An old role-playing buddy of mine came back to town for a visit a few weeks ago. Until the end of last year he had been playing in my Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition campaign. It had been going for three years, but he got a new job in a different city and had to move away. It’s always a shame to lose a good player, especially from a party that’s been adventuring together for that length of time. I can’t wait to get him back in my game with 3D Virtual Tabletop, he’ll be one of my first guinea pigs ☺.
He’s also one of the new breed of mobile computer users. He has a netbook that he hardly uses, and an Android tablet that he uses for everything else when he’s not on his phone. In this new “Post PC” world, I’m betting there are lots of other people in the same situation and many of those are bound to be as keen on role playing as I am. It would be a shame for those RPG enthusiasts to miss out on playing with their friends via virtual tabletops, so I’m making 3D Virtual Tabletop more inclusive, and expanding it to run on tablets and phones.
When I first tried out a new version of 3D Virtual Tabletop on my friend’s Android tablet, I was amazed at how good it felt to use. He generously let me borrow his one for a few days so that I could get the virtual tabletop working on it. Even though I wasn’t initially going to do the tablet thing at all, I really enjoyed the experience, it’s much better than you could ever get on a laptop or desktop computer with a mouse. Flinging the minis around with your finger, and moving the map to and fro with a swipe is lots of fun. Spinning the map around with the twirl of your fingers has got to be the most easy to use and intuitive interface that I’ve ever seen on a virtual tabletop.
The culmination of all of this is that 3D Virtual Tabletop is now available on Android. The application itself is little more than a demo at this point, given how early this is in the development of the virtual tabletop, but the Android version will be improved alongside the online version - at the same time and at the same rate with the same features. You can find the Android app in Google Play: 3D Virtual Tabletop. I’ve also made short demo video, trying to convey how smooth the whole thing is to use. That’s the video near the top of this post, and it’s also available directly on youtube: 3D Virtual Tabletop Demo on Android.
“Really cool” is the feedback I’ve received so far when showing people 3D Virtual Tabletop running on Android. Another friend of mine has a Samsung Galaxy S II phone and I’m pleased to say that it ran well on there. I’ve put some effort into scaling the interface and graphics so that it suits both the large screen of tablets and the small space available on phones. Using Skype for voice along with the stunning visuals of the app will make a great experience for Android users. I’m grateful that I’ve got the opportunity to enable people to play a real game of D&D anywhere that they can use their phone, from relaxing on the couch, to sitting underneath a tree by the river.