Monday, March 23, 2020
Doing my thing to maintain social distancing
About fifteen years ago [Has it really been that long? –Sean] [Yes, it has been that long. –Editor], I was playing in a D&D game that had transitioned from being all in-person to partially on-line. I was not a fan of the on-line compoent but I stuck it out for perhaps a year before leaving the game entirely. For me, the reaons include:
- I was going to hang out with friends, not hang out with friends all staring at a computer screen.
- The remote players were second class citizens at the game—the DM had to continously remind us to “type what we were saying” and not just talk among ourselves at the table.
- We tried multiple technologies at the time, and the best we could do was a glorified chat room.
I hated it so much that I have since refused to even consider playing in an on-line D&D game. My stance has caused one casualty—one friend accused me of “poisoning the minds” of our friends against running an on-line D&D game, but as I tried pointing out, I was the one who refused to participate in such a game; our other friends were more than welcome to run an on-line game, but that argument went nowhere, and I think that friend still holds a grudge (well, for that and another slight that's beyond the scope of this post).
Unfortunately, due to circumstances apparently beyond the world's control, and the fact that I'm currently running a D&D game, I have been forced to reconsider my stance.
Yes, I ran our twice-monthly (actually every other week) game yesterday, entirely on-line! (sorry, XXXXXXX)
We settled upon using Roll20,
a web-based on-line gaming system.
The free version is
barely good enough for our use.
On the plus side,
there's no software to install,
but on the minus side,
it does seem to be quite heavy in bandwidth.
It took about an hour to get all six people
(myself and five friends)
all online and talking (video chat!).
I had to inform Bunny not to stream video while we were playing,
and even checking email was a slow and painful process.
And during the game,
one or two players would suddenly disappear;
usually reloading the page would fix the problem.
But we managed to get through the session and well … I hope this doesn't go on for much longer is all I have to say.
One funny story—during the hour we spent trying to get Roll20 working, I tried several different laptops here at Chez Boca. One of the laptops was the managed Windows 10 laptop from The Corporation's Corporate Overlords. The website was blocked by the laptop because of a password breach from 2018! Lovely.