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From the “whittling away at RPGers’ mule-like resistance to online play” desk

December 7th, 2004: Mike Sugarbaker says...
From the “whittling away at RPGers’ mule-like resistance to online play” desk

So, another tool for tabletop roleplaying via the Internet. This one looks fairly comprehensive and really gorgeous – I like the attention to details like GM control of screen tinting for ambience (sweeeet), and support for pressure-sensitive tablets, which a GM with a real yen for paper’s flexibility will want to invest in.

Whiiiiich brings up that, like GRiP before it, Fantasy Grounds is a monetary investment. Gamers have thus far seemed unwilling to spend twenty to forty bucks on anything that’s pure infrastructure and no content… at least, not if they can’t fondle it. There’s also the lack of a Mac version, which gamers always make disproportionate noise about (the tendency of Mac users to be disproportionately noisy being multiplied in this case by the larger-than-normal percentage of Mac users among gamers).

I don’t think we’re quite at the tipping point yet where doing tabletop-style RPGs online just seems like the obvious thing to do, but I think it’s coming. Maybe by the time it does, we’ll have free tools that cut the mustard. What do you think?

(P.S. First guy who starts a Mac-vs.-PC flame war in the comments gets some alone time in our holding cell with Bjorn the half-minotaur)

11 Comments »

11 comments

  1. Tim L. says:

    A free utility would be nice, but this Fantasy Grounds package seems worth the cost. Considering my group has thus far been getting by on AIM Chatrooms, emails, and ecxel maps, I’d say that $20 each is a small price to pay, considering the tech support, upgrades, patches, and the like.

  2. Torquemada says:

    Hi.

    How it compares against NBOS’ Screen Monkey? I liked the trial version, but haven’t convinced some of my players to give it a try.

    Thanks.

  3. misuba says:

    Screen Monkey‘s a new one on me – looks like its cross-platform story is a little better but its native D20-ness and aesthetics suffer a bit. But I haven’t tried any of ’em so what do I know.

  4. Torquemada says:

    Well, I went to Fantasy Grounds’ site and the screenshots look good but I think Screen Monkey is the way to go for me because…
    1) I don’t GM d20. (Savage Worlds is The One! :P)
    2) I couldn’t find a downloadable demo. NBOS, OTOH, has a feature-limited version of Screen Monkey free of charge if you’re feeling Scrooge-like.
    3) It requires two licenses to be used: GM ($40) and player ($20 each). Screen Monkey is $35 (GM) and the players use their standard browser to enjoy the game.
    4) It won’t run in my humble PC. 🙁 (Must start saving for another one… Oh, joy! New campaign books!).

    Ces’t la vie.

  5. Torquemada says:

    My bad…

    The price of Fantasy Grounds’ GM license is $35, not $40.

    ps: Check http://www.screenmonkeyplanet.com for some SM extras.

  6. Gary says:

    The price is not much when you think of all you get. Many people pay 30 – 50 dollars for source books that sit on shelves, adding little to their d20 play. Have a whole environmental playground which you can roleplay in online is pretty cheap. And the GM and players are the ones who add the content anyway.

  7. Giddoen says:

    yeah but if you check the forums for fantasy grounds they say a demo version was to be up in Aug???? Hmmm seems to have come and gone just like GRiP (which I shelled out the bones for to watch it collect dust!!!!

    I’ll sticl with DM Genie and some free ones off the net!

    It is pretty though!

    Giddoen

  8. alfblack says:

    Yeh.. same reaction. Not another one.

    There are at least 2 free ones. openrpg and webrpg.

    Of the commercial ones (klooge, screenmonkey, grip). screenmonkey is the one looking the best.

    1 GM license, no player license required.. still active. support. cross platform for clients.

  9. Torquemada says:

    As I said before, I think the software looks good. But if the Fantasy Grounds people is trying to get both, GMs and players, to pay for it, a demo should be out there — maybe time, games or feature limited.
    If they’re convinced their interface is that good, they should give users the chance to try it and to not-want-to-let-go after they do. 🙂

  10. Allen Varney says:

    If you like PARANOIA in particular, JParanoia is free and does a pretty good job. It’s available at http://www.paranoia-live.net.

  11. Kashkadir says:

    There is a downloadable demo at

    http://www.fantasygrounds.com/downloads

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