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Being
January 28th, 2005, 13:04
I'm on the fence about buying this software. It looks great but the manual is lightweight on what it does and what it comes with. I feel like I won't know what I've got until I buy it and that's why I'm asking.

Does this come with its own set of rules? I see an icon for a d20 booklet in the screenshots but what's in it? What's in all of the other little booklets on the right? Can it import rules, spells, charts, tables from existing game systems? Shedding a little light will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
-Being

richvalle
January 28th, 2005, 15:08
Hi,

Best thing to do would be to download the free demo and check it out.

The software provides a way to play roleplaying games with other people as if you were sitting around the table together (sort of). It is made with the d20 ADnD rules included.

The d20 icon you see gives some of the d20 DnD rules for classes, spells, monsters ect. The other icons provide access to other program funcionality: maps, notes, tolkens ect.

Most the rules and stuff is in xml and so is modifiable. Someone has already changed the program to do 1st edition Dnd. Others have talked about modding it as well to include other rule sets. Nothing 3rd party has been done yet that I know of but hopfully more and more options will become available.

Hope that helps.

rv

WolfStar76
January 28th, 2005, 15:45
The features that come to my mind that are incredibly worthwhile:

FG simulates a desktop playing environment for a GM and players across the internet.

As part of that it includes a chat window, that allows the players to speak as their character, emote, state actions, and speak Out of Character. The GM speaks as a narrator (by default) and can also speak with a ton of character "voices" with a quick command (/id Character McEnpeecee)

FG allows everyone to share their die rolls, so you can see if a 20 is rolled. It also includes a modifier stack, and hotkeys for adding "common" modifiers to your rolls (To hit bonuses, spot checks, saves, etc). Dice rolled in the chat window are seen by all the other players (and the GM), or they can be rolled on your personal "tabletop" if you want. The GM's dice show as "shadows" of dice, so her rolls aren't revealed unless/until she wants to show them.

The GM has the ability to share maps, images, and notes with all the players or players one on one. Maps and images can be "masked" when shared so that the players only see as much of the map as the GM wants to reveal.

Additionally the GM can set a grid on the map for plotting movement in battle. Players and the GM can draw pointers (an arrow, a box, a cone, or a circle) that are useful for plotting line of sight, spell effects, and etc. If a grid has been set, the pointers measure how many squares long they are as well, for measureing distance.

Players and the GM can add tokens to the map, to show character placement or movement. By default these tokens are all moveable by anyone - however the GM can lock the tokens so that players can only show where they *want* to move, and the GM can then approve that movement.

The d20 SRD is included in the software for reference.

The GM can drag and drop character intiaive rolls to a battle/initiaive sheet that tracks player and NPC HP and Initiative - it also has text lines to monitor up to 2 status modifiers per PC/NPC.

The GM can right-click on players and use the chat window to monitor/list player initaive, or double-click on a player portrait at any time to see their character sheet.

There's also some nice tools for creating modules, and campaign, but I'll let people who've played with those more than me talk about them.

These are just the features off the top of my head that are incredibly useful.

Bagpuss2
January 28th, 2005, 17:39
For the game in play you could check out my chatlog from last weeks game (http://homepage.ntlworld.com/david.maple/FG/chatlog-21-01-05.htm) in it I've included comment about some of the features I've used during the game.

With tonights game I intend to take some screen shots (if I remember) to go with the comments I put in the log.

Being
January 29th, 2005, 07:55
Thank you for your responses.

I would have downloaded the demo to see for myself but my old PC doesn't meet the minimum requirements to run it. (It's so old I have to turn a crank on the side of it to stay online.) Checking out the demo would require a new PC and I've no reason to get one if I decided not to buy the game. Catch 22.

I've ordered up a new PC just today and with luck I'll be starting a new campaign in a couple of weeks.

Cheers,

Bagpuss2
January 29th, 2005, 09:11
If your old PC won't even run fantasy grounds you do already have enough reasons to by a new one. :shock: Is it a Vic 20? :wink:

Being
January 29th, 2005, 11:15
A VIC-20? Are you kidding? I use a coal-burning PC and punch
cards, thank you very much. This "electricity" and "hard drive"
stuff are just passing fads, I tellya.

marcq
February 13th, 2005, 16:14
The features that come to my mind that are incredibly worthwhile:



<Deleted nice overview of product>

I'm considering using this product just for the remote table top features (chat, map share, moving tokens, AOE, etc.) and not for the character sheets, the adventure stuff (other than maps) or even for rules reference.

I'm considering purchasing this and the features above are my main area of interest. These look like a cool way to do a virtual table top. And they mostly have little to do with a specific rule system, too, it seems.

As it happens, my group would be playing D&D 3.5 so the d20 bias is fine with us. But I'm the ref and I've also invested a huge amount in getting the campaign up and modeled in DMGenie. Moreover, looking over the demo, FantasyGrounds looks great for doing a remote table top but it looks pretty lightweight compared to DMGenie in terms of automating game play.

So a few questions:

1) Am I missing something from the demo? Is fantasygrounds comparable to DMGenie in terms of automation and completeness of reference material? Also in terms of extensibility?

2) Anyone think that running DMGenie and FantasyGrounds together is feasible? Seems okay to me. Anyone tried this? I'll probably try this with a player or two but experience with this would be appreciated.

Neither DMGenie or Fantasygrounds is all that expensive so the cost of both is not an issue (hey, we all buy pretty much every supplement anyway.)

Thanks for any help with this. I'm moving away from my group (thus my vague geographic location :lol: ) and we are looking for tools to keep this going.

Only reference on this board I found to DMGenie was someone knocking it for complexity :wink: They are right, it is very complex. Rather than Fantasygrounds adding this type of functionality over time, they might want to consider just mating with DMGenie. Let the DMGenie guys perfect rules modeling (it is quite complex); Fantasygrounds can focus on a really cool remote gaming experience. Just a thought based on a casual look at this cool tool.

Thanks,
Marc

Art Wendorf
February 13th, 2005, 16:36
So a few questions:

1) Am I missing something from the demo? Is fantasygrounds comparable to DMGenie in terms of automation and completeness of reference material? Also in terms of extensibility?
As far as automation goes, no it's not. There is essentially no automation of gameplay in Fantasy Ground.


2) Anyone think that running DMGenie and FantasyGrounds together is feasible? Seems okay to me. Anyone tried this? I'll probably try this with a player or two but experience with this would be appreciated.
I haven't tried it. I have used DMGenie, so I don't think it would be a problem once you get used to switching back and forth between programs. On the other hand, I could see where such switching might just be a giant pain in the... er...


Only reference on this board I found to DMGenie was someone knocking it for complexity :wink: They are right, it is very complex.
My only problem with DMGenie was my ability to add some of the varient rules from Unearthed Arcana. I'm pretty close to functionally illiterate when it comes to modifying programs, but I do know HTML which makes the XML of FantasyGround much easier for me.


Rather than Fantasygrounds adding this type of functionality over time, they might want to consider just mating with DMGenie.
Personally, I hope they never add the automation functionality of DMGenie or even more than a fraction of it. As it is, I can add whatever house/varient rules I want and all I have to do is modify the character sheet a little. This also allows me, theoretically, to run multiple game systems via FantasyGround without it interfering with play.

marcq
February 13th, 2005, 18:14
Hi, Art,

Thanks for the quick reply.



I haven't tried it. I have used DMGenie, so I don't think it would be a problem once you get used to switching back and forth between programs. On the other hand, I could see where such switching might just be a giant pain in the... er...

Yeah, flipping back and forth might be an issue. I've got a big monitor but if that failed, I was considering a dual monitor display, one for each app.


My only problem with DMGenie was my ability to add some of the varient rules from Unearthed Arcana. I'm pretty close to functionally illiterate when it comes to modifying programs, but I do know HTML which makes the XML of FantasyGround much easier for me.


Scripting simple things is fairly simple, as long as you can find something similar to modify. Even doing new templates wasn't as bad as I thought. But it does suffer from a lack of documentation on the data structures. It isn't for the faint of heart :?


Personally, I hope they never add the automation functionality of DMGenie or even more than a fraction of it. As it is, I can add whatever house/varient rules I want and all I have to do is modify the character sheet a little. This also allows me, theoretically, to run multiple game systems via FantasyGround without it interfering with play.

Yeah, I'm new to the program but it seems they ought to focus on the virtual table top stuff and not try to recreate what others have done before.

Integrating with DMGenie or similar tools might not be out of the question. You'd mostly like to automatically carry a die roll from DMGenie into FG for starters. Next step would be to be able to exchange saving throws and initiative directly, export treasure, etc but just a light pipe between the two would be quite cool for starters.

Thanks for the comments; quite helpful.

Marc

marcq
February 13th, 2005, 18:18
[quote="Art Wendorf"]My only problem with DMGenie was my ability to add some of the varient rules from Unearthed Arcana. I'm pretty close to functionally illiterate when it comes to modifying programs, but I do know HTML which makes the XML of FantasyGround much easier for me.[\quote]

Off topic- but I've added UE classes to DMGenie (we allow a few in the current campaign) and adding a class is straight forward albeit tediuous. Adding the full UE magic system and spells is another matter. That would be quite a lot of work.

Marc

Dark Mistress
March 4th, 2005, 04:58
I will post my question here as it is somewhat similar to those being covered.

To those that have played with the system and tinkered with it, how hard do you think it would be to use the system with another game. For example Iron Crown Enteripises Rolemaster.(Because that is the current game we are playing) For the average computer user, I am seriously considering giving this program a go but we play a varity of games not just D20 and depending how adaptable it would be to varies other systems and how much it would require to switch back and forth between them would go a long way to make up my mind.

richvalle
March 4th, 2005, 11:14
Hello Dark Mistress,

My impression from seeing what others have posted is that it can be done but it is quite a bit of work. Everything is in xml sheets and can be modified to your hearts content but I'm not sure a whole rule set could be done by a 'casual' pc user type person.

rv

marcq
March 4th, 2005, 15:49
Hello Dark Mistress,

My impression from seeing what others have posted is that it can be done but it is quite a bit of work. Everything is in xml sheets and can be modified to your hearts content but I'm not sure a whole rule set could be done by a 'casual' pc user type person.


But can't you also just use it as a way to:

exchange maps and pictures
publically roll dice
chat
and show location of PCs and NPCs?

All the above is pretty much "rule free" and seems to me to be the primary value of the tool. Seems like anything based on the D&D die set ought to work okay.

Marc

richvalle
March 4th, 2005, 15:53
Yes, you sure could do that. I was thinking about that on my way into work today.

You lose out on some of the FG funtionality that way but its more of the bells and wistles type stuff. You can use the core functions you mention to run any game you like.

rv

Dark Mistress
March 4th, 2005, 16:11
alright thanks it was pretty much the reply i expected. In that you can use the core basics, share sheets, store adventures, maps, use icons, dice chat functions ect but just miss out on the things like the dice rolls auto calcing ect.