Taking a LARP online?
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Posted by brotherbock

Hi all. Not sure if this is the right forum, or if it should just be in Events. But I'm-a-gonna roll with this for now, because the discussion may be useful to pop-up people even if GC happens. Here's my question...

Say GC doesn't happen. I hope it can, but say it doesn't. My group (BYOV) writes LARPs for 25-40 players. Person-to-person interaction, very little to none in the way of dice sort of mechanics. Role-playing and talking to others and scheming will get done what you need to get done. That said, the majority of a player's time in these games is spent talking to small groups of people or other individuals, in private conversations.

So...say I wanted to take one of these games online, in the event GC doesn't happen. Hold it the same weekend as GC, invite a bunch of people to play (for example, anyone who bought tickets for the game :) and run it all online. What would be the best tools to use to accomplish this?

Astral Table Top: I've been using this for RPG gaming lately. It would give us the ability to put up a simple map, and the players would be able to place their character token in the place they were on the map. So if something happens in the Kitchen at a given time in the game, we'd be able to tell who was there. If you go to talk to someone, you move yourself to the place where they are. Astral has a text chat feature we could use to post announcements to the entire game (e.g. "You all hear a sudden crack of thunder from outside")

Zoom: Because everyone is using it. It allows for everyone to get online with video and audio. You can create 'Breakout' rooms to shuffle small groups of people away to talk. But how easily would that work when two people want to step away and talk privately? Would they have to alert the GM "We want to talk privately" and the GM would have to shuffle them away? Would the GM then have to bring them back when they're done? Seems unwieldy. Most of what you're saying to people in these games you don't want to say to everyone :)

Phones: We could simply have everyone who wants to play agree to use their phones for talking. Duo, for example, works on both Android and iPhone, and gives you video chatting. Would that be a pretty easy way to talk privately? If everyone in the game agreed to share their Duo contact info with all the other players, so if you want to talk to someone, just Duo them?

Any suggestions on better ways to make this work? We'd need A) some way to indicate where everyone is in the game, B) some way to be able to have scalable chatting, where you can talk to a room full of people, or individuals, without it being a pain in the butt, and without requiring (ideally) the GM to ride herd on that the entire time. And C) video chatting, not just text-based. And D) able to handle 25-40 people. Any thoughts?

The game I have in mind, currently being written for GC this year, is a sci-fi setting, so using all this tech would be fitting for the genre as well. If anyone has any suggestions, let's hear 'em :)

Posted by funny-shaped dice

Private Discord voice/video channels - 1 per room on your map - with a number of private discussion channels players can go to for small conversations.

You could go so far as to make each room a Category in Discord with private breakout channels within it. That way, your the rooms in your map (in Roll20 or in a shared document in Google Drive) have corresponding channels in Discord.

GMs can open all the channels and see where people are and, when you enter a voice channel, you immediately start hearing everyone.

You have to initiate video from a group DM though...so that would take a bit more planning.

Good luck!

Posted by mikeboozer

Off topic is the place for this as it does not relate to Pop-Up Gen Con. Please move it there.

Mike Boozer 
Customer Service & Event Team Manager
Gen Con LLC

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