GameScape Feature Idea Log

I’ve had lots of ideas for GameScape but I’ve resisted the urge to complicate the system too much. I’m already worried that there are too many icons on the toolbar. My goal: very quick to pick up and understand, yet not so underpowered that you are continually frustrated with it.

  • Color palette “memory” - remembering used colors
  • Fill Tool - Fill bounded shapes with color
  • Tile backgrounds
  • campaign token boxes
    • create a “Campaign” token box with your PC’s in it and it shows up on all your maps tied to that campaign). Avoids having to create PCs and common enemy tokens over and over again
  • Custom drawing layers (DM/Player visibility control) - e.g. ability to add a DM info layer
  • Multi select and move of tokens
    • it’s super annoying moving groups of tokens, a multi-select would be handy
  • Dynamic fog reveal (dynamic light)
  • Token hover info or token info box
  • “Props” library of pre-made objects that can be dropped
  • Grid + map rotating
    • Is there ever a case to want the grid to be rotated? pretty easy to add
  • Geo-morph dungeon tiles – create dungeons by dropping tiles
  • Map “warp points” where tokens auto move to other spots
  • Hex maps
  • Multi level maps
  • “phased” images for phased battlemaps (click a button as gm and the image flips to the next phase)
  • Initiative Tracker

I’m going to try and keep updating this list and re-ordering them by likelihood of build. Feel free to comment on what you’d like to see.

Dang, just used GameScape for a session the other night and loved it. I was able to set up a swamp scene in 10 minutes and was ready to go (my previous experience using a VTT, specifically Roll20, was spending a week setting up a map, dynamic lighting, layers, etc.). I loved how quickly I was able to start playing. I don’t need macros, everyone in my group knows how to roll a die and add some numbers, just having a shared visual space online is perfect.

my initial thoughts on my few hours of playing:
-I’d love if my recently used object colors were available (I was switching between a swamp green and tree brown. saving the colors would have been nice)
-I don’t see how to delete a map. is that available?
-I personally don’t need any fancy warping: what I would find simpler would be forcing a message over everyone’s view of the current map with a link to the next map. (from a menu I select to next map, then a message is pushed to everyone)
-I don’t need dynamic lighting, it’s awesome but is always such a pain to set-up. I’d appreciate an option to easily black out an entire map in preparation of my players hopping in and exploring. (then I can easily black out the entire map then reveal the starting area)
-I’d love to be able to store campaign tokens.
I’d love to generate sequential tokens (EX: I set up a green token with name Goblin, and select: quantity 8, and now 8 green tokens G1-G8 are added to my token tray).
-Is there a way to delete tokens? (when G3 is killed on my goblin encounter map I don’t need to save it, I just want to delete it)
-I don’t want to over complicate things but a DM image layer would be cool. I can put an ‘X’ where I want to lay traps but only I can see it. It would also be fun to be able to add tokens to the DM layer. (set up an ambush, play out an invisible enemy, etc).
-Some basic shapes would be appreciated, and storing shapes would be awesome
-I love basic folder systems (for maps and any stored tokens or stored shapes/objects)

I want to reiterate again that I love a map tool that is just trying to be a map in all it’s simplicity. I’m busy these days: I no longer have time to spend hours figuring out all the cool options within a big complicated VTT. This app is exactly what I want and I really appreciate it being built.

Thank you! I’ve been desperate to hear if anyone else had the same desire for “fast uncomplicated maps”.

I’m glad you enjoyed using it! That’s exactly the experience I’ve been shooting for (it’s not everyone’s cup of tea obviously, but I knew I couldnt’ be the only one who wanted uncomplicated).

So to be clear, this list (above) is things that were just ideas for potential features - nothing I’ve committed to. I have a roadmap list of things I’ve committed to building for a ‘base’ version: GameScape Roadmap v1

Some comments:

-I’d love if my recently used object colors were available (I was switching between a swamp green and tree brown. saving the colors would have been nice)

The color/palatte is definitely something I’m going to re-do. I have the same exact issue with wanting to re-use the same colors so that’s coming. I’m working around right now by using the eye-dropper in the color selector but that sucks. The eyedropper isn’t even available on iPad (which is how I’ve been sketching maps). I need to figure out the right interaction model for a color palette but this is something I definitely want to solve.

I don’t see how to delete a map. is that available?

There’s no UI for deleting maps at the moment but it is coming. Was trying to get the minimum useful thing out there to see if people like it. Honestly you’re probably one of a small handful of people who’ve actually run a game with it other than me (even though a few hundred people have scribbled lines and then left).

-I’d love to be able to store campaign tokens.

Yup, this is coming too. It’s pretty useful. I’ve been doing something like a campaign tokenbox for my own game with unreleased features and scripts. Having consistent names / colors (and images is something I’m playing with right now) for tokens is super useful in terms of maintaining continuity.

I’d love to generate sequential tokens (EX: I set up a green token with name Goblin, and select: quantity 8, and now 8 green tokens G1-G8 are added to my token tray).

So this is in my list on my roadmap. It’s something I really want. The way I’m imagining the feature is that it’s going to look like a “stack” of tokens in the token box. You pull off the top and it auto-numbers. That way you can pull off 1-8 and then return them to the tokenbox and they automatically go back in the “stack” and are available to be pulled off again. I’ve even thought a v2 of this feature would let you choose the sequence, like a list of fantasy names, or A-Z or numeric 1-20, or even a template name like Orc {x} where x becomes the sequence.

The trick is to not over-complicate, I want everything to be simple and fast. first pass will just be a stack of N tokens and just numbers.

For dynamic lighting, I’m thinking of something a littler different from how it’s implemented in a lot of VTTS, I’m thinking of a simplified model. My current thinking is that if I implement a palette of colors there would be a way of picking whether a color is light blocking or not. Whatever you draw with that color becomes light-blocking.

Then the fog-reveal would still be a gm operation but it would allow a big circular “brush” that would follow the contours of the opaque color. So it’s dynamic-ish in that it only reveals what’s visible from the center of the brush, blocked by walls, but it’s not something that follows the movement of tokens. (if that makes any sense). It’s a GM reveal that’s “smart” about shapes in the map.

I’m not committed to that yet, but it’s something I find I want for revealing the map more easily. The current fog-create and reveal is clunky.

Thank you again for the feedback!

ooh, I really like the token stack idea and just pulling the next one off the top.

Simplified dynamic lighting sounds good.

another simple system (that may pair well with the dynamic lighting system, and maybe already part of the shapes idea): I’d like to draw a rectangle were I click one intersection on the grid, click another, and the two points are connected with a rectangle. maybe even get fancy with a point and click “add door” or “remove line” button and I could whip up a dungeon or town in minutes. Might play well with simple dynamic lighting and easily reveal the map room by room

but also, there is already the pen locked to grid option, I should probably play around with that more

Running my first game with this tonight, I may provide more feedback (sorry if I’m overwhelming you the last couple days).

I finally found and tried the chrome extension ‘AboveVTT’- its a no go for me (I prefer no-chrome, and it flat out doesn’t work on iOS), but its got a couple nice map features that would be nice to have:

  • DM and Player layers. The dndb books have nice maps with both versions and shows the right one to the right person.

  • AboveVTT can pull premade maps from the dndb books. Thats obviously way beyond the scope of this tool, but it would be nice if we could let others copy completed maps. ie: if I create a full set of maps for phandelver I should be able to publish that for others. Copyright issue can be solved by storing a link to the map instead of an upload. DnDB handles the entitlements.

Edit- just thinking out loud… the publishing/sharing could be a way to get more people on board (assuming you’re interested in that?) I appreciate you avoiding the subscription model unless it gets expensive, but assuming my family sticks with it and I continue to use it, I’d be more than willing to hit a donate button. Speaking from experience- its a nice tangible reward even if you don’t really ‘need’ the money. as an example (although I know nothing about their ethics/model beyond basic idea, not an endorsement)

No I love the feedback… it’s been deafening silence for months so I have no idea what works or doesn’t with the tool. The layers is something I’m definitely thinking about (that’s why the sidebar with the image upload is called “Layers”). Publishing is something I’ve also thought about – it’s kind of what I’m doing with the demo and tutorial maps… Everyone gets a published copy of the base maps. So publishing maps is on my mind but it’s the UI that’s tricky.

Also I don’t want to build “advanced” features until the basic interactions are really nailed and smooth (e.g. like “losing” the map location in your other comment – that should be fixed). Publishing means someone’s actually making something they want to publish. And so far other than you, me and one other person… no one has created any maps to actually play. :slight_smile:

I’ve just tried the tool out, and I can only tell you that it is an amazing tool. It is so simple, and just does the basics, which is perfect.

I read that you want to add a lot of stuff, so I can just tell you that while all of that sounds great, what you have now is simple and useful. Features that I would like to see are more along the lines of “Can I have a bigger eraser?”.
For example, dynamic lighting comes with a whole lot of baggage, and while your implementation sounds elegant, I feel like it already has a learning curve. If anything, make the fog of war a bit more blurred, so it doesn’t look as harsh, but the manual removal of the fog is enough. I wouldn’t go any further.

Now to the features and improvements that I would like:

  • A simple initiative tracker, as simple as name, initiative and a marker who’s turn it currently is, and a “sort according to initiative” function.
  • An improvement to the token box: Currently it’s possible to stack tokens, which means they might be hidden behind another token.
  • A dark mode. White can be a bit harsh, it would be cool to draw white on a black background. For example for a CoC game, I’d love a simple white on black look.
  • General gradual improvements to the drawing tools. I feel this is the core of this experience, so if they are good, the tool is good.
  • Token Trail: It already has too much logic. If moving diagonally, the first movement is counted as 10 feet. That’s not always applicable (sometimes the first diagonal movement is free, only the second one costs 10 ft). If it simply measured the actual distance like the measurement tool, it would be better.
  • A button to “Invite” the players. I know it’s as simple as copy pasting the URL, but that’s something one must find out first.

That’s all I can think of right now. I love the fact that the tool is simple.

Disclaimer: I haven’t yet run a game with it, but this looks so fine, I will.

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Thanks for trying out GameScape!

Thank you!

Simple is exactly what I’m going for – as simple as possible but no simpler. I’m coming to the conclusion that this level of simplicity isn’t really a draw for most people (which I’m ok with since I’m mostly building this for myself - but I know I can’t be alone). Keeping things simple is a lot harder than adding more features :slight_smile:

One of the next things on my likely-to-do-list is simple shapes. The challenge is how to implement them cleanly and simply. I think this will satisfy the bigger eraser need (imagine drawing a big rectangle that erases everything inside) although I’m also considering allowing bigger brush sizes. (The brush size limit is currently due to the fact that browsers will only allow certain cursor sizes and I really like the UI/UX of the brush cursor being the color / shape you will draw with.) I can draw a big circle that “chases” the cursor but the lag makes it feel not as “clean”.

I always have way more ideas than I ever expect / intend to implement. I threw a lot of these out there because I have gotten very little feedback and only a handful of people using it, so I’m not sure what’s considered “the minimum” feature set. A lot of people have signed up and kicked the tires but then never come back – or left any feedback. I don’t know if there’s something fundamental it doesn’t do.

Lay it on me!

I’ll add it to the list, although to be honest this is probably not something I’ll add. I really want to focus on the map and drawing aspect of things. Part of my desire to build GameScape was a reaction to the overwhelming “stuff” in some of the other tools as well as the confusing UI/UX on them. My group uses a little Google Sheet with the list of players and that works OK. If more people ask for this I might be persuaded :slight_smile:

A couple of the current users are technical and have been doing small hacks with GameScape - which I appreciate. It makes me think about maybe building a “plugin” architecture to allow people to add an init tracker or other feature that I don’t think is core – although I’m not committed to doing that either. A plugin manager and UI for that seems like it would violate my simplicity goal. Always so many tradeoffs.

I’m curious how much of a problem this really is. I’ve been using this tool for two different gaming groups for several months, and I haven’t seen this come up in practice. I had thought about it, but I don’t want to complicate things. I also find that for different sized tokens, it’s sometimes useful to actually have them layer on top of each other. This is one I’ll keep an eye on. If you hit this issue during game play I’d love to know what happened and how it came about.

Great! It’s on my list. The feature is actually the ability to control the background color and grid color. That’s why the “side drawer” is labeled “layers” even though it only allows image uploads to the background right now. The controls will be in there for controlling the background layer. With those two changes you get “dark” maps. The layer control will also allow changing the grid scale. I’m half-toying with hex maps too, but that’s likely not till a lot later.

Agreed. I’m currently thinking through brush sizes and simple shapes (circles, rectangles). The brushes and shapes will apply to all tools (just like brush sizes do now) so you can fog rectangles and erase circles etc… There is surprising complexity in filled vs outlined shapes and having yet another “mode” button and two colors. I’m thinking of going the old MS Paint model where filled and outline shapes are separate buttons / icons and there’s no way to have a “fill this color but outline with that color” mode.

This one is tricky. I originally had the trails measure actual distance but my players didn’t like the odd numbers. The trail logic is actually simple – it’s actual total distance the token has moved rounded to the nearest 5 (why a diagonal that’s actually 7ish turns into 10). But then other people have asked for the D&D 5e “chess” or “simple” diagonal rule where all diagonals are 5 feet. I’m still chewing on this on how to satisfy these different users without having a giant options panel (which I want to avoid).

The token trail distance seems surprising and confusing - with both real distance and rounded distance - which I didn’t expect. What I was trying to solve for was the crazy amount of time my players spent counting squares in tactical fights. “I move here” “one-two-three-four-five-six”, “hmmm maybe here?”, “one-two…”, “double move”, “one-two-three…”. I thought the token trail would offload that but they still count the squares so clearly I didn’t solve that issue.

Yes, I think this is something necessary. I think the invite should be behind a “more” menu that also has a nav back to home. I got stuck though because I’m not an artist. It seem like that menu item should be something abstract like the GameScape logo. GameScape’s logo is currently a wireframe d20 and that as an icon looks like “Roll dice” which is just confusing. I tried making it a “G” but just didn’t like the look. I’ll probably cave and hire a designer at some point for some cleanup logo / icon work – but GameScape being free I’m a little gun-shy of spending more money on it. :slight_smile:

I agree with most of your requests. The other features I find myself wanting as I’m using it are:

  • an easier way to do “image” tokens (I have them in my dev build and have decided I like the players especially to have images for tokens - it does add a certain something.
  • Some concept of a game or campaign where tokens are shared across map’s token boxes. The more times I play and have to re-create the player tokens the more I want that.

Thank you again! I also have a new discord server to chat about GameScape if you’re interested.

Hello! I just recently got around to trying out GameScape and I really like it! There are only a few things I wish that it had:

  • Shapes; circles and elipses in particular. It is easy to make square shapes already so that isn’t too concerning.
  • The ability to erase the lines of those shapes. In a lot of tools if you make a shape with an outline, you can’t change the outline or erase parts of it. So hallways that lead into those shapes are always blocked by a wall. It’s really frustrating!
  • For some reason it is weird to use the Fog of War to me. I’ve only used it on a laptop but the way you ‘brush’ with it comes off as kinda off to me. I would also like if the Fog Of War could simply make everything within it vanish, instead of making it covered in dark. I think that’s a solution that looks better and gives away less of the map shape.
  • Text on the map. This is mostly just to label rooms so that you can look up their descriptions elsewhere like what usually happens on official dungeon maps. Preferably this would be able to be hidden from players, in case you want to make some notes.
  • Options for the measurement tool. Would be nice to have the different logic concerning diagonals, and to change the measurement distances. (feet, tiles, yards, etc.)
  • A donate button. You prolly want some coffee or beer.

P.S. One more I thought of: the option to set player colors via the laser pointer. Would be nice to just kinda let everyone set their own pointer to match their tokens! Not huge but would be cool!

Love it so far, can’t wait to see this grow!

Simple shapes are next-ish on my list of things to add. I find I want them for the maps I make all the time.

The eraser is in GameScape is much more like a “photoshop” eraser. You can erase anything, including outlines and lines. Whatever the shape tool does you’ll be able to erase parts of it easily.

I’ve gone back and forth on text on the map. My current usage model is to create and run the game on an ipad so I can actually hand write notes for rooms - but I know not everyone uses an ipad. A few people have asked for it so I’ll likely include some kind of text / label.

The design of GameScape is based on layers (again like a paint program) so it will be possible to create a DM/GM visible layer. I want to make sure the layers aren’t too complicated – my goal is still to make things as simple as possible and to make sure none of the options are required to be set before just picking up the “pen” and tokens and playing. :slight_smile:

Yep, units and scale are actually able to be changed in the underlying system – but there’s no control for it yet. I’m debating what the UI looks like for that. I think I’ll add it to the “layers” side drawer to allow changing settings for the grid (including color).

Appreciate that. :slight_smile: Currently the way I’ve designed the system it’s pretty inexpensive for me to run - that might change if GameScape gets very popular. Signs are that people who appreciate very simple map tools aren’t the majority of online table top role players so I’m not worried about it getting uncontrollably popular.

On the laser pointer colors - the ‘automatic’ color for each player was an intentional decision to not have an additional “option” UI. Having each player who joins get the next color in the palette keeps things pretty simple. GameScape was written partially as a reaction to some of the other online tools that have a million options and settings – making it confusing to get started or just create quick one-off maps. However I do see the value in having a player’s pen color be consistent ( and maybe match their token color ). I’ll think about adding that.

In my experience running games, the players tend to talk when they draw on the map so it’s not too hard to distinguish who is who. “Hey I want to look down this hall” and then you know that player is blue (or whatever).

Related, one thought I’ve been having is to re-organize GameScape around “campaigns” or “games” and have the maps be connected to those. I find myself re-creating my player’s tokens for each map and wanting some common settings across maps that are related. That might be a good place to allow players to be assigned a pen color – however being able to track a particular player over multiple games would need that player to have an account or some long-term tracking thing on their browser which I was kind of hoping to avoid. Need to do some more design thinking around this.

Thank you for the feedback!

oops missed the fog of war feedback. I agree the fog tool is a little clunky and I have some ideas on how to improve it. The “vanish instead of dark” is interesting - I’d need to try that as an experiment and see how it feels. So far i haven’t felt like the fog reveals too much of the map so I’d be curious what your experience was.

One thing that I’ll be adding is that when shapes come online (rectangles / elipses etc…) the fog of war / clear will use those shapes. That is one way it might feel a little less clunky.

Simple shapes are now live… removed that one from the list.

Hello, I’m fiddling around with getting the system to work for me. This very simplified system is what I’ve been looking for in a vtt, no frills just simple tokens & drawing, but I run a game with huge battles, so I need to be able to drag & select multiple tokens at once to move squads on the battlefield. otherwise, it’s a matter of moving hundreds of tokens each turn. Another issue is that I can’t move the shapes & lines I draw, & the grid measures everything in 5’ no matter what which is not the scale my AD&D game uses. I was also trying, it doesn’t have fog of war or tokens but it has grid snapping & drag-to-select-multiple, so I think I’ll stick to that until this system has a similar function

I know its kind of an oddball but maybe allow dm to flip a switch to allow player to remove fog of war. I’m doing Solo Dnd and would love to use fog of war but players can’t do that . Just a though for when you eventually get back to it.

this is a bit late but just wanted to let you know that i’ve been running my campaign on this and so far it has been going great!

Not late at all! Glad to hear it’s working for you! There are a collection of dedicated users (including myself) that use it pretty regularly.

not sure if you remember me but I was the one who asked about TS on discord a week or so ago.

I don’t need much of what’s listed above (like dynamic lighting). I like the addition of Fog as that’s an improvement on my current setup (just using MS Whiteboard). I already can use the shape tools and dropped images to create effective geomorphs. Do I need “walls”, probably not.

Things I’d like:

  • Text Boxes - creating little rich text boxes would be nice. Even slightly more static post-its (such as you see on whiteboard apps) would be nice.
  • Image support on mobile to be better. You can move them around on desktop but not mobile or iPad.
  • Player Access to Drawing Tools which probably means adding players to a game with some level of security so it’s not a simple change, eh?
  • Integrated dice roller. This might be tricky but even an implementation of /r 1d20 tn 10 or /roll 6d6 tn 6 would be amazing in a little text box.
  • Smart Tokens - so I could copy the bits and pieces from a Character Sheet onto the token. Maybe with a Rich Text box that’s associated with it. Even better if it can take a “macro:” link…see below. But a text box.
  • Macros - while character sheets can be complex, the number of rolls tend to be less complex. For example, the Hit Roll (/r 1d10+1d6 tn 6) is how I do it on Discord. Would be nice to have that into the system. Name the macro, add the formula, address the macro from the Token Rich Text Box with a link
  • Text chat box …for macro results and the odd emote. Nothing as complex as the big VTTs.

Thanks! I intentionally didn’t push towards integrating character sheets or dice rollers to really focus on the map and drawing part. I find other tools do a fine job of those things - but the hole is mapping and drawing.

Image support on mobile to be better. You can move them around on desktop but not mobile or iPad.

it does work. :slight_smile: it’s just not intuitive. It’s because of limited space on mobile. You can move the images around with the “layer” panel open… but on a phone in portrait (vertical) orientation the panel takes up the whole screen. If you hold it landscape you can move the images around. :slight_smile:

Yeah, I figured out the image support after. It’s workable.

As a compromise… text boxes?