Played my first online game using Shmeppy last Friday! Overall: huge success. I love it, my players love it, I almost want to start more online games to continue using it after the pandemic is over and my regular games return to being in-person.
A few things I want to note that came up either during the game or in the course of myself creating the map.
- This is probably my biggest feature request and the one I’d most like to see: Downloading maps. I spent several hours in shmeppy drawing the map of the village my players are currently in; I’ll throw an image in here since I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.
In order to create that png I had to take about 10 screenshots and stitch them together in photoshop. I would love even a simple a “download as image” option somewhere for these maps at the very least. But more so, and I have no real idea how complex this would be from a programming perspective, I wish there were an option to download something as some sort of .shmeppy file which could then be shared and re-uploaded to shmeppy. This way users could back up their maps to their own computers in case of accidents, and also allow users to share maps they’ve created. I think this would be wonderfully helpful. Especially since while this map is from my own homebrew world/campaign, I’m also running Storm King’s Thunder for another group. I know you have potential plans for uploading background map images, which would be great, but personally I would actually prefer a way for users to share shmeppy maps they’ve created. If one person has put the work into recreating the Storm King’s Thunder maps in Shmeppy it would be great if they could share them with other users.
Zoom to full extents. As you can see, I created a fairly huge map. I often run large-scale events which require large maps, and one of the things I love about shmeppy is that I was able to do that and have the entire town right there at my fingertips. Actually way easier than trying to do it in-person, when you’re balancing battle-map scaled maps with trying to have something that shows an entire town still fit on the coffee table. However, Shmeppy can only zoom out so far before it stops, so I and my players were only ever able to see a section of town at once. This made it a little more of a struggle to explain what was going on in other areas of town, and make sure they’re all looking in the right place, than if they could simple zoom the the full map extents and follow my laser pointer. Also it’s just nice to be able to see a map like this at full scale, and I wasn’t able to do so until I stitched multiple screenshots together in photoshop.
Duplicate tokens. During combat, I created duplicates of everyone’s tokens to create an on-screen initiative tree. This worked great, but it took a while for me to eye-drop the colours of everyone’s individual tokens to duplicate them. Maybe the planned revamps to the eye-dropper would help with this, but something to think about.
Layered fog of war? Honestly this is more of a comment than feature request because I don’t don’t know if there’s a way to to it that wouldn’t be too complicated and break Shmeppy’s simplicity guidelines. But as you can see on my map, I’ve been using fill colours to fill in the background of my maps - show grass/trees, better delineate cliffs and different elevations, etc. I really like how this works for maps, but it’s a bit of a problem when I need to implement fog of war, since FOW hides everything; background colour included. I managed to make it work this time, since I just hid the entirety of the dragon’s lair at the bottom of the map under an FOW until my players started exploring it, but I had no way to hide anything inside the town or anywhere else under FOW without it being really obvious that there’s a hole.
I don’t know if a “fill with background colour” option would work, where the colour is still visible through FOW, or what options there might be there, but I haven’t actually thought of a solution I think is viable for Shmeppy. Just wanted to throw that out there in case it sparks an idea.
As I said, overall: huge success! I look forward to introducing my Storm King’s Thunder players to it this weekend, and I’ll be very happy to pay for a membership once you move on from the free access period.