The Analog Gamer: Preparations

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And now for the news
This week before I get into the discussion about the initial Analog Gamer’s Digital Experience I thought I’d cover a bot of digital news first. Magic the Gathering Online version 2.5 went dark yesterday.

While I’ve long since shrugged off the paper crack that is Magic I know there is a large community out there who have not had any interventions performed on them and have transitioned from paper cut ridden wastrels to digital addicts. This outage is in preparation for the forthcoming Magic the Gathering Online v.3.0 launch. The new version of the game looks like it’ll bring Magics online presence into a modern format with some really interesting features. IF you want the complete story on what MtGO III is bringing to the virtual game table check out the game’s producer’s thread over on Gleemax.com in the Magic the Gathering forums.

… and here’s Shawn with Sports
Kicking off the virtual gametable series is proving to be in many ways a perfect parallel to the analog experience. I found that finding the time and coordinating the technologies can initially be just as frustrating as getting a place and time to gather your local players. We already had the Ventrillo server up and ready for our use but not all the players had headsets or the software client installed. This took some time to remedy. Then there was the issue of the software we chose to use as our initial chat client for character creation. We’ll discuss it more fully next week with the review of the first game session but some problems became obvious even just when trying to host a character creation session.

I’m a bit surprised by the demographic slant of the gamers I’ve got on the team. Right now we’ve got a single male player who will have to deal with 4 females. This is not unusual for many of my groups but I think it’s interesting considering the stereotype that gamers are all pre-pubescent boys who live in their parents basement.

The characters of the group and the choices made so far have been interesting. Without any prompting or suggestion it seems we have an adventuring group comprised wholly of elves. Granted there are different branches of the elf family represented. The Ranger is a Wood Elf, the Rogue a Gray Elf and the the Fighter and Cleric as well. We have one player who has yet to create her character because just like in real life events like moving or family emergencies can disrupt any prior plans.

Next week we’ll introduce the characters and their initial adventures. I plan to tell the tale in a more story-like form and to highlight where the technology of the programs helped and or hurt the experience. Stay tuned.

Those looking to evaluate the virtual game tools for themselves can check out this excellent comprehensive set of links from the creator of Battlegrounds: RPG Edition. We will be evaluating his tool soon but this list should set anyone on the right track in the meantime.

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