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Geeknamese

3D Virtual Tabletop

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Played my first Star Wars game this past weekend and really loved the game and the narrative play. Coming from a D&D background, I've been accustomed to tactical play with miniatures but it was really refreshing to play the cinematic SW style. One thing I did notice though was it was really hard to keep track of where everyone and enemies were and who's fighting who.

Then I remembered this morning that I had this awesome app called 3D Virtual Tabletop that is perfect for a quick reference to show everyone where they're at in the scene. I grabbed a map of Jabba's place on google, grab a few images to match the pregens we played with, grabbed some of the usual suspects at Jabba's joint and voila! So sick! Love this app!

http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q156/Morawk/image.jpg1.jpg

http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q156/Morawk/image.jpg2.jpg

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Tracking gets easier as you play more, and as players get more and more into changing the scene with results from the dice pool it's actually liberating to not be confined by a map or drawing.

Im super excited to see where 3D AR tech will take us, being able to come up with simple environments on the fly and modify (minority report style) using gestures, all with low cost equipment will be amazing.

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I like roll20 for a lot of the tracking and stuff. When you have to have popups or minis, maybe Imperial assault would fit you more?

 

This game is definitely more about the Role Playing and less "what does my little figure do".

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I haven't used my 3D tabletop app yet, but have been collecting token graphics and maps for my next session. I've got it on an Ipad hooked to my large living room TV and it looks fabulous. So simple and easy to use. I like that you can turn off the grid lines also. I'm going to have a few space maps and tokens ready also.

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I like roll20 for a lot of the tracking and stuff. When you have to have popups or minis, maybe Imperial assault would fit you more?

 

This game is definitely more about the Role Playing and less "what does my little figure do".

I think you misunderstood what I said earlier. I actually like the narrative and cinematic play. There are just times where some kind of visualization would help initially for everyone to get their bearings. For instance, we were at an Imperial military station and we're trying to hijack a Lambda shuttle to get off world. When we entered the room, the GM told us that the gate opened and two Sith warriors stepped out. Then three sith trainees and 5 imperial soldiers entered the room. We knew their ranges but we didn't know where they were relative to everything else in the hangar. So when two of the party members tried to force jump into the Lambda shuttle, they were surprised when the GM said the couldn't because the two Sith warriors had just exited from the shuttle. Half of us thought that the GM meant the Sith warriors came through the some other gates and not the actual shuttle doors. So everyone had to recon everything one round because they had all taken actions and made decisions with the assumption that the shuttle was sitting there with doors open.

It would have helped to have the initial reference of what the area looked like and where the doors were and where everyone was. It could easily be done with a quick sketch with X's and O's but the Virtual Tabletop is a lot nicer. I wouldn't want to track position or movement like D&D because that would make it hard to use advantage and triumphs to do cool things.

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I see you are entered into a "arguing with someone that agrees with what you are saying" part.

 

Roll 20 allows some of this visualizing you want. It is the miniture/miniture representation that I dislike about 3d tabletop.

 

The flatness of roll20 makes it still up to the mind of the Players.

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I am not going to get into a flame war because I prefer a different method of gaming and stated as much without "condescension and elitism".

 

Then maybe you shouldn't have said.....

 

When you have to have popups or minis, maybe Imperial assault would fit you more?

 

This game is definitely more about the Role Playing and less "what does my little figure do".

 

...suggesting if you need to use minis to enjoy an RPG you really should try some other dumbed-down game.

 

Edited to remove the fixation so perhaps the point would be more fully appreciated.

Edited by Sturn

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Sucks that both of you misunderstood my comment.

 

I think we now understood you just fine. Your last few posts told me lots about you.

 

Do you now understand how your comments to Geek were rude and condescending? I'm guessing now that you realized that from the get go?

 

Imperial assault isn't a dumbed down game... I own that game and like it. I am glad to know you dislike it and think it isn't worthwhile.

 

To correct, I was suggesting that you were suggesting that it was dumbed down since you used the phrase, "What does my little figure do?". Checkers are very dumbed down compared to the many FFG games I play. I still like checkers. Even though your assumption is incorrect about my like/dislike of Imperial Assault, I'm not sure why you would be glad to know I disliked it. Were you just being facetious?

 

What's the page count in Imperial Assault's rulebook? Edge of the Empire's? Even without the fluff, just the rules? Which has a higher learning curve for a completely new player?

Edited by Sturn

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Geek, looks like we can continue talking about your OP again.

 

Token art suggestions. I learned from someone else on this forum who uses this app (forgot who) to ensure your graphics have white backgrounds when selecting token art. That way you won't get some of those white lines on the sides when your token isn't a certain shape (squarish?).  I also noticed that you shouldn't use art that is very wide compared to height, but the reverse is ok. For example, I tried inserting a Bantha piece of art that had a long tail. The app cropped off the tail on one end and part of his head on the other. Making the Bantha art more of a square removed the cropping. But, I inserted a very tall ATST and it cropped just fine.

 

I DO want to use a black background on spaceships so they look better when used upon starfield maps, asteroid maps, etc. I'm going to try to edit my token art to be squarish and see if that works without getting the white lines on the sides. I will report my findings back here.

 

For square sizes when importing the art, I've so far used the following sizes that worked out well:

 

1 - People

2 - Banthas, Dewbacks

3 - ATST, Rancor

Edited by Sturn

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Unbelievable...the guy insults me. I brush it off and just respond that he might have misunderstood me. It should have just ended there but he, being the flamer that he is, responds antagonizingly, insinuating that I'm trying to start an argument and then says he's not interested in a flame war.

Dude, you're an instigator.

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Whoa! I never even considered getting an ungridded star map and making ship tokens/pawns! That's an awesome idea!

Miniatures and maps might not improve the play experience for everyone but I believe that a star map and ship pawns would add to the excitement and tension. A GM telling you a capital ship, a few dreadnoughts and several TIE fighters bear down on you probably isn't as menacing as seeing a gigantic capital ship token and dreadnoughts dwarfing your freighter on a star map hehe. I would actually love seeing the visual of the ship battle. Not tactically but just the initial presentation when the encounter starts.

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I'm wrong on making squares. It should have been obvious by looking at the examples. Tokens should be a ratio of around 3:4 Width to Height. So if you want a wide token (such as a Dewback or a Landspeeder) you may need to mount it on a white background with the 3:4 ratio then give it a 2 square size in the app.

 

I'm a stickler on the black and white lines. They bug me. :)

 

EDIT: Figured it out. I now have a "template" of a white 300 pixel x 400 pixel background and another one in black. That works for the token shape. Then I can just slap art I find with white or black backgrounds on the appropriate colored template while sizing it to fit in there, and save.

 

I've also been considering making minion group tokens. Instead of slapping down 5 Stormtroopers, perhaps one token with a few Stormtroopers upon it? That could cause problems though when the minions take casualties. It would be a pain in the arse to swap out minion tokens each time one of their number was killed. Or just leave the minon squad token on there for narrative affect and not remove it until they were all wiped out.

Edited by Sturn

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Yeah, I would just use it to set the stage so everyone can see the room and see the relative positions of every participant. I might remove enemies as they are killed so players can keep track of enemies but that would be as much fiddling as I would do.

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So here’s the thing for me — SWRPG is a narrative game. The moment you bring out 3D graphics, it starts looking very MMO-like.

Now, there may be some people who are incapable of playing outside of an MMO environment. Or unwilling to do so. There’s no problem with it, but that’s what MMOs are for — and SWRPG is not an MMO.

For the most part, if the GM can’t describe the situation to the players easily enough, then a 30 second 2D pencil sketch with X’s and O’s should be enough to get the idea across.

For those very rare cases where a 2D pencil sketch is not enough, you can break out grid mats, and represent the respective individuals with different color/style dice. You could even use miniatures for the PCs, but I’d probably stick with dice for the NPCs — this isn’t WH40K, after all.

And for these kinds of situations, I don’t believe that narrow viewpoint screen such as presented with these 3D tools would be able to do nearly as good a job of representing what needs to be shown.

To each their own, but I want to play SWRPG, not an MMO.

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I've not used maps but I have printed tokens for players and NPC's and used distance trackers from the warhammer fantasy game to track distance between players and NPC's or important locations on the map. I get some commenters saying it's supposed to be cinematic and maps/tokens can take away from that but I disagree because when you have a table with several players like my own (currently 6) and they don't all move together it can get confusing round to round to remember where everyone is in regards to each other both for the GMs and players. Given I obviously agree going grid based movement doesn't work in the system but a map or tokens just to give some decent visual representation of how far players are from each other and enemies helps a lot I find.

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As you many of you know, I like maps. I like operational graphics. Even the game I ran with the scaled up Space Master Transport infested with Scree, we didn't adhere to a hard and fast scale or grid.  With 8 players, sometimes it helps to have some crude representation of relative position between groups (not individuals though).

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For me it's more like a storyboard shot. Like a quick still picture of a scene.

I understand the goal, but it seems to me that the field of view would be a fundamental problem. When you’re looking at a piece of paper or a grid mat, you can take in the whole scene in a glance. It’s much harder to do that with 3D graphics, especially if they’re trying to make it look like POV.

Roll20 is online/electronic, but it’s still much more like a piece of paper with the overview perspective.

IMO, the overview is critical.

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I've used a projector to put up visuals for my players, and this is an excellent idea I intend to yoink, Geeknamese!  

 

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, after all.  Sure, you can spend time drawing it, or you can move the window onto the screen in less time, with sharper, immersive visuals.  I too love to draw maps, but I can't do what Chris West does, so why even try?  I put his map up and throw some tokens on it and everyone gets the picture so we can move onto the story.  

 

Some sessions we'll use 2-3 maps, some sessions not a one.  I refuse to limit the fun of the group so I utilize all the tools available to me, including minis, printouts, props, music, voice acting, themed foods, yadda yadda.  

 

Gaming is about having a good time with good friends making a good story, and every gamer and table is different.  There is no wrong way if you're all having fun.  

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For me it's more like a storyboard shot. Like a quick still picture of a scene.

I understand the goal, but it seems to me that the field of view would be a fundamental problem. When you’re looking at a piece of paper or a grid mat, you can take in the whole scene in a glance. It’s much harder to do that with 3D graphics, especially if they’re trying to make it look like POV.Roll20 is online/electronic, but it’s still much more like a piece of paper with the overview perspective.IMO, the overview is critical.

With the Virtual Tabletop you can manipulate the map with your fingers in any way you want and even turn it flat so that everything looks like a piece of paper. I just put it at that angle because I thought the shot looked cooler :)

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