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  1. #41
    Zacchaeus's Avatar
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    Dec 2014
    Quote Originally Posted by Lo Zeno View Post
    Respectfully, etc
    If you can suggest a better tool for collecting suggestions please add it to the wish list
    If there is something that you would like to see in Fantasy Grounds that isn't currently part of the software or if there is something you think would improve a ruleset then add your idea here http://fgapp.idea.informer.com/

  2. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Zacchaeus View Post
    So, whilst I am not saying that any of this is impossible, I am saying that it would be very very difficult and very very time consuming and very very costly.
    I don't think anyone is saying it wouldn't be difficult to do, or time consuming. I think what we are saying is that despite what the cost might be in getting a portable design implemented that it has a solid chance of being recouped. Indeed my opinion is that if it's not made then there's a chance that the ultimate cost could well be the death of Fantasy Grounds as that constant new customer base isn't replenished and even current customers (which has been the case before for me in the past, mind you, I'm just trying some workarounds to make things work despite this limitation with my group because I like how mature of a product FGU is overall) get pushed to other platforms because that's simply where things are heading. Maybe it's not visible to the SmiteWorks bottom line right now, but I think without having something like this solidly in the development plan it likely will soon enough.

    That's not to say SmiteWorks isn't working on something like this, only that we have no indication of it publicly and thus no idea if it's really being considered or not, is all. If my current workarounds don't convince my players of the usefulness of this do I stick with FGU knowing a portable alternative is in the works, or if there is no announcement on it do I stick around hoping it will happen (and for the past several years that hasn't seemed to have been on the radar,) or do I just say to heck with it and just fully invest elsewhere instead? I think that's the big question I've been considering and hoping to hear something more official from SmiteWorks on, and I can't help but think I'm not the only one.
    Lenny Zimmermann
    Metairie, LA

  3. #43
    Also just to counter some of these:

    Quote Originally Posted by Zacchaeus View Post
    It isn't just a case of slapping the client on a server and everybody can join it with whatever device they have lying around. It would require a substantial re-write of much of the underlying code; possibly even having to re-write everything in a different programming language altogether. You would somehow have to manage to squash down something (which I require two 32" screens to use) into some tiny space, and still somehow be readable and useable.
    Not necessarily true. While the current presentation method is such that, particularly for a GM, you'd want multiple screens, it's obviously not true that that level of real estate is absolutely needed. Other VTT formats that are portable still make due and FoundryVTT is probably the closest to what could potentially be done for FGU with a server and browsed client configuration. The tough parts there are mainly two-fold, revising the user interface (which, TBH, is a separate wish-list item I've seen brought up with some regularity for at least a decade, honestly) and coding the presentation layer for web... the latter part potentially usable with existing software by creating the API to let FGU be a middle-tier application layer to an existing web server platform. Not necessarily easy, mind you, but not necessarily as complex as your suggesting, either, nor requiring a full rebuild with a completely different programming language.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zacchaeus View Post
    THe curent uI just wouldn't be suitable for that and since most UI elements are handled by the ruleset you'd also need to re-write all of those.
    Probably true, but those already iterate quite a lot. Just look at the forums for how often changes to FGU affect Forge extensions which show how much the underlying FGU changes are already taking place in those rulesets. Sure, they would need work, but not necessarily a complete re-write.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zacchaeus View Post
    Then you'd need to look at how anyone could install the software on their phone or tablet. That probably means getting it onto the Apple store or whatever other store you download software for phones and tablet from. That would, I think, mean the end of the free demo. .
    Also I'd have to disagree with this. With a server/web-host model you just use a web browser. No biggie and your free demo is, as is often the case now, dependent on the GM licensing. It also doesn't prevent the GM from getting the free demo version to playing around with the "server side" of FGU to try things out. If a client seemed preferable over something browser-based that also doesn't prevent any kind of free demo usage in the least. Plenty of programs on the Apple and Google Play stores have free and paid versions, that's just not a problem at all.

    I'm not saying all of those things aren't potentially tough or time-consuming or costly, but those things are true for almost anything a company does and they are not necessarily as tough as the kind of "worst case scenario" you seem to be offering. It's good to understand the potential worst cases, of course, so all credit, but honestly most of the negative posts here go straight to that, it's kind of a fallacy of extremes. I don't think anyone here is saying it would be easy, but I also don't think it is as completely hard as some have made it out to be. I could be completely wrong about that, of course! But I do think the truth, as it often does, lies somewhere between those extremes.
    Lenny Zimmermann
    Metairie, LA

  4. #44
    I agree with Zarlor.

    I'd like to echo that what is being proposed does NOT necessarily mean a complete move away from the current architecture.

    There have been threads where people have got FG running on AWS in the past I believe eg

    That was for Classic, but I don't believe it should be horrendously difficult to do for FGU either- after all, AWS boxes are just computers sitting in a data centre rather than in your game room.

    You could already get a group of players connecting to their individual player instances if they all ran those on AWS too, using Remote Desktop or some similar connection. So without a huge amount of effort a techie group could probably get a six player plus GM game running without FG installed on any one of their computers- just all connecting to their own individual instance via Remote Desktop.

    For sure making this possible for a non-techie group who don't have any idea how AWS works would not be practical this way today!

    It's only a two steps from getting FGU running in the cloud to being able to access it via mobile devices- presenting the running FG software via web interface so people can connect to it via browser instead of Remote Desktop. That's probably even be possible today using Remote Desktop Mobile or similar.

    That's not to say this would be a user-friendly customer-ready experience. But the foundation of running instances of FGU in the cloud is already there, with LUA, Unity, all the current everything unchanged.

    If there were to become a compelling reason why we all had to do it this way, setting up some sort of brokered service to spin up a GM instance and the right number of player instances would take work, probably a ton of work, but I don't think it would be unfeasible.

    I'm not underestimating the work to change that from a tech-head homebrew AWS solution to a robust consumer product.

    But as far as I can see none of that requires any change to the underlying FGU implementation.

    As Zarlor says, it's much more likely to require implementing a presentation layer for the web so the remote FGU instance can display itself gracefully via HTTPS rather than Remote Desktop.

    If you don't want to deal with cloud hosting, you could implement it by allowing the GM's machine to spin up extra player instances for players to connect to given their own individual URL brokered connection; that would require FGU to be able to gracefully run multiple player instances on the GM's machine rather than one plus the GM instance as now - more work, but maybe not deal-breaking. (I don't know how integral to FGU's model it is that it's one instance per machine - I don't think desperately so because IIRC the problem is multiple instances trying to write to logfiles etc at the same time, not any fundamental code limitations. That sounds like a lot of fiddly work to revise, but doesn't require a change from LUA or Unity or anything on that scale AFAIK).

    The deal-breaking thing will be the interface once you've connected, given that the whole point is to try to give access to players who are using devices without mouse or physical keyboard. It's that touch-friendly interface that is conceptually the one that requires the most change to FGU. Because right now even if you set everything up on AWS and connected using an iPad via Remote Desktop mobile, I strongly suspect the user experience would suck. FGU uses right click a lot, and key-modifier clicks for some fundamental operations.

    That's the thing where FGU will require fundamental change to be usable. Even a simple translation of long press gesture to right click would go a lot of the way towards addressing this, and providing some non-keyboard alternatives for very frequent operations like targeting another token on the map.

    In short: the proposal is not to rewrite FGU in Javascript or anything like that.

    It's to allow players (specifically, not the GM) to connect to the GM's hosted game via a tablet by passing through the information from a remotely-running FGU instance of the player client via a web presentation layer, and revising the UI so that they can do most of the fundamental operations of FGU when they do so.

    That could be done by having the remote-running player instance on the GM's machine, or on another machine eg spinning up something in the cloud when a player wants to connect to game that way.

    Sure, one could deliver a superior experience for these users via a dedicated app. For phones, that might be the way to go: you'd very likely need to tab or paginate somehow to quickly swap between map, character sheets and their tabs, notes, other stuff popped up by the GM. For Tablets with a decent sized screen however it might very well be as useable as FGU currently is on modest laptops so long as the touch-friendly UI was provided.

    Even if one was considering writing a dedicated app for iOs/Android you'd probably at least consider going down the HTML5/web presentation layer route rather than a dedicated Unity app with install and all the development overhead it would entail.

    Now maybe a half-way house implementation like this - the current FGU running in a browser window with touch modified UI - would not be enough to make the game playable for those without computers. Maybe it just would be too much work. But I've already got prospective players who I'm probably going to be hosting via Roll20, Foundry or Discord screen sharing because they don't have a PC of high enough spec and don't see the need for one. So I really think it's worth giving serious consideration.

    Cheers, Hywel

  5. #45
    Morenu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Pennsylvania, USA
    I am not sure what everybody else is looking for, web, browser, wise, but me personally, I would like to see something that would let an established player access a game when they’re not in front of their computer. In other words to be able to do some basic sayings from their character sheet so they could join the session but the DM or maybe another player would have to do certain things for them.

    Perhaps aimed at TT use as well, more of an aid.

    I can see that attempting to create a fully functioning FGU experience vie a browser would be basically a whole new program, most likely more than the move from fgc to fgu. But something in between should be doable.
    My First Mod PFRPG - Feats Extended, Forum or PM with any ideas/errors/suggestions or Feats you choose to help with.

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  6. #46
    Zacchaeus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Indeed. I made the post in a sense to generate discussion, because I'm not a programmer and therefore I have no idea how any of this would work; or indeed what you'd need to do at a minimum to add browser support.

    I don't play games on tablets or phones but my grandchildren do so I do know that this is a generational thing (heck my children all use Xboxes and stuff - something I never got into either). So I can't really imagine FG on a phone or a tablet. But if other VTTs have done it (albeit they actually started as web based and so have an advantage in that sense), then FG might well one day have to do it as well.

    Personally I think maybe the licensing thing will be the hardest stumbling block. But who knows, we'll have to wait and see. For now, the devs are aware and they'll probably have a much better idea of what the future might hold than I do.
    If there is something that you would like to see in Fantasy Grounds that isn't currently part of the software or if there is something you think would improve a ruleset then add your idea here http://fgapp.idea.informer.com/

  7. #47
    P.S. I would like to know how Syrinscape have found the move from requiring players to be running an instance of an installed player app vs. Syrinscape running in the browser. I had to implement a Discord bot to make using Syrinscape low enough overhead for the majority of my players to use it. The bot broke at some point, so I swapped to sending them the URL and getting them to run Syrinscape in the browser - and everyone's happy enough to do it.

    So anecdotally for my two regular groups plus some one-shots, reducing the overhead from "install the software at this link" to "click here and run it in the browser" has made all the difference to player uptake.

    Which is another point to consider even for those players who ARE running FGU on computers- getting newbies on board will be so much easier via one-click URL if there's a decent web interface. Even if they ARE using keyboard, mouse and large monitor. Even if you can later encourage them to install FG themselves (eg on the promise of improved performance).
    Last edited by HywelPhillips; June 11th, 2023 at 19:07.

  8. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Zacchaeus View Post
    If you can suggest a better tool for collecting suggestions please add it to the wish list
    If I had an idea of what's the budget that SW can allocate to such a tool, I'd do it :P because most of them cost money, and because despite my opinion of the wish list, I do use it since it's at the moment the only tool to use.
    But in a general sense, proactive requests for feedback are better than a passive static link to a wishlist that no new user knows exists until they come to the forums with a problem and another regular user reveals to them that the wishlist exists. A regular survey implemented with Google Forms, say for example a link that once a month is advertised on the home screen of the FGU launcher, would already give a much more reliable result. If the wishlist sent email notifications to the users who already voted each time there was a new proposal, it would already be a slightly more reliable tool. A system like Wizards of the Coast's feedback surveys for OneDND is more reliable that the wishlist. Anything that proactively "pings" users to remind them to update their feedback, really, would give more reliable results.

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