Dungeons & Dragons has a virtual tabletop in the works, which will allow players to run sessions of the RPG online in a digital playspace.
The currently untitled platform, referred to as a “D&D digital play experience”, looks to be a rival to the likes of Roll20 and other virtual tabletops that aim to translate the feeling of playing in person to an online app.
The platform will allow the creation of 3D environments populated by virtual miniatures, which can be moved around as if on a real table. The environments will be rendered using Unreal Engine, the ubiquitous video game graphics tech used in everything from Fortnite to Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Images of the app’s pre-alpha gameplay showed off highly-detailed figures and environments, with the app making impressive use of the tilt-shift camera technique to preserve the sense of using small miniatures. (As another example, the effect was used in board game-inspired movie Game Night to mimic the sense of tabletop pieces.) Other glimpses of the app showed dice rolls, health bars above characters’ heads and movement using a virtual ruler.
Players will be able to create and customise miniatures by changing their features, with “robust tools” for building custom levels also planned. Wizards itself will release pre-built environments and campaigns in the form of playsets, from which players will be able to take apart and reuse parts such as terrain and NPCs in their own creations. These tools will be designed to be easy to pick up and use, Wizards said, with an aim to “take care of the lazy DM”.
According to Wizards of the Coast, which revealed the digital offering as part of its ‘One D&D’ plans for the future of Dungeons & Dragons, the virtual tabletop is still early in development, with no word on a planned release date. However, core rulebooks for the next major iteration of D&D will release in 2024, potentially hinting at a release window for its digital counterpart.