During this period of quarantine and social distancing due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there are certainly more important things than gaming. But if keeping your gaming group together helps cut through some of the gloom and stress, or makes you feel less isolated, I want to do what I can to support that. With that in mind, I’ve extended the EpicTable trial period. Rather than the usual 30-day trial, you’ll have full access to all EpicTable features for the duration of this strange and unsettling time.
You don’t need a special license key or anything–just download the latest EpicTable release at http://www.epictable.com/download and install it. If you have previously downloaded EpicTable, and your trial has expired, that’s fine–this new trial will automatically apply once you install the lastest EpicTable release. You don’t need to uninstall first, just install it right over your existing EpicTable.
If you’ve never played pen-and-paper RPG games online before, here’s the quick gist: you get together with your friends on your online meeting venue of choice: Google Hangouts or Zoom or Discord or whatever, so you can hear and see each other; and EpicTable provides the virtual tabletop–a shared space for maps, handouts, dice, etc. For more info, you can visit help.epictable.com or the video tutorials and feature list here.
I wish all the best for you and your friends and families.
In this update, I’d like to show you the “Character Token Popup” I’ve been working on. It’s sort of a super-charged right-click menu replacement, paired with a mini character sheet.
This control, accessed by right-clicking on the token, gives you access to the character’s name and portrait and token art, as well as a set of frequently-used stats and dice rollers that you can setup. Other tabs provide control over the token’s base and border and other options.
As-shown, this is pretty D&D/Pathfinder/d20/OSR-centric: AC and hit point controls and a row of ability check rolls followed by other dice rolls; but the idea is that you’ll be able to configure it to meet the needs of your game. Already, all the smaller buttons are dice rolls that can be added and configured by each player. So, if you have a two-weapon fighter, maybe you add buttons for each of your weapons and your two-weapon attack. If you’re a wizard, maybe you add one for your fireball damage. This takes the place of the non-character-specific dice roll gallery in ET1, which I think will be a big benefit for GMs, who run multiple characters and whose characters might only be relevant for one encounter.
I’m pretty sure we’ll need to allow the GM to setup a template specific to their game that they can share with their players. For instance, AC and hit points aren’t going to be appropriate for some games; you’ll have different stats and maybe things like stress tracks. How much is built-in vs. how much is GM-driven vs. how much is controlled by the individual player is still a bit in flux, but I wanted to give you a look sooner rather than later.
The biggest question I have for you folks:
– Is accessing the mini-sheet by right-clicking on the token the correct experience? It seems like it for options like the token base and border, but I’m less sure about the mini-sheet. This may need to be its own thing that you can dock somewhere or something. For GMs, I’m planning an encounter/initiative tracker which will utilize these mini-sheets (or maybe a slimmed-down version of them), so you won’t be right-clicking on monsters all the time to make attack rolls. It strikes me that the GM may or may not want to share the encounter tracker with players, though, so I’m not sure I can just say that the players access their rolls through the encounter tracker, but maybe they have a docked panel or window with this mini-sheet and one for familiars, summoned creatures, etc. Obviously, there needs to be a way to get to your character data outside of the context of an encounter. What I’m reaching toward with the mini-sheet is a smallish, very action-oriented view of the character for use in encounters.
In coming posts, I’ll show a lot of the things that are implicit in this post: the dice roll builder, activation of dice rolls, border and base controls, and that “Behavior” tab (whose name is giving me fits, as you’ll see when we look closer at what’s in there).
In the meantime, let me know your thoughts on what you’ve seen so far.
Thanks as always.
I’ve just posted a new video with the latest on EpicTable 2 development. This one focuses on cleaning up the “double-flyout” problem discussed last time, introduces character token settings, and shows some of the new menus in action. Eager to hear what you folks think. Leave me your comments on the YouTube video below, Facebook, or in the EpicTable forum post.
This is a video tour of the main game screen for EpicTable 2. It’s still a work in progress, so there are missing features and the visual theme is a little bland. Unlike previous videos, I’m not trying to show features in this video. I’m more interested in showing you how the main elements of the application are laid out and solicit your feedback.
Before we get too far, let me apologize for the sound. It’s…not super. If this were a long-term video for the user guide or a how-to video, I’d re-record it with a different mic, but since this is just a snapshot in time, I hope you’ll overlook the poor sound quality in the interest of having it posted sooner and having me back at work on EpicTable itself rather than video editing.
This has been a hard video for me to put out, because I don’t want you folks to be underwhelmed, since unlike some of the others, this video isn’t showing flashy new features. On the other hand, it really does represent an important milestone. Here’s why. The other videos were closely focused on new features while I was exploring what was possible, but they weren’t integrated. There was no EpicTable 2 application. That’s not the case here. Everything you see in this video is in the app. So, skeletal as it is right now, it’s pretty real. There are a lot of moving parts to EpicTable, so having the skeleton assembled is a big deal. More than that, though (and here’s where I’ll geek out with you a bit), this whole thing is pure WPF. Most of EpicTable 1 predated WPF. It used a Microsoft .NET technology called WinForms, and while it was fine for building basic business apps, I had to make it do some unnatural things to produce EpicTable. Later, I re-wrote the map code in WPF, but to avoid a huge ripple I had to host the maps as WPF controls within WinForms. This led to some crazy complexity and occasionally hard-to-debug weirdness. Finally, WinForms just wasn’t good at handling new monitors with higher resolutions, so a few folks on new, fancy laptops hit things that I just couldn’t fix. Mostly, it was small stuff, but it led to a poorer experience than I wanted to provide. EpicTable 2 is all WPF–there’s no mixing of technologies. I’ve cut so much code and complexity out of it. I’m very happy with it from a technical standpoint, so while this is a skeleton, it’s the skeleton of a brand new creature that could eat the previous generation.
So in summary: don’t panic if your favorite feature isn’t shown here and don’t worry about color, etc. Do please tell me what you think about the new layout. Thanks, and stay tuned for more updates as I add more of the features to this skeleton.
In September, I announced that, due to a new job, I was going to have to backburner EpicTable work until the end of the year or close to it. I’m pleased to share that I’ve been back at EpicTable for a couple weeks and am once again making progress.
In the coming weeks, I’ll start showing you EpicTable 2 as it’s running on my computers–kind of skeletal, kind of basic, but real and gaining ground, something solid enough that we can start to talk about the new design aesthetic, what functionality I see fitting in where, etc. That’s what I’ve been working toward for the past couple weeks, and as soon as I hit that point, I’ll put up a guided tour of sorts. It’s a delicate balancing act. It needs to be early enough that I can react to feedback, but fully-baked enough that the gaps aren’t distracting and we can have meaningful discussions about it.
Thanks for hanging in there, and thanks to the people who have continued to buy and use EpicTable 1. I always say it, but in case anyone missed it and is thinking, “Wait! There’s an EpicTable 2 coming?! I just purchased–what have I done?!” Not to worry. All of you EpicTable 1 license holders will be upgraded to EpicTable 2 for free.
I know you folks have been waiting for EpicTable 2, but I regret that I need to announce a delay. I recently started a new job, and between a different schedule and a lot of ramp up in a new area, I’ve found it difficult to get much done on ET2. Those of you who have been with EpicTable for a long time know I never announce release dates. However, I’d secretly hoped to open the ET2 beta this fall…then it shifted to end of year. Realistically, in light of my new work situation, I believe it will be late December or early January before I’m back to making meaningful strides on EpicTable 2, and I’ll have months of work left. I know this comes as a disappointment for some of you. I delayed this announcement, hoping to have better news, but I really can’t put it off any longer. I will update you on the status of ET2 around the end of this year. Thank you for all the kind words and support over the years. I hope you hold on a bit longer. In the meantime, nothing changes with respect to ET1, and EpicTable 2 will be a free upgrade for EpicTable 1 licensed users.
In response to my recent video demonstrating EpicTable 2 character tokens, someone asked about isometric maps and tokens, and pointed me to Alex Drummond’s work (https://www.patreon.com/epicisometric/overview). All of this got me wondering…
Here is an isometric map and tokens in EpicTable 1. I turned off snap-to-grid and show-grid. Please, no one ask me to do snap-to-grid on isometric maps–I’m still recovering from hex maps! 😉
The only unfortunate thing is that EpicTable 1 makes tokens square, because…I guess I had an overly D&D-centric perspective. This squishes isometric tokens. In EpicTable 1, you can get around this by using image objects instead. This is a significant pain, made worse because you can’t save a gallery of images for easy reuse in ET1. I won’t make either of these mistakes in ET2!
People who care about token facing: What do you think about the test snapshot below? The notion is you’d be able to face an edge or vertex or free-rotate. You’d be able to change the facing indicator color and turn facing indicator display on or off.
A question I have is: should the indicators be shown for all tokens or just the selected one? Or is that behavior that needs to be configurable?
Let me know on the forum or on facebook.