D&D's Upcoming Digital Tabletop

Perhaps the showstopper of todays D&D Direct event was a preview of the upcoming D&D digital playspace. Hosts Gina Darling and Ify Nwadiwe met with Kale Stutzman, principal game designer of D&D Digital, where he ran them through an adventure using the technology. The video shown in the presentation, though, was labeled “Pre-alpha gameplay footage.”

DnD_VTT_Screen1.jpg


The upcoming D&D VTT uses Unreal Engine 5 to power it.

“There are a lot of ways to play D&D online and we don't think a lot of them hit the big three things we think are important – fun, convenience, authenticity,” said Stutzman.

DnD_VTT_Screen2.jpg


In the demo, you see the dice roll on the screen, and it bursts into the result. Encounter mode is when you roll initiative

DnD_VTT_Screen3.jpg


“The DM can set the mood, the lighting, what time of day is it. Is it raining? Are there fire embers falling from the sky?” said Stutzman.

The community will be able to create and share assets. “We want to make content that's building blocks that people can break apart and make their own content with. That remix is core to the DNA of D&D, said Stutzman.

DnD_VTT_Screen4.jpg


Stutzman didn't answer when the VTT will release, but he did say that D&D staff and limited friends and family are trying it now and that they're going to gradually open it up. “...and a lot of people listening will be able to play it this year,” Stutzman added, which means a play test in “late 2023.”
 

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Beth Rimmels

Beth Rimmels

The static graphics look nice. The movement, with the wobbling minis when they attack, looked goofy. The UI looked very much like the "sell it to the CEO" demo level, where it looks really nice for the one thing you're running in this particular demo, but is going to be an absolute pain to get a functional amount of information on the screen for real users.

Now I'm waiting for the ChatGPT/AI Art-type interface for creating maps, and people discovering really weird artifacts in their game maps, like an eyeball on the bar door, or one of the chair legs that's actually the leg of a goblin.
 

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mellored

Legend
I would rather have a monitor flat on the table to have something like a interactive map. Everyone looking at the laptop just strange.
With a different VTT we used a big TV on the wall, and everyone looked at that. The mouse was wireless and we just passed it around. The DM had their own laptop.

This one just has better graphics, and built in D&D rules.

Fog of war is pretty easy for a 3d program like this. It already has shadows. So just make everyone's head a "light" source and anything in the "shadows" is not shown. Same math.

Not hard for a 2d map either, though knowing what line is a door and what line is a wall or furniture need to be manually put in. Maybe they could standardized it to walls being black lines, and windows are red lines, and light sources are blue, or something like that.
 

mamba

Hero
Well, like I said: they can miss me with all the fancy 3D stuff and animations, but if their 2D interface will let me drop in my home-drawn map, screen it, and then get out of my way, I'd probably be interested.
you can use other VTTs for that, what does this one get you that you are interested in it for that?
 

Vincent55

Adventurer
I have a VTT Foundry that can do 3d or other things just fine with the optional patron to others to add items, no having to sub to the basic VTT set-up. This combined with all the other things sounds like a way to squeeze more money from the player base, as was said above in other posts. The chance to charge a person 3 times for the same thing is just too good for a corporation that is after the money first is just too good for them to pass up. But we will see how it shakes out, I for one don't want or need this but good luck to others and remember the used car salesman just wants to sell the car.
 


Zaukrie

New Publisher
I have a VTT Foundry that can do 3d or other things just fine with the optional patron to others to add items, no having to sub to the basic VTT set-up. This combined with all the other things sounds like a way to squeeze more money from the player base, as was said above in other posts. The chance to charge a person 3 times for the same thing is just too good for a corporation that is after the money first is just too good for them to pass up. But we will see how it shakes out, I for one don't want or need this but good luck to others and remember the used car salesman just wants to sell the car.
Just like the Patreon or foundry owners. I have no idea how this is different at all.
 

Clint_L

Hero
It...looks really cool. I have a lot of doubts about how easy it will be for my tired old brain to figure out, given that Roll20 was challenging. But given my staggering investment in miniatures and terrain, I don't see myself as the main target.

I'll give it a try though.

Oh, about how easy it will be to use on the fly: no idea, but that is very much an issue when you like building physical sets as well. My solution is to pre-prepare any sets that I think are likely to come into play, and if things go differently we just wing it using flip maps or even just theatre of the mind. When the sets do come out, they are the show stoppers. This might work the same way, where you pre-prepare (or purchase) the set beforehand.

Though given how good chatbots are at building a setting off a few prompts, I could see a use for AI here, if it was trained on the tools. It would be cool if the user was able to type something like "create a roughly 120'x120' swampy area with a few natural hazards and a shambling mound" and the AI did the rest.

Here's what ChatGPT did with that prompt, by the way:
You find yourself in the heart of a murky swamp, surrounded by tangled vegetation and bubbling mud. The air is thick with the scent of decay and the croaks of bullfrogs and the buzzing of insects. The ground beneath your feet is slick and uneven, making movement treacherous.

In the center of the swamp lies a 120'x120' clearing. The ground here is even more unstable than the surrounding area, with patches of quicksand and deep pools of
stagnant water. The water here is murky, and you cannot see the bottom. The only safe path through the clearing is a narrow strip of solid ground that winds its way through the mire.

In the distance, you can see a large, hulking shape slowly making its way towards you through the muck. It is a shambling mound, a creature made of tangled vines and mud, with glowing yellow eyes and a gaping maw filled with razor-sharp teeth. The mound seems to be drawn to the scent of your flesh, and it is moving faster now, the mud churning beneath its massive feet.

As you prepare to face the shambling mound, you notice several other hazards in the area. Large, carnivorous plants with sharp, thorn-like teeth line the edges of the clearing, ready to ensnare any unwary travelers who stray too close. Poisonous snakes and leeches lurk in the water, waiting for their next victim. And overhead, a murder of crows circles, watching the scene with keen interest, perhaps waiting for the perfect moment to swoop down and grab a tasty snack.


Now imagine that something like it had access to the VTT tools instead of just text...
 

I’ll be showing my age a bit by saying….I dig it! :)

Not surprising it uses unreal 5, that thing is top notch for visuals, then it’s just working the rule set into the unreal engine “world.”

I haven’t had a chance to watch the demo but one thing I liked about the Kickstarter called tabletop connect, was the line of site portion that the mini player couldn’t “see” outside the range you input for the 3D mini token. I’m hoping this has something like that so a player can’t see everything on the map due to the top down view, like what’s behind that bookcase, oh I can already see it’s a goblin cause I can spin my point of view around type thing.

I’ll check it out for sure when it releases like I’ve done all the various vtts I’ve tried….fantasy ground, Talespire, etc mainly cause I like the creation aspect of things even if a rarely use it in game.
 


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