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Old 05-13-2007, 02:39 AM   #1
_Civ_
 
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Default Overhead projector for a battlemat.

I'm starting an experiment with my group, where we are going to use an overhead projector to shoot down on our gaming table as a battlemat. (We are actually bouncing it off a mirror on the ceiling). No more moving books out of the way to draw-out crayola scenarios!

I am using Photoshop to make my own maps, put the hex grid on, do fog of war, lighting, etc. But it would be great if I could find pre-made encounter maps that I could download and just slap a hex template over, and voila! So if you know where to find any, please let me know.

Further, if anyone has any advice or ideas, I'd love to hear them. There is so much potential with this idea I want to suck your brains for further ideas!

Thanks
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Old 05-13-2007, 04:21 AM   #2
sgtcallistan
 
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Default Re: Overhead projector for a battlemat.

First thoughts: with the 'backgound' being projected are pre-arranged, there is the opportunity to do 'transformations' such as 'you are abruptly teleported to...' situations, simply by changing the backdrop.

The need to be pre-prepared means that this can't happen just anywhere, but the classic 'teleport from one room to another in a dungeon', fixed point to fixed point can be done.
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Old 05-13-2007, 11:33 AM   #3
Manchu Cat
 
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Default Re: Overhead projector for a battlemat.

This is a great idea, Civ! I'd like to hear more about how you're making it work with the projector!

One this I've done is just googled the type of floorplan I want like Temple of Karnak, or Roman colisseum, grabbed the image and then worked with it. Another thing I used to do is buy a book of common house floorplans (it wasn't expensive) then scan the one I wanted. Raiding architecture books from the library and scanning selected plans was another.

These links have good images of plans:

http://www.lchouseplans.com/search-h...m?plan_id=5636

http://www.coolhouseplans.com/index....urce=googleppc

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Basilicasanpedro.png

Mont Saint Michel, a good plan!
http://www.pitt.edu/~medart/menufrance/msmplan.html

http://www.archaeology.org/online/fe...rdan/plan.html
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Old 05-13-2007, 12:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Overhead projector for a battlemat.

I'd like to see your setup too. Sounds like a great way to run a series of maps on a laptop.

Do you plan on drawing the maps out as you go, or just revealing them somehow as they approach each area?
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Old 05-13-2007, 03:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Overhead projector for a battlemat.

This person has done this, might not be exactly what you're looking for and you may have already got your setup done, but it may help for ideas...

http://www.d20srd.org/extras/mapProjection.htm
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Last edited by rlbeaver; 05-13-2007 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 05-13-2007, 08:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Overhead projector for a battlemat.

Sweet! Thanks for the tips guys! When we get everything set up and working I'll try and take some pics to post.

I can't believe i never thought of floor plans for houses! Just erase the text and instant-manor/noble house/etc!

I am trying to set it up so I can make maps on the fly almost as fast as I can draw them on the current battlemat. To do this I have saved various pre-set layers and brushes in photoshop, so I can just (for example) pick the grass brush, the colour green, and then draw in big swaths of grass on the "grass" layer of my map.

Also, i can pre-make maps for encounters or save others to be re-used when the characters re-visit a site.

I have set up a mask layer so I can hide unknowen areas from the players, and another opaque layer for lighting.

Thanks for the ideas, I'll post again after the first session and let you guys know how it went!
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Old 05-14-2007, 12:21 AM   #7
Manchu Cat
 
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Default Re: Overhead projector for a battlemat.

I'm looking forward to hearing about it!
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Old 05-14-2007, 12:55 AM   #8
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Default Re: Overhead projector for a battlemat.

One of the players in my GURPS game uses a projector mounted on his ceiling for a battle map when he GMs D&D. It is fantastic. I mentioned it to a GM in another group I play with and he just bought a projector for this purpose. One really cool thing to use it for is animated backgrounds. The GM created a map for us using the Toolkit software included in NeverWinter Nights. The lava was bubbling and flaming around us! So cool.
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Old 05-15-2007, 09:06 AM   #9
heruca
 
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Default Re: Overhead projector for a battlemat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by _Civ_
I am using Photoshop to make my own maps, put the hex grid on, do fog of war, lighting, etc. But it would be great if I could find pre-made encounter maps that I could download and just slap a hex template over, and voila! So if you know where to find any, please let me know.

Further, if anyone has any advice or ideas, I'd love to hear them. There is so much potential with this idea I want to suck your brains for further ideas!

Thanks
_Civ_, I've developed my Battlegrounds: RPG Edition software specifically with projector users like you in mind. It's a virtual tabletop program that lets you move tokens around on a full-screen map, and it has a Fog-of-War feature that dynamically reveals the map as the PCs explore, based on the light sources they are carrying, ambient light sources, and whatever special vision the characters may possess (low light vision, darkvision, etc.).

It comes with generic maps (grass, sand, stone, etc.) on which you can place objects (trees, bushes, rocks, ponds, ruins, etc.) to customize the map to your liking. A hex grid or square grid that overlays the map can be turned on or off at will, and you can set the grid's color and opacity. You can even turn on Area of Effect templates of different sizes that either stay in place or move around with your figures. In short, it's a program that's designed specifically for playing RPGs, so that you don't have to shoe-horn Photoshop (a $650+ program) into a role it was never intended for, and is far from ideal for.

In addition, Battlegrounds lets you display visual aids, play music or sound effects, reference game charts, and it has a built-in dice roller and turn sequencer. Not to mention that it lets you play your games online.

Tonight I'll be releasing a new version that includes new Fog of War tools that make the program far more powerful than ever before. I hope you'll check it out. Just click the link in my sig.
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Battlegrounds: RPG Edition is virtual tabletop software that allows you to play any RPG online or offline. It's very easy to use and feature-rich.
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Old 05-15-2007, 09:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: Overhead projector for a battlemat.

Dude, that's pretty damn cool.
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