New Game Model
Having been playing on-line games for the last few months as well as my regular FTF games I'm wondering if there is likely to be a new/revised game model covering the difference in style of on-line play.
For example things move slower in on-line games as often players are waiting for others to speak rather than talking over them. Combat (in particular grid or miniatures based combat) seems to run more slowly.
So in order to account for these on-line differences are there any particular game systems/subsystem you see as being better suited to on-line play?
Yes, I think there already is a different game model. When I did gaming by forum and/or email, I noticed that the style of play changes. It became more narrative, with fewer decision points that with a live game. A sacrifice made in order to alloy place to proceed at an acceptable pace. However, in the long run, I think that technology will (and to some extent already has) improve so that we can change the model to something faster and more like live play. Ultimately, I suspect on line play will evoke into something resembling live play but with better graphics, and multimedia Probably a bit less transparent with the game mechanics but more accessible.
I think it's just a matter of the technology getting better.
Over the last year, my online group's games have gotten to the point where we probably run at 70-80% the speed of a face to face game. I am more than happy with that, because for the first few years were slow going.
I don't think games should adapt at all, it's the technology that needs to catch up with how we've been doing things forever.
We've had apps like Maptool for years but the pace of on-line grid-based combat is certainly not improved to anywhere close to FTF grid-based combat games. Does the advent of apps like Roll20 and the features of G+ Hangouts make it better to go for a Theatre of the Mind style game using maps as props to assist in giving the participants a better idea of their situation. Are VTTs anywhere near being able to make gaming on-line as accessible and easy as FTF gaming.
Are we going to see a development of on-line games crossing time-zones like the computer 'RPG' FPS games where people go on organised expeditions/raids?
We already have the possibility of using material taken by Google's Street View for modern games. It's easy to set a game in Rio while sitting in your mother's basement in Rochdale England and have imagery of the Rio streets and buildings available to your players.
Will someone develop an engine that allows rooms to be built quickly and displayed in a semi-virtual environment for players to see/move through. It seems to me that some sort of architectural program with a library of objects with an option to output to screen and inject into a webcam feed would be a great way to utilise technology to the max.
That's the problem with programs like maptools- they have been around for years, and they haven't changed much. BAsically they are a "live" HTML page with die roller functions. Pretty much a crude attempt to replicate the tabletop RPG experience. They have a limited impact becuase they just try to replicate the tapetop experience and come up short.
I think future CRPGing will need to take advatage of the computer's strengths in order to allow gamers to do things that they can't do with tabeltop gaming. I think that will mean letting the computer handle most of the game mechanics, die rolls and number crunching, while using the PC to add graphics, sound, and video to the gaming experience. That would enrich the experience and lets gamers do things that they can't do with just the tabletop. THe whole experience will become more impressive that tabletop RPGING and more interactive that computer RPGong.
I suspect that things like combat would become fully automated by the PC as with CRPGs, with the GM spending more time storytelling, designing, and planning, that actual running. He won;t need to handle die rolls and game mechanics because the computer can automate that for him. But he might add or remove a pack or wolves or goblins from an adventure during play based upon how things are going for the group. He might even be reduce to a pre-game programming or even replaced entirely with better algorithms that could design automated adventures.
In the game I am currently running online, we are actually going faster than we would do face to face. We can run a simple adventure in a 2 hour session, and a complex one in three sessions lasting 2-3 hours each. Combat is faster than on tabletop. Maptools does not hinder you once you are used to it, it is just a matter of mastering the tool.
Better technology should clearly help, when avaliable. I have yet to try Google Hangouts for gaming, but I am not so impressed about this technology.
I'm going to start running an online game using Roll20. It was suggested by one of the players.
One thing that I think would be an advantage with computer RPGs is an easier way to change the sound of your voice, if you're using voice over net. That way a player or GM could use a 'game' voice for what their character(s) was(were) saying!
I'm attempting to start-up a PBeM using a variant of EnGarde. That has a duelling system where players give a sequence of combat moves (Slash, Cut, Jump, Parry...), which cross-reference with the opponents moves to determine results. I've done a prog that blends BRP % combat with that, and generates descriptions. I'm hoping that will be enough player-input for combat, so it can be handled without bogging-down the narrative.
I would agree that grid based/complex combat might take longer ( but to be honest I haven't played FTF for so long I'm not really sure )
Originally Posted by nclarke
That doesn't even take into account that the online games can be a range of all voice only to text only games. Text only games are slower for sure.
From a GM's standpoint I find the record keeping for online games ( if you are using a tool like Fantasy Grounds) is much easier. All of the text chat and die rolls are saved. Tokens and maps are exactly the way they were at the end of the previous session. The players can't mess with the character sheets or lose them.
I have been using Fantasy Grounds to run a weekly campaign online since March 2011. I supported a KS for Tabletop Forge which just recently merged with Roll20 so I am now a KS supporter of Roll20 as a result. It doesn't have anywhere near the functions of FG, but you can have a free account and it is fairly simple to use from what I can tell. I have been thinking about running a rules lite game sometime to test it out, and seeing what the pace of the game might be like. I have a strong feeling that Roll20 will work best with rules lite games ( and short campaigns or pick up games) and FG will be better for rules intensive and long campaign style games.
Originally Posted by Skunkape
I like the voice altering software idea. I know one of the players in our campaign listens in but won't talk because he doesn't like the sound of his own voice.