Roll the Virtual Dice of the Future on Roll20

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Roll the Virtual Dice of the Future on Roll20

Post by Better Quell Jorel on Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:26 pm

Gentlemen,

A few weeks ago, I think I may have stumbled upon the future of the pen and paper RPG as it may exist many years hence. Gentlemen role-players, I give you...


ROLL20 at Roll20.net


Don't be fooled by the program's title. This nifty interface does not only cover those games that use D20 systems. As the description claims, this online platform allows GMs to run online campaigns with sizes of a few to a few hundred players. This online API  runs entirely on a web browser and is set up so that it can become compatible with most roleplaying systems out there. While lesser known systems require more of a learning curve (you have to input the rules you want the system to run by in order to work) you could quite literally run every system ever created by the great roleplaying forefathers of the past.

So, here's how the system works. You, as a GM, run and control a game through the API using virtual tokens within online maps that you can create. Along with that interface, the players appear and interact using an online chat system like Google hangouts. You and the players have access to a virtual dice program where no rolls are hidden (except for the GM). Within the maps themselves, a GM has access to a palette different tile types, backgrounds, enemy tokens, traps, and many, many other bells and whistles to make the games come to life.

So, how much does it cost to join this community? The answer is nothing for players and even GMs. There is an option for supporting the program that, for a yearly fee, grants access to more GM accouterments and special effects like Fog of War (clouding what the players can see up ahead for drastic reductions of meta-gaming).

This is a community of players that has quite exploded in the last year. As of this posting, there are some 90 games looking for players in the near or not so distant future and some 400,000 signups so far.

So, give the Website a spin and tell me what you think. Is it a good idea? A bad idea? Is this something worth supporting? Or should we just turn a blind eye and ignore it as a passing fad?
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Re: Roll the Virtual Dice of the Future on Roll20

Post by Casey on Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:26 pm

Ok I joined the site and watched the tutorial. Does it provide more than a visual map for the players and some die rolls? E.g. can I upload "GURPS 4th Edition rules" and have the players choose to Attack, All Out Attack, Change Position, etc?
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Re: Roll the Virtual Dice of the Future on Roll20

Post by Better Quell Jorel on Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:28 pm

Saule wrote:Ok I joined the site and watched the tutorial. Does it provide more than a visual map for the players and some die rolls? E.g. can I upload "GURPS 4th Edition rules" and have the players choose to Attack, All Out Attack, Change Position, etc?

Yes, it is possible. So far as I know, you can program the game simulate with the rules of any roleplaying system. I actually did a bit of research on GURPS and found that the upload of rules would take time, but it be done, at least according to the information I read.

When I say read, most of the information available can be found on the wiki page for GURPS 4th ed. on Roll20.
That is the source to go to get an idea of how to program the API for GURPS.

https://wiki.roll20.net/GURPS_4th_Edition

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Re: Roll the Virtual Dice of the Future on Roll20

Post by Casey on Tue Feb 25, 2014 8:19 pm

Hm. I'm not sure how impressed I am. It seems nice if you want to play a casual game over the innernets with some long distance friends, but other than that I don't see much use. Actual role playing (as opposed to dungeon crawling) would be so severely restricted that I'm not sure it would even be possible.

And as far as the utility goes, well it shows some graphics and lets you roll dice. I took a look at the page that you shared on GURPS, and while it has some nice info on what hex types to use, it's rather useless as an online game simulator. If there were something like that, I think I could really enjoy it. What I would love to see would be a GURPS "sandbox", similar to this but preloaded with GURPS rules. Make a character in the program, equip him (or her, if the player's name is Tom) with standard items, and have the computer fill in the details on encumbrance, damage, skill rolls, etc. Orc at 77 yards with a wind penalty of -3? Use a drop down menu, choose the All Out Attack option (or Aim!), and the program already knows what your rolling against and gives you a nice graphic of the dice rolling and tells you if you hit or miss.

Unfortunately, at this site it looks like you have to program all of that yourself, and I'm not sure if it even has that functionality to do all that I would want it to do. Heck, take a look at that API script on the GURPS wiki page. All it does is compare the target roll with the actual roll. Now take a look at the actual script. It's a freaking computer program! Frankly, if I had the skill to input the GURPS combat rules into a set of scripts, I would do so, and then sell the scripts to Steve Jackson for a tidy sum. I'm sure it would take hundreds of hours to get it right.

So to answer your question in the original post, I think it might have some niche interest, but will not come close to replacing face to face, paper and pencil, table top role playing games.
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Re: Roll the Virtual Dice of the Future on Roll20

Post by Better Quell Jorel on Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:10 pm

So to answer your question in the original post, I think it might have some niche interest, but will not come close to replacing face to face, paper and pencil, table top role playing games.

Oh no. I agree. I have yet to actually join a game or even see one in action on this site; but, I think that in a situation where one had no live games to attend, this would be a good alternative to consider. As far as support goes, you'd have an easier time of running a D&D game on Roll20 than a game in GURPS or another lesser known system.
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