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.
In case you didn’t see this on Facebook or the forum… A quick development update in the form of a video demo. Some enhancements to map tokens and a often-requested feature: container objects. Check it out!
Hi folks. As we close out 2017, I thought I’d update you on EpicTable 2 and what I’ve been working on lately. I’m really excited with the way things are going, and I wish I had some visual way to show that to you. Unfortunately, what I’m working on at the moment is infrastructure stuff–storage and messaging–and there’s not anything very visual about that. I have a cool video planned where I’ll show you why it matters to you, but 2017 John doesn’t want to steal 2018 John’s thunder, so I’m not going to describe that to you. You should see that fairly early in 2018. Instead, let me tell you why I’m working on infrastructure and why it matters.
EpicTable 2 is entirely WPF-based. To the non-developers out there, that won’t mean much, but it’s essentially this: EpicTable 1 was built mostly before the current set of Windows development technologies existed. So, in the early versions, I had to do some things that were crazy by comparison to today. In version 1.2, the tech used for maps got an upgrade, but everything else stayed the same–you know, so it could get out there quickly(ish). But that left some strange artifacts that you guys see on occasion–flickers, maps going black when you do certain things and then reappearing when you click back onto them. Chat didn’t get a tech uplift at all, and so many things I wanted to do, like making the dice and fonts resizeable, just weren’t practical. Worse, as a new generation of laptops came with varied video resolutions, it was becoming harder for chat in particular to avoid rendering weirdness. I’m happy to report that the new chat looks awesome, and the new maps, sitting in a brand new all-WPF shell, have none of the flicker and other oddness.
The main difference with messaging and storage is that in ET2 I’m using a cloud-based relay for some things that used to be peer-to-peer. You won’t see any functional difference, but the time to send resources from the GM to the players, or vice versa, is way, way shorter. Especially you guys that sometimes find yourselves on slow networks will appreciate that. This was actually one of the most common problems I’d see people encounter–bogging down a GM with a slow network. This will become more important because EpicTable 2 will incorporate video in some of its features.
Basically, the theme of EpicTable 2.0, in addition to bringing in some new features, is making everything work better and making the codebase simpler so that it’s easier to add new features. So when are you going to see any of this? You know I don’t give out dates, because any tech hurdle that arises throws a schedule based on nights and weekends way out of whack. However, the milestone I’m currently working on is getting the new data storage done and all the pieces–chat, maps, dice, etc., fit back into the “shell” with no themes or anything. Once that’s done, I’ll be able to better project when you can have a beta to play with. As always, I’m fighting with perfection as the enemy of done.
In the meantime, here’s a reminder of work toward EpicTable 2: the EpicTable 2 Preview playlist on YouTube. I’ll continue to add to this playlist and update you here as work progresses. As a side note, December 2017 has been the best-selling month in EpicTable history. Thank you all for your support. I’ll work hard to get you EpicTable 2 as soon as I can.
In the last post, I talked about the new inline image editor in EpicTable 2 (upcoming) that lets you do some basic edits on images as you’re selecting them. With EpicTable 2, you won’t need to use a separate image editor for common things we all do to prep our images, and you get the benefit of EpicTable’s recommendations about image size, etc. In this preview, I look at cropping.
Check out this video demo of the work in progress.
One of the problems people run into when using a virtual tabletop for the first time is selecting images that are appropriate for a given use. Often people will use maps that are meant to be printed or large, high quality images for character portraits, and this wastes a lot of time and bandwidth, because they’re transferring sometimes huge images that are never going to be viewed at their original size. I always advise people to use smaller images, but it’s kind of a pain–now they have to use an image editor, and while many people are comfortable with that, EpicTable is supposed to be the easy virtual tabletop, right?
In EpicTable 2, I’m making this a lot easier. EpicTable 2 will tell you when you have an image that’s larger than recommended for its type. For instance, a character portrait should be a lot smaller than a map, and map shouldn’t be something you’re going to print out poster-sized. Not only will EpicTable tell you when you’ve got an image that’s not the appropriate size, but it will help you remedy that without resorting to an image editor. In addition, some common image manipulation beyond size, such as rotation, flipping, and cropping can be done right within EpicTable.
Check out this video demo of the work in progress.
A little eye candy for you while I work on pulling EpicTable 2.0 together. The new maps in EpicTable 2 support some new features. I’ve spoken to many of you about separating terrain and dungeon dressing from the map background and the token layer. While looking at the issue of map layers more generally, it struck me that there were some interesting effects possible. One such is this battle map of a volcanic cavern with flowing lava and smoke and steam. As cool as this is, I’ve no doubt it will drive some people crazy, so rest assured, I’ll give you a way to turn off animated elements of the map.
About this map
This map started life as one of the maps from the 2013 EpicTable Box Set, a beautiful cavern map created by one of my all-time favorite fantasy cartographers, Christopher West. You can find more of his work at Maps of Mastery. (Watch out, though–a lot of his stuff is for printing, so it’s super-high-resolution. I had to scale it down to some tiny percentage to make it virtual tabletop ready–and it still looks amazing.)
I made some areas of the map transparent, added some flowing lava under it, somewhat slower than the original, and added a layer of dark clouds, rendered mostly transparent and very slow, on top of it for the smoke and steam. Both those videos were from iStockphoto, and um…I’m chalking their cost up to my Marketing department (which is me).