As someone who either was born to late, in the wrong continent or had the wrong friends, it took me a rather long time to get the Dungeons & Dragons “fever”. Pen and Paper was a term I maybe heard first a couple of years ago – in a TV show rather than “actual” conversations.
Since then, I was part of a mini Pathfinder campaign that lasted about four sessions and watched a couple of online runs of both Dungeons and Dragons (5th edition) and a Shadowrun play. (A list of links follows at the end.) All of them were played with a online tool called “roll20” which simluates dice rolls, character conditions, initiative order as well as an actual map of the play with player positions, distances between players/objects and everything else the DM wants to show or hide.
The system is great in itself and made better with voice or even video call to get a real “feel” for the interactions between the players. roll20 does have a chat but typing is slow and written words rarely convey mood in the intented way. Having a twitch chat “help” or interactive with while playing hugely raises the fun levels but is, of course, reserved for better known streamers and YouTubers.
But that is only partly what I wanted to talk about in this post. What I want is the next step, the next level so to speak of virtual dice. I want both turn-based RPGs in VR and systems like roll20 that allow random players to design and use custom maps for their own plays using different rule sets fitting to their setting and “house rules”. (I also want other, more “modern” RPGs, but that’s not the point here.)
Just imagine, if you will, your next Dungeons & Dragons campaign not being played with tried and true pen and paper but in Virtual Reality. Designing actually creating your alter ego in game, equipping their gear only to stand face to face with a fowl and menacing zombie, skeleton or even a gigantic dragon.
The DM, of course, would have a complete different experience with a free moving camera, judging and narrating the scenario from a god’s view and mimeing the different NPCs and villains. Each player could and even should be able to look around in a limited out-of-character way. To be able to judge distances between them and their enemy, the status of the other characters if in sight and other stuff. In short: They shouldn’t be stuck to do nothing while waiting their turn. Maybe a small to-down map they can pop-up would suffice or other HUD elements to help them out.
Right now, I wish I had the knowledge, time and money to program one or the other myself but as I’m far from being a programmer or any other expert needed for game development, I just hope, ANYONE does this kind of stuff in the (near) future. I don’t care if they “steal” my idea, just do it and make it a GOOD game or plattform 😉
And here the the promised links: