Sunday, August 8, 2010

Take a Look-See at This

New electronic tabletop RPG environment.

I guess there's no avoiding the further collapse of RPG P&P with gadgets like these continuing to make their presence known to the tech-savvy younger generation.

Even Marvel Comics has electronic subscriptions.  When I learned about the latter my reaction was, "Huh"?  What happened to collecting and trading and being the first in line at the comic book store, and evaluation, etc.?  Unreal.  And in such a short time, as I am only 54 years of age and glowingly remember my own CB collections (Dr. Strange and Silver Surfer, Spectre and the Brave & the Bold!).  [shakes head in disbelief]


drnuncheon said...

As a DM I use technology to let me find things quickly, play music & sound effects, keep track of character sheets, and all sorts of other useful tools.

Virtual tabletop lets me game with a high school friend halfway across the country, a local buddy who is deathly allergic to our cats, and another friend who doesn't have access to reliable childcare.

Viva technology! Bring on surface, virtual tabletop, and anything else you can find. Better this than another crappy MMO.

Anonymous said...

As reference tools: no problem.
As audio/visual enhancement (literally bells & whistles): s'okay.

Would it be cool to have a giant flatscreen for a tabletop with players' miniatures on it and the DM could throw a visual graphic right under them to show where they are and what they see?: probably.

It starts getting too close to narrating a video game, the closer it gets to being a fully emersive video environment, no?

Will we one day see a DM punching keys behind his screen, illuminating the table with monsters, traps, etc, while players franticly type on their pads to show what they are in turn doing to react to a given situation? I suppose if the technology performed smoothly enough, maybe we will. It takes a bit of the imagination aspect away, even while it is providing a clearer visual of what the DM & players describe to each other.

Overall, I am afraid of this tech-boom taking away from the social 'round table-ness of the play. It does have the potential to do great aid and harm to the genre at the same time.

Great power & great responsibility, etc.


Lord of the Green Dragons said...

I agree that in your case that electronic media can only be a benefit. As we have seen, however, this media is becoming a replacement technology for books and socializing, for actual physical contact and the exchange of ideas at the primary level of face-to-face interchange. Even though it has many merits such in your case, I wonder if its advance will indeed create a new breed of people that choose the easy way to "game" by pushing a button to summon electronic simulacrums of social interaction? Extending this out over the next 20 years, just as we have had to look at the past 20 years of the growth of the predominant CRPGs, then one might see
some questions and concerns arising as I do.

Lord of the Green Dragons said...

GW: My post was @ drnucheon in response to his, not yours. Good converse all around.

N. Wright said...

I actually saw this several years ago, I believe. Maybe it's been re-released by the guys responsible?

Anyways, I can't see myself using it. I'm not going to buy somebody else's materials to use a giant, expensive touch screen, and I'm not enough of an artist to make my entire game visually appealing as well as decently written.

E.G.Palmer said...

If this was a Ray Bradbury story about the impact of technology on RPGs, the protagonist would be struggling with the modern version of the game where players create autonamous character avatars and then just observe them interact with the avatars of other players without ever interacting face to face with another player.

Man, that's a long sentence.

I almost completely eschew the use of technology in my D&D game. As writing tools and preparation sure, but never in play.

That might just be because of the subject matter of the game though, fantastic sword and sorcery. I find e-toys jarring and dissonante pared with my pulpy medievalism.

I might be just fine with using such tools actively in a sci-fi game. I think it would fit then.

Eugene Jaworski said...

Man that just looks horrible. I would absolutely hate playing D&D around a screen like this. Virtual dice and video game spell "effects"? What a joke.

grodog said...

Interestingly, GoogleWave is being shut down: it was a platform many RPGers were using for online gaming.


Lord of the Green Dragons said...

Yeah. I heard that news from elsewhere. I am all for players finding their niche--situations vary from person to person and some or all of these electronic methods may or may not fit each person in question.

What I do wonder about--and seemingly (historically) what way too many folks discuss in hindsight--are the strongly related issues of educational growth, social deprogramming, artistic/creative stagnation or reversal and submersion of imagination, all in varied degrees and instances as they relate to each electronic medium in different contexts.

arcadianacred said...

Wow, didn't know the whole surface thing was so far along.

I am torn myself. I have a bit of a tech crush,and love shiny objects. As a tool it could be nice especially if it could be used for long distance play.

But as a P&P gamer, I have a slight distrust of such tools, that they might deter imagination.

I wonder if "D&D" apps for this will onl come officially from WOTC, or if one will be able to do open source programs for the OSR and other non D&D rpgs.

Amanda said...

I've been playing in a couple forms of online rpg for over ten years now. While you don't get some of the same fun of being with all your friends in the same room playing together, I still find it a lot of fun. We can play with friends across the country and the witty banter is still there but mostly in text form. (Though there is a bit less of it.) Currently, we use Fantasy Grounds to play Pathfinder with a friend of ours from Texas and another from Michigan. The pace of the game is different, but it's still fun and in some ways I think it can be more immersive than roleplaying in person if the group is full of good players who can write well.

Flambeaux said...

This seems very clumsy when, if I want that kind of disembodied but visually saturated experience, I can play WoW, Diablo, or a host of other online games.

I'll stick with play by post (with pictures!) as my present medium that allows me to play with guys I know scattered to the Four Winds.

And you can have my dice when you pry them from my cold, dead hands.