Development Update

A "blog" of sorts to track development progress, discuss design theory, etc.
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Omnidon
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Post by Omnidon » Wed Feb 22, 2006 8:59 pm

masterlurker wrote:as long as it ships with a working dice roller it serves its purpose.
Well, I'm not interested in dice rolling. There are plenty of online dice rollers out there.

And I'm also not interested in a program that "serves its purpose"...

Most people would argue that things like ScreenMonkey serve their purpose....

I want something that not only does the job, but does it so well that it is worth the time and energy to use it.
My players don't like playing online. We resorted to that because we have few other options. We tried things like ScreenMonkey, but ended up going back to trying to play on the phone because it was actually easier to describe the visuals in detail with words than to use the tabletop software.

I'm only reading this forum because BRPG really looks like it would make playing online not only tolerable, but perhaps more fun than all other ways of doing it.

BRPG shouldn't only 'serve a purpose', it should revolutionize the industry, just as heruca told me he originally invisioned.

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Post by masterlurker » Wed Feb 22, 2006 11:32 pm

I was talking about the *dice-roller* serving its purpose, not the program in general. Most of Heruca's points were dice-related, which was what I was focusing on. We already know the program's got lots of kickass features, FOW for example, can import various audio and visual helpers, support for MAC fiends, and all the badass virtual minis abilities, but if we have to lose custom dice images and dice results outside of the dice roller window so be it =P

i.e., to summerize my point, if it can roll dice well, we can wait for the images and glory goodies. It won't kill us. Code the FOW first, more dice stuff later.

Oh, as for online dice rollers ... I've used three or four of them, and the majority of them sucked. The one at Wizards' website, for example: 1, 2, 3, 17, 2, 19, 20, 3, 5, 19, 18, 9, 20, rolling individual d20's. It never seems to roll in between 5 and 16 for me or my players. One of the many reasons I love Fantasy Grounds' virtual dice.
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Post by heruca » Thu Feb 23, 2006 12:17 am

I took extra pains to ensure that die roll results in BRPG are truly random. If you don't know anything about programming and random number generation by computers, it's not enough to ask for a random number. You have to continually randomize the randomseed itself, or you'll get 100% repeatable results. And repeatable results aren't really random, by definition.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by heruca » Thu Feb 23, 2006 12:25 am

Omnidon wrote:BRPG shouldn't only 'serve a purpose', it should revolutionize the industry, just as heruca told me he originally invisioned.
I don't recall saying that exactly. I'm a bit more realistic in my expectations. But it sure would be cool if a lot of people end up using BRPG to support their face-to-face game sessions. If only projectors prices would come down to more affordable levels...
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by Halebop » Thu Feb 23, 2006 12:27 am

My first ever bonafide piece of programming was a home made Stock Market Simulation on an Amstrad Computer back in the mid 80s. Despite using random variables to select events and share price fluctuations, I was most miffed to find the market behaved the exact same way every time I ran the simulation. I didn't have enough knowledge to fix it properly so created an additional randomizer based on the time it took for the user to respond to certain input requests! :oops: :roll:

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Post by Richard Weimer » Thu Feb 23, 2006 1:20 am

Halebop wrote:My first ever bonafide piece of programming was a home made Stock Market Simulation on an Amstrad Computer back in the mid 80s. Despite using random variables to select events and share price fluctuations, I was most miffed to find the market behaved the exact same way every time I ran the simulation. I didn't have enough knowledge to fix it properly so created an additional randomizer based on the time it took for the user to respond to certain input requests! :oops: :roll:
Another typical way to get the seed "randomized" is to use the current date/time to set its value when the program is started.

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Post by Omnidon » Thu Feb 23, 2006 2:18 am

Ah sorry lurker, misunderstood cuz I missed a page in this thread heheh. Yeah I agree with your point...


And sorry for misquoting you heruca, though it was closer to paraphrasing ;-)
You said you wanted to go to that extra effort in the areas your competators were falling short.
To me, any sort of extra effort is revolutionary in this market ;-)

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Post by heruca » Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:05 am

Oh, yeah. I said I wanted a really good User Manual and documentation, because that's where most competitors fail badly.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by masterlurker » Thu Feb 23, 2006 2:11 pm

Omnidon wrote:Ah sorry lurker, misunderstood cuz I missed a page in this thread heheh. Yeah I agree with your point...
No problem, I probably should have been clearer.
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Post by Old One » Sat Feb 25, 2006 3:01 pm

heruca wrote:You asked a direct question, and I'll try to give you a direct answer.

2/28 certainly sounded realistic when I announced it. Now, I'm not 100% sure. :oops:

While I will try to have every bug worked out by the release date (whether that's Feb 28 or early March), it's inevitable that new ones will surface when large numbers of people start using the program at length, on a variety of computers, and in different configurations. This is true of any 1.0 release, even those made by large companies with huge development budgets. However, I will issue free updates to squash those bugs in a timely manner, and I will also be adding many new features that won't make it into the initial release.

BRPG 1.0 will have everything you need to run a complete game session (and then some), but future updates will add some nice extras, like:
¢ Dice roll results shown right on the map window
¢ User-definable dice macros
¢ Die-rolling via the chat window
¢ Typing and AFK indicators in the chat window, for each user.
¢ A new unit movement method that doesn't use hotkeys and allows the GM to approve all or part of a proposed player move

It makes me shudder to be compared to Microsoft, but here's the reality: BRPG has already been delayed a couple of months. if I don't get this to market soon, I will have to go get a real job and development will slow to a crawl. So I need to ship very soon. The advantage of this is that early adopters will get to start playing right away and not have to wait until April or however long it would take me to get all those extra features programmed.

So my suggestion to you and to everyone else is to wait until BRPG's features are worth the purchase price to you. The free Demo will be updated regularly, so that you can make your evaluation with all the latest features and bug-fixes in place.
Thanks for the response. I jumped on FG fairly quickly and have found it somewhat difficult to use. My primary motivator is to find something that I can use to bring together my old gaming group (now scattered to the winds across the US) and play a fun campaign via high-speed connectivity.

Easy to use, enough features to make internet play worthwhile and easy for me (a working professional with a very busy life) to run as a DM.

Not too much to ask, eh :twisted:?

~ OO
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Post by Omnidon » Sat Feb 25, 2006 5:05 pm

Old One wrote: Thanks for the response. I jumped on FG fairly quickly and have found it somewhat difficult to use. My primary motivator is to find something that I can use to bring together my old gaming group (now scattered to the winds across the US) and play a fun campaign via high-speed connectivity.

Easy to use, enough features to make internet play worthwhile and easy for me (a working professional with a very busy life) to run as a DM.

Not too much to ask, eh :twisted:?

~ OO
Yeah, it's a shame to see so many people stop roleplaying when they get into adulthood.
Most people manage to convince themselves that it's part of growing up.
And yet imagination isn't just a childhood thing. We all need to stretch our minds occasionally.

I too have had no luck with other tabletops. While there are some with decent features, none had the overall quality and flexibility that is necessary to make it worth attempting.

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Post by Old One » Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:51 pm

Omnidon wrote:
Yeah, it's a shame to see so many people stop roleplaying when they get into adulthood.
Most people manage to convince themselves that it's part of growing up.
And yet imagination isn't just a childhood thing. We all need to stretch our minds occasionally.

I too have had no luck with other tabletops. While there are some with decent features, none had the overall quality and flexibility that is necessary to make it worth attempting.
I actually didn't start playing RPG until adulthood :wink:...

My biggest issue now is that with 2 young children, a full-time job and a small business to run, I don't have time for a "regular" TT game. I haven't done any TT gaming (except for one-shots/convention play) for nearly 2 years.

My gaming these days is 2 PbP games over at EN World and a hoped-for long distance game if BG pans out (no pressure there, heruca 8) ).

~ OO
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Post by heruca » Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:34 pm

Made some progress today on the multiuser code. Map switching is now working, but only if the map has already been imported by the client (same as with tokens, if using beta 1.0.5 or 1.0.5a).

I'm hoping that tomorrow I can get the image transfer function working for online games, and then do the same for audio files.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by heruca » Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:27 pm

I got online dice rolling working today. There's still a few aesthetic issues to fix, but it's working great. GM fudging, too (which, as promised, is totally indistinguishable from a regular die roll).

Someday, I'll make a stand-alone die roller mini-app that people can download for free.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by heruca » Thu Mar 09, 2006 9:12 pm

And today I got Visual Aid transfers working. Again, there's a few aesthetic issues to fix, but it's working great.

Every day that passes brings us one day closer to release. When will that be? Even I don't know!

But here's a "best guess":
I figure I can do Audio transfers (which are a bit trickier) tomorrow, and finish the "Save/Load Encounter" features over the weekend. That leaves Fog of War and clean up work for next week. Oh, and finishing the User Manual, and doing a sample mini-adventure, and programming in the license activation stuff for the week after that. That puts us around March 27. Shall we say March 31, to be safe?

OK, so I've missed nearly every deadline I've set so far. :oops: But I figure the margin of error in my estimates is getting smaller every time I tick off a completed feature. :)

By the way, there's definitely going to be one more public beta version before the official release. And it won't be a partial install, like the last two.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by masterlurker » Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:25 am

heruca wrote:OK, so I've missed nearly every deadline I've set so far. :oops: But I figure the margin of error in my estimates is getting smaller every time I tick off a completed feature. :)
In my professional opinion ...
Just set the next release date for October 16, 2008 and let the world be shocked and awed that you release it ahead of schedule. Everyone loves it when things are released before thier official release date. 8)
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Post by smatt1001 » Fri Mar 10, 2006 2:11 am

It's getting close, I think I can taste it. Sounds good Heruca.
Well, if BRPG someday becomes a household name (at least among gamer households), smatt1001 will be able to boast that he was the first person in the world to buy a license.

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Update

Post by heruca » Tue Mar 14, 2006 8:43 pm

Audio transfers are now working. So are private transfers (audio, visual aids, die rolls). Also, the host is shown his external IP in the chat window, on request.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by Omnidon » Tue Mar 14, 2006 8:47 pm

for clarification, I think you mean that will be true of the next release ;-)

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Post by heruca » Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:38 pm

OK, if this needs clarification...

I'm posting these development updates to keep people informed of the project's status, particularly now that it's approaching completion. Things that I mention here as being completed or working are things that you will see in the next beta release. They are not immediately and magically available in releases prior to the post date.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by heruca » Thu Mar 16, 2006 5:21 pm

I got Encounter loading working today. Woohoo! Now I need to test if it works properly when clients are connected.

So as soon as I can get the next beta posted, work can begin on the sample mini-adventure.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by heruca » Sat Mar 18, 2006 9:01 pm

I've redone most of the figure and object artwork so that it looks significantly better on the maps, and scaling is more consistent. The new artwork will be included with the next beta release (1.0.7).
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by heruca » Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm

A beta 1.0.7 candidate is going out for private playtesting tonight. If there are no major bugs found, expect beta 1.0.7 to be available for download tomorrow night.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by Case » Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:28 pm

Sweating profusely, in anticipation.

Honestly though, I stumbed across this website trying to get some cross country gamers together, and found it to be the type of program that I am looking for.

1. A great looking battle map
2. An active developer, that actually posts in the forums regularly, and comments on topics people post about the program.
3. Cross platform (OSX and Windows UNITE!!!)
4. Great feature set.

Heruca, and company....thanks so far for working on a program that is unique in its aspect as not to limit gamers from playing with other people weather that be on different OS's or using different RPG's!

I can't wait for the program and I have a small handful of gamers that will be purchasing it shortly on release. (I've already got my pre-order in! :wink: )

Case

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Post by heruca » Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:38 am

Thanks, Case. That makes me want to work all the harder to get the program released quickly.
Tiamaster wrote:This is the worst virtual table top application I've seen yet.
Funny how people's opinions can differ, eh? :D

Update: Yesterday's pre-release testing revealed a major bug that I'm still trying to squash (it's a tough one). As soon as things are working as they should, I'll be posting beta 1.0.7.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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