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Thread: To Map in VTT or not to map in VTT

  1. #1
      RPMiller is offline
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    Post To Map in VTT or not to map in VTT

    A few VTTs out there have the ability to be used a mapping tool as well as a virtual game table. I'm curious about:

    1. Which VTT do you use?
    2. Does it have the ability to allow you to map in it?
    3. Do you use that ability?
    4. How quickly can you produce an encounter map with it?
    5. How is the quality of the map?
    6. How usable was the map?
    7. Post an example?
    8. How long did it take?
    9. Do you prefer this method versus creating the map in an external application?
    10. Any additional comments you would like to add?

    Here are the answers from me:

    1. MapTool
    2. Yes
    3. Sometimes
    4. I've been able to crank one out in under 2 minutes
    5. Quality was decent
    6. The map was very useful
    7. Sure
    8. Took about 5 minutes
    9. It depends on what I'm creating. If it is an encounter that I didn't plan on or is intended as a quick encounter than this method is the best as the players don't have to wait for the process of creating something in an external app and they get to watch it unfold on screen which keeps their attention.
    10. Not currently

    Here's a sample exported directly from MapTool:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails To Map in VTT or not to map in VTT-city.png  
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  2. #2
      dorpond is offline
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    My answers are identical to RPMillers for the most part.

    Couple things I would like to add:

    - What is important for me in a VT is the ability to improvise on the spot. You know players as well as I do - you have no idea where they will be going today. It is important for a GM to be able to do the same things he can do with a rubber battlemat and be able to draw stuff on the fly quickly. Maptool is able to do this very well and I use it every game. These on the fly drawingas can be as simple as using a dry erase or as advanced as using textures to draw with.

    - This reminds me of a contest we had at RPTools.net to see who could make the fastest map on the spot. It can be found here: http://forums.rptools.net/viewtopic.php?t=2624

    - The greatest thing about a VT battlemat versus a rubber battlemat is that there is no limit to the size of the battlemat (at least in Maptool anyway). I have had players who never bought the Longshot feat (D&D3.5) previous to Maptool because they knew that encounters never get that big. Now with Maptool, I have players shooting 1000' away (200 cells) and enjoying every minute of it. No rubber battlemat is going to be THAT big!

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      Valarian is offline
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    Personally I prefer to map outside the VTT, so my answer to the query in the title would be: "Not to map in VTT". Anyway ...

    1. Which VTT do you use?
    Fantasy Grounds
    2. Does it have the ability to allow you to map in it?
    Yes
    3. Do you use that ability?
    No
    4. How quickly can you produce an encounter map with it?
    Very, freehand drawing
    5. How is the quality of the map?
    As good as the person drawing, so in my case v. bad). It's better with a tablet (or so I've heard)
    6. How usable was the map?
    Same functionality as any other map in Fantasy Grounds (grid, masking, drawing tools, pointers, tokens).

    The rest isn't really relevant as I don't use the functionality. My free hand drawing is terrible. I think I've mentioned my lack of talent before.
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      Sigurd is offline
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    Fantasy Grounds lets you draw lines with a mouse or tablet. It lets you drop icons (that could be trees, mountains etc...) onto a shared picture.

    It doesn't have very good drawing support. The dropped icons can't be frozen in place and its hard to deal with multiple icons without moving the wrong icon. I absolutely import finished maps into FG. It imports any windows graphic format and is pretty good at sharing esp small size pics.


    I should say that even for FG maps I'd rather have a full blown decent detail graphic file. I can shrink, cut, or otherwise modify any digital file to make it game ready. I typically make game copies of the maps and keep originals around any changes.


    Sigurd

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      Valarian is offline
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    Even the VTT tools that allow mapping can't measure up to a tool that is designed for mapping or drawing. I'm a believer in the right tool for the right job. A VTT is a tool for running a game, not mapping. There are tools for mapping, why not use them? Try and do both in a VTT and the VTT will do neither well.
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      RPMiller is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valarian View Post
    Even the VTT tools that allow mapping can't measure up to a tool that is designed for mapping or drawing. I'm a believer in the right tool for the right job. A VTT is a tool for running a game, not mapping. There are tools for mapping, why not use them? Try and do both in a VTT and the VTT will do neither well.
    I think that depends on what your definition of doing it well is. As I've posted above, that map worked perfectly for the session it was used in and was done almost spur of the moment. I would challenge anyone to build a map similar to that one in a full fledged drawing tool and get it uploaded and made playable in the same amount of time.
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      RobA is offline
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    There was a brief (but aborted) shared whitespace implementation for Inkscape called Inkboard (google search). Too bad. I think it would have made a great VTT package.

    -Rob A>

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      RPMiller is offline
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    Did it support chat and online rolling as well?
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      RobA is offline
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    OK - a great START for a VTT. Chat was supported cause it actually ran over a Jabber back channel. Dice rolling would just have been a python script away...

    -Rob A>

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      RPMiller is offline
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    Cool. It would have to support macros, and token movement as well as light, Fog of War, and Vision blocking. Perhaps if they had continued it...

    Did I ever mention how cool MapTool and Battlegrounds are as VTTs?

    Now to get things back on track, I've listed 10 questions above for those that are skipping to the last post.
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