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Author Topic: How Much is Too Much?  (Read 1295 times)

Greentongue

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How Much is Too Much?
« on: September 05, 2020, 03:36:38 PM »
With all the resources for playing 3D, virtually or not, at what point has the shark been jumped?

At what point does the setup time taken exceed the enjoyment of the results?


I remember back in the day we had graph paper and blank plain lineless paper to make maps.
Maybe photo copy a map to alter as needed.
Now there virtual 3D objects and animated miniatures with lighting and sound. Also 3D printed scenery and miniatures.


Trying to build a 3D map just the way you want and fill it with miniatures of matching quality can be a real task.
Not to mention a drain on the wallet.


So, where do you draw the lane and have you walked that line back from experience?

Ratman_tf

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2020, 03:52:56 PM »
When I was into 4th edition, I did a lot of papercraft 3-D terrain. I found I used more elevation and even had an encounter where Bhrogs (Dark Sun ogre things) were up on a cliff, tossing rocks down on the PCs. There was a lot of climbing and falling involved.
I don't think I would have run that encounter quite the same in theater of the mind or even on a 2-D map.


But preparing 3-D papercraft terrain was a huge amount of prep, and I don't plan to do it often, if ever again. But it did broaden my encounter design expertise.
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finarvyn

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2020, 06:08:43 PM »
Most of my adventures are done as "theater of the mind" or on a plain tan battlemat with markers. None of that fancy 3D stuff for thsi guy. ;)
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VisionStorm

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2020, 07:07:05 PM »
I recently went back to playing Fallout 4 around a month ago and the thing that really draws me into the game and keeps me playing is building my settlements. This time around I tried to go the extra mile building separate houses and such (I usually end up building these huge ass structures and stick all the settlers living together), and adding a lot of details with the decorations, shop areas, bars, etc. and interconnecting everything through walkways, railings and the like.

If there was an easy to use RP-focused piece of software that could be used to build up structures and even 3D terrain and stuff like that, I could see myself building whole adventure maps in my computer, then connecting it to a flatscreen TV and just presenting whole adventure like that. Hell, I would build the whole town. If they had a high detail character editor (like a lot of computer RPGs have, but with extra stuff for non-human creatures, like Champions Online or similar) I would build a bunch of NPCs and monsters, and put them all over the place or just drop them in as needed. It would be freaking awesome!

But doing actual physical pieces or buying up miniatures is too much work and costs too much. Plus where do I even store them afterwards, and what do I do with them after the adventure’s done? Use the same terrain over and over, like enemies can’t come up with a different location to plot their schemes? Doing this stuff digitally seems far more convenient IMO, and far less expensive, assuming there is a one time purchase somewhere you could use to build your own stuff and save your assets in a hard drive.

Hawkwing7423

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2020, 07:44:28 PM »
Last time we played in person, my DM used 2D printed maps.

The 3d looks awesome, but time, storage, cost would all be large concerns. My favorite FLGS in Mount Prospect, IL has various things which tempt me in the slightest way, like a 3D pirate ship. But yeah, 2D works fine if the party is invested. 

Greentongue

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2020, 07:52:12 PM »
If there was an easy to use RP-focused piece of software that could be used to build up structures and even 3D terrain and stuff like that, I could see myself building whole adventure maps in my computer, then connecting it to a flatscreen TV and just presenting whole adventure like that. Hell, I would build the whole town. If they had a high detail character editor (like a lot of computer RPGs have, but with extra stuff for non-human creatures, like Champions Online or similar) I would build a bunch of NPCs and monsters, and put them all over the place or just drop them in as needed. It would be freaking awesome!


Have you looked at Tabletop Simulator or the in beta TaleSpire? Both allow you to build elaborate 3D maps and scenes with animated effects like fog and fire.
Does take a lot of effort to build from scratch but there are varying levels to details available. Kind of fiddly but you can get amazing results.
Brings me back to the original question. Is the effort worth it for a gaming session that the characters may not even pause at the location?

Shawn Driscoll

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2020, 10:34:18 PM »
$200 is my limit.

Cave Bear

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2020, 11:02:50 PM »
Space, both shelf and table, is at a premium in my area. Most of my face-to-face gaming has taken place in bars and coffee shops. Everything you want to use in a game has to fit in a back-pack and survive a trip through the subway. 3-D terrain looks cool, but it's just impractical for my purposes.
Tabletop simulator is another story, though. You can do all kinds of cool stuff with that.

WayneThePayne

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2020, 11:14:15 PM »
I feel like wargaming miniatures and virtual tabletops lend themselves better to actual wargaming unless you were to put in the work to prepare a near-limitless virtual environment for your players to explore. Even with virtual tabletops, I think the time investment alone would be too much (and if you put in less work, I think it would be doomed to feel awkwardly video-gamey).

I do love the tabletop miniatures hobby, and I'd like to introduce it to my daughter, but I would never get back into buying actual minis. As soon as I get a better job, I plan to get a $200-400 DLP resin printer and just print tray-fulls of minis and scenery for dirt cheap.

Greentongue

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2020, 08:08:52 AM »
How much of your usual game is unique and couldn't be "set pieces"?  The same basic place. maybe with some different "window dressing" to differentiate?


The 20x20 room, the road through the woods, the hallway into the big room, the cave entrance, ...

Marchand

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2020, 11:12:15 AM »

I steer clear of scenery and miniatures for the same reason a friend told me he avoids gambling - he's pretty sure if he tried it, he would get addicted.


Apart from the cost and practical issues around storage, I am also really suspicious of letting the miniatures and scenery collection dictate the game content.


I've seen videos of people using monitors horizontally, set into a tabletop. It looked really nifty and of course you have the flexibility of accessing your entire library of digitally stored maps. Plus if using a virtual tabletop (er... on your real tabletop), you can employ fog of war etc. effects. It's intriguing, but I can't see the missus going for it...

Greentongue

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2020, 02:20:08 PM »

It's intriguing, but I can't see the missus going for it...
I assume you have seen the "in play" videos and the examples of what is possible?
Like: [size=78%]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2kkQ-K0ARw[/size]

danskmacabre

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2020, 07:56:26 PM »
When I was running Dnd 5E, I'd bring along lots of minis I've painted up over the years and a Vinyl battlemat.
I did acquire some dungeon tiles (3d printed squares) when I got a good deal very cheap with the DnD 5e core books, some minis and the seller threw in the dungeon tiles after some negotiation.
I wouldn't have specifically bought them otherwise.

For other RPGs, I often didn't use minis at all or the Battlemat

Ghostmaker

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2020, 09:24:17 PM »
There was a very short-lived game called 'HeroScape' which used plastic hex components to form three-dimensional terrain. The game didn't sell well, and would be a footnote... except that the hex sizes were just PERFECT for Battletech.


Trust me, it's one thing to know there's level 3 hills in the way; it's another to be able to see 'em.

GameDaddy

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Re: How Much is Too Much?
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2020, 12:28:14 AM »
Ahh, I love my minis. I found it is totally worth it to do fabulous set ups and games that are visually appealing. Just about ready to finish the latest batch... Just need to paint the bases, a final gloss coat, and flocking.










« Last Edit: September 07, 2020, 12:30:11 AM by GameDaddy »
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