We want to thank everyone for getting us over our funding goal. Please continue to support this campaign and help toward our stretch goals!
(The images and video on this page showcase Sift, our next-gen VTT that runs on Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, and Android)
Since we have open slots on the limited item pledge levels for a desktop and mobile client, you can acquire additional desktop or mobile licenses by adding $15 (for each desktop client), and $5 (for each mobile client).
Existing supporters just need to add the amount to their pledge. New pledges will have to start at the $15 level, to avail.
Offer's good while slots last ;), after which, it becomes $20 and $10, respectively.
Should the final amount put you beyond another pledge level, you will not get the reward(s) for that level; however, we will definitely come up with something for you :)
Retooling & Relaunch
Last November, we launched a campaign to completely fund the minimum requirements to run Sandstorm in the cloud, our collection of cloud services that supports our Virtual Tabletop applications. Chief of these services is to provide an easy, hassle-free means to connect players around the world. Our aim is to make this a seamless 2-step process.
For the GM:
- Filling out the details
- Registering a session in Sandstorm
For the Player:
- Selecting a session from a list
- Clicking "Connect"
This campaign is focused on setting up Sandstorm to service Mote, our free application that was the product of our very 1st Kickstarter. This provides tabletop enthusiasts with a great alternative to Roll20: An actual software application that is more powerful and works without the internet, and (for GMs) a much more affordable option in getting a gaming group together.
Ultimately, Sandstorm will provide more to the community. Some of the features to look forward to are:
- A marketplace for game resources.
- Real-time notifications and update "pushed" to connected clients
- An open-source system for contributors to grow the Standard Library for Sift.
The last campaign got off to a good start, but it wasn't able to get sufficient exposure to meet its goal.
Based on feedback from our supporters, we were told that while our projects are very interesting, it may be the case that we were trying to do many things at once.
So, we decided to split the campaign in to 3 parts:
- The 1st part, which this Kickstarter is for, is to setup the Sandstorm module for user registration and session hosting. This will initially serve Mote, our feature-rich, and free Virtual Tabletop application. Sandstorm will be completed over the course of next year.
- The 2nd part, sometime in mid-2016, will be for identical modules for our other application that is in development, Sift.
Sift is our next-gen, system-agnostic Virtual Tabletop that sports powerful graphics, and scripting engines, and runs on every major platform i.e. Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS and Android.
Apart from services similar to the ones provided for Mote, we will also work to bring our other services, such as the library, archives, and marketplace, into play.
- Lastly, once the 1st two critical components are ready, we'll launch an aggressive campaign to push Sift out to the masses. This will be the last opportunity to avail of licenses for Sift, that never expire.
For more details on Sift, please read more below, or review our material on our recent campaign.
As each critical part goes live, it will be easier for the tabletop gaming community to see, the Virtual Tabletop future we envision.
(For our complete list of videos, check out our YouTube channel)
Mote's Final Hurdle
(You can download and use Mote from our website, absolutely free!).
Project Mote was all about addressing many of the glaring issues present in its parent, MapTool. Chief of which revolved around problems with installation, performance, and overall convenience.
Our team has dealt with all these. Mote is the seamless experience MapTool should have been. From a single-file install that's also a launcher, to a built-in IDE-like script editor, Mote manages itself and auto-updates, so that you won't have to worry about things like Java and if you have the latest version of the application.
What remains is the last step in making Mote the best free Virtual Tabletop application possible. This final hurdle involves issues in getting people together for a game, of which, there are plenty, and commonly shared by all VTT applications.
In the past, users had to wrestle with issues such as:
- Having the right equipment (e.g. routers)
- Forwarding ports in your network, so that sessions can seen over the internet.
- Firewall exceptions, so that data can pass through.
- Finding the right game, and the right group.
in order to get things going. Sandstorm bypasses all these issues by providing a 24/7 service that acts as a go-between for users, no matter where they may be located. Game session information will be hosted, managed, and disseminated, leaving users with just one thing to do: clicking on "Connect".
With your support, we will also be coding other services, such as the marketplace and library, where artists and script writers can share their work, respectively.
The Mote client that utilizes Sandstorm also features beefed-up networking capabilities, that allows for secure, faster, and more compact transmissions between users.
What is the cost of adopting Sandstorm?
It's very simple. It's very much like the Roll20 setup.
Users can login and browse for game sessions for free. Connecting to sessions, is also free. The future services sampled above, are also accessible, without a fee.
The subscription fee is for users who want to host sessions, and have Sandstorm assist them in getting their gaming group together. For Mote users, we want to peg this fee at $2-3 a month. For Sift users, it will be a bit more, but not much, and certainly not more than what other Virtual Tabletop services and/or apps charge for their products.
Use of funding
Cloud service time: Developing on cloud platforms require subscription fees for time and data used. Large-scale testing consumes both at a significant rate.
Ensuring Security: End-to-end security requires things like certificates, and encryption software. If at all possible, we'd also like to have our code and service reviewed by a reputable digital security body; the earlier, the better.
- Software licenses or subscriptions
- Device acquisition: The more mobile devices we can test Sift and Sandstorm on, will ensure the widest range of compatibility, when our apps and services go live.
The Ultimate Reward
Like our previous campaign, our best offering for early supporters is perpetual access to Sift. No licenses, no subscriptions for the application. Forever.
Sift is our next-generation, system agnostic VTT application, and we are confident that, by next year, it will be right up there with the top choices for true next-generation Virtual Tabletop applications.
Our Kickstarters are the best venue to get it, since we will eventually move to licensing models similar to other applications in the niche. With this in mind, we encourage everyone to let gaming groups you know about our projects, in order to avail of early supporter rewards. The greater the support we get, the sooner projects, like Sandstorm and Sift, can get out there and change the Tabletop gaming landscape for the better!
If you look at other VTT projects launched here on Kickstarter, you'll find outrageous price tags put on their stretch goals. These are features that we already provide out of the box, such as dynamic Fog-of-War, path finding, and realistic lighting and shadow, just to name a few. Sift also has the most powerful scripting engine that no other VTT can offer, and all of its features run wickedly fast on both desktop and mobile platforms.
For a more verbose overview of our grand plan, you can go over our material on our previous Kickstarter campaign. If you have questions, or have suggestions on how to improve this campaign, please don't hesitate!
Time for some Stretch Goals!
We like to keep things simple, and offer something that plays to our current team's strengths. These stretch goals will complement the growth of our community, and material created for it. While none of these are mission critical to finishing Sandstorm and Sift, they could be great additions to the toolkit, nonetheless. Here are the 1st two:
$2,000 - Application to create tokens in bulk. This involves a simple process: 1. Dump images into the processing folder, 2. Select desired overlay, 3. Tweak image output properties e.g. size, tint. 3. Associate data to the image e.g. Mote format, and Sift's format, at a future point, 4. Output to files. Support for other VTT systems is an open item.
Tentative release date: February, 2016.
$4,000 - An early standalone release of Sift's script engine. This is a sandbox that has a script editor, an output UI similar to Sift's, and the standard library Sift will use.
This can be used to write and test things like character sheets, libraries, and what have you, with the exception of the Scene API (i.e. script functions for users) that handles interaction with the map display (understandably, since this comes with Sift). As Sift's collection of scripting functions grows over next year, so too will this app be updated.
Bottom line, if it works on this standalone application, it will work in Sift. With Sift about a year away from public release, it shouldn't mean we can't start building our libraries, and gorgeous forms while we wait :)
Tentative release date: April - May, 2016.
Risks and challenges
For this campaign, there are absolutely no risks involved. Mote is already a completely usable application, providing many features and conveniences that other Virtual Tabletops, do not. Mote will always be free, and actively developed, for as along as the tabletop gaming community supports our work.
The code for this part of Sandstorm is virtually complete. What is needed now is to host it on a powerful cloud platform such as Google Cloud, Amazon, or Digital Ocean, to begin rigorous testing and security tightening. This process includes ensuring secure transmissions that are efficient, compact and secure.
Sift is where Idle Ideas' stakes its future on, and we devote most of our time to completing it. It is in our best interest to get it out to the community, as quickly as possible, without compromising quality.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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