Augmenting TTRPG with Hi-Tech/Home Media

edited May 2014 in Play Advice
For years I've used whiteboards, roughly 24"x30", for drawing tactical maps, positioning, etc. One day digital whiteboards will come down in price and I'll get one. Whiteboards are great for hand-drawn low-color sketches, but what about full-color maps and hi-res images of locations, characters, etc? One of the few things I like about PBF is the ability to link immediately to an image of a character or setting, to help set the mood or provide a visual.

Well just yesterday (late to the party), I realized that I could use the web browser in my Wii to connect to an HTML document I've linked to a bunch of pre-uploaded images, thus turning my flatscreen TV into a support unit for games. PCs enter a new setting? Click, click, "Here's what you see." Meet an NPC? Click, click, "Here's what she looks like." (Note: I found when preparing pics for the Wii browser, they work best when they're twice as wide as they are high; 800x400 works well for me.)

This got me thinking. What applications of home entertainment technology and other hi-tech gizmos are you using - perhaps not as originally intended - to support or augment your gaming experiences?

Comments

  • edited May 2014
    Frequently use Google Earth on iPad or large monitor to zoom in on locations for modern era games. Great for finding/showing locations for superhero fights!
  • edited May 2014
    John Harper turned me on to Solar Walk orrery iPad app for scifi games set in our solar system - haven't used it in a game yet myself.
  • I love making the random web toys like evil robots, strange/alien languages, star charts, solar system generators, or NPCs for various RPGs. So, that comes in handy for when your notes don't have something covered. My next project is probably going to be a random pictogram generator using a public domain library I know of so it will create something like Rory's Story Cubes for those that don't have them or want an online tool that does something similar. The 'trick' will be if I can make it a shared resource ala the Catch Your Hare dice roller.
    --
    TAZ
  • edited May 2014
    I use a tablet full of cool illustrations from pixiv fantasia to GM my Tenra Bansho hack. Characters, objects, monsters, mecha and places, though it's useful to keep separate folders to know where's everything. I could use the pc, but using a hand-held device allows me to show it only to the player who passed the spot check, and keep it secret to the rest.
  • edited May 2014
    My next project is probably going to be a random pictogram generator using a public domain library I know of so it will create something like Rory's Story Cubes for those that don't have them or want an online tool that does something similar. The 'trick' will be if I can make it a shared resource ala the Catch Your Hare dice roller.
    Something like Mark's Adventure Glyphs (reload page to reroll, move images around with drag and drop)? There's also a mobile version.

  • I often do a lot of visual prep, especially for NPCs when there's a broad cast of characters, but I prefer concrete props because they can sit on the table. I hate showing my players stuff on screens because I think screens (or any other form of intermediation) interfere with the imaginative aspect of face-to-face roleplaying. We even have digital projector in our playspace that can throw a 6' high image on the wall, but I never use it because it breaks with the intimacy of a mutual imaginative experience.

    In my current Cthulhu World campaign I have a calendar, portraits for all of the major NPCs, some maps, and a few stage-setting bits of scenery. Being able to have a bunch of them on the table at once is a huge advantage over fishing around on a laptop or wherever for the various bits, and expecting my players to remember stuff. If they're in a room with six NPCs having a conversation, I prefer to have those NPCs spread out on the table.

    I actually prefer (but do not enforce) a "no phone" rule at the table, because I want people to be looking at and talking to each other and what's in the physical space, not tracking pixels or scrolling text.

    If it works for you, that's awesome. I've experimented with different ways if integrating digital, and it doesn;t work for me; I remain attached to physical printouts and scribbles on note cards. I do use a laptop at the table, though, to look up real-world facts as needed.
  • edited May 2014
    I been thinking about trying remote controlled coloured light bulbs! giving different moods to environments or locations.
    Add surround sound on remote should be a right handful of gizmo's
  • edited May 2014
    My next project is probably going to be a random pictogram generator using a public domain library I know of so it will create something like Rory's Story Cubes for those that don't have them or want an online tool that does something similar. The 'trick' will be if I can make it a shared resource ala the Catch Your Hare dice roller.
    Something like Mark's Adventure Glyphs (reload page to reroll, move images around with drag and drop)? There's also a mobile version.
    Indeed! Different UI, a text box so you can 'post' your results, and links if you don't want to display the original page. It's not a multi-user resource (yet), but you can check it out here if you are curious:

    tangent-zero.com/zero_dice/zero_dice.htm

    Figure it is a handy system-less tool for generating and inspiring situations and NPCs. Internally, it simulates a bowl of 190 dice. So, there can't be any exact duplicates.
    --
    TAZ
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