WotC's Digital Initiative Game Table unveiled

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WotC's Digital Initiative Game Table unveiled

Post by heruca » Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:45 am

Please watch these videos, which show WotC's Game Table for the first time, and then post your feedback here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWZ2WdeT ... ed&search=

Edit: Updated link
Last edited by heruca on Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Omnidon » Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:03 am

Pretty impressive!

Too bad it's strictly D&D.
Monster variety will probably be fairly limited too, as with all D&D software products I've seen.

Also, I don't see any sign of elevation in those videos, though it may just not have been added yet. It would be silly to design a 3D engine without elevation.

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Post by Full Bleed » Fri Aug 17, 2007 4:38 am

I have to admit that it looks to be a nice application. It's certainly further along that I thought it would be. It seems intuitive, simple to master, and is pretty to look at. The mix of 2d and 3d seems to work. Keeping the map 2d will simplify world/dungeon building... while going with 3d minis will allows lots of customization. It should be a great base application to build upon. The future looks bright.

I have tons of questions about what mechanics and tools it will have built-in... and how customizable and flexible they will be.

There are two big hurdles and a philosophy issue I have though:

1) It is completely tied to d20 4th. And while I skipped most of 3rd, some of what I'm hearing about 4th gives me pause to consider it. I will definitely be checking it out. I may be a largely 1st Edition loyalist, but I'm not wearing blinders. I am not adverse to change for the better.

2) There is a question about how much the "D&D Insider" is going to cost, and what we'd be getting with it. I will have to evaluate whether it's something I need or want for my games. If I decide I like it, it sounds like I am sort of making the decision for my players too. They might not be so quick to pick up a monthly bill for what may often be bi-monthly games.


The philosophy issue is this: Most people will largely say that a VTT game can not live up to a face-2-face game. And for the most part I agree. Which is why I believe that VTT's need to not be afraid to seek out things it can do better than a f2f game, and then DO IT. If done correctly, the future of VTT's doesn't have to be limited to just attempting (and failing) to live up to the f2f experience. They should take the games to a new level. They should become legitimate extensions, or even replacements, for traditional battlemats.

I think Wizards have a nice application in the works here. And I think that, in time, their philosophy will come around to mine and they won't be so quick to allow the limitations of f2f games to put arbitrary constraints on their digital application.

Time will tell.

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Post by Full Bleed » Fri Aug 17, 2007 4:51 am

Omnidon wrote:Monster variety will probably be fairly limited too, as with all D&D software products I've seen.
I'm not so sure about that. There is no reason that they can't convert all of their minis into 3d minis using 3d scanning technology. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if the models for their minis weren't modeled in 3d to begin with.

Every new mini set might be accompanied by a whole new slew of 3d minis being made available to D&D Insiders. And, of course, someone could cap them in top-down to export to other applications. ;)

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Post by mahhand » Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:37 am

I watched both the vids and came away not that impressed. Sure it does have the neato 3d models effect, and it does have some potential, but frankly, I thought most of what was shown was very very old school on the 3d graphics. Right now Battlegrounds maps, though top down, look sooooo much better. I can pick any jpeg or tile i can find on the net and use them right away, I can decide how big a grid i want, at least to the 40 by 40 for now, but i am sure that will grow to larger when needed. The 3d models mini's are nice, but i find the top down 3dish figs that i have bought and found on the net very nice and very pleasing.

For sure, they are going to tie it into a monthly fee, which may or may not be worth it, but remember, if you have 7 players as i do in a campaign, and also the dm, that is a lot of monthly fee's. I am sure that this "bomb" that wizards dropped rattled the VTT designer's cage's a bit, but my advise to heruca is stay the course, stay on target, and don't loose focus, Wizards is going to treat there Online table the same way as apple treats there itunes, and that is no one gets to work with them, they are running the show. Ie, i bet it wont be flexible for adding your own maps, ie jpegs or png figs or anything, why would they let you do that when you could "buy" add-ons, map packs, modules that have content, fig's that give you online guys, ect.

did you see the die roller? Looked pretty bad to me

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Post by Kepli » Fri Aug 17, 2007 12:04 pm

The 3d part is a nice touch, as is the character creation part, but the rest isn't that spectacular. I just hope we can import our own maps and tiles, since we can do so much better :P

They seem under the impression that they are doing something new, while we have all been working on it and playing it for quite a while now. I would love to see some reviews by experienced VT players once the product is out :D 8)
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Post by Omnidon » Fri Aug 17, 2007 1:24 pm

I tend to share Mahhand's view on it.

While I'm sure modders will attempt to add plenty of 3D artwork and WotC will try and break your bank with expensive extras, I don't mind 2d graphics and like to be able to use any artwork I pull off of the net.

The only reason I could see 3d graphics being worth that inconvenience is to have elevation, which is something my games have been really needing for a long time. Yet I don't see them going in that direction.
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Post by heruca » Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:08 pm

FYI, the second link I posted above has now been updated to include more video clips.
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Post by Full Bleed » Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:08 pm

I'm not so sure that WotC is going to use their VTT to generate additional income by forcing people to buy "xtras." I think that would fly in the face of even putting the program under the subscription "D&D Insider" program. The idea is that your monthly fee will include constant updates and new material. The idea is to keep you on the subscription fee and to support their physical product.

Now, they may "lock content" based on what you physically buy. We know they are going to do that for the Core books (buy the books, and you can unlock a digital version ) So, for example, if you buy a module, you might be able to "unlock" the maps for that module to use in their Game Table. I'm not sure this is how it's going to work, but it seems to follow their basic plan and does make sense.

It will be interesting to see if people will be able to bring in their own graphic content. Will we be able to import maps or will be have to build them? It appears that you will not be able to import stuff right now. The tool looks self-contained. I suspect that what is available will continue to grow and expand, but you probably won't have 20 different graphics for pit-traps at your finger tips. This might not be such a horrible thing. I, for one, know the organization of my graphic library *is* a nightmare. ;)

And from a support perspective, it does make sense to constrain the tool in such a way as to not allow too many outside factors into the process. It also allows them to have more control over how the tool is used (for example, they might not want people to play hex based games, or any game that isn't produced by WotC on their table.)

The point is, I don't think they feel obligated to compete for the "system agnostic crown" or to encourage the use of outside tools in order to use theirs. And keep in mind that the existing VTT market has seemed afraid that WotC would compete with them. It looks to me that they aren't even really going to communicate with them. They seem to be building their own island.

If I'm right, I don't think it will be something that will last forever. Eventually, like their d20 system itself, they will have to open it up to encourage growth and usage. But in the short term, I'm not so sure that is a priority. Who even knows how much their GT will be used. I think *that*, as much as anything else, will really determine their policy.

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Post by heruca » Sat Aug 18, 2007 12:19 am

Some more details:

"[The Game Table] will be free to D&D Insider subscribers, but also available to nonsubscribers for a nominal fee."

"it will let players use voice chat through the company Vivox to communicate directly through the game table"

(Source: http://www.wizarduniverse.com/magazine/ ... 672645.cfm)
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Post by Full Bleed » Sat Aug 18, 2007 12:39 am

heruca wrote:"[The Game Table] will be free to D&D Insider subscribers, but also available to nonsubscribers for a nominal fee."
Interesting.

I wonder what "nominal" means. Probably $4.95. And the character generator is really tied into the Game Table... so I'm not sure where that will stand.

It also might be indicating a willingness to break up/out other "Insider" content too then.

And it raises the question of content available to the GT... will the stand-alone version get the same content that the Insider version has access too?

So many questions.

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Post by Steel Rat » Sat Aug 18, 2007 10:37 am

I'm not so sure about that. There is no reason that they can't convert all of their minis into 3d minis using 3d scanning technology. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if the models for their minis weren't modeled in 3d to begin with.
I sure wouldn't want that, their minis are horrible.

Considering WotC's habit of ignoring the gamer in the past, especially when it comes to minis, I'll remain skeptical.

Free with your paid subscription, eh? More abuse of the word "free".
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Post by Balesir » Mon Aug 20, 2007 7:51 am

It looks to me as if they have light radius FoW as per BRPG, but not line-of-light and line-of-sight as MapTool now has and BRPG is intended to get. Also, as others said, the addition of 3D without making it useful (elevation, flying...) and, worst of all, the ongoing bleed of cash just to keep my game alive and at risk of changes in corporate policy... Unless this is developed somewhat I don't see it being of much interest to me, even for D&D games (which, I assume, is all it will work for).
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Post by Farland » Mon Aug 20, 2007 4:32 pm

I saw this at GenCon.

It looks very impressive, but my thoughts are that it has to be very limited, because of the 3d aspect. I doubt there will be much choice in the maps one can make. Also, WOTc is notoriously unresponsive. it will take them 2 years to implement changes.

But it did make me fear a bit for small 3rd party developers like BRPG, I'm afraid.
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Post by tdwyer11b » Mon Aug 20, 2007 5:40 pm

Farland wrote:But it did make me fear a bit for small 3rd party developers like BRPG, I'm afraid.
I'd be worried if were a D&D or d20 specific app, but BRPG isn't so it will still cater to those of us who don't play those games exclusively. It might take some of the D&D'ers away who want software specifically for their game. While those of us will continue using BRPG for one of it's strengths, in that any game can be played on it.

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Post by heruca » Mon Aug 20, 2007 6:23 pm

I'm not particularly worried, although as they add features over time, that could change. Right now the 3D element in Game Table is really just eye candy. If they start capitalizing on the 3D, then I might worry.

But for now, I may actually be benefiting from their exposing more people to the VT style of play. I doubt it's entirely coincidence that the month they introduced their VT has ended up being the month with the highest BRPG sales so far.
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Post by Full Bleed » Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:07 pm

heruca wrote:I doubt it's entirely coincidence that the month they introduced their VT has ended up being the month with the highest BRPG sales so far.
Yep. The more people begin to realize that there even *are* VTT's, the more they will eventually get around to seeing what else is out there.

As I've said before... let WotC "market the market" and the little guys have a lot to gain.

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Post by Farland » Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:52 pm

I hope that's true. I am always rooting for the little guys.
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Post by Balesir » Wed Sep 26, 2007 9:51 am

One or two interesting bits I have picked up from D&D 4E discussions regarding the VTT:

- No plans to have line of sight FoW at release - just light radius and maybe a 'reveal' layer?

- Won't be D&D only

- Mapping seems to be whiteboard drawing or supplied tiles only

- Likely to be a 'rental subscription' service run online, so encounters, etc. will not be saveable

Overall, I think I'll be sticking with BRPG for a while, yet! :wink:
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Post by heruca » Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:27 pm

New screenshots posted here:
http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/02/2 ... ry-du.html

Looks like at least some objects/furniture will be 3D, not just painted onto the map tiles.
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Post by heruca » Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:48 pm

:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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