d20Pro Mini Interview 2011-03-07

How long has your VT been around, do you feel its keeping to it's original "design"?

d20Pro has on the market for 6 years and early manifestations of the technology existing as my hobby project for about 2 years before that. I feel it has kept to its original design: keeping combat moving especially with large amounts and high level creatures plus allowing friends to join the game even when they couldn't join the main group in person.

How many people contribute to developing your VT?

There are 10 people in total now who contribute to d20Pro. We started with 2 programmers, a web/IT guy, and a business/marketer. Since then 3 additional developers, a dedicated DM/Convention organizer, an artist/designer, and a promoter/blog author have joined the d20Pro Team.

Do you target a specific RPG system, if so why? Is this likely to change?

As the name indicates, d20Pro works best with d20 games. d20Pro is configured for D&D 3.5 out of the box and may be modded to 4E, Pathfinder and other games based on d20 aftermarket quite effectively. We started down this road because my gaming group was playing primarily 3.5 at the time. From the beginning I wanted our VT to do one system really well instead being a mediocre solution for a bunch of systems. Now that d20Pro is established though, we are actively planning on expanding functionality to reach a myriad of other game systems.

What system do you feel is the most popular on your VT, do you feel your user base would be affected by an official VT for that system?

For the most part our user base seems split about evenly between 3.5, 4E, and Pathfinder. Without a doubt our user base would take notice of an official VT. The d20Pro Team takes this competition quite seriously and realizes we'll need to work even harder to provide a superior product. As an independent developer we feel the flexibility and affordability of d20Pro will continue to make it a compelling offering.

How do you decide which RPG systems to adapt for your VT?

Requests from our user base is the primary driver. Systems close to d20 are fairly easy and we provide assistance in reconfiguring d20Pro to work for the RPG system of choice. For those that are based on different systems we propose workarounds for using basic elements of d20Pro and are filing the more difficult to support features for a future release.

Do you offer accessories for your VT, do you think there is a market for this?

We don't offer any accessories for d20Pro, yet. There is most definitely a strong demand for accessories, particularly ready to play content for a VT. It won't be long before we make some significant announcements in this direction.

Are you seeing an increase in the number of people that use your software, are VT's becoming more popular?

Yes, gamers around the world are adopting d20Pro at a steady rate. Part of this is because d20Pro has continued to rapidly improve over the years and also because the general awareness of VT's has increased.

How have the tight financial times affected your product?

Not as far as we can tell. In tight financial times, people look for value for their entertainment dollar. With its affordable, one-time purchase price I think d20Pro is a great buy especially when budgets are stretched.

What do you think the strengths and weaknesses of your VT are?

The strengths of d20Pro are its easy to use interface, extensive acceleration of combat mechanics, stability, affordability, and it runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. The weaknesses are lack of support for non d20 game rules and only square grids, no hexes at the moment.

What do you have on the cards next, what should we look forward to?

The d20Pro v2.4 release is right around the corner and features a considerable list of small improvements. And for this Summer we plan to offer the first round of downloadable content and a completely retooled fog of war system.

Where do you think RPGs and / or VTs will go next?

VTs will drive an increasing share of RPGs both around the dinner table and online. Social networks that specifically cater to RPGs will become more an more popular and serve as the glue for finding and staying connecting with people to play games with over VTs. Also I expect PCs and even entire campaigns to be stored in the cloud for a "create a PC once and play it anywhere" experience.

In one sentence tell me why I should use your VT, over the competition?

d20Pro is built for gamers by gamers so our users can trust that our VT will continue to add breadth and depth with their feedback being the determining characteristic in d20Pro's direction.

Thanks to thraxxis at the D20Pro forums for taking the time to answer the questions.