Uploading a map

I imagine this isn’t a priority at all, but I love the way shmeppy works for my games however I have a gargantuan stash of ready made maps sitting on my hdd.

Will there ever be a feature to simply upload a map and overlay a grid to it?

I love how simple everything is and that it’s a brutal focus, however I do feel that it’d be a great update to an already precious product.

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It’s likely that this feature will be added eventually. I think it’ll be a lovely addition to Shmeppy.

But you’re right, it’s low in my list of tasks to tackle, so don’t hold your breath :sweat_smile:.

It actually used to be a high-priority feature, but after giving it a lot of thought earlier this year its priority dropped a lot. For those who are curious I’ll try to share some of my thinking around why it’s a low-priority feature…

Why uploading background images is a low-priority feature

If I implement this feature, I’ll be expanding Shmeppy into a new market: I won’t just be targeting people who are looking for an online wet-erase mat, but also people who are looking for a way to use pre-made maps with some fog of war and tokens.

My ads’ tagline of “Your wet-erase mat. Online.” won’t be all-encompassing anymore. I’ll want some different ads to get at this new market, or I’d need to tweak my ads to target both markets (perhaps by embracing a more general “it’s a virtual tabletop” statement).

Adding a feature that targets a separate market is (in my mind) equivalent to making a new product within Shmeppy. This feature would be very integrated into Shmeppy, and it’d probably feel great. But it’s a new product.

This is likely a good thing to do eventually because it’ll let me reach more people once I’ve reached as many as I can within the market I’m currently targetting. But I think the market of people looking for an online wet-erase mat is big enough to sustain me financially on its own, I just think I need to make Shmeppy better for that market.

Like when I compare this feature to something that I have prioritized highly like Mobile Support, it’s obvious which is more important. Mobile Support will help many of my current users, it doesn’t muddy the waters of Shmeppy’s marketing at all, it’s been requested by plenty of people who’ve checked out Shmeppy casually, it should even make Shmeppy feel more like a wet-erase mat since a touch interface will be closer to using a wet-erase pen than using a mouse does.

There’s a lot of things to do (like Mobile Support) that are just more important.

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Are you sure you need to take the thinking that far? Sure, uploading map backgrounds could expand your market, but only if you really wanted it to - and it doesn’t seem like you do. The addition of a feature doesn’t necessarily make everyone in a different market come and look at yours for alternatives - you’ve got to do all of the branding and positioning you mentioned in your post.

I’m only saying this because I just discovered the tool and it’s almost exactly what I was looking for. A quick way to whiteboard/wetboard a map together with movable tokens and essentially just theater of the mind with a visual aid. I can’t stand all the complexity and crap that Roll20 or another virtual tabletop tries to inject. Talk about heavy and not user friendly.

I think OP makes a good point in saying that many folks have map images easily accessible, and it’s not difficult to quickly find one that works. Often I’ll just open the PDFs I have of the sourcebooks and grab a screenshot.

Furthermore, you could make the argument that not being able to upload map backgrounds actually decreases Schmeppy’s efficiency. I’m running Storm King’s Thunder right now, which comes with loads of maps, and I can tell you that I’m not looking to recreate those maps in the Schmeppy grid which could take a long time. Certainly compared to a quick upload.

I’m in the current target market for Schmeppy, but I was disappointed when I couldn’t upload a map to use as a background. I really don’t want all of the crazy stuff that Roll20 can do, and I actually hope that adding this feature would not force you into appealing to the Virtual Tabletop audience.

Anyway TLDR please reprioritize! I would love this :smiley:

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Great points @Vexir. Thank you for sharing them.

Furthermore, you could make the argument that not being able to upload map backgrounds actually decreases Schmeppy’s efficiency. I’m running Storm King’s Thunder right now, which comes with loads of maps, and I can tell you that I’m not looking to recreate those maps in the Schmeppy grid which could take a long time. Certainly compared to a quick upload.

This is super true and is why uploading maps is an accepted feature. It’s way annoying to have to decide whether to ditch Shmeppy for another tool or try and draw a premade map with Shmeppy’s drawing tools (they sure aren’t made for replicating an already built map…).

I’ve had the same thought and I have been trying to prioritize this feature more highly… but it’s tricky.

Anyway TLDR please reprioritize! I would love this :smiley:

Long-Term Roadmap Snapshot places this feature on a timeline of happening within this year, which is fairly fast.

Some of the other features that are marked before it I’d say are more important. Like the optimization work that I’ve lumped into mobile support (and that I’ve been putting out releases for) really needs to happen. It’s clearly more important than background images.

But some of the other things I’d say are not more important (like access controls could certainly wait).

I’m worried about doing it sooner because it’ll be a hugely time-consuming feature to implement though, and then an expensive one to maintain (in both time and money). So I want to transition out of early access very shortly after making this feature available.

And if I haven’t hit my usage goals by that time, switching out of early access won’t be a good idea because it’ll limit my growth too much. I’m counting on the userbase being big enough for word-of-mouth’s exponential effect to carry it forward even after Shmeppy is gated behind a paywall (so-to-speak).

I keep seeing posts on Reddit that are like “I just want a tool I can upload a map to and move tokens around” and it’s a bummer I can’t point them to Shmeppy yet. But I feel like I’m getting there…

Makes total sense. Thanks for the reply. The great thing about the D&D community is that when we find something great we evangelize it like nobody’s business.

Can you clarify why you can’t point people to it on Reddit yet? If you’re looking to hit exponential growth eventually, you’d need to start building users now, and every little bit helps. You can even consider a feature where you give out a month of free use or a discount to anyone who spreads the tool to other people. A paywall might actually increase your growth because people now have an incentive to share.

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Oh I’m totally pointing people to Shmeppy on Reddit. All of my marketing efforts are pointed at reddit in fact, like I have ads running on Reddit too (if you haven’t seen my ad’s comment section yet, I encourage a visit, it’s very entertaining).

I just mean that when someone asks explicitly for a tool where they can upload an image and then place tokens on top of it (which people ask for fairly regularly) I don’t point them at Shmeppy yet because Shmeppy wouldn’t serve them well.

Maptool or Roll20 are better options right now for that use case.

You know I’ve had the very same thought and have wondered about it at length :thinking:. I’m also unsure about what a paywall would do to growth, and it’s a hard scenario to test because if I pull the trigger and make Shmeppy paid, it’s kinda hard to hit the undo button.

I’ve been planning for the worst (paywall dramatically hurting Shmeppy’s growth), but my hail marry plan for Shmeppy if I can’t get the growth I need and I’m out of time is to make it paid and do a bunch of promos and hope for the best.

Also if my current plans work out and it turns out that a paywall helps Shmeppy’s growth rather than hurts it, Shmeppy will not only pay me just enough to survive (balancing my personal income and expenses), but I might actually make money. Which’d be fucking dope :sparkles:.

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For sure. Keep building a community! Thanks for being engaged.

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I know I’m late but I’d like to jump in. After hosting several games, I’m really craving this feature. The major utility this feature would provide for me is tracing existing maps that I hand draw or get from other sources and adding a texture layer underneath the interactive blocks and tokens.

Also, Shmeppy is a product I would definitely pay for. I dislike roll20.

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I just want to back up Greyson here. I completely understand that you want to manage the scope of your product, but I would looooooove to be able to bring in outside maps. The simplicity of Shmeppy makes it a godsend for my games, adding the ability for me to snip a procedurally generated map and drop it under schmeppy would make it unparalleled.

Thank you!

EDIT: Just saw you may well be planning this right now, I’m very glad!

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Hi John and all. First day on Shmeppy and while I have a lot of trying and testing, etc. I have to say that Shmeppy is sooo close to being the grail for me. I really dislike how complicated R20, FG and Foundry are. What will get me hooked on Shmeppy is the background map. A background map, and more interesting tokens would, for me, strike a great balance between Shmeppys simplicity and a more interesting visual experience of my players. Thanks for the great tool and community, and I look forward to what comes next. : )

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just wanted to throw in that i’m hyped about the possibility of getting this feature!

Uploading images is a low priority to me. I don’t know if I would be able to NOT use it. A wonderful part of the shmeppy aesthetic is theatre of the mind. Dots and lines leave so much to the imagination. Dots on beautiful images less so. Fancy asset management is not part of shmeppy and therefore tonnes of time is saved not managing said assets.

Would it still be a wet erase board online?

Agree. Dots on a picture is hard to work with, it scars my soul. Like music on a crappy system, rather be without it.

That said I could see a map with circles/and or tokens to show ‘the big picture’, a grid w FoW for ‘hex crawling’ would be outstanding. But a feature I really need and that I have tried really hard to find a good alternative for - handouts.

Imported to Shmeppy, link in the chat on whatever service you use - et voilà. Pointing things out with the laser when discussing - bam! - another great function in one and the same schmeature (Shmeppy feature)

I totally understand that server space costs even when pictures are compressed at upload, things could also lag in the browser. But hey, worth wishing for :smile:

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Shmeature creature! Shmeppy is so solid, focused and well made. It took me a while to realise that I want this focus on all my gaming tools. Shmeppy aesthetic and design applied to dice tools and journaling. Yum yum yum. Can we clone the dev?

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I’d probably like to use this feature to:

  1. Quickly be able to whip up some backup maps (appropriating maps from the internet, etc. and using those as an as-is map) in case the party goes off in a direction I didn’t anticipate

  2. Create a map by tracing an existing map (or Frankenstein different maps w/ tracing) although I’m not not sure if the feature would actually allow this.

In general these use cases would be in the spirit of having a digital map that can be created quickly.

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