MapTool Comment

Non-bug comments, suggestions, and feature requests for BRPG and/or BGE
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MapTool Comment

Post by trevor » Wed Nov 21, 2007 5:56 pm

-- Split from Drawing Tool Suggestions by Omni --
heruca wrote: Texture fills are absolutely planned. Just imagine how easy it would be to draw a dungeon room by selecting a wall texture for the border and a floor texture for the fill.
Why imagine when you can see it in action now:

http://www.rptools.net/dorpond/demos/Qu ... kMaps.html

:)

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heruca
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Post by heruca » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:00 pm

Trevor, I know you get a kick out of trying to lure people away from my commercial VT to try and "sell them" on your free VT, but please don't do it on my forums, OK?

In any case, the video you linked to does not even show the functionality I was talking about, which is to draw the floor and the walls with a single draw operation, so I don't see it as being relevant.

You're welcome to provide constructive feedback here, since I value the insight that another VT developer can bring to these discussions, but if this shameless plugging of MapTool continues, I'm going to have to start deleting such posts.
: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 » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:09 pm

I have to agree with heruca on this one.

If you don't have constructive criticism for BRPG, then do not post a feedback area.

If you want to showcase MapTool features, you're welcome to do so in an appropriate Links & Resources thread.

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Post by trevor » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:11 pm

heruca wrote:but if this shameless plugging of MapTool continues, I'm going to have to start deleting such posts.
From your links page:

"We want you to make an informed decision before purchasing our products. Below are links to every virtual tabletop program we could find, both free and commercial, so you can judge for yourself which tool best fits your needs."

I figured I'd put in some good natured jabs, but if you take offense I'll back off ;)

As for whether the video shows the feature or not, I think it does. You can change outline and fill color/texture independently, Dorpond just chose to do them separately. But I think you'll find that as you implement your solution, you'll run into the same problems that prompted Dorpond to do it that way.

Namely, with a vector shape, how do you indicate where NOT to show the wall, for example when you want an open archway, as in the video. Without an erase feature you'll have a hard time opening up a wall. You could potentially just drop the hallway overlapping the wall of the room, but then you have the same problem of how to erase the wall of the hallway that overlaps your room.

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Post by trevor » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:16 pm

And for the record, how is that any different than this:

http://forums.rptools.net/viewtopic.php?p=3827#3827

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Post by Omnidon » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:22 pm

trevor wrote:I figured I'd put in some good natured jabs, but if you take offense I'll back off ;)
Perhaps you didn't intend it to sound that way, but your comment simply seemed to be saying that BRPG was a primitive VT. It contained nothing constructive nor would anyone interpret that as a joke.

You're welcome to say things like "Well, this is how MapTool does it and these are the problems we encountered with it, so I suggest doing it this way."
trevor wrote:And for the record, how is that any different than this:

http://forums.rptools.net/viewtopic.php?p=3827#3827
He was obviously intending to showcase Vry's artwork, not BPRG. However, you are right that he went a little overboard. I suggest you both try to tone it down a bit. ;-)
Last edited by Omnidon on Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by trevor » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:23 pm

Here's some more constructive criticism:

Using the drawing tools I had a hard time getting off the tools back to the normal selection mode, after a while brpg got very confused and gave me lots of errors.

I noticed that I can draw outside the bounds of the map, which is a great step towards boundless maps, but the resulting shape could only be moved such that the anchor point was inside the map bounds. Remove that restriction, allow the GM to specify background color/texture and you've got boundless maps.

It seems that the vectors are being turned into full blooded citizens (tokens), that would suggest to me that they will contend with tokens for the ~800 or so actor limit or something ? Is that going to be a problem ? If people start using the draw tools to draw their maps, you'll run out of shapes very quickly.

The drawing was very slow on my machine, drawing with the freehand tool made for very, very choppy lines, even after only 5-6 segments.

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Post by Omnidon » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:26 pm

trevor wrote:Here's some more constructive criticism:

Using the drawing tools I had a hard time getting off the tools back to the normal selection mode, after a while brpg got very confused and gave me lots of errors.

I noticed that I can draw outside the bounds of the map, which is a great step towards boundless maps, but the resulting shape could only be moved such that the anchor point was inside the map bounds. Remove that restriction, allow the GM to specify background color/texture and you've got boundless maps.

It seems that the vectors are being turned into full blooded citizens (tokens), that would suggest to me that they will contend with tokens for the ~800 or so actor limit or something ? Is that going to be a problem ? If people start using the draw tools to draw their maps, you'll run out of shapes very quickly.

The drawing was very slow on my machine, drawing with the freehand tool made for very, very choppy lines, even after only 5-6 segments.
Now that's better.
I agree. I had a similar experience. Although the tools were never "slow" for me, I did get some odd effects, such as the ends of the lines getting randomly flattened.

Also, I too am concerned about drawing tools being treated as normal objects. I'm looking forward to that drawing layer you mentioned. ;-)

Of course, the two of you started from the opposite ends of the spectrum. BRPG was not originally intended to be used to make maps, and has been getting those features due to user requests, while I suspect MapTool was not originally intended to be a VT.

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Post by heruca » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:32 pm

In Dorpond's video, there were 18 draw operations (14 to draw the walls, and 4 more to draw the floor). In BRPG, I believe drawing the same-shaped room will be doable with just 2 draw operations. One to make the room shape (floor and wall at once), and another to draw the opening in the wall (using the floor texture only).

For the technically curious, in BRPG, drawn objects are initially vector shapes, but are transformed into bitmaps the moment the shape is finished (generally on mouseUp, otherwise on doubleClick).
: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 trevor » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:34 pm

And if you're asking for creative criticism:

The download is 90.5M

That seems a bit excessive. It's steadily going up. If you are able, I would pull out all non essential images and put them in a resource pack or something that can be downloaded.

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Post by heruca » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:35 pm

trevor wrote:The drawing was very slow on my machine, drawing with the freehand tool made for very, very choppy lines, even after only 5-6 segments.
That can happen if you draw too fast, unfortunately. Faster computers seem to handle it a lot better than slower ones.
: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 trevor » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:38 pm

heruca wrote:In Dorpond's video, there were 18 draw operations (14 to draw the walls, and 4 more to draw the floor).
That was a choice he made at the time, but there was nothing stopping him from doing exactly the same: set the wall texture, set the floor texture, use a polyfill shape, then erase the door.
heruca wrote: For the technically curious, in BRPG, drawn objects are initially vector shapes, but are transformed into bitmaps the moment the shape is finished (generally on mouseUp, otherwise on doubleClick).
This has quite a few implications. Are you sending the shape to the clients as an image or the vector shape ? If the image, you've got a bandwidth issue since iirc you don't compress the images for transfer.

MT did something similar to that initially, but what you get is a jaggy line when zooming in. It's much smoother (and transfers faster) to keep it in vector form and draw it on demand at the current zoom level.

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Post by trevor » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:39 pm

More comments:

Having the initial state be non visible to the players is going to be a huge pain.

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Post by trevor » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:40 pm

heruca wrote: That can happen if you draw too fast, unfortunately. Faster computers seem to handle it a lot better than slower ones.
Which is true, but my machine isn't slow.

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Post by heruca » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:42 pm

trevor wrote:And if you're asking for creative criticism:

The download is 90.5M

That seems a bit excessive. It's steadily going up. If you are able, I would pull out all non essential images and put them in a resource pack or something that can be downloaded.
As soon as I get the dynamic (i.e. on-demand) importing feature in place, that will drop considerably, probably to around 50 MB, without losing any content from the base installation.

I kind of like the fact the BRPG comes with a "Starter Set" of maps, token graphics, visual aids, portrait art, audio clips, etc., enabling users to start playing around right away without adding anything themselves. Perhaps I'll run a poll to see if people think that practice should be changed.
Last edited by heruca on Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
: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 » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:46 pm

heruca wrote:I kind of like the fact the BRPG comes with a "Starter Set" of maps, token graphics, visual aids, portrait art, audio clips, etc., enabling users to start playing around right away without adding anything themselves. Perhaps I'll run a poll to see if people think that practice should be changed.
I agree, though bandwidth is not an issue for me.

It has been suggested before that you separate them into two separate downloads though.

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Post by oleingva » Wed Nov 21, 2007 8:20 pm

Maybe you can do both? One complete 'package' BRPG for those of us with fast connetions, and one which is divided into two (or more) smaller downloads. Personally, I like the fact that I can make one big download, and then have a complete program ready for use without having to do anything else.

One big point on this matter is the fact that BRPG is already quite complex to get into - if you've never used it before, how are you to know where to place units, maps, and so on? People might simply place them in the BRPG root folder, or worse, on their desktop, be unable to find them when trying to use the program. In many cases, this will not satisfy people's need for instant satisfaction, and they will think 'screw it, I can't be bothered to fool around with this. I try something else.'

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Post by heruca » Thu Nov 22, 2007 9:30 am

trevor wrote:Having the initial state be non visible to the players is going to be a huge pain.
Auto-hiding of drawn shapes and text labels is now optional in the next release.
: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 dorpond » Fri Nov 23, 2007 11:50 pm

oleingva wrote:One big point on this matter is the fact that BRPG is already quite complex to get into - if you've never used it before, how are you to know where to place units, maps, and so on? People might simply place them in the BRPG root folder, or worse, on their desktop, be unable to find them when trying to use the program. In many cases, this will not satisfy people's need for instant satisfaction, and they will think 'screw it, I can't be bothered to fool around with this. I try something else.'
*Raises Hand*
That is me 100% - I have no clue how to do half of the things that BGRPG is capable of doing.

When I first started looking into VT's, I actually started out playing around with BGRPG first well before I checked out Maptool. One thing I found was that I was very confused from the get go. I loaded it up and wasn't sure how to get my stuff in there. I rarely read instruction manuals and usually base my software purchases on how user friendly it is.

What I wanted: I wanted the close-to-real-life-as-possible VT solution. If I have a piece of artwork, I want to drag it to the map. If I have a token of my monster, I want to drag it to the map. The way BG does things seemed over complicated to me.

Anyway, I still check out BGRPG every release but I have not seen it get any easier. My tests usually consist of a half hour of frustration and I move on with my day. maybe it is the fact that I am so used to Maptool at this point.

Another thing, usually my half hour tests result in some sort of error. That always scared me a bit from trying BG in a real gaming environment - my games are 6 hours ong, once a week - I need solid performance and don't ever want technology getting in the way of the game. I never got the warm and cozy feeling with my tests.

Anyway, just thought I would throw that out there for you Heruca. A bit of Dorpond history and constructive criticism.

Comment on programming; I give both you and Trevor credit - I once tried to learn programming long ago when I was 16 and barely made a sprite move across the screen. :P Personally, I don't know how you guys do it but am glad you are because it only helps the gaming community as a whole in so many ways. :)

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Post by Kepli » Sat Nov 24, 2007 7:47 am

Hmm, as a DJ user first, I always looked at VTs from a map-using point of view and BRPG fit that perfectly from the start. The fact that you open with just a map background can indeed scare some people off, but the help screen and the BRPG button make up for that imo.

Deploying units can be done in two ways:
1. drag them in and then change size, rotation, placement, etc.
2. select a unit, set the parameters and deploy.

Since BRPG lets you set the default for each unit, you only have to do the parameter settings once ... that's what I prefer.

I also dabbled in programming back when ... eh, never mind. I am impressed with what I see in BRPG and MapTools :D
I think both programs have a good share of users who just prefer one over the other a bit more :wink:
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Post by Farland » Sat Nov 24, 2007 11:11 am

I don't find BRPG difficult, so I do think that much of your criticism stems from being used to another VT app, dorpond.

I actually think BRPG is easy and I love it for its realistic style.

It does need an auto installer and auto updater, and you are right that it does indeed have too many bugs, IMO, but heruca is on top of things, responsive, and works diligently to eliminate them as best he can.

For that reason, I agree with Kepli.
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Post by Full Bleed » Sat Nov 24, 2007 12:51 pm

I actually find BRPG to have a much cleaner interface than Maptool. It is pretty simple to use and uncluttered. BRPG's interface and potential for flash support are its strongest selling points (though the flash support hasn't been well-developed so far.)

But I've never quite liked the way graphics are accessed and the way things have to be purged for reasons I don't totally understand. I just want to be able to browse to my images easily and use them. New users in MT often have to learn that they need to add a path to the image explorer in order to get to their goods and it is a little quirky in what you can and can't do in it (i.e I can't organize stuff within the explorer I can only look at stuff that's organized outside it.) One just has to become comfortable with how each handles this.

BRPG has come a long way in the bug department and I think it has very few show-stoppers these days. But, that said, I am uncomfortable with any sort of pop-up error, even if it can be "ignored." I really don't find it acceptable for commercial software to have errors of that type and every time I read a review that says their game went great but they had some errors that they could ignore I worry that using BRPG for my games might result in something more catastrophic.

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Post by heruca » Sat Nov 24, 2007 1:36 pm

Those coming to BRPG from a DJ background should be familiar with the concept of filing artwork into specific folders. Others may find this too restrictive.

BRPG v2 won't have this requirement, though. You'll be able to load up assets from anywhere on your hard drive, or from any other hard drive, or from a URL if it's available online.
: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 Vry » Sat Nov 24, 2007 2:17 pm

I was pretty similar to Dorpond my first time messing with BRPG. Just saw the blank map and had no idea how to do anything, specifically how to add a figure, so I put it down and didn't look at it again till iCon.

That iCon demo answered all of the questions that I was too lazy to look up in the manual.

You need to find your own crazy person like Dorpond who will run demos on demand like he does for Maptool.

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Post by heruca » Sat Nov 24, 2007 4:52 pm

The first time BRPG is launched, a Help screen automatically comes up. Someone who reads it should know how BRPG basically works. But I can see how someone might be confused as to how to proceed if they don't read it, since the program's interface is "hidden until needed".

Perhaps it would be best if I make BRPG auto-load a sample Encounter on first launch, so folks can start clicking and dragging things right away.
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