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  Tools for playing Pen and Paper games remotely  (Read 1151 times)
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Offline iamsteveholmes

Senior Newbie





« Posted 2006-02-14 03:16:48 »

Hello All!
t's not really a video game but one to help pen and paper games remotely.  I play pen and paper RPGs with some friends (particularly D&D).  As time has gone on my friends have moved and now we find ourselves playing remotely using web cams.  Needless to say this solution kind of sucks.

I have done some research on some of the companies that build tools to help P&P remote games and haven't been impressed by any of them.  I want to build a tool that helps with the basics.  They would essentially fall into two categories, graphical tools to respresent a battle map, and tools to track characters, combat time keeping, effects on characters, etc.

The battle Map tools:

1. tools for importing maps as jpgs etc
2. tools for setting a resizable grid on the map
3. tools for drawing on the map, or drawing a map from scratch
4. has tools to place place figures on the map that represent characters, opponents, etc.
5. I would prefer the placeholders would adjust in size with the size of the

Other tools:
1. Character Creation and updating
2. Combat tracking, time, effects, etc.

It would have to be networked so that there is one Game master and one or more players.  The games master will be able to make changes to the map, the character can modify their character and move the character on their turn.

I more or less planned on building the tools using Swing and java client stuff.  Some of the tools like character building, etc could be web bases which is really my area of expertise.

Here are the the issues I'm having:

1. What apis should I use?  Java 2d?  Swing? Other GUI tools such as fengGUI?
2. Not really sure where to start with the networking, but that could be handled later.
3. How do you make a resizeable grid?
4. How to make the grid aware of objects in each tile?
5. Less concerned about importing images, pretty standard stuff.

Any suggestions on where to begin would be HUGELY appreciated.
Thanks!
-Steve
Offline kevglass

JGO Kernel


Medals: 123
Projects: 23
Exp: 18 years


Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #1 - Posted 2006-02-14 03:25:26 »

Not sure if this is any help:

http://www.fantasygrounds.com/

A friend (in the UK) has just recommended I try it out for continuing our pen and paper adventures from here in the US. Before he pointed me at that he was considering starting on a project of his own - with very much the same aims as you.

Web based is probably best since you want remote player to connect and play easily. How about taking a look at AJAX (I know BlahBlahBlah as some experience here - he might be able to provide a few pointers)

Kev


Offline iamsteveholmes

Senior Newbie





« Reply #2 - Posted 2006-02-14 04:49:22 »

Hi Kev!
I have checked out fantasy grounds and I think it is a great start.  But my group and I had a hard time with the map tool.  Also, it really has very little to help with character or combat management.  If you check out Klooge at http://www.kloogeinc.com/ it is a far more mature tool (and java based) and has many cool features such as effects and such.  The problem is it is a lot more invasive than I want.  I want something that is more simple but powerful.  Where you could create characters and creatures, draw up a quick map and start slapping down figures.  Plus the tool could help you track initiatives, effects such as buffing spells, hit points, armor class, etc  Not to mention it would be cool for it to be database driven so that the players could manage their own characters between games, etc.

I love the idea of doing it on the web but I thought the graphics and such would make it difficult.  Things like resizable grid, etc.  You mentioned the blah-blah list and as it turns out I am pretty familiar with the Rife framework used to do that (openlaszlo on the front end).  Do you have any idea how to create these kind of effects using a web interface?

Oops!  Just realized you weren't at all talking about the Blah-Blah List which is considered a rich client web app.
-Steve
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Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline jbanes

JGO Coder


Projects: 1


"Java Games? Incredible! Mr. Incredible, that is!"


« Reply #3 - Posted 2006-02-14 06:10:04 »

Web based is probably best since you want remote player to connect and play easily. How about taking a look at AJAX (I know BlahBlahBlah as some experience here - he might be able to provide a few pointers)

As do I. And let me just say, never suggest that to someone without extensive web development experience. If the market produces some nice high-level APIs, then it could be a good option for casual development. Until that happens, though, AJAX is not an easy path to take and is fraught with many horrible, horrible (did I mention horrible?) pitfalls. There be dragons that way.

Much easier to learn a consistent language like Java and do up an applet or somesuch. Smiley

I love the idea of doing it on the web but I thought the graphics and such would make it difficult. Things like resizable grid, etc.

The DHTML APIs actually make a lot of things possible. I've got full-up demos of Space Invaders, Tetris Attacks, and a Wargame with a zoomable map sitting around, but you will waste a lot of time developing a working knowledge of the DOM and how well (or poorly) it's supported on each web browser. Using something like Blueshoes can make it easier, but there really are no generic enough components at this point. You're probably better off developing what you want in Java or Macromedia Flash. (The cool stuff you see in OpenLaszlo is all Flash-based. Right click on the widgets sometime to see the Flash menu.)

Quote
You mentioned the blah-blah list and as it turns out I am pretty familiar with the Rife framework used to do that (openlaszlo on the front end). Do you have any idea how to create these kind of effects using a web interface?

Kevglass is referring to a member of the forums who uses the handle Blahblahblahh. We just call him Blah, Blah^3, or Blah^3h. Smiley

Java Game Console Project
Last Journal Entry: 12/17/04
Offline iamsteveholmes

Senior Newbie





« Reply #4 - Posted 2006-02-14 06:26:42 »

Thanks JBanes!
Actually I realized that he wasn't talking about the app but the person...but alas too late and I hate erasing stuff I wrote.

I actually have years of experience with Web technologies (J2EE, JSPs, javascript, etc) and have done some DHTML effects in the past but I HATE and please let me emphasize HATE trying to get it to work cross platform.  I've also done some programming (limited) using ajax and although I see the usefulness it is by no means easy to program. 

I also have experience using flash to create effects and I've seen really cool gui work done using openLazlo and getting it to work with the back end seems doable.  But lazlo doesn't seem to have sufficent tools to create the mapping tools I'm talking about.  This grid thing is going to be tough plus having dragable sprites that would hopefully resize with the grid.

A web interface would have some great advantages and I think a web interface for character creation tools and such is a great idea.  But for the basic application I think a javawebstart gui would be the best bet.

Please let me know if I am completely wrong.  I'm definately a n00b here.
Offline CaptainJester

JGO Knight


Medals: 12
Projects: 2
Exp: 14 years


Make it work; make it better.


« Reply #5 - Posted 2006-02-14 14:04:45 »

http://www.rondaksportal.com/

Offline iamsteveholmes

Senior Newbie





« Reply #6 - Posted 2006-02-14 17:26:09 »

Some good tools and such here but again nothing that meets my needs.

I want to start with the basics that I outlined and go from there.  None of the tools I've seen yet really even cover the basics.
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