What does the Apple Tablet mean for d&d?

Today’s mass excitement gave us the iPad… Apple’s bigger than a iPod, smaller than a MacBook multi-touch internet device. I’m sure millions of nerds worldwide spun their brains about how this device will work for their game books.  I don’t like carrying around a ton of books, and I would be quite happy with an ebook reader that was both in color (for all the pretty pictures of monsters) and of large enough screen size, a test which the iPad passes.  I hope Wizards brings official iBooks to this device and that those books will support a reasonable search. The printed book indicies are barely useful, and I hate page flipping in the middle of the game.

A tablet also seems like a nice compromise between accessing tools (such as the d20SRD for 3.5 or D&D Compendium for 4e) and not being a laptop. Laptops at the table have physically separate you from the action on the table and the rest of the players.  I enjoy the i4e iPhone/iPod app for managing a 4e character at the table, and I hope they make one for the iPad. There’s a lot i4e doesn’t do and its screens are tight…but a larger screen is precisely what it needs; all the tables can be fit side-by-side on screen,  so you’re not constantly navigating during a combat.

I think the multi-touch aspect too will provide for a lot of useful tools such as combat and initiative trackers, dice rolling apps, and I really hope, interactive maps.  I don’t think its quite big enough for use as a combat surface, they way those CMU Microsoft Surface demos have shown, but that’s fine. If everyone at the table had one, it’d be great for “passing notes” or sharing information like treasure lists or stats.

I actually have a ton of ideas on this subject, a iPhone developer account, and a lot of experience putting together good gaming UIs. Unfortunately I don’t have a ton of time to devote to the project. If anyone out there knows of projects looking for help or want to get something started, let me know.

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6 thoughts on “What does the Apple Tablet mean for d&d?

  1. This is EXACTLY the device I was talking about when I said the Kindle or Nook could ALMOST be a perfect gaming companion!

    That’s awesome!!! Nice post, by the way.

  2. Nice write-up. I can confirm that I”m very excited about making an iPad version of i4e. I’d be curious though about what screens you’re flipping back and forth between? Perhaps if you have the time you could email me and let me know.

    Thanks,
    Mike

  3. Its funny, most of the criticism is focused on the iPad not being a netbook but I don’t think its intended as a computer replacement. Its a book, magazine, Internet appliance and DVD player replacement.

  4. For gaming purposes the tablet doesn’t to replace a computer. The things you’d want to do with it a table aren’t that much more complicated than a baseball scoring app or a hyperlinked PDF.

  5. I think the multi-touch aspect too will provide for a lot of useful tools such as combat and initiative trackers, dice rolling apps, and I really hope, interactive maps. I don’t think its quite big enough for use as a combat surface, they way those CMU Microsoft Surface demos have shown, but that’s fine. If everyone at the table had one, it’d be great for “passing notes” or sharing information like treasure lists or stats

  6. Wow, I’m behind on technology. That thing looks awesome. Then again, I’m still intrigued that people have Internet on their phones. (As you can guess, I am not one of those people.)

    And now that you mention putting the D&D books on there, I feel I must have one! I mean, I like the books, but during game, they’re pretty cumbersome.

    I’m gonna have to research and see how much one of those costs. Not that I can afford it, but I want to know how much money I have to pretend-win when I daydream about winning the lotto.

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