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Thread: MapTool vs. OpenRPG

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    Maptool actually has extremely robust dice rolling capabilities -- there is nothing I have ever wanted to do with dice that maptool cannot handle. Plus, with the 4E framework I have been using, it fully takes care of everything I want to do in and out of battle -- it tracks powers, what has been used and what hasn't, it tracks HP and surges and APs and status effects, it connects players to character vision so that each player can only see what their character can see... in short, it is awesome.

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    I've tried both, and to be honest it comes down to a sheer matter of preference. The fact is, both programs are good tables with diverse features, and each come standard with it's own learning curve.

    Open: Great if you're not picky about graphics, or just want to slap something together real quick. Most of it's errors lies in it's most appealing features (gametree, map window), just a matter of letting the developers work out the bugs. Amazing table interface for a text heavy/creative writing rich group. No facility to create a map in-program, DM's should have access to maps or know how to make them yourself if you plan to use them.

    MapTool: Like someone mentioned before, the DM's dream. It really is. But the give and take of this means that the DM has a lot more prep work expected prior to each game session in order to take full use of the incredible graphics. For those that likes to make a lot of custom details and add stunning ilustrations to their table, MapTools is definitely worth it. For those that are used to a ton of creative writing though, while this is refreshing, it might actually be a distraction/lazy man's cane and encourage lack of creativity, gotta be careful not to let the mapmaking overshadow the game. That said, the mapmaking facilities just drives this baby home. Learning curve is a tad steep, but once you learn the interface it's just as intuitive as Open. I haven't tried running from MapTools yet, so not entirely familiar with much more than it's mapping usages, but hopefully will discover more about it soon. I'd like to know how to do the whole accounting and stuff on here as someone else said before.

    IMO, they're both great programs, each shine at what they do best. On a side note, MapTools rocks the mapmaking world like DungeonForge wishes they could.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by adamx20 View Post
    I

    Overall, I would probably use MapTool if I could get it to work, but I can't.
    hmmm anytime i got a problem i got the lead designer on my msn, and just msg him, if he is there he has always fixed any problems, his msn is open to the pulbic you should try to contact him am sure he would help you to get it to work
    Testing a new d20 system taking best of pathfinder, Iron heroes and Arcane Evolved to make a well balanced system, looking for play testers.
    http://www.thetangledweb.net/forums/...ead.php?t=4865
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    Quote Originally Posted by archmagi1 View Post
    Network problems like theres no tomorrow (forget a US player and a Euro player coexisting).
    i been running a game for 6 months i am in UK all my players in US, we had some problems but its not unplayable.


    Quote Originally Posted by archmagi1 View Post
    WAAAAAAAAY too overblown on the complexity side of making crap (when you need a multipage forum thread to explain how to make a macro, you've missed your point).
    just to point out, the macros are what the users created until the this build is done, when they start working on the real marco lang, the one that has been created will be scrapped. Just some people could not wait and took it a pond themselves to add something in till the feature is worked on. as far as i understand it

    I love both programs, and have ran good camps on both. Open is quick and dirty, maptool is elegant and frustrating.[/quote]
    Testing a new d20 system taking best of pathfinder, Iron heroes and Arcane Evolved to make a well balanced system, looking for play testers.
    http://www.thetangledweb.net/forums/...ead.php?t=4865
    PCs
    Sark in Elordan game

  5. #15

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    Standard Disclaimer: I'm one of the administrators of the http://forums.rptools.net/ site and a contributor of code to MapTool. Consider visiting this page to get an overview of MapTool.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ao View Post
    Hands down, MapTool rules the roost these days. OpenRPG is still great and I also haven't had the install problems mentioned above. Stability however, has never been perfect but, the 1.7 series has been pretty damned stable for me.
    The install nightmare is why I gave up on OpenRPG. I'm no slouch with computers but I never did get it working.

    We don't have forums for the pay programs cause we cater to the free and openSource tools here at Tangled Web.
    So perhaps you could modify the configuration of TheTangledWeb's Ventrilo server to support the (free) Speex codec instead of relying on proprietary software? (The Speex codec is part of the Ogg project.) I ask this because only Speex is supported on the Mac by Ventrilo so I can't use TTW server at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by paulstrait View Post
    Maptool actually has extremely robust dice rolling capabilities -- there is nothing I have ever wanted to do with dice that maptool cannot handle.
    Try the summary of dice rolling features if you want to see what it's capable of. In the future, the dice rolling will be via javascript code so it'll be easier to add user-defined algorithms.

    Plus, with the 4E framework I have been using, it fully takes care of everything I want to do in and out of battle -- it tracks powers, what has been used and what hasn't, it tracks HP and surges and APs and status effects, it connects players to character vision so that each player can only see what their character can see... in short, it is awesome.
    For some reason people seem to be confused by the use of campaign frameworks. I think what they don't understand is that MapTool doesn't have support for any specific game system built into it. Instead, it provides the capability to do anything and a macro language to allow access to those capabilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by iantruesilver View Post
    Open: [...] just a matter of letting the developers work out the bugs.
    But is there any active development happening on it? MapTool strives to produce a release every few weeks (although to be honest, the lead developer just had his fourth child about a week ago and has been understandably preoccupied lately!).

    (Open) No facility to create a map in-program, DM's should have access to maps or know how to make them yourself if you plan to use them.
    Really? Ouch! Sometimes when using MapTool I'll be working on another map while the players are deciding what to do for their next step...

    MapTool: [...] But the give and take of this means that the DM has a lot more prep work expected prior to each game session in order to take full use of the incredible graphics.
    True.

    If you're happy with what OpenRPG provides then MapTool can provide that same level of functionality with about the same level of complexity. But as the quote says, if you really want to take advantage of it, it does require more work up front. Me? I'm sort of a middle-of-the-road kind of GM. I like to drop a JPEG map on the background layer, scale it so that my tokens will fit properly, and then add "solid" walls to it (these block both light and vision and are drawn on something called the vision blocking layer or just VBL for short).

    If I have a lot of time available for prep (because I travel a lot on business, sitting on an airplane is an example of such time) then I add in more perks.

    For those that are used to a ton of creative writing though, while this is refreshing, it might actually be a distraction/lazy man's cane and encourage lack of creativity, gotta be careful not to let the mapmaking overshadow the game.
    I don't understand this. Why would a storyteller not want such a capable canvas to draw on? Could you describe it in more detail?

    Learning curve is a tad steep, but once you learn the interface it's just as intuitive as Open.
    This is related to the "complexity" paragraph above. If all you want is a simple encounter map, you really don't need to know much.

    Now, if you want to automate an entire game system, then yeah, you're going to be delving into the macro facility to accomplish that.

    The good news is that MapTool supports both types of groups.

    I haven't tried running from MapTools yet, so not entirely familiar with much more than it's mapping usages, but hopefully will discover more about it soon. I'd like to know how to do the whole accounting and stuff on here as someone else said before.
    Grab one of the campaign frameworks I mentioned above and poke around. A lot of people have already created a bunch of macros for various game systems (D&D 3.5, D&D 4, Savage Worlds, ShadowRun, WOD, and others). I use the one for D&D 3.5/PF.

    Of course, this trades one demon for another, since now you'll need to learn the framework! But this applies to any software you might use.

    On a side note, MapTools rocks the mapmaking world like DungeonForge wishes they could.
    Heh-heh...

    Quote Originally Posted by wrathgon View Post
    hmmm anytime i got a problem i got the lead designer on my msn, and just msg him, if he is there he has always fixed any problems, his msn is open to the pulbic you should try to contact him am sure he would help you to get it to work
    Well, I wouldn't recommend that in general. I'm sure Trevor doesn't mind, but the guy is busy! And at some point, an IM becomes something he's doing besides working on MapTool!!

    Quote Originally Posted by wrathgon View Post
    i been running a game for 6 months i am in UK all my players in US, we had some problems but its not unplayable.
    Networking problems in MapTool are usually problems on the individual's computer, but they don't have any applications that really stress their networking subsystem so they don't know they have a problem until they try MapTool.

    Seriously, most problems are people not understanding what port forwarding is or how to configure it. This is mostly a problem for University students who can't set their campus network to allow incoming connections. Fortunately, anyone in the group can be the server (the GM doesn't have to be the host). Most port forwarding problems can be solved by the user properly configuring their router(s) or by using a VPN solution such as Hamachi. Both are covered in the MapTool Networking FAQ (I know because I wrote the FAQ).

    just to point out, the macros are what the users created until the this build is done, when they start working on the real marco lang, the one that has been created will be scrapped. Just some people could not wait and took it a pond themselves to add something in till the feature is worked on. as far as i understand it
    MapTool has a custom macro language that has been built up over time and it's rather ugly and has numerous quirks. But MapTool 1.4 will have a javascript engine integrated so that a real programming language can be used. This will be a huge boon for MapTool and users alike.

    I love both programs, and have ran good camps on both. Open is quick and dirty, maptool is elegant and frustrating.
    Wow, I'm sorry to hear that you've been frustrated by MapTool! At the forums we have helped dozens of people fix their networking problems and get a server up and running.

    Keep in mind that many users don't create their own macros at all, but just use one of the aforementioned frameworks (many of which have "character sheets" to make them even easier to use!).
    Last edited by Elordan; 06-08-2009 at 10:23 PM.
    Darkness Falls: Elordan White-eyes, Cleric 8 of Io
    Crimson Throne: GM

    I will use "Azhrei_FJE" on DracoRat's Vent server as GM and "Elordan" as a player.
    And "GM" or "Elordan" in MapTool, as appropriate.

  6. #16
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    I gotta say thanks for the post, Elordan!! I really like MapTool as a software. It is a very nice looking software and it has a lot of features.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elordan View Post
    The install nightmare is why I gave up on OpenRPG. I'm no slouch with computers but I never did get it working.
    That is too bad. Maybe with the new release you can get back into it. As the current lead dev one main goal is to make OpenRPG as bug free as it can be. In 1.7.8 there are three known issues, two of which are fixed in the release candidate. Another big goal is to make OpenRPG as linux like as I can. This means I am welcoming forks. If you want to glean updates from Open, you can!! All I am asking is you just specify your version is different.

    But is there any active development happening on it? MapTool strives to produce a release every few weeks (although to be honest, the lead developer just had his fourth child about a week ago and has been understandably preoccupied lately!).
    That is cool that you did not know I was lead dev over there. I've been holding it down for awhile trying to get a really stable release in the making. I have heard good things so far, and not many bad things either.
    I ate your Death Knell.
    The Traipse Movement
    Please show your support for Traipse OpenRPG http://www.facebook.com/MadMathLabs
    Send me Traipse OpenRPG Ideas, Bugs, Complaints, Praises here: https://getsatisfaction.com/mml
    mmmm. Death Knell is crunchy good.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by adamx20 View Post
    That is too bad. Maybe with the new release you can get back into it. As the current lead dev one main goal is to make OpenRPG as bug free as it can be. In 1.7.8 there are three known issues, two of which are fixed in the release candidate.
    It may deserve another look then. Thanks for the update.

    Another big goal is to make OpenRPG as linux like as I can. This means I am welcoming forks. If you want to glean updates from Open, you can!! All I am asking is you just specify your version is different.
    Heh, don't be in such a hurry to encourage forks! It wreaks havoc with the user community because of all the confusion. Especially when one person fixes Bug A and another fixes Bug B and then the user base has to choose which bug to put up with.

    That is cool that you did not know I was lead dev over there. I've been holding it down for awhile trying to get a really stable release in the making. I have heard good things so far, and not many bad things either.
    I think the last time I tried it was back around 1.6.<something>, maybe 1.6.4? Or 1.6.7?

    On the GM side I could use the very primitive map in DM Genie for my local group, but no networking in DM Genie so not useful at all for online stuff. I started with MapTool way back in the 1.1 releases and have grown with it since then. Being able to both contribute code and speak to the main dev on the forums and in PMs has been a huge draw for me. It means the stuff I want to see implemented has a good chance. Right now I'm leading a discussion on a new permission framework: what permissions do players need to the map, tokens, objects, and anything else, and which of those permissions are ones that the GM needs to be able to enable/disable at will. It's a big topic but one that has to be decided so that the 1.4 series can lay the foundation properly instead of patching the existing hodge-podge.

    I don't know that I'll have much time in the near future, but I'll take a look at OpenRPG again when I get a chance. Probably not until early August. Thanks again for the post.
    Darkness Falls: Elordan White-eyes, Cleric 8 of Io
    Crimson Throne: GM

    I will use "Azhrei_FJE" on DracoRat's Vent server as GM and "Elordan" as a player.
    And "GM" or "Elordan" in MapTool, as appropriate.

  8. #18
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    "One table to rule them all, one table to find them, one table to bring them to open source and bind them." That is my new OpenRPG dev motto. It's not too sinister is it?
    I ate your Death Knell.
    The Traipse Movement
    Please show your support for Traipse OpenRPG http://www.facebook.com/MadMathLabs
    Send me Traipse OpenRPG Ideas, Bugs, Complaints, Praises here: https://getsatisfaction.com/mml
    mmmm. Death Knell is crunchy good.

  9. #19
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    Well i gave up on open when it keep crashing on me and there was no support on the boards to help, had to leave two games cause could not get it to work have not been back since
    Testing a new d20 system taking best of pathfinder, Iron heroes and Arcane Evolved to make a well balanced system, looking for play testers.
    http://www.thetangledweb.net/forums/...ead.php?t=4865
    PCs
    Sark in Elordan game

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