Android and iOS character tracking software. Will give players and game masters/storytellers to exchange info during games.
Android and iOS character tracking software. Will give players and game masters/storytellers to exchange info during games. Read more
About this project
This project was started by a desire to help make game run more efficiently. All to often players and storytellers/game masters for both Table Top and Live Action Role Playing forget stats, rules, who's turn it is, and have a difficulty maintaining communication through the game.
Mobile Grapevine is a project that will make Android and iOS devices able to hold, update, and release character sheets, important house rules changes, and allow players to activate powers on each other (or visible NPCs) without directly needing the storyteller or game master to oversee that rules are being followed as the devices will ensure that for the more mechanical rules. Unlike Adam Cerling's Grapevine, the app will both support White Wolf Publishing's old Minds Eye Theater games (such as Laws of the Night), but other games like their table top equivalents, new World of Darkness material, Exalted, home brewed games, and so on by allowing people to enter in the rules they wish to play by. Like the current version of Grapevine, though, it will not replace the need for the books for systems either discontinued or still in print.
The money raised will go towards freeing up my time and allowing me to work exclusively on the project, while also buying the equipment I'll need to test the app. The more money I raise, the more time I can dedicate to the project, bring it to market faster as well as lowering the end cost.
Here are some snapshots at where Mobile Grapevine is currently at:
Risks and challenges
My development blog will outline the stages of development for both the Android and iOS version, so I fully expect to release things in incremental "betas" till I get to the fully gold coded end product. This should let the LARP and table top gamers get a chance to feel out the project for bugs, screwy and counter-intuitive user interfacing, and possibly seeing if major gaming studios will want to release updates that load directly into Mobile Grapevine instead of being hand entered.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Short answer, Mostly yes.
Long answer: Yes, however it will only work with XML exports, as even Adam Cerling has told me couldn't explain the binaries exports and he wrote them.
Strange Answer: I plan on the ability to export and import all game data (for both oWoD MET and other types) to a web version (Cloud Grapevine?) that will work with computers, and mobile computing. This will hopefully spark the creation of something able to replace original Grapevine with a program/service to suit multiple styles of games and support additional classes of hardware that Mobile Grapevine wont be able to cover. Note: If none one starts this before I finish both Android and iOS versions, I'll start to work on it after I'm done with the gold release for both of them.
Long answer: The functions will cover the original Grapevine material, such as tracking character sheets, rumors, and arranging them by games. In addition to that, it will be directly important to in-game actions: Managing combat, handling exchanges of equipment, allowing for secret/covert actions. It will also help players keep track of all the same things, as well as spends and make it possible to generate and publish a new character to a storyteller or game master for approval. Finally, it will help everyone keep track of house rules. All of these things are problems from the tiniest two person table top game to the largest live action org.
Short answer: Make it easier to play.
Right now I spend roughly 10 hours a week, sometimes more and sometimes less, working on the app. With that in mind I feel I can confidently say that Mobile Grapevine will be to both Google Play and the iTunes store by some time in 2015. The kickstarter will allow me to take off time and work exclusively on designing and programming the app, and I can get both versions done by next year. It will be like going to warp speed. I picked that number not out of a hat, but after running some figures, like rent and utilities, as well as testing equipment.
Keep going on. Hopefully I'll have a good number of people trying to back me, but if it falls through, I'll be back at what I've been doing. I've already made some headway, but not enough, not as much as I've wanted to do. In theory I should already have v0.10 (Laws of the Wyld version) and working on v0.20 (Laws of the Night version), but I just don't have the time to make it happen as fast as I'd like.
To be honest, I didn't really want to answer this question, but I'm feeling rather forced to do so.
Why didn't I ask for at "more reasonable" amount? Three reasons. First: Kickstarter asked me how much, I ran some numbers, and told them how much would be needed for one year of pure, hard core work. Simple as that. I did ask a lot of people their suggestions on the subject, some of whom had experience with both Kickstarter and starting a small product based business, and they told me the same thing: Go for what you need, not what you'll get.
Second: There is a threshold where the money goes from being a very nice gesture to actually helping me take time off. It is actually about at $20,000. I could have taken six months off with that, and started to work solely on this project, but I figured if I'm going this far I might as well try for the whole year's worth of funding.
Third: I don't get all the money. Kickstarter takes a cut, so does Amazon who processes the payments. There will be taxes, and then I'll have to pay an accountant at the start of the year to help me tell the government that I'm not cheating them. By the time it's all said and done, the money that I get in hand will be roughly 75%, three quarters on every dollar.
Lastly: If it doesn't work, it's fine. I started this on the request and suggestion of lots of people interested in Mobile Grapevine coming to market sooner. If it falls through, and I'm closer to the testing phase, I'll try again to scrape together enough for equipment and travel fees so I can get to more games (~$5,000).
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