I’ve been hearing about Roll20.net for a bit now on Reddit. When Nolan posted about going into open beta, I got in touch with him with a few questions about the software. Now I have lots of information for you and a craving for homemade pepperoni rolls.
Roll20.net is a new system for playing tabletop games online. We are focused on making the system easy to use (it launches within your browser with minimal plugins, signing up is easy, organizing games simple) so that players can focus on getting together and having fun.
1.) What prompted you to create roll20.net when there are other products out there with similar missions? Can you tell us where yours differs?
Our creation of Roll20 was based in our displeasure with the current virtual tabletop offerings. While many programs label themselves “virtual tabletops”, we found most were trying to be video games, instead of trying to simulate the experience of gathering around an actual table. Simply by striving for that goal we’ve found ourselves with an application that feels different than the rest of the pack.
2.) What are some features that aren’t available, which you’re looking to implement in the near future?
We’ll continue making lots of small adjustments for months to come, but one of the larger elements we’re working on is a marketplace feature. If I’m having friends over to play a roleplaying game, I might swing by a store to pick up tokens, an adventure book, and some maps. Similarly, since we’ve now got this table, we’d like to offer that some kind of ease to users that would be interested.
3.) What do you personally play? How did you get your start in tabletop gaming?
95% of my RPG tabletop play has been Dungeons & Dragons
4th Edition, with a bit of the new Gamma World
setting as well. I was a recovering World of Warcraft
addict, and I was burned out and wanted something new to do that tapped into my creative side. I’ve been playing whenever possible since.
An aside: since our primary play has been D&D 4E, if we’d designed Roll20 for that system instead of merely as a table, we wouldn’t have gotten nearly the response we’ve seen thus far from the community. I’m excited (if I ever get a chance!) to try out some other systems soon.
4.) What’s the largest game (in terms of participants) that’s ever been hosted using Roll20.net? How’d it go?
The developer’s team hasn’t done much single-session stress testing. I’ve seen people talking about some large numbers (10, 12), but I don’t know how successful they were. Something to look into down the line. BUT, because I can’t resist the chance to brag, I would love to mention that we had as many as 375 people simultaneously in the Roll20 application on launch day and the system scoffed at it!
5.) Can you tell me a bit about how you plan on adding new artwork (maps, tokens, etc.) to Roll20.net?
A marketplace to start! We’ll be soliciting more and more artwork from the community going forward, and already we’ve integrated a lot of free-to-use elements for the system.
6.) Will you have direct integration with specific systems, or keep things on a more generic level?
Generic! But that doesn’t mean there aren’t improvements to be made. An example: the deck system right now allows players to draw from a deck in a way that can be used for Savage Worlds
initiative. But having secret hands, trading cards, etc
. hasn’t been implemented yet, which could be used for loads of other systems. Somewhere down the line we’ll focus on doing more things with the deck feature that imitate the real world… and it’ll help it to support more systems.
7.) You’re in open beta now. How long to you suspect the beta will last?
We’re hoping to launch a more polished version of the program (still free) in August.
8.) Finally, and possibly most importantly, what are your favorite snacks and beverages to consume while gaming?
Oh man! It depends on the group. I still play an in-person game, and there it is all about the pizza and soda. When I’m playing in Roll20, I’ve been known to default to wheat beers and homemade pepperoni rolls.