Jason Sly
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For anyone not familiar, TableTop Simulator is a cool "gaming sandbox" that has minimal programming as for as actual gameplay but instead just facilitates various forms of gaming by providing the tables and boards and playing pieces and cards. By being open ended like this and not restricted to any specific type of gaming experience, it invites all forms of user created content allowing you to remake just about any physical game into this virtual world. And then you have a cool digital representation that isn't complicated as much by table size, setup times, cats, children, etc. A form where you don't have to worry about finishing a game in one setting cause you'll need the table for dinner later.

Any hoo, it's a very neat way to play. On the topic, over the last couple weeks ,with some help, I've been working on getting all the cards and counters scanned and input into the program. There was a lot to scan and it got tedious at times, but I'm just about all done and can enjoy the fruits of my labor.



This is an in progress game I started today. When I open the program, the table is all setup, all three boards in place, all the decks out, elders lined up, minions sorted and organized waiting for me to pick a villain. Even the Investigation tokens on the spaces that start with some.



The pertinent counters are easy to access. Right now, for these counters that are basically infinite in terms of game rules, I just use these as a copy source and paste them as I, say, gain Investigation or suffer Wounds.



On the other hand, the Minions, which are finite for balanced gameplay, are kept in Loot Bags. These are a very handy feature of Tabletop Simulator, they are like magic bags that can hold any number of tokens and keep them contained to a very small area. At first, I just made piles of minion counters but it was too disorganized and would be hard to keep tidy in play. With Loot Bags, I can keep them all separate and orderly. The Minion counts are reproduced exactly and placed into bags by type, which are labeled so it's quick and easy to grab the right one. Something else that's neat is since you can scale any element in the program, I can shrink the loot bags down(only the bags, the Minions still emerge full-sized) so they have the same footprint as the 1" counters, so a ton of table space is conserved. Another cool bonus, is in the case of Hero Pack Villains or Web Villains that borrow Minions from other Villains, I can duplicate the necessary Minions and make a Loot Bag for those Villains so everyone is ready to go as soon as the game is opened. I don't have to remember what Minions had the Living Trees or Spectres on the back and dig them out and make sure I have the full amount for proper gameplay.





It's not perfect-wrestling with the physics can sometimes make you wanna spout expletives(you'll learn to lock elements down the first time you accidentally grab a board and pick it up sending pieces sliding and flying off), it takes some practice to get the controls down to the point where you can do simple things like smoothly add an Investigation token or quickly grab the right amount of dice to do a fight round...the mindless stuff you could do without a second thought at a real table. Miniatures aren't nearly as easy to implement as cards and counters. There's always going to be something innately, undeniably enjoyable about actually picking up and moving. But the conveniences are really nice, it's cool to have everything always setup and waiting to dive right into a game. No clean up, just reload the file to start a new one. I can save and come back to it later if I'm tired of playing. The advantages are well worth getting through the learning pains of the program.

In Tabletop Simulator, it's also much easier to expand with homebrew ideas. I included the Mystery Phase Chart that can be referenced after a dice roll, but I also thought it could be smoother in the program to implement that idea through a deck of cards, and so I did, and it was simple. This afternoon I added Ninjadorg's Investigation Deck and in it integrates completely seamlessly with the "official decks". Creating the Nutcracker's Minions was much easier than if I had to print and cut them out myself. Adding new Villains and Heroes, making up more Hauntings, expanding existing Location decks, prototyping new mechanics...it'd all be a cinch in the program. Heck, in this the cards from The Coast are actually the same size as all the others and don't make unsleeved decks a pain to shuffle.

Sure, actual play will probably never be as quick and natural as playing the physical game, but considering the perfect scenario would include a sealed room that would never be disturbed, on a table that was huge enough to hold every element but also one you could magically float over to easily reach every corner, with a servant you hired to pull it out and tear it all down for each game...playing in Tabletop Simulator is an excellent alternative.
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Scott Everts
United States
Foothill Ranch
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That is amazing work! Very impressive. I've seen the software on Steam and was debating about picking it up. Seems like a neat idea.

I'd be careful about distributing this, FFP is going to have a fracking aneurysm seeing this. whistle
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Jason Sly
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ScottE wrote:
That is amazing work! Very impressive. I've seen the software on Steam and was debating about picking it up. Seems like a neat idea.

I'd be careful about distributing this, FFP is going to have a fracking aneurysm seeing this. whistle

With Steam Workshop integration, I think it's a steal at $15. You're really getting dozens of games at that price, with the potential for hundreds or thousands more. And the ability to play these games with people around the world.

And yeaaaah, I've worried about that in the last few days as Klutz-gate went down. Some games have been shot down in the Steam Workshop, but there are also a lot on there that exist in their full form seemingly without issue. They aren't automatically, unequivocally seen as a competitor to the physical products. Comes down to a company-by-company basis and it looks like Flying Frog might now be one of the more accommodating ones. But with no money exchanging hands, it might be a different story and it's always possible they could go the route of Fantasy Flight and allow presentations like this if they are crippled, I believe the Location decks are left out of Arkham Horror, in a small way that requires the player to own the physical game.
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del G
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WOW very cool, when will you be putting this on Steam Workshop?
 
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Evan Duly
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Amazing!

Please let us know when this is online, I will be all over it!
 
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Jason Sly
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I'd like to try to optimize it some more before uploading it, right now it uses up almost 3Gb of RAM and can be a little choppy. Everyone who plays might not be setup for that kind of memory burden and I'd like to make it as efficient as I can. I'm shrinking some images in hopes of seeing a decent increase in performance.

The problem is the large reference charts and the web villains need a pretty big image to be able to read all the text and the way Tabletop Simulator works isn't always the friendliest for adding a few large "cards". But we'll see, hopefully I'll have some luck.
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Jo Pirard
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EvanDevan wrote:
Amazing!

Please let us know when this is online, I will be all over it!


+ 1 to that
 
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Skolo
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Gaston2010 wrote:
EvanDevan wrote:
Amazing!

Please let us know when this is online, I will be all over it!


+ 1 to that


THIS goo
 
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del G
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Did you get time to finish this at all? Even just the base game would be great to play on Tabletop Simulator
 
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Skolo
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Yep, any progress?
 
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Jason Sly
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It is finished, pretty much. I need to add the Reaper but my villain cards are currently out of town and I haven't had a chance to get them since starting this project. Today I've been working on adding Krampus' materials.

Sorry I kinda disappeared for a while, I've just been reluctant to post it online cause it's still such a huge memory hog and I think I've optimized and shrunk the images as much as I'm comfortable doing. There are just so many large reference cards that need to be kept at a fairly high resolution, and they add up and really big down the program. So I've just been sitting quietly hoping for some major overhauls in the program that would mean better handle resources. As it works now, I fear it'd be unplayable for a lot of computers.
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