I’ve got scenario loading and saving working well. Before I release it though, I need to take care of handling the GM permissions correctly with the scenarios. Whatever your GM wants hidden, should stay hidden. Also, what’s the right thing to do when you’re a GM in a multiplayer game and you load a scenario where you were a player? There are a few things like that to sort out. I’ve also been doing some tidying up around fog of war, so that will work better than before.
Here’s a preview of the new Scenarios screen that I’m working on. From here you can take a snapshot of the tabletop and load it again later. It saves the position and facing of the minis, and the fog of war. It’s great if you’re in more than one regular game, or if you just want to play around with 3D Virtual Tabletop in between sessions, and be able to pick up right where you left off. It also lets you prepare encounters ahead of time, so you can bring them in instantly when you’re in the middle of a gaming session.
A significant bunch of my time since the last update has been spent on making fog of war work better with really large maps. It seems that every time I update the app to handle bigger maps, at least one of you wants to you use one even greater in size. The latest version which went out a week ago on Android (and is still waiting for approval for the Apple App Store) has been tested with maps up to 250x250 squares. It’s a struggle for me to find maps that are that big, and that’s also about 10x bigger than the flipmat I use at the in-person game I play, so I hope that works for just about everybody. That update also fixes a few other things, including saving of the tabletop when you leave the app, which should now work all the time.
There is one more thing needed for Scenarios, and that is an icon for the button to get to the Scenarios screen. I really appreciated your help last time with your ideas for the fog of war buttons. Have you got any suggestions for what I could put on the Scenarios button?
You can freely place your miniatures anywhere in 3D Virtual Tabletop, or you can have them automatically snap to the square grid to get them lined up just right. Turning snap to grid off is great for playing on hex maps.
Since the fog of war release came out I’ve had some great feedback about it. Much of my time has been spent refining the way it works and there will be another update with a few finishing touches.
I’ve also been laying the groundwork for saving of scenarios/encounters. This becomes especially important with fog of war, as you want the app to remember which areas have been explored so far. It’ll make it much easier to pick up where you left off, and will be the next major feature you can expect to come out.
Someone sent this to me and I just had to share it with you, I still get a kick out of seeing these things. It’s the largest map I’ve seen used in 3D Virtual Tabletop and proves you can use big battlemaps even on a phone, with multitouch making it so easy to zoom in and out. Most of the map is dim because this is the GM’s view and those parts are hidden by fog of war. The illuminated area shows what the players can see. Even with the resolution limit on a map this big, it’s still very playable when you zoom right in.
It’s finally here, available now on Google Play and the Apple App Store. There are still a couple of rough edges around fog of war that I need to smooth off, but I hope you’re pleased with how it’s working at the moment. Unfortunately the one on the Apple App Store does have some significant bugs still as it’s a few weeks behind due to their long approval process. There is, however, a new update for iOS waiting in the wings, so feel free to wait 2 weeks before trying it out, you’ll be happier with it then. I’m also trying to get a video made to explain how to use fog of war, it’ll likely be a week or so before that’s available. I have, though, tried to make it simple enough to work out by just playing around.
Here’s something we haven’t seen in a while, 3D Virtual Tabletop running in a web browser!
While waiting for the fog of war update to be approved and released, I’ve resumed work on the web version. It’s not ready for release yet, but as the next few mobile updates come out, I’ll also be improving the web version to catch it up with them. Notice the on left toolbar, the extra button at the bottom for manipulating the fog of war. It can do that, but you can’t add your own maps and miniature yet, that’s one of the few things left to do.
In other news, I upgraded my Nexus tablet to Android 5 and discovered that the fog of war update fails to start on the newer version. It worked fine on Android 4. I don’t know what’s causing it yet, so I’m not sure how long it will take to fix. This is going to hold up the general release of the fog of war update. There have been a few issues reported by other users of the Unity engine on Android 5, at least some of which have been fixed. I hope it’s something simple, rather than a Unity issue, because then I can get the fix out and release the new version sooner. Luckily this does not affect iPad/iPhone so no need to wait for that approval process, I can get the fix out immediately after it is done.
The good news is that the fog of war update has been approved for the Apple App Store. The bad news is that while extending the fog of war to work with miniatures, I discovered a problem with large maps, so I won’t be releasing that update. The good news is that I finished adding miniatures to the fog of war, and fixed the problem I found, so have submitted it for approval once gain. The bad news is that last time it took nearly 2 weeks to be approved, so it looks like we’re in for a bit of a wait. The good news is that it’s really cool, making it much more fun to use with the bad guys disappearing an reappearing as they go in and out of view.
The fog of war update is still awaiting review, but here’s a preview of what I’ve been working on in the meantime. In that update, the fog of war only affects the map, not the miniatures, but that’s being rectified. This video shows the DM’s view of what happens when a creature moves in or out of an unexplored area. In the player’s view, the miniature disappears completely.
Yesterday I submitted the update with Fog of War to the Apple App Store. Last time they approved a new version in about 5 days, so I’m hoping they’ll be that quick again. There is one remaining issue that I need to fix in the Android app, but that should be done in time to simultaneously release it when the iOS one becomes available.
With this first version, the fog of war does not alter the visibility of the miniatures on the map, but that’s an improvement I can follow up with pretty quickly. During testing I have noticed that with multiple devices on the same local wi-fi network, there can be a slight delay when updating fog of war, I’ll be interested to hear what your experiences are like.
I’m also in the process of getting a tutorial video made to show you how to use the fog of war, but it’s likely that the new version will be available before the video is finished.
Since I know many of you are eagerly anticipating the introduction of Fog of War, here is a screenshot of it in action. In the GM’s view the unexplored areas are partially visible, while in the Player’s view they are completely hidden.
I’m hoping to submit the new version to the app stores by the end of the week. Since this update with Fog of War doesn’t work in multiplayer games with earlier versions, the Android release on Google Play will have to wait until the Apple App Store one has been approved.
The map used in the screenshots is “The Cellar” from Lord Zsezse Works.
The iPad/iPhone update that contains the “Show Grid” option has been approved, so I’ve released both it and the Android one to the stores. I’m not sure how long it will take to propagate to your local app store, but it should be there within a few hours, probably by the time you read this message.
A reminder, you won’t be able to join games set up by older versions of the app, and they won’t be able to join yours.
With my work on Fog of War, the next version will differentiate between GMs and Players. This opens up the options for a whole host of other features too. One that I‘ve had requested a few times is requiring GM approval for miniature movement, as unlike a real table, players can move things around with the GM noticing. Anyway, the fog of war addition is going well, and I’m looking forward to getting it out to you
I’ve completed the work to allow you to show a grid on top of the maps that you import. It means you can grab a map from anywhere, even just a quick photo, and have your minis moving around on it as a battlemat in seconds. You can turn the grid overlay on and off via the Settings screen, just like the “Snap to Grid” option. At this stage the grid is square, hex grid support will be coming soon.
I need to wait until the Apple App Store has approved the latest version before I can update the Android one on Google Play. This is because they don’t work with older versions in a multiplayer game that don’t know about the grid. If you try to join a game created by an older version of the software that can’t show the grid, it won’t see the game. By releasing both versions at the same time I hope to avoid any confusion or frustration that this may cause. Lately the Apple approval process has only taken 4 or 5 days and the last few updates have gone straight through without a hitch so it won’t be long.
Now it’s time for me to start on… duh duh daaa! Fog of war!