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Old 02-24-05, 03:49 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wulf Ratbane
You are the most amazing DM I have ever seen.

I mean... really... You let your guys drink hi-balls at the table!


The geeks are eyeballin' the gaming table, but not Wulf. Straight to the liquor with him.
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Old 02-24-05, 04:26 PM   #42
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If anyone else is going to do this, this $699 cell phone (large cell phone) sized projector would be a lot easier to mount. I don't know the specs on this projector and how well it would work in a set up like in this thread. Heck, I don't know much about projectors period, but they are cool.

Nice set up btw!


http://www.techworthy.com/Blog/Mitsubishi-PocketProjector-8482.htm
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Old 02-24-05, 04:32 PM   #43
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Sweet projector, a good idea.
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Old 02-24-05, 04:42 PM   #44
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This is awesome! I wish I had enough room for this in my house. Maybe once the fiance and I buy a new house...

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Old 02-24-05, 04:42 PM   #45
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Wow. This is a freakin' incredible setup.
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Old 02-24-05, 04:50 PM   #46
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This is very cool. One step closer to ultimate cool would be to be able to project from underneath onto some kind of rear projection surface so that arms, miniatures, and other objects don't get in the way of the light.
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Old 02-24-05, 04:58 PM   #47
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trés cool!
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Old 02-24-05, 05:06 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astos
This is very cool. One step closer to ultimate cool would be to be able to project from underneath onto some kind of rear projection surface so that arms, miniatures, and other objects don't get in the way of the light.


Just what I was thinking!

Now I just need to work out how to incorporate this into the ultimate gaming table that was posted on here a while ago and then figger out how I am going to afford a bigger house so I can have a dedicated gaming room that I can fit the whole caboodle into!

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Old 02-24-05, 05:21 PM   #49
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Nice setup

I'm wondering how long until it all goes holographic and is rendered in 3D on the gaming table.
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Old 02-24-05, 05:36 PM   #50
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Trying to figure out how big an image I could get by projecting the image from the floor below the table (home-made 1/2" plywood 4'x8') through frosted glass (no shadows on the map, can mark on the glass.
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Old 02-24-05, 05:39 PM   #51
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I want one of these setups sooo bad. Unfortunately I'd have to buy the projector as well as an entire collection of minis. So about 1K$ alltogether.
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Old 02-24-05, 05:48 PM   #52
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Wow. WOW. I want one. But first I need a laptop...

Very cool setup. I wish I could do the same, although my wife might really start to believe I'm crazy, instead of just thinking it on occasion.
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Old 02-24-05, 05:49 PM   #53
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That is a cool setup, but I'm a miniatures-hater and I'm still not convinced. NWN may be good for generic dungeon-hacks, but it can't imitate the fantastic glory of a setting like Planescape, where my players last month visited a burg perched on a huge stalagmite column which had titanic blades and chains spinning around it generating steam power. How would you ever show that in NWN? The place looks 10x better in my imagination that in any generic NWN tileset.

Also, there's the perennial problem of not having enough miniatures. You'd have to spend a fortune to get all the miniatures for an exotic fantasy setting, some of which might not even exist. Are there miniatures for the Howler on Pandemomium? How about modrons on Mechanus? I doubt it. So you end up substituting some ridiculous miniature that doesn't look like what you described. Your imagination can do a lot better than that.

Nice work, though. And it's great that your players are dedicated enough to put that much money and effort into their game.
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Old 02-24-05, 05:57 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krypter
NWN may be good for generic dungeon-hacks, but it can't imitate the fantastic glory of a setting like Planescape


Well, well, lookie here ...

http://www.city-of-doors.com/

So, would you like to take your foot out of your mouth now, or would you like a little extra-planar help, berk?
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Old 02-24-05, 06:02 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patryn of Elvenshae
Well, well, lookie here ...http://www.city-of-doors.com/
So, would you like to take your foot out of your mouth now, or would you like a little extra-planar help, berk?


No need to be rude, Patryn. I already know about that project. Notice that it isn't finished yet, and that it only deals with Sigil, not the entirety of the planes? Nothing about Pandemonium or Mechanus there. It still doesn't address my problem of how would you present the wonders of the planes outside of a generic tileset, or where you would get miniatures of exotic planar creatures. Some may exist, some may not. That by itself limits your options, whereas your imagination is limitless.
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Old 02-24-05, 06:27 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steel_Wind
If you have discounted the use of miniatures in your sessions. Please – re-think your position. There is so much you can do with a setup like this.


While that setup is really spiffy, it sure doesn't constitute a good reason to reconsider minis. As an extension to a part of the game you already know you like, it's cool. As an experiement into something you don't know you'll like, it is far, far too expensive.
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Old 02-24-05, 06:35 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krypter
No need to be rude, Patryn.


Likewise, potblack.

You said it couldn't be done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YOU
it can't imitate the fantastic glory of a setting like Planescape


Not only can it be done, it is being done.
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Old 02-24-05, 06:56 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patryn of Elvenshae
Likewise, potblack.


Saying something can't be done is not being rude. You, on the other hand, are being patronizing and condescending in the extreme, with hardly a thought to actually refuting my points.

Once again, I repeat this: Is anyone replicating the Planescape setting in whole? No. City of Doors is only about Sigil, a tiny fraction of the planescape universe. Without sounding too critical of CoDI, it too is a pale imitation of the drawings and descriptions of PS in the setting material, and is no substitute for a good DM's description and ad-hoc storytelling. You should have argued for Planescape Torment, as it comes closest and does a far better job in that regard.

So now how *are* you replicating the Tower of Khin-OIn in the howling waste, or making a NWN tileset for the chain-city of Jangling Hiter, hmm?

Secondly, the miniatures problem still stands, and you haven't addressed it at all.

Criticism is not rudeness, but being insulting without addressing my arguments is.
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Old 02-24-05, 06:59 PM   #59
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At the OP:

That's cooler than ninja pirates. I'm not sure if it's cooler than ninja pirate robots with dinosaurs, but it just might be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krypter
NWN may be good for generic dungeon-hacks, but it can't imitate the fantastic glory of a setting like Planescape.


You're right.

NWN can never imitate Planescape. It didn't murder a setting with REAL fantastic glory so it could rehash it as sepia-toned planarpunk.

Spelljammer, on the other hand, would be absolutely amazing with this setup. You could do asteroids, the curve of planets, even large "stationary" objects like the Spelljammer itself or a big dwarven citadel.
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Old 02-24-05, 07:01 PM   #60
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Let me address a few issues that have popped up here:

First...

Quote:
I could project it on a plastic sheet or whiteboard and use markers (as I do now). I think the main issue would be that the markers would be invisible in the dark areas of the map - unless the ambient light is strong enough to see them.

Steel_Wind, do you think that could work?


Projecting on a whiteboard certainly would work well. We have experimented with projection surfaces, trying a white piece of foamcore, a white blind and our biege Battlemat.

It's a function of the brightness of your projector and ambient lighting in the room. We prefer to use a surface with a 1" grid on it already as that makes use in game easy. More white reflective the surface = higher gain.

In term of being able to use markers - I don't see why not. You might want to play with the color of the ink - but it will work in most cases.

Might I suggest you are missing the obvious though? If you are using NWN, why not simply use the creature models in the game? You will have a ready made supply of hundreds of creatures, limitless PC races and you will never, ever run out. There is nothing more you will need to buy.

Admittedly, you can't use something like Tabletop Mapper with NWN digital minis, but if cost of miniatures is your concern, an all digital solution is possible.

Quote:
Hm..! I don't know if my crappy laptop does that. I'll try. Even without the projector, I could use my TV to display images, maps, or charts. That would be pretty useful too!


If you have a SVGA TV-Out port on your laptop - I am pretty much CERTAIN you can extend your desktop to it under Win XP. It's a standard approach of the chipset makers now.


Quote:
This is very cool. One step closer to ultimate cool would be to be able to project from underneath onto some kind of rear projection surface so that arms, miniatures, and other objects don't get in the way of the light.


This was a concern of ours initially too. We thought of trying this as a rear projection setup. There are some technical concerns though with this approach.

The biggest issue is throw distance of your projector. Generally speaking, the shorter the distance between the projector and the projection surface, the smaller the image that is being displayed. Results vary highly from projector model to model though.

So putting it directly on the floor underneath your surface and projecting up is likely with most projectors to make an inadequate sized image (but see below)

You can skin this cat another way though. You can install a mirror at an angle below your table and then put the projector a ways off on a stool or some such, so you are increasing your throw distance. This is an approach that another group uses. Here is his set up:

The big problem is the big ass mirror under the table, which restricts movement around the table and potentially poses a serious danger to stray feet.



You also have light loss on the mirror and the projection surface. This group uses simple paper to reflect the image. A piece of buffed Lexan would probably work better and result in less light loss.



Still - depending on your gaming setup, it can be cool. Here is a more typical use of their table during play:



I prefer our own setup as it provides for a more intimate central table. The miniatures do not interefere with projection at all by the way - and hands over the table is something we don't even notice during play - so this is really not a concern. I admit I had the same worry initially - but it has proved to be no concern at all during actual use.

Quote:
If anyone else is going to do this, this $699 cell phone (large cell phone) sized projector would be a lot easier to mount. I don't know the specs on this projector and how well it would work in a set up like in this thread. Heck, I don't know much about projectors period, but they are cool.

Nice set up btw!


http://www.techworthy.com/Blog/Mits...jector-8482.htm



OK. Now THIS has serious possibilities.

Let me explain what the main issues are here with projectors being used for this purpose. You care about the following elements of a projector:

1 - Brightness of image:. You want a minimum of 1200 ANSI lumens. Without it - you will be gaming in very low ambient light, too low really. You will note that in all the reviews the ANSI lumens is not noted for this unit. That suggests to me that this is a dim unit, relatively speaking.

2 - Minimum Throw Distance: The bigger the image with the smaller the throw distance, the better (in general). You can have your picture too big though, which will start to make the image visibly pixellated. Generally speaking, that's a nice problem to be able to have though as the real problem is an image which is too small. If this projector can do 40" at a distance of three feet - it would be VERY possible to use it directly under the table. Or put it over the table if you prefer - either way - very nice.

3- Bulb life: Most modern DLP projectors (this is different from an LCD projector, although analogous) have sophisticated bulbs in them which include aligned optics in the halogen bulb. They are complicated lil gadgets - damnably bright - and VERY expensive to replace. Cost is about $300-$400 to replace a bulb, depending on the unit. Yup. That much. Bulb life is about 2000 hours on most units, 3,000 hours on the newer models.

In the unit above, the lighting is said to be provided by LED's not a halogen bulb. This is an extremely stable light source so bulb life is practically "forever". That's very cool. However, using LED's as a light source is very limited by their brightness.

I would be flabbergast if you can get 1200 ANSI out of an LED lit DLP projector. If anyone can track down the brightness of this unit to report back - I want to know about it. If it is rated at 1200 or over - I'll buy one just to use at home and as a back up projector.

4 - Size of the Unit: Our Optoma EZpro 750 projector is about the size of a clock radio ca. 1980. It is very light. The newer the DLP, the smaller they seem to be getting.

Compare that to an old LCD projector. Those things were monsters. Here is a pic of the one Jans Carton's group uses:



His LCD is also old and relatively dim at about 800 ANSI. They use special lighting in the basement room their projector is located in (you can see the LED light strips) as a result.

A small DLP can be lugged around and placed over a living room or kitchen table with no problem and you can use an indirect support method like our pole. For an older LCD projector like Jans, that puppy needs to be bolted down and its not going anywhere.

My guess is that most wives are not going to put up with one of those over the dining room table

5 - Resolution of Image: You want a minimum of 800x600 and if it scales up to 1024x768 or higher, so much the better. This pocket projector appears to be adequate if a little fuzzy at 800x600. It's one of those things you have to see "live in concert" to get a feel for - but it sounds ok.

I will make some more inquiries into the Mitsubishi PocketProjector, as its size, portability, bulb life, minimum throw and resolution all appear to be IDEAL for a gaming application. Moreoever, its cost, brand new at MSRP, ROCKS. The real issue - and the one that concerns me most - is brightness of the image.

If the company is not touting its ANSI Lumens brightness, you can expect that it is not very good. How bad is the real issue. But if it's 1200 or higher - this would appear to be an AWESOME unit.

Nice thing is - the tech only gets better folks. If this one is not bright enough for your purpose - just wait a bit - they'll get brighter.

Lastly, the technology behind the DLP projector is what is making all these devices so cheap. They are stealing the market from LCD projectors now and as the quality increases, my expectation is there won't BE an LCD projector market in a few years. It will all move to DLP.

And yes, we are starting a website for projection Gaming table purposes at DLA next month. Who knows what else a group of 30 software developers and 3d artists might have up their sleeve for this sort of thing?
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Old 02-24-05, 07:15 PM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krypter
Also, there's the perennial problem of not having enough miniatures. You'd have to spend a fortune to get all the miniatures for an exotic fantasy setting, some of which might not even exist. Are there miniatures for the Howler on Pandemomium? How about modrons on Mechanus? I doubt it. So you end up substituting some ridiculous miniature that doesn't look like what you described. Your imagination can do a lot better than that.


You can use placeholder minis for quite a bit, and you'd be suprised how many first and third party models there are for NWN. The DM doesn't need physical minis to do anything - he can just spawn however many models he needs. If there aren't modron models already, they're at least going to be pretty easy to make.

EDIT: Robert (Steel Wind), have you considered using a lens or warped mirror to reduce the minimum throw distance? You'd still have a considerable minimum (unless you raid an observatory), but you might be able to do a slanted projection or just a short enough throw to integrate a projector into a coffee table or desk. Also, what's the minimum buy in for an acceptable XVG DLP projector? I'm new to this projector scene and filled with a nerdly desire beyond all reckoning.

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Old 02-24-05, 07:32 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hurtfultater
If there aren't modron models already, they're at least going to be pretty easy to make.


I dunno...wherever is a player going to find a ready supply of small polyhedrals?

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Old 02-24-05, 08:27 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patryn of Elvenshae
Well, well, lookie here ...

http://www.city-of-doors.com/

So, would you like to take your foot out of your mouth now, or would you like a little extra-planar help, berk?
Bar that, graybeard. EN World is not a place to nick primes. Thanks.
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Old 02-24-05, 08:28 PM   #64
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Rather than projecting, I've been wanting to rig up an HDTV under plexiglass. Of course I don't have the cash to blow on a spare HDTV, but when I do....
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Old 02-24-05, 08:48 PM   #65
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Craaaazy cool.
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Old 02-24-05, 09:03 PM   #66
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Boys and their toys. I want one!

The price of LCD projectors have come down significantly in recent years. I saw one new at Best Buy for around $800. Yea, still pricey. I never considered one for this purpose. I was thinking of just using the wall as my computer monitor. Of course, anymore then only game I really play on my computer is spider solitaire, so that would be kind of silly.
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Old 02-24-05, 09:09 PM   #67
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A table-surface possibility

A friend of mine wallpapered his home office (well, the upper half of the walls) with a product that functions exactly as white board and is finished to be appropriate for use as LCD projection screen. This would give you the benefit of both surfaces and provide a bright image from the projector.

I will send him an email to see if I can get a name of the product.

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Old 02-24-05, 09:17 PM   #68
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Very neat!

I daydream about the 'perfect game room' all the time and I often wonder if I'd go with an overhead projector or an underglass monitor. I thought a touch screen would be neat. Especially if you could configure the software to hilight an area of effect centered on where you touch.

A nice fantasy for me, but I commend you for taking steps to make it a reality for your group.
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Old 02-24-05, 09:18 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steel_Wind
My guess is that most wives are not going to put up with one of those over the dining room table

But most wives do want an attractive hanging lamp over the dining room table. So it's just a matter of working out the aesthetics.
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Old 02-24-05, 10:41 PM   #70
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One aspect of digital projection mapping that I haven't seen addressed on this thread is speed. This is one of the biggest impacts on the gaming experience our setup has had for us. We used to waste hours of game time on drawing relatively crappy-looking maps.

Even with a dry erase battle mat for individual encounters, my players felt the need to have a hand-drawn map of the whole dungeon. We've found that with the ability to zoom the projected map, it serves both purposes.

Even if you spend a lot of time preparing the map in advance like I do, the in-game time saved is enormous. I'd guess we have at least double the number of encounters per game session that we did when we were drawing maps in-game.

So even if the projected map doesn't help in setting the mood (it does!), and even if you don't use miniatures (they rock!), consider projecting your maps to cut the drudgery and get to the action!

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Old 02-24-05, 10:49 PM   #71
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One more thing:

If you want to set the mood and help your players visualize the environment, there's nothing like projecting visual aids! My players get all excited when I say "Oh! I have a picture of this..." and project it onto the table.

I use lots of Dungeon Magazine adventures. They have great artwork thats just begging to be scanned and projected. You can also find tons of great art, ready for projection, on the Wizards web site at:

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/arch/ag

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Old 02-24-05, 10:50 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boredflak
*snip*


This is where a large scale collaborative project or a professional third party would come in handy. There's no reason why you couldn't have an entire city mapped out, perhaps with multiple outlying surroundings. Just by ripping off Paris and London in the 17-19th centuries, one can get great general city and street layouts, and while it would be a very large project to do an entire city, 3-5 regular contributors working over a couple months could provide a resource that many people would happily pay for.

Even as it is, publishing campaign notes to some community site could help people start making ever more detailed and robust settings, helping GMs who, like me, are both lazy and perfectionist.

There's no game like one in which your players can truly wander, but it requires a huge amount of preparation. Being able to display or print maps on demand could give players a new sense of setting, scale, and immersion.
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Old 02-25-05, 02:05 AM   #73
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Quote:
EDIT: Robert (Steel Wind), what's the minimum buy in for an acceptable XVG DLP projector? I'm new to this projector scene and filled with a nerdly desire beyond all reckoning.


I'll throw together a primer on the options and costs a little later tonight or tomorrow if I can.
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Old 02-25-05, 02:30 AM   #74
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You guys should do a workshop at GenCon.

Or start a consulting business for others who want to do this.

Or a TV series: "Gamer Playroom Makeover."
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Old 02-25-05, 02:39 AM   #75
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Projector costs are coming way down. I work in AV support/video production, and the projectors we're buying right now at around $1800 do a better job than projectors we bought for $7000 just 3-4 years ago. I concur with everything Steel Wind has said, he's done his homework on this subject.

In particular, I agree with his comments regarding an under mounted projector - it sounds like a great idea, but for a number of practical reasons (which he listed) it probably won't work for most people.
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Old 02-25-05, 05:38 AM   #76
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Brilliant. Nothing short of brilliant. The plans for the game room have changed dramatically.
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Old 02-25-05, 05:50 AM   #77
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That is un-real.

Wait, lemme just wipe this dribble off my chin...

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, that is indeed the coolest gaming setup I've seen yet. Sheer genius guy - kudos +.
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Old 02-25-05, 08:09 AM   #78
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Very nice.

Nice setup. I want one!

Makes me want to look into projecting normally, onto a vertical surface, using the NWN editor (or any other program that would work) and completely eliminating miniatures altogether.
This saves a lot of table space, and helps with some of the physical problems such as mirrors, distance, etc... Not to mention I see my wife allowing this kind of "traditional" setup moreso than a portable overhead kind of setup.
If only I had a $1000 to spend on a projector...
Later!
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Old 02-25-05, 10:56 AM   #79
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This is fantastic... far beyond your average visual aid.

Holy crap and a half, mang.
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Old 02-25-05, 02:13 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boredflak
So even if the projected map doesn't help in setting the mood (it does!), and even if you don't use miniatures (they rock!), consider projecting your maps to cut the drudgery and get to the action!


I think the whole map-projection thing is, as we'd say in my business, "technically sweet", but the sales pitches aren't working for me.

What is your time worth? We're talking about on the order of an $800 setup. Even if you say your time is worth $10/hour, you have to get to saving 80 hours of time before this comes up a win. And, of course, the setup is useless if you're a DM who likes to "wing it". If you aren't going to put in hours ahead of time making up maps (which is also cutting into your time saved), this is not a win.
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