Just as I predicted!

Well it is now early October, and exactly as I predicted in my last post, we are back and planning our new game.  The previous DM (Daniel) is working nights, so to accommodate, I will be starting a new adventure.  This will be following the Scales of War adventure path from the D&D’s Dungeon Magazine.  It is designed to take characters from level 1 all the way to level 30.  With that said, there will be a new set of characters and a least a couple of new players.

The adventure info can be found on the wiki at: Live D&D – Scales Of War

As soon as we pick a time and day for the new game, I’ll publish the information so you can tune in and watch!

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Still Alive!

I just wanted to post a note to let people know that we are still alive, but as usual, when we enter the summer months, real life tends to take over.  All of us are busy with camping trips and other meetings that makes playing D&D pretty difficult.  However, I suspect that we’ll be back to our Live D&D project sometime in late September or early October.

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Live D&D Show – 5/15/2009 @ 7PM Pacific

The basic way this works is you go to our show page at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/live-dnd

This loads a flash program that shows the live video feed (with about a 3-6 second delay). On the right is a chat window that allows you to chat with me. Feel free to chat with each other as well. They made changes recently that make is hard (impossible?) to chat without creating an account, so if you want to chat, I recommend you make an account, its really fast and easy.

I’ll do my best to keep up with the chat, but we are going to be playing D&D. There will be times when I am "in the game".

Also, to set expectations correctly, we aren’t going to do anything special to "spice up" the game for the video feed. Some people have come in and commented "this is dumb" or "this is boring". But we are just playing D&D, if you don’t want to watch, just close the browser and go on about your evening! I will try my best to make it as interactive as possible, but I don’t want to disturb the flow of the game either.

The "cast" page can be found at: The Cast

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Live D&D – The Cast

As an experiment we have been broadcasting our live D&D game on ustream.tv for the last 5 sessions and the people that have tuned in seem to enjoy the interactivity.  So, I felt it necessary to introduce the cast of the show.

Dan Daniel Ramey aka The DM – Daniel is one of the most creative and free form DMs that I  have ever met.  He loves to craft a creative story, but still manages to bend the rules where necessary to make the game as fun as possible for the players.  He has done his fair share of world creation and is known for his love of total party kills (TPKs) when the unsuspecting characters wander into round rooms.
Leah Leah DeSeranno aka Anita Sindora – Leah is one of our two gamer chicks.   She is my beloved wife who supported all the crazy game table ideas I’ve had and helped me design and build it.  She plays Anita, the Elven Wizard that is quickly earning the rap of shoot first and ask questions later.
jeff Jeff Jones aka Erevan – Jeff is our resident hack in slasher and is known for his kick the door down and bash in the heads of the unsuspecting foe attitude.  Eravan is an Eladrin Swordmage who has stepped up to the plate and slaughtered his fair share of bad guys with his sword skills.
Me Shane DeSeranno aka Raskin Freetrees – Shane is the hyperactive player that is always waiting for his turn as he believes his next action will be the one that seals the deal.  He plays Raskin, the Elven Paladin who always puts his allies and innocents before himself.
Lara Lara Ramey aka Caelynna – Lara has been busy with school and so she has been a part time player, but she is the no nonsense player who looks to eek every bit of value out of each of her turns.  She plays Caelynna the Eladrin Rogue whose stealth skill often find ways to set up the opponents so she can score the all important sneak attack!
ShanePeterson Shane Peterson aka Barakas – Shane is the shy one of the bunch that loves to throw dice, but when pressed to role play tends to smile, nod, or shrug.  He may not speak much, but when he does it is sure to get a laugh.  He plays Barakas the Dragonborn Warlord whose job it is to inspire his allies while soaking up enough damage to keep this friends alive.
Chris Chris Lee aka Frylar Larkin – Chris is always quick witted and finding humor in even the bleakest moment in our games.  If anyone in our group is going to say something unexpected or inappropriate, it’s Chris.  He plays Frylar the Tiefling Warlock whose notorious for the saying, “Eldrich blast up the ass!”  Frylar would be feared among all evil creatures in the D&D world if any could survive the Eldrich energy that violated them.
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Live D&D – The Show

With all the interest in the game table, we decided to broadcast our games live on the net using the ustream.tv site.  We have done this five times so far.  The first few times was weird and mostly there to let people watch, but once the game got started we ignored the camera.  We had a number of users visit the room, make a comment or two and leave as there really wasn’t much to see.  Just a bunch of geeks sitting around a table playing D&D.

However, on Friday, I repositioned the camera to give it a top down view of the map surface.  I also pulled a laptop to the table to allow me to read/respond to chat and tweets in real-time.  These two things made our 5th show much more interactive and engaging for the viewers.  We had three viewers that watched most of the show.  An old friend of mine from high-school, Matt Lysne.  A nice gentleman from Wales that goes by “John Dent”.  And finally AsmodeusLore, one of the moderators on the WotC forums.

The users seemed very entertained and also provide some great comments to the game.  Also, if we had issues that needed looking up, the viewers could go look them up while we continued on!  This is very cool and almost symbiotic in nature.

So, where do we go from there?  Well I have a few ideas that I hope to use to improve the experience.  Here are ideas that I already have solutions for:

  • Broadcast the actual desktop/map surface (not using a low-res camera!)  This will give the viewers a clear view of the map surface.
  • Add a PIP window to the lower left area of the screen that shows the webcam view of us around the table. This allows the viewers to also see what we are doing.  We can probably swap the feeds when we are in role play portions of the game.
  • Have Q/A sessions during breaks
  • Give shout-outs

Here are ideas that we may consider in the future:

  • Find a way to put the chat room on a TV screen so all players can read chat.
  • Try adding a remote player (this may take some time to work out the details).

However, this is really an evolving project and I’m open to suggestions! If you have any ideas, contact me at: Tyren

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Fast Update

I was asked for the dimensions of the table, so I drew it up and took a picture.  Hope this helps:

The lower table height should be the same as your dining room table.

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Follow-up Post – Projector Setup

I was asked for some extra pictures showing how I have the projector setup.  It’s hard to get a good shot due to space limitations, but these two show the basic position.


Projector 2 Projector 1

As you can see the projector is aimed downwards.  Below is a mirror that reflects the image up.  If I take a tape measure and measure the distance from the lens on the projector, to the floor, and the back up to the table, it gives me about 5’.  This is perfect as the projector has a 5’ minimum throw distance.  And it also gives me a 3’ wide image.  Also, the Wiimote is taped to the side of the projector and uses the mirror as well since it needs to be able to see the full picture of the screen.

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