Remember the old days in college? You and buddies got together every Friday night and had that game of Shadowrun going? Or Vampire? or Earthdawn, or perhaps even the quintessential Dungeons and Dragons? Me too. Time trudges forward though, and you still keep in touch, but everyone is far apart now. Its impossible to setup a game time, and even if you could – there’s no simple option for where you’d all play. You used to have a table top, with tokens…and everyone could see the dice rolls so no one could cheat. But now? Well, there’s options out there – but many of them are game specific, and offer features so embedded into the client that it would take a programmer just to tune the game so you could even play it! What a hassle. I just wanted to get in, have some tokens and some dice. Maybe something to help with combat, but that’s all! Anything like that? No – not really. I had to pre-draw the maps, and explain complicated character setup stuff to my players. Typically you’d waste a night just getting used to the app. We got sick of that pretty quickly. So, I made my own.
Right out of the gate my goal was to create something simple, and special – that anyone could use. An intuitive simple menu structure, that could pull from concepts we’re all used to by now thanks to years of PC gaming. Maps that could be drawn real-time and synced to all players. Embedded tools that make token creation a snap. Maybe options for lighting and fog. A dice system that supported macros, so I could have all my combat actions ready to go in a simple to execute format, like an MMO-style action bar. I’ve done all of this, and more – but now its time to share it. Relive the college days. Game with online friends old and new. Share the experience, and embrace the creativity you left behind.
Below are a list of topics related to Game Dungeon Online to help first time users.
- Creating a New Profile
- Profile Name
- My Game Token
- My Icon
- Light vs Sight
- The Radial Menu
- Text Macros
- New Token
- Draw Options
- Tag Text
- New Tokens
- Is Effect?
- Copying Tokens
- Dice keywords
Hosting a Game
- TCP/IP Hosting
- Your External IP Address
- Should I Be the Host?
Joining a Game
- Creating a Connection
- Connection Settings
- What Happens when you Host?
- New Token Commands
- New Menu Commands
- Starting Combat
- Next Turn
- End Combat
- Music Options
- Syncing Music with Players
Think of your profile as the character name when you start a game, or log into an MMO. Each character as separate, with custom options for everything. When you set up your profile you will fill in various bits of starter information. All of this can be changed later via the profile menu in the game client.
Creating a Profile
When first starting out you will have no profiles and need to create one. Simply choose the create option from the list that pops up initially. You can also create additional profiles from here for multiple characters if you so wish. All of the tokens and profile settings associated with that profile will be saved from session to session and loaded automatically when you choose that profile from start up.
Your profile name is what will identify you from other characters or players while logged into a game, in addition to your character icon and token. You can add color to your profile name by right clicking on the text area where you enter the profile name and picking color options. Try to pick something that’s readable. If you don’t like your choice you can always change this later in the Profile menu in game.
My Game Token
Left clicking the default game token will bring up a file selection window for you to choose a source art file. This is not your final token, so you can pick a file with only part of what you want the final token to look like. No photo shopping required. After you have selected the image you want to use the image editor will open up allowing you to see a preview of the final token, and change the area of the image to pull the token image from. Simply left click and drag select the part you want to use. When you are happy with the result, hit ok and it will be burned down and saved locally as your new token. This is automatically synced with other players upon joining a game.
Similar to the game token setup, a file selector pops up, and allows you to fully customize the final image that will be used for your profile icon. This image is what shows next to your chat in the chat window, and next to your name in the player list. It helps to further distinguish you from other players.
Most games have some way of tracking if you are alive or dead. Hit points, life points, damage, whatever you want to call it – life was the most generic thing I could come up with. Combat respects life, so its best to input something here so your turn won’t be automatically skipped by the combat system. Be sure to input a max value as well so that the life bar system works.
Light vs Sight
Following this are 2 boxes for inputting light and sight. The unit system GDO uses is that each space on the board = 5 ft. Light and sight measurements are put in, in feet…so if your character can see out to 60 feet in the dark, you would put 60 in for sight. Sight works like light, but other players don’t see it. Sight cuts a hole in the fog, or darkness – through which you can clearly see the game board, fading out to whatever the fog settings are set to. Light is similar, but all players can see light equally. If your character is carrying a torch or lantern for the party, you would input the light radius in feet of that light source. When the map fog or darkness is turned on or up, this light will keep a clearly visible area that all players can still see through.
The Radial Menu
Once in the game client, most actions are done through either the game or token menus, both of which are radial menus. Right clicking will always open the main game menu at the location you right clicked. Left clicking will open up the game token menu, if a game token was left clicked on. The Game Token menu will only display options for tokens you can control, and if in combat only on a token you control’s turn and only for the token who’s turn it is. If you happen to be the game host, the full token menu except for renaming is always available to you, except on profile tokens.
The options for joining and hosting games are in here they are detailed specifically later on, but this is where they are hiding. You can also execute a packet test from here to verify connectivity if needed.
Since these games are largely about dice and repeated dice rolls for combat, exploring, and the like – it made sense to put in a macro system. This works like ability action bars in most games, except what is displayed is the raw text placed into the macro. Any dice tags put into the macro run as if they had been typed into the chat window directly. Enter a shortened name to identify that macro. Color tags can be included in the name. Left clicking on the macro icon will let you change the icon to something more specific to what the macro is going to do. The macro text panel will allow color inserts as well, via right clicking and picking a color. Keep in mind all text will continue in that color until you close it with a [x] or select a different color value. See Chat – Dice Keywords for more information about the options for dice in macros.
Once a macro is created, simply drag and drop it into the macro panel, typically located in the bottom right corner of the screen.
This will open up the profile configuration window to tweak current profile settings, change your profile token, or chat icon, etc. You can change your name and coloring under here as well if desired. The Music On/Off and Fog On/Off options are under here as well. Music On/Off will toggle your music setting. The option displayed is what it is set to currently. The Macro Rows option allows you to change the number of rows for the macro onscreen display. This useful on smaller displays where the Macro Rows might be crowding, or even overlapping your chat box.
This brings up the New Token menu – allowing you create all the options for a new token, including name, light, token image, sight, etc. The token will be owned by you if in a online game and can be used for pets, or NPCs you are controlling in combat. Only you and the GM can move tokens like this. This also be useful for effect tokens, such as a sphere of darkness, or a movable light source.
In an online game, this menu is host / game master specific. This allows you to change drawing colors on the board – erase the entire board, or change the fog colors and transparency. Note that to draw you must hold down the Alt-key and left click. Holding down Alt and right clicking will erase. The mouse wheel will automatically adjust the size of the draw bush, within the minimum and maximum constraints.
Left dragging a token you own will pick it up and move it with your mouse cursor. There are no restrictions on this to support any movement system which may already exist. You can only move tokens you control, or if you are the host then you can move any token on the board. While in combat you may only move effect tokens you control while it is your turn, or a specific non-effect token you control on its turn. This goes for all token commands. Changing an effect token to an actual token while in combat causes it to have the combat turn rules applied to it as you do so.
Left clicking on a token that you own will bring up the radial menu to interact with it. Left dragging will move the token.
Via the token menu, you can apply damage to a token. This brings up a quick-entry text box to enter a damage number and enter will close and finalize the damage to the token. Primarily used by the Game Master / Host in combat. Damage will also shake the camera of the player that owns that token, and shows damage numbers to all players, as well as posting the damage to the chat window.
Also under the token menu – similar to damage, but restores life instead of taking it away. Also shows a flashy number effect for the amount healed, and posts the heal to the chat windows.
Increases the size of the token. This is used to properly portray character size, particularly for monsters such as giants or dragons. Note that increasing the size also increases the maximum possible resolution of that token – hi-res tokens are only created when a larger token is used. When picking a token icon, it is recommended to grow or set the token to the maximum possible size that your token will be, then pick the token texture to get the new higher resolution final token.
Similar to grow but used to reduce size. Does not reduce token resolution unless you re-render the token at the new size. If your character can shrink or grow, then use this for that. Also for spells which produce similar effects.
This is text that shows when any player mouses over a token. It can be used as a commend, or to track buffs, spell duration, and the like. Helpful on NPCs or summoned characters to store information about combat values as well.
By default you will start with a profile token, which is always present and can not be deleted. This is tweaked via the Profile main menu options. From the main menu New Tokens can also be created. These tokens have extra options when left clicked, such as deleting and renaming. New tokens have a greater level of control and can be used for temporary pets, summons, or spell effects you often use.
This check box will flag the token as an effect token. Useful for lining up the hit radius of a fireball, or how big of an area a trap will effect. Effects are always drawn under all character tokens and can always be moved in combat by the owner, regardless of turn, as long as one of that players regular tokens is able to act.
Primarily a Host option on tokens, this allows you to hide the token from other players. Note that the token’s light is not hidden, but the token itself will be. Useful for monsters that are just around a corner – that the players shouldn’t see yet.
The hotkey Ctrl+T will make a duplicate of the last token selected. This duplicate will have the same life, size, token image, light, sight and name of the last token that you selected via left-clicking. The copy will be owned by your profile, and you will have control of it in combat. Useful for spells that might summon a number of wolves or elementals, so that you can create a single token, then quickly copy the number you need. The copy is created at the location of the mouse cursor when the hotkey combination was pressed.
Dice are parsed from within a pair of opened and closed carrots like so <> so, for example to roll a d20 in chat you would type <1d20> – when the chat line posts the results of the roll are shown in place of the dice roll. Various modifiers exist to this basic logic as follows:
- + : can be used to add multiple dice rolls together, or string modifiers onto dice rolls, or both. <1d20+1d4+4> will roll a d20 then add that result to a d4 then add 4 to the two previous rolls added together. These operations are always carried out left to right.
- - : can be used to subtract either dice rolls or modifiers from dice roll results, as well as string other results together. <1d20-4+1d5-1> will roll a d20, subtract 4 from the result, add the result of a d5 to that result, then subtract 1 again to get the final result.
- * : can multiply a dice and addition result by a set value in the roll. Useful for various rolls, such as critical hits in dungeons and dragons. Will multiply the results of all operations to left of it by the value specified. <1d20+7*2> will roll a d20, add 7 to that result, then multiply that sum by 2.
- / : divides all previous results by the value specified. Useful for situations where an attack is doing half damage, for example.
- e : this concept comes from the game Earthdawn, and stands for ‘exploding’. Basically the e modifier is used in conjunction with a die roll to tell the roller to re-roll the dice and add that next result again if the first result rolled max. So <1d4e> would roll a d4 and on a 4, roll a 2nd d4 to add to the first 4. This continues to chain until a max roll is not rolled, totaling a final result.
- t : indicates a dice target. Useful for crafting checks, or skill checks which must hit a certain value. I’ve used this for both mining and crafting results myself – but some games use this type of system for determining the results of everything, such as vampire. <10d10t6> would roll 10d10′s, but modifies the output of the result to do a special tally of the number of rolls that matched or exceeded the target result of 6. (4,7,8,5,2,9,7,4,10,1) = (5 Successes!)
In almost every text entry window in the program, right clicking will open up the color picker. The result is posted back to the chat, or text entry window or field as [#ColorHexValue]. When the text is displayed color value is parsed to draw it in that color. If you are used to HTML you can just type in a value, but for the rest of us, color picker all the way.
TCP / IP Hosting
Coming soon… see video for full demo.