EpicTable Mini Interview 2011

How long has your VT been in development, what inspired you to create your version of a VT?

Oh…I almost hate to admit it…. I put up the site in December of 2007. I'd started development sometime in 2006. So, between four and five years. (Shudder)

How many people contribute to developing your VT?

I'm the only one writing code. Brennen Reece contributes images and has had a lot of input on design. Jeremy Shimanek has been involved on the periphery (so far), writing things like the beta signup app we used at Gen Con, manning the booth with me at Gen Con, etc. As time goes on, I think he'll have more involvement.

Are you targeting a specific RPG system, if so why? Is this likely to change?

No. One of EpicTable's core values is that it's system neutral. I've played D&D for decades, but in recent years, I've really gotten into the so--called "Indie games"--the stuff coming out of Evil Hat, Indie Press Revolution, etc.

Do you think your potential user base would be affected by any official system RPGs?

If you're talking about VTs produced by the RPG vendors, I really don't think so. I think that they're likely to produce VTs very targeted at their games, and they're very likely to do a lot of rules automation. I'm concentrated on letting you play whatever it is you want to play and letting the GM do whatever he needs to do.

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

I plan to. I think there's a market. I'm fairly excited about this, but I'm not talking openly about specifics yet.

What do you think the strengths of your VT are over the competition, is there an area where you feel it is lacking at the moment?

Each of the VTs have their own area of concentration, their own value set. Mine happens to be ease of use, flexibility over automation, and support for a wide variety of games. To the extent that that's what one wants, EpicTable will be a good fit. To the person who wants something else--like deep integration into a specific game, or something that's closer to Neverwinter Nights than to a pen and paper game--EpicTable won't be as appealing. It's all about what you want to do with a VT.

What areas / features are you concentrating on, what should we look forward to at release?

Right now, I'm looking at some game prep and resource management features. EpicTable handles ad-hoc situations well, but for campaign play, what we're finding in the beta is that there's a little more needed in the way of support for game prep. Game resource management needs a little more structure than exists in the beta right now.

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

Honestly, I see RPGs staying pretty much a niche thing. VTs have a role in exposing players to more games--you're not constrained by what the people living in a 20 mile radius from you want to play. I also see VTs changing the nature of face-to-face games as some of the touchscreen technology becomes more affordable. I've been playing around with a touchscreen, wishing it was larger than 21", and those guys at CMU (I think) have been doing some interesting things with Microsoft Surface.

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

EpicTable is focused on flexibility and ease of use, so you can play the game you want to play, the way you want to play it, quickly and easily.

Thanks to John Lammers at EpicTable for taking the time to answer the questions.