Monday, June 21, 2010

Papa's Got a Brand New Bag

So I got an iPad.

I got this neat little toy with the writing money that I got for a little assignment I did last year. Wasn't going to get one, but I had some cousins of mine who were falling all over themselves to get one. After some investigation, I got more and more intrigued by the idea and could see several uses for it. One of those uses that I envisioned was for, of course, gaming.

Several things I'm planning on using for.

First and foremost, the iPad should make me a better DJ. I use a lot of music in my games. Back in the day, I had a serious CD collection of movie scores and whatnot. I used these as background music for gaming, but they were also ideal for playing in the background when I wrote my games up. Anyhow, with the digital age, I transitioned into using an iPod. But when I use an iPod, I always feel like there's something missing.

The main problem I have with using an iPod is that it's often hard for me to select the right song for the occasion. Scrolling through long lists of songs makes it hard for me to spot the precise song. Even when I break up the songs into playlists. When I used CDs exclusively, I always knew the right album for the occasion, and could flip right to the right album to pick the right song. On an iPod, I often get lost in the song titles. However, the iPad allows me to browse songs within a playlist much more easily. For one, I can see my song list more easily. For another, if you look at this screen, you can see that I can browse through the albums much easier with their covers prominently displayed.

Another use for me will be, of course, the iPad's capacity as a reader. I prefer to read and browse physical books. However, when I referencing just a few rules or stats, the iPad will be ideal. When I go to a friend's house to game, I no longer need to carry an armload of books. Just one device. Now you might say that I could do the same thing with a laptop. But I hate browsing PDFs on a laptop. I've tried to do the laptop thing many times and it just doesn't work for me. Typically, my laptops are slow and find it difficult to navigate graphics-heavy PDFs, such as a file for an RPG.

Finally, I'm also looking forwards to the iPads ability as a presentation device. Now, if I want to show a picture of an NPC, setting, or something else, it will be a lot easier to just pick up the iPad from the table (with one hand, no less) and pan it around the room so everyone can see. I can even pass it around, or place the iPad in the middle of the table so that everyone around the whole table can see it. No angling the laptop this way and that way so people can see.

All of this is supposition and strategy, of course. We'll see how it really turns out when I go to full implementation.


  1. Greetings, Brother! I see you have acquired a data slate from the Dark Age of Technology! But seriously, nice one-- I have some similar aims. I managed to rip the video of warp translation from Dawn of War 2 and can now play it whenever the players want a reminder of what it looks like to enter into the Empyrean. I'm looking forward to when iOS4 gets updated for the iPads as well, which includes direct PDF support via the iBooks app.

    Looking forward to the post-iPad session report!

  2. You can already view PDFs on the iPad, through GoodReader, which is what I use. Really handy for looking up stats, charts, and tables. It won't replace a good book for me, because my eyes get fatigued from looking at a screen for too long. But it works really well for looking up something really quickly.

  3. So, i've been reading your blog quite a bit- avid Rogue Trader player myself, here- and this is...both a boon and a curse! Only a curse on my Profit Factor. Er...wallet, haha. But i'm glad you posted this! I was really wondering recently if an iPad would be worth buying for all my pen-and-paper PDFs, like Rogue Trader, Dark Heresy, and D&D. I'm used to lugging around my laptop and taking forever to find the page i'm looking for, waiting for it to load...all of that nonsense. I'm looking forward to the post-iPad session blog entry as well!

    Also- I love your blog! Your group sounds like a blast to play with!

  4. I've been considering the same thing. I havn't really had success with a laptop so I'm hoping an ipad could do the job. Look forward to hearing about how it's working for you.

  5. Having now played with one I must say it's cool, but I don't know if I'm sold on it as is. It's got an unbelievably cool "gimmick" factor though that can't be denied, that's for sure!

  6. Well, here's what I tell most people about it. If you just sit down and mess with it for a while, you'll think to yourself, "Well, this is neat, but I don't really -need- it."

    However, what sold me on it was this. I opened it up, and then really sat down with it for about a 1/2 hour straight. Treating it as I would my normal laptop. From then on - I was hooked. Now, you'd have to pry it from my cold dead hands.

    It just so much more convenient, instant, and portable. And it's excellent with my eldest son.

  7. @Joshua: As far as a PDF reader, it has made a big, big difference for me. I can't stand reading PDFs on a laptop and when I've tried to run games from a PDF on a laptop, it's aggravating. As you said, it takes a while to load. It's not convenient to zoom in. And it's hard to find the page you are looking for.

    The iPad (for me) has solved most of those problems. I find that I still need to bookmark my pages. With a book, I might have some muscle memory of where a section might be. Or know by flipping pages if I'm closer to the front or back. With electronic format, you of course, lose that sensation.

    However, the iPad is really excellent about scrolling through pages and blinking quickly between a one and two page format for quick referencing. We'll see how it holds up with a few more sessions under the belt. :)