Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Software

I got Fantasy Grounds II in Monday and have spent the last couple of days playing around with it and Campaign Cartographer 3.

Neither are particularly user-friendly, but they do seem powerful.

I'm a little disappointed that I can't find any complete example adventures for Fantasy Grounds. I was hoping to use it with my players this weekend, but I simply don't have time to write something that complex up right now. There was at least one on their site for Fantasy Grounds 1, but I think it may simply be too new to have any real support.

My biggest complaint, however, is that it doesn't have a real character generator. It comes close, but you have to wonder why they didn't go the extra step and link the class abilities, skills, and feats.

Campaign Cartographer is a neat program, which I have previously used myself, but it can be pretty tough to figure out. This is made worse because people who are more used to photoshop or paint will struggle to get to know all the various new tools and less-than intuitive controls.

Still, once you get used to it the results can be very nice. I'm not that great at it, but I've seen some people do wonders with it.

Both are good, but seem flawed in significant ways. I would have liked to see something a bit friendlier to the average new user.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

FG cannot be everything. It is a virtual gaming table -- not a mapper or PC generator. In fact, Code Monkey was supposed to fill the character generation void for FG, which we eagerly awaited, only to be disappointed by them (again) when they folded following their license debockle with WOTC. Hopefully, someone will fill the void.

As for adventures, again, FG is VTG software and cannot be "everything". How many RPGs are out there that contain EVERYTHING you need in one book? If there were everyone would only carry around one book to a game. If you check the FG forums a few people have posted free adventures, and Digital Adventures (www.digitaladventures.net) has about a dozen of them sale for the FG software.

You say you want something that is "friendly to the average new users" ... I don't think you're giving FG a fair chance. It is actually extremely easy to use even for someone of moderate PC intelligence, you just have to give it some patience. You cannot buy something and simply have it work FOR you. Spend some time in the FG forums, join a game or chat with other players and take the time to learn Fantasy Grounds. Like anything in this world, if you don't have patience and put time into something you won't get the most out of it. FG gets a bad rap sometimes for this reason.

FG Supporter
www.fantasygrounds.com

Master of the Game said...

> FG cannot be everything. It is a virtual gaming table -- not a mapper or PC generator.

Very true, but it would be a nice little piece of added functionality. I probably misspoke when I implied that it was a flaw in the program itself. It just seemed like a logical step since it does have a character sheet and it does calculate bonuses to skills and such. It's definitely something that would send the program over the top for utility.

> As for adventures, again, FG is VTG software and cannot be "everything".

Certainly not, but without adventures it is pretty tough to review, and that was what I was commenting about. This late in the process I just don't have time to write something myself. That said, I will be running the Temple on an Island adventure from Digital Adventures for my group next week so I can give the product a more complete evaluation. It was the only one available for FG2 that I could find, and there was some discussion on the forums about the FG1 adventures not being compatible.

> You cannot buy something and simply have it work FOR you. Spend some time in the FG forums, join a game or chat with other players and take the time to learn Fantasy Grounds.

See, that's why I said it wasn't friendly to new users. It's a powerful program no doubt, and the makers obviously put a huge amount of thought into what GMs and Players would need, but there is a strong learning curve there. Made worse by the fact that it doesn't seem to come with documentation on how to use it. Luckily there is an extremely useful guide that is easy to find on their webpage.

> I don't think you're giving FG a fair chance.

At this point that would likely be a fair assumption, but don't worry, I'm not done with it yet. I wouldn't dream of evaluating the program before I even try using it. I was just making a few opening comments after playing with it for a couple days. I'll write more once I have a chance to use the program in play.

Anonymous said...

>It was the only one available for FG2 that I could find, and there was some discussion on the forums about the FG1 adventures not being compatible.

That is incorrect. FGv1 adventures both work in FGv2, though if monsters were linked internally in FGv1 they may have to be relinked. Basically, SmiteWorks put the monsters in a different area of FGv2, so now the links don't translate. Everything else should work just fine. On the front page of Digiatl Adventure's online store it says the FGv1 adventures are compatible. Here is a forum link to that effect as well:

http://www.fantasygrounds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5907

>Very true, but it would be a nice little piece of added functionality. I probably misspoke when I implied that it was a flaw in the program itself. It just seemed like a logical step since it does have a character sheet and it does calculate bonuses to skills and such. It's definitely something that would send the program over the top for utility.

Agreed, but it is a "pie dream". Character gen programs are infinately as difficult as VTGs. Look at the time and effort CMP put into that, and where they are now. I doubt someone would have the time or resources to do both. Now that CMP is gone from the FG world hopefully someone will step up.

Good luck with your game!

FG_Supporter
www.fantasygrounds.com

Master of the Game said...

> That is incorrect. FGv1 adventures both work in FGv2, though if monsters were linked internally in FGv1 they may have to be relinked.

Excellent. Thanks for the link and the information. That'll make this a lot easier.