General suggestions

Hi to all,

First of all I’d like to thank you for bringing this tool to life. It have much potential.

My name is Marino and I’ve been running online campaigns for about 10 years. I run my games in free VTT called TTopRPG and since I have much experience with it, I’ll reference to it a lot.

First I’d like to describe TTopRPG to better understand what I’m trying to say.

TTopRPG is free vtt made by one guy in python. It was his project to help him run campaigns online to his friends. Unfortunately it’s not really system agnostic since it’s been made for playing d20 systems (3.5ed/PF) although its dice roller supports use of other systems. But I found this best vtt for d20 systems. I’ve tried roll20, fantasy grounds and lot of others but I always return to this one.

This is a link http://www.ttoprpg.com/TTopRPG/

PROs

  • very easy to learn

  • intuitive UI

  • very easy to set up campaign

  • very good initiative management (it’s portrayed like in Temple of Elemental Evil PC game - character/monster portraits in initiative bar)

  • very good campaign management and management of resources (very useful if you run several campaigns/adventures)

  • very smooth map handling, easy fog of war, easy token manipulation etc

  • good handouts management

  • very easy to align grid on maps with drawn grid (maps downloaded from internet, or exported from pdf with adventure.

CONs

  • don’t have a server to host. Players connects directly to DMs PC via port forward or some VPN (hamachi)

  • is not modular (on development/programmer side) and not system agnostic

  • don’t have character sheets

  • dynamic lightning is not easy to set up

  • map builder is rudimentary

  • only .wav files for sounds

Despite these CONs, I found TTopRPG one of the best VTTs out there. So I think it would be good for you to try this rather obscure VTT, because it has many good ideas and I think you would greatly benefit from it.

Here is a link to TTopRPG with Mines of Phandalin adventure in it, so you don’t waste time on preparing and you can easily try it right away, https://my.pcloud.com/publink/show?code=XZmufW7ZC3VY6v1osQ8jWSgcvyAIIYnFU38V

You don’t have to install TTopRPG just run exe. Don’t be afraid it’s not a virus and you can confirm that with any antivirus software.

Although Astral has good ideas, I’ll focus on things that I think don’t work so great. Please don’t be offended by this, it’s just constructive criticism. I apologize if some of these things are already mentioned. I’m new here so I didn’t go with the development.

  1. You have left and right sidebar. There isn’t sidebar docking option so map gets under a sidebar and you can’t see that part of the map. If you are at particular zoom level, you can’t even pan the map because program thinks that part of map is shown. i suggest you implement dock options for sidebar or some other way to separate sidebar from the main map view.

This is only a problem on rigs with one monitor (such is the case with me). If you have two monitors you can put sidebar to the other monitor and problem solved.

  1. Way that HP bars are implemented is not that great. HP bars are shown on square above the token and if on square above token is another token, things get a little hard to read. I suggest to put HP bar into square of belonging token. See TTopRPG

  2. Token names - see number 2. HP - maybe it would be better to create a shortcut to show token names. Either as a toggle or push to show.

  3. It would be great to have PC portrait bar at the bottom of screen (see TTopRPG) - easier to see how much HP each character have and you don’t have to hunt them on the map.

  4. Character info window doesn’t have fields to show important info like AC, speed. Those info should be shown when you hover mouse over token. Even better you should also show that in initiative tool.

  5. Character info window only has one bar (HP). For some systems more are needed and it would be good to implement more.

  6. I guess how the initiative is handled is ok, but in TTopRPG it’s much better done. (see TTopRPG - be sure to press Start Combat button and then press “i” while hovering over token to roll initiative)

  7. Shortcut for toggle invisible/show token state is missing. (See TTopRPG - “v” key while hovering over token). In my experience this is the most used shortcut.

  8. There aren’t any options to set up a measuring system (feet, squares, meters, etc).

  9. I don’t know if it’s just for me, but measuring with CTRL is not working for me. I’m using firefox. (see TTopRPG for this - it has a very good way to measure distances, plot a path and so on)

  10. Astral have a really crappy way to adjust Astral grid with map with drawn grid (see TTopRPG - it have very easy way to align grid. Use points option to align in TTop. Sliders are crappy). Speaking of grid, implement option to choose color and transparency of grid lines. Roll20 way is also good with 3x3 squares way to align

  11. Audio player should have two players in one. One is for background music track and other should be effects track like clash of swords, hitting armor, roar of monster etc.

  12. There isn’t option to create macros for random tables. Like weather, random enconter etc.

For now this is all that comes to my mind. I’ll write more suggestions as I play with astral.

Thank you for reading and best regards.

Marino aka MadBeard

Thanks for the feedback.

A few of your points are being worked on in Beta at the moment, and some are in active development and are Coming Soon™.

Full character sheets are the next big thing for Astral, with the ability to create a character sheet that looks any way you want, even upload an image of a paper Character Sheet, then just drag and drop your Attributes and Actions onto the sheet.

Multiple bars for characters is in the works, especially since Starfinder is quite popular at the moment and that needs LOTS of bars. :grin:

You can change the measurement on the map grid by going into the map options and changing the Grid settings. You can also change the color of the grid from this settings box.

Keep the ideas coming, and if you see a Feature Request that you like, leave a comment on the forums to let the devs know why you would like to see the feature in Astral.

Thanks for the reply LaMorte

Purpose of my post was to show/point how many useful (life quality if you will) features can be implemented in a very friendly way for a user. I really recommend for the devs to try TTopRPG so they can get inspiration for some features.

I just remembered, rolling initiative is actually implemented quite well on Astral.

If you create an Initiative Action like so:

i!(1d20+{Dexterity_Modifier}+{Initiative_Modifier})

Notice the lower case letter I (i) before the !
Astral will automatically add the Initiative roll to the Combat Manager.