The E in 5e needs to stand for Electronic

DDi for 4E was pretty much a bad showing for WoTC. Late, slow to come out, several changes in direction resulting in multiple versions of the same tools, and a major scaling back of what it was meant to be.


In the end, the Adventure Tools is just a monster builder. The character builder showed the promise of really allowing players and DMs to customize their game, but the online version removed much of that ability to customize. The VT is a bare bones table, that when compared to tables others put out in their free time, is laughable. The only thing it has to recommend is that you can import monsters and characters.


The facebook app for Neverwinter Nights MMO is more appealing than the official VT that is still in beta.


The potential the VT had for increasing the brand by bringing in new players to DnD was never realized. It’s best used, as WoTC has said many times, for people who want to find a game and roll some dice, or for people that can’t find a game near them.


That said fifth edition will still need to have a digital side to it. Not only that, the really need to be on the ball with it, and have part of it ready to go at launch, that being at least a Character Builder, that is pretty much finished when it launches, none of that only three levels or severely limited functions.  


I’ve learned to not expect too much from WoTC in the last few years. So I don’t expect a full set of tools at launch. But I do expect a rough schedule of when I should see new tools come out. I shouldn't have to wait a year and a half, only to find out it's because they redid everything.


The game shouldn’t be designed to be played ONLY through the online tools. They are after all meant to help make the game faster to set up. Which means if you don’t need digital tools to play the game, you won’t need them. No one should worry about being forced to have a monthly subscription.


But without the digital aspect DnD will basically become a low earning brand, which Hasbro will probably shelve, and bring out every few decades. This is the digital age. Ignoring that is what killed newspapers and magazines. It’s what’s hurting big educational textbook companies, and why traditional stores like Barnes and Nobles and Borders are closing stores. Online delivery of content is here and it’s never going away (barring a collapse of human society, reverting us back to a pre technology society, say a zombie apocalypse, or alien invasion).


It’s not just the delivery of online content; it’s also the ability to customize that content to a consumer’s needs, and to be interactive with it. People also need to be able to share what they customize. WoTC can not act like everything you do is theirs. The game doesn't work that way, nor do people.


That means WoTC also has to figure out a safe way for them to deliver this content in a digital format at publication time. No, PDFs are NOT the answer. Sorry, they just lack any decent security. Yes, I know lots of people LOVE PDFs. I do. They are great. But as a publically traded company, WoTC can’t release a product that increases theft because of the products nature.


That is why they had to stop doing that with 4E. It wasn’t individual people putting out pirate copies of the books, it was a company reselling licensed copies of PDFs in the thousands under the table. No company can legally ignore something like that.


Having recently entered into the area of making eBooks, I now understand why they haven’t released their books via Kindle and other e-Readers. The designs of the books don’t translate easily to those formats. It would basically require to versions of the material. And that’s just not something you want to do in publishing, because of the double work it creates, that is always going to lead to huge mistakes. This version says one thing, that version says another.


I hope that WoTC comes up with a design for 5E that does allow them to translate the books into epubs and mobi files. Time will tell.


That’s for them to figure out.


One thing for sure, an app that works like the compendium would be awesome. Imagine playing, and a question comes about opportunity attacks? You look it up, and ask for just rules, and all the rules about OA, comes up.


This will be WoTC’s third try at this aspect. Here’s hoping they have seriously learned how to actually do it this time.

Need a map?

 

That means WoTC also has to figure out a safe way for them to deliver this content in a digital format at publication time. No, PDFs are NOT the answer. Sorry, they just lack any decent security. Yes, I know lots of people LOVE PDFs. I do. They are great. But as a publically traded company, WoTC can’t release a product that increases theft because of the products nature.


I generally agree with your post, and I even recently started a thread on a similar theme. But I have to take issue with the statement above.

There is zero evidence that WotC not putting out their product in PDF form has in any way prevented 4E from being pirated. In fact, the very first time I played 4E was when a friend of mine DMed Keep on the Shadowfell ... from a PDF version he'd downloaded online, a week or two after the product hit the shelves.

All WotC not putting out an official PDF of their products does is make the pirates go through a little more effort. Like about 5 minutes more effort.

I want my PDF's. Other gaming companies put them out too, and they are so far not being close to loosing their business.


In fact, I'd daresay that part of Pathfinder's appeal is its robust PDF support.

On a related note: anyone see the new iBooks 2 / iBooks textbooks announcement from Apple? Imagine a PHB done up like that ...

That means WoTC also has to figure out a safe way for them to deliver this content in a digital format at publication time. No, PDFs are NOT the answer. Sorry, they just lack any decent security. Yes, I know lots of people LOVE PDFs. I do. They are great. But as a publically traded company, WoTC can’t release a product that increases theft because of the products nature.


I generally agree with your post, and I even recently started a thread on a similar theme. But I have to take issue with the statement above.

There is zero evidence that WotC not putting out their product in PDF form has in any way prevented 4E from being pirated. In fact, the very first time I played 4E was when a friend of mine DMed Keep on the Shadowfell ... from a PDF version he'd downloaded online, a week or two after the product hit the shelves.

All WotC not putting out an official PDF of their products does is make the pirates go through a little more effort. Like about 5 minutes more effort.




You should read the following paragraph in my post:

That is why they had to stop doing that with 4E. It wasn’t individual people putting out pirate copies of the books, it was a company reselling licensed copies of PDFs in the thousands under the table. No company can legally ignore something like that.



I never said WoTC was trying to stop people from pirating thier books. The fact is, even they have said there is always going to be some level of piracy.

They didn't stop putting out PDFs because individuals were doing something, they stopped because COMPANIES were ripping them off via PDFS. One company, in a short time, had resold the same download of the same file, thousands of times, for several books. What they would do is sell the username and login to an existing account and people could download a copy of the book.

By law, WoTC a publicly traded company, can not ignore something like that.

Get it? Companies were ripping them off using the PDF files they provided.


That is why they had to stop doing that with 4E. It wasn’t individual people putting out pirate copies of the books, it was a company reselling licensed copies of PDFs in the thousands under the table. No company can legally ignore something like that.

I never said WoTC was trying to stop people from pirating thier books. The fact is, even they have said there is always going to be some level of piracy.

They didn't stop putting out PDFs because individuals were doing something, they stopped because COMPANIES were ripping them off via PDFS. One company, in a short time, had resold the same download of the same file, thousands of times, for several books. What they would do is sell the username and login to an existing account and people could download a copy of the book.

By law, WoTC a publicly traded company, can not ignore something like that.

Get it? Companies were ripping them off using the PDF files they provided.



maybe a system where if you buy a pdf it gets generated for you and has the user name of the acount it was bought with as water mark on each page.
and i mean big diagonaly across the page.


Not a good reason to pull the PDF's wholesale.

A good reason to sue the living crap out of that company and make it disappear from the world for the good of all.

Not providing PDF's just leads to more people pirating, since many like their digital copies and would pay for them in addition to the normal books. I would like to have digital books, I really like them and own several in other systems (L5R, BTech, Shadowrun, ...) and would likely have bought a few from WotC, too.

Piracy will always happen, and people need to get that into their heads. What needs to be done is to not screw over legitimate customers in the progress.

Otherwise, yeah, E for Electronics, I like. Give me digital stuff to work with, WotC!



Being ripped off in a few months for around $800,000 dollars isn't a good reason for a company to stop putting out a version of their product that will continue to be ripped off?

I'm sorry, you are wrong. It's so easy for a customer to say, pfffft, $800,000 dollars? That's nothing! You make millions! And it's not like I was one of those people doing it so give me what I want, I don't care what it costs you. Also, I don't care that you will be breaking the law.

As for not providing PDFs leading to more piracy, doesn't that go against your claim that piracy doesn't make a difference?

Publishing or not publishing PDF's has no influence on if a pirated PDF is available. None whatsoever. Proof can be found on the Intertubes.



So, by your earlier statement, not publishing as PDFs doesn't increase the amount of piracy going on. But it does open them up to being ripped of by companies. And suing those companies costs additional money, even though they have a legal department. With no assurance that they will get reimbursed for what they were ripped off for.

Not to mention, many of these companies set up overseas, making it very hard to sue, and it becomes a long lengthy exspensive process to do so.



They didn't stop putting out PDFs because individuals were doing something, they stopped because COMPANIES were ripping them off via PDFS. One company, in a short time, had resold the same download of the same file, thousands of times, for several books.


If a company is profiting off an illegal action, WotC should be able to do something legally about it and even seek financial restitution. But to have some sort of PDF PTSD because they got burned once is, to put it bluntly, silly.

There's a half-dozen easy ways out there to sell more secure eBooks. Look at Kindle. Look at iBooks. Look at Nook. Heck, look at Adobe DRM, the PDF protection sold by the people who make PDFs.

And that scenario that was apparently so scarring that it made WotC flee from PDFs? Seriously, that person could have just as easily been selling access to a pirated PDF. Or anyone who paid money for that Dl could have wandred over to any bittorrent site and gotten those same books for free. If anything, the ones burned in that scenario were the idiots dumb enough to pay for access to it.



They didn't stop putting out PDFs because individuals were doing something, they stopped because COMPANIES were ripping them off via PDFS. One company, in a short time, had resold the same download of the same file, thousands of times, for several books.


If a company is profiting off an illegal action, WotC should be able to do something legally about it and even seek financial restitution. But to have some sort of PDF PTSD because they got burned once is, to put it bluntly, silly.

There's a half-dozen easy ways out there to sell more secure eBooks. Look at Kindle. Look at iBooks. Look at Nook. Heck, look at Adobe DRM, the PDF protection sold by the people who make PDFs.

And that scenario that was apparently so scarring that it made WotC flee from PDFs? Seriously, that person could have just as easily been selling access to a pirated PDF. Or anyone who paid money for that Dl could have wandred over to any bittorrent site and gotten those same books for free. If anything, the ones burned in that scenario were the idiots dumb enough to pay for access to it.



Those are options. You can't just take a PDF and stick it in a Kindle or e-Reader.

And the layout of the books does NOT translate directly to an ePub or mobi file. It just won't look the same. I'll be happy to set up an example to show why, when I have the time.

As for getting burned once. Well, that was one company that got busted because they were careless and greedy. And they only offered PDFs mainly through them. So, the first company they used, ripped them off big time. I wouldn't be surprised if Hasbro stepped in a put a stop to it.

It comes down to this. If you want the ebook to look just like the printed book, the only options at this time are PDFs. PDFs have no security.

If they want to go e-Readers, Kindle and DRM, they need to come up with a design of the books that works with those formats. Because the current designs do not.



Before I buy an apple product I buy two similar products that work better, have more modern hardware and cost less together. Oh, they are also not strangling me with "ONLY WHAT WE APPROVE" bullshit.



well the apple store system has it's good points too.
I did like 3rd parties bringing out OGL material in 3.X but it rater quickly became a mess.
with all kind of over powerd classes and feats popping up in books.
"ONLY WHAT WE APPROVE" could prevent that.


wizards could copy the apple store design.
so anybody who writes a campain setting or adventure could send it in to wizards to be aproved.
the designer would also include a suggested price.

if wizards aproves the content they add 10% to the suggested price.
this is to cover the cost of runing the store and to play the staff who need to look trough the content and approve.
the designer recieves the price he suggested for each copy.

then the content would be offerd as digital download from the wizards store.
it should be very accessable so any DM who thinks he created a good adventure would be able to get it on the store.

minimum sale price would be 50 cents 55 after 10% markup.
so if a DM would get 143 copies of his adventures sold he could use that to cover his $71.40 DDI subscription.





 
Those are options. You can't just take a PDF and stick it in a Kindle or e-Reader.


Kindle has had PDF support since 2009. I'm looking at a PDF game resource from another company on a Kindle app right now.

And now I'm looking at the same PDF in my iBooks app.

I don't have a Nook or the Nook app, but I'm pretty sure I could look at one there, too.

It comes down to this. If you want the ebook to look just like the printed book, the only options at this time are PDFs. PDFs have no security.


Yes, they do. Adobe itself has DRM software for protecting PDFs.


wizards could copy the apple store design.
so anybody who writes a campain setting or adventure could send it in to wizards to be aproved.
the designer would also include a suggested price.


Actually, a better idea: they should build off of the techniology that ComiXology uses. I could see the format that digital comics use -- with the auto-focusing on panels, the high quality graphical presentation, etc. -- being a good fit for the graphic-intensive D&D manual.

And they could approve/distribute 3rd party content in that digital form, just like ComiXology does.

Being ripped off in a few months for around $800,000 dollars isn't a good reason for a company to stop putting out a version of their product that will continue to be ripped off?

I'm sorry, you are wrong. It's so easy for a customer to say, pfffft, $800,000 dollars? That's nothing! You make millions! And it's not like I was one of those people doing it so give me what I want, I don't care what it costs you. Also, I don't care that you will be breaking the law.



Yeah it's easy to claim the "pfft" part and whatnot. Never said that, though.

As for not providing PDFs leading to more piracy, doesn't that go against your claim that piracy doesn't make a difference?



I said piracy will always be present, not that it doesn't make a difference. Important distinction, IMO. So no, I don't think the statements are contradictory. In essence, if you publish PDF's you make money from the PDF's, as people will buy them.

If you do not publish PDF's, a fair share of people will still try to get their hands on PDF's. There will always be those who will pirate no matter what, but there will also always be those who'd rather pay.

All in all that's a loss for WotC to not put out the PDF's.

So, by your earlier statement, not publishing as PDFs doesn't increase the amount of piracy going on. But it does open them up to being ripped of by companies. And suing those companies costs additional money, even though they have a legal department. With no assurance that they will get reimbursed for what they were ripped off for.

Not to mention, many of these companies set up overseas, making it very hard to sue, and it becomes a long lengthy exspensive process to do so.



You still misrepresent what I wrote (unless I misremember greatly).

Not publishing PDF's leads to increased piracy as people who'd pay for a legit PDF have to pirate one if they do desperately want one.

As for oversea companies - select your partners in trade. Make a good deal with the major PDF publishers, the well known ones. DriveThru and the like. They are quite less likely to frag you over.

And yeah... legal battles can be difficult, but still no reason to let a company get away with 800 grand and be done with PDF's because of it.

I mean, opening a business opens you up for getting fragged over. So.. accroding to your MO nobody should ever open a business because that can happen. Being a company means taking risks, and having to do the occasional legal battle. That's life in our current society. Sad but true.

So yeah... publish PDF's via the right distributors and you're golden.



I'm sorry, but you really just don't see the issue. For you, it simple seems to come down to this. You want PDFs. To your way of thinking, WoTC will still make some money from the sale of PDFs, so it's ok they get ripped off for $800,000 at the same time.

That because their will always be piracy, WoTC should still make PDFs. That has nothing to do with being ripped off by a company.

Also, WoTC didn't let the company get away with ripping them off. They sued and won.

The fact is, WoTC can clearly still make money without selling PDFs. It's not like they closed up shop or were afraid to do business so quit. They just stopped one aspect that was taking money out of thier pockets.

How about this. You give me some of your paycheck every time you get paid. Not all, just some. After all, you are still making some money, right?

wizards could copy the apple store design.
so anybody who writes a campain setting or adventure could send it in to wizards to be aproved.
the designer would also include a suggested price.


Actually, a better idea: they should build off of the techniology that ComiXology uses. I could see the format that digital comics use -- with the auto-focusing on panels, the high quality graphical presentation, etc. -- being a good fit for the graphic-intensive D&D manual.

And they could approve/distribute 3rd party content in that digital form, just like ComiXology does.




There's a big difference between text and images. Sure, they could just make each page an image. However that means you loose some functionality.

I know a lot about ComiXology, my friend works there, and he plays in my DnD group. He's the one that makes a lot of their files. It's not just a case of push a button out comes a file, ready for your reading.

I think it's been looked over a bit in the comments, so I'll bring it up again:

Compendium app you say?

That would be amazing, and why stop there? A character builder app would be fantastic- think of a scaled down version of the character builder.

But back to the compendium. When I'm playing a game- I generally don't have the option of looking online for the perfect feat when I level up nor do I have every book (And can't afford them) to look for the best power option. An app would be fantastic for this, and for looking up rules questions on the fly. I'd be happy to shell out some money for that- or even have it as a bonus for DDi. 

I know a lot about ComiXology, my friend works there, and he plays in my DnD group. He's the one that makes a lot of their files. It's not just a case of push a button out comes a file, ready for your reading.


Never said it was, hence the "build off of the technology" comment, instead of something like "they should just save the file in Comixology format".

You seem to like to have an answer for everything when it comes to rejecting digital book formats. I'm glad that you're so all-seeing when it comes to WotC's good business sence re: Not offering digital editions. Maybe they should hire you as the official person to say "No!" whenever someone e-mails them asking for PDFs or other digital copies. Odd position for someone who started a "D&D 5E needs a digital side" thread, but whatever.

Over here in reality-land, the rest of us are going to keep pointing out to WotC that there is high demand for legal PDFs/digital editions of their books, and that everytime they say NO! they're losing customers and sales.

It seems we are talking past each other, my fellow poster.

My points of view goes beyond "i want pdf's". I understand the problem that presents itself, but again... pick your partners in business well and you have no problems and can easily publish PDF's without the getting fragged over.

Don't you agree on that?



And you think they just did a Google search and picked the first company that came up? Really, that's not much of a rebuttal, Pick better distrubitors.

Lets put it like this. It was their first time trying it. It blew up in their face. It also showed a big hole in their ability to protect their IP. They have long standing distrubution agreements with companies, like Random House. It's not a simple matter of picking a different company. Much like how they had to fight to get back the liscencing for electronic versions of DnD from Atari.

It's a publically traded company. It has more standards and legal considerations then a company like Piazo. It can't just do whatever it wants, however it wants. It has to follow laws and regulations for publicly traded companies, AND whatever standards Hasbro has internally.



I know a lot about ComiXology, my friend works there, and he plays in my DnD group. He's the one that makes a lot of their files. It's not just a case of push a button out comes a file, ready for your reading.


Never said it was, hence the "build off of the technology" comment, instead of something like "they should just save the file in Comixology format".

You seem to like to have an answer for everything when it comes to rejecting digital book formats. I'm glad that you're so all-seeing when it comes to WotC's good business sence re: Not offering digital editions. Maybe they should hire you as the official person to say "No!" whenever someone e-mails them asking for PDFs or other digital copies. Odd position for someone who started a "D&D 5E needs a digital side" thread, but whatever.

Over here in reality-land, the rest of us are going to keep pointing out to WotC that there is high demand for legal PDFs/digital editions of their books, and that everytime they say NO! they're losing customers and sales.




I'm not rejecting digital book formats.

But since I make both print and ebooks, I know what it takes to make them, and what they offer, and the challenges in both.

PDFs, have little to no protection for them.

The formats of the books do not translate readily into Kindles and E-readers.

Something like ComiXology would work, but would require turning text into an image. Losing the ability to high-light and book mark parts of the book for personal reference. It makes adding in search features useless, because theirs no text to search anymore. Navigation becomes more work for the customer. So, possible, but at a loss of functionality.

The only thing I really said no to was PDFs. e-books and kindles would totally work, if WoTC can figure out a design that can translate to them. The issues with that is you don't want to have two layouts of the same material, because it doubles the amount of work for the same product. Any change to one, has to be reflected in the other.

So build some new software? Possibly. Is WoTC willing to do that? I hope.



So far, yes, it kinda seems like WotC did a bad job at picking their PDF distributors back in the day.

Dealing PDF's has nothing to do with the dead tree format distributors. Get to DriveThru, talk with them, make a business deal.

While yes, this is extremely oversimplified, this is the way to go. Just not selling PDF's anymore was a failure of management in my opinion.

This has nothing to do with the electronic rights from Atari or anything else. It's obvious that WotC has a bit more restrictions and all, but I would heavily argue that yes, they can make a new contract with DriveThru and similarly well-established distributors. Big benefit too, they are less likely to get fragged over by DriveThru and company.



Since you or I have no information about that, I personally am not going to say if they did a bad job or not. For all we know the company could have been very honest up to that point, and once they saw the potential for easy money, got greedy.

There could have just as easy been a change in personal at the company, and the new people were dishonest.

Those are facts we don't have. All I know is that the company that was doing the distrubution of PDFs for WoTC was ripping them off for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and I can see why they stopped.

Since I also know about PDFs and their lack of security, how books for e-readers and kindle get made and ComiXology, I understand why it's not so simple as output to X kind of file.

Which is why WoTC needs to find a way that works. I'm all for digital versions.

That means WoTC also has to figure out a safe way for them to deliver this content in a digital format at publication time. No, PDFs are NOT the answer. Sorry, they just lack any decent security. Yes, I know lots of people LOVE PDFs. I do. They are great. But as a publically traded company, WoTC can’t release a product that increases theft because of the products nature.

Short answer: Impossible

WotC would be the first company to do that and by doing that beat a lot of companies that actually specialize in this kind of stuff.


The online compendium is pirated all over the web and the only reason the online CB is not pirated just like the compendium isn't because it's safer, but because the pirates are content with the offline CB and this tool that let them put any new rules into it (really all WotC needs to do is to add something to the game that is beyond the scope of the offline CB even with the loader but works in the online CB and the online CB would be pirated in no time at all.


That means WoTC also has to figure out a safe way for them to deliver this content in a digital format at publication time. No, PDFs are NOT the answer. Sorry, they just lack any decent security. Yes, I know lots of people LOVE PDFs. I do. They are great. But as a publically traded company, WoTC can’t release a product that increases theft because of the products nature.

Short answer: Impossible

WotC would be the first company to do that and by doing that beat a lot of companies that actually specialize in this kind of stuff.


The online compendium is pirated all over the web and the only reason the online CB is not pirated just like the compendium isn't because it's safer, but because the pirates are content with the offline CB and this tool that let them put any new rules into it (really all WotC needs to do is to add something to the game that is beyond the scope of the offline CB even with the loader but works in the online CB and the online CB would be pirated in no time at all.




There is always going to be piracy. Even WoTC admits that.

The questions is choosing that format which offers the most protection for the company. Safe doens't mean unpiratable. Nothing is full proof.

But currently PDFs are at the bottom of the barrel for that.
To quote myself:

I will join with berdman on this. They should first and foremost focus on creating something that people will actually want to play as a Tabletop-RPG and THEN focus on the tech side.

However I think there is one thing they should really consider is selling PDFs, I mean it's a self-evident choice, they can only profit from it. And then while doing that, they will be able to create a 3rd-Party online marketplace created for 5th Edition where they would a part of each sales realised, allowing others to articipate to the growth of 5th Edition AND creating a reliable source of income, WIN-WIN.

That's what they should focus on, creating a good game that people will actually want to play offline, THEN capitilize on the communities and the 3rd-parties that will come if the game is actually good!



I'm not rejecting digital book formats.


You're doing an awfully poor job of showing it ...

PDFs, have little to no protection for them.

The formats of the books do not translate readily into Kindles and E-readers.


And yet, my Kindle app has plenty of PDFs in them. PDFs with gaming stats, and color images, and so on.

Whatever. Until WotC even shows that they're willing to try again, the whole discussion is moot. It's best just to voice our desire and hope someone notices.

HEY, WOTC! FIGURE OUT A WAY TO OFFER DIGITAL COPIES THAT WILL SOOTHE YOUR FRAGILE FEARS! PLEASE?
It is an absolute travesty that I can't play DnD on my Droid while riding the bus to work. It should have been obvious to WotC that the market was headed in this direction at least 10 years ago. The following should have been on desktops five years ago and iphones three years ago:


  • Character sharing. It's like nobody at WotC has even heard of Facebook. Social media has been the "wave of the future" for almost a decade. Sharing my character with my DM should be a two-click process. It should appear in his library with my name on it so that he can open it up and view it and even make notes on it. It is incredibly dumb that I need to talk somebody through downloading and installing a PDF printer in order to get a look at their character sheet. Hell, I should be able to click a button and let everybody on Facebook check out my newest character.

  • A lobby, or at least an organized way for DMs to solicit players and players to solicit DMs for a fully functional virtual tabletop that doesn't require me to spend fifteen minutes cutting and pasting to make it convenient to use. A message board isn't sufficient. This needs its own UI, and real time chat, and little themed timewaster games that make people want to hang out there all day waiting for a game to open.

  • A rules compendium with hyperlinks. And since the web never runs out of paper, everything should say explicitly exactly what it does. Paper is dead. Put somebody in charge of designing a database and work with them to make the next iteration completely accessible to disabled users. Official rulings from CS should be added to the entry of the rule in question. Every feat and skill and glossary term should have a talk page. If I have a question, the Compendium should be the first, best place to look. Not the least useful.


Only a few years ago, DnD had an opportunity to beat World of Warcraft to the mobile platform. It had an engine and a ruleset that, by nature of its evolution as a PnP game, smartphones could easily handle, and graphics requirements that are positively minimal since only one thing happens at a time. And it had the brand recognition to compete.

The window is very rapidly closing for DnD to be successful as anything but a PnP game printed on dead wood, which will mean obsolete before too long. A new dungeon delve video game every five to eight years is never going to get this game sustained penetration outside its current market.

I blame whoever is at the highest rungs of Hasbro's gaming department. It's like they have no idea what they are sitting on. When WoW revealed that there were literally millions of people – people who nobody would have expected – who wanted to spend their free time pretending to be elves and battling dragons, every single exec should have had dollar signs in their eyes and comical old-timey cash register noises following them around all day. I don't even blame WotC. I doubt they had the money to sink into such an endeavor or the organization to get it all accomplished in time, but their parent company definitely did.


It's 2012 and the game that invented fantasy role playing is just dipping its toe into the internet. I'm embarrassed for it.
I'm not rejecting digital book formats.


You're doing an awfully poor job of showing it ...

PDFs, have little to no protection for them.

The formats of the books do not translate readily into Kindles and E-readers.


And yet, my Kindle app has plenty of PDFs in them. PDFs with gaming stats, and color images, and so on.

Whatever. Until WotC even shows that they're willing to try again, the whole discussion is moot. It's best just to voice our desire and hope someone notices.

HEY, WOTC! FIGURE OUT A WAY TO OFFER DIGITAL COPIES THAT WILL SOOTHE YOUR FRAGILE FEARS! PLEASE?



With that way of talking to WoTC, I can't see why they haven't done just that already. I mean, you asked so nicely.

A PDF is a fixed format file. The text does not reflow. You can zoom in and out, but it's fixed as such.

You can view a PDF on a kindle but that means having it in a PDF format already, doesn't it? And WoTC isn't doing that anymore. You have to load it into your kindle. It's not like a mobi file that you download from Amazon that is specifically a kindle file.

So, how are you going to get this PDF file from WoTC if they aren't doing that anymore?

Kindle and e-readers are designed with the ability to reflow the text as needed to fit the screen. You size the text up, it reflows. On my iPad, you turn it sideways, it reflows into a two column format. That's the whole idea and main feature of them. It's just one continuous text files with HTML markers for links and chapters and CCS format.

PDFs are fixed layouts, and the text doesn't reflow. So taking a page from any of the rule books as laid out and viewing them on a kindle or kindle app is possible, it's just not the best option for it. Because the actual size of the books are bigger then the screens of e-readers, you end up having to do a lot of panning around to see the whole page, because when you zoom out to fit the whole page on the screen, it becomes harder to read.

What you don't seem to understand is that the current mainstream options for digital books don't work best for the way the rule books are done.



A PDF is a fixed format file. The text does not reflow. You can zoom in and out, but it's fixed as such.



That's not actually true. A pdf can be designed that way but it doesn't have to be. A well-made PDF should reflow on a mobile device or eReader.

That said, PDFs are primarily useful if you plan to print something out. For WotC's puroposes, I would consider PDFs to be half assing a digital format. There are far more robust ways of converting the books to digital, unless you are absolutely married to making the digital format look exactly like the hardcopy (which in my opinion is missing out on a lot of the best features of the hypertext medium).

A PDF is a fixed format file. The text does not reflow. You can zoom in and out, but it's fixed as such.



That's not actually true. A pdf can be designed that way but it doesn't have to be. A well-made PDF should reflow on a mobile device or eReader.

That said, PDFs are primarily useful if you plan to print something out. For WotC's puroposes, I would consider PDFs to be half assing a digital format. There are far more robust ways of converting the books to digital, unless you are absolutely married to making the digital format look exactly like the hardcopy (which in my opinion is missing out on a lot of the best features of the hypertext medium).



I really don't want to get into a dragged out argument, but PDFs do not reflow the text. epub and mobi files do. Many people confuse what they do.

That said, if you can point me to an actual PDF file that actually reflows the text I will stand corrected.

EDIT: I also did some research. You can take a PDF and convert it to html, which allows for reflow. You are in effect, converting the PDF. Once converted, it's no longer a PDF.

And what e-readers and kindles do is use html. In effect epub and mobi files are web pages.

I really don't want to get into a dragged out argument, but PDFs do not reflow the text. epub and mobi files do. Many people confuse what they do.

That said, if you can point me to an actual PDF file that actually reflows the text I will stand corrected.



Dude, you're wrong. I've made PDFs for a living for the past 8 years. I am literally looking a PDF reflowed on my phone right now. I know what they are capable of. You're just. Flat. Wrong.

I really don't want to get into a dragged out argument, but PDFs do not reflow the text. epub and mobi files do. Many people confuse what they do.

That said, if you can point me to an actual PDF file that actually reflows the text I will stand corrected.



Dude, you're wrong. I've made PDFs for a living for the past 8 years. I am literally looking a PDF reflowed on my phone right now. I know what they are capable of. You're just. Flat. Wrong.



So, you are saying, that you tooke a file, and exported it as a PDF, and it reflows? You didn't run it through any xml converter? What did you make it from? What did you export it as? Please link so I can see.

Please explain exactly just how you did it.
Right now I am looking at the Heroes of Might and Magic V manual on my Nook, but any properly tagged PDF should do it. Tagging the PDF embeds information that tells the PDF how it should be read by eReaders and reflowed on mobile devices. Seriously, this is not mind blowing stuff. It's been available since I had a Windows Mobile 5 phone in 2005 and was reading PDFs on Acrobat Mobile 2.0.

Edit: that should have been, "How it should be read by screen readers," as in the devices for vision impaired people.
Right now I am looking at the Heroes of Might and Magic V manual on my Nook, but any properly tagged PDF should do it. Tagging the PDF embeds information that tells the PDF how it should be read by eReaders and reflowed on mobile devices. Seriously, this is not mind blowing stuff. It's been available since I had a Windows Mobile 5 phone in 2005 and was reading PDFs on Acrobat Mobile 2.0.

Edit: that should have been, "How it should be read by screen readers," as in the devices for vision impaired people.



Here.

it's the e-reader that is trying to do the reflowing. NOT the PDF. The PDF is fixed. The device is doing the work. And it's not always perfect. The third sentence is of importance.

"Although pdf doesn't support text reflow techniques some manufacturers of ebookreaders have made an attempt to reflow the pdf text."

And that's current information.

I'm still interested in hearing just exactly how you've made these reflowable PDFs. You don't even have to post here. Send me an IM. I'm always happy to learn something.

it's the e-reader that is trying to do the reflowing. NOT the PDF. The PDF is fixed. The device is doing the work. And it's not always perfect. The third sentence is of importance.

"Although pdf doesn't support text reflow techniques some manufacturers of ebookreaders have made an attempt to reflow the pdf text."

And that's current information.



And that's about the nitpickiest nitpick you can nitpick. The eReader is using information embedded in the PDF to reflow the text. The point is that it is not "fixed." Since even the Adobe Reader app for Droid does this, I stand by my original statement.


I'm still interested in hearing just exactly how you've made these reflowable PDFs. You don't even have to post here. Send me an IM. I'm always happy to learn something.



I told you, just create a tagged PDF. I use Indesign and Madcap Flare primarily. When you export a PDF from Indesign, on the General tab there is an area called "Options." In the Options area there is a setting "Create tagged PDF." Put a check in the box.

In Madcap Flare the option is found in the PDF Target file on the PDF Options tab in the PDF Tagging area. Check the box next to "Generate tagged PDF."

I'm sure there are many other ways to do it. Acrobat Mobile 2.0 which is about six or seven years obsolete used to offer to attempt to guess how a PDF should be tagged so that it could reflow the text for me if the PDF did not already have embedded tags. Sometimes it did well and sometimes it didn't. I'm not sure why the Droid program doesn't have that option. Probably because when it guesses poorly it makes them look bad. Best practices dictate that professionals should create tagged PDFs anyway so that they are more accessible to vision impaired readers, so most of the time your PDFs will be tagged.

it's the e-reader that is trying to do the reflowing. NOT the PDF. The PDF is fixed. The device is doing the work. And it's not always perfect. The third sentence is of importance.

"Although pdf doesn't support text reflow techniques some manufacturers of ebookreaders have made an attempt to reflow the pdf text."

And that's current information.



And that's about the nitpickiest nitpick you can nitpick. The eReader is using information embedded in the PDF to reflow the text. The point is that it is not "fixed." Since even the Adobe Reader app for Droid does this, I stand by my original statement.


I'm still interested in hearing just exactly how you've made these reflowable PDFs. You don't even have to post here. Send me an IM. I'm always happy to learn something.



I told you, just create a tagged PDF. I use Indesign and Madcap Flare primarily. When you export a PDF from Indesign, on the General tab there is an area called "Options." In the Options area there is a setting "Create tagged PDF." Put a check in the box.

In Madcap Flare the option is found in the PDF Target file on the PDF Options tab in the PDF Tagging area. Check the box next to "Generate tagged PDF."

I'm sure there are many other ways to do it. Acrobat Mobile 2.0 which is about six or seven years obsolete used to offer to attempt to guess how a PDF should be tagged so that it could reflow the text for me if the PDF did not already have embedded tags. Sometimes it did well and sometimes it didn't. I'm not sure why the Droid program doesn't have that option. Probably because when it guesses poorly it makes them look bad. Best practices dictate that professionals should create tagged PDFs anyway so that they are more accessible to vision impaired readers, so most of the time your PDFs will be tagged.



I'm sorry, it's not being nitpicky if it's the device trying to reflow the PDF, rather then the PDF having it's own ability to reflow. Tagged or untagged, it's still the device trying to reorganize the PDF, rather then PDF reorganize it's self to fit the device.

And that's the crux of it. A mobi or epub file, is designed to adjust it's self to the device. If I read Treasure Island on my iPhone or iPad or kindle, the same file works the same way, each and every time.

A PDF does not work the same way from one device to another. Because each device is going to try and reflow it differently. I certainly wouldn't get good results viewing a PDF of the rulebooks on my iPhone as I would on my iPad in the kindle app.

But like I said, Treasure Island is just as easy to read on any of them.


I'd love to have more of an computer presence for 5e. Personally, I’d love to see a crpg that uses a Neverwinter Nights system with a more traditional D&D turn based game play.



  • First of all, a character creator. Similar to the one on the website where we can build characters setting their feats and skills and such from 1-30. These files can then be printed for PNP play or exported to the internet to be viewed by others.

  • Single Player Campaign. Sometimes a guy just wants to put together and control an entire party through a constructed DMless story.

  • Campaign/Scenario creator. Neverwinter Nights’ whole shtick.

  • Quick-Battle. First, set your party’s level and then choose which characters you want and fight a random encounter. Should be good for a quick fix or testing out builds and such.

  • Multi Player mode. Similar to the virtual table. 


Although I won't hold my breath. ;)

Heck, I'd be happy if I could get a really nice character builder/sheet and dice roller app for my smartphone.

I'm sorry, it's not being nitpicky if it's the device trying to reflow the PDF, rather then the PDF having it's own ability to reflow. Tagged or untagged, it's still the device trying to reorganize the PDF, rather then PDF reorganize it's self to fit the device.

And that's the crux of it. A mobi or epub file, is designed to adjust it's self to the device. If I read Treasure Island on my iPhone or iPad or kindle, the same file works the same way, each and every time.

A PDF does not work the same way from one device to another. Because each device is going to try and reflow it differently. I certainly wouldn't get good results viewing a PDF of the rulebooks on my iPhone as I would on my iPad in the kindle app.

But like I said, Treasure Island is just as easy to read on any of them.



No, the device is always interpreting data in the file. The file is inert – it can't do anything. It has some metadata that tells the device how to display it and the device interprets that data. Each device interprets the data slightly differently, because eReaders use proprietary software. While there are industry standards they are not followed 100% by any device.

The PDF is exactly the same way. Adobe does not support it, which probably means that certain specialized markups don't exist, but in a book like Treasure Island (or any novel), it's unlikely that you would need specialized markups anyway. (Although you might for the PHB.) For example, one thing I have noticed is that PDFs apparently lack a blockquote tag, so in my copy of Liars for Jesus I sometimes have to turn off reflow in order to be sure that a quote has ended. But you're still wrong. Your statement about how PDFs work and their limitations was incorrect. And yes, it is nitpicky to say that even though what you said is not possible actually is entirely possible, in fact downright common, that technically you are correct because PDFs do not technically support it despite Adobe's own PDF reader having the same functionality.

And I'm not convinced that you actually know how any of this stuff works.

The problem that the rule books are going to run into is with tables, images, and other pecularities of layout that Treasure Island doesn't have. Creating a file that reflows is not difficult. Any text file can be reflowed by any device. As long as all of the text is stored as text and the device knows which text box follows which (which as all that tagging does), the text can be reflowed just as easily.

Ultimately the comparison to Treasure Island is poorest because the PHB is not a novel. It's more akin to a reference text than a narrative, and that's why PDF – and any eReader format that I have used – is wrong for it. I want sortable weapons tables, keyword filtering, metadata, show/hide flavortext options, and links, links, and more links. When I look up opportunity attacks, I should see the definition along with every single feat, power, item, and rule that references it.

The books are the books. Making a 1:1 conversion of the books into digital is a waste of potential of the digital medium.
Ever since White Wolf switched to a PDF/PoD model, their new releases have been HARDER to find pirated copies of, not easier.

Go figure. 
Wishlist: -Alternate ability bonuses for pre-PHB3 races -Lots more superior implements or an official customization rule -Monk multiclass feat that grants Unarmed Combatant

I'm sorry, it's not being nitpicky if it's the device trying to reflow the PDF, rather then the PDF having it's own ability to reflow. Tagged or untagged, it's still the device trying to reorganize the PDF, rather then PDF reorganize it's self to fit the device.

And that's the crux of it. A mobi or epub file, is designed to adjust it's self to the device. If I read Treasure Island on my iPhone or iPad or kindle, the same file works the same way, each and every time.

A PDF does not work the same way from one device to another. Because each device is going to try and reflow it differently. I certainly wouldn't get good results viewing a PDF of the rulebooks on my iPhone as I would on my iPad in the kindle app.

But like I said, Treasure Island is just as easy to read on any of them.



No, the device is always interpreting data in the file. The file is inert – it can't do anything. It has some metadata that tells the device how to display it and the device interprets that data.



And that's where you have it mixed up. The device is reading the PDF and saying, well, I can take this and display it like this, and kind of get a reflow.

But with an epub and mobi file, the files says, This is how you display me.

Two really different things.

I don't have to convince you of me knowing anything. I know what I know, I know where my paychecks come from. That's all that matters to me.

I also don't have to make personal attacks about what i think of your qualifications, because I'm confident in what I know, and really don't need to make this personal to try and "win".
Iwant to be able to buy books using apples ibooks 2.  It makes the textbooks look awesome.  Video examples could beembedded and you could put the character generator in the phb.  I like apple products and I love my iPad. Let's generate some good d&d content for it!
I'm coming into this conversation a bit late, but I think the pdf piracy excuse was hot garbage.

If a company is ripping you off, you sue them into bankruptcy, and take your business somewhere reputable. Are you really telling me that there are no reputable companies that sell pdfs? Or just set up your own pdf store right on your website. They're already dealing with financial transactions online through DDI anyway.

My personal theory is that the pdfs were pulled as a start down the road that later caused them to move everything online. I don't think it had anything to do with piracy (unless you're saying that they really are just that incompetent) and everything to do with trying to push more people towards DDI subscriptions. Unfortunately, pdfs can be used offline, DDI cannot.

Also, I fail to see how your idea to produce epubs changes anything. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see epubs, but how is that any different than having pdfs? If they are worried about shady companies, well a shady company can still sell epubs under the table. If they are worried about piracy, well epubs can still be uploaded to torrent sites.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
Piracy shouldn't be a consideration, every book that comes out has probably been scanned by that night and posted. Personnally I wouldn't do PDFs because they're a lazy way of doing digital and if they can make money from it they should. Personnally I would go a different direction and it would be the oft mentioned app.

The big sell would be an interactive character sheet on an IPad or tablet, select the Class field and pick a class from a book you've purchased, fills out the details for you and reduces options that are incompatible with the class in the other fields.

Dreams.
On an electronic front, there are a handful of things I think the focus should be on:

1) A vastly improved virtual tabletop that is available for free to anyone.

2) Three applications that are able to interact with the tabletop - character builder, monster compendium (and builder), and adventure compendium and builder.  On release the character builder will have basic classes/races up to level 3 (5?), the monster compendium will have about 20% of the monster manual (sufficient for adventures up to level 3+), and the adventure builder will have a few basic adventures and tilesets.

3) The purchase of any D&D book (whether it be physical or through the preferred eBook format) will include a unique registration code that allows you to access that information through the related application.  For instance buying the players handbook will make available all the options from that book in your character builder.  This provides additional incentive to purchase books versus pirating.

4) The idea mentioned in an earlier post of an online shop similar to an app store where users can submit content (that requires approval from Wizards obviously) to be sold with some percentage of the sale going to WotC.  This would work really well for adventures and potentially entire capaign settings.

While most people would agree that playing D&D in person with friends is the best way to play, it is not always easy to arrange the time to do so.  The opportunity to play digitally with high quality tools will make the game a viable option for a much larger percentage of the population.  
It is an absolute travesty that I can't play DnD on my Droid while riding the bus to work. It should have been obvious to WotC that the market was headed in this direction at least 10 years ago. The following should have been on desktops five years ago and iphones three years ago:


  • Character sharing. It's like nobody at WotC has even heard of Facebook. Social media has been the "wave of the future" for almost a decade. Sharing my character with my DM should be a two-click process. It should appear in his library with my name on it so that he can open it up and view it and even make notes on it. It is incredibly dumb that I need to talk somebody through downloading and installing a PDF printer in order to get a look at their character sheet. Hell, I should be able to click a button and let everybody on Facebook check out my newest character.

  • A lobby, or at least an organized way for DMs to solicit players and players to solicit DMs for a fully functional virtual tabletop that doesn't require me to spend fifteen minutes cutting and pasting to make it convenient to use. A message board isn't sufficient. This needs its own UI, and real time chat, and little themed timewaster games that make people want to hang out there all day waiting for a game to open.

  • A rules compendium with hyperlinks. And since the web never runs out of paper, everything should say explicitly exactly what it does. Paper is dead. Put somebody in charge of designing a database and work with them to make the next iteration completely accessible to disabled users. Official rulings from CS should be added to the entry of the rule in question. Every feat and skill and glossary term should have a talk page. If I have a question, the Compendium should be the first, best place to look. Not the least useful.




And for the love of $deity, make it platform independant. HTML5 + SQL (or similar) means that those of us who can't install a .net framework can still participate.

Putting it on Android or iOS would be a great start for all the people who take a tablet to gaming with them.

Love the idea of an indexed compendium that was a presentation layer on top of a DB.

Love the idea of being able to push my character sheet to my GM with notes.

And that's from the perspective of playing f2f rather than via a VT or PbeM.