What's the mystery feature, you ask? Support for artpacks.heruca wrote:Aside from a slew of bug fixes, v1.3b will add an important new feature that I spent most of my recent trip working on.
Artpacks are a new file type for BRPG, that can best be described as "content plugins". As the name implies, these files hold media. The media can include any or all of the following content:
¢ Tokens for figures and/or objects
¢ Portrait art
¢ Audio clips
¢ Visual aids
¢ Charts & tables (i.e., reference material, in bitmap format)
This content is all organized into categories, for easily finding what you need, quickly. These categories are appended to the listing of your local asset folders.
There will be two types of artpacks: free and commercial. For commercial artpacks, only the GM/host needs to pay for it. Players can install commercial artpacks for free, so that the media is already available when an Encounter calls for it. A registration system has been added to BRPG for registering commercial artpacks, and it works similarly to BRPG Client License activation. The content in a commercial artpack is only deployable/usable by a GM Client who has registered the artpack by entering an unlock code. Free artpacks don't require an unlock code, of course. You just pop an artpack into the new "Artpacks" folder and its media will be made available to BRPG when you launch it.
Two commercial artpacks will be released simultaneously with BRPG v1.3b.
The first artpack is called "Base Map Pack 1" ("BMP1", for short). It is an extensive collection of generic maps, which you've probably already seen previews of (although the pack has since grown a bit to include even more maps). As you might guess from the name, I intend to create more Map Packs in the future. There are going to be 35 maps in this pack, and they are all similar in nature to the grass map that comes with BRPG, in that they generally won't be used "as is"; rather, they provide a general background for you to deploy objects on (rocks, bushes, trees, ponds, etc.) in order to customize the map for each Encounter. This artpack will cost $12.
The second artpack will be called "Car Wars Starter Pack" ("CWSP", for short). It will contain tokens suitable for playing the Car Wars boardgame, by Steve Jackson Games (if you have no interest in Car Wars, feel free to skip the rest of this paragraph). Everything you need to get started is in the pack: tokens for cars (from subcompact to luxury size, plus pickups and vans), motorcycles, pedestrians, tractors (as in "trucks"), trailers, buses, and even 10-wheelers; dropped weapon tokens (mines, spikes, oil slicks, smoke, and paint sprays), and a Turning Key graphic, which is used to maneuver the vehicles on the map. This artpack includes a variety of road sections (straights, curves, splits, and intersections) that you can piece together to create your own custom layouts. It also comes with a basic arena map (in 3 different floor textures), which is customizable with BRPG's built-in drawing tools. Bundled along with the artpack is a special "1/4 inch" square grid overlay. Note that the Car Wars artpack does not contain any rules or SJG artwork. You will have to own the original game in order to play a game with this artpack. This artpack will cost $10.
There are also plans for several free artpacks in the near future. For starters, I'll probably re-release the two free sample adventures in this format. Why? Because artpacks offer several advantages. First and foremost, hassle-free installation. Unlike media bundles, whose content needs to be imported, an artpack's media doesn't need to be imported at all, it's simply "dynamically attached" to the BRPG program, transparently to the user. You just place an artpack in the new "Artpack" folder, launch BRPG, and all the media is instantly available for use.
The days of importing a separate media bundle for each Encounter in the sample adventures are coming to an end, because all that content will be included in a single artpack, and even better, you'll be able to use that content in your own original BRPG adventures.
Another advantage of using artpacks is that it prevents unnecessary bloating of your "User Cast" file (your multimedia database). This results in snappier performance and requires far less frequent purging of older content.