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VTTs Feel the Strain

Gamers are increasingly turning to virtual tabletops (VTT) to network with other players around the globe. Thanks to the pandemic, virtual gaming platforms are experiencing an unexpected surge that is stressing servers and causing lag. How are VTTs holding up?


With the pandemic pushing more and more people to shelter in place, gamers are using online tools to role-play with others when they can't game in person. The video game industry is already experiencing this surge, with Steam reaching 20 million concurrent online users, with 6.2 million in-game at the time. D&D Beyond's usage is up too: doubling its active users in the past few weeks with a threefold increase on its Discord server.

They're not the only ones experiencing increased interest. Ed Diana, owner of NBOS Software, which produces the free online gaming tool, Skwyre, noticed a change:
"There has been a slight uptick in sales of our mapping and notes applications, which I assume is due to people having some more free time to work on their campaigns. Hopefully people are finding world building to be a great way to keep their minds focused on something creative during this stressful time."
Joe Lesko, creator of Fabletop, saw a sharp increase:
"The number of new users has roughly tripled so far, but the system can handle much more than that, so we should be fine. With extra time at home, I've been working on some new features that players have been asking for."
Tobias Drewry, CEO at Mesa Mundi and the lead developer for D20PRO, definitely noticed an uptick in activity.
"D20PRO is not a web based application so resources used to create a game in D20PRO are retained on the GM/Host's computer. Additionally, D20PRO is only being impacted by networking issues related to ISP's rather than commercial server infrastructures. There is a learning curve to setting up D20PRO for remote play as it can suffer from aggressive firewall rules and the like, however, with a short amount of work to create an exception, our customers are nearly all up and running with a few odd-case exceptions. To help folks, our team is spending a lot more time watching and responding to our discord and forum support channels. A little one-on-one support is almost always appreciated!"
Like D20PRO, EpicTable has experienced an increase in interest but since it runs on the user's computer the load isn't a problem, according to John Lammers, the creator of EpicTable:
"Yes, there's been a noticeable uptick in EpicTable downloads, new customers, and active games. Handling the load is not a problem. EpicTable is a Windows app (though some play on Macs under Parallels or on Linux via Wine), so really, most of the work is done on the GM's and players' computers. The services that must be in the middle, like messaging and sharing of resources like maps, are minimally used; plus, they're cloud-based and scale automatically with the load."
Tom Lackemann, founder of AstralTabletop, saw tremendous growth in activity over the past weeks.
"This recent growth has been remarkable for our 3-person team to handle but we're going strong! We've been fueled by user feedback since the beginning and it's been great hearing from new users who are just starting to dip their toes into the online world of tabletop roleplaying."
Fantasy Grounds has seen a tenfold spike in users and Roll20 has seen an increase as well. Roll20 saw this coming, according to Amber Cook, Director of Business Development at Roll20:
"We have seen an increase in traffic as a result of people staying inside, and moving their in-person games online. We noticed a significant spike in traffic from Italy, Spain & other European countries and shortly thereafter in North America. Roll20 has seen a lot of growth in recent years, so we were already working on improving our efficiency & planning new features but the recent increase in traffic has caused us to speed up some of that work to accommodate new users. Our ever growing development team has dramatically reduced the speed at which our servers respond and our capacity to scale."
Whatever platform you choose, VTTs have been preparing for this moment. They're ready.
 
Michael Tresca

Comments

You can do this on FantasyGrounds but I do not remember being able to do it on Roll20
Thanks. I used FG before but Im not interested in spending money on it this time around. I'll make due with what Roll20 has. I might buy a PHB and MM but that's about it.
 

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Doesnt make much sense to me. Anytime Ive used the SRD theres always some limitations so Id prefer to at least have access to all 3 core books in a VTT. I used FG 5 or 6 years ago but it was pretty complicated and the group fell apart so Im not sure I want to pay for it again.
Your license from 6 years ago is still valid for FGC. And gets you a discount (40%?) on FGU. You can get your key from the Store > Order History or support can help you out.
 

Your license from 6 years ago is still valid for FGC. And gets you a discount (40%?) on FGU. You can get your key from the Store > Order History or support can help you out.
Great thanks I'll look into it. I didn't know this. Getting into the email address associated with the account might be a whole other problem. At least I have time.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
But Im sure the servers will be stressed no what browser your using.
Roll20 seemed to be working just fine this afternoon. Had to click the videoconference reconnect button once, and for everything else, it performed without issue.
 

Roll20 seemed to be working just fine this afternoon. Had to click the videoconference reconnect button once, and for everything else, it performed without issue.
I switched over to Chrome to use Roll20 and that seemed to work. I first set up my account using Microsoft Edge for a web browser but for some reason its since stopped working last week even after Windows 10 updated the program.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I switched over to Chrome to use Roll20 and that seemed to work. I first set up my account using Microsoft Edge for a web browser but for some reason its since stopped working last week even after Windows 10 updated the program.
Yeah. I was working in chrome. Though it has also worked in Firefox for me last week.

It isn't like Edge or IE have ever been the most compatible browser.
 

Yeah. I was working in chrome. Though it has also worked in Firefox for me last week.

It isn't like Edge or IE have ever been the most compatible browser.
Worked fine and then it just stopped working one day when I went to log in. My neighbor had the same problem but said it fixed itself once windows updated his machine. I wasn't so lucky. Not a fan of running 2 browsers.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Worked fine and then it just stopped working one day when I went to log in. My neighbor had the same problem but said it fixed itself once windows updated his machine. I wasn't so lucky. Not a fan of running 2 browsers.
Microsoft has this unfortunate habit of quietly changing things in the background and burying the fact in documentation updates you only see if you go looking for them, down in a sub-basement where the lights are out, in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door that reads "Beware of the leopard."

I wind up needing multiple browsers for work, so I find it to be just part of the way the world works, when both the browsers and the applications don't quite stick with the standards.
 

Microsoft has this unfortunate habit of quietly changing things in the background and burying the fact in documentation updates you only see if you go looking for them, down in a sub-basement where the lights are out, in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door that reads "Beware of the leopard."

I wind up needing multiple browsers for work, so I find it to be just part of the way the world works, when both the browsers and the applications don't quite stick with the standards.
Unfortunately you are right and guess Im just going to have to live with it if I want to keep gaming for the foreseeable future while quarantining unless I want to play by carrier pigeon.
 



I did. I found my license but lost my user name and pswd, to make matters worse the email I used for the acct was deactivated permanently by my cable company. Probably a lost cause.
I bet you not, but an email to support and give them a day or two to reply (they are swamped!) might find you ready to play again :)
 



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