Friday, October 26, 2012

Using Digital Tabletop Projection

Brother Charles's player made us a gaming table. Hats off.

It's got detachable trays and a slot in the center for an acrylic plate upon which (a) to project a digital tabletop image (pictured) and (b) to serve as a wet/dry erase surface to improvise mapping non-digitally.

We use Maptool to run the maps (which have line of sight, fog of war, etc).

It's awesome, but we had some hitches. If you're running a game this way, here's what you need to do:

Do Not Mess with the Zoom of the Player Map

Seriously. I don't know why I didn't think of this, but it messed everything up. I had our views synced so that, when I zoomed out, their map zoomed out too. That screwed up the scale, and then we had to readjust . . . *sigh*

This eventually led to us abandoning minis, which is bad. We just used the virtual tokens as pictured above. No good! Don't link the views like this!

Use Physical Creature Representations

For both PCs and monsters, it's easier to just use real tokens: minis, pogs, whatever. As long as you don't mess with the player zoom (see above), everything should be peachy.

If Something Glitches, Save and Immediately Restart

Suddenly, the player map went black. What did I do?

Fiddled around doing nothing for five minutes: "oh, hold on, maybe this—"


Cut your losses, close the programs, restart. Tell people to take a refreshment break. If you saved your campaign file in Maptool, everything will be right back where it was. When the players come back, you'll be ready to go.

Don't Improvise With It

Another mistake from session 3! If you don't have a map prepped already, don't mess with virtuality. Get out your eraseable pens and start drawing a map. (Or, if you're in a dungeon, start calling out room dimensions to the mapper.)

Back Up Your Resources to Cloud Storage (with Versioning)

I'm using Dropbox. It's great. I save my campaign file at home and don't need to lug around a computer of my own. (I don't host games at my place.) Then, when the session's over, I upload the updated campaign file, and it's there waiting for me next time I need to add to it.

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