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Old 03-31-2010, 01:18 AM   #1
Marcus
 
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Default Fantasy Grounds and other virtual tabletops

Hello.


As the title suggests, I'm curious what this community has to say about Fantasy Grounds and other virtual tabletop applications. I am yet to run/play a session using these tools but upon discovering their existence I've actually decided to try to get back into GURPS and gaming in general. It has been 4 years or so since I last gamed. I've discovered that PC/console gaming cannot replicate the experience and I'm just about to drop about 100 bucks on GURPS supplements in a few days. I will also be buying a Full license for Fantasy Grounds.


So, yeah, this has really been a big deal for me. I have very fond memories of a few different GURPS campaigns and as cool as Dragon Age is, it just doesn't come close ; )


If anyone would be willing to share some thoughts on the topic, I'd love to read your impressions. Spyke has made a 4e rule set for Fantasty Grounds and the potential of the application and medium has really excited me the past few days.

Also, it's refreshing to know that at this moment 91 other people are perusing these forums.



Thanks.

Last edited by Marcus; 03-31-2010 at 02:45 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:16 AM   #2
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Default Re: Fantasy Grounds and other virtual tabletops

I use Map Tool, its free and excellent. There are Gurps frameworks for Map Tool, but I don't use them. Gurps has so many options it is hard to imagine a framwork that implements all the options used in any but the simplest Gurps Lite game. Anyway I prefer people to learn the rules, so beyond a button to roll 3d6 and some state symbols I don't use built in Gurps rules.

However I have a hex grid, facing and vision (Peripheral Vision, No Peripheral Vision, Darkvision etc. are all represented by the system).

I haven't tried Fantasy Grounds but don't pay for any Virtual Table Top until you've tried Map Tool.
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Old 03-31-2010, 05:44 AM   #3
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Default Re: Fantasy Grounds and other virtual tabletops

I agree with Azinctus. My online group uses MapTools for mapping and OpenRPG for chatting and dice-rolling; they're both free apps with support for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

I haven't looked at FG2 in a long while but it's hard to imagine what they have that's better than MapTools online or MapTools and OpenRPG in combo. MapTools handles lighting, line of sight, fog of war, facing, and other issues of tactical combat very well. The chat and die-rolling interface is decent, especially with the macro work done by Bruno and others.

You should really try out the free tools before paying for FG.
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Old 03-31-2010, 05:50 AM   #4
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Default Re: Fantasy Grounds and other virtual tabletops

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
I agree with Azinctus. My online group uses MapTools for mapping and OpenRPG for chatting and dice-rolling; they're both free apps with support for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

I haven't looked at FG2 in a long while but it's hard to imagine what they have that's better than MapTools online or MapTools and OpenRPG in combo. MapTools handles lighting, line of sight, fog of war, facing, and other issues of tactical combat very well. The chat and die-rolling interface is decent, especially with the macro work done by Bruno and others.

You should really try out the free tools before paying for FG.
I've always been curious as to why you use two programs. What are the benefits/drawbacks of each such that one of them by itself is insufficient? This isn't meant to be inflammatory, but I'm toying around with using a VTT program and would like to hear opinions from a 'veteran'. Thanks!
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: Fantasy Grounds and other virtual tabletops

Quote:
Originally Posted by thulben View Post
I've always been curious as to why you use two programs. (...)
I remember MapTool is for the map, the tactical combat interface, and out of character chat.
...OpenRPG is for the dice macros (skill rolls, combat turns), in game chat and such.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thulben View Post
What are the benefits/drawbacks of each such that one of them by itself is insufficient?
Many people uses just MapTool, so they don't consider it as insufficient. Anyway it's too focused in the map for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azinctus View Post
(...) I haven't tried Fantasy Grounds but don't pay for any Virtual Table Top until you've tried Map Tool.
Fantasy Grounds 2 is able to offer an enough different role playing experience, both for GMs and players.

There are more Virtual Tabletops around here, as Battlegrounds RPG, and iTabletop 2 (this latter is in preparation).
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:48 AM   #6
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Default Re: Fantasy Grounds and other virtual tabletops

Quote:
Originally Posted by thulben View Post
I've always been curious as to why you use two programs. What are the benefits/drawbacks of each such that one of them by itself is insufficient? This isn't meant to be inflammatory, but I'm toying around with using a VTT program and would like to hear opinions from a 'veteran'. Thanks!
The downside is that you have 2 different chat applications, which means twice the opportunities for people to miss connections or have network woes. Also, you have to run more applications, though they're both relatively lightweight. And OpenRPG has some stability/install issues.

The upside is that you have two chat connections, so there can be a much clearer distinction between "stuff we're talking about in game" and "random outside comments." That's not really worth much.

OpenRPG uses Python for its extensions, and while I'm not fond of the language, I can hack it if I need to. So I can easily extend the OpenRPG die-roller or other tools. MapTools uses a misbegotten macro language that is under constant evolution. I'm not willing to put up with that, though Bruno is and is doing some nice work.

Finally, OpenRPG has a better chat interface in my opinion: tabbed whispers, easy colorful aliasing, and the like. I'm hoping that when MapTools 1.4 revises the chat interface, I'll get enough of the features I want that I can switch to only using MapTools. For now, I'm committed to using both.
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:56 AM   #7
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Default Re: Fantasy Grounds and other virtual tabletops

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
Hello.
Welcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
As the title suggests, I'm curious what this community has to say about Fantasy Grounds and other virtual tabletop applications.
You can check these two links. They aren't exhaustive but they still include some related threads:

http://forums.sjgames.com/tags.php?tag=virtual+tabletop

http://forums.sjgames.com/tags.php?t...tual+tabletops
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Last edited by demonsbane; 03-31-2010 at 08:15 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: Fantasy Grounds and other virtual tabletops

I actually dont use any of them, but I have fooled around with MapTools a bit and certainly recomend looking into it.

The Wrathchild has spent quite a bit of time on these fora and the maptools forum as well and can probably not only assist you, but make a good case for Maptools.

http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=48712


For me, Maptools benefits were:
  • Easy to Build Maps
  • Has nice video tutorials
  • FREE
  • Hexmaps
  • A neat Line of Sight Feature
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:00 AM   #9
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Default Re: Fantasy Grounds and other virtual tabletops

I understand the biggest thing you get in FG2 that you don't get in the Free Open Source options is the combination of a VERY simple and familiar installation process and a pretty and internally consistent user interface (a consequence of being designed by a small consistent development team).

The downside of many FOS applications is there is often a less unified UI design focus, and often a shortage of people willing to do UI work at all, so these parts can get a little rough.

Maptools is pretty damn good for a FOS program (excluding the macro language which is currently just as ugly as mlangsdorf says, but you don't need to learn macros to use it as a perfectly good map-and-chat system).

The big thing to remember with ALL virtual tabletops is that you want it to at LEAST work as well as playing face to face, and to EXPECT that things will run slower than face-to-face unless you're also using voice and video conferencing to more-or-less duplicate the face-to-face experience.

People often type and read slower than they speak and listen, and are more likely to be distracted from a text game than they are a face-to-face game - if only because family members usually don't think it's rude to interrupt text chat, but do think it's rude to interrupt a physical conversation. And often because PLAYERS don't think it's rude to wander off in the middle of a text fight... even if it's their turn next.
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:08 AM   #10
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Default Re: Fantasy Grounds and other virtual tabletops

Thank you very much for the responses.


I will digest these links and post any other thoughts later on today. I apologize for not searching adequately for this topic before I posted.
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