Monday, March 30, 2015

3D Virtual Tabletop

I realized today that somehow I forgot to post to the blog last Saturday. Sorry about that. So to make up for it, there will be four blog posts this week, starting today (Monday).

Today I want to share with you one of my favorite roleplaying game aids. I don't know about you, but I love the look and feel of using tabletop maps while I'm gaming. While these aren't strictly necessary, most systems assume you'll be using them for combat, and it also goes a long way towards helping immerse you into the world the GM is describing. And that's why I love 3D Virtual Tabletop.

3D Virtual Tabletop is a free app for most tablets and phones that acts just like a real tabletop board or map. You can zoom in and out, rotate it in all three dimensions, hide or reveal parts of the map, slide all of the different virtual minis around anywhere on the map, and import any graphics you want from all of the standard formats, both for the map itself and for the miniatures. You can have all the wonder of details minis and dungeon tiles without ever having to lift a brush or leave your home.

This application uses a simple and clear interface, and comes preloaded with dozens of monsters, heroes, and maps. There is also an extensive library of YouTube videos that will show you exactly how things work. Even on my somewhat dated Ipad2, it runs smoothly and quickly without any graphical glitches or crashes.

While the app itself is free, if you want the ability to stream your map to other devices (and thus allow your players to see something different than what you're viewing), there is a modest fee of $10 a year or $1 a month to enable those features. But honestly, at least around our table, I've never had the need to stream it to other devices.

I highly recommend you give this a try the next time you and your friends are gathered together for a night of roleplaying. And since it's free, what do you have to lose?

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