Battlegrounds Gaming Engine

Virtual tabletop software specifically designed for boardgames, wargames, card games and dice games

Battlegrounds Gaming Engine

Postby heruca » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:08 pm

Battlegrounds Gaming Engine (aka BGE) will be the next major product release for Battlegrounds Games.

BGE will be based on the BRPG codebase, with a few significant changes, and it will be optimized for general gaming, so certain RPG-specific features will be removed (e.g. in-character and out-of-character chat, chat aliases, enhanced night vision, light sources, fudging of die rolls, etc.). BGE will not only allow you to play games online, but to create your own digital game conversions, (with the help of a graphics app to create gameboards, game pieces, and/or custom cards), so that you can play just about any game online, even if a particular game conversion isn't available directly from Battlegrounds Games.

BGE will be priced significantly lower than a BRPG GM Client (exact price TBD). With BGE, there will not be different clients with different capabilities (like BRPG's GM Client and Player Client). There will only be a single client, and it will be called a Gamer Client. The Gamer Client will be compatible will all BRPG Artpacks and Game Boxes. It will use the same format as BRPG Encounters and Deployments (but Encounters will be called Game Files, instead). The host and the other players in a BGE game session will be equals in capability (unlike in BRPG, in which the GM is god and can do anything to override a player's actions).

Like BRPG, BGE will be cross-platform, and will have access to the same Lobby for finding live games and opponents online. And like BRPG, there will be a free Demo available for download so that potential customers can explore the software and its capabilities.

BGE will be a significantly smaller download compared to BRPG. It will probably come with standard game piece tokens such as pawns, cubes, meeples, and coins. BGE will have its own User Manual, and the Battlegrounds website and forums will be redesigned to accommodate both BRPG and BGE.

Since BGE does not have to be created from scratch, it should be possible to release it in relatively short order. I'm guessing Q4 2010. Work on BGE will commence once BRPG v1.6h is released and (hopefully) becomes the next official release.

Current BRPG users may not have much need for a BGE Gamer Client, but the availability of a lower-priced client for general gaming will hopefully allow many more gamers to play their favorite boardgames, wargames, card games and dice games online. And BGE should offer game designers an excellent way of prototyping and playtesting their game designs, all without a lick of scripting, coding, or XML editing.
: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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Warhammer on BGE?

Postby Darkreaper » Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:56 pm

There is a lot of call for a platform in which to play Warhammer Fantasy and or 40K. The biggest problem is the rotation of unitis/game pieces. Will BGE allow for free and grouped rotation of game pieces? If so, I anxiously await this product.
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Postby heruca » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:30 pm

Welcome, Darkreaper.

BRPG already allows grouping and rotating formations of units, but there is a bug that messes things up more often than not. If I can fix that bug, yes, you'll be able to use either BRPG or BGE to handle W40K-style games (probably any miniature tabletop game).
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Postby fb66 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:49 am

Bigger maps would be a necesity for wargaming use. One of the things i would love to use BG for is WW1 navel campaigns. The strategic maps can be big but a tactical map would need to be a minimum of 120 cells by 120 cells (hexes probably).
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Postby heruca » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:02 pm

Your game board can be as big as you want. Just lay it out using objects set to "Tile". A 30x30-square object laid out in a 4x4 grid would give you a 120x120 square playing area.
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Postby Kazander » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:05 pm

fb66 wrote:...a tactical map would need to be a minimum of 120 cells by 120 cells (hexes probably).

:D
Yea! Someone else calling for bigger maps, too! (not that it helps to make it happen in v1.x with the Director limitation on FoW/overlays).

Tiles work to a limited extent, but they're less than ideal for some purposes.

(now back to my regularly scheduled work day....)
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Postby fb66 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:08 pm

heruca wrote:Your game board can be as big as you want. Just lay it out using objects set to "Tile". A 30x30-square object laid out in a 4x4 grid would give you a 120x120 square playing area.


i didnt think the FOW would work if you did that ?
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Postby heruca » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:13 pm

BGE doesn't have a Fog of War feature like BRPG. It has secret tokens and secret portraits, though (where only the owner of a given piece sees the true token/portrait, and the opponent just sees a generic game piece or an alternate portrait).
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Postby fb66 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:22 pm

Oh right its just the dynamic FOW works perfectly for the visibility limits involved in a navel engagement (in the north sea this was typically under 10,000 yards (80 hexes/cells).
The fog of war element of a navel engagement is what makes it interesting.

i had considered trying to modify the rules to work in the 40x40 hex maps of BGRPG but it results in problems in relation to movement speeds.
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Postby heruca » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:23 pm

Two things to keep in mind.

1) BGE will (for the most part, anyway) be a subset of BRPG's featureset. Less cost = less features, but more accessible = more users.

2) Tabletop boardgames and wargames don't have dynamic Fog of War, so BGE won't either. If you need dynamic FoW, use BRPG, and simply turn off snap-to-grid and add in your own custom hexgrid with smaller hexes that covers a much larger area. I can probably make you such a hexgrid when I have some spare time, if you'll give me the dimensions (email me, so that we don't completely de-rail this thread).
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Postby MadWelshWizard » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:42 pm

Hello,

I'm new to Battlegrounds, have been shoehorning Gametable and in some cases MS Publisher to play wargames/boardgames on the PC.

I've been playing around with BRPG for a couple of days and I'm pretty sure I can get it to do the things I want (mainly play Flintloque 3rd Ed over the web) however I'm hesitant to buy if BWG will have more features better suited to wargames/boardgame play ?

Can you confirm if BRPG will have all the functions of BWG or will they be held back for BPRG V2 (which I believe I will have to pay more for ?)

The main feature in question is having 'card decks' on the map window. Can this be done now ? i.e. Can I stack 10 objects with the same alternate token showing and shuffle them thus drawing one of the top not knowing what it is ?

Apologies for the rambling I just want to check functionality before buying :)

Thanks,

Craig
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Postby heruca » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:49 pm

Welcome, MadWelshWizard.

BRPG can sort of handle card decks in the map window (see this thread for a free deck of standard playing cards that you can experiment with). You just need to place all your cards as objects with two tokens (one of which is the card back graphic), then use the "Stack & Shuffle" command in recent beta releases to pile them up into a random stack. What this feature does not support is the concept of player hands, although it can be emulated through clever use of the Views feature (defining one view for each player's hand) and the Secret Token feature (so that the owning player sees the actual card but others see only the card back). It may not be ideal, but it's doable.

BGE will have those same features. There will never be a "Battlegrounds: Wargame Edition" (BWG) VT, that has been replaced by BGE.

Anyone holding off on purchasing BRPG or BGE because they think it best to wait until Battlegrounds v2 is released is just being silly. That product is at least a year away, IF it even gets produced, which is far from certain given slacking sales in recent months.
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Postby MadWelshWizard » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:00 pm

Hey Heruca,

Thanks for that, I didn't see the Stack & Shuffle option before, it works like a charm. Makes most boardgames with solo rules playable already :)

One more question, is there a way in BPRG to remove GM's god like powers ? i.e. Can I downgrade my access for a game to just a player. This would mean I could play a boardgame with someone and not see the secret information or will that feature be in BGE only ?

I've just found the updated manual so will be gicing that a read through today.

Thanks,

Craig
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Postby heruca » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:18 pm

MadWelshWizard wrote:is there a way in BPRG to remove GM's god like powers ? i.e. Can I downgrade my access for a game to just a player. This would mean I could play a boardgame with someone and not see the secret information or will that feature be in BGE only?


I've made some effort to conceal information from the host in BRPG. For example, if another player is using the Secret Token or Secret Portrait feature, or private unit names, the GM won't see that during play, and will be treated just like a player in that regard. But there's nothing to prevent the GM from cheating by taking ownership of the token to see that info (except the player will probably notice if that unit is on-screen at the time), or looking at secret info offline (between game sessions in a multi-session game). BGE will attempt to put the host on more equal footing with other players, at least during actual play.
: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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Postby jones0430 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:46 pm

I'm certainly interested in your development of BGE. My interest is in finding a computerized tool for a campaign rule set that feeds tabletop wargames, specifically ancient through early modern period. The scale I'm looking at is operation level, the manuevering of brigade, division, and corps.
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Postby heruca » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:45 am

Welcome, jones0430.

So you plan to play out each battle the traditional way (with counters or miniatures), and use BRPG to manage the overall campaign? Interesting use-case.
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Postby DaveyJJ » Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:39 pm

BGE is good news indeed. I'm less interested in gaming specific hex-base wargames (like Valor & Victory or Combat Commander) as those are already available in other computer formats (Vassal, Sun Tzu, Cyberbox etc) ... but BGE should just be the ticket for miniatures wargaming, whatever period you're interested in.

Whip up a map representing say 500m x 500m of a typical Normandy countryside and a handful of counters and you have a tactical WW2 game in which the players could use any number of rulesets (CrossFire, NUTS! etc).

The basic FoW with counters/units that just have a hidden state and a revealed state work fine for most rulesets. Can a unit have more than two states though? Say, a hidden state, regular, panicked, suppressed etc? Or is that better achieved simply by having different markers/units and replacing on map as needed?

And will BGE have some sort of scale and ruler so if you're using a system that requires measurements you can set a scale and actually measure distances (range, movement etc)? I don't care myself (Crossfire does away with those sorts of things to focus on tactics) but I know others will.

Really looking forward to BGE. You've got one sale here.

P.S. Hey, heruca, just noticed you're in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The great developer of the Cocos2D framework for iOS development, Ricardo Quesada, lives in the same city, in the Capital Federal area. I've worked closely with him in the past. Small world.
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Postby heruca » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:32 am

DaveyJJ wrote:Can a unit have more than two states though? Say, a hidden state, regular, panicked, suppressed etc? Or is that better achieved simply by having different markers/units and replacing on map as needed?


The token-swapping feature in BRPG, which will probably carry over exactly as-is into BGE, can support many tokens per unit. I've never tested the maximum number, but an educated guess is 255, which should far exceed any games' requirements.

DaveyJJ wrote:And will BGE have some sort of scale and ruler so if you're using a system that requires measurements you can set a scale and actually measure distances (range, movement etc)?

I believe the code for BRPG's "Measure" feature could be re-implemented in BGE to dynamically indicate how far you have dragged a unit, in game/map scale. I think that would be pretty handy, and probably a basic requirement for most miniature-based games.

DaveyJJ wrote:just noticed you're in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The great developer of the Cocos2D framework for iOS development, Ricardo Quesada, lives in the same city, in the Capital Federal area. I've worked closely with him in the past. Small world.


I'm not familiar with Cocos2D, but I am potentially interested in developing iOS apps in the future. Please PM me with more info about this framework. BTW, I, too, live in "Capital Federal".
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BRPG and BGE

Postby MadWelshWizard » Sun Jun 19, 2011 5:01 pm

Heya Heruca,

I've been using BRPG for ages now and it's excellent. I use it for Board Games, CCGs and a variety of Wargames.

Is there any benefit to me using BGE ? Or is it a more streamlined version of the main program ?

The two things it needs to support more games and especially wargames is a bigger map and the measuring feature you mentioned (copied below) as the measure then mark with token is very cumbersome:

"I believe the code for BRPG's "Measure" feature could be re-implemented in BGE to dynamically indicate how far you have dragged a unit, in game/map scale. I think that would be pretty handy, and probably a basic requirement for most miniature-based games."

Will this and the bigger maps be added into BGE? Will they then be released in BRPG ?

Thanks,

Craig
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Re: BRPG and BGE

Postby heruca » Sun Jun 19, 2011 5:42 pm

MadWelshWizard wrote:Is there any benefit to me using BGE ? Or is it a more streamlined version of the main program ?


With BGE available at a much more affordable price point, my hope is that it will (in time) achieve a much larger userbase than BRPG, meaning a bigger pool of players/opponents (and, I hope, game designers!).

BGE, having less features and less "extraneous" (RPG-centric) commands also means a somewhat lower learning curve compared to BRPG.

At some point in the future, the format for BRPG Encounters and BGE Game Files will probably diverge, at which point you'll start seeing game conversions become available that are BGE-compatible only (i.e., you won't be able to play them with BRPG).

MadWelshWizard wrote:Will [movement measuring] and the bigger maps be added into BGE? Will they then be released in BRPG ?


I'm taking a wait-and-see approach with BGE. I don't want to promise things/features until I can gauge the level of the program's adoption by the gaming community. If BGE sales are tepid, the program won't get 5 years worth of additional development the way BRPG did. But if it catches on with the gaming community, then you will likely see that same sort of user-driven evolution and refinement of the program that you saw with BRPG.
: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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