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Staffan

Legend
How does 3D maps and tokens instead of 2D maps and tokens turn it into a video game?
To be honest, back when we were playing on Roll20 during the height of the pandemic I often missed some features that would have needed 3D to work. I'm primarily thinking about LOS in 3D space, e.g. someone hiding on top of a roof and things like that. Or objects that block LOS to things behind them but not to the object itself.

Doom-style 3D (only one Z value is possible for each X/Y coordinate) would have been an improvement, but the best would have been multi-layer 3D (so you can have someone on top of the roof and someone inside the house.
 

Staffan

Legend
Another thing about "advanced" VTTs: they offload a lot of the run-time work from the GM. For a super-easy example, take opening a door. If a PC moves up to a door in Roll20 and states that they want to open it, the GM needs to go into the light/walls layer, find the line that represents the door, and either delete it or move it somewhere else. And then remember to go back to the main layer, of course. In a more advanced VTT, you could just click on the door and choose "Open" and the system would do that for you.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Another thing about "advanced" VTTs: they offload a lot of the run-time work from the GM. For a super-easy example, take opening a door. If a PC moves up to a door in Roll20 and states that they want to open it, the GM needs to go into the light/walls layer, find the line that represents the door, and either delete it or move it somewhere else. And then remember to go back to the main layer, of course. In a more advanced VTT, you could just click on the door and choose "Open" and the system would do that for you.
Wow. Thank you for proving my point. The players can't just imagine that the door is open. They can't just imagine the light filtering through the open door. The computer has to show them exactly what that looks like.
 


Wow. Thank you for proving my point. The players can't just imagine that the door is open. They can't just imagine the light filtering through the open door. The computer has to show them exactly what that looks like.
Dude, they can imagine it just as easily as they can when I draw a little square with my Sharpie. WTF.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Dude, they can imagine it just as easily as they can when I draw a little square with my Sharpie. WTF.
So why the "need" for the computer to do it for them? Why do you "need" a fancy 3D VTT that does all the "work" for you?

It's a self-made problem. "Getting the light to work right with doors and windows is hard work for the DM on 2D VTTs so a 3D VTT that does it automatically is better." Or, you know...don't add that extra work for yourself in the first place and just...you know...use your imagination. That's literally what the game's about.
 

Staffan

Legend
Wow. Thank you for proving my point. The players can't just imagine that the door is open. They can't just imagine the light filtering through the open door. The computer has to show them exactly what that looks like.
VTTs generally also serve as battlemats. PCs have tokens they move around representing their PCs, and there are tokens representing monsters. The door being open allows the PCs to see what's in the other room (assuming they're in a position to do so, and have enough light and so on).

If you run combats using a more theatre of the mind-like approach, you probably don't need a VTT, or can do fine with a simpler version. But if you're using more detailed tactical combat (such as the default in PF2), a more-advanced VTT is a great help.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
VTTs generally also serve as battlemats. PCs have tokens they move around representing their PCs, and there are tokens representing monsters. The door being open allows the PCs to see what's in the other room (assuming they're in a position to do so, and have enough light and so on).

If you run combats using a more theatre of the mind-like approach, you probably don't need a VTT, or can do fine with a simpler version. But if you're using more detailed tactical combat (such as the default in PF2), a more-advanced VTT is a great help.
We use Roll20. Put the whole map on the screen and cover whatever the PCs can't see. As they move reveal the new areas of the map. It's not hard. It's not perfect but it works.

It's the insistence that the VTT be a simulation that's the problem...and what drives players towards "needing" a 3D VTT. Do you spend the extra time in meatspace games to get a mobile light source that shows through windows and doors? That only and exactly shows what the PCs' light source would reveal? I'm guessing no. Or do you just reveal the whole next room by pulling back the cloth or whatever you have covering the map? I'm guessing that's what you do.

So the "extra" work you're complaining about and dreaming a 3D VTT would solve is a problem entirely of your own making. You've created the problem and want the machine to solve it for you. Why do that? You can run it in the same way you likely run meatspace games. Just because the VTT can do something fancy doesn't mean you have to use it. All that extra work for so little gain.
 

So why the "need" for the computer to do it for them? Why do you "need" a fancy 3D VTT that does all the "work" for you?
No one "needs" it. No one needs minis or battle mats. The game can be played purely "theater of the mind." It can be played by postal mail.

Lots of people (including me and my group) like it, which is why VTTs have been successful and the space is a significant opportunity for Wizards. I completely understand why it doesn't do anything for you. I just don't understand why you can't seem to stop universalizing your preferences.
 

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