What does Battlegrounds offer?

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What does Battlegrounds offer?

Post by Myth » Mon Jun 05, 2006 8:41 pm

I'm comparing two similar products as I get ready to take my campaign online. One is Battlegrounds (which looks awesome!) and the other is Fantasy Grounds (which also looks awesome).

I'm interested in figuring out the perks and flaws of each system. Obviously, whichever I pick, my Players will have to use as well, and that's 5-6 folks buying the platform. So, if any developers are interested in selling the product to me, please feel free to laud how gnifty it is. :)

I'd also like to hear from users about what they like or don't like about the Battlegrounds platform, to help me make a more informed decision about what to use to host my campaign.

Thanks for your input!
Myth

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Post by Jixxala » Mon Jun 05, 2006 9:29 pm

IMO Fantasy grounds does have some nice features. When I play a face to face game I expect the players to keep their stuff off my map area. The thing I disliked about FG was the graphics. Silly I know. I love how BG offers a full screen veiw. With sound effects, topdown graphics and a TS connection it allows for a very immersive gameplay. FG felt like a cartoon to me.

Don't get me wrong, FG has some very nice features, including some I hope get implemented in later versions of BG. However, for my money it has to be BG. FG has a look a bit like many early comp rpgs and (while I love those) I wanted something a little more up to date.

Just my 2 cents. You know the rules though, it is the GM they play your game for, not the interface. The best interface maybe adds 10%, the worst that still functions (think chat room) only takes away a percentage.

Good luck in your choice.
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Post by heruca » Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:39 pm

Welcome, Myth. Thanks for bringing this discussion here (this was started on the FG forums).

Finding the best tool for your game is going to depend on your specific needs. For example, BRPG does not currently support shared, editable character sheets, so if that's key to you and all you intend to play is D&D or d20, go with FG.

If you want to be able to play other rulesets, BRPG might be worth considering, particularly if you need some features that FG is lacking, such as cross-platform support, sound FX, dynamic Fog of War, a genre-independent interface, etc. For a lot of people, the full-screen map aspect of BRPG is key, or the fact that it can be used to support face-to-face games, which is something that FG does not seem ideally suited for. For others, ease of use and the learning curve is the deciding factor.

If you look on my Links & Resources page on the main site (not the forums), you'll see around 20 other virtual tabletop solutions which you might also want to check out before making a decision. Some are free, some aren't. Some are still in development, and others have been abandoned by their developers.

I'll be honest. Right now, BRPG is new and will need a little time to mature to get all the kinks worked out. All I can say is that BRPG is going to continue to improve and get more features. Now that the v1.0 release is almost ready, adding to that existing core is going to be pretty fast.

I think BRPG is a bit better than FG in some areas already, such as the tokens that come with it, the ability to modify the game engine without having to do any XML scripting, and perhaps the thoroughness of it's documentation.

But I'll let others chime in and give their views. I'm sure many people here are more familiar with FG than I am, and can better comment on its strengths and weaknesses.
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Post by Omnidon » Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:49 pm

I don't know a lot about FG, but I do know that I could not do without full-screen maps and a highly customizable interface for my unconventional games.

When I started looking for a tabletop again (I gave up about a year ago), I didn't expect to find anything near as fancy as Fog of War, Audio Transfers, and all the stuff like that in BRPG.
They aren't neccesarily vital to getting a tabletop working, but they help me justify using a tabletop at all for my very picky players and my own flexible GM-ing style.

BRPG v1.0 isn't going to be the sleek and polished product that I hoped it would be, but it already is way better than most tabletops I've seen.
(And if you have the patience to wait for updates, then it's definitely worth it.)
I expect it will easily exceed all the competition once some of the key features that I've been waiting for are implemented.
heruca does a great job of listening to his customers and giving them what they want.

If you urgently need a feature BRPG doesn't yet have, then another tabletop application might be the way to go.

My advice is to try the BRPG demo. It's a good demo and lets you do basically everything you would want to do with the full version.
(It has a 45 minute time-out and only lets you save 8 units, but that gives you plenty of room for testing.)

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Post by heruca » Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:08 pm

Hmmm, I just read in your "Games Seeking Players" post that you are on dial up now, not broadband. That might be the deciding factor in what virtual tabletop you decide to go with. Why? Because BRPG maps can be up to 2MBs, whereas most FG maps seems to be in the 500K-800K range (although I've heard 1MB and more is also possible). No VT is going to support 2440 x 2440 pixel maps very well on dial up connections.

There are work-arounds, of course. If I was on dial-up and using BRPG, I'd just make each room into a separate map. And I'd send the maps to my players via e-mail prior to the game, so that the maps load instantly during play.

Don't get me wrong. BRPG does support dial-up play. It's just that the slow transfers will demand that you work around that limitation, which requires a bit more prep time.

You should definitely inquire on the FG forums about how playable games are on dial-up.
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Comparisons & opinions

Post by Myth » Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:48 pm

Awesome, thank all of you for your input. 'Specially Heruca. (No need to respond with a URL on the FG forums, sorry 'bout that.)

I may just buy both systems, simply to contribute to "tabletop games" as a business venture. I am really excited to see people designing professional-quality software for this purpose. It's my dream, in fact. :) I'm returning to school in IT (with a focus in Programming) but I doubt I'll be able to make a career of gaming, 'cause I have 5 kids and I can't risk too much. But I very much want to support those who are living my dream.

I *was* on dial-up, but I'm in a new apartment now, on DSL. I was gonna run a game on FG via dial-up, a few months ago, but it simply wouldn't have worked.

I've installed the Battlegrounds system, I just haven't had time to playtest it yet. School & work & parenting demand my time. I will definately do so before making my final decision.

As far as customizability... I use E-Tools to handle characters & monsters. My goal is a very near standard D&D 3.5e campaign, because I like that Players don't have to learn all the quirks and exceptions when they come on board. I play other games now & then for fun, but I'm a D&D zealot... it's my first and favorite setting, rules, etc.

Once again, I really appreciate the info from everyone. It's good to feel supported in my Geekery. ;)

I'll check back in tomorrow. See you guys later.

Myth

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Post by rabbit » Tue Jun 06, 2006 8:10 am

Rabbit from the other discussion at the FG website.

Heruca, let me just say you're a heck of a nice guy. You give more props than neccesary to your competition, and just for that I'll be buying a copy of BG to play with. I have had some issues keeping the demo working (one of my machines just doesn't like Macromedia stuff and throws off flash crashes - not BG issue as much as my issue) and some connectivity stuff, but I can see where this is going and once it's stable and yummy and has the kinks worked out, I could see moving to it.

Any updates on that release date?

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Post by heruca » Tue Jun 06, 2006 8:32 am

Welcome, Rabbit.

You're making me blush. :oops:

Sorry to hear your PC has issues with Macromedia stuff. Is it just with Flash, or is Director also problematic? Does your PC meet the minimum system specs listed here?

http://www.battlegroundsgames.com/sysreq.html

If so, I suspect a reinstall of the OS would probably fix it, but no one likes to go through that hell. If that doesn't do it, it might be your graphics card or drivers.

As for the release date, I was kinda hoping for this Friday, since I'm leaving on a trip on Saturday the 10th. But right now, the person that was helping me with the sample mini-adventure is also away, so I might not make that deadline.

Which means the release would have to wait until I return from my trip, around the 18th. I suspect the latter date might be best, since by then I'd have many more kinks worked out, and I'll be around to issue license keys. It also gives more time for the people that pre-ordered to let me know of any new bugs that might be in the Release Candidate that just came out (they're the only ones with access to that version).
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Post by erian_7 » Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:02 am

Hey heruca, if there's anything I can hel pwith now that I'm back in the saddle, just let me know. Happy to do any text editing, graphics work, advanture writing, etc. If it'll hel pget BRPG out to the public faster, I'm all for it!
<>< ;^)

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Post by Kalan » Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:16 am

Greetings all :) Kalan from over at the FG and FUM boards :)

I've looked over this product, and I like the look of it (haven't played with the demo as yet), and have to admit there's a lot of things I like about it. But without actually playing with it, I have to withhold any comments.

That said, I'm in the process of designing and releasing some d20 Modern supplements in the near future (primarily Adventure/Sourcebooks for Modern Arcana style campaigns), and think I will design them for use in both FG and BG - thus far I like the idea of not needing to know any specific coding language for BG - the only problem I have is that I have a lot of time and $$ invested in FG to warrant a full switch over.

I may d/l the demo this evening, and play around with it a bit...but I don't know how much time I'll have as I'm in the middle of getting ready for two seperate trips (one to Calgary for a wedding this weekend, then another trip next thursday to Denmark for holidays).

My props also to Heruca whom I have a LOT of respect for - it takes some real cajones to place links and reviews to your competitors products, and like one of the previous posters, if I can (I don't have a credit card, and Pay Pal is a Pain in the rear to get money into w/o one) I will also be purchasing BG to support Heruca for no other reason than this.

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Post by rabbit » Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:50 am

Thanks for the reply,

Minspec isn't the issue, likely not drivers either (this is my tricked out game machine) - it's probably the opposite. Too much whizzbang and not enough brainpower. At some point soon I'm due for a wipe anyway. I was planning on just waiting till you get through release (and maybe round 1 patch, not that you'll need one I'm sure! fingers crossed for you) and then see if things just magically got better.

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Post by heruca » Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:44 pm

Welcome, Kalan.

Thanks for the kind words.
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Post by Myth » Tue Jun 06, 2006 7:29 pm

Rabbit wrote:Heruca, let me just say you're a heck of a nice guy. You give more props than neccesary to your competition, and just for that I'll be buying a copy of BG to play with.
True 'dat. :)

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From a slightly different angle

Post by Pikup » Thu Jun 08, 2006 9:17 am

I know I will need to spend some time with the demo to get a true answer, but I'm stcuk at work and curious.

Can anyone compare the DM tools between these two. Mainly I'm talking about the ease of creating content. FG has been fairly flexible and has some nice features to allow content addition on the fly, but I've always found the text story tools somewhat limited.

I tend to write fairly non-linear adventures and also use a fair amount of custom or non-standard monsters and items. With most tools I find its at least a 2-1 to 3-1 creation time to play time ratio. I'd love to find some tools that can help me get that down to 1-1 or lower.

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Post by heruca » Thu Jun 08, 2006 12:56 pm

Welcome, Pikup.

Improvising an Encounter on the fly shouldn't be too difficult, if you've stocked up beforehand on some good generic, reusable maps.

Better yet is to pre-make several such encounters as a basis for making customized ones quicker. For example, if you have a plains map with a road and some trees, it's a simple matter to move the trees around to make what appears to be a new section of road.

It'll get better once I add in a means of deploying multiple units at once. Right now, adding in a lot of units at once can be tedious. It's also been suggested that being able to copy and paste deployed units would be a big time saver. So you could place a single orc, for example, then paste a bunch of other orcs just like it wherever you happen to need them.

There will also be a text macro function for the GM to be able to call up prewritten text blocks (room descriptions, journey summaries, whatever), and there will also be chat macros, for recurring dialogue or prepared speeches, but neither of those are in place yet. I suppose for now the workaround might be to place such text blocks in the Charts & Tables folder (as JPEGs), or better yet, just add them to the GM Notepad for copy/paste useage.

But why don't you write up a wish list of the tools/functions that you think would be useful for creating content on the fly? How are the text story tools in FG limited?
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Re: From a slightly different angle

Post by Omnidon » Thu Jun 08, 2006 3:38 pm

Pikup wrote:I tend to write fairly non-linear adventures
It's good to find more GMs that arn't stuck in the stereotype rut ;-)
I've been a dedicated follower of BRPG ever since I found it, because it is by far the most flexible virtual tabletop I've seen.

It doesn't have some key features yet like the ability to turn off Snap-To-Grid, but heruca is a hard worker and I trust that he will see to adding things like that as soon as possible.

I don't know much about FG, but I do know that BRPG is already (and will soon be even more) ideal for on-the-fly setup.

BRPG is obviosly not mapping software, for fancy maps you'll generally need to use something like Dunjinni or Campaign Cartographer.

But, as heruca said, you can save your placements of objects and figures then move them around later. This is great for improvisation. I intend to build multiple maps, especially outdoor and overland maps, just by using a plain background and placing the features on top of it. With the new locking feature, you could also easily build new terrain in BRPG using pre-cut tiles.
Eventually, you'll be able to have multiple encounter windows open at the same time too using a tabbed feature similar to some browsers.

Here's one of the many threads where we discussed such features:
http://www.battlegroundsgames.com/phpBB ... .php?t=372

In my opinion, one of the most unique and useful features about BRPG (one that wasn't even originally intended) is the ability to import Flash SWF files. While this hasn't been thoroughly tested yet, it should allow advanced users to create their own fancy animations, movies, and software to be distributed other BRPG fans.

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Post by Myth » Thu Jun 08, 2006 8:48 pm

Thanks for the info! This is all very helpful stuff to hear from others.

Myth

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Post by Guest » Wed Jun 14, 2006 9:50 pm

I have been running my Traveller (T20 edition) campaign on Klooge for the past year. I hear people bash Klooge but it offers as few things that neither BG nor FG does.

First and foremost it has the best mapping interface I have seen. Pick your background image, map or whatever, then draw a line on the map, tell the computer how long that line is. Klooge automatically now scales your map. You want to open up your books from your shelve and scan in a map for use in your game it is that easy.

Second, it is truly cross platform. You can play on a Mac, PC running Windows, Sun Workstation, PC running Linux, no problem, it is written in Java and runs well on just about anything. (And running Java hasn't been a major issue.)

Third, the character sheets can be created or edited by either the player or the GM. (Though they do have to be in the GM's format.)

Fourth, The GM can own the licenses. (Which is a major drawback to FG IMHO.) So the Players can play for free. (And when they leave the GM can recruit new players without needing new licenses.) Though the Players can buy their own licenses if they so choose.

Fifth, while creating a game definition is not an easy task, it is doable. And the community for Klooge is friendly and helpful in that regards. As is the developer, who added features specifically for the game definition I was writing. (Tracking Ammo for burst and autofire was not considered in the original coding of Klooge.)

Six, anything can not only be a map, but anything can be an icon. I personally use 800x800 transparent background png files of rendered pictures of the characters for icons. Though I have also used cut outs of pdf copies of cardboard heros.

Seven, Klooge is stable and runs consistently. We have used it for the past year missing 6 weeks and none of those were due to software issues.

That is a quick synopsis of Klooge.

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Post by Omnidon » Thu Jun 15, 2006 2:32 am

Welcome Guest!
Thanks for sharing. I'm sure Klooge is a good tool, but I think BRPG has a more than good chance of matching or beating it in the long run, at least as far as my needs go.
Anonymous wrote:I have been running my Traveller (T20 edition) campaign on Klooge for the past year. I hear people bash Klooge but it offers as few things that neither BG nor FG does.
I haven't seen any klooge-bashing, but it's true that BRPG is still lacking many of the features it will have once the first few patches are made. Keep in mind that BRPG hasn't even been officially released yet.
Anonymous wrote:First and foremost it has the best mapping interface I have seen. Pick your background image, map or whatever, then draw a line on the map, tell the computer how long that line is. Klooge automatically now scales your map. You want to open up your books from your shelve and scan in a map for use in your game it is that easy.
I agree that the interface in BRPG is pretty clunky right now. It should be improving significantly over time as heruca adds features such as drawing tools, Snap-to-Grid Disabling, and drag & drop.

Automatic scaling of maps will also be supported eventually.
Anonymous wrote:Second, it is truly cross platform. You can play on a Mac, PC running Windows, Sun Workstation, PC running Linux, no problem, it is written in Java and runs well on just about anything. (And running Java hasn't been a major issue.)
That's pretty impressive. BRPG is being tested for both PC and Mac.
I tend not to like Java though. It's a pretty crude language.
Anonymous wrote:Third, the character sheets can be created or edited by either the player or the GM. (Though they do have to be in the GM's format.)
Visual aids can be sent in BRPG, but yes it is lacking a built-in character sheet editor. BRPG can import flash files though, so an advanced user could potentially code their own character sheet extension. (I intend to do just that.)
Anonymous wrote:Fourth, The GM can own the licenses. (Which is a major drawback to FG IMHO.) So the Players can play for free. (And when they leave the GM can recruit new players without needing new licenses.) Though the Players can buy their own licenses if they so choose.
This feature is already available in BRPG. A licensed GM client can both host and play, and can own "Floating Licenses" which can do as you described, allowing any player with the Demo to join at no personal expense.
Anonymous wrote:Fifth, while creating a game definition is not an easy task, it is doable. And the community for Klooge is friendly and helpful in that regards. As is the developer, who added features specifically for the game definition I was writing. (Tracking Ammo for burst and autofire was not considered in the original coding of Klooge.)
I don't know what a "game definition" is, but I assume you mean building in rulesets. BRPG is built on the principle of being generic enough for all game systems. It isn't even out the door and yet it is already easy to take notes and customize object labels. More flexibility will follow I'm sure. It's BRPG's uniformity that is it's strongest suit in terms of usability.
Anonymous wrote:Six, anything can not only be a map, but anything can be an icon. I personally use 800x800 transparent background png files of rendered pictures of the characters for icons. Though I have also used cut outs of pdf copies of cardboard heros.
JPGs can be used interchangably for everything.

I haven't tested them personally, but according to the manual, PNGs and GIFs can also be used for objects, figures, tiles, and visual aids in BRPG.
The sort of universal graphics support you mentioned is certainly one of the goals though with BRPG.

BRPG also allows streaming of music and sound effects, and I bet Klooge doesn't allow SWFs (flash files). Flash is an extremely powerful graphical coding technology that would allow pretty much anything to be plugged into BRPG. SWF support is probably unique to BRPG as far as Virtual Tabletops go.
Anonymous wrote:Seven, Klooge is stable and runs consistently. We have used it for the past year missing 6 weeks and none of those were due to software issues.
Ah, stability. :( You got us there, BRPG isn't stable yet. Anyone who wants more reliability should go with something that is tried and true, not a product that is still in a prototype phase. BRPG will get there eventually though. heruca is very good at squashing bugs as soon as they arise and responding to user input.
Anonymous wrote:That is a quick synopsis of Klooge.
Thanks again for your comments. I'll have to take a closer look at klooge sometime.
By the way, we'd appreciate it if you would register with the forum ;-)

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Post by Jixxala » Thu Jun 15, 2006 10:13 am

An excellent synopsis of Klooge, I did not know that much about it. Thanks.

Omni, I have used PNGs and I think GIFs (would have to check my files) for various things like objects, chracters and visual aids. They seem to all work very well. This is something I love about BGRPG. If players ask to see the region map again the GM can pop it up as a floating VA without switching the map in the background.

I know BGRPG is not finished yet, but I like the direction it is heading. I would like the ability to draw lines on the maps, and turn of snap to grid, but all things in time.

Finally, I would like to talk to you about custom character sheet flash files. I am not real familiar with flash, but have a couple programs that should help my ineptness. Will you be making any you create available here? and is there a chance you might make a tutorial to at least point us in the right direction as how to do so oursleves?
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Post by Betterthanlife » Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:19 am

Omnidon wrote:Welcome Guest!
Thanks for sharing. I'm sure Klooge is a good tool, but I think BRPG has a more than good chance of matching or beating it in the long run, at least as far as my needs go. <SNIP!> Thanks again for your comments. I'll have to take a closer look at klooge sometime.
By the way, we'd appreciate it if you would register with the forum ;-)
OK I created an account. :)
Anonymous wrote:I have been running my Traveller (T20 edition) campaign on Klooge for the past year. I hear people bash Klooge but it offers as few things that neither BG nor FG does.
Omnidon wrote:I haven't seen any klooge-bashing, but it's true that BRPG is still lacking many of the features it will have once the first few patches are made. Keep in mind that BRPG hasn't even been officially released yet.
Actually the comments on Klooge were over on FG's forum.
Anonymous wrote:First and foremost it has the best mapping interface I have seen. Pick your background image, map or whatever, then draw a line on the map, tell the computer how long that line is. Klooge automatically now scales your map. You want to open up your books from your shelve and scan in a map for use in your game it is that easy.
Omnidon wrote:I agree that the interface in BRPG is pretty clunky right now. It should be improving significantly over time as heruca adds features such as drawing tools, Snap-to-Grid Disabling, and drag & drop.

Automatic scaling of maps will also be supported eventually.
That is a wonderful feature. If you aren't using Klooge as a reference for a map interface as to what you want it to eventually look like then you should be. By the way, Klooge is also still under development, cleaning code, adding features, but this is what is available NOW.
Omnidon wrote:
Anonymous wrote:Second, it is truly cross platform. You can play on a Mac, PC running Windows, Sun Workstation, PC running Linux, no problem, it is written in Java and runs well on just about anything. (And running Java hasn't been a major issue.)
That's pretty impressive. BRPG is being tested for both PC and Mac.
I tend not to like Java though. It's a pretty crude language.
It may be crude however it works and it is one of the few proven cross platform languages that you can use, without going out and buying specific compilers or interpreters for various machines and OS. (And the necessary recoding that always follows, regardless of how "portable" a language you are using.) It is a language specifically designed for internet interface so it appears to be the correct tool for the job. Oh and it is stable! :)
Anonymous wrote:Third, the character sheets can be created or edited by either the player or the GM. (Though they do have to be in the GM's format.)
Omnidon wrote:Visual aids can be sent in BRPG, but yes it is lacking a built-in character sheet editor. BRPG can import flash files though, so an advanced user could potentially code their own character sheet extension. (I intend to do just that.)


FG also has a Character sheet editor, so in this respect BG is definitely not yet ready.
Anonymous wrote:Fourth, The GM can own the licenses. (Which is a major drawback to FG IMHO.) So the Players can play for free. (And when they leave the GM can recruit new players without needing new licenses.) Though the Players can buy their own licenses if they so choose.
Omnidon wrote: This feature is already available in BRPG. A licensed GM client can both host and play, and can own "Floating Licenses" which can do as you described, allowing any player with the Demo to join at no personal expense.
It is one of the things that even before release BG has right. And I definitely approve of this feature. As a GM and knowing how difficult it can be to recruit players, asking a player to buy a license before even sampling the game is a bad idea.
Anonymous wrote:Fifth, while creating a game definition is not an easy task, it is doable. And the community for Klooge is friendly and helpful in that regards. As is the developer, who added features specifically for the game definition I was writing. (Tracking Ammo for burst and autofire was not considered in the original coding of Klooge.)
Omnidon wrote: I don't know what a "game definition" is, but I assume you mean building in rulesets. BRPG is built on the principle of being generic enough for all game systems. It isn't even out the door and yet it is already easy to take notes and customize object labels. More flexibility will follow I'm sure. It's BRPG's uniformity that is it's strongest suit in terms of usability.
Building in rulesets, is the BG terminology then?

All of these systems can make a claim to be "generic." the question is how easy it is to create a new ruleset for the system. In Klooge it is a matter of creating an XML character sheet. With no previous XML experience, it made life interestring. And I was doing things that the system was not originally designed for. (However it definitely does those things now. Part of the reason I am definitely in support of Klooge is the developer added features to make my Traveller 20 ruleset work. (They were features that, when originally coded, weren't considered, though they are in there now.))

Coding, an xml character sheet, with no previous xml experience, and getting the game up and transporting the game system from GRiP to Klooge took less than two weeks. (Two game sessions passed between when I bought Klooge to when it was ready.) The klooge update incorporating the new features took an additional 2 weeks of waiting, but the system was functional without the update, and now the system is fully functional.
Anonymous wrote:Six, anything can not only be a map, but anything can be an icon. I personally use 800x800 transparent background png files of rendered pictures of the characters for icons. Though I have also used cut outs of pdf copies of cardboard heros.
Omnidon wrote:JPGs can be used interchangably for everything.

I haven't tested them personally, but according to the manual, PNGs and GIFs can also be used for objects, figures, tiles, and visual aids in BRPG.
The sort of universal graphics support you mentioned is certainly one of the goals though with BRPG.

BRPG also allows streaming of music and sound effects, and I bet Klooge doesn't allow SWFs (flash files). Flash is an extremely powerful graphical coding technology that would allow pretty much anything to be plugged into BRPG. SWF support is probably unique to BRPG as far as Virtual Tabletops go.
You'd probably lose your money. Klooge also supports audio and video in a wide variety of formats. (For example, I took our combat sounds from my copy of the Rainbow Six series.) As far as flash, all flash files are simple to imbed in an HTML and Klooge does fully support html. Whether it supports swf directly, I haven't had occasion to find out. Java handles swf fine, so I see no obstacle to supporting swf. I guess I should get out a manual and take a look and see if it does. :)
Anonymous wrote:Seven, Klooge is stable and runs consistently. We have used it for the past year missing 6 weeks and none of those were due to software issues.
Omnidon wrote:Ah, stability. :( You got us there, BRPG isn't stable yet. Anyone who wants more reliability should go with something that is tried and true, not a product that is still in a prototype phase. BRPG will get there eventually though. heruca is very good at squashing bugs as soon as they arise and responding to user input.
In all fairness, when connecting several computers for a regular game played on various systems with various connection speeds and lots of variables, stability is probably the most important feature. If you can't play on a regular basis and advance the story, nobody will want to play.

I hear all this "it is still in development," "it isn't there but it is going to be," and "we will have that." I hope you do. Competition will help improve the market. After all this market pretty much started with GRiP. Now look where it (the market) is. GRiP, OpenRPG, Klooge, FantasyGrounds, ScreenMonkey, and BattleGrounds (did I miss anyone?).

Now SM and BG are still in the early stages. SM is stable and a brilliant concept (Another truly cross platform product the User interface is their Browser.) but needs some additions to make it truly useful (The Keep goes a long way there to help, get the features it is missing.). BG is still, in the development stage. Klooge, Fantasy Grounds and Grip are more mature and while Grip is unique in the genre in that it isn't in development, they are stable and a new software package should look to those three for what should be done. (And in some cases what shouldn't be done.)

Ideally the best combination would be GRiP's dice suite and CSML, Fantasy Ground's dice rolling mechanics, (They are just cool.) Klooge's Map and Character Sheet and ScreenMonkey's, players use their browser interface concept. (Though the last is limited and cuts profit margin a bit when only the GM needs a license so probably isn't practical.)

Things that should never be included. GRiP's incessant tab flipping (for the GM) and requirement to stop the game to let a player connect/reconnect. Fantasy Ground's requirement that the Player purchase a license without the concept of floating licenses owned by the GM. Klooge's extraneous hotkeys that can get you doing things you have no desire to do. (My personal favorite is H, which hides the current icon, even on the GM's screen, though accidentally activating the paint or area of effect tool by hotkey is also fun.)

The biggest problem I have found in this type of software is lack of adequate documentation. None of these systems are really adequately documented enough to set it up for a new game system without serious hair pulling and stress. :) (I know I have now done that twice and am about to tackle a whole new game system. :) )

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Post by Betterthanlife » Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:32 am

Oh by the way. If you want to see Klooge in action, I do have a few spare licenses and a couple of seats open in my Wednesday Evening T20 campaign. (7PM EDT). Just let me know. http://www.geocities.com/bhoins

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Platform discussion

Post by Myth » Thu Jun 15, 2006 2:39 pm

Thanks to all of you for the incredibly helpful discussions!

I hosted a game last night on FG. Well, I tried to. Nobody could connect to the demo. We tried having one of the players host it (in case some kind of problem on my machine was the culprit.) Still, nobody could connect. :(

We ended up using the MUD I built for my online campaign some 5 or 6 years ago. It worked well... but I *really* don't have the 200 hours required to rebuild the platform for 3.5e. It's hardcoded as 2e, and reworking it would be an even worse nightmare than recreating a 3.5e version.

Open support for a variety of systems is a great selling point for the system... but a poor buying point for the purchaser. Most users will want to buy the platform for a specific game system. For me, D&D 3.5e is what I want. If I can find a platform customized to that, I'll be tickled pink. The more systems a platform supports, the less I like it, because generalization costs specialization, by definition. I can't have specialized features if the platform is generic... unless they're provided as a profile or game setup (or whatever each platform calls the specialization functionality.)

If BG or Klooge offers a "D&D 3.5e 'skin'" that would be exquisite. Make sense?

Sorry, I'm not dissing either BG or Klooge... they both sound totally awesome. And the developers have to build a product that will succeed in the marketplace. (I'm taking Software Leadership this semester, and these issues are at the forefront of my mind as a result. :) ) A system that's generic *is* a good selling point for the vendor. But if they can also offer pre-generated game-system specialization... that vastly increases the selling point for the user. Hopefully I'm communicating this clearly, sorry if I'm being too obscure. :(

Again, thank you all for the wonderful discussion of various systems' merits and challenges!

I'm apparently still in the market. If I can get FG to function, it will remain a primary cantidate. If not, as someone said above... none of the features are useful if it doesn't work reliably.

Also, after returning to Hesperian for last night's session, I've fallen back in love with the functionality I built into it. If a thief speaks in Thieves' Cant, only thieves understand... the others in the room just see a twitch or a nose-rub. I can build monsters on the fly in about 30 seconds, and auto-generate stats for them. They're immediately combat-ready, described completely, and they even come out of the chute speaking their native tongue. They're persistant... if we have to stop in mid-combat, the orc bandits will retain their HPs and equipment status, and even the current initiative order is preserved 'till we can resume, days or weeks (or even years) later. The system is up 24-7, other than a bi-annual reboot that takes less than 60 seconds. It takes messages, it supports separate rooms and pre-detailed environments, combat is automated (if desired), etc. I've not seen anything that provides those kinds of features.

What it *lacks* is graphics, and currently it lacks a 3.5e backbone. :( Both of those are sorely missed.

Anyway, enough rambling. If anyone has any ideas, or if anyone wants to check out Hesperian for ideas (developers, there are probably some ideas you could glean from Hesperian and I'd be tickled pink to share background code freely) just drop me an email and I'll give you a tour. You can create a basic character, and engage in combat or spellcasting or whatever... it takes 5-10 minutes to detail a character and be ready to adventure. I'm not recruiting players... just offering to show folks around the system.

For those interested, the guide page is http://portland.puremagic.com/~scott/Hesperian.html

Talk to everyone later!
Myth

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Re: Platform discussion

Post by Betterthanlife » Thu Jun 15, 2006 3:10 pm

Myth wrote:Thanks to all of you for the incredibly helpful discussions!

I hosted a game last night on FG. Well, I tried to. Nobody could connect to the demo. We tried having one of the players host it (in case some kind of problem on my machine was the culprit.) Still, nobody could connect. :(

Open support for a variety of systems is a great selling point for the system... but a poor buying point for the purchaser. Most users will want to buy the platform for a specific game system. For me, D&D 3.5e is what I want. If I can find a platform customized to that, I'll be tickled pink. The more systems a platform supports, the less I like it, because generalization costs specialization, by definition. I can't have specialized features if the platform is generic... unless they're provided as a profile or game setup (or whatever each platform calls the specialization functionality.)

If BG or Klooge offers a "D&D 3.5e 'skin'" that would be exquisite. Make sense?

Sorry, I'm not dissing either BG or Klooge... they both sound totally awesome. And the developers have to build a product that will succeed in the marketplace. (I'm taking Software Leadership this semester, and these issues are at the forefront of my mind as a result. :) ) A system that's generic *is* a good selling point for the vendor. But if they can also offer pre-generated game-system specialization... that vastly increases the selling point for the user. Hopefully I'm communicating this clearly, sorry if I'm being too obscure. :(

<SNIP>

Myth
Klooge does have a 3.0 and a 3.5 definition included with the package. In other words you can pick it up, "out of the box," and add your maps and characters and play either 3.0 or 3.5 and a few other games. Further you can specifically transfer information from PCGen to Klooge Character Sheets directly. (I believe this is both 3.0 and 3.5 but it might just be 3.0) With minor modification you can also play D20 Modern out of the box. Traveller (T20) took a bit of work, but it is done. Starwars (D20) and several game systems are also already done and ready to use.

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Post by Omnidon » Fri Jun 16, 2006 12:29 am

Well I'm too tired to type up a big thing, but in general BRPG is supposed to have all the necessary features for all systems built into the program. It's goal is ease-of-use; it's not supposed to make the users spend a lot of time tweaking it. Certainly that sort of ideal seems unrealistic at this point, but it has the potential and I like looking ahead.

As for BRPG being too unstable currently to compete, yes I do agree that it is a bit early for it to be going on the market. (I've been telling heruca this, but he's pretty stubborn about releasing it ASAP).

I'll definitely have to take a closer look at Klooge. I have already purchased BRPG and don't regret it, but you can never have too many good tools ;-)
Betterthanlife wrote:The biggest problem I have found in this type of software is lack of adequate documentation. None of these systems are really adequately documented enough to set it up for a new game system without serious hair pulling and stress. :) (I know I have now done that twice and am about to tackle a whole new game system. :) )
heruca often points that out. As I said, BRPG is all about ease-of-use and he intends to provide the best documentation on the market. He already has quite an extensive manual written up (included with the download), and he has been updating it for nearly every version during beta.
Jixxala wrote:Will you be making any you create available here? and is there a chance you might make a tutorial to at least point us in the right direction as how to do so oursleves?
Anything I make will be available, I may be willing to make things for people on request.
I'll be happy to make a tutorial as well as soon as I figure out how to do it myself :roll:
Myth wrote:I hosted a game last night on FG. Well, I tried to. Nobody could connect to the demo. We tried having one of the players host it (in case some kind of problem on my machine was the culprit.) Still, nobody could connect. :(
I've been able to connect fine. That's too bad, I hope that's not another new bug cropping up :?

In general, you are all welcome to contact me through IMs, email, or PMs any time if you have questions, comments, or just want to chat ;-)
My contacts are in my profile.

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