Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Internet based gaming
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
I'm trying to get a game going with some friends of mine, but unfortunately distance does not allow us to play in person (Although that would be much preferred). So we have decided to try to play over the internet with whatever applications we can find to make it as close to the sitting-around-a-friend's-place-snacking-and-gaming experience as possible.

My question is this: Have other people attempted this and if so, what do you use? I'm thinking a voice chat program is key, and some sort of shared visual space. What is essential for playing? What are the major hurdles to overcome/avoid? Any input would be most appreciated.

Ian Urbina
We simply use a combination of IRC with a dicebot and images generated by a variety of sources depending on who's running the game and how lazy they feel. It's very little like face to face, since there are things you can do easily via IRC (simultaneously run multiple solo interactions, talk to players in absolute secrecy) that are impossible or very difficult in real life, and it also has disadvantages (lack of inflection availible in plain text damages the emotional potential of roleplay unless your players have huge vocabularies and are willing to exercise them, things just seem to run slower (excepting combat: having the dicebot do all the rolling and counting instantaneously seems to accelerate the numerical tallying portion of that slightly) than they would in meatspace, simply due to players multitasking, varying typing speeds, and other factors) that face to face gaming lacks.

In all, it's a different experience, but one that I find well worth the effort most of the time.
I'm much enjoying the campaign I am taking part in on OpenRPG, it took a little effort to get things set up and whatnot, but is working out very nicely.

Again, it's all text based, but online that's probably for the best.
The biggest problem with IRC is that people generally type more slowly than they talk which limits description.

If you want to be a bit more elaborate you could use a voice program like Roger Wilco (which is shareware) on top of IRC. Everyone needs microphones though (headphones with mic's are only like $15 though). I have never actually done that, however, so I'm not sure how well the quality would work. Then you are only lacking gestures, and some ease of showing people pictures (though IRC makes it pretty easy to squirt small files back and forth, use jpg's or 256 color bitmaps to keep the size down).

The private message thing is really nice, as are dicebots. Much faster than rolling real dice. smile.gif
We're already using Roger Wilco for playing multiplayer computer games, so we'll definitely be incorporating that. Voice chat coupled with private text chat (through IRC or whatnot) sounds like a good way of doing things.

We tended to play with miniatures quite a bit, esp. for combat. I hear OpenRPG has the capability to mimic that with a playing grid and tokens. How easy is it to set up for Shadowrun? Are there any other applications that do something similar?

What's the deal with dicebots? Are they built into IRC?
!Warning - Shocking confession!
I've never used IRC before. eek.gif

Thanks for the suggestions so far. There are some good ideas here to work with. smile.gif
I've done just fine with an AIM chatroom. The dicebot there works well for Shadowrun, though it seems to not like certain people.

Now now Kage, that story isn't for public consumption.
At the moment I'm involved in a Play by E-Mail game. But our base of Ops is a Yahoo Group where we all center our posts at. It's going a bit slow, but it does work.

The only other way I get to play Shadowrun is by logging on to one of the four Shadowrun themed Mush sites.

Actually, I believe plain old windows messenger has the standard chat abilities like messaging and chatroom, has a whiteboard function (for constantly updating maps, etc.), can transfer files, and has both audio and visual capabilities. That should cover everyting you need.

I do not know, however, how well these functions work, as I have never actaully tried them out (except messaging, of course)
Yahoo messenger has voice chat, type chat, and a background called "notepad" where both people can draw.

however, it's really only useful for two people (GM and player), which is what i use it for, but the notepad is useful for sketching things out real quick without being a full blown map...
A dicebot is a little script program which somebody (one person only ! smile.gif) runs on thier irc client, or you make an extra connection so the bot has a special name. It just looks at what everyone types and whatever is of the correct format it rolls dice for.

There are dicebots of various elaboration, search them up on google. The simplest respond to things like:

Rev types: 4d6

and would print out something like

Dicebot: Rev rolled: 4 3 2 8 (cause you definately want one with the rule of six at least).

If you look around a bit, or can program you can probably get a better one for shadowrun specifically.

I once wrote a real nice one which responded to stuff like

dice only
Rev types: 4d6 or 4d
Dicebot: Rev rolled: 1 2 9 3

dice + t#
Rev types: 4d6 5 or 4d 5
Dicebot: Rev rolled: 1 success vs 5 (1 2 9 3)

initiative style roll, no rule of 6 add reaction
Rev types: i2d+8
Dicebot : Rev initiative: 27 [edit hmm well not 27, cause the thing was better at math than me smile.gif]

There were some really fancy ones that cached the initiative info and played it back, but I found them to be more trouble than they were worth, and kind of spammy.
Apparently MSNMessenger will be going pay sometime next month. I guess that rules out one application I could use. (Due to my refusal to give MS any more of my money) Fortunately I still have ICQ.

Update: Sorry, that should be chat rooms on MSN. I think messenger is still going to be free. Not sure how useful that would be tho'. wink.gif
For those who don't know, the syntax for the AOL Instant Messenger dicebot is as follows:


(where # is your desired number of dice and sides, respectively)

Some interesting things:

If you leave out -sides#, it'll roll six-siders, so for Shadowrun you only really have to use //roll-dice#

If you leave out -dice#, it defaults to two dice. So //roll-dice4 rolls 4d6, //roll-sides8 rolls 2d8, and //roll rolls 2d6.

One last thing: this only works in chats. No rolling dice in an IM.

I play on the Darkmyst IRC server, which has a GameServ bot that'll do dice. It won't do the rule of 6, so we actually have our own bot that handles dice for us (including calculating number of success if you tell it ~r 4t5 for 'roll 4 dice, TN 5').

It's set up to be gaming-centric, which is kinda cool. And yeah, two of my players are opers, so I'm not exactly an unbiased source, but what the hell? biggrin.gif

My group plays some F2F but mostly online... it's getting to the point where I regret not having the logs of the session because we played F2F!
Ahh yea it is also helpful for a dicebot to allow comments though (thats one of the coolest thing mine did, though only right before I quit playing on IRC) that most did not.

Rev: 3d shooting at guard
Dicebot: Rev rolled: 3 4 9 3 shooting at guard

It would also be nice if it sorted the rolls for easier reading, just thought of that.
Yeah, comments are nice. Ours allows comments:

~r 6t4 # assensing Bob

And it repeats the comments after the results (essential of 3 people all roll for things at once- yeah, it tells us who it's rolling for, but it's still confusing without the comments) and it also bolds the highest result, which is especially nice for open tests.

<Senchae> ~r 6t4 #assensing Bob
<Bot> Senchae rolled: 4 2 4 1 3 4 (3 successes diff 4) # assensing Bob

Not a very good assensing, but then, in a real game I have more dice than that. grinbig.gif
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012