Virtual Tabletop/ Gameboard

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    Greg Craill

    If we're all allowed 2 cents ...

    DnD Beyond has it's own format, layout, fonts, colours, menu design etc. To integrate with a 3rd party VTT would mean switching the user from the DDB "styles" to the other set, and that would be detrimental to the DDB "brand".

    I think developing in house VTT for DDB would be the best method to preserve the "feel" of the DDB customer experience. 

    I think WotC only make money by selling product, but once we have bought their product we generate no new sales unless they release "new product" for us to buy, so they will keep offloading new content for 5e until we stop buying it. At which point they will release 6e and reboot the cycle.

    DDB makes money on subscriptions and content from WotC, so to keep their systems relevant they have to update to accommodate and provide all the new content from WotC as it rolls along. Understandably this is the priority and so I am guessing a major share of dev time is spent on new product from WotC, character app development (to get functionality up to match the web view) which leaves less time for VTT (or container management - hint)

    We use Roll20 with Beyond20 plugin and that works for now.

    I would HOPE that any DDBVTT would have seamless upload of maps and content from modules with useable lighting/LOS components etc straight out of the box, and would follow the existing DDB user experience with menus and things that "just work".

    So .... we wait, hamstrung by the cashflow schemes of WotC.

    Personally I don't need new content from WotC and have not/will not buy all of their sourcebooks, and I would be happy for DDB to do a VTT ahead of new WotC content but I suspect that such an idea is outside any contractual agreement in place between the companies.

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    Sabre Runner

    urpwnd I don't see a reason why they would break it.

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    Kenneth Proven

    It's probably mentioned here already, but Foundry VTT has a great module to integrate/import D&D Beyond. Character sheet, dice rolls, monsters, etc... If anything, I feel like D&D Beyond should partner up with Foundry VTT.

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    Sabre Runner

    Really? The only one? Just so you know that Foundry already has almost complete interoperability with DDB and it works great.

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    Omair Quraishi

    Funny thing.  When this request was put in, the VTT market was not as robust as it is now.  I've been following this feature request for years now, and promoting it being upvoted.  I've since moved on from Roll20 into Foundry and loving it. 

    Having said that, if WofC changes their ToR and all of a sudden the many hardworking people that have made it possible for me to use my DDB content in Foundry aren't allowed to continue their work and/or WotC decides they want to make life harder for those who have in the absence of a good VTT from DDB (now WofC since acquisition).  Then yes there will be a problem.

    In all this time I've seen bits and pieces of things being made to support a VTT.  But honestly, none of those parts are enough for me to use it.  Encounter Builder used it once or twice then never again, Digital Dice pretty much worthless atm, Rolls in Discord (equally useless).  I've been better off using the Beyond20 addon for Chrome with Roll20 then later Foundry.

    When I upvoted for this feature, the bar was pretty low.  Make something as good as or better than Roll20 (which is garbage imo).  Now the bar is Foundry (which WotC can never reach/meet, they aren't committed enough to do something as solid and cool as Foundry).

    But there is a good chance I'd still pay for a VTT sub from DDB (now WotC) just to have content integrated together easily.

    So yep, still upvoting this request even as I see them falling further and further behind.

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    Dominic Addenbrooke

    3d VTT are  pain in the ass to use, set up, reuses.

    I personally don't have any issues. I also don't see any issue where 3d is inherently harder than a 2d solution. It's like putting together lego blocks, something I managed as a small child. I don't mean that to be super snarky, I'm just saying "no, really... it's really not that hard"

    I don't agree with the premise that working in 3d is inherently harder than 2d.

    I don't want to have to do layered CAD in my D&D hobby.

    You'll be a bit stuck then, as CAD is what you'll be doing in either case.

    It's tabletop D&D simulator, not a video game simulator.

    A tabletop is notably a 3d environment, one could easily make the argument that anything that is in 2d is not "simulating" a tabletop whatsoever (feel free to prove me wrong and show me these 2d tables). Personally, I wouldn't be nearly so pedantic, we all know what is meant contextually - an online tool to represent the visual and physical part of the game.

    All VTT's are "video games".

    Although my personal preference is for 3d, I can see (and envisage situations) where 2d would be the better option, for instance when the gaming group only has access to very basic hardware between them, or can only use a browser to run it.

    Hence why I prefer a 3rd party provider in this instance, I am not locked into either way of doing things.

    My VTT isn't locked into the one gaming system.

    Assets for the VTT can come from a variety of sources rather than one IP.

    Additionally the development time has to be considered, unless they have something heavily under wraps (they don't) it may be worth considering that Talespire became a thing about 3 years ago and hasn't come out of early access yet. Other VTT's have been around for years and are still in a state of continual ongoing development.

    Would I like a VTT system where I could buy an entire campaign and attached complete asset bundle? Heck yes.

    Does that need to be directly under the umbrella of WotC? Absolutely not and I can see advantage to not being so (I say on the site that until very recently was a 3rd party provider selling WotC content in digital format).

    A campaign pack I can buy for Talespire, or Foundry, or "insert your fav here" with full asset bundles (maps, minis, tiles etc) would be much better.

    I need DNDBeyond to do the things it does:

    Purchase and share digital content with my campaign - Check

    Manage Characters - Semi check as

    I cannot create my own Homebrew classes (and hence add 3rd party stuff)

    I cannot homebrew mundane equipment.

    These (to me) are core functions of DNDBeyond that it does not yet provide.

    I can already create custom NPC mins on HeroForge in 2 mins and have them in my game a minute later

    Knocked up in a minute and in my VTT a minute later, I don't see that sort of functionailty anytime soon.

    The VTT market (as others have mentioned) is an entirely differant ballgame today then it was at the inception of this post.

    This website should serve as example of how it is better to work with a partner (and eventually... buy them) , if I could purchase campaign packs for TaleSpire I would and WotC would get there cut just for sitting on thier hands.

    Support the top VTT solutions, I don't need them to make one. I think they are far to behind the game for that and would do much better to aquire one

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    SPE825

    When I upvoted for this feature, the bar was pretty low.  Make something as good as or better than Roll20 (which is garbage imo).  Now the bar is Foundry (which WotC can never reach/meet, they aren't committed enough to do something as solid and cool as Foundry).

    Agreed here. Having seen the recent integration of PF2E with Foundry, it looks very good. I really like the customer/fan integrations with DDB, but I mainly play online for the simple convenience. And I really like what's possible with Foundry. It's going to take more and more for me to not move to PF2E at this point as they are making the right moves for VTT support/integration. And the fact that this ticket/request is SO old is not exactly filling me with confidence. Integrating with Foundry or making a VTT of their own should have been a TOP priority during worst times of the pandemic. But it was not. 

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    Sabre Runner

    Roll20, like Democracy, is the worst system there is. Except for all the others.

    There are a lot of upcoming new VTTs and I'm sure we'll get DDB plugins for all of them but a DDB built in solution would be the best, even if it's as simple at first at Dungeon Fog is now.

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    Billy Eason

    I think that having a working public API first so that ddb content and can can be exported over to other vtt platforms would be great until such a such a time comes that ddb makes their own vtt.

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    Horus

    If DDB had the purchasing power, would anyone be adverse to their buying, integrating and rebranding one of the existing VTTs like Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds?

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    bmg50barrett

    Certainly not for me, as long as they didn't compromise Roll20's or their own integrity.

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    Jacob McLemore

    This is actually incorrect. The developer of Beyond20 is not the same person as the developer of Foundry.

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    Horus

    You're right sorry. Just double checked and the developer created Forge which is a setup tool for Foundry. My mistake.

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    Phanoko

    Hexa the Beyond20 plugin works with them.  We use the plugin with their dice, it sends the results to the VTT.  They support Roll20 and Foundry.

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    M Ryan Devlin

    I would love to see this feature

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    SevenZark (Black Lives Matter!)

    Hey all, a couple of my players pointed me to this nifty Chrome plugin. You can use it for click-to-roll features from D&D Beyond into Roll20, VTT, and others. We will now use Roll20 for battle maps/tokens, but do all character management here on D&D Beyond. The plugin also supports clicking to put item/spell/etc. descriptions into the Roll20 chat too. It basically makes Roll20's character sheets unnecessary. 

     

    https://beyond20.here-for-more.info/

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    Alastair Bailey

    So I have gone on a little adventure on dnd beyond forums today, I am very new to dnd and the hassle of having to have 3 different things, dnd beyond (because I was first directed here), then roll 20 for a vtt because covid (yay) and then having roll 20 to link them, just makes it very off putting to try and start playing dnd online, however with covid and just modern society people having friends all over the world it seems weird that they haven't pushed a vtt as a priority. Do we have any updates on vtt?

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    John Houlihan

    Didn't D&D Insider have a virtual table top like... 15 years ago? It was in beta, then they cancelled it? I don't remember if it was insider or not, but I remember it was affiliated with WotC. It was the only VTT I ever really liked. It had a very basic tile set that you could use to build dungeons and out door areas, it connected directly to the monster manual, building an encounter was as simple as adding things. It was ridiculously easy to use. A little too on the basic side, but with everything learned from other VTTs and with all the tools they have, building a vastly superior VTT would just be a matter of integrating everything DnDBeyond already has. Purchases unlock more things for your VTT (Mtof adding more foes, things like that). Start the VTT with a handful of basic tile sets, add more tile sets to the store. We're GONNA buy them, as long as it doesn't go in a dickish direction. Make the handful of basic tile sets actually good. That'll make everyone more willing to purchase other tile sets. Add "Minis" tokens for everything. Heck, I'd guess half the artwork is already there. This isn't something that won't make money, there's cash sitting on the table. The ability to go into my character sheet, build my character, add him to a campaign, play the campaign here, and not have to mess around with ANYTHING other than dndbeyond.... or maybe dndbeyond and discord for voice (I recommend staying away from voice unless you're going to do it right, do it poorly, and you've wasted time and money). People want to pay for that. Subscription numbers will go up, people playing campaigns on here that want to be able to customize their characters with ALL the options will buy more books, people will buy tile sets. *shrug* It seems worth while.

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    Anthony Riggs

    "But you are saying there shouldn't be this feature in a thread about this feature. Poor form."

    No...I am not, did not, and would NEVER say there shouldn't be this feature in a thread. I support a VTT accompanying DDB. And have said that in every post I have made on this thread. I only believe there are better ways to achieve the same goal. Please stop strawmanning my argument so you can dismiss it.

    "Your post is based on no actual informaiton on how the product is built, and it means both D&D Beyond and there vendors will be impacted when either one makes changes."

    My post is based on knowing all of the 4 basic computer programming language paradigms, and being well versed in Unity, which FGU is based on. As well as XML, which DDB is based on at least in part. I know those two languages well enough to know them working together would be easy. Also, Roll20 uses XML at least in part, though I don't know enough about them to know if they use other languages as well. And that would make a Roll20 pairing even easier.

    "Currently, they are all crap. They all try to do way too much at the cost of having something simple."

    I feel like you are conflating your personal opinion with actual facts and information, which you accuse me of not providing at all.

    "The biggest advance for D&DBeyond to do there own: Packaged adventures that are easy to run."

    I am not sure what you mean here, IF you mean "advantage" instead of "advance" then I would argue you are wrong. Having worked in programming for a while now I can tell you that integrating two systems, as long as they have similar goals, is fairly easy. And from a time and manpower standpoint is much easier than designing a new application from the ground up.

    This is based on the fact that any VTT they partner with almost certainly has some kind of schematic or guide indicating what variables they use and what they mean. And I'd be willing to eat my hat if DDB doesn't have the same kind of document. All you need to do is pair those documents, and then have the VTT reach out to DDB instead of it's own data to check the values of those variables each time the character is loaded, or the session is started. This kind of process is completed all the time and the coding for it is so easy you learn everything you would need to code this, except for the networking side, within your first 2 years of a Computer Science degree.

     

    Are those enough facts for you to prove the point that I understand the costs and benefits associated with application development and how integration is cheaper? Or would you like to share more of your facts, like how all of the VTTs are crap? Or perhaps you would rather claim I don't think DDB should have a VTT?

    Just a quick note about your other bits, integration like I was talking about wasn't a way to support another app and company. It was a way to support another app and company, while also merging with that company. So they wouldn't just be integrating, they would be getting income from the sale of that VTT as well. Which provides financial benefit. And if they went with something like Roll20, or FGU, those systems already support multiple rulesets. So DDB could expand to offer more rulesets too. But, I already mentioned this benefit and you simply ignored it.

    Bottom line, if you want to debate the merits, let's do that. But don't strawman my argument, and don't try to silence those that don't agree with you by misrepresenting them or belittling them.

    Last point...DDB held an upcoming and Latest Updates on 01/28. As of then ALL of their updates centered around Campaign Management(Shared Dice Rolling) and Character Sheet Management(Lineages, Feats, etc). ALL of their updates have the same theme. This indicates what they want the system to be. So does the line "D&D Beyond is an official digital toolset for the world's greatest roleplaying game!" Which tells me they want it to be a website featuring tools. Not a VTT featuring tools. As a result integration and merging with an existing VTT would allow them to maintain their image, while gaining additional features that wouldn't get in the way of their presumed vision based on the press releases and updates DDB provides.

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    Sabre Runner

    Ryan Kremer Really? Nothing? You didn't see the dice roller or the encounter builder or the combat tracker? You don't see the updates every week where they talk about the new Gaming Space every time?

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    Benny Yamagata

    Since this is planned, what is the timeline on this?  Wish you guys had a roadmap (not super in depth, but just giving us an idea of what is in the pipeline, priority, etc) I understand not having one though (developer myself)

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    Mathieu Korning

    The only VTT that would make sense to me would be built-in integration in DDB and Discord Avrae bot with Owlbear Rodeo.

    e.g. from Avrae side, passing the characters' tokens and whatever monsters are currently in the current combat (via !i command) back to owlbear rodeo, and the ability to embed and launch a map in Owlbear Rodeo from with Discord and Avrae. For published material, e.g. Icemaiden or whichever, It would be nice to have assets passed from DDB sources as well, e.g. maps, monsters, etc. Though once loaded the maps could persist in Rodeo's local browser cache for now (not ideal, but works... a better solution is long-term storage in DDB's cloud). 

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    Troy Knoell

    I second using AboveVTT. I've used it for a few sessions now and it is amazing. My entire group loves it. If the developer would be willing, I think DnD Beyond would be wise to buy it from her and adding it to their platform.

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    Dominic Addenbrooke

    I would personally much prefer integration with TaleSpire.

    For me if you are going to do a VTT it needs to be 3d. Otherwise is isn't a virtual table top, it's a 2d map.

    *edit* Honestly... not the place and not what I said.

     

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    Nathan Taylor

    I would love for the VTT to include 3D as well. I'm sure that increases the development budget quite a bit. 2D would be better than nothing, but I've always wished for a better solution for things like flight and elevation than is practical using a 2D virtual tabletop like Roll20 or even with a real tabletop (though we get creative with putting minis on tall glasses and upside down vases, etc.). For example, I envision the system being able to quickly measure distance between a player's token and a monster that is in flight or on top of a nearby cliff. Dynamic lighting could keep a player from seeing past a building until they climb up on the roof. Spell effects could also be more accurate by accounting for all 3 dimensions of spheres, cones, cubes, etc.

    I'd also love to see D&D Beyond develop it rather than integrate with an existing product since they do such great work. Of course, building it from scratch and including 3D support is a lot to ask. I, for one, would be willing to pay double my current subscription cost for something like that.

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    Dominic Addenbrooke

    "But you are saying there shouldn't be this feature in a thread about this feature. Poor form."

    Jesus wept.. Picard facepalm...

    It's exactly where it should be, that's why there is a vote up and a vote down button. This is the place to discuss whether a feature should or should not be implemented. The only person exhibiting "poor form" here is yourself.

    You should also probably work on your reading comprehension, this will prevent you from providing nonsensical definitional support apropos of nothing.

    On reflection I actively don't want them to pursue this, I think it's a total waste of time.

    I think a decent VTT is a bigger undertaking than the entirety of the rest of the DND Beyond site. I can't homebrew a mundane item or a class yet, and these are easier undertakings by factors of thousands. Also a part of the core functionality of DNDBeyond (which a VTT is not) which doesn't currently... function.

    I think a 2d VTT is obsolete, I think there are already multiple options out there that provide 3d. A 3d VTT is an even larger undertaking than a 2d one. An undertaking that would constitute a larger commitment than the rest of DNDBeyond.

    I would not use a 2d VTT when there are great looking 3d ones out there.

    I think a DnD only VTT would be needlessly restrictive, I don't need WoC to sell DND Pringles and Kitchen tables. I think I'd be restricted in the assets I'd be able to use and excluded from importing/creating my own (uncharged).

    I would much rather they worked on integration and 3rd party platform support, so that various VTT's can be "plugged in" to DNDBeyond.

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    Garrett Moffitt

    I respect you opinions, and I'm not saying you are wrong. Sometimes written word can be read outside it's intent, so I want to state that right away.

    I'm surprised by you dislike of encounter builder. While not perfect, I find it really good and it ahs sped my combats up simply because I can have all my expect encounter ready to go before a game. And I can build unexpected encounters in about a minute.
    I do think it would be great if we could publish encounters as homebrew for the community.


    Digital Dice as a thing with skins that we sell is a big "meh" from me, but the integration of PC details into the encounter is a great aid to me.

    If WotC creates a well integrated VTT, not just integrated with DDB, but integrated with their own adventures in a modular way could be a great aid going forward.

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    Omair Quraishi

    Hi Garrett, 

    Appreciate your reply and the intent behind it!

    Honestly, Encounter Builder is neat and I'm probably overly harsh towards it, but I guess from a VTT user perspective it's not enough of a value add to me as DM.  I have encounters setup along with a battle map in Foundry (and in the past Roll20) with music and everything.

    My problem/frustration honestly is that as of yet the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts yet.  Each part is neat, but to me largely "whatever".  And their pace of development in this area is clearly way behind say something like Foundry, which has grown by leaps and bounds over just the past 2 years.  But if you compare to Roll20 which has largely just sat there doing nothing they (DBB) seem like blazing pioneers.

    DDB could have had the initiative on this, but squandered it imo.  Even the pace of their current development efforts really is snail pace.  They seem to be able to barely keep up with WotC content releases and that's about it.  Everything else is very slow as compared to the speed the VTT space is moving at.

    At the same time, DDB has the best, bar none, character builder/sheet manager period.  But even that was never designed to work easily in a VTT setting, that's why they are doing a lot of re-engineering behind the scenes think.

    I agree a DDB (WotC) provided VTT that let's me say run "Rime of the Frostmaiden" with pre-made everything and I just start playing with friends that would be great. All characters, monsters, maps, tokens, art, music, and any other assets I want available in one place.  Would be wonderful.  

    What I love about Foundry that I don't think DDB (or WotC) will do is connect my considerable asset library to my games like Foundry does by letting me access my S3 storage on Amazon cloud.  I have over 318GB of art/video/audio assets I use.  Animated and non-animated tokens, maps, music, and various assets I use to build out my games.  

    Anyways, enough of my ranting :P.  Still supporting this dream :)

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    Mathieu Korning

    Though I would personally love for DDB to include a very basic VTT like AboveVTT or Owlbear (as that's all I need), I think they are likely to go another route. 

    Those of you who say (rightly) the the DDB dev team is too small, doesn't have the depth or resources, or are too far behind to add a VTT are not wrong, but are missing the point. Remember now that DDB is part of WoTC it has the full weight of Hasbro behind it, and there were some very public acknowledgements that D&D is Hasbro's most profitable franchise, and that proportionally it doesn't get the love or the budget it deserves.

    Many folks pay their token DDB subscription for base integration, but the real money is in the VTT subscription model. Roll20 and FG are making a kiling on top of what is essentially Hasbro's intellectual property.

    It would make a lot of sense for Hasbro to get in the game by buying and bolting on an existing VTT and make it the preferential platform. They don't even have to completely cut-out their existing competitors/partners. They own the IP and the rules engine, so it would be very easy for them to do like they did with the SRD and leave some content publicly available to other VTTs and make license restrictions on others. They could for example just use that magic wand and make DarkSun or Planescape exclusive to their platform. Or any other combination of full/limited access that they want. No one - I  mean absolutely no one - is going to challenge Hasbro's lawyers on whatever licensing scheme they desire.



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    JM

    Making a vtt might be a stretch for ddb given some of the other Wip/planned features still missing (*cough* "General features" for dmg 264/265).  I know that at least one of them uas integration with ddb on its roadmap https://arkenforge.com/2019-roadmap-the-0-3-series-of-updates/  Much like the voice chat thing that comes up every once in a while, this is probably something better left to groups who actually build vtt stuff .

     

    edit:  to be honest, having ddb roll out a VTT while I'm still listening to my most pro ddb player say things like "oh my god, ddb is never going to track that -either*-" in reference to the wild idea that death saves take a long rest to clear & you only clear one per long rest as happened at the table during last night's game might be enough to make me apologetically tell my table "ddb is NOT allowed at my table at all."  Having it come out with a tabletop not compatible with the arkenforge one I use & have tons of maps already made in would shift that from might be enough to almost certainly more than enough to do that and maybe be that unhappy customer that tells ten people why.

    * Other things from the "either" are honor/sanity scores & some of the darker dungeons stuff I want to use like its slot based inventory, potion flasks, ammunition dice, item decay, etc.

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