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Roll20 Hits 2 Million Users!

Virtual Tabletop Roll20 has hit a big milestone - 2 million users! The VTT launched in April 2012 with 1,500 users. I asked Roll20's brand manager, Suzanne Wallace, what metric that was, exactly, and she confirmed that that means "The metric is 2 million Roll20 accounts, ever!" That's an astonishing number of users, and goes to show the incredible growth in online gaming. In fact, it's a sizeable percentage of the total number of people worldwide playing, for example, D&D.

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Suzanne also added in a blog post that "To grow so large in less than 5 years makes us proud and grateful to our wonderful fans. We look forward to continuing to expand our user base in many years to come! 2016 was a busy year for us. We expanded our team by three amazing people; hosted our first-ever Roll20CON; upgraded the FX tool, the API system, and the Art Library; signed a licensing deal with Wizards of the Coast and released three fully-integrated D&D 5th edition modules; and tons more—it was a blur!"

Roll20 frequently provides its usage reports, and about half the users on the system play D&D 5E.
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

L R Ballard

Explorer
I notice many third-party adventure modules available in the Roll20 marketplace. Is it fairly simple to adapt a module for use on the platform? If so, is the ease of making modules available on the platform contributing to its rapid growth?
 
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Banesfinger

Explorer
I think in the future, publishers will do themselves a disservice if they don't offer their adventures in the traditional media (hardcover and .pdf) as well as a Virtual Table Top file.
 

MrHotter

First Post
I notice many third-party adventure modules available in the Roll20 marketplace. Is it fairly simple to adapt a module for use on the platform? If so, is the ease of making modules available on the platform contributing to its rapid growth?

It's fairly easy. I converted the Lost Mines of Phandelver to teach myself how to DM on Roll 20 without too much trouble. I still would rather pay them $20 for their conversion than run my own version. Time and talent are things I don't mind paying for.
 

L R Ballard

Explorer
It's fairly easy. I converted the Lost Mines of Phandelver to teach myself how to DM on Roll 20 without too much trouble. I still would rather pay them $20 for their conversion than run my own version. Time and talent are things I don't mind paying for.

Thanks for the reply. Backers of successful Kickstarters still request from creators that they make materials, especially maps, more user friendly for VTTs like Roll20. I'm thinking of one of Dan Coleman's recent module sets:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dancoleman/dungeons-on-demand-volume-4-5e-dnd-dungeon-adventu

I bet there are guidelines on Roll20 for how publishers can make their adventures more Roll20 friendly. I wonder why publishers like Dan Coleman don't roll out Kickstarts to do Roll20 versions of 5e adventures. He's got a million qualified prospects on the site [Roll20]. Too busy? No technical know-how? Low ROI?
 
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tenkar

Old School Blogger
Really, all you need is an unkeyed map for Roll20and then run as if you were on a regular table top, except that instead of mapping you reveal areas with the Fog of War feature and use the built in voice and maybe video (or use a side app for that)

Most rulesets even have built in character sheets at this point.

The learning curve from the GM's POV is much less than Fantasy Grounds.
 

L R Ballard

Explorer
Really, all you need is an unkeyed map for Roll20and then run as if you were on a regular table top, except that instead of mapping you reveal areas with the Fog of War feature and use the built in voice and maybe video (or use a side app for that)

Most rulesets even have built in character sheets at this point.

The learning curve from the GM's POV is much less than Fantasy Grounds.

Does the GM then refer to a PDF or print copy of the text? No VTT version of the actual adventuring text required?
 

You can do it that way - just the map - and then do everything else like you were playing at the tabletop. Read from the PDF or book and use some form of voice communications. Or you can bring all the text in yourself. Can do it with all the major VTT. Display map, fog of war and dice rolling.

i am not sure why Fantasy Grounds has so much 3PP materials are prepared and ready compared to Roll20, but 2M user accounts is a good milestone for Roll20.
 

L R Ballard

Explorer
You can do it that way - just the map - and then do everything else like you were playing at the tabletop. Read from the PDF or book and use some form of voice communications. Or you can bring all the text in yourself. Can do it with all the major VTT. Display map, fog of war and dice rolling.

i am not sure why Fantasy Grounds has so much 3PP materials are prepared and ready compared to Roll20, but 2M user accounts is a good milestone for Roll20.

I may be totally wrong, but it seems to me, at first glance, that the quality and completeness of official releases on Fantasy Grounds surpass the quality and completeness of releases on Roll20. In other words, on FG, one has all the text available in pop-up text blocks. But, in Roll20, more material remains accessible only in the print or PDF copy of the module.

PS: Another forum thread compares the two VTTs. I'll read that one, then perhaps ask some questions on that thread about differences between the two VTTs. But I agree: two million is a nice accomplishment for Roll20 in only five years.
 
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Superchunk77

Explorer
I've been using roll20 for some time now, both as a player and a GM. I pay for the $5 a month subscription in order to take advantage of the line of sight functionality and the ability to have multiple campaigns in the works.

Roll20 is now our go-to VTT for all of our games. The built in video/voice/text chat is more than sufficient, usually we just use voice chat. I've started using the official character sheets for D&D 5e along with the built in SRD and it's great. Once you learn the ins and outs of the character sheets and NPC/Monster stats its brutally easy to use.

I tried fantasy grounds once a long time ago but found the learning curve way too steep for me.
 

L R Ballard

Explorer
I've been using roll20 for some time now, both as a player and a GM. I pay for the $5 a month subscription in order to take advantage of the line of sight functionality and the ability to have multiple campaigns in the works.

Roll20 is now our go-to VTT for all of our games. The built in video/voice/text chat is more than sufficient, usually we just use voice chat. I've started using the official character sheets for D&D 5e along with the built in SRD and it's great. Once you learn the ins and outs of the character sheets and NPC/Monster stats its brutally easy to use.

I tried fantasy grounds once a long time ago but found the learning curve way too steep for me.

What would be helpful to have from an adventure published by a third party? An unkeyed map? Player and GM versions of maps?
 

Superchunk77

Explorer
What would be helpful to have from an adventure published by a third party? An unkeyed map? Player and GM versions of maps?

I'd say having the adventure in a digital format (i.e. PDF) is key and all that is REQUIRED. Sure it's nice to have the ability to buy a roll20 module and have everything ready to go, but I like having the PDF as well. Sometimes I get the mailroom at my work to print off a nice physical copy for me to have handy while we play.

For an example, take the Pathfinder adventures. The maps can be copied straight from the PDF's without the labels/notes and then pasted into any image editor you like. Save the map and then drag the iamge file into roll20. roll20 has a handy grid scaling tool as well that lets you scale your maps so the roll20 grid lines match up exactly with any printed on the map image. It takes me about 1 minute to get a gridded map into roll20. Then about 10 minutes to add any line of sight barriers and monster tokens. Doing things this way can be time consuming if there are lot of maps and monsters, but since I tend to run pre-written modules in different campaign settings, I like having the flexibility to substitute maps or monsters here and there.

I've recently started using roll20 to store all of my campaign's NPC's, new spells, unique monsters, etc. and it's wonderful. I used to use obsidian portal for all of that, but not anymore. Having everything in one spot is just so handy. Plus it's just a couple clicks to reveal things to players rather than sending them links to other websites or emails.
 

L R Ballard

Explorer
Thanks, Superchunk 77. That's illuminating.

Does the pasted copy of the map retain its resolution? Let's say the scale is 1 square equals 5 feet, and the square itself, in real terms, is 1/4 inch squared.
 

The main VTT all allow you to scale the grid to match the map and you can use an image editing tool like photoshop or GIMP to change the size of the image as well. If you search on Youtube you should be able to find plenty of videos.
 

L R Ballard

Explorer
The main VTT all allow you to scale the grid to match the map and you can use an image editing tool like photoshop or GIMP to change the size of the image as well. If you search on Youtube you should be able to find plenty of videos.

All right, thanks. Reference to photoshop or GIMP takes me full circle with respect to earlier investigations. From here, I think it's a matter of finding the best tool to use to create maps.
 

Superchunk77

Explorer
Thanks, Superchunk 77. That's illuminating.

Does the pasted copy of the map retain its resolution? Let's say the scale is 1 square equals 5 feet, and the square itself, in real terms, is 1/4 inch squared.

It depends on how you grab it out of the PDF. If you snapshot it, then no, it uses the current size on your screen. If you use the text/image selector tool in Adobe Reader then the image gets copied at it's original resolution. That being said, the scale of maps usually needs to be tweaked in roll20, but that's a benefit since you can change the grid scale for maps that don't use 5 foot squares. I've added hex grids to many overland maps to track a party's travels where there was no such grid on the original map. It's fantastic, and really lets the players see a real-time record of their progress. They can plan detours or stops along the way at places they never knew existed too.
 

I copy and paste from PDF into Gimp, clean the map up a little, and then bring it into the VTT. I prefer no grid at all on the map as the VTT program can put one (used to align tokens). I mainly use Fantasy Grounds but Roll20 is quite fine for this as well and if all you need is the maps and the dice roller (no automation and creature placement and such, read right from the source) it is super quick to bring the material in yourself. The more bells and whistles you want, the more time it takes. Buying the adventure already converted is a big time saver if you want all the bells and whistles. Tenkar (who posted above) does not want the bells and whistles and many people use their VTT just like that.
 

ddaley

Explorer
I have not used Roll20 much, yet (I have an account, but find it unintuitive and the marketplace not user friendly). So, I am not that familiar with Roll20. But, I believe that SmiteWorks (the makers of Fantasy Grounds) has worked with some kickstarter creators to get their content into FG. Several of the projects that I backed offered FG content.


Thanks for the reply. Backers of successful Kickstarters still request from creators that they make materials, especially maps, more user friendly for VTTs like Roll20. I'm thinking of one of Dan Coleman's recent module sets:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dancoleman/dungeons-on-demand-volume-4-5e-dnd-dungeon-adventu

I bet there are guidelines on Roll20 for how publishers can make their adventures more Roll20 friendly. I wonder why publishers like Dan Coleman don't roll out Kickstarts to do Roll20 versions of 5e adventures. He's got a million qualified prospects on the site [Roll20]. Too busy? No technical know-how? Low ROI?
 

Out of these 2 millions users (which is an impressive number), any idea how many unique users log in or play a game in a 30 or 60 day time period? 2 million is an impressive number, I just wonder how many they actually retain (i.e. I know I have an account, but I've never played a game on Roll20).
 

L R Ballard

Explorer
I have not used Roll20 much, yet (I have an account, but find it unintuitive and the marketplace not user friendly). So, I am not that familiar with Roll20. But, I believe that SmiteWorks (the makers of Fantasy Grounds) has worked with some kickstarter creators to get their content into FG. Several of the projects that I backed offered FG content.

Thanks for the reply. Yes, that's true. I went over to the FG forum and read a few threads on their work getting Kickstarters squared away.

http://www.fantasygrounds.com/forum...ming-to-support-Fantasy-Grounds-add-ons/page2

It sounds like Roll20's popularity may arise partly from it's being free and having a tabletop feel.

Do any third-party Kickstarter adventure modules come to mind for having had especially good VTT support?
 

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