BRPG v1.3b's new feature, plus product announcements

Non-bug comments, suggestions, and feature requests for BRPG and/or BGE
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heruca
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BRPG v1.3b's new feature, plus product announcements

Post by heruca » Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:58 pm

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.
What's the mystery feature, you ask? Support for artpacks.

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:
¢ Maps
¢ 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.
Last edited by heruca on Fri Sep 12, 2008 1:05 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by nortonweb » Sat Sep 06, 2008 4:40 am

So can anyone make an art pack or will you need director?

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Post by heruca » Sat Sep 06, 2008 9:54 am

I'll be making all the artpacks, at least initially, but it's conceivable that I could create a utility that anyone could create an artpack with, if there's a lot of interest for such a thing.

It's a lot of work putting an artpack together, though. However, most of the work is actually done in Photoshop or the like, creating the graphics (or modifying existing graphics), rotating them, resizing them, sharpening images that get blurry after downsizing, and so on.
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Post by Dormouse » Sat Sep 06, 2008 1:40 pm

If Artpacks are a better way of doing media bundles, then it would be helpful if everyone could do them. Possibility of multiple free, user-generated Artpacks then. :)

Of course, that might hit the market for commercial Artpacks. :?

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Post by heruca » Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:03 pm

I've edited the OP to include more information about the Car War Starter Pack (the addition of modular road sections). Also, the prices for both artpacks have been posted.
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Post by Nerfed2Hell » Mon Sep 08, 2008 5:00 pm

Dormouse wrote:If Artpacks are a better way of doing media bundles, then it would be helpful if everyone could do them. Possibility of multiple free, user-generated Artpacks then. :)
I agree with this. Artpacks seems like it would be an easy way to switch between campaigns with different resources and such... and if its a more compact way of running BRPG with less performance lag, then I'm all for a user generated artpack tool.

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Post by heruca » Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:04 pm

Unfortunately, the "Car Wars Starter Pack" will have to be canceled, even though it is complete. Steve Jackson Games felt that it infringed on their IP in several ways, and have asked that I not release it, even for free. I should have checked with them first before announcing my artpack. Lesson learned.

Car Wars players looking to do some online gaming will have to resort to using Vassal and the Car Wars game mod.
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Post by Omnidon » Tue Sep 23, 2008 5:43 pm

heruca wrote:Unfortunately, the "Car Wars Starter Pack" will have to be canceled, even though it is complete. Steve Jackson Games felt that it infringed on their IP in several ways, and have asked that I not release it, even for free.
Eh, I hate it when companies do that. It's hardly a good way to promote a product. It's not as if you were using *their* graphics in your set.

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Post by Full Bleed » Wed Sep 24, 2008 2:16 am

heruca wrote:Steve Jackson Games felt that it infringed on their IP in several ways, and have asked that I not release it, even for free. I should have checked with them first before announcing my artpack. Lesson learned.
In order for you to be able to use the name "Car Wars" I would suspect that they'd want some kind of royalty and/or advance against royalties, depending on their licensing procedure.

But, looking at what you planned to release, you could just as easily call it: "Automobile Game Combat Construction Set." Then pull anything that is specific or uniquely Car Wars.

You'll lose the marketing strength of their title, but at least the work doesn't go to waste.


You could also see about limited licensing and/or selling the pack to them. They may have a use for it.

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Post by BTS1967 » Wed Sep 24, 2008 2:35 pm

I would love the ability to create art packs. We have begun rotating through game systems... Exalted, Scion, WH40k, and D&D4e. It would be great to create art packs to manage all of the varied content.

Currently I have a folder structure where I mimic the BRPG folder structure for each of those games and copy & paste into BRPG when we switch games... ugh!

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Post by Astinus » Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:19 am

Art packs sound great. It's just what I need for my board game. Count me in for the user generated option.

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