Directed Discussion - Next tool to be worked on

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Since the WoTC folks seem to be uncertain which of the three remaining DDI projects to start on next, I would like to place my vote for the Dungeon Builder. This is the only remaining piece that I think they could roll out in a realistic time frame and would be useful and potentially worth paying more money for.

My group already uses Maptool for a VTT and it works pretty well. Enough so, that I am no longer eagerly awaiting the Game Table. I'll take a look when it comes out, but it isn't a priority. And, IMO the Visualizer is really just an add-on for the table top. By itself it is never something that I would pay for. I think it is kind of silly to role that out on its own.

I would pay for a decent dungeon designer that allowed me to easily create encounters similar to the ones from Dungeon adventures. I love the design of the 4E adventures. So much that I would like to emulate it in my own creations. For this I could use a good tool. And as a subscriber it would be great to be able to get downloads of the maps from Dungeon Magazine or the published adventures that I could then add onto or modify to suit my own campaign.

If the WotC folks are listening, I hope this plea gets passed up. Everyone knows the Game Table is a huge project and if it isn't close now, then it is not likely going to be so in another year. Try tackling a smaller project, the Dungeon Builder, and get it up and running. And I, for one, would pay a little more on my current yearly subscription for this tool.
The people tracking and maintaining this message board are, I seriously hope, not the people writing code for WoTC. If the people writing the Dungeon Builder and other DDI tools don't already have a fairly established timeline and project plan, that bodes not well for ever getting anything into production (they're already seven months overdue... can you imagine what people would be saying about WoTC if the 4E rules were just coming out today, after all the pre-release hype?). Our hopes, dreams and aspirations for all the cool things the applications might eventually do might make it into a wish list some day, but I have to go with the assumption that they've already got a set of requirements and expectations, a development plan, and a potential release schedule, and our ideas and contributions aren't part of that picture.
I have graph paper..... /wink

∴ "Virtus junxit, mors non separabit." 

I'd vote the dungeon builder number 2 on my list. I'd like a robust monster/NPC creator first.

But, I'd be pretty happy with a good dungeon builder (especially if it incorporated stuff like different types of terrain {fungus, blood rock, ice...} and traps, and the rules thereof.
I have graph paper..... /wink

Ha! Strangely so do I and even in a wide variety of sizes:D

Seriously, my group now plays almost exclsively on computers and the game goes much faster. Being able to create nice looking dungeons that I could load into a VTT or create encounter pages from would be a nice asset.
Ha! Strangely so do I and even in a wide variety of sizes:D

Seriously, my group now plays almost exclsively on computers and the game goes much faster. Being able to create nice looking dungeons that I could load into a VTT or create encounter pages from would be a nice asset.

Theres a ton of mapping programs out there that you can load into a VTT. Some are free, others require a single payment.. NONE require a monthly subscription.
Ha! Strangely so do I and even in a wide variety of sizes:D

Seriously, my group now plays almost exclsively on computers and the game goes much faster. Being able to create nice looking dungeons that I could load into a VTT or create encounter pages from would be a nice asset.

I'm beginning to sound like I'm getting paid to do this, but you can actually create tile-based dungeons using a couple of the free VTTs. The one I use is MapTool, and it will support tile-built dungeons.

In fact, Wizards still has their dungeon tile mapper out there somewhere - google for it. It has 4 of their tilesets.
The LFR people recomend: http://www.jailoco.net/jai.hordelings/dungeontilesmapper.htm

Which is the old WotC one.

But I would also like the next project out to be the Dungeon Builder, but I'd prefer it as an "Adventure Builder" - the DM's version of the character builder basically. With the ability to print out Encounters with map, mechanics etc.
The LFR people recomend: http://www.jailoco.net/jai.hordelings/dungeontilesmapper.htm

Which is the old WotC one.

But I would also like the next project out to be the Dungeon Builder, but I'd prefer it as an "Adventure Builder" - the DM's version of the character builder basically. With the ability to print out Encounters with map, mechanics etc.

THIS.
From WotC_DM:

I can say that the dungeon Builder is fairly close to beta, but still requires the capability to be updated, and we have been working on the character builder updater with the intent to use it for the other applications. So we have some integration steps to do for the Dungeon Builder to be shippable.

The Game Table and the Character Visualizer are in Alpha stage.

So, what would you like to see WotC work on next, and why?

We have
  • Dungeon Builder;
  • Game Table; and
  • Character Visualizer.


Personally, I would like to see the Dungeon Builder worked on next. While the Game Table is nice, and I would love to see it come out next, I think that the biggest bang for the buck would be the Dungeon Builder. It would be usable for both people playing online, people playing face to face and, when the GT is out, be imported into the game table.

I would then have WotC work on both the Game Table and the Character visualizer more or less at the same time. Both appear to be fairly graphics-intensive (especially the CV) and they technologies and programming that you learn in one will be very helpful in the other. Working on them simultaneously will, IMO, only improve the final result in both. Once they get into Beta Stage, focus most of the effort on the Game Table, and then finish up the visualizer afterwards.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
I'm eagerly awaiting the game table, but in some respects I think the dungeon builder should be next - only because without it, i'm not sure how effective the game table will be.

Character visualizer, on the other hand, I don't see how that should take very long to finish, and I don't see why they couldn't be working on that at the same time as the other component.
Pretty much agree with the Dungeon Builder next. Then the game table, and then finally when there isn't any else needing done, the character visualizer. I think the DB would be needed to help make the GT work and the CV is nothing but fluff.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/26.jpg)

If I can go off list, a robust creature/trap/NPC builder.

If not, the dungeon builder.
I'm beginning to sound like I'm getting paid to do this, but you can actually create tile-based dungeons using a couple of the free VTTs. The one I use is MapTool, and it will support tile-built dungeons.

In fact, Wizards still has their dungeon tile mapper out there somewhere - google for it. It has 4 of their tilesets.

I just got the latest version of Maptool and haven't tried to create something from scratch yet. I'll try it out. The older version that I was using was pretty limited.
But I would also like the next project out to be the Dungeon Builder, but I'd prefer it as an "Adventure Builder" - the DM's version of the character builder basically. With the ability to print out Encounters with map, mechanics etc.

I agree 100% with this. That is exactly what I meant, just said better Making the tool work well with Dungeon and published content, so that it could be easily modified to suit any campaign would be a great benefit and would give the tool ongoing viability.
Well, I started a "campaign" for the same result in another post on this forum, but the Directed Discussion is a good idea. Thanks MB.

I agree that the Dungeon Builder should be the next project. It also makes sense from a marketing standpoint because it could be used to compliment existing Dungeon and published adventure content. The game table will be great to get more people playing, but I know just enough about programming to suspect that this is a much larger and more complicated project. As others have said, the Visualizer is really just an add-on to the game table.

This quote expresses my desire for the Dungeon Builder quite well:

But I would also like the next project out to be the Dungeon Builder, but I'd prefer it as an "Adventure Builder" - the DM's version of the character builder basically. With the ability to print out Encounters with map, mechanics etc.

I missed that. I am going to merge the two threads.

My apologies.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
The people tracking and maintaining this message board are, I seriously hope, not the people writing code for WoTC. If the people writing the Dungeon Builder and other DDI tools don't already have a fairly established timeline and project plan, that bodes not well for ever getting anything into production (they're already seven months overdue... can you imagine what people would be saying about WoTC if the 4E rules were just coming out today, after all the pre-release hype?). Our hopes, dreams and aspirations for all the cool things the applications might eventually do might make it into a wish list some day, but I have to go with the assumption that they've already got a set of requirements and expectations, a development plan, and a potential release schedule, and our ideas and contributions aren't part of that picture.

I hear what you are saying, but check out Mud Buuny's new Directed Discussion. The WotC_DM quote seems to echo Bill Slavicek's mood in the latest ampersand article: that Wizard's hasn't really decided what comes after the Character Generator. I am sure that all of the projects are in some stages of development, but currently all hands are on deck to get the Character Builder done - Wizards has been pretty clear about that. So if we can have any influence over their future direction, I think now is the time.
Oh. Spiff. So, if they haven't even begun work yet, we can stop holding our breath... it'll be six months at least before we see the next thing.
i'd rather have wizards work on a "how to talk to your community project".
they have no communication channels at all, and they'd really need to at the moment to convey any interest in the community... which obviously, they don't have. wotc just does not care, as long as some people buy without questioning, they're fine.
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
I'd like the Game Table to be the next part of the project.

Others have said this may necessitate the Dungeon Builder, and I leave it up to WotC to know how integrated these two products may or may not be.

However, from what I've seen in demos at conventions leads me to understand that I can draw maps in another program (or sketch on a napkin and scan that in) and by up and playing with that as my map.

As an RPGA player, and someone with few options for local play - online play would be ideal for myself, and many others I know. Right now there are ways to play online, but as different groups use different mixes of VTT and VoIP, there's some fragmentation among the online community.

While I don't expect the DDI:GT will completely solve the problem, it at least introduces a "standard baseline" that I suspect (hope?) will help bring some of these fragmentary groups back together.

Further, I see the Game Table as being the next part of the software suite as having the highest amount of "useability". The Dungeon Builder and Character Visualizer are, as I see them, "tie-ins" to the Game Table. Make your character(s), make your Dungeon(s), and then wait for them to be useful with the Game Table.

Alternately, use the Game Table as it is now (with maps from external sources (or hopefully built internally) - and wait for increased functionality in the form of the Character Visualizer and Dungeon Builder.

Just my $.02
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Game Table! I think that establishing a "base line", to use Wolfstar76's terminology, would help remove some of the roadblocks that those of us out in the wilderness have in finding a steady group to game with online.

Without having a bunch of time to invest in making sure everything works (especially for one shot adventures), I think the VTT gives us our best bang/buck ratio. This will also remove one of the larger roadblocks for progress as well (it seems to be the thing that's holding folks back from really jumping on board (if forum posts are to be believed)).

The Dungeon Builder would be nice but I'm afraid that I don't care for the whole "tiles" thing. Maybe it's just a personal preference but I'd prefer to generate my own maps and not be stuck working with what someone else thinks a "standard" room looks like. Too many years of graph paper I suppose.
IMAGE(http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y239/SoulCatcher78/techdevil78.jpg)
GameTable, definitely. Nothing else will help them do what they say their goal is: transform the way the game is played (so to speak; I don't think I've ever heard them say that in so many words).

The bottom line is, without the GameTable, none of the other tools matter.

My plan would be to finish the builder, backburner EVERYTHING until I had a working GameTable with a built-in set of pregenned PC models and a map library / map import feature. Everything else can wait. I mean, they're going to have to do models for every monster and include them in the GameTable anyway; make a set of PC "generic" models for each race/class/sex combination, and you're good to go.

I don't want to build dungeons with the tiles much anyway - it would be much cooler to import an image, adjust the grid size to my preference, and go.
My vote

1) Finish Character Builder (obvious)

2) Finish Dungeon Builder (logically comes before the game table)

3) Finish Game Table (I want D&D on my PC!!!)

4) Create Custom Monster Builder/NPC generator (Would put it at step 2 but as far as I know they haven't even started on this thing yet, & I think wizards needs to save some face & finish what they've started. I would love to see an app like this fully integrated into the whole digital insider spectrum.)

5) Finish Character Visualizer (least important app to "play" the game digitally)

6) Profit!
I don't want to build dungeons with the tiles much anyway - it would be much cooler to import an image, adjust the grid size to my preference, and go.

This is already an option. It's been discussed, and I've seen it in the demo.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

This is already an option. It's been discussed, and I've seen it in the demo.

In that case, definitely bag the Dungeon Builder until the GameTable is out. There are plenty of existing tools (including a WotC dungeon tile mapper, clunky as it is) to create maps.
From WotC_DM:
I can say that the dungeon Builder is fairly close to beta, but still requires the capability to be updated,

If it's this late in the grand scheme of things and they haven't written and integrated update code into the dungeon builder, they're royally boned.
Shemeska the Marauder, Freelancer 5 / Yugoloth 10
See the issue is many are looking at "Dungeon Builder" as the same as "Map Maker", producing a simple map maker is the worst thing they could do atm... there are plenty available at all sorts of levels of complexity.

The Dungeon Builder needs to be able to make maps and encounters and tie them together, for at home use and on-line use. You should be able to take a Dungeon Builder map and encounter set to the Game Table and load them up, grab some players and go - not having to look at anything else unless some situation in the game requires it.

The Game Table should be handling the communication of information between players and GM, and have that information at hand for the DM as much as possible - ideally by loading a pre-done encounter set. Not creating the adventure whole cloth as the DM rushes about doing it (though obviously intergration of Dungeon Builder functionality into the Game Table would let the DM do that if they wanted, but again you need the Dungeon Builder stuff there first before you can intergrate it).

Because Dungeon Adventures whose encounter sections can be imported directly, without doing anything, into the Game Table and be ready to rock and roll for the DM would be so awesome I'd pay for it. (Sorry couldn't resist the Kung Fu Panda reference.)

Also we need to realise what the arrangement of DnD population is;
Highest Population is Players
Then its people who do not play online.
Then the smallest population is DMs who run games on line.

The greatest use tools are hence the ones of most use to people that will be playing offline. Investing in them first and developing them so that they intergrate into the online tools and your other products seems to be the best investment... I'd be thinking that's why we are waiting for the character builder now - its the thing with the broadest appeal by a long margin.
See, I'm just basing it on what they've said the Dungeon Builder will provide - the ability to create maps using dungeon tiles and basic drawing tools. They do say that multilevel dungeons will be possible, as well as secret notes, but again, that's not much more (if at all) than existing tools do.

They might make it into an Adventure Builder, but since it'll be free...I'm thinking they're not going to be able to build in a lot of things.

I just don't think it has to be in place before the GameTable. It would be nice, but I don't think it's required.


Edit: in fairness, however, my opinion also stems from the fact that I make my own dungeons, and I do it a lot. I don't really need another tool to do so.
If it's this late in the grand scheme of things and they haven't written and integrated update code into the dungeon builder, they're royally boned.

See, they were supposed to have all of this in production seven months ago. Any IT shop I've worked in, if a project was that far behind schedule, it'd get cancelled, or people would lose their jobs. Here? Nah.

I don't understand people who get all giddy, hopping-up-and-down excited about the prospect of D&D software. I'll believe it when I see it on the shelf, not a day before, and even then, I'll reserve judgment on it until I've had a chance to play with it for a while.
See, they were supposed to have all of this in production seven months ago. Any IT shop I've worked in, if a project was that far behind schedule, it'd get cancelled, or people would lose their jobs. Here? Nah.

I don't understand people who get all giddy, hopping-up-and-down excited about the prospect of D&D software. I'll believe it when I see it on the shelf, not a day before, and even then, I'll reserve judgment on it until I've had a chance to play with it for a while.

Several people lost their jobs in December. Almost all of them were people tied to DDI.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

I would like to see an Adventure Builder.

Where you create a complete adventure including a map and encounters and rooms with monsters and other terrain in them.

A backstory and setup would be included as well as a conclusion.

The full stats in an easy to use form for all the monsters you encounter would be easy to access with a single click.

The map could be scanned in or built from scratch using all kinds of different shapes and sizes and colors.

That is what my vision is for the next tool.
Mike Donais. Cryptozoic R&D
Sounds great Mike, can you make it so?
I would like to see an Adventure Builder.

Where you create a complete adventure including a map and encounters and rooms with monsters and other terrain in them.

A backstory and setup would be included as well as a conclusion.

The full stats in an easy to use form for all the monsters you encounter would be easy to access with a single click.

The map could be scanned in or built from scratch using all kinds of different shapes and sizes and colors.

That is what my vision is for the next tool.

At the risk of sounding snarky (and I'm not - you've actually intruiged me greatly) would that essentially be a DDI version of Dundjinni?

Because Dundjinni is a pretty awesome product (though I have a handful of complaints about it - that have never been resolved), and a DDI version for 4E would be to die for.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

I don't recall Dundjinni having any stats or any thing like that at all. Just mapping, right?
I don't recall Dundjinni having any stats or any thing like that at all. Just mapping, right?

Dundjinni offers notes and items linked to rooms and such, but no auto-statting of monsters that I recall. Of course, Dundjinni is focused on making printed maps.
I don't recall Dundjinni having any stats or any thing like that at all. Just mapping, right?

I'll note, firstly, that I haven't had cause to dust off my copy of Dundjinni in at least a year, so my memory may be faulty.

While you're probably right about auto-populating stats for NPCs, I seem to recall being able to drop a token on the maps and then filling in the stats for the NPC (or even for PCs) by hand - which would create d20 stat blocks as part of the module.

I'll see if I can find my license keys and reinstall it to give it another go, but I recall being able to do that for more than just characters, now that I think on it.

Doors and other objects could be statted out (for things like hardness, opendoor/bend bar checks) and I think even walls could be statted if you so desired.

It wasn't the most obvisous function in the world to add, but it was there. I'm almost sure of it.

If a DDI:Encounter Builder would auto-populate monster stats from the Compendium (or a similar database) that would be made of Epic Win, and a tool that robust might even encourage me to try my hand at writing an RPGA module.

(Of course, I'll then want the Encounter Builder to help me scale those monsters up/down a few levels so as to help match my party, or for RPGA mods which are written with a "high" and "low" level of play in mind).
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

I'll note, firstly, that I haven't had cause to dust off my copy of Dundjinni in at least a year, so my memory may be faulty.

While you're probably right about auto-populating stats for NPCs, I seem to recall being able to drop a token on the maps and then filling in the stats for the NPC (or even for PCs) by hand - which would create d20 stat blocks as part of the module.

I'll see if I can find my license keys and reinstall it to give it another go, but I recall being able to do that for more than just characters, now that I think on it.

Doors and other objects could be statted out (for things like hardness, opendoor/bend bar checks) and I think even walls could be statted if you so desired...

I believe this is all still in Dundjinni. I haven't used my copy in a while either, but I remember that those features exist (primarily because I would instinctively right-click on objects to manipulate them, and instead get the "enter token stats" dialog - insanely frustrating).

Edit: Yep. From the Dundjinni site:

Create Adventures

With Dundjinni you also have the ability to create custom d20-based adventures. Edit descriptions and d20 stats for NPCs, monsters, treasure, doors, traps, pits, objects, and rooms. Import XML stats and export adventures to HTML or XML. There are tons of stats included. Much more!

I believe this is all still in Dundjinni. I haven't used my copy in a while either, but I remember that those features exist (primarily because I would instinctively right-click on objects to manipulate them, and instead get the "enter token stats" dialog - insanely frustrating).

Edit: Yep. From the Dundjinni site:

Thanks, Mock.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

I'm less concerned about the next tool they work on as opposed to fixing the parts they have. Fix the login-every-twenty-minutes first, then the monster builder (still doesn't print formatted stat blocks), finish the Compendium (include traps, disease, basic rules, etc).

The Dungeon builder, Game Table, and Visualizer are all fantasy functionality to me. I'd like the existing tools to be more solid.
I would like to see an Adventure Builder.

Where you create a complete adventure including a map and encounters and rooms with monsters and other terrain in them.

A backstory and setup would be included as well as a conclusion.

The full stats in an easy to use form for all the monsters you encounter would be easy to access with a single click.

The map could be scanned in or built from scratch using all kinds of different shapes and sizes and colors.

That is what my vision is for the next tool.

This has my vote for sure
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