EpicTable 2 Preview – Character Token Popup

Posted in EpicTable Development on July 9, 2019 at 6:18 am

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.

Character token popup

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.
— John

Artwork shown in this preview is by Brennen Reece, DevinNight, Raymond E Gaustadnes, and game-icons.net.

EpicTable 2 Preview – Main Screen Layout

Posted in EpicTable Development on February 21, 2019 at 6:46 pm

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.

EpicTable 2 Preview: Image Selection Part 2 – Cropping

Posted in EpicTable Development on November 21, 2017 at 1:31 am

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.

EpicTable 2.0 Preview – Image Selection

Posted in EpicTable Development on November 6, 2017 at 2:52 am

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.

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