Fifty grand kickstart comes to gamer's table

Fifty grand kickstart comes to gamer's table

Christchurch gamer and developer Brendan Duncan has smashed his modest Kickstarter target of $5000 to develop a virtual tabletop for 3D gaming, drawing $56,000 in pledges by the time the campaign ended recently.

His 3D Virtual Tabletop apps for iOS and Android devices are already approaching 20,000 downloads and Duncan has his sights on browser, Windows Phone versions and a Windows 8 app with his new haul of cash.

Duncan's been a fan of role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons since he was 10, and became a software developer after completing a degree in engineering at the University of Canterbury. He formed his company Tap on Fire in 2011.

He created the software after American game publisher Wizards of the Coast, which acquired Dungeons and Dragons, released
a virtual table top beta for the game but never officially launched it.

"I kept waiting for someone else to follow their lead but no one did. I've tailored mine a bit more towards the tablet and touchscreen market. I think the reason they didn't release it was they were a bit ambitious. My idea is to put out the simplest thing that works and improve on it."

Duncan says there were 10,000 downloads of the demo version of his tabletop, and the Kickstarter backing, combined with the number of people prepared to pay 99c to download the apps, show a good level of interest in the software.

The 3D virtual tabletop has about 170 characters, or minis, for Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder, which Duncan won the right use to use by supporting a Kickstarter campaign that rewarded pledgers with the stock art.

Users can also create their own minis from images stored on their device, which Duncan says can be as simple as photographing their own drawing, or can be professionally designed.

The concept isn't new, with 2D virtual tabletop gaming existing for as much as 10 years, says Duncan, but adds 3D is a chance
to focus enhance the look and feel.

Duncan used the Biz Dojo's Kickstarter programme to get his project funded on the US platform.

By reaching $56,000, Duncan achieved a long list of stretch goals, like group movement, miniature naming, Google+ Hangout
integration, map annotations and card decks.