Saturday, 8 June 2013

Iteractive SpaceHulk Maps.

Ok so I have been looking into something that has been done in in AD&D for a wile now. It consists of using A projector aimed down at a Table, Hooked up to a Laptop of PC. This then allows you to display full color HD battle maps to play on.

And I thought to my self. why the hell aren't people using this for games like Space Hulk? There are plenty of Map creators out there that can be used for making Space Hulk maps. One of the best software to get is

Space Hulk Tile creator.

It is a 45mb download. And allows you to create amazing Space Hulk maps with infinite possibility's. You can also use the software to place markers and tokens. Hell if you wanted to you could even use it to place digital top down view models instead of actually using the Models that come with space hulk, But that's no fun and kinda boring. You just create a Map and save it as a PDF. then use 1 of the millions of Virtual D&D programs to open the file. Load some custom tokens and your away.

Its also a good idea to place actual Door ways from the Spacehulk Game. if you have lost your Door markers then you can make your own.

So how does this work then?

It works by displaying the map you have just made through a Video out port on your PC or Laptop. VGA, DVI or HDMI depending on what hardware you have available to you. Most projectors will all take one of these 3 if not all of them. And if the projector you pick up does not have the correct connector for older hardware Say you only have a VGA out port. Then you can get a Convertor to make this into a HDMI or DVI. But note that if you are going from a VGA to a HD projector the VGA ports don't put out HD images and so you will only get a standard definition image displayed by the projector.

Once you have sorted this problem out you need to mount the projector above a Table. There are proper Table projectors available but because they are a specialized projector (only because they point downwards) they tend to be More expensive. So I have been coming up with ways in which you could mount the projector and I have come up a with a few ideas.

The cradle: Now the Cradle is the best because you can have the projector project directly down rather than at an angle. It consist of Buying some white PVC pipe from a DIY store and the Push fit connections to go with it. Now you just have to build a cube like a large Mechano set (please note if you have a tone of Mechano you can also use that. Show off). Bear in mined this has to sit on a table. So make it so it sits on your table safely. 

You then need to build a device that will hold the Projector. You could do this by getting some timber and building a L section that with stretch across the top of the Cube you have built. And can mount the projector to the timber using the mounting hardware that most projectors come with for ceiling mounted version.

The Lazy way: the lazy way is simple you need a stand of some sort. And belive it or not a Music stand is perfect. Because where you would store your Music books for reading wile playing. Is the perfect angle for the projector, Plus the shelf at the bottom where the book would rest on will olso stop the projector slipping off. enough good advantage of this setup is that the stand is Adjustable in height. So you have a bit more customization of the zoom on the projector.

After all is mounted your are ready to go. And you should have something that looks like this.

Yeah that's right fracking awesome. Now imagine having the lights turned off, A horrid Spacehulk board glowing in the center of the table, With the Scanner noise from Aliens playing in the background for some ambient noises. 

 Now cost wise, obviously the main bulk is the cost of the projector. You can buy a Pocket projector from Amazon for around £100. they are perfect, light weight and portable. and are also fully HD.
Making the Cube cradle for this is more of a case of shopping around or ask someone like me that has a Trade account in places. Total cost for me works out at around £10 for pipe and fittings.

Now this is a cool if not expensive way to play Spacehulk. however it has loads more uses. and some incredibly fun ones as well. this can be used for AD&D you can use this for smaller 40k battles. Instead of using a battle mat you can display an image of any kind of surface you like. And then add some scenery to it as well for cover. Or how about displaying an amazing solar system to use with Battle Fleet Gothic, Or even Dark Future race track.  This is also the most basic method, you can attach a Wii remote to the cradle and using software freely available on the internet create a interactive whiteboard or battle board. by simply adding an inferred LED and a battery to a pen.

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