So, yesterday I ran my first game using Shmeppy, and all and all, it went pretty well. I enjoyed using it, and I liked that I could put about the same or more detail on the map than I would at physical table without spending hours on it. (I tend to be very persnickety about getting features accurate and regular, so even going for a low level of fidelity would take me a couple hours) There was a bit of a learning curve for both me and my players, but that got mostly smoothed out by the end of the session I think.
Some things I noticed:
Players repeatedly dropped their character tokens into the fog of war and needed to be rescued so much that it became a bit of an in joke by the end of the session. While it did slow down play a little bit, it wasn’t the end of the world. I’m not really sure if there’s a good way to fix this besides designing maps to have less FOW. Maybe some way to mark tokens as always visible?
No one paid much attention to distance, in or out of combat. I guess it’s not too weird, given the party is nearly all ranged (5 out of 7), and we never really payed much attention to it when we were meeting in person, but I figured that people might focus on it more.
When having the map open to half the screen rather than full screen, the connected players box could get a bit in the way. It might be nice if there was a way to minimize it
I’m sure there’s other things, but that’s all I can really think of at the moment. Barring all of my players being slammed with school work and life, I’m going to be running another session here next week and am looking forward to it.
Oh, and if anyone’s interested here’s the map of the dungeon after they cleared it:
Thank you for writing this up! I’ve moved this into the #features-bugs category since it’s more feedback than show-and-tell (which is what #gallery is intended for). But you’re definitely welcome to make a #gallery post as well if you’d like to.
meta.discourse.org has a category that’s very similar to what I intend for #gallery that they label as “praise”. I wonder if that would be a clearer category title, because a “gallery” could be a gallery of anything .
In regards to the specific feature-work you wondered about:
Players can hit the undo button when this happens and their token will return to where it just was.
I’d be interested to hear whether this ends up being an acceptable solution, and whether your players have any insight as to why it didn’t come to mind as a solution.
I think I could directly hammer at this (fairly common) use-case by making a little tutorial-tip appear when a player moves their token into some Fog of War telling them what just happened and suggesting hitting undo. But tutorial-tips are fairly clunky and annoying, so I hope there’s a better way.
If you click the top of the players box (where it says _ connected peers) the box will be collapsed.
The only hint that that’s possible is some mouse-over effects (cursor change and color change). I bet I could add a more visible hint.
Yeah, that’s fair. It wasn’t all feedback, so I wasn’t quite sure where to put it. Though for a more show-and-tell focused gallery, you could just call it show-and-tell, as that gets the point across. Or maybe shmepping-and-tell.
That… Would make sense. Honestly, it didn’t occur to me that players actually had the power to undo stuff on the map. I had that filed under as an editing tool for GM’s only, and I’m pretty sure most of my players were thinking the same way. Next time I get the chance, I’ll ask them why they didn’t try that, as I’m a bit curious.
Yeah that wasn’t particularly obvious, as the connected peers bit doesn’t quite look like something you can click. Maybe if there was a button?
I thought about this and came up with four ways, with the latter inspired by each former. These are essentially in my order of preference, with the latter being better.
Block players from putting tokens into Fog of War. This would work, but is a bit heavy-handed.
Put resistance at the edge of Fog of War. So when a player starts pulling a token into Fog of War, there’s a delay before the token actually enters.
Snap to non-Fog-of-War. If a player is dropping close to non-FoW and have moved the token a large distance and not had the cursor very still for a few moments before the drop (or the zoom is far out), drop right outside FoW instead. Do not repeat this on the next movement if done shortly after the previous one (to allow players to actually get inside FoW if they really want to.)
When a token is dropped into Fog of War, have it fade into the fog (slow alpha fade) rather than just immediately drop. Until it is fully faded, it can still be grabbed by the player.
#1 would probably be easy to implement, but it’s icky in that it removes the capability of players to do something they may sometimes want to do.
#2 would only work well when moving into Fog of War, not when moving through. It would avoid dropping the token in FoW by mistake when you meant to move it right up to FoW, and would provide a visual jerk to make the player pay attention for moving further into FoW. It would not deal with the player trying to move through FoW and dropping right outside, and by mistake dropping inside instead.
#3 was originally a workaround for the “move through Fog of War” case for #2, but I think it will work well by itself.
Downside: The players will sometimes have to re-do movements to make them happen the way they wanted. The feature will need tuning of the parameters to make it feel natural. If you display the token with the snap applied, so when the player wants to get into the FoW they have to hold until the token is shown exactly where they want it to be, that will help with that.
#4 would generally look very good, and it would hopefully be discoverable through the panicking player just trying to grab hold of it. It is my favourite of all these suggestions.
Downside: We’re trying to make features discoverable, and this isn’t perfect for that either.
Never even occurred to me to tell the players to undo a move into fog of war… My players had the same issue of losing their tokens. Preventing them from moving into fog of war seems like a reasonable solution. I wouldn’t even expect an error message, just drop the token back where it was. It still does potentially let the players experiment by trying to drop the token all over to sort of “map out” what’s covered in fog, though…
As another potential idea, could tokens themselves be painted with the fog of war tool, instead of just squares? Then you could make it so tokens are not impacted by map-fog, and are always visible no matter where they are placed… unless they are fogged directly. I like being able to hide enemy tokens behind fog of war, but there’s no technical difference between an enemy and a player token… so just fogging the token itself might be enough to get the job done.