Managing Game Elements

Posted in EpicTable Development on October 4, 2009 at 3:45 am

Resource tree mockup.EpicTable makes it very easy to introduce images, characters, etc., in an ad-hoc way. But sometimes, you do have something prepared, or you come back to a saved session. Now, your need shifts from easily introducing new game elements to being able to manage the ones you have.

The image at the left shows a couple mockups of what I’m currently working on. These are example trees of EpicTable resources, and as you can see, my core assumption is that different games—different GMs, even—require different organization of resources.

The notion is that you can organize your resources—by which I mean images and other handouts, maps, player characters and NPCs, notes, whatever—in a set of folders. After much pondering about the “right” hierarchy for such a tree, I realized that there’s no such thing. Every game, every GM, has a different need. So, you’re going to have control of the tree. Rename folders, remove them, add them, drag resources and folders around to reorganize them, whatever you have to do. When you want to use a resource, drag it onto the playing surface.

These two trees show a Primetime Adventures game called “London Below”, and a D&D 3.5 campaign called “Black Sails”. Notice that the PTA game is organized into episodes and has notes for the pitch session, a series arc, even a “series promo” splash screen; while the D&D game has things organized into chapters and encounters with setting notes and a map of Charnel Valley.

It’s important to note that no matter how you rename or reorganize these resources, you don’t have to worry about broken links. Each resource remains available to players with whom it’s been shared, and any internal links from one resource to another (e.g., a map with a link to a note) remain intact.

One thing I’m not sure about is the difference between the GM’s view and the players’ view. Typically, the GM has access to more resources, but I could imagine the GM wanting to share parts of the tree…. I’m not going to ponder that too much, because I think some of that will get into post-1.0 territory, but I’d be happy to discuss any ideas you have.

Credits and Sources: Mockups done with Balsamiq.

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