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Currently I am running a game online and we are using Epic Table which has mostly meet our needs.  It is a bit clunky and has a single developer maintaining it.  I have been looking at a wide variety of other VTTs to use.  I have looked at all the big names - Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, Maptools, etc.

 

A while ago I found Tabletop Simulator on Steam.  I was fascinated with the possibility of 3D rendered terrain and figures, shared sound (effects and music), and what seemed to be a big community working on free assets.  I didn't buy it because I didn't want to spend the $20 on an experiment.  Now it is on sale and I picked up a license.

 

A quick list of pros and cons:

 

Pro:

  • Supports Windows, MacOS (don't know what version), and Steam Linux
  • Not subscription based payment system
  • Appears that when I run a game I host on my computer (i.e. not on a shared host managed by the Berserk Games)
  • Mind boggling amount of terrain, miniatures, and tools
  • Video tutorials from both Berserk Games and the community at large
  • Powerful scripting language

Con:

  • Written documentation is weak (IMO).  Video tutorials are nice but I learn by reading and doing not really watching a video.  Plus I read pretty fast. 
  • Overwhelming amount of community assets - LOL too much of a good thing
  • Organizing assets is one of the things that could be improved.  You can grab a bunch of assets on the table and put them into a bag.  Bags can be labeled.  Dropping assets into the bag is not easy.  Moving bags without taking assets out of the bag is a pain in the butt.
  • Each person using the tool has to buy their own license.  It is possible to buy a discounted 4 pack of licenses but I have already purchased a single license so I would have to buy the 4 pack and gift it to someone in my group and they would have to distribute it to everyone else (minor pain)
  • Setting up a table the way you might like it takes time.

 

My next step is to see if I can set up some scripts that will handle the roll to hit (11+OCV - roll = DCV hit).  I have no idea how to do that yet but considering other things I have seen people do it must be possible.  After that I will try and figure out how to do killing attacks and normal attacks.  My hope is to create a set of assets that the players have at their play station and can just use as they want.

 

 

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TTS was designed for boardgaming, and it shows, particularly in light of the fact that it doesn't afford a GM the ability to improvise and bring in needed assets on-the-fly. So if you haven't prepped for a particular event (RPG players rarely do exactly what you'd expect), you're screwed.

 

Why not simply use a VTT expressly made for playing RPGs, preferably one with built-in support for Hero System mechanics?

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3 hours ago, heruca said:

TTS was designed for boardgaming, and it shows, particularly in light of the fact that it doesn't afford a GM the ability to improvise and bring in needed assets on-the-fly. So if you haven't prepped for a particular event (RPG players rarely do exactly what you'd expect), you're screwed.

 

Why not simply use a VTT expressly made for playing RPGs, preferably one with built-in support for Hero System mechanics?

 

Actually I have to improvise with the group I game with now (and we are using a VTT).  I have a wealth of maps that I can throw onto any VTT I want.  In the last 3 months my players have said at the end of one session, we are going to do X when we play again.  We get together the next week and they decide to do Y.  I look through my library of maps, 'toss one' onto the VTT add few additional items if necessary and away we go.

 

I don't need one with Hero System mechanics, I have HCM to help me with managing combat.  I only want to provide to my players some tools to make the dice rolling and calculating a bit easier.

 

I have looked at Battlegrounds RPG Edition.  I did seriously consider it as an option.

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TTS scripting is Lua, I think.  http://berserk-games.com/knowledgebase/scripting/ talks about it.  

 

I have a 4-pack of TTS licenses myself, though I don't think I've ever done much more than scatter pieces about then flip a table.  

 

If you could get HCM to talk to TTS via Lua scripting I can guarantee you at least one HCM sale.  :)   Edit to add:  Even if it's something like: HCM outputs a line of data, the GM can copy and paste it into a script in TTS, and that makes something happen with the map and figures and so on.  

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Were the map put/get tools something you coded, or something that was available?  

 

One, very slight, request.  Is it possible to add the glow effect to the truck's headlights?  I noticed it, and it's not a huge deal, but it's one of those "cannot unsee" things.  If it's not possible, then no worries, but I thought I'd ask.  :) 

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Supervillains is a 1982 board game/role playing game produced by Task Force Games, best known for Star Fleet Battles.  The combat system was pretty much what you'd expect from a wargame at the time.  The problem with the game was that Bricks had no real power, and everyone was playing a super-villain.

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Chris

The vehicle lights could be turned "on" by amending the skin of the truck in a graphics package (to make them yellow)

 

The scenery chests are from a workshop release. I amended them slightly to meet my needs, but the ones from the workshop will work just fine.

 

 

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For building scenes I use the One World module which is an amazing add on for TTS. 

 

Building a scene can take a few minutes or a few hours.  It depends on how much effort you want to put into it.  The nice thing is with the One World Module you can pre build what you need (generic locations).  I learned how to build a complicated scene by watching this video.

 

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I'm very interested in this topic as well.  My wife and I are moving cross-country but our gaming group has been going for over 10 years and we don't want to stop.  I need something I can run Hero with remotely.  Hopefully something that doesn't cost much.

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If you are looking for an out of the box Hero System supported VTT you will not find it.  IMO the best thing is to find a VTT that is game system agnostic.

 

I would recommend Epic Table as the fastest way to get going with a VTT.  I spent a lot of time doing research.  I looked at all of the big names.

 

Cons: 

  • Windows only
  • Clunky interface
  • Top down perspective
  • You can't add any 'game system mechanics' (no adding macros or modules)
  • One man shop - updates are few and far between.  He is working on a newer version which will improve the UI quite a bit.

Pros:

  • Very very stable software
  • Simple to setup dice rolls and save them
  • Fog of War is workable
  • Importing maps and tokens is easy
  • Hex grids 🙂
  • No game system mechanics are built into the system
  • Windows App - less likely to be unavailable (i.e. all the web based VTT)
  • Cheap - only the GM needs to pay for a license (~$60)

 

Now that we have an established group and I have been learning about how to use Tabletop Simulator we will be transitioning to TTS in the future

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve
  • Parts of the interface are a pain to get use to
  • Everyone has to buy a license ($15/$20).  Sometimes there are sales on Steam for 4 packs

Pros:

  • Stable software
  • Updates are put out on a regular basis
  • Hex grids
  • No game system mechanics are built into the system
  • I believe it runs on Windows, Mac & SteamOS boxes
  • Huge community of people who are adding assets for people to use
  • Scripting language is available (Lua)
  • It is possible to model an entire board game with the tools that TTS provides.
  • Importing simple maps and tokens is easy

Building encounter maps can be as easy or hard as you want them to be.  Last night I imported a couple of One World compatible maps that other people had built.  One of them needed to have two 'texture skins' fixed (15 minutes).  Total time - 30 minutes.  I have also built custom maps based on a 'flat map' that I already owned.  I made it into a 3D map, added some additional rocks/trees (models other people built), and it probably took 2 to 3 hours.  When I build maps or buy them (both for VTT and IRL tabletop games) I get maps that are generic and I can use over and over.

 

Of course opinions may vary 😉

Edited by bluesguy
Updated TTS Cons list

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21 hours ago, bluesguy said:

For building scenes I use the One World module which is an amazing add on for TTS. 

 

Building a scene can take a few minutes or a few hours.  It depends on how much effort you want to put into it.  The nice thing is with the One World Module you can pre build what you need (generic locations).  I learned how to build a complicated scene by watching this video.

 

I found a limitation with Oneworld one size and complexity. I was pushing the boundaries on a fantasy map.

 

Also price can be as low as $15 for each install .. given the cost of a game manual these days .. that is not too expensive .. certainly would not put it in with CON column

 

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12 hours ago, Brennall said:

I am close to having the hero system supported and ready to release for TTS.

 

Have most probably 2-3 things to finish.

 

 

Where do I send the tip for when you get done ;-)?

 

Thank you very much for doing this.

 

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Yesterday Brennall and I spent time on Discord & TTS to see all the work he has done.  I have to say I am very impressed.  He is very close to creating an extremely usable/viable way of playing Champions (any Hero genre really) using TTS that really could pave the way to bringing new players into the game.  They would only need a good GM, who knows the Hero System pretty well.

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When I originally got TTS, I got a 4-pack, not knowing exactly what I was doing.  Once I figured it out, I attempted to give one of the licenses to a friend, but I don't think he ever collected it.  

 

So, I have at least two, potentially three, TTS licenses to give out.  If somebody wants one, and will use it, PM me along with your Steam nickname and I'll send you one.  

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John Lammers is updating Epic table and is working on making it Hero System friendly.  He is working on  it by himself  so Epic table 2 may take a little time.  The current version is clunky, but not as technical as some others. I am not technically minded so I like it.

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On 9/21/2019 at 2:02 AM, kukuli said:

John Lammers is updating Epic table and is working on making it Hero System friendly.  He is working on  it by himself  so Epic table 2 may take a little time.  The current version is clunky, but not as technical as some others. I am not technically minded so I like it.

Well that is also good news.  Epic Table's big strength is that it is rule system neutral and it is very easy to use.

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