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Sailing Ships

Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 1:46 am
by Mythweaver
I'm totally new here, so I hope I do this right...

I've been using BG for my tabletop game for about a month now, and the program has added tremendous depth to the experience.

I had to create a couple of pieces for last week's session, and I thought I'd share them. I believe they are in the proper scale (they looked great on our projector anyway), and maybe they'll show a little of the layering possibilities BG has.

http://www.box.net/public/ygb5v7d6nf
http://www.box.net/public/mypqb5bs0m

If I messed up posting the links, please let me know.

The first is the Blue Phoenix, the vessel of choice for the player characters in the campaign. The second is the ship they battled, the Corsair. (These were made using a ton of the free art from the Dundjinni forums)

The Phoenix contains different files for the different levels of the ship. I placed these as objects (lining everything up right) and then used the unit manager to hide, unhide, and sideboard our way into a ship-boarding that literally went from top to bottom throughout the ship.

The ability to deal with these kinds of situations is what makes BG such an ideal program, and I hope someone can find as much use for these as we did last week.

Cheers!

[Edit] I'm stuck with working from a small laptop monitor currently, and noticed at the office today some stray shadows that needed to be erased on the Corsair and the Phoenix. I gave a new link to a cleaner file.

Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 4:42 am
by heruca
Welcome, Mythweaver.

I'm thrilled to hear that BRPG is making your gaming more enjoyable. :D

The pieces you've uploaded are, as Steve Jobs might say, insanely great. :)

Not only is the quality of the art top notch, but the whole idea of stacking decks of a ship like that is pretty inspired (and I'm sure the same technique would work for a multi-story building, or tower).

Was it a pain using the Unit Manager for handling this? If so, do you have any suggestions for how the interface for managing a task like this could be improved?

Thanks for sharing these with the community.

Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 9:34 am
by Full Bleed
Mythweaver,

Great move on the stacking idea. I could actually see BRPG taking some steps to make this sort of thing easier to manage (like being able to define and more easily organize layers and groups of objects on "layers.") This is kind of a middle ground to being able to open multiple maps at once with convincing links between them.

The method, in its current implementation, presumes that a party stays together the whole time (which may cause complications if they don't), but there certainly are situations where it's a good bet that they will. And even if they didn't, being able to assign players to "layers" and switch individual views between those layers might very well take care of the problem down the road.

So, imagine in the above scenario, that a player is left on the top deck while the rest of the party goes below. The GM, could assign most of the party to a layer 2 view, while leaving 1 player on a layer 1 view.

I'm not sure how complicated this would be to implement, but it just might be easier than one might think. It seems to me that once you can group objects together and assign them a group name (thereby defining a "layer"), then anything not on that layer could simply be in a new class of "hidden." And the the real key would be the code that assigns "Layer View" to Players so that they can only see what their layer shows.

So, heck, if I'm thinking about this as I am... I'm sure you've got Heruca thinking of all kinds of possibilities! ;)

Thanks for sharing your experience and maps... you might really be on to something here!

Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 9:49 am
by Mythweaver
Thanks for the kind words, Heruca.

I actually have used the stacking idea every week we've used it so far. Everything from a the floors of a lighthouse to these ships.

The unit manager interface works just fine for this. The only real problem lies in the fact that I use it for tabletop only, and the players can see it (I'm guessing playing online would eliminate that). In our game, it's not too much of an issue, however, because I use "code names" for important units, and the players know full well the unit they are seeing with the scary name could simply be a masking overlay.

The only other real concern that comes up with using BG in this manner is the (apparent) unit count limit. I receive error messages after a certain amount of units are on the map (20 or so?), and so each "room" or "deck" or whatever is one less figure for the PCs to face.

This could naturally be a problem when simulating a ship-boarding with a hundred people. I got around this by using one figure to represent 5 crew members (and RPGSoundMixer to make it sound like 100 people were fighting).

I believe I read somewhere the unit maximum was being upped or eliminated, so that would fix it entirely.

Again, great program...and I'll share some of my other uses (and perhaps post some "in-play" projector shots) soon.

Have a great day.

Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 3:14 pm
by heruca
v1.0.5a, which will be released tonight, will make it impossible for you to exceed the max unit limit, so you won't get those error messages anymore. And v1.0.6 will have a much higher unit max, so you'll be able to play with a fully-crewed ship.

It sounds like for some reason you aren't running two instances of BRPG and using the 2nd instance as the Player View, so that you can keep your GM View secret. Is that because you didn't know it was possible?

There's also a way for units to have one name that appears for players, and the real name shows up for the GM.

I hope you do post some "in-game" projector pics. That would be neat to see.

And Full Bleed, your Layer View idea is pretty much what I've got planned. :)

Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 3:58 pm
by Full Bleed
heruca wrote:It sounds like for some reason you aren't running two instances of BRPG and using the 2nd instance as the Player View, so that you can keep your GM View secret. Is that because you didn't know it was possible?
You know... I wasn't sure this was possible because I tried opening a second instance from the same directory and I never could. So I just now created a second directory with a copy of all the files and, "Voila!", I could open a second instance.

Can a GM be running two separate instances over the internet with two different maps for parties that split?

There's also a way for units to have one name that appears for players, and the real name shows up for the GM.
This is done by brackets right? There could probably be a better interface for that in the game by right clicking on a figure and setting "Player Display Name" or something.

And Full Bleed, your Layer View idea is pretty much what I've got planned. :)
Man, I think that could be a huge feature addition to BRPG if implemented right. I can't wait to see this in action. :)

Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 4:18 pm
by heruca
Full Bleed wrote:You know... I wasn't sure this was possible because I tried opening a second instance from the same directory and I never could. So I just now created a second directory with a copy of all the files and, "Voila!", I could open a second instance.
You also need to make sure that the two instances have different names. That makes it easier to ALT-Tab to the right one, and ensures that the two instances don't share the same prefs files (which could cause problems).

Instructions are here:
http://www.battlegroundsgames.com/phpBB ... .php?t=671
Full Bleed wrote:Can a GM be running two separate instances over the internet with two different maps for parties that split?
Try it, but I don't think so. The reason being that the port forwarding might reroute all BRPG messages to one instance. But if you run each instance on its own port, that might work. I've never tried it.

Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 7:32 pm
by Mythweaver
Yeah, I definitely was not aware of the two instance idea...

I'll look into that, as it would fix several minor inconveniences.

I've thought of several things that could be interesting as far as the "layering" interface could go, and I'll try to post them in the Suggestions thread when I have time.

Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:46 am
by Omnidon
heruca wrote:
Full Bleed wrote:Can a GM be running two separate instances over the internet with two different maps for parties that split?
Try it, but I don't think so. The reason being that the port forwarding might reroute all BRPG messages to one instance. But if you run each instance on its own port, that might work. I've never tried it.
Heheh, of course this problem will be eliminated once the tabbed encounters feature is added.

I'm glad to hear that a layering feature is planned. I've been intending to write up an entire summary post about it but haven't gotten around to it yet.

Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:32 am
by Full Bleed
Omnidon wrote:Heheh, of course this problem will be eliminated once the tabbed encounters feature is added.
Once you could deploy new maps onto their own layers it wouldn't be a problem either. ;)