View Full Version : Map Projection: Can It Be Done Successfully?

12-03-2007, 03:45 AM
I was really hoping I could have my players sitting in my living room while I used the dining room table to DM from. This makes using a map, at least one that is easy to manipulate for all players, somewhat difficult. The main thing I'd really like to work out is a way to not use a battlemat but instead to figure out some way to have the map viewable to everybody, just accessible only to me. I was thinking of an overhead projector but I remember sitting next to one of those in math class many years ago and it making the air not only quite hot but very humid. I couldn't imagine comfortably playing with a hot projector next to me. I considered using some sort of web cam setup and having it output to my TV but I have a 27" and I'm not sure how big the map would actually be once it was zoomed out far enough to see the entire map.

Any chance anybody has any ideas for such a setup? I think the projector would be perfect if it wasn't so hot, and if I remember correctly it takes up quite a large amount of table space. I was thinking about even buying a PC Tablet with video out and just drawing the map but I'm not sure how easy that would be to do or how much time it would actually take when applied in real life. Anybody got any ideas or suggestions?

12-03-2007, 06:44 AM
This might just be what you need, course, I'm sure it will cost a little more than just one of those projectors you're talking about, but the end result will be a whole lot better!

Tabletop Projection (http://www.penpaperpixel.org/tutorials/tabletopprojection/)

I ran across it a long time ago while looking around for gaming tables. Course what I want is more along the lines of this table (http://www.worldofskell.com/forums/forum2/290.html). Although right now, I don't have the space, but it is on my project plan for sometime in the next 5 years or so.

12-03-2007, 07:35 AM
The Ultimate Gaming Table is insane. Super cool but I doubt I could ever find a place for it in my home. Not to mention I'm trying to use the computer as little as possible. I have a hand injury which causes me a lot of pain. I can still use it like normal but it distracts heavily when trying to have fun.

Tabletop Projection looked promising except it still requires everybody sit around a table to see the adventure and it uses a computer heavily. There has to be someway I can have a map across the room for my players to see but is easy enough to manipulate... hell I could even get my wife to manipulate the map but I still a computer-less setup. That is one that I don't have to interact with. Basically video out or the occasional web cam adjustment is as far as I could go with it.

Awesome links ^_^

12-03-2007, 08:25 AM
You could do like they do during major military battles. Have this huge laid out map and all the pieces outside of reach. And only you have a pool cue (or stick) to move the pieces around. Plus, if the players get out of line, you can whack them with the stick.

12-03-2007, 01:08 PM
An oldschool DM buddy of mine had a camera mounted on his ceiling pointing down at the table, and a projector pointing at the wall to show it off in all it's glory.

Digital Arcanist
12-03-2007, 04:53 PM
Well everyone keeps offering some great ideas but nothing seems to fit. I think the problem is that the parameters are still a little grey.

1. budget
2. your level of mechanical know-how
3. timeline for completion
4. layout of the room
5. portability (permanent fixture vs. fold-up and put away)

These are just a few parameters off the top of my head. If you can answer these then maybe we all can be a little more helpful in finding the best solution for you.

I kinda want the gaming table in the sea-foam green room....it looks cool!!

12-04-2007, 07:01 AM
Yeah, I wasn't to sure what your budget level/level of complexity was and thought that those two options might not be what you were looking for!

Have you thought about using a white board? You could go with either a permanent mount or one on rollers like a chalk board! That way, you draw the map as you need it, then erase when done. If you got a double sided one on rollers, you could create a permanent grid on one side using some thin tape and leave the other side grid less for free form drawing.

If the core of the board was metal, then you could use magnets on it as well.

12-07-2007, 09:46 AM
After much looking I think I can accomplish what I need using the TV-Out of my video card and a projector to project MapTool (http://rptools.net/doku.php?id=maptool:intro). After doing some research I think that DMGenie (http://www.dmgenie.com) should help speed up my dungeon crawling woes. So all in all it really looks like I'm just about ready to start getting some REAL practice :D. Thanks so much for the help!

12-07-2007, 11:24 AM
DMGenie looks really cool. Too bad I don't use computers in my D&D games.

12-11-2007, 07:28 AM
DMGenie works well for character creation and tracking too! I don't use computers while playing at least right now, but it also helps me create characters really quickly!