The Future of Tabletop Gaming

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Wordcraftian
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The Future of Tabletop Gaming

Post by Wordcraftian » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:51 pm

With the advent and growing popularity of Tablet/Smartphone technology, I wondered if any of you have found a good virtual/editable character sheet to use on such devices. Or if you know any app makers who are currently working on a Call of Cthulhu Tabletop companion app.
An ideal app would contain a Character archive, where you can access all your virtual sheets with the ability to upload photos, write biographies etc...
It would have a place for notes that could be sorted by game/scenario. And also a virtual dice roller (preferably with visible virtual dice not just a random number generator.)

This doesn't seem like a hard app to create, and I think there might be a Japanese version of something similar in the Android market right now, but I can't exactly tell as I don't speak Japanese.

What are some of your ideas for a smartphone/tablet app that would completely destroy any need for pencil and paper? And would you ever use one?
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Re: The Future of Tabletop Gaming

Post by Keeper Jon » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:44 pm

For a character sheet, I would think a user would want the larger screen restate provided by a tablet, than that of a smart phone. Cool idea. I don't know how useful it would be during gameplay. Maybe I'm just old school, but making notes by hand on paper is so much faster than tapping on the screen, calling up the keyboard, tapping out your notes, dealing with the auto-correct with all of the funky spellings in role playing games, and then saving your changes.

I can see using a character sheet archive as a way to preserve updates to a character sheet at the end of a game session. That would be very cool and handy.

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Re: The Future of Tabletop Gaming

Post by Keeper Dan » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:49 pm

I was in a D&D game where a friend used his tablet PC as his character sheet. The sheet was a fancy Excel sheet that calculated everything on the fly. He loved it to death.
The closest I can think of for CoC is Byakhee. You'd basically save a fresh sheet each time you update the skills, thus making an archive of each update.
Otherwise, the fillable character sheets from Cthulhu Reborn should work on a tablet. I really like these sheets.
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Re: The Future of Tabletop Gaming

Post by Dr. Gerard » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:56 pm

I'm probably an old codger in this way, but I'm skeptical that it would improve game play.

I'm a fan of good app development, and I think there might be a place for an NPC app, but I have to say that using one during sessions could cause problems. Mainly, there are so many inherent distractions on a smart phone that I'd be reluctant to open that floodgate. I once had to reluctantly ask for a cellphone quarantine during a campaign because players were texting or playing Angry Birds when their characters were "off-screen" during a session. If character sheets are exclusively on phones or tablets, I worry the temptation to use other apps would be too much to resist.

And if it's only the Keeper who's using one to track NPCs, then you've got the problem of having your Keeper swiping around on the screen of their device for a good part of the session while navigating to the right page.

So -- I want to keep an open mind, but it would have to be a pretty slick and seamless interface to pique my interest.

Know what might be kind of cool, though? A CoC automatic weapons damage calculator...
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Re: The Future of Tabletop Gaming

Post by Keeper Dan » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:15 pm

Dr. Gerard wrote:Know what might be kind of cool, though? A CoC automatic weapons damage calculator...
Okay, do we have any listeners who can program such a thing? This would be awesome. :tommy:
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Re: The Future of Tabletop Gaming

Post by TAK » Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:40 am

As I only play online I use OneNote for all my characters and such, it doesn't really have an archieve as such, but you could easily copy and paste your sheet as a new document before making changes. I know you can access OneNote via Skydrive, but as I have no need for the feature, I don't know how well it would work on a tablet.

However, if I was playing a face-to-face game, I would demand character sheets, no smart phones or tablets allowed on the table, I think they are more distraction than help.

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Re: The Future of Tabletop Gaming

Post by Wordcraftian » Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:07 pm

I never really thought of them as a distraction, but you raise a very valid point. I guess I've just not had enough gaming experience, but I simply get tired of erasing and writing over the same spots on a piece of paper over and over again, I might be a little Obsessive Compulsive and maybe I'm weird but it just looks sloppy and messy and gets hard to read. There's something that appeals to me about being able to attach a picture from Google Images to represent your character's general appearance, and editing numbers to raise or lower stats just seems faster and easier and cleaner on a tablet or netbook.

Speaking of the future of Tabletop Gaming, I thought this next question fit here as well. Can someone give me the basic rundown of how an online game works? I can understand how a game can be played over Skype or G+, but I've seen a few forum (all text) settings with virtual dice and just wondered if anyone had ever played there. What was your experience like, and does it compare at all to live play?

I tried a very loose forum RPG on a Harry Potter site when I was younger, but there were no die rolls and the characters were all OP and silly. Also, if you didn't respond to a post (because of school/work) the story or conversation just moved on without you and there was no getting caught up, and no reasonable way to work your character back into the game. There weren't set sessions, or pre discussed times to play, it seemed whoever could sit at their computer the longest got to experience the story, and everyone else just had to cross their arms and "Hmph".
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Re: The Future of Tabletop Gaming

Post by Keeper Dan » Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:39 pm

I ran a Serenity game a handful of years ago where I created a Wiki site that the players could go to, to get info for the game. I had it set up as the Cortex, and I added entries on locations, groups, ships, characters, etc. as I needed them.
One of my players had his character sheet on his netbook, so I made use of the tech already brought to the table. :science:
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Re: The Future of Tabletop Gaming

Post by trevlix » Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:46 pm

Wordcraftian wrote:Can someone give me the basic rundown of how an online game works? I can understand how a game can be played over Skype or G+, but I've seen a few forum (all text) settings with virtual dice and just wondered if anyone had ever played there. What was your experience like, and does it compare at all to live play?
I've played in a number of forum games and its really how you would think. Each person describes what they are doing, roll virtual dice when asked and the Keeper posts results and what is going on when required. There are some advantages to forum play in that the Keeper and players can talk privately without revealing anything to the other players (via PMs). The players tend to be more descriptive than they can usually get at a tabletop.

However, I think most games tend to die before they are over, usually because the real world tends to interfere with everyone's time. However, despite this, if you have motivated players it can be a great experience, especially if you do not have an in-person group.
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Wordcraftian
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Re: The Future of Tabletop Gaming

Post by Wordcraftian » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:15 pm

trevlix wrote: I've played in a number of forum games and its really how you would think. Each person describes what they are doing, roll virtual dice when asked and the Keeper posts results and what is going on when required. There are some advantages to forum play in that the Keeper and players can talk privately without revealing anything to the other players (via PMs). The players tend to be more descriptive than they can usually get at a tabletop.

However, I think most games tend to die before they are over, usually because the real world tends to interfere with everyone's time. However, despite this, if you have motivated players it can be a great experience, especially if you do not have an in-person group.
Thanks for the input. So you guys are all online simultaneously?
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