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croaker999
05-16-2010, 02:52 PM
So for sometime now I have been coming and going viewing content and expanding my knowledge. I thought I take a second to introduce myself and share with the Guild the project I have been working on.

**** My Story ****

I am avid D&D player been playing since 1st edition. Like many I started out with graph paper and pencils. Then along came Chessex and the wet erase battlemaps. That has pretty much been the technology for the past 20 years. Wet erase is fine but tends to break up the flow of the game.

Wizards of the Coast has published several fine looking tile sets for use with miniatures. I have tended to stay away from theses because of the price point and the setup time.

There are a number of groups now actively using projectors for their D&D sessions. Since our weekly group meets up on campus at Drexel I was looking for a portable solution that was compact and lightweight enough to carry to our sessions.

I selected the 3M's 3M MPRO110 priced at $129 (purchased from Tiger Direct). The unit fulfilled my needs: (1) cheap (2) small and compact the size of cell phone.

The are a number of factors to look out for with projectors. Things to consider are: throw distance, lumens, bulb life and light source.

The 3M unit is one of first micro projector's on the market. Its innovative in its design although there are several design characteristics that have been enhanced with newer models.

In my opinion the PROs of the unit far outweigh the CONs. Its small compact design, price and life (10,000 hours = 4 hr per session 2,500 sessions roughly $0.05 per game) met my needs.

I have developed all of maps with Gimp v 2.6 but you could easily use other shrink wrapped products to do the same.

I uploaded a picture that was taken of one of the maps to the site. Since the best surface to project off of is white, I use an old forgotten realms map for my surface area.

24836

I am going to pull all my work together and stuff it up on my blog when I have sometime.

Thanks again to community without your collective experience and knowledge it would have made my activities much more challenging.

Croaker999

P.S. I know there are lover's of Glen Cook's Black Company series out there. Just stop taking all the character names for use as logins. ; - )

Steel General
05-16-2010, 03:41 PM
Welcome Aboard!

Ahhh...The Black Company - one of my all-time favorite series.

arsheesh
05-16-2010, 05:23 PM
Welcome to the Guild Croaker! Nice portable projector system you got there. I've been using the battle maps printed by Wizards of the Coast, but would like to someday create my own battle maps. I considered going the projector route, but another idea that I've been toying with is simply paying a little extra to take them to a print shop (once I've made them that is). Anyway, thanks for sharing your idea.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Gidde
05-16-2010, 09:30 PM
Hahaha, I haven't thought of the Black Company books in years. Good books those. Welcome!

Redrobes
05-17-2010, 06:43 AM
Welcome & Very cool. These new mini projectors do look great.

tilt
05-17-2010, 10:50 AM
welcome to the guild. Have been thinking about the projector solution for some time ... much cheaper than a dedicated table from M$ ... I'm guessing you're using top projection, which I fear would look bad when you don't use minis but just cardboard counters. So I have been thinking bottom projection - but that would leave it a lot less portable.. but cool ;)
Glad to see that someone is doing something about it though :)

wisemoon
05-17-2010, 11:02 AM
I think the projector idea is a really cool one, and with a mini projector the price point and awkwardness decreases. One thing I've seen prototyped on the Web is using Microsoft's Surface technology for D&D. You can find info on the MS Surface here (http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en/us/default.aspx), and a video demo of using it for D&D here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXsFNPO_gUM).

As for battlemaps in general, I've been experimenting with an app called Masterplan. It only works with D&D 4E right now, unfortunately. But one of its many features is, you can import libraries of dungeon tiles, and build encounter maps right in the program. You can then print them out (at scale, tiled so you can tape/glue them together). Not quite as slick as a published poster map, but workable. Plus, it's possible you could save the map as a JPG, or just copy and paste it into Photoshop/Gimp and save it as a JPG. Then you could take the image file to a printshop and have them print it out as a poster. *shrug*

I like the tiles, but it is as much or more work to set them up as it is to draw out a map on the battlemats. It's a bit easier if you organize them ahead of time and put them into baggies or something--but sometimes I might need to use a piece in multiple areas, and I don't always know ahead of time which area the party will head into. So that makes it more complex. With Masterplan, though, I can use the tile images over and over, and then print out the map. Genius.

tilt
05-18-2010, 06:25 AM
surface.. yes, forgot the name ... and nice demo - but M$ still has the pricetag to high... and the problem mentioned above is of course also true - its not portable, so you have to play the same place every time. But damn cool anyway :)
I've made a series of tiles (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?9656-Tiles-for-combat-1-inch-grid) for printing (and will be addding more) they are made for fitting 1" scale when they print - but as you say, you have to think ahead to know which tiles to use. And since they are bare - you'll have to add overlays if you want furniture and such, but other than that they are supposed to be easy to use ;) ... but printed maps will never have the flexibity of electronic ones... but of course are a lot cheaper :)

Aenigma
05-18-2010, 08:08 AM
Welcome! Hope you'll enjoy your stay ^^

NeonKnight
05-18-2010, 11:49 AM
Welcome to the Guild!