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  1. #1

    Features to speed up games

    My group has recently been using FG2 for our gaming sessions (3+ months). Before that, I was using Klooge.Werks as our tabletop (1+ year), until I ran into a networking issue that we have been unable to resolve. I have found that in general while FG2 looks nicer, it is more cumbersome to run the game. One reason why I think we have had more issues with slow sessions is that we switched to FG2 at levels 15-20 in our campaign, which is slow for D&D in general.

    So I thought I would share my thoughts on where I see things that could be improved (from the perspective of someone who has used both Klooge and FG2).

    * Screen real estate = FG2 windows look great but take a huge amount of space and are hard to manage. Maybe a window list or docking or some other helper would make it quicker to navigate around. In Klooge, there is a tree view with all adventure objects for easy access. Also, the combat tracker is overlaid on the map, and all windows (chat, portraits, etc.) are dockable.

    * Player view of map = While FG2 locks the player's map to the DM's shared view, Klooge.Werks allows the players to resize and zoom the map to their personal preferences. This allows the players to look around more easily which speeds up gameplay, instead of "I can't see X, can you move the map?". The mask is still in place, so nothing the DM wants to hide will be seen. In Klooge, players have full control over their viewport. This really frustrates my players.

    * Effects tracking = FG2 has an area in the combat tracker to place effects to keep track of them, but it is very rudimentary. In Klooge, each field in the character sheet can be modified by temporary modifiers, and effects can be applied to characters which add/remove temporary modifiers. Also, effects can be applied to a group of icons quickly. Thus, I can set up effects with modifiers in a list ahead of time, and apply them to groups of characters all at once. (Haste, Rage, Sleep, ...)

    * Automation = In Klooge, I have built scripts that automatically make checks for common actions in D&D. When in combat, attacks are automatically checked vs. AC, critical checks are made, point blank and range modifiers considered, and miss chances checked. When spellcasting, the spell details are output automatically(instead of looked up), SR is checked, saves are checked, and damage and effects are applied based on character level. When you add this level of automation, it speeds up encounters tremendously with no loss of player interaction, just less rules lookup and math.

    * Quick rolls sheet = All rolls that can be made by a character are automatically listed in a tabbed list box, where a character can make the appropriate roll with a single click. There is no question about where the right numbers are on the character sheet.

    Let me know if anyone would like to chat about my experiences.


  2. #2
    I am fairly new to FGII, and it is the very first virtual table top that I have used, although I researched the half dozen others very carefully before buying in. However, my first impressions of how FGII might be improved are very similar to yours, especially regarding window docks, player control over their viewport, and effects tracking. Regarding your last two points about automation and quick rolls sheets, I'm not sure what I think yet. I know there is a wide range of opinions (both legal and non-legal) about how much calculating a rpg vtt should do, and I haven't adequately figured out what my own views on the topic are.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Re automating: I think smiteworks is erring on the side of caution in this regard. I guess there is part of the wotc rules that says software can't automate combat.

    I THINK their hope is that with lua now install that we (the user base) can now go in and create what scrips we want. I honestly thought there might be more of this happening already but so far its going slow.

    Its easy for me to say that becase I'm not one of the people creating lua scripts. Nor will I be.


  4. #4
    Regarding automation, I understand the SmiteWorks position completely. However, I am just asking for the tools and interfaces so that I can automate my own personal game.

    There are still a few other changes I would make to FG2 in order to make my own automation easier. (i.e. targeting changes, ...)


  5. #5
    Good ideas, but automation is something we can't provide at this time.

    Like rv said, the d20 open gaming license prohibits companies from implementing automated success/failure resolution. Therefore we decided to provide a programming interface instead, which allows you to extend rulesets in many ways - including automation.
    Ville Leino
    Fantasy Grounds
    Funny, no response!

  6. #6
    Simple solution for speeding up the game-port it over to Savage Worlds ruleset!
    "Winter is coming..."

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Just a comment on the difference between Klooge and FG. Klooge has automation because it comes with no d20 "ruleset."

    FG comes with a d20 ruleset so it has no automation. Different approaches to the OGL.

  8. #8
    Actually, the automation in Klooge can be easily replaced by scripts written by the game master or definition creator, which I have done extensively since the default handling is too simple.

    I have had a harder time with FG2 trying to implement some of the features I would like to add. The FG2 scripting is very easy for some tasks, and very complex for others. Some things I would like to implement:

    * Targeting is hard to clarify for our group. The color scheme is not obvious to us (at least for our group), so we tend not to use it. Klooge uses arrows to show targets, as well as target selection dialogs provided for rolls when needed (1, many, all). Targeting is required to do any sort of combat or spell automation.

    * The combat tracker in Klooge is an overlay on the main map, so it is easy for players to see whose turn is next for planning actions. I have looked at sharing the combat tracker in FG2, but the scripting and database work required is very complex. Also, I would need to build a specialized window to show limited information on the player side, even after adding to the DB.

    There are other things as well, but each thing I have looked at has taken a fair bit of time to implement.

    Some things I have done already for my game (with help and ideas from the forums):
    * Added size/misc for melee/ranged attacks.
    * Made more windows resizable and for larger dimensions
    * Added auto-total to chat roll text (since the die result control is not accessible)
    * Added ability to double-click on all rolls in the character sheet
    * Added automatic init rolls and numbering to NPCs in combat tracker
    * Added combat tracker saving and loading


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    For targeting, if I understand you to mean targeting monsters or areas, the key is remembering the dice colors matter. Just make sure everyone has very different colors. Red, Green, Blue, Black, White ect because that is the color shown. If everyone has the default black then you can't tell whos pointers is which. IE the dot next to the portrait tells you what each players pointer color is.

  10. #10
    Sgain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Vancouver Island BC
    to share the combat tracker try using /die reveal from the DM's computer. It should show all your die rolls and the init tracker. To get rid of it use /die hide
    I don't mind my players seeing my rolls, or the init tracker so I use this feature.

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