D&D General ARcana -- Augmented TTRPG Platform from Actor Joe Manganiello

Mirrorscape, an augmented reality company which includes actor Joe Manganellio as Creative Director, is a way to view your game's tabletop in AR through a phone or tablet device. It's on Kickstarter now with a planned release at the end of this year.


Screen Shot 2022-04-05 at 3.11.11 PM.png


The platform works as an iOS or Android app, and enables you to simulate a full tabletop with models, scenery, and miniatures, anywhere you have a flat surface.

You can purchase additional terrain or miniatures from Mirrorscape's partners, which include Dwaven Forge, Reaper Minis, Hero Forge, and Fat Dragon Games.

If you pledge $30 (or more) in the Kickstarter you get a starter set and a discount on terrain and mini packs; and at higher levels you get beta access (staring at $50) and Kickstarter exclusives.

 

log in or register to remove this ad


log in or register to remove this ad

Jaeger

That someone better
Yes, completely agreed in the case of ARcana and its ilk, that the graphics are the point. But my post was in reference to e.g. Jaeger complaining about other VTTs (which I took to mean Roll20, Fantasy Grounds and Foundry in particular).

All the above.

I fully understand due to circumstances remote is an only option for some. So throw down a bare bones VTT (map and counters) and have at it.

But Roll20, Fantasy Grounds and Foundry all sell themselves as more than that.

Yet:
My experience of switching to roll 20 at the start of the pandemic is that it just became too much overhead. DM prep involved getting the right maps and tokens

All that trouble for 20 year old visuals.


I can say that anything 3d adds so much complexity to level (map ) creation that it is pretty much a show stopper for a VTT.

Again - no one is expecting AAA here.

But they are not even up to 2013's: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

I think most would be happy with the 2D perspective w/3D polygonal graphics that gives. With little animations for spells, attacks, movement...

Yes basically a video game developer would have to do it. But it's not some out of reach target.
 

Heilemann

Explorer
All the above.

I fully understand due to circumstances remote is an only option for some. So throw down a bare bones VTT (map and counters) and have at it.

But Roll20, Fantasy Grounds and Foundry all sell themselves as more than that.

Yet:


All that trouble for 20 year old visuals.




Again - no one is expecting AAA here.

But they are not even up to 2013's: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

I think most would be happy with the 2D perspective w/3D polygonal graphics that gives. With little animations for spells, attacks, movement...

Yes basically a video game developer would have to do it. But it's not some out of reach target.
But the point is that it's not simply a linear ramp of improvement from 'bad graphics' through to 'real world graphics'.

1. There are real costs associated with creating a system that can deliver better graphics. The higher fidelity, the more storage and bandwidth is needed.

2. Likewise the clients have to be more capable. If your fan is spinning now, running Foundry and Discord, as it does for many, it will have some serious issues doing much more than that.

3. Production costs are not linear here. One thing is setting up a pipeline to create better assets for a company and delivering those (both to the store, but also into the games, where download speeds are an issue), depending on the level wanted, this can be real expensive.

4. This will have a big impact on creators, who up until now are mainly working in 2D formats; that is images or at most animated maps; universally accepted formats. You make a batch of tokens in PNG, you can deliver them to every platform out there today. But you switch to a 3D format, it's a very different ballgame. This can be eased a bit with cutout standees, flat tokens, etc, but if you want to deliver at that standard, now you're talking about certain newer file formats (e.g. .gltf) and scales (and rotations!) of models and all sorts of stuff, which probably requires tooling (simple though it may be to some extent) on the platform end to manage. Etc.

5. As a GM, you're now in a world where it's a lot harder to match up assets for use in your game, but okay. Moreover though, it's not just screenshotting your PDF and dropping some tokens on there, you're building a 3d world. And that's really time consuming. Maybe that's what you want, and that's okay, but I don't know if most people have tried this (I built 3D levels for a living for a decade). Luckily you could choose your level of engagement here, which seems like a good choice, although I'd personally argue there are better ways to approach this whole thing than this route (see 7.)

6. Players + tokens + map. Easy peasy. You start making that more complicated, you're making the learning curve steeper and the barrier to entry higher. It's hard to get just right if you start adding one more dimension or e.g. a free camera. Some of us are very comfortable with it, others not so much.

But most important.

7. The bang to buck ratio here is just not worth it by a long shot. If you want a CRPG-like experience with your friends, that's perfectly valid (I haven't used it, but One More Multiverse looks to be doing this), but in many ways heightening the level of abstraction is going to work against a smoother gaming experience. And I don't mean that in a religious OSR-esque theater of the mind sort of way (I can swing that way and most others; I love maps, love props, world creation, etc 😄), but that the constraints the higher graphics quality bring, beyond a fairly low point, are adversely going to impact the GMs ability to easily prep, stay nimble and not fight the tech and world representation, and likewise for the players it will adversely impact their acceptance of the 'fuzziness' of the shared space and potentially cause barriers to entry (and it's hard enough to get people into Rolemaster Standard System as it is... 😄).

My $0.02 anyway.
 

Jaeger

That someone better
1. There are real costs associated .... & points 2-5 ...

All your points 1-5 are absolutely valid.

A top down 2/3d VTT would have to be a one stop shop for all features, and it would have to have an easier and more intuitive user interface.

It would likely be more RPG system specific as well.

Yes, it would be more expensive to develop. It would take an experienced video game developer to do so. They cracked smooth running multiplayer games long ago.


Players + tokens + map. Easy peasy. You start making that more complicated, you're making the learning curve steeper and the barrier to entry higher.

In my opinion; full beans dynamic lighting, soundtracks, etc, Roll20, Fantasy Grounds and Foundry are already there.

The profusion of tutorial video's just getting your uploaded map to line up with the VTT grid is testimony to that...


7. The bang to buck ratio here is just not worth it by a long shot.

For who?

The developer? Nobody knows. The financials of making a top down 2d/3d VTT work; capital investment/ROI etc, are total unknowns.

For people invested heavily in a current VTT? Maybe. I can easily see that.

But otherwise you are just speculating on potential negatives. Nobody has attempted to develop such a VTT yet.

Now you very well may be correct, and it can turn out that a top down 2d/3d VTT is just a practical impossibility.

In that case... I've been wrong before. I'll get over it.



But if I have to game online... Give me easy-peasy owlbear players + tokens + map.

Want to sell me on something more? Then make it worth my while, and play to the visual strengths computers should have.

And if that is an impossible delivery... Then I'll just keep sticking to what's simple.
 
Last edited:

Heilemann

Explorer
Fair. For anyone? 😄 — This was more meant to be my verdict, that arguably the constraints across the board outweigh the upsides.

I love Owlbear Rodeo. But it's not a 1:1 comparison with the other VTTs. I'm a one-stop-shop kinda guy myself, if it can be gotten without too much downside. Friends of mine make do entirely with Discord (drives me nuts). I love how flexible the tooling is for RPGs. It'll be a very exciting next ten years as it matures.

As for 'better graphics, sorta CRPGish' One More Multiverse looks like the closest attempt, and they have investment behind them so they have a shot. It'll be very interesting to see how that plays out (even if it's a bit too cute for me).
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
I for one would not be interested in learning to DM a 2d/3d system. The learning curve for that kind of level creation is far beyond what I want to engage in. (I had a good look at NWN1 as a toolset of running D&D back in the day and that was more work than I wanted to engage in.

If you get in to modern AAA levels of graphics then you are entering to realm of a fully curated experience and might as well be playing an actual CRPG.

Personally, I think that the mapping too in FantasyGrounds Unity is too sophisticated and more than I want to learn. I prefer to make maps in Dungeondraft , import the result in to FGU and add the lightning elements.
 

Jaeger

That someone better
This was more meant to be my verdict, that arguably the constraints across the board outweigh the upsides.

Arguably is the key word.

Nobody really knows. Including me.


As for 'better graphics, sorta CRPGish' One More Multiverse looks like the closest attempt, and they have investment behind them so they have a shot. It'll be very interesting to see how that plays out (even if it's a bit too cute for me).

As to One More Multiverse, I saw their promo vid.

Nintendo called and want their 1990 SNES graphics engine back...


I for one would not be interested in learning to DM a 2d/3d system. The learning curve for that kind of level creation is far beyond what I want to engage in.

The learning curve will entirely depend on the UI. The sims series didn't have much of a problem getting teen girls quickly building full 3d houses, and my 8 year old niece has a game where she builds little islands to create villages on.

So the devil would be in the UI details... Failure is an option.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
Now that they are adding add on packs, you can see how expensive this will be compared to the competition. Each add on charges around 1.25 to 1.50 dollars per prop. That's a lot of money for stuff you get in the base price of almost every competitor of theirs. I just can't see how this is a good idea on the economics side at all. Especially compared to Talespire (their most commercial competitor) or Game Master Engine or RPG Engine (two good programs written by individuals that see A LOT of updates).
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Now that they are adding add on packs, you can see how expensive this will be compared to the competition. Each add on charges around 1.25 to 1.50 dollars per prop. That's a lot of money for stuff you get in the base price of almost every competitor of theirs. I just can't see how this is a good idea on the economics side at all. Especially compared to Talespire (their most commercial competitor) or Game Master Engine or RPG Engine (two good programs written by individuals that see A LOT of updates).
Talespire certainly looks cool, and does come with more assets than ARcana. But while the products are similar, they do not offer the same experience. Unless Talespire has (or is working on) an AR option.

ARcana would definitely be improved by being more affordable, both the base package and the add-ons. It will be interesting to see how this space evolves, between Talespire, ARcana, and the growing list of other apps coming to the market.
 


Related Articles

Remove ads

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top