Any Dungeon Master will tell you that trying to get all your players in one spot on a regular basis is like trying to herd three year-olds hyped up on sugar and puppies. Everyone wants to play, but getting them all in the same place at the same time is a common challenge. Then there are the games where friends want to play, but don’t live in the same part of the country. Skype, Google Hangouts, and other VoIPs have helped with the communication, but what if there was another way to engage in a tabletop game remotely? Another… virtual way?
Virtual reality tech company AltspaceVR has developed a simulated game space for Dungeons & Dragons players. In this virtual setting, players are represented with digital figurines that can be moved, rotated, and knocked over, just like those in a real-life setting. There are two private tomes available to each player that can host things like character sheets, notes, feats, rules, and spells for quick reference. Even better, the tomes also serve as web browsers for when you need to look something up. Wonder if I could order dinner with it… Back to the point. Players also have the ability to roll dice within the space. No more honor system rolling at home.
The Dungeon Master also has several options to customize the play space with tiles representing the environment, and even ambient music. They can save their settings so they don’t have to rebuild selections each game. For visual references, DMs can use the web browsers to pull up images and project them into the room for all to see. Your paladin doesn’t know what a beholder looks like? Google that and poof! Easy as a cantrip. As for the much needed DM secrecy, don’t worry. Players can’t see the DM’s station or tomes.
All players can communicate via voice chat, but the really fun part is that the virtual world looks like an old tavern, the kind of environment in which participants might imagine themselves playing. The VR app runs with the Oculus Rift DK2, which means that anyone who wants to use it has to invest in the system. It’s really cool to step back and think about the possibilities this system could bring. It could facilitate games in multiple time zones, or even allow gamers with physical disabilities to interact more easily. And if you’re having trouble finding a local group, AltspaceVR also has a signup system to help you find a virtual one.
If you want to learn more and even ask questions to the developers, reps from AltspaceVR will be joining us on Back to School with Josephine and Erika today! Tune in to Geek and Sundry’s Twitch channel starting at 5pm Pacific to check out the system with special guest Mathew Mercer.
Image credits: AltspaceVR