not a big deal at all.
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palmer
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Re: POLL: Do you actually use FOW and Dynamic Lighting?

Post by palmer »

I've used these since day 1, and find them some of the easiest features to use and apply.

The most tedious part is, unsurprisingly, drawing VBL. However, it's no more tedious, and a lot faster, than drawing the map in the first place.

For instance, it would only take me 2-3 mins to VBL this map: http://rpgmapshare.com/index.php?q=gall ... itemId=199

Fog goes along with the VBL, and lighting is easy enough to do.

I'll skip the fog in outdoor areas and the like, but in general it's always on.

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Saagael
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Re: POLL: Do you actually use FOW and Dynamic Lighting?

Post by Saagael »

I try to avoid them whenever possible, simply because of the lag that VBL causes during games. I'll use VBL in singluar lines to stop players from seeing beyond a wall, but I try to avoid FoW and especially lighting in game.

That is not to say I don't dislike the tools, they're just very situational for me. One of the most intense encounters I ran was an ambush where I pitted the players in a dark room with plenty of places to hide. It was fun watching players run around trying to find their ambushers.

I think they're too resource intensive to really use on a regular basis.

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Azhrei
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Re: POLL: Do you actually use FOW and Dynamic Lighting?

Post by Azhrei »

I always use VBL and I don't find it hard to draw at all, possibly because I do use it so often.

I always use FOW as well. I agree that in general the "auto-mapping" is a good thing for the game as it reduces the amount of time spent doing the minutia of of pen&paper mapping. However, when the players are walking a maze, I reserve the right to remove the FOW for exposed areas when I think it's appropriate. For example, the party has explored 50% of the map and then the room they are in rotates 90-deg. The wander into another area and this one rotates again, perhaps in the opposite direction. If I didn't wipe out the FOW, the players would be able to tell which rooms were moving and how they moved. And regardless of how good the players may be at not metagaming, it's tough to not MG when the picture is right in front of your nose.

Because of both of the above, I also use lighting extensively. I prefer to say, "The area is fully lit with torches" and set the Vision mode to Map -> Vision -> Day as the performance is best in that mode, but I'll use Night mode if it's called for.

I've been so spoiled by MapTool that I wouldn't consider using a VTT without all three of those options. :)

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Re: POLL: Do you actually use FOW and Dynamic Lighting?

Post by dorpond »

I use lighting and vision all the time and wouldn't even think about using another VT unless it did the same. MT has seriously spoiled me and I thank Trevor for putting up with my daily requests for it since MT1.1. :)
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kristof65
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Re: POLL: Do you actually use FOW and Dynamic Lighting?

Post by kristof65 »

I'd use these features more if they were easier to set up. IMO, vision blocking is something that would ideally be able to be embedded into the various objects you can stamp down - thus setting up the bulk of the vision blocking while building the map.

Playing via a VTT loses some aspects of a face to face game, but it's features like FOW and Dynamic Lighting that add back to the experience.

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heyes
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Re: POLL: Do you actually use FOW and Dynamic Lighting?

Post by heyes »

kristof65 wrote:I'd use these features more if they were easier to set up. IMO, vision blocking is something that would ideally be able to be embedded into the various objects you can stamp down - thus setting up the bulk of the vision blocking while building the map.

Playing via a VTT loses some aspects of a face to face game, but it's features like FOW and Dynamic Lighting that add back to the experience.



At some point I'd like to have the option to simultaneously draw VBL while using the normal drawing tools. That would cut out nearly 40% of mapmaking time.

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Paradox
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Re: POLL: Do you actually use FOW and Dynamic Lighting?

Post by Paradox »

heyes wrote:At some point I'd like to have the option to simultaneously draw VBL while using the normal drawing tools. That would cut out nearly 40% of mapmaking time.


I don't know if that is a current requested feature, but that might be something good to request for version 1.4. I certainly see the advantage.

If I haven't commented much, it's just because I don't think it wuld be appropriate (and I've already stated my opinion initially). Every opinion is valid to the person giving it.
I no longer believe that MapTools is usuable or intended just for programmers. MapTools is for everyone.

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syntruth
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Re: POLL: Do you actually use FOW and Dynamic Lighting?

Post by syntruth »

I definitely use FoW and lightning. VBL is only really hard to set up for irregularly shaped rooms, really, but that is more because I am picky about it more than it's a fault of the tool itself. Laying down VBL for dungeons typically involved Control-clicking for snap-to-grid fastness, even on angles, so it doesn't tend to take any longer than than 10-15 minutes unless I have lots of irregular features like caves or a crap load of trees.

FoW, however, for me, is a must. Even on a table-top, I'd dislike the players being able to see a dungeon layout, or the layout of a building their are exploring. I never bothered with VBL when I first started using MapTool, but FoW was always there and I'd just clear it by hand. Control-I is a godsend, though, and I love it. My only "beef" (and I use that term lightly) is that currently, setting up lights/auras in the preferences is a bit of a pain. I'm sure as 1.4 progresses, such things will get fixed up with some gui-love.

Like others above, I think I am spoiled now and any other VTT that doesn't offer such features won't get a second thought from me. Maptool has not only allowed me to play with my group spread out over the USA (and on different platforms!) but has also enhanced the game with being able to keep the characters, at times, literally in the dark.

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