A while ago I chose a side in the Virtual Tabletop space and I decided for me that it was Fantasy Grounds that would be taking over. I am sure that you can all appreciate that there is a gap in the choosing and the transferal of the game to it and this Monday will spell the move from Roll20 onto the Fantasy Grounds platform for our Reign of Winter game.
Some of the overhead issues were that not all of my players have Hero Labs and so I needed to do a character install into my version and transfer the maintenance of sheets from me to them. Also, at the time that I wrote the piece that I linked to above I knew that Fantasy Grounds advertises itself fro Windows (as a stand alone) and with a Mac they suggest using Steam (which I am almost certain you have to pick a license up for) and was not 100% about support in Linux.
I got a message from a reader at the time that said “Pity it does not work for Linux” and I almost shot back an immediate it does without knowing. I staved off though and delved into my Linux installation (I use Elementary OS) and installed it under a WINE setup. It worked perfectly, straight out of the box so to speak. I confidently replied to the reader who was a bit surprised and said that he may take a look at it because of this.
One of the other reasons for it taking so long was I have a player who uses an iMac. her name is Libby and I hope she does not mind but she is comfortable on a computer but start using terms like:
WINE is a windows emulator software that wraps a level of code around the software so it will operate in the Mac OS software
and all she hears is:
Blah, blah blah blah blahdy blah blah.
and probably wishes she had never heard of computers. For that reason I was tentatively uncertain if I would be able to work her through the process to get the stand alone version on her machine. Part of the reason I wanted to move to Fantasy Grounds is the fact that I bought the Ultimate License so my players did not need to pay anything and I did not have to be locked into a subscription service.
I have macs laying about all over the place but I knew that it was likely to work as it was also going to have to be put under a WINE server so I did not bother to test it at all. I just decided that after they killed Rasputin (FINALLY!!!!!) the new module would be played in Fantasy Grounds and that would be the turning point. That was this coming Monday so I contacted Libby after updating her character (Urgunn the Dwarven fighter) and sat down with her on Skype to go through the process of putting Fantasy Grounds on the iMac for her.
The process is run through on the bulletin boards and above is a snapshot of the instructions (they are not all showing – there is more to the post which you can find here). I was very nervous about this because if I could not make this work, my move to Fantasy Grounds for Pathfinder was shot. I would not go forward in the game without Libby.
So, Libby and I started into it. I was practically blind with the install because with Skype I was just looking at Libby doing the process. I was sending her the links and giving the instructions but I could not see her progression and that is a very frustrating thing as a tech help kind of role (in this circumstance). But you know what, Libby and I knocked that process over in around twenty minutes. And it worked perfectly!
So, here is the official skinny people. Fantasy Grounds works regardless of system. The instructions on how to make this work on your system may seem daunting but they work as written. There is the issue that you may need to free up port 1802 but there is plenty of support on the site on how to do that. I have had to do it a couple of times for my machine and it is nowhere near as daunting as the process for the Mac – and remember that turned out to work fluidly.
You may also be wondering about if it actually works in game and the simple answer is yes. Last night I took Libby and two other of my players through a tour of Fantasy Grounds and the systems worked fine. I have actually run a Fantasy Grounds session (a few in fact) using my Linux install so there are no issues known to me. But I will talk a little bit more about our tour in the next blog. Keep rolling!