WORMSKIN

9/06/2011

Make This Happen: Digital Record Sheets

It seems like the chronological distance between us and a cheap, interactive digital surface for running tabletop games is fairly considerable at this point. What would you guys/gals say? Ten? Fifteen years maybe? Which is a shame because I'd love to play around with something like that -- like today. 

Something much more attainable would be a touch-sensitive character record sheet that could run on a tablet. Somebody smarter than me could make something like this right now.


"Pencil-marks" on the sheet could be altered with a few well-placed taps. Of course the sheet would be exportable to a jpg or png format for quick printing if you really wanted/needed a hard copy. The Dungeon Master could be equipped with a real-time view of these pages from his laptop and even alter them if necessary. What do you guys think? It is Renaissancey enough?

Btw that sheet was created by of The Yaqqothl Grimoire.

4 comments:

  1. It's kind of incredible to me that lots of things like this don't already exist, given the massive proliferation of apps for all kinds of things and the geek crossover of tabletop games and programmers. It's a bit of an anomaly. On the internet there are a few nice free applications to help DMs, but so far none have completely blown me away with the sort of ergonomic design and elegance that is required.(The big publishers themselves are obviously glacial in their reaction times to the gamer culture and the wider world, so no point looking to them.)

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  2. I don't have an iPad so can't test this, but as far as I can tell, this iPad app should work with fillable PDFs. There's probably other apps that would do it too.

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  3. This has been working pretty well for some of our online games - we can just open it up in different tabs and print it out or print to PDF at session end to save. Sites like Corkboard.me can be used if both player and DM have to have access at the same time.

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  4. The tablet as a record sheet is attainable now, and will be even better (or cheaper) in the coming 1-3 years - you can already pick up a low-end android tablet for around $200 now, so I expect that to get lower (or at least the hardware to get better for the same $), I'd say as long as the players are willing to invest $150-200 you're probably looking at 1-3 years away, if that.

    You could already use Google docs spreadsheets to keep track of player data, with each player sharing the character spreadsheet with the DM, the dm could consult them in different tabs on the laptop and even edit the sheet on the fly, if he/she so desired. The DM could also share a document with individual players (if they were prepared beforehand) - lets say a note 'for their eyes only', which they could then open up and read on their own, even going so far as to use gmail chat/email to send a private message to the DM in response.

    I'm even thinking there might be a way to work it all out with circles in Google+, having one 'party' circle (with all the players in the circle) and with each player having their own circle (from the DM's account) and so the dm could send whole party notifications and also ones to each individual player or even groups of players. For example - Bob, Tim and Ed are in a party, and they just fought a witch, you could send a update to just Bob and Tim saying that when Ed picked up her pendant he stopped understanding english and so they can no longer speak to him until he drops the pendant. I'm sure you can come up with something better, but I'm two glasses of wine into my night and I'm just spitballing.

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