I’ve held the belief for a while now that the future of tabletop roleplaying – and really, its whole future – lies not just in online distribution, but in distribution for free in open formats. I have a lot of reasons for believing this, but what I didn’t have until now was much in the way of evidence that I’m right. So here’s Agyris, an alternative-fantasy setting presented as a website. I think the latter part is important; people making PDFs still have books on the brain, as if being on paper is more real somehow. But printouts never really look all that good, color on the screen looks great and is dirt cheap, and making people load a PDF is just that much more friction to put between readers and your content. These folks do great design, have great art, and have big ambitions – I only caught them because they sent a press release about their new Flash cartoon. (And they have even bigger furniture: check out this completely insane multi-headed workstation they call the “Ultimate Game Table.”) Your hobby might look an awful lot like this in five years, so have a peek now.
Its not so much that paper is more real, its that you can read it even when the computer is switched off.
You switch your computer off?
Nobody is saying that paper has no uses; you’re missing the point. The point is, on the gaming table of the future, the computer won’t be optional. It just won’t. Online distribution’s advantages are completely different from the advantages of paper; you have to measure them on a different axis. They matter differently, and they matter more.
Agyris is pretty cool. Have you seen the maps? They’ve got a couple of interactive maps that rule. The table is crazy… a flash cartoon? These guys are busy.
The table is pretty cool but the only problem I see with it sitting down you wouldn’t be able to see the map on top. Which means standing up everytime you move.
The Agyris maps are neat – heck, on the magnification, there’s little animated boats moving about. Very rich stuff.
I think there’s a lot of advantages for on-line presentation. These days, it’s more common to be able to bring a laptop to a session and having wi-fi access (my group can accomodate this). But even just for immersion before/between sessions. Rich presentation via “new media” (shudder) can hook players on the setting, and give the GM lots to work with.
Generally speaking, my preference for gaming is to not have players with their noses in the books during session anyway.
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