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  1. #1
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    Idea - Tabletop battle game through Sketchup

    Hey,

    I came up with idea yestarday and I thought it might be good to share it on this forum. If you think this is wrong section then you can move it somewhere else.
    Long time ago I used to very shortly play Warhammer Fantasy Battle game. In case you don't know what it is... it's a tabletop game where you use miniature figures placed on modelled terrain. There are certain rules that try to simulate combat and to win you have to use your tactical skills.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miniature_wargaming - Here is more information.

    My idea is that you could create and play that type of game through internet by using Sketchup's model as virtual 3d table. This program has many advantages that allow for that. Especially the component system which is really powerful. For example you can create series of soldiers as componens (either 3d or flat silhouettes that face camera). Whole battlefield can be also constructed by players from prefabricated modelled elements.
    Of course it's not so impressive thing like doing regular computer game with sound and animation. However it can be something easy to do for artists beacause you don't need programming skills. It could be for example good project for completely abandoned Game design studio on this forum. There needs to be some set of rules like in regular tabletop game. The soldiers can be even painted as flat pictures and applied as texture to flat plane (people can then just use their concept art as ready units).

    The idea is not fully developed and I don't know how I would solve certain things right now. Here are few thoughts:

    - The players decide which on which battlefield to play and there is certain place to put their units. There are turns and opponents send back and forth through email updated sketchup file with new placement of troops.

    - There could be layers in sketchup used - one for battlefield, one for units and one for previously created grid. The units could not move freely but they could be always snapped that grid so that you can more easily calculate distance. (Or the "Tape measure" tool can be used movement and "Dimension" tool for calculating distances).

    - The grid can be marked with letters and numbers like in chess so you can more easily communicate certain things with your opponent.

    - The problem might be how to solve throwing dice when the game is played through internet. Maybe some script for generating random numbers through website or something?

    - The textures used for environment should be rather low-res so that the battlefield sketchup file is not too big. It's beacause this file would be sent through email.

    - Once you got the whole system and rules created, you can play with different worlds. Create your own units, environments, monsters, weapons and so on.

    That's all I can think of right now. At the moment I don't have time for developing this idea beacause of exams. I might try doing something simple on my own later but maybe someone will have some good ideas.

    Last edited by Farvus; February 14th, 2009 at 08:37 PM.
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  3. #2
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    Do you mean a board game in sketchup?? I didnt think google sketchup had a multiuser interface? How would the users connect to the application? unless you mean creating the models in sketchup and hosting them in a dedicated web application? sounds like a nice idea, maybe you could use a multiplayer flash game, kinda tile map style, its not really 3d but you can fake some stuff, and building , rendering in SU and chopping up in Photoshop, and loading into flash isnt htat hard to do.... you should elaborate a bit, i think it has potential as a collaboration project here on ca... :-)

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  4. #3
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    Sketchup doesn't have multiuser interface. I meant something more sloppy but also something that doesn't require any additional applications or programming. One player makes a move in his turn by applying changes to soldier positions in sketchup file. Then he saves it and sends the file through e-mail to his opponent. Then opponent makes a move and sends it back.
    There would be no place for cheating though beacause players would know previous positions marked in some way.

    Miniature wargame is kind of like board game but it uses models that are in appropriate scale to battlefield and other units. What matters in this whole thing is good calculation of distance. I also called it this way instead of computer game beacause it wouldn't use some previoulsy programmed engine. The whole "engine" would be in set of rules that both players have in some PDF file just like when playing typical real-life tabletop battle game where you use some book with rules and dice.

    Of course that doesn't mean you couldn't create a flash game. I'm just too lazy and I found a way to create a game where you can just focus on having fun with designing/modelling terrain and soldiers (as Brad Holland said - "Laziness is the mother of invention" ) Everyone can also apply changes to the rulebook according to their needs. That's the nice thing about it .

    EDIT: Oh. And by the way. Beacause it would be turn-based, two players could also meet and play it together on one computer like in some old computer games - Warlords or for example Heroes of Might and Magic. It also doesn't have to be with characters. You can create game with battle of spaceship fleet.

    And here's how I see using Sketchup's tools in making the game organized.

    Idea - Tabletop battle game through Sketchup

    Last edited by Farvus; February 16th, 2009 at 04:02 PM.
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  5. #4
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    Farvus that sounds very interesting! I became fan of Warhammer 40k over night, because of new computer game and after some seances with Heroes of M&M player as hot seat, I can really imagine this working. To Warhammer 40k... If we (or anyone else, because I just talk very much) create library of few models and basic obstacles, simplify Warhammer rules, it can be even quite user-friendly way to play board game via hot seat. But I'm sceptic to games via internet, it won't work in my opinion. But hey, hot seat would still be a great thing and maybe first step to make.

    Strange powers drag you through the black tunnel until you see mysterious Book of Void awaiting you.
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    I'm not familiar with warhammer specifically, but I like the idea. My first image of this game while you were laying it out was:

    The actual sketchup file would only need to be e-mailed twice, once from each person. After that, it would be like an old Chess-By-Mail game, like you said the spaces would have to be numbered/lettered. In this model you could even play through instant messenger or IRC chat or something.

    Set-up:
    --First player sets up an 'Environment' on a pre-made, universal Numbered+Lettered game grid: Basically they just throw the scene together, maybe with trees and boulders and mountains and stuff, these environmental obstacles would affect movement rates for all or certain units.

    --First player then adds their "Army" to their end of the playing board. Then sends the sketchup file to Player Two.

    --Player Two sets up their "Army" on their end of the playing board and sends this file back to Player One.

    ___At this point, there is no need to send the file back and forth___

    The game goes by the two players IMing or Chatting or Emailing their moves to one another. i.e-- "Marine to K-8" or "Tank -attacks- Jeep @ E-2"
    etc.

    The best way I can think of to do this, is to use IRC, I remember playing DnD online with just an IRC chat room and a "Dice-Bot" Handy little things. Basically you just say a command like "Roll 2 d6" and it will give you the result of rolling two six-sided-dice, or "Roll 3 d4" etc etc. I think that would be the best way to do it.

    Sounds like a good idea, not sure if anyone would really be willing to put in the grunt work of getting it in motion though. =/
    But the prospect of using units (and hero-units?) that you concept and craft yourself is pretty awesome.

    Crits, Advice, and Feedback always appreciated.

    "There's smoke in my iris, but I painted a sunny day on the inside of my eyelids" -Aesop Rock
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    I used to play warhammer several years ago. Never got really into it, but I recall a special set of simplified rules used to play quick and easy games with a small number of units. The rule set was called "skirmish", and can be found in the warhammer rule book. Perhaps these would make a good starting point?

    In order to successfully use dicethrows through email, you would either need a third, unbiased person, or some online service where you enter your name and the recipients email, and then the program throughs the dice for you and emails the result to the recipient. There must exist something similar somewhere.

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    Djinn, I think that in case of miniatures there's nothing like playing grid. (I just ordered one set few days ago and yesterday started assembling so I don't know rules yet.)

    So player would have to draw circle which shows his movement limit, move unit, shoot and assault(melee) Then send this adjusted file back to other player.

    But hey! There's one more good thing! You can make the file use imperial system so you don't have to convert like idiot in case you're living on the Continent!

    Stay tuned, I have a little cute idea, muhaha.

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  9. #8
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    *sighs* I overestimated myself, I took photo of space marine and then tried to make his silhouette in Sketchup. In that case we would be able to test gameplay ideas with simple unit silhouettes.
    But there is still that thing about copyrights. What do you think? How much can we talk about Warhammer without pissing their lawyers off?

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    Jonish - Thanks for some ideas. Yes. Hot seat would be much easier to play beacause you wouldn't have much problem with communication and throwing dice. At the same time if two players were at the same room then it would be much more fun to create real miniature battle game instead of playing it through computer. It's like playing cards without having cards . The whole advantage of virtual battlefield is that it can be saved in a file and copied.
    As for the silhouette. You don't need space marine to test gameplay. My thread was about opportunity to create your own battle game universe. And by the way. You can find bunch of 3d space marines in Google Warehouse. For example check out this link - http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehou...d8&prevstart=0

    Maybe it would be possible to create a tactical game (not necessarily copy of Warhammer) where units don't need to face some specific direction. Rules would omit that completely. Then you could create army of flat painted silhouette soldiers that face camera (like People in "components"). This way literally anybody could paint character that you could quickly put into game.

    Djinn - Yeah. I thouth about this type of gameplay too. It would then turn into chess instead of tactical game though. Maybe there could be some special rules for ranged combat and also it would count what direction the unit is facing. Something like Ufo: Enemy unkown through Sketchup.
    I heard about the dice thing through chat or IRC. Could work.

    iambanana - Thanks for the suggestion. I'll try to look into that. There are also additional skirmish rules for Savage Worlds mechanics.
    As for the dice through e-mail. Maybe some sort of php script for website that generate random dice results. Then both players would look into it after every round.

    Sounds like a good idea, not sure if anyone would really be willing to put in the grunt work of getting it in motion though. =/
    Well. I planned from the very beginning to create that on my own. Maybe it won't work out and I'll leave this small personal project. That's why I posted this idea here. Maybe someone else will make use of this idea and create something cool.
    I'll try to create some simple rules based on what's out there. Maybe some weird mix of chess and warhammer. Just don't expect me to post this very soon .

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    Farvus: Alright. Then it's harder in the way that we need to make our own rules "healthily inspired" by already existing tactical games. I will try to think out something too, but now I have full head of fear of painting miniatures! *smiles*

    Of course there can be some "side underground project" which just copy existing games like Warhammer... Maybe I should make 2nd account here for such illegal stuff, yay!

    Massive Assault: And third independent thought: I now remember game Massive Assault, I have it on some magazine DVD. This game had really simple system of unit statistics, working with... 5 stats(?) It worked with small numbers and it had no random element. I think those stats were. Attack(like atk 3=3 HP down), attack reach(reach 2=it can skip one hex field), defense(=amount of HP), movement(number=reach of movement on hex) and price. This doesn't necessarily have to work on hex and I think such a statistics system is nice thing to count on. Feedback?! *feels excited*

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  12. #11
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    Making your own rules has this advantage that you can adapt them specificly for playing through Sketchup on the net. Of course it would require more work but it would be also more rewarding .

    Massive assault game sounds interesting. I love the idea with no random element. That would remove the problem of dice through internet. I used to play pen&paper RPG games and I remember there were some diceless mechanics on the net. For example there was one where you distribute "loose" points and add them to statistics. Then it's only matter of comparing which value is higher.

    Quick google search ended with some good result. List of free diceless RPG games:

    http://www.dyasdesigns.com/roleplay/dicelessgames.html (now I wonder if I'll have time to read some of it )

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    I tried a little experiment. I've made basic battlefield with sniper and minigunner fighting each other. They both had circles around which showed things like shooting range and movement reach. Results? It's great thing that when I took minigunner component, used move-copy, it automatically anchored figure to movement circle and when I was moving him around, I could observe his weapon's reach from final position.

    Bad thing was that I made too large map with too large cliff with soldiers with incredibly short reach. So I cheated. *winks*

    I thought a little about stats which might be used for units, example minigunner and sniper, so it's aimed for sci-fi theme.
    max damage
    shooting range: effective(deals max dmg) and maximal(deals /2 dmg)
    movement range: one for movement+shooting, larger one for just movement without shooting.
    melee dmg
    hitpoints: no need for armor - better armor = more hitpoints.

    sniper's speciality might be in this case that his max and effective shooting range is equal.

    Grenade stuff: Throwing range, "shrapnel spread" and damage.


    In case of medieval / fantasy theme, I think there would have to be much stronger focus on melee and some stuff like magic, magic resistance maybe.

    Those are just thoughts, I'm not sure how useful it is, I mainly wanted to feel like doing something after wasted holidays.

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  14. #13
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    Thanks for writing your thoughts Jonish.

    Stats are clear to understand so it's good . I like the idea with circles showing shooting range. Other option is that they can be chosen according to the weapon used and attached to the figure as sort of template. You could even create grenade throw teplate which shows the specific trajectory. Also the Sketchup's advantage over typical miniature battle game is that you can see the whole battlefield from every possible position. For example you can put camera in shooter's first person view and see if target is visible or not. Whole new world of possibilities .

    Minor idea from me. New version of Sketchup has adjustable fog. Some unique battle situations can then include that and targets at certain distances wouldn't be visible.

    Last edited by Farvus; March 8th, 2009 at 06:41 PM.
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    The so called "fog of war". This idea is pretty interesting, I used to play 40k several years back. I think this concept would work well with a vehicle combat game as vehicles are much easier to model in sketchup than organic shapes. That way, everyone could more easily model their own tank designs and such.

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    Guys, you're right. I tried to make simple circle as independent component. Then I attached it to soldier, moved him and could use circle again. Also, whole army can move in one click, hehe.

    Yesterday I was bored and couldn't force myself to study math after holidays so I made a little fun project, which you can take as my answer to creating organic shapes, muhahahaha. It's army of orc boyz against tactical squad of space marines! I made it because my plastic miniatures are going very slowly so I thought that I might start practicing WH40k rules in Sketchup.

    Here they come... my shinies. Of course, hypotetically, if anyone would like to move some cube-skins, I can upload this, but I'm already talking too much about such a... thing. ( Those marines are really supid cubeheads, but hey, I love those greenskins, muhahhaha.)

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  17. #16
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    oalexis - Well. There are three options. First would be making flat image of character and use it as texture for silhouette. Second would be modelling organic stuff in Wings 3d or any other 3d program and then importing it to Sketchup (there is a obj importer plugin somewhere on the net). Third would be modelling character in Sketchup which can be hard but it's doable. Here's some tutorial I found - http://www.giantmonster.tv/giant/?p=396

    You can model individual body parts, group them and assemble together to create pose.
    Of course your idea with tanks is also good. It can be tanks, robots, spaceships or any other machins.

    Jonish - Lol ! That looks like super-low poly modelling . Reminds me a bit of that unique computer game - Darwinia. Look here http://store.introversion.co.uk/imag...ia_screen2.jpg

    I don't think anybody would like to play with this type of models but for testing it can be enough .

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  18. #17
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    Aaaah, Darwinia! It reminded something even to me, but I couldn't find out what. Indeed, nobody would like to play with them... at least with those space marines, they are really ugly.

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    Ya farvus I know modelling organic things in sketchup is possible, just very tedious. I was just thinking that vehicles would be easier to make for people starting out in 3D who have nothing else to work with except sketchup. Face me components are also a good subsitute, but they just don't look as good, but the game could still be fun.

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    I've read some PR stuff about plugin for easy organic modelling in SU, sadly I have no idea where to find it now.

    Strange powers drag you through the black tunnel until you see mysterious Book of Void awaiting you.
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    Ah yes, the plugin you're most likely talking about is subdivide and smooth. Sub and Smooth Sadly this plug in isn't free, It does look quite powerful though

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