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Two New (But Very Different) RPG Software Applications

I've recently heard about a couple of upcoming new software tools for RPGs. One is an online gaming video conferencing tool on Kickstarter now, and the other is a tool for animating or illustrating your game sessions coming next week.

The first, Role, is a video conferencing app designed specifically for playing RPGs. It looks a bit like something like Zoom or Skype, but with a bunch of RPG-specific inbuilt tools -- dice roles, character sheets, a player matching system, and a marketplace for buying games. Role is already on Kickstarter, and is halfway to its funding goal.

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The other tool is called Neverending, and this one is a subscription service that lets you take your game stories and turn them into comic strips or animated videos. Neverending's Kickstarter launches in 6 days.

You can import audio (either record your game, import from your podcast, or record in the actual application) and then build scenes using a library of customizable backgrounds and objects. There's a sort of visual character builder so you can create them in the app, and then you can export the end result as a comic strip, a stop motion clip, or just as images. I'm kinda thinking it might be fun to try and 'animate' some of the many skits on our podcast.

We thought – how amazing would it be if other people could SEE those worlds? If people could share and experience stories beyond the table. Maybe these worlds and stories can live on in more than just a memory between friends


"NeverEnding is a game changer for podcasts and live-play video streams, as it creates a whole new way to bring stories to life. Podcasters and others can either import audio from their session or record it right in the application itself. While recording audio on the platform, users will be able to tag important moments during their recordings, like a dramatic conflict or humorous moment. Once audio is uploaded, it’s time to build the scene, using a full library of pre-built backgrounds, objects, equipables, and customizable characters. The NeverEnding development team is focusing on creating easy to use drag and drop functionality that will make the app ideal for people of any age."

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Russ Morrissey

Comments

NeverEnding needs some special promotion, for example being used by the staff of some game-live streaming show, or a free pack of characters as broadcasting of some videogame. Other option is allowing be used by streamers to be published in youtube, or machinima. Lot of people like to produce machinima movies.

It has potential, but it needs a lot of work and to push the right sequence of buttons.
 



dave2008

Legend
Both look very interesting. I'm having a decent experience with Zoom type applications at work now, so I could see it working for TTRPGs. If it has the right content I would be interested. I wonder if FG and Roll20 will look at implementing something like this.
 





schneeland

Explorer
Interview with the Role CEO coming on the 16th. ;-)
Looking forward to that. I have backed the campaign because I like the focus on the players in their designs, but like @ddaley, I wonder how they will pull of the development for this with the comparably low budget the have as the target for their campaign.
 

R_Chance

Explorer
Looking forward to that. I have backed the campaign because I like the focus on the players in their designs, but like @ddaley, I wonder how they will pull of the development for this with the comparably low budget the have as the target for their campaign.
Depends. There are currently 161 video conferencing projects on Sourceforge. These are open source projects. If you build on something like that it would cut down on your programming needs and your development budget. You can still have IP control over your content / additions.

Edit Further thoughts. It's not like Zoom, you don't need a hundred bodies involved, Just a half a dozen or so. Then the project could concentrate it's attention on the RPG end of it (content) as opposed to delivery (video conferencing). If it's just video conferencing you don't really need another program after all. Then do you want it as a "service" (in the cloud) or computer resident. Either is viable for small numbers depending on peoples internet connections.... should be interesting to see what the final project ends up as (if it succeeds).

Edit 2 Always read the FAQ. So, it's a service with premium subscription and a free version. And a content market. I'm not a big fan of subscription services (free or otherwise), but hey, whatever works for them...
 
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schneeland

Explorer
@R_Chance:
As far as I understand, they want to use Twilio as a 3rd party communication service, so I agree that they do not need the resources to build the full communications backend. Probably there's frontend components they can use, too.
Still, if we assume a team of half a dozen people (which is fair, because they also want to build a marketplace and add social features), one software engineer typically costs you 100k a year. So even for half a year of fulltime development, you need ~350k + overhead, so probably more like 500k.
Their target budget for the campaign is 50k. And they will not get money for subscriptions from backers in the first 12 month.
So maybe they have a good team in India with a capable local manager, then they might be able to cut the costs. But even then I hope they have a rather fat piggy bank, or another source of money (investors, banks, ...).
 

ddaley

Explorer
@R_Chance:
As far as I understand, they want to use Twilio as a 3rd party communication service, so I agree that they do not need the resources to build the full communications backend. Probably there's frontend components they can use, too.
Still, if we assume a team of half a dozen people (which is fair, because they also want to build a marketplace and add social features), one software engineer typically costs you 100k a year. So even for half a year of fulltime development, you need ~350k + overhead, so probably more like 500k.
Their target budget for the campaign is 50k. And they will not get money for subscriptions from backers in the first 12 month.
So maybe they have a good team in India with a capable local manager, then they might be able to cut the costs. But even then I hope they have a rather fat piggy bank, or another source of money (investors, banks, ...).
Even using functionality from other projects, there will be quite a bit of integration and new development for what they are wanting to do. Don't forget the infrastructure involved in hosting this as well... You will need data repositories, web servers, redundancy (load balancing, stand by servers, etc), back ups, billing, admin, etc. Getting the software working is step 1. Step 2 is standing up the infrastructure and supporting systems to enable it run and make money.

Maybe they are planning other crowd funding, such as fig and indiegogo to raise additional funds.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
It seems pretty obvious to me that Kickstarter is not their sole funding source. The app looks fairly polished on a user interface levels (demos can be misleading). On projects like this crowd funding can often be more about raising name id than actual funding.
 

R_Chance

Explorer
@R_Chance:
As far as I understand, they want to use Twilio as a 3rd party communication service, so I agree that they do not need the resources to build the full communications backend. Probably there's frontend components they can use, too.
Still, if we assume a team of half a dozen people (which is fair, because they also want to build a marketplace and add social features), one software engineer typically costs you 100k a year. So even for half a year of fulltime development, you need ~350k + overhead, so probably more like 500k.
Their target budget for the campaign is 50k. And they will not get money for subscriptions from backers in the first 12 month.
So maybe they have a good team in India with a capable local manager, then they might be able to cut the costs. But even then I hope they have a rather fat piggy bank, or another source of money (investors, banks, ...).
Maybe it's a side project for people who are otherwise employed (presumably as programmers)? I had wondered about the funding goal given their desired end result. Then too, they may have already done a lot of the work and are looking for money for the push to completion?
 

ddaley

Explorer
Maybe it's a side project for people who are otherwise employed (presumably as programmers)? I had wondered about the funding goal given their desired end result. Then too, they may have already done a lot of the work and are looking for money for the push to completion?
This would be my guess... it is a side project for them. Luckily, the pledge levels are low enough that it isn't a big risk (unless you are going for the party pack).
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I am almost certain this is a side project. It feels almost tailor made to suit the needs of the indie and streaming communities. From what I can see there is no real virtual tabletop. The user interface centers on player frames. The DRM free online marketplace for games would be a big win for indie projects and really fits in that culture.

I backed at $60. The games alone are worth that.
 

schneeland

Explorer
Don't forget the infrastructure involved in hosting this as well...
I assumed they will outsource that to one of the larger cloud providers (i.e. Amazon, Microsoft, Google). However, none of those is cheap, so that's going to eat into their margins.

I don't mind if they use the campaign mostly to build awareness (and as you say, the lower pledge level seems like an acceptable risk), but I'm curious about their business model.
 

R_Chance

Explorer
This would be my guess... it is a side project for them. Luckily, the pledge levels are low enough that it isn't a big risk (unless you are going for the party pack).
Yes. I wonder about the technical expertise involved though. When you see the more typical RPG product on Kickstarter it's easier to judge the product by either the history of the people involved or what you see of the project. This, is more opaque. Still, it looks good and I think there is a market for the product.
 

Trivista

Explorer
That's literally what it's for.
I can't seem to find what license the created projects will be under. Some applications want a cut of revenue or extra money to allow such use. Any idea what license / business model they will use?
 

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