Battlegrounds: RPG Edition (BRPG)
BRPG in a Nutshell
System Requirements
Battlegrounds Gaming Engine (BGE)
BGE in a Nutshell
System Requirements
Links & Resources

Comprehensive Feature List for BRPG


Supports Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, and Mac OS X 10.1.5 or better. Sorry, no Unix/Linux version. Buy the program once and use it on any supported platform - no need to buy the Mac and Windows versions separately. Interface elements (such as buttons, sliders, popup menus, etc.) look native to the OS it's running on, even if you are using a custom desktop theme (hint: this is a quick and easy way to "skin" the software, perhaps with the intent of reflecting your game's genre).

There's no steep learning curve, as you might find in some competing products. There are no arcane, indecipherable icons in the user interface. All controls are intuitive, consistent, logically laid out, and clearly labeled. If you know how to push a button, use a popup menu and press a hotkey, you know how to use this program. You can literally be playing within minutes of installing the application. If you've ever bought roleplaying software aids that were so hard to use that you never did use them, you'll realize just how important this is.

BRPG can run in full-screen mode, if desired, so that there are no distracting toolbars and screen real-estate is maximized. The user interface (UI) stays out of your way until you need it, so there is no screen clutter. This, in turn, makes the game session more immersive and conducive to roleplaying. It also makes BRPG ideal for use with a multimedia projector, or even a large-screen TV, if your hardware supports output to these devices.

Supports role-playing in any genre, using any RPG system or ruleset, including house rules. Use BRPG to play fantasy, modern day, sci-fi, wild west, whatever.

Supports PNG files, a graphics file format which can include transparency and shadows. BRPG can be used with "photorealistic" maps and digital minis, although you can also opt to use more "cartoony", icon-style tokens, if you prefer. The in-game visuals can reach a level of detail where the players aren't just seeing a map of an area, but an actual illustration of it. Check out the Screenshots page, and you'll see what we mean.

What would an RPG be without dice? In BRPG, the "virtual dice" are photorealistic (actual photographs of dice, not 3D renders). You can even hear them shake and rattle when they roll! (the sound effects are optional, of course.) Dice rolls may be transmitted to everyone, or kept private. And the GM has the ability to fudge die rolls by assigning each die a result just before "rolling" them. The players will never know the difference. Die roll results appear in their own window (this can be disabled, if you prefer) and the roll results are also reported in the Chat window.

The Chat window is used to communicate in online games. It features functions for private messaging, group messaging, and speaking "in character" or "out of character". The GM can choose to speak as the Narrator or as one of the NPCs that are deployed on the map. He or she can also make up NPC aliases on the spot, to speak as that NPC even if there is no token present on the map to depict that NPC. Players can also use a narrator voice for emotes and/or actions taken by their characters. Messages are color-coded for easy reference. The chat window is also the place where you are notified of system events, such as a player logging on or off. A chat history log can be exported to an external text file at any time. This is useful for those who like to keep a journal of their adventures, and for filling in a player on what happened if he missed a game session. In a future update, visual indicators beside each user's name let you know when that person is typing, or is away from their keyboard (AFK).

BRPG also supports Chat Macros. These are prewritten descriptions or snippets of dialogue that can be quickly invoked to save typing time during the game session. As soon as a chat macro is invoked, its associated text is automatically inserted in the input field of the chat window, at which point the user can chose to send it "as is", or customize it prior to sending.

It's a given that the GM is able to show or hide figures and props at will (e.g., traps and secret doors). But the Fog of War feature in BRPG goes well beyond this. Each figure on the map can be assigned a light source (be it a candle, torch, lantern, flashlight, or a night vision device or ability). Every type of light source gives off a different range of visibility, specified by the GM or by the RPG game system's rules. The program uses this information to automatically reveal what each character can see at any time, and blacking out everything on the map outside of a light radius. This means that each player will only see what his or her character can see, and also means that each player will get a slightly different view of the map, depending on where they're standing. The GM can also manually mask off certain areas of the map, to keep them from being revealed until the right time. For example, the players shouldn't be able to see into a room until they've opened the door, even if they have a light source handy. With BRPG, you can do that. Oh, and props can have a light radius, too, so a campfire or a row of torch sconces placed along a corridor can light the way. Cool, huh? This kind of thing just can't be done in a traditional pen and paper gaming environment. So even GMs who never plan to play online can make good use of BRPG in their face-to-face game sessions. Fog of War is very useful in nighttime and indoor Encounters, but if the Encounter takes place on an outdoor map in daytime, the GM can just turn Fog of War off.

BRPG lets you zoom in on the map up to 200% (2x), and zoom out to 20% (.2x, which is more than enough to see the entire 40 x 40 cell map at once). Zooming is also very useful for those who use BRPG to play in face-to-face games with a projector and real miniatures, since you get more control over the grid size when projected on the playing table.

Adding new maps, digital minis, and props to BRPG is a breeze. Just drag a JPG or PNG graphic into the appropriate folder. This can even be done in the middle of a game, without have to relaunch the application. New sounds can be added to the game in the same manner. A wealth of free, quality artwork is available (see the Links & Resources page), and more is posted every day. Of course, the graphically inclined can make their own custom artwork using any graphics application.

BRPG's Preferences screen lets you tailor the gaming experience to suit your needs. Turn features like Snap-to-Grid, Tooltips, and facing indicators on or off. Choose your grid type (hexes or squares), grid color, and grid opacity. Or chose to hide the overlay grid altogether, for added realism. Change the sound effects used for die rolls, or turn them off completely. Create your own custom Chat Macros, and much more. Users shouldn't need to know XML or HTML to customize the software. With BRPG, they don't.

If the GM decides to use a map, a sound, or a mini that isn't already stored locally on the players' PCs, the software will automatically send them the needed file. This happens transparently and quickly, without any action required on part of the users.

Imaging tools in
BRPG let you customize how the program will use any graphics you add to the program. For each new image you import, you will be prompted to supply scaling, rotation, and alignment information. A real-time preview of your settings is shown on the map, so you can get things just the way you want them. This only needs to be done once for each asset, since the program will save the information you entered. All of this makes it remarkably easy to add new figures and props to your games from graphics you find on the internet, and saves you from having to edit them in a graphics application beforehand.

Automatically snaps all your digital minis and props to the center of a hex or grid square. This feature may be disabled, enforced, or left up to each client, from the Map Settings panel.

BRPG is very easy to use, but if you should ever need help in figuring out how to do something in the program, a thorough User Manual is provided as a hyperlinked PDF. Periodic updates to this manual will be made available for download on this site as they become available. And if you are evaluating BRPG for possible purchase, we recommend that you download the free User Manual to help you in reaching a decision.

With the GM Client,
GMs can create Encounters offline, long before the players connect. They can also use it to run a face-to-face session in a room where internet access is not available. The ability to work offline or on a LAN also means you don't have to rely on some central game server being operational just to play your game.

Maps in BRPG can be as large as 40 x 40 grid squares (or 40 x 46 hexes). This is far larger than most of the plastic battlemats sold in stores. Need a larger playing area? Just create a linked Encounter with a second map. Scrolling the map is done by moving the mouse to the edge of the screen, by right-clicking-and-dragging the map itself, or by using the arrow keys on your keyboard. There are also tools for centering the map on any given figure or prop.

Reference your character sheets, game rules, charts and tables from within the program. A wealth of useful information can be at your fingertips, hidden away until you need it.

GMs and players alike have access to a notepad, on which they can jot down important game information, such as Hit Points, Feats/Skills, Treasure, Experience Points, etc. The notepad can be accessed at any time with a hotkey.

The Turn Sequencer keeps track of the current game turn/round, and which character's turn it is to act. Figures on the map are highlighted automatically when their turn comes around.

A Sideboard feature lets the GM store figures and props in an off-map "holding area" until they are needed on the map. This is useful for storing reinforcements, wandering monsters, a treasure prop from a chest that hasn't been opened yet, etc.

If you need a quick reminder of what hotkey does what, a helpful overlay can be popped up at any time by pressing the "?" key. But you probably won't need to refer to it much, since all commands are very intuitive (eg, press "M" to change the map, press "R" to roll the dice, and so on). The Help Screen also contains some basic operating instructions, if you're new to BRPG.

The GM can make sure the players are looking where he/she wants them to on the map, by centering their map on what the GM is viewing and matching the players' zoom level to the GM's. This command can be sent to every player at once, or just to an individual player.

We strongly recommend that you download and try out the free Demo version before purchasing BRPG. Explore the program's features, make sure it does what you want and that it works on your particular computer configuration. Try the online features with your players to ensure that you can use the software even if you have firewalls, routers, proxy servers, etc. in place. The Demo version is nearly as full-featured as the full version. The only differences are that in the free Demo, Encounter saving and loading is limited to 12 units max, loading of Deployments is disabled, and the software times out after 45 minutes.

Two free
BRPG adventure modules are available on the Downloads page, featuring both indoor and outdoor Encounters which highlight the various features of the software. Use it to learn the program's features, preferably with your players, so that they learn along with you. Third-party adventures for BRPG may also be available in the near future, produced both by professional publishers and by fellow users who want to share their work.

Professional-quality content is available for
BRPG in the form of free and commercial artpacks, which function as plug-ins. Each artpack provides you with quick and easy access to a media library from within BRPG, which can include maps, figure art, object art, portrait art, audio clips, charts & tables, and even Fog of War Overlays. This media found in these artpacks is often not available elsewhere. Several new artpacks are released every year.


• Units can have portraits and/or audio clips attached to them.

• Media asset bundles can be created by the GM and distributed to the players prior to a game session, avoiding the need to transfer large amounts of data during the game.

• When a unit is moved by a remote player, it gently slides (animates) on your screen from its point of origin to its destination.

• The GM can load maps from a server, if desired. This allows maps to be received by the players much faster, since the GM's upload speed is no longer a bottleneck.

• Support for an Adversary Player, a quasi-GM whose job is to assist the GM with running NPCs in the game. [Note: this is only partially implemented in v1.0.]

• Send visual aids and sound files (music or sound effects). These can also be sent privately to a group of players or to an individual player.

• The game engine is not Java-based, so you never need to worry about having the right version of Java installed on your computer, or that installing a new version of Java might "break" the application. Installation of Battlegrounds is hassle-free; just unzip the downloaded file and you are ready to go.

• Every token on the map has "permissions" assigned to it, so that unruly players can't affect NPCs, monsters or props that you don't want them to.

• Players can run multiple characters at the same time, and privately communicate with other players.

• Figure facing is supported, if it's relevant in your RPG game system.

• Encounters can be saved at any time (and reloaded, of course). This is useful not only for saving the current game state between gaming sessions, but also to have a backup in the event of a computer crash. Or perhaps you simply want to reuse an Encounter later with another gaming group.

• Among the things that can be deployed on the map are semi-transparent "area of effect" overlays (useful for indicating spell effects, explosions, etc.).

• Any item deployed on the map can have short notes attached to it, which are viewable in a ToolTip when you roll your cursor over the item (but only if the item is visible). One potential use of this feature is for providing a short description of an item or person, or specifying the number of hours a torch will last and how long it's been burning. You're only limited by your imagination in how you can use these notes.

• Dice Macros can be configured for complex rolls. Many dice mechanics are supported, such as open-ended rolls, evaluating each die for success, calculating the margin of success or failure for the roll, and even cross-referencing die roll results with a table. Dice Macros can be global in nature, or they may be attached to specific figures or objects on the map.

• A browsable Dice Roll History tracks all rolls made in the current game session.

• Export screenshots, for illustrating play-by-post forum-based games, or just for posterity.

• Drawing tools, to improvise quick maps or mapping elements. Items drawn with these tools may later be independently moved, resized, rotated, etc.

• Dynamically generated Text labels with a plethora of formating styles and options.

• Range-measuring feature

• Automatic updating of Encounter and Deployment files that were created in older versions of BRPG.

• Card deck support, which includes everything from simply drawing cards at random, to playing simple games like poker or blackjack. You can even hear the cards being shuffled, drawn, played, or flipped over.

• GMs can create their own custom card decks.

• The ability to quickly and easily swap token art on a unit. This is great for changing poses on top-down tokens, managing werecreatures, changing a token from unmounted to mounted, etc.

• A revamped Turn Sequencer, featuring automatic sorting, value tracking (e.g., HP, AC, Move, etc.) for every unit, support for turn phases, and much more.

• Support for artpacks (both free and commercial).

• Support for D&D 4th Edition Area of Effect templates (Burst, Blast, and Wall effects).

• Support for D&D 4th Edition light and vision rules (potentially useful for other game systems, too).

• Auto-roll initiative for all combatants with a single button click.

• Use a card draw to set a character's initiative.

• Anchor or Group units on the map so that they move and rotate together.

• Assign chat colors to your units.

• Roll dice and flip coins right on the map window, complete with sound effects.

• "Views": Bookmark spots on the map to easily jump back and forth between up to 10 locations. Each View can have a descriptive name and a custom zoom level.

If you've made it this far, then you can see that BRPG is a powerful tool that can significantly enhance your roleplaying games.

Want to test-drive
BRPG for yourself? Download the free, full-featured Demo, which is available on the Downloads page.

Oh, and be sure to tell all your gamer friends about BRPG (you'll get the most out of the software if every player has a copy).