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Paizo announces Paizo Game Space

Sat, Jul 7, 2012 at 10:18 PM Pacific

Paizo reinvents the virtual tabletop to be played directly on Paizo.com!

Uses Paizo's high, max resolution maps, handouts and everything you need to run our APs. Makes everything easy to connect with people and get playing. As long as you can get to Paizo.com you can play!

Edit: We've posted details on the announcement, some screenshots (including features that weren't shown at the banquet), and more info about free play and paying for stuff.

Sara Marie
Customer Carebear

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: PaizoCon
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Well for the most part i've seen Paizo go to things that Wizard has tried; and has only improved on those things; so here's hoping another success


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

This sounds really amazing! Kudos to you guys for bringing something this cool to your web site. I wish you the best of luck in implementation and bug-bashing.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Will there be a way to utilize it for play-by-post, or will it be real-time only?


4 people marked this as a favorite.

There is a lot you can do in the middle ground between full rules implementation and things like saved dice rolls.

The trick is, if you start with saved dice rolls and then keep adding features, you eventually end up with a scripting language of your own (and one that really kind of sucks compared to a real scripting language). That's how MapTool came to be what it is.

I know the folks at Paizo understand this point, I'm quite curious about how they plan to strike a balance. I can say from experience that:

  • vision and lighting
  • fog of war
  • stored variables for characters accessed through the dice roller

are the three most important features for a system-agnostic VGT to have.

Be sure that when you do vision and lighting, you include the ability to make images visible to select individual players — this is crucial for everything from invisibility to haunts to perception checks. MapTool eventually got a workaround, but it is kludgy and requires the player to get permissions to the token, which is not good.

The ability to track flight/altitude in a meaningful way would be really important for supporting PF at all, you can't do a proper dragon fight without it.

Any VGT that lacks MapTool's drag-and-drop for images is probably not going to dislodge MapTool as my favorite tool. I've flirted with every other VGT for a couple of sessions, and that is the thing that keeps me coming back. If you're not going to allow user-uploaded images on that scale, you are going to need a lightning fast search for tokens of every single piece of art Paizo has ever made. May I also suggest allowing custom image uploads as a paid feature, if you're not planning on including it for free.

Please accept my apologies for the unsolicited advice, I have a lot to say on this topic. I know for a fact you guys are gonna do it right.


This couldn't come at a better time, as I'm looking at running some Pathfinder online in the near future :) Really looking forward to seeing what Gary & Paizo have in store :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Rules automation is one of the reasons I use d20Pro, so I do not see myself switching to Gamespace. Great idea though.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

If you put the word "Game" in the URL then Websense will block it.

That'll be the end of me on these message boards, because the Nazis I work for will block the entire site. There is no private internet out here :(

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

If there are plans for LAN use I am all in. But I don't care for having to deal with online problems.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Astralplaydoh wrote:
Please keep in mind that people use Projectors at their game table while making this project. =)

This would be main use of this software as well. Very excited about this as pre-loaded maps would save me so much prep time. Anything more like FoW or AoE templates would just be icing.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I am excited about this, but as an experienced maptool user I really hope that it isn't simply bare bones. There is a lot of elements that are a must, EL mentioned some of them above. I will wait until testing begins before I start offering advice =)

Game Space Beta Tester

DonKeebals wrote:
If there are plans for LAN use I am all in. But I don't care for having to deal with online problems.

Seeing as this runs in the context of a browser, that would require them giving out the server-side components, probably in the form of source code. Seems highly unlikely to me, but of course I am no expert on web programming and could be mistaken.

Cheliax Game Space Beta Tester

Elorebaen wrote:
I am excited about this, but as an experienced maptool user I really hope that it isn't simply bare bones. There is a lot of elements that are a must, EL mentioned some of them above. I will wait until testing begins before I start offering advice =)

From what Gary said, it seems likely that it will be bare bones initially. They want to get something out that works, and then add features as and when they can make them work, rather than holding it off for months, even years, until they get everything working.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

We REALLY need someone to upload video from the screening of it!
Like, NOW! :-P

Paizo Employee PostMonster General

6 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't know if we have video. I saw at least one camera. I'd personally rather not see it myself because I was ridiculously nervous and there were technical difficulties anyway. I've thought about recording a screencast with voiceover of the presentation or something but I posted the working script earlier in this thread so you know everything I meant to say. Also, I'd rather put the time toward getting it in people's hands than just talking about it.

It is definitely going to be bare-bones at first. Like, I have a list of twenty or so features that I think make up "the bar"—what features need to be in a VTT to be considered minimally competitive in general, given the current state of what's already out there. We have maybe half or a third of those done.

But we're going to launch it before we get up to the bar because we don't want to wait until it's "done." And it'll always be missing some set of features that someone will consider to be dealbreakers. We're OK with that because we'd rather build something incrementally than hold out for the perfect solution.

And no matter which way you play Pathfinder, or really any tabletop RPG, or any game at all, it's all good. Paizo Game Space is just one more way to play.

As long as you're playing and having fun with your friends, that can only be good for the hobby in general. That's why we sell so many different products on paizo.com, that's why we encourage third-party publishers to use the OGL and the Pathfinder compatibility license, that's why other companies had booths and seminars at PaizoCon, etc.

Game Space Beta Tester

Gary Teter wrote:
But we're going to launch it before we get up to the bar because we don't want to wait until it's "done." And it'll always be missing some set of features that someone will consider to be dealbreakers. We're OK with that because we'd rather build something incrementally than hold out for the perfect solution.

Well said.

And let me add that it is pretty impressive you guys are doing this for free. May I ask how it is accomplished without media plug-ins? I've heard HTML 5 is pretty amazing in this respect...is that the route you're going?


This is Friggin awesome!


I'd like to repeat Barcas' question. Will this work for pbp games or not?

Grand Lodge Game Space Beta Tester

+1 to what Evil Lincoln said.

Paizo folks, if you find yourselves in the laborious hell of grinding out pogs for a demo/beta, let me know and I can bootstrap you off of a my reasonably complete (private) set of 'em built from Paizo art. (For example summon tokens I-V; goblin tokens; aberration tokens; etc).

Paizo Employee PostMonster General

3 people marked this as a favorite.
havoc xiii wrote:
I'd like to repeat Barcas' question. Will this work for pbp games or not?

I'm super tempted to go back into "I don't want to talk about things that aren't finished yet" mode, but I will say two things: We love play-by-post and we've been thinking about this for awhile.

(Also, see above statements about not being done and not completely baked at launch. As Cosmo says, "Not a Guarantee™".)

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Gary Teter wrote:

Any maps we produce will be done using the same resolution we send to the printer. I guess if we ever downsampled a map for the printer in that case we'd use the original, higher resolution map instead.

Basically we will be using the maximum resolution we can get from our artists. Paizo Game Space will deliver those maps as efficiently as possible so you're not downloading the entire all at once. The original file for the example we used in the demo was 300dpi and weighed in at 200MB, and zooming and panning on it is really smooth.

The idea behind this is absolutely stupendous and though I love TTopRPG dearly the fact that only one member in our group is able to host because of port forwarding or other issues (and several of us are techies) causes us a lot of wasted game time. Bring it on!

However, a 200mb map file is a complete and utter show-stopper. Here in the UK we frequently have to wait for a moment whilst a 200kb map file downloads. A 200mb file could take anything up to an hour depending on connection speed, and if done frequently it could cause people to hit their download caps or get their connection speed throttled back. With some image optimisation 200kb is plenty for the PFS scenario maps.

I also really like barebones VTTs, as most of us roll dice and just declare the results verbally (in our local group). I've played games with the online community where we all used macros too, so different groups have different needs. No matter how much gets added to the Paizo VTT it would be nice to choose the level of automation on offer.

Grand Lodge

I assume since Paizo is not using Flash (thank the gods for that!) and they use Macs, that they are making this using HTML5.

I stopped messing with web design a while back and have not kept up, but from I have read, HTML5 allows for some amazing things.


I'm looking forward to this. I've got friends all across the country that used to play together. We've thought about VTT on a number of occasions, but none of us could really find one that was easy enough to learn.

I hope this becomes something easy to use for those that can't really take the time to spend hours on learning a new system, on top of hours to prep a game/character.

Either that, or maybe a "Dummies Guide to Paizo Games"

Taldor

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
Gary Teter wrote:
havoc xiii wrote:
I'd like to repeat Barcas' question. Will this work for pbp games or not?

I'm super tempted to go back into "I don't want to talk about things that aren't finished yet" mode, but I will say two things: We love play-by-post and we've been thinking about this for awhile.

(Also, see above statements about not being done and not completely baked at launch. As Cosmo says, "Not a Guarantee™".)

Sweet. And messing with FAWTL at the same time: good work.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like the announcement, but I'm with Evil Lincoln on this one, there are some mission critical features that MapTool has, that I can't do without (in my case, robust macros on individual tokens and drag'n'drop from my own image library). I'll give the Game Space a spin, for sure, but my 1200 character full attack routine macro that I've coded from scratch in MT is gonna be hard to abandon without a clear competitive advantage from Paizo.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For those of use who DONT want to do any scripting and automation (MapTool is NOT user friendly. AT. ALL) and dont want ot go through the hassle of scaling maps and such, I think this is an AMAZING thing. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE keep this simple. If people want to do the scripting thing they can keep using MapTools.

Hopefully it will allow me to run my COTCT game more frequently than we are right now.

Thanks Guys!


7 people marked this as a favorite.

Wow. This interests me a lot more than the MMO does.

Paizo Employee Paizo Glitterati Robot

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Stormfriend wrote:
However, a 200mb map file is a complete and utter show-stopper. Here in the UK we frequently have to wait for a moment whilst a 200kb map file downloads. A 200mb file could take anything up to an hour depending on connection speed, and if done frequently it could cause people to hit their download caps or get their connection speed throttled back. With some image optimisation 200kb is plenty for the PFS scenario maps.

We've done some wizardry on the backend such that the load time on these huge maps is not as terrible as it might seem, at least at this phase. Again, there's a lot more planning to be done in terms of maps and tokens that will be available, and nothing is concrete on that end at the moment. As it's running through the browser, we definitely acknowledge load times are an important factor.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Chris Lambertz wrote:
Stormfriend wrote:
However, a 200mb map file is a complete and utter show-stopper. Here in the UK we frequently have to wait for a moment whilst a 200kb map file downloads. A 200mb file could take anything up to an hour depending on connection speed, and if done frequently it could cause people to hit their download caps or get their connection speed throttled back. With some image optimisation 200kb is plenty for the PFS scenario maps.
We've done some wizardry on the backend such that the load time on these huge maps is not as terrible as it might seem, at least at this phase. Again, there's a lot more planning to be done in terms of maps and tokens that will be available, and nothing is concrete on that end at the moment. As it's running through the browser, we definitely acknowledge load times are an important factor.

Cool, I'm looking forward to it. Although if we do end up downloading each 200mb map at full res (because we zoom in or whatever) it might be quicker to stick them on a DVD and send them in the post. :-)

Osirion

As someone in Stormfriend's TTopRPG-enabled group and the only person to (apparently) have a router that allows me to open a port, yes that bit of technical crap has been annoying to us at times. Also, certain (very few) picture files appear to fail. Just a couple of the little details one has to nail when making these systems.

However, as a free piece of software, TTopRPG gets a lot of things right and is very easy to use. I do hope the folks at Paizo are looking at the various tools which do currently exist, totting up the good, bad, ugly as far as features, and then potentially reach out to someone who already has a solid code base and seek to not reinvent the wheel. Software development is not for the faint of heart. Paizo has done many things very well and, frankly, is the best thing going in my opinion.

While this announcement is great, the lack of supporting information suggests perhaps the announcement should have been held off till at least some demo screen shots could have been posted along with the announcement.

Game Space Beta Tester

This was probably one of the most exciting things that I learned at Paizocon. We've tried port fowarding for 4 years to no avail (2 times it worked sort of out of thousands of tries). It will be wonderful to be able to do remote gaming with our group! I very much look forward to the testing later on.

Paizo Employee PostMonster General

39 people marked this as a favorite.

OK, here's some screenshots of the version I demonstrated at the banquet. Most of these are from the GM's point of view. Some of this stuff I didn't show at the banquet because I didn't want to bore people.

Selecting a game to join. Some people are already in there waiting.

The virtual table showing the beginning of the first combat for Rise of the Runelords, the Swallowtail Festival. There's a dragon for some reason. And it's kind of big.

Zooming in allll the way. See that fruit? No, that fruit. The apple. The green one. I attack that one.

Fog of war on the Country Inn flip-mat, as players see it.

Fog of war on the Country Inn flip-mat, as the GM sees it. That dragon sure gets around. It's currently hidden from the players.

The players tab. Who's in, who's not here, who's just visiting and who's controlling what. Click the "+" next to Vic to add him as a player.

The tokens tab. Basically everything that's on the map that isn't map. Tokens can be organized into groups.

The groups tab. The Swallowtail Festival combat runs in two parts, and the goblin pyros have yet to be revealed to the players. The fog control doesn't belong on this tab.

Rolling for initiative. The fire skeleton has a ridiculous initiative, so we're editing that before re-rolling.

Combat! Clicking the checkerboard icon brings up a list of dice rolls. Here we're modifying Cosmo the Yeti's attack roll because I think Cosmo might have been fudging a little.

Paizo Employee Webstore Gninja Minion

7 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm very excited about this. ^_^


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gary Teter wrote:

OK, here's some screenshots of the version I demonstrated at the banquet. Most of these are from the GM's point of view. Some of this stuff I didn't show at the banquet because I didn't want to bore people.

Selecting a game to join. Some people are already in there waiting.

The virtual table showing the beginning of the first combat for Rise of the Runelords, the Swallowtail Festival. There's a dragon for some reason. And it's kind of big.

Zooming in allll the way. See that fruit? No, that fruit. The apple. The green one. I attack that one.

Fog of war on the Country Inn flip-mat, as players see it.

Fog of war on the Country Inn flip-mat, as the GM sees it. That dragon sure gets around. It's currently hidden from the players.

The players tab. Who's in, who's not here, who's just visiting and who's controlling what. Click the "+" next to Vic to add him as a player.

The tokens tab. Basically everything that's on the map that isn't map. Tokens can be organized into groups.

The groups tab. The Swallowtail Festival combat runs in two parts, and the goblin pyros have yet to be revealed to the players. The fog control doesn't belong on this tab.

Rolling for initiative. The fire skeleton has a ridiculous initiative, so we're editing that before re-rolling....

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANT. NOW.

*tears*

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Zeetle Wyrp wrote:

If you put the word "Game" in the URL then Websense will block it.

That'll be the end of me on these message boards, because the Nazis I work for will block the entire site. There is no private internet out here :(

You seem to be suggesting that the word "game" in any URL would cause the entire site to be blocked for you, but the word "game" appears in many, many URLs on paizo.com already, including the very popular http://paizo.com/products/btpy88yj?Pathfinder-Roleplaying-Game-Core-Ruleboo k page.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

OMG Can I favorite something more than once?

By the way, it looks very similar to the Combat Manager by Kyle Olson. Was he involved?

Taldor

Gary Teter wrote:

OK, here's some screenshots of the version I demonstrated at the banquet. Most of these are from the GM's point of view. Some of this stuff I didn't show at the banquet because I didn't want to bore people.

Selecting a game to join. Some people are already in there waiting.

The virtual table showing the beginning of the first combat for Rise of the Runelords, the Swallowtail Festival. There's a dragon for some reason. And it's kind of big.

Zooming in allll the way. See that fruit? No, that fruit. The apple. The green one. I attack that one.

Fog of war on the Country Inn flip-mat, as players see it.

Fog of war on the Country Inn flip-mat, as the GM sees it. That dragon sure gets around. It's currently hidden from the players.

The players tab. Who's in, who's not here, who's just visiting and who's controlling what. Click the "+" next to Vic to add him as a player.

The tokens tab. Basically everything that's on the map that isn't map. Tokens can be organized into groups.

The groups tab. The Swallowtail Festival combat runs in two parts, and the goblin pyros have yet to be revealed to the players. The fog control doesn't belong on this tab.

Rolling for initiative. The fire skeleton has a ridiculous initiative, so we're editing that before re-rolling....

That looks pretty awesome

Paizo Employee CEO

10 people marked this as a favorite.

Just wanted to jump in here and talk about the pricing. The short answer is that we don't know exactly what is going to cost what. There WILL be a way to use the tabletop for free. What kind of functionality that free version has is undecided. There will also be a way for people to purchase scenarios, adventures, APs, maps, card decks, tokens and other such things for use on the VTT. Not sure when or at what price yet. Just as we give away free adventures and such for Free RPG Day and for the Beginner Box, there will be free adventures and stuff for the VTT. We want people to be able to see what they are getting when they purchase the paid versions. Also, free stuff will allow folks to test drive the VTT. How much and what stuff is going to be included for free is, you guessed it, unknown at this point. :)

I will say that we will let everyone know more once we know it ourselves. We are reading the forums, so let us know what is important to you. I can't promise we will do what you want, but we will certainly look at and consider things.

We are all excited about Paizo Game Space here at Paizo and are looking forward to creating a great tool that will bring folks together to game!

-Lisa


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This sounds awesome. One of the big disappointments to me with another game was a promised VTT that never materialized. I'm really looking forward to this.

Of course, it means I'll probably get even less work done at work, but hey, I'm pretty much always ahead of the game, so no one should notice, right?

Cheliax

Alright, so far this stuff looks awsome, now make it happen!

Paizo Employee Sales Imp

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Gary Teter wrote:
Fog of war on the Country Inn flip-mat, as the GM sees it. That dragon sure gets around. It's currently hidden from the players.

GM: You hear something scratching at the door.

Player(totally missing GM's evil, evil grin): I go open the door.

GM(barely containing a malicious cackle): Ok! Roll initiative...

Osirion Game Space Beta Tester

Being able to focus on story rather than having to go through a whole book's worth of map extraction/ resizing to fit a grid plus searching for token art and then think about story - priceless!
But hopefully available via subscription :)
When you work out the mechanics of watermarked chronicle sheets for remote play PFS, get a couple of new servers.
This was the announcement that I was most excited about at the banquet. Apart from the fact that James had convinced Mr Sutter to write a Kaer Maga installment on Shattered Star.
It was an awesome banquet! The new-look player companion line looks super cool, as does Ultimate Equipment. Words fail me!

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

WANT!!!


Lisa Stevens wrote:

Just wanted to jump in here and talk about the pricing. The short answer is that we don't know exactly what is going to cost what. There WILL be a way to use the tabletop for free. What kind of functionality that free version has is undecided.

...
will let everyone know more once we know it ourselves. We are reading the forums, so let us know what is important to you. I can't promise we will do what you want, but we will certainly look at and consider things.

I suggest that storage space for uploaded images would be a very good place to charge. I understand that policing IP is a complicated issue for uploads.

If I could have a genie grant my wish, I could drag and drop images for new tokens, maps and objects into GameSpace — they would have a grace period that would let me store and use them during an ongoing game. Then, if they were found not to be an IP violation (like my brother the illustrator drew it for me) I could keep it and use it whenever I wanted.

VTT GMs have a way of gathering image libraries. Especially for spell effects. While I'm sure the Paizo library would grow to be impressive, I would feel weird and wrong leaving my own fireball and fog effect images behind. :(

There's a lot wrong with this suggestion, of course, but as an example it does illustrate my needs.

Osirion

Cthulhudrew wrote:

One of the big disappointments to me with another game was a promised VTT that never materialized.

And never will now, according to the broadcast I just got from Wizards.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lisa Stevens wrote:

Just wanted to jump in here and talk about the pricing. The short answer is that we don't know exactly what is going to cost what. There WILL be a way to use the tabletop for free. What kind of functionality that free version has is undecided. There will also be a way for people to purchase scenarios, adventures, APs, maps, card decks, tokens and other such things for use on the VTT. Not sure when or at what price yet. Just as we give away free adventures and such for Free RPG Day and for the Beginner Box, there will be free adventures and stuff for the VTT. We want people to be able to see what they are getting when they purchase the paid versions. Also, free stuff will allow folks to test drive the VTT. How much and what stuff is going to be included for free is, you guessed it, unknown at this point. :)

I will say that we will let everyone know more once we know it ourselves. We are reading the forums, so let us know what is important to you. I can't promise we will do what you want, but we will certainly look at and consider things.

We are all excited about Paizo Game Space here at Paizo and are looking forward to creating a great tool that will bring folks together to game!

-Lisa

The big thing I worry about is what benefits will subscribers get, or not get. Will it be like our PDFs, free as a part of subscribing, or for a nominal, reasonable fee to cover Paizo's expenses, or am I going to have to be adding on yet another subscription?

Game Space Beta Tester

Erik Fredrickson wrote:

And never will now, according to the broadcast I just got from Wizards.

Elaborate please? I thought they were already in beta (albeit with a scaled back version).

Paizo Employee Developer

bugleyman wrote:
Erik Fredrickson wrote:

And never will now, according to the broadcast I just got from Wizards.

Elaborate please? I thought they were already in beta (albeit with a scaled back version).

ENWorld report

Game Space Beta Tester

Mark Moreland wrote:
ENWorld report

Thank you.

Wow...just wow. Didn't see that coming. I really thought they had finally got this going in the right direction in time for 5E. What is going on over there?

Edit: I'm half wondering if 5E, at least the 5E they're devleoping now, is ever going to see the light of day. Crazy.

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