Exclusive Gallery: Dungeons and Dragons 4.0’s “D&D Insider” Screenshots

screenshot CharWiz1.JPG

Wizards of the Coast passed on these screenshots of the upcoming “D&D Insider” software application that will enable gamers to emulate tabletop games from the comfort of their PCs. It will be launched alongside Dungeons & Dragons 4.0, which will be shown off more fully at this weekend’s “D&D Experience” event in Washington, D.C.

These first shots show the character builder—worries that transvestite characters would be unsupported in the system were obviously unfounded—while later shots show the tabletop and dungeon mapping interfaces. It’s a little rough looking, but I suspect it’ll look better at higher resolutions.

screenshot CharWiz4.JPG


screenshot CharWiz5.JPG


More screenshots after the jump. (You can click the images to get a pop-up at full resolution.)

screenshot CharWiz6.JPG


screenshot CharWiz7.JPG


screenshot DDI Dungeon PR.JPG


screenshot DGT2.JPG


screenshot DungeonBuilder2.JPG


PreviouslyDungeons & Dragons 4.0 Makes Remote Pen-and-Paper Play Easier [BBG]

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38 Responses to Exclusive Gallery: Dungeons and Dragons 4.0’s “D&D Insider” Screenshots

  1. Brian Carnell says:

    “I’d like a fast way to whip up some NPCs but I much prefer sitting at a table and playing than playing on a PC. I’ll play WoW if I want to play on a computer.”

    Well, the tabletop RPG market is becoming increasingly marginalized. One the one hand that’s great because there is an amazing variety of PDF downloads these days. On the other hand, the retail RPG business is pretty much dying.

    Clearly, with the new D&D, WOTC is aiming to go after the WoW-playing folks and lure them into PnP RP with this sort of client-based system, electronic versions of the rulebooks, etc.

    Frankly, I think it’s going to end in failure. The PnP folks don’t want to play WoW (or they already are, and they’re going to play WoW for that experience, not use play the D&D client). The folks playing only are going to be underwhelmed.

    Yes, there’s a market for people who used to play PnP but can’t anymore because of geographical issues, but there are already 4-5 different very nice programs in that space already and none of them have exactly set the world on fire.

  2. Anonymous says:

    > 1) I use windows, and can’t stand using macs. It feels like they
    > changed a bunch of stuff for the sake of changing it, to me at
    > least (ctrl vs. apple key, for example). And I’m pretty sure I’d
    > qualify as a ‘true geek’. But this is a discussion for another day.
    > To each his own, I guess.

    This is the funniest comment I’ve seen in days.

    For those of you paying attention, the Mac was around long before Windows was. And Microsoft ‘changed a bunch of stuff for the sake of changing it’ so that Apple would have less grounds to sue them over interface similarities, and then changed a lot of it back when they won the lawsuit and released Windows 95. Same thing they did when making the original DOS similar to but not exactly the same as CP/M.

    As for the control vs ‘apple’ (aka command) key… originally the Apple key was used as a separate meta key so that you could, say, enter control codes into, for example, a terminal emulator (know what control c means? control s and q?) and still be able to use keyboard shortcuts. If you hit control s in a terminal emulator on Windows, does that mean save? Or send a control s to the terminal? Control codes are ASCII codes with specific meanings, and MS should never have taken them over for their own use… but that’s a separate rant.

    I mean, really. There’s plenty to complain about on the Mac, but the fact that it doesn’t work exactly like Windows is hardly a reasonable one.

    -fred

  3. dagger says:

    First of all, TSR went bankrupt nn 1999. The D&D brand was purchased by Wizards of the Coast.

    Second, Wizards did not develop Neverwinter Nights, they sold the rights to a SOFTWARE COMPANY.

    Third,

    Mac OS X version

    On August 21 2007, Macworld reported that Aspyr Media is currently working on a Mac OS X client for Neverwinter Nights 2.[14] It was noted that, like the Mac OS X version of the original Neverwinter Nights, it would come without the toolkit. Mac OS X owners will be able to play user-created modules made in Windows however.

    It is currently scheduled for shipping on February 26, 2008.

    Fouth, as of right now the D&D Digital stuff is Windows only, so you got one right.

  4. Brian Carnell says:

    “I’m worried that this will end up being destructive to imagination. When you describe a place verbally, the listener is free to fill in details. An inn, for instance, might have other guests there, a bard playing, etc. Until these are certain, they may or may not exist. You’re free to create as little of the world as you need to. Someone asks “Is there a bard playing?” and you then decide yes or no as you see fit.”

    The problem is that right now the RPG industry is dying, so this is not a bad strategy to try to get new gamers in.

    As SJ Games noted in their recent stakeholder report, it is non-RPG sales that are keeping alive most RPG-oriented game companies (in SJ Games’ case, Munchkin is far more important to the bottom line than GURPS is).

    http://www.sjgames.com/general/stakeholders/report08.html

  5. jjmgryphon says:

    While I don’t see this as the death of imagination, I do see it as a restrictor. One of my favorite things to do is see how much of a monkey wrench I can throw into the game while still keeping in character and on plot. Normally this entails using a spell or ability in some completely unusual way (i.e. windwall a “wind tunnel” through a gas filled room, Summon a few pixies to fly into a dragons ear and just irritate it till it leaves, that sort of thing). Doing off the wall things like this will be severely limited with this online engine. I hope they are comming up with ways to let DM’s modify general play to allow for creativity. Otherwise I might as well play WoW.

  6. Diggidy says:

    For a guy that doesn’t have the time to play often, AND is miles from his group, this looks wonderful.

    I suppose I would still be using my imagination to fill in the blanks–and even with this GUI, there will be blanks to be filled. No graphical representation of the situations we get ourselves in would be perfect, but this seems to strike the proper balance between “there” and “not-there”, giving DM’s and players all the room they need while still keeping everything clear.

    If WOTC is reading this, SEND ME THIS PROGRAM. I’d love it.

  7. mshea says:

    There is not going to be a Mac client in the forseeable future and I sort of agree with the poster above who said “my imagination looks so much better than that”. I’d like a fast way to whip up some NPCs but I much prefer sitting at a table and playing than playing on a PC. I’ll play WoW if I want to play on a computer.

    I’ll be at the D&D Experience convention this coming weekend. They’re going to demonstrate D&D Insider there. I’ll yell and scream about mac support when I show up.

  8. Dillenger69 says:

    I stopped playing “D&D” years ago in favor of a custom system designed by some buddies.
    It takes all the best elements of all the gaming systems and wraps them up into one nicely packaged database.

    Our last team was a Gnome, an alien from Dark City, a Kzin, and some other random races from books we’d read. Have a race that’s not in the system, work up some reasonable stats and viola … you’re playing anything from a Wookie to a dragon rider from Eragon.

    Real geeks roll their own.

  9. Anonymous says:

    According to WotC, they did indeed ‘screw over’ us Mac and Linuxheads with bits of the D&DI. The mapper and the character modeler use an in-house ActiveX engine they had had under development when D&D 4 rolled around, and got swept up in the excitement.

    I don’t remember what this engine was going to be for originally, mind you — I think the D&D MMO? That part’s fuzzy.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I hope WOTC realizes what an important piece of software this is. I agree with the others that this is… uninspired. If WOTC wants to ape WoW AND want to do it low-poly, they should grow some design sense.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “TSR needs to understand that real geeks don’t use windows.”

    First off, I assume you meant WOTC.

    Secondly, not all RPG geeks are computer geeks.

    Thirdly, I’ve used Linux and I’ve used Windows. I may not like MS policy or prices, but I do like the ease of use. For the most part. I don’t need to know how to write code to use it.

    Fourthly, I like the screenshots. Yes, my imagination has better resolution, but it’s good stuff!

  12. andyhavens says:

    Your imagination may look better than that, but can your imagination do all the friggin’ math/rolls necessary for even a minor confrontation? Hell, I’d use this thing in a room where everybody is playing on laptops right in front of each other if it would take over the dice/tables crap.

  13. Razzle Bathbone says:

    I don’t think the dungeon corridors are supposed to look “real”. I think they’re supposed to look like miniatures on a tabletop. As I understand it, the idea with the electronic 4th edition stuff is that it’s supposed to replicate the tabletop experience over an internet connection. So the visuals won’t look much better than previous tabletop editions of D&D, and you’ll still need a healthy dose of imagination for an optimal game.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Nice, maybe WotC is hoping people see the February 25 date and don’t realize it’s 2008 instead of 2009!

  15. Phasma Felis says:

    “TSR needs to understand that real geeks don’t use windows.”

    As a “real geek” who loves my Mac and hates the Windows, I’d like to say QUIT YOUR DAMN WHINING. We’re talking about a tabletop game here. You don’t get any street cred for using a cooler operating system.

    I’m not happy about WotC screwing Mac users, either, but let’s try not to sound like 12-year-olds while we’re discussing it.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Microsoft didn’t make the original DOS; they bought it from the person who did make it so they would get a headstart into the O/S “industry”. And the Mac and Windows came out roughly around the same time. That’s one of the reasons that Apple had for trying to sue Microsoft over Windows, because of so many similarities they shared.

    According to Wikipedia (ymmv) Windows was announced in November of 1983 but wasn’t released until November of 1985.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows

  17. Anonymous says:

    It’s interesting that WotC sent these screenshots (which have been available for months, since 4e was announce in 2007). These products aren’t on the development board anymore, at least according to public comment from WotC.

    They had the intertia to develop the Character Builder, and then the rest is TBD.

    WTH? Why send this kind of PR out if you aren’t doing anything with the product?

  18. mycroftb says:

    I’m looking forward to this. The official stance on it is that it’s not meant to replace tabletop gaming, it’s meant for times when getting everybody around the table would be impossible.

    This means that those with young children won’t need to find a sitter to still play with their friends. And hopefully this’ll allow friends from around the world to play together too. I’ve got lots of friends who like D&D and tabletop roleplaying, but they’re all over the net, getting them together for a game would be swell.

    My main concern is the pricing. WotC has previously announced that a subscription to D&D Insider will be competitive with MMOs, around $10-$15 per month. If that allows for the DM to set up the virtual tabletop and invite non-subscribers to play, then I’m in. If that requires every player have a subscription, then I’m out.

    (On another note, WotC has stated that other parts of D&D Insider that aren’t 3D will probably be platform-agnostic. These might include a web-based character generator, and (defective) PDF copies of RPG books.)

  19. Anonymous says:

    Technically, TSR didn’t go bankrupt. They were on the verge of bankruptcy, but were bought by WOTC before things got quite that far. Also, it was in 1997, not 1999.

  20. naturaltwenty says:

    The toolset, as described by the screenshot, is inferior to existing toolsets such as MapTools – http://www.maptools.net , Fantasy Grounds II – http://www.fantasygrounds.com , Screen Monkey – http://www.screenmonkey.com – combined with a mapping tool such as Dunjinni – http://www.dunjinni.com or Campaign Cartographer – http://www.profantasy.com .

    Obviously the WotC application will bundle everything together but the visuals just aren’t that great, the dungeon reminds me of my old magnetic dungeon walls I had back in the 80’s and if I have to pay a monthly fee vs. a one-time software cost for the previous apps I mentioned then the advantage of having online books and figures (that I have to purchase) negate what’s already available.

    WotC is a few years late on their digital initiative.

    Later,

    Greg Volz

  21. Anonymous says:

    Back to the real issue. Who cares if it is TSR or Wizzards.

    This is a fantastic resource for people who game over long distance.

    I have a brother who is a gammer out in Cali and my best friend who normaly DM’s works out of Alaska. I live on the East Coast. As hack or cheesy as it may look, it still alows us to Nerd out.

    Word Nerds!

  22. Anonymous says:

    All other considerations aside, why to the female characters in the screenshots suffer from serious manface? I mean, really. And could they not get some decent 3D models? Those look little better than revamped EverQuest models…

  23. Anonymous says:

    What in the world are they doing building OS specific applications anyway? they should convert to web-hosted app deployed through a browser as fast as their little fingers can code. Target browser standards and stop locking themselves into on OS.

    Silliness.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Marketshare folk, it called marketshare, when Mac and Linux acquires greater that 10% of that share maybe someone will pay attention (or care for that matter)

    I thought Mac users were to busy buying 5 pairs of sneakers, driving their Hybrid cars while drinking starbucks to be playing an “GASP” old pen and paper game….. how gauche!

    calling your OS cool is LAME and childish, it like saying my scroll saw is better than your scrollsaw, its a tool goddammit! and it has never improved your position market wise since inception.

    the last game on the shelf I saw for a Mac was Starcraft (1998)………

    (and BTW I have a G4 and G5 and 4 PC’s at home loaded with either XP, Vista, or the flavor of the week Linux) FTW

  25. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t argue about what OS it supports. There is currently no time line to release this software at all. It was marketed as being released with 4e which came out LAST JUNE, but its status is currently unknown (or at least no one is telling the public). Though I’m sure they are actually working on it, it’s only a step up from vapor-ware.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I’m worried that this will end up being destructive to imagination. When you describe a place verbally, the listener is free to fill in details. An inn, for instance, might have other guests there, a bard playing, etc. Until these are certain, they may or may not exist. You’re free to create as little of the world as you need to. Someone asks “Is there a bard playing?” and you then decide yes or no as you see fit.

    When you create a place visually with this kind of program, what’s there pretty much has to be all that’s there. Unless you put a bard in, up front and in advance, no bard. You’re deciding the look of the place right down to the wooden or metal eating utensils, or else they don’t exist. There’s no “assumed to be there”.

    Another issue is that behavior in computer games vs verbally described actions is more limited, and less “realistic”, in the sense that players of a computer game are more likely to engage in behavior that would be psychotic, or sociopathic, than they are in tabletop. (In my experience, anyway, and allowing for a fairly high amount of sociopathy in tabletop.)

    Crowd scenes will be a pain. “Everyone in the bar turns to look at you.” may be difficult to achieve.

    That said, I’ll try it out, and it may well be possible to overcome some of these reservations.

    –Ash

  27. Anonymous says:

    unfortunately, real geeks use windows if they want to play decent games outside a VM environment :(

  28. mycroftb says:

    Haha, this just showed up in the WotC RSS feed. Interesting that, one year later, this is practically vaporware.

  29. cklarock says:

    @Razzle Bathbone: You have it exactly.

    The concept is to allow the use of virtual miniatures over an internet connection for people who aren’t able for whatever reason to play in person.

    One of the benefits of D&Di is that if you buy a module, the map will be available. If you buy a pack of Dungeon Tiles, they will be available.

    As a Mac user, I’m pretty dissapointed they chose to use their DirectX engine rather than developing cross-platform. It certainly could have been done, but such has always been the Mac user’s lot.

    Having followed the project closely since its announcement at GenCon, my inference is that the project timeline was dramatically stepped up, forcing a number of poor decisions on their part. My expectation is that the D&Di won’t be as good as hoped, or deliver on promises, which is kind of sad.

    Don’t cry for me Furyondy.

  30. Anonymous says:

    (Laughter) And supergeeks know that WOTC was bought out and is now a subsidiary of HASBRO.

  31. Anonymous says:

    1) I use windows, and can’t stand using macs. It feels like they changed a bunch of stuff for the sake of changing it, to me at least (ctrl vs. apple key, for example). And I’m pretty sure I’d qualify as a ‘true geek’. But this is a discussion for another day. To each his own, I guess.

    2)I really don’t see how this heralds the end of the imagination. While I will probably not use the DI (at least not to play online), it doesn’t seem all that different. In tabletop, you draw a map, place any important characters or combatants, place any tactical scenery, and describe the rest; if it wasn’t a combat encounter, you just described it. With the Digital Tabletop, you will draw a map (albeit a much more detailed one), place any important characters or combatants, place any tactical scenery, and describe the rest; if it wasn’t a combat encounter, you’d just described it. Admittedly, there is to face-to-face interaction,but this is to facilitate long distance play. As I said before, though, to each his own.

  32. Xeno says:

    Well the big question on my mind is whether they screwed over MAC and Linux fans the way the did with Neverwinter Nights 2. Especially after MAC and Linux fans supported and kept the game profitable for YEARS!!! TSR needs to understand that real geeks don’t use windows.

  33. Anonymous says:

    The best Geeks know why Hasbro bought WOTC, which was because they wanted to control a greater share of the U.S. Pokemon rights.

  34. Anonymous says:

    funny stuff a year later lol …..same stuff wotc threw at before 4th edition launch…… unusual there is no character builder shots and that’s the first major product they bribed us with to order insider…….not that I’m complaining (:

  35. mujadaddy says:

    This is the death of “having to describe what something looks like” — one of my primary skills as a Game Master.

    Plus, making the players draw their own maps is one of the primary burdens of being a player-character.

  36. SC_Wolf says:

    And real geeks need to understand that Wizards of the Coast bought out TSR almost a decade ago.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Real D&D geeks know TSR was purchased by WotC years ago….

  38. Hunty says:

    My imagination looks SO much better than that.

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