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Kickstarter: Battlegrounds Ultimate virtual tabletop software

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The goal of this Kickstarter campaign is to fund the development of the next generation of Battlegrounds virtual tabletop software, which will be called "Battlegrounds Ultimate" (aka BGU).


This "new" virtual tabletop isn't starting from scratch. It builds upon the ten years of development that went into the first generation of the software (BRPG). This project should be of interest to anyone with an interest in RPGs (the software supports both remote play and face-to-face game sessions, and is system-agnostic, so you can use it with any ruleset). It should also appeal to Hero System gamers in particular, as Battlegrounds has long supported the system's unique turn sequencing mechanics, Hero System dice, and dice-rolling mechanics such as rolling vs. target numbers, Stun/Body damage, die removal for explosion damage, etc.. Among other worthy goals, a successful campaign will help Battlegrounds restore full support for Macs.


If the second Stretch Goal can be reached, it will add a "free-to-play" mode, where anyone can use the BGU app without a license (albeit with a reduced feature-set), and that will mean LOADS more users, making it much easier to find a GM, or an extra player, for your game.


There's even a Pledge Level that covers an entire typical gaming group (offering bundle pricing), which offers the biggest savings.



Please check out the Kickstarter campaign page to learn more. At least watch the brief 2-minute video, which is pretty cool. Additional videos have also been posted in Updates.

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Sorry folks, there seems to be a problem with my forum registration, so some of the links I posted above can't be accessed. When I posted the links, I thought they'd all be viewable by anyone, registered or not. I'm going to see about changing the forum permissions to fix this.

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Heruca, props to you.


Sorry if this sounds like heckling (because it may well be) but I have some questions.


I am a long-time fan of MapTool. As you mentioned on your Kickstarter page, that is a freely available alternative to Battlegrounds. That said, what features might we expect to streamline the Hero mechanics during play? Specifically;

  • Does Battlegrounds support an on-screen character sheet with links to common dice rolls?
  • Can you stack dice roll expressions (OCV, Hit Location, Damage based on the Location) into one script/macro?
  • What kind of GM organization tools are/will be available? The obvious one I am thinking of is a list of the tokens on screen and some sort of demarcation as to NPC vs PC status, along with relevant combat stats (CV, Defenses, expendable stats like Body, Stun, and END).
  • What mapping options are available? Do you have Line of Sight, Fog of War, etc? Are there drawing tools that are sophisticated enough to draw/assemble simple maps in a pinch? Do maps have layers? How many layers?
  • How does it achieve Cross-Platform compatibility? Java? Separately compiled executables? Will members of the group be able to use that cross-platform feature within the group? How does that work with floating licenses?


I ask, because I am looking for something that is a little bit more front-loaded than Maptool. I love Maptool and I cannot beat the price, but the code is aging. The recent Mote project basically rendered over a year's worth of learning the MTScript and coding a passably usable framework, useless. I'm not interested in starting from scratch, so if I can use Battlegrounds to string together features that I have found useful, then I am sorely tempted to distract my wife by pointing at the non-existent Goodyear blimp behind her and quickly running a pledge through. 

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Interactive character sheets will probably be added in BGU (v2). They are static/bitmaps in BRPG (v1).


Battlegrounds handles dice roll macros differently than MapTool. You don't put buttons on a character sheet. Dice macros are instead attached to the token representing the character on the map. You right-click on the token and select the dice macro you wish to roll. Dice macros can not currently be set up in a chain; they must be rolled sequentially. That may well change in BGU.


BRPG has a Unit Manager (UI panel) that lists everything placed on a map for the GM. This also lets you set the z-stacking-order of all the units.


The Turn Sequencer in Battlegrounds not only tells you who's turn it is and who's is coming up, it also lists often-referenced character stats, such as AC, HP, and whatever else the GM wants listed (this obviously varies by RPG system). It also color codes the characters to help differentiate PCs from hostile NPCs, from neutral NPCs.


Maps can be a single large bitmap, or can be comprised of a number of map tiles placed edge to edge. It's also not uncommon to have a "base terrain map" (grassland, woodland, swampland, etc.) on which you place decorative items to customize the map for a particular encounter. There are also map-making artpacks available, like this one, that can help you make nice-looking custom maps even if you're not very artistically inclined.


Fog of War can be a manual affair, dynamic (determined by the light sources and vision types of the characters present, or a mix of the two. It is not currently line-of-sight based, but that's a pretty likely addition if BGU gets made. I can't promise any particular feature because the backers are going to be the ones deciding what features get added and in what order.


Yes, there are drawing tools, and they provide a wide variety of shapes and lines, or even freeform drawing. Drawn items can be manipulated afterwards (re-scaled, rotated, etc) and their stacking order changed, if needed. Drawing with snap-to-grid enabled is useful, and tends to give far better results than most people can achieve using a dry-erase marker on a blank battlemat.


Separate executables are created for each operating system (Battlegrounds is not Java-based). A license grants you the right to use the software on your platform of choice. For example, you might use it on a Mac for a few years, then switch to Windows and continue using the app there (new license activation codes are provided free of charge if you switch platforms). I'm not sure I understand your question about Floating Licenses in regards to cross-platform support. Each Floating License lets a player log into your game with just the free Demo; it doesn't matter whether they are on Mac or Windows.


Good luck with the blimp trick. It's never worked for me, though.

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This might help. I've made my existing software free to use for the next few weeks. Details and download links are posted here.


Anyone who's interested in trying BRPG out with Hero System should make it a point to visit the links I posted in the OP and download the posted files.

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