Gaming the Future

1 07 2011

In the history of my gaming career, I have seen some pretty amazing tabletop setups. Dwarven forge, custom terrain, hand-built airships with real balloons attached… the list goes on and on.  It started with heroquest and it never let up.  Miniatures! Miniatures! I remember being 13 and setting a tarrasque  against the party (who hasn’t done that at least once) using my Jurassic park t-rex toy as the miniature (he could swallow minis).

good times

But years and years later technology begins to integrate into everything.  I have a laptop behind my DM’s screen, My 4e character sheet is on my droid.  But week after week we continue the tradition of tabletop miniatures.  It gets pretty crowded on the table, with the snacks and the papers, cards, dice, drinks, more snacks, and the miniatures seem to fight a losing battle for their dwindling homeland.  As the DM I am constantly setting things up, taking them down, tossing status rings on miniatures, it’s a workout, and it can be very time-consuming.  So i hit upon this idea, what if the battlemat were on my television, and the players could all sit around the Tv with clipboards, and roll dice on the coffee table?  What would that be like.

That would be awesome.

I know my way around Photoshop, so, linking my laptop to my TV, I set about the task of digitizing my game.  I made the dungeon map a base layer, used a second layer as a “Fog of War” all black, erased as needed.  I made a few layer groups and tossed in some highly pixellated coin miniatures for the characters and monsters.  I used layer modifiers to track status effects.  Zoom in, zoom out, never erase previous rooms, full color battle mats.  It was wonderful.  I was able to google monster pics and drop them right into the game as minis on the fly.  Monster or player hits bloodied? Toss a red overlay effect on their layer.  So sweet.

why yes, that is a swarm of stirges AND a gelatinous cube....

Could it get any better?

It can.

 

My group purchased the software , and hopefully I can get the hang of it before my horns of war mini adventure this sunday.  Otherwise… Photoshop is doing a great job already. 😀  I will let you know if I start missing the minis.

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