MANUAL fog of war layer, revealed by Drawing Tool or similar interface

Hi All, I come from a Roll20 user base. I heavily use Fog of War in Roll20 and would like to migrate to Astral. Astral recently came out with a new Fog of War feature. This new feature is interesting, BUT it only seems to create a bubble of viewing around the Character which overlaps and views areas beyond dungeon walls! , which is a problem. In roll20, a GM simply uploads the map, enables Fog of War, then uses the drawing facility within Roll20 to “reveal” the areas of the dungeon and the adventures explore. It’s awesome and works very very well and is fast. If I enable Fog of War in Astral, all the areas beyond the standard walls is revealed, which is bad, because the characters have not explored those areas yet.
Now, Astral does have a facility to redraw all the walls and doors with there Pen tool. That is an unbelievable amount of work in your standard dungeon which has many many walls and doors. Why can’t Astral make it’s Fog of War work the same way as Roll20, which is very quick, efficient and easy?

I hope this does not sound like a rant, I just wanted to express my opinion :slight_smile:

it is a bit of extra work, but once you get your groove on you can crush out even a HUGE map in a short amount of time and the result is amazing especially combined with the triggered doors. On the note of coming from roll20, I also just migrated back to astral from roll20, and it’s not much different. I think you are talking about the legacy fog of war from roll20, the “new fog of war” for roll20 is very similar in that you have to draw out all the walls. Astrals version is MUCH faster and works MUCH better in live group play, the amount of work is about the same.

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Hu, maybe I just need to invest a lot more time in Astral training. Yes, I believe you are right that I probably use the Legacy style of Fog of War in Roll20. I have been using the same methodologies in Roll20 for 8 years. Thanks for your insight !

Hi @lelton,

I’ve been thinking that since this was posted in the “Feature Requests” category, perhaps you could change the title of your original post to something like “Manual fog of war”? Or maybe “Paint tools for fog of war”?

This way, other users can find it more easily and vote for the request if it’s something they’d like to see.

I’d like to see this as an option as well. Dynamic fog is great in some ways, but I’ve had some bad experiences in the past (other VTTs) with glitches inadvertedly revealing the whole map, and while playing around with the Astral tools I’ve noticed characters sometimes seem to glitch through walls if dragged against them.

It would be really nice to have the option to just manually draw polygons (or rectangles) to reveal parts of the map instead of using dynamic lighting. Would also probably be a lot better for low end machines.

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TL;DR: what OP (and myself) are requesting is an optional global fog layer (on top of everything including dynamic lighting) that’s opaque to players, transparent to GMs, and that can have sections dynamically removed and added while in “play” mode via rectangle and polygon snap tools.

To clarify regarding the requested feature (as there was some confusion in the past “fog of war” threads), this isn’t the same as the RTS-style fog of war that was just implemented in Astral (where explored parts of the map stay explored but grayed out after characters leave). Rather, this would be an alternative to Dynamic Lighting where the map starts out entirely covered in black, and the GM selects sections to reveal to the players via rectangle/polygon tools. These sections would then stay revealed unless the GM chose to hide them again. This is equivalent Roll20’s “basic” fog, and is also the model used by a lot of simpler VTTs.

Because of the sandbox nature of the campaign I’m prepping, I really need to be able to just drop a map and reveal sections as I go without needing to spend the prep time required for Dynamic Lighting (or for the “black squares with triggers” workaround for creating my requested functionality in Astral’s current feature set). As-is, if I want to drop a map with some aspects hidden from the players, I have the option of spending a bunch of prep time on Dynamic Lighting or… spending a bunch of prep time setting up black squares with triggers. Neither of those options is exactly conducive to on-the-fly GMing.

Given that this feature is more or less standard for more lightweight VTTs, I’d imagine it should be relatively simple to implement compared to something like Dynamic Lighting.

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I agree that this would be a good feature to have.

Incidentally, @mattprice516, as another work-around idea, if you cover your map with a variety of solid black objects, you can edit your map on the fly and manually peal back the black overlay objects as you want. I know that it’s not great to go into the map editor mid-game, but it does work. You can even still interact with tokens, like NPCs, when in the map editor.

Yeah, that workaround is probably what I’d use if I was going the Astral route. Ultimately though I think I’d rather just use Roll20 with the built-in manual fog until it gets added to Astral. Just much easier to drop in new maps and the like on the fly, without having to pause the game to do a bunch of setup to get the desired functionality. I’ll be keeping an eye on this thread though, hopefully they can work something in sometime soon because I’d really like the long-term home of my campaign to be Astral. Cheers!

Also worth noting, a manual fog would be much less prone to hard-to-pin-down bugs like the current issue with the new RTS fog of war where tokens just randomly get fogged vision through DL nodes. As good as Astral’s DL implementation is, there will always be fiddly nonsense like that and I would rather not deal with it.

Hi all,

I popped in to get a feel for this feature request. The title was a bit confusing, so I changed it to something that better outlines the actual request. This will help others who want the same thing find the right feature request to vote on.

For anyone struggling with our current FoW / DL implementation, please remember we have resources for you here:

We also have an in-depth walkthrough of setting up DL points in our Advanced Tutorial, I always encourage others to check the tutorials out.

In the meantime we’ll track this feature request. Thanks much!

Thanks! Can only speak for myself, but I haven’t really felt like Astral’s implementation of DL has been difficult to use. On the contrary, it’s really intuitive! I just don’t prefer the slightly higher chance of accidental map reveal due to bugs and/or user error, nor the additional prep needed compared to a “manual map reveal” tool.

Appreciate y’all taking a look at this though. I’ll be keeping an eye on it. :slight_smile:

I am not sure if my request should be added here or a separate item:
I would like a “Keep revealed areas cleared of Fog” option. This way, once a character has seen an area of the map (i.e. after they walked there revealing it via the Dynamic Lighting) it does not go back to Fog after they walk away. This way, they can zoom out and see the whole map. Although less realistic than what is available now, it makes it much smoother to play.

Hello @Longetalos.

First off, this doesn’t seem like it is an expansion of the discussion about the creation of a manual FOW tool, and, as such, should have its own thread, if it is a feature request.

The reason that I added that “if…” on there was because I’m not clear on how this is different than how the DL FOW works now. With the current DL FOW, areas that a player has already seen but no longer has line of sight to appear shadowed but still visible. Tokens in these areas are completely hidden, but the map itself is visible. How is this different from what you’re requesting?

Hi @Longetalos

I agree with @SnowyRiver here. You can just use the Fog Of War option and set the transparency super high. It doesn’t sound like anything that Astral cannot do at the moment.

Out of curiosity, is this something the Astral team has any intention of implementing down the road, or is there just not enough user interest to devote time to it? I’ve been using Roll20 for the past few months, and it’s been working pretty well, but I really would like to switch to Astral if/when this feature is added. It would be nice to know if this is planned at any point for Astral, as if it isn’t I need to start learning how to create custom character sheets in Roll20 and if it is, I won’t bother.

Hi @mattprice516,

The Astral team has told us that they do take into account the votes for feature requests to determine what new features they’ll introduce. Of course, that’s not the only thing they take into account, but I don’t really know the details.

@LaMorte this seems to be a duplicate of the original here:

Original includes visual examples from other VTT and using triggers in Astral.

Thanks @darkfluidgm

As mentioned above, this request is covered by that post. I’m going to close this request as a duplicate. Please vote and / or comment on that Feature Request instead to help prevent splitting votes.

// Closing as duplicate