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We had another game session last night were we used maptool and I have to say it is still a great tool. I have not found anything new that we have not already talked about so I would just like to list what I think are the most important features to be added based on last nights game and these are in order of priority.
1.) Integrated Diceroller
2.) Better Chat functions
The above two I was thinking about last night and I would be ok with a seperate program that combines the two. This would save on room on the maptool and i think allow for more features to be added to both programs with out messing up the just one program. I will start a new post on this later with some feedback on it.
3.) Better network functions - ie took a very long time for players to get maps from GM client.
4.) Token stacking and the abiltiy to bring to front or bring to back
I know that most if not all of these things are being worked on or will be worked on in the near future.
Again this is a great program and I and my players are very happy with it.
Thanks for the feedback !
You are right, we are working on all the things you listed. Feel free to include how you would like to see them implemented in the tool. That is, how you perform the action, where it shows up on the screen, and so forth :)
Great Feedback, keep it coming!
I'd like to get some more detail on #3, if you don't mind. Could you describe your setup for us?
We'd be interested in OS used to host, firewalls on host's network, internet connection speed.
I presume you were using a bounded map, what was the file type and size? More than one?
Did just some clients have issues or did all. What can you tell us about their setups (connection speed, OS, firewall)?
Did all the clients connect at the same time (or nearly)?
Thanks again for the feedback.
Once i get a few minutes free at work whcih might not happen I will post a few things here and also start a new thread on the chat/dice roller idea.
Did you guys use the M6 Alpha version ? What did you think of the new left panel ? How about the way the color palette shows up when selecting a draw tool ? (Keeping in mind that the current palette is mostly just a placeholder while we figure out if that's how we want it to work)
I was not the GM for this session so i am not sure what machine was used but i will find out for you. I can tell you that there was 4 clients connected we all use cable broadband for internet access the GM client also uses cable.
It appeared to me that the clients got the map at the same time or very very close to it.
My OS is Windows 2000, Linksys cable router with built in firewall.
All of us were using teamspeak as well.
We did not use M6 i am sorry to say.
I think the GM's upstream was probably maxed out. We were afraid that one or more of you were on modems!
Some suggestions for your GM:
Try different image formats for the background image that are smaller (jpg vs png).
Try different resolutions (being the GM myself, I know how hard this is to keep the map looking nice).
We'll also look into improvements that we can make in the code.
We also have a mechanism to run the standalone server, posted to the forums here https://sourceforge.net/forum/forum.php?thread_id=1361873&forum_id=448679
If you have a server with more upstream bandwidth that might temporarily help the problem.
I have sent an email out to everyone asking them some questions on there system, internet connections and the map size and type. Once I get that i will post here, hopefully they will email me back later today.
Just looked at M6 it looks good. I will try and give it a real test this week or weekend.
I also thought about a new feature and again I am posting before looking at the features request list.
But would it be possible to have a delete feature for deleting drawn items and text by selecting it in some way
We're hoping to release M6 to beta in the next couple days :)
There is a tracker for text tool improvements. It should actually be called a Label Tool. But you will be able to delete, edit, and move the labels.
For deleting drawn items, do you mean specific things that are drawn (eg, delete the squiggle I drew 5 minutes ago), or just be able to delete arbitrarily (like an eraser) ?
Deleting the specific drawn item would be very tricky (but perhaps possible in some later release). Using an erasor on drawn items works is already available: use the right mouse button to start any drawable, and it will erase instead of draw.
That will teach me to read the documentation before posting.
I have gotten some feedback on the systems and internet connections used by most of the players and the GM
The GM was using his laptop
P4 1 or 2 GHz
connected wireless to home router cable boardband internet connection.
(dont have the file size or file type of map yet)
Players ranged from
P4 1 or 2 GHz to AMD 3200+
Memory 512MB to 1GB
All with Cable broadband connections
I am still waiting on one players information and if there was a slow connection it would most likely be him.
I hope this helps let me know if you need more information.
Here is the file type and size of the map that was used.
Thanks for the details.
Typically with broadband your upstream speed is much slower than your downstream speed (it takes longer to upload than to download something). A common cable modem speed will upload 4.63M in a minute or two.
Now let's say you have 4 people connected to the server over broadband. When a new map is exposed to the players they each have to download the map. So multiplying 2 minutes times 4 people is 8 minutes until eveyone has the image. That's a long time to wait when you're waiting to get going.
Fortunately, 4-5 meg files can typically be reduced to a fraction of the size and keep their quality. Specifically you can load the image up in a paint program and save it as a JPG file, and if necessary, reduce the overall image dimensions. You can typically reduce an image to a quarter of it's original size and still have a fully playable map.
We've been designing a New Map wizard that would include tools for resizing a map image before sending to clients to help with this exact issue. That way the GM doesn't have to use a different tool to get the map the way they like it, but just drop it in, adjust some sliders, and publish it.
ok finial got the last players connection info
He is using Cable broadband access.
Again if you need more information please let me know.
Sounds good to me. My next game session which should be Sunday. I will adjust my maps and see how that comes out.
Just out of curiosity, as a user, would you prefer to modify and optimize your maps in external paint programs (paint shop pro, photoshop, gimp, et al), or would you be interested in being able to tweak it from within the tool ?
That is, do you think it's valuable to have maptool provide tools to optimize images ?
Thats a very good question. For me personally I would use an external paint program for the better features. Now I know that the other GM would like to have the modfiy and optimize in the tool as he is not very computer savy. So you need to ask yourself and your design team - Is it worth the design, implementation, and testing time to put it in. You also have to look at what is maptools function and does having tools to optimize maps fit with that function. My personal opinon is no leave the other programs that do that well and maptools concentrate on what it does very well.
I would suggest sending a poll out to current users asking them that question.
I think the key is that with drag and drop ability, it becomes hidden just how big some of these files are, then it appears that MapTool is slow as it tries to distribute the big files. Someone might know how to do it, but not know that they need to.
It might be worth at least to some degree making it more obvious the size of the images as the GM creates the new map, so they can make the determination whether they need to preprocess it first.
The thought was, as long as we have it in the tool, might as well let them shrink it right there (remove the extra step of leaving the tool). It's pretty easy to do programmatically in the tool. The hard part is figuring out the user interaction to do it.
If it is easy to program then i would say put it in as it would help to have that abiltiy in the tool. As for how the user interacts with the new feature you could have a new menu option called Map or Maps with selections under that for Load Map, Map Properties ( which would give you the file size and type ), Resize Map.
During my game last night the Map i used was a jpeg of small size and all the players got it very quickly. I will make sure that all future maps are of that type and of smaller size.
Cool, good to know. Hopefully the new New Map dialog will help alleviate some of the issues of working with large maps