I mentioned that my group uses Roll20 to play D&D.
Roll20 started as a Kickstarter. They got successfully funded and released the beta to the backers before releasing the official version to everyone a bit later.
The folks who make Roll20 have a payment system common to most internet businesses.
The program is free to use if you’d like, but you can also pay a monthly or yearly fee to get access to new features sooner, more dataspace, and fewer ads. Pretty similar to WordPress’s system if you think about it.
Roll20 has an additional feature on their payment system though.
The website doesn’t have the vast following that WordPress has. They don’t make enough from ad revenue to keep the site going like WordPress does.
Roll20 relies almost entirely on people paying for the extra features. Thus is the site has a little tracker saying how many subscribers it needs to “keep the lights on.”
The tracker has other levels it can go up to though. There are a total of five different levels of support on the tracker.
The first level is keeping the servers on to support all the traffic that Roll20 gets.
The second level is having occasional updates done by the developers. This isn’t enough money for Roll20 to be their fulltime job, but its enough to convince them to work on weekends.
The third level is full time work by the developers. The tracker is currently a little ways into this level.
The fourth level pays for a publicist and additional developers to come up with system specific features for Roll20.
The fifth level allows for even more developers to be hired for projects beyond just Roll20.
With the third level not yet complete, the developers are coming out with occasional updates. The new one for May is a bit ridiculous. You can check it out on their blog post here: Quantum Roll
Random number generators on computers aren’t exactly random. It’s complicated to explain, but you can trust the programmers on this one. They wouldn’t lie about a deficiency that they have.
This is frustrating for some people that use Roll20. Real dice are random, shouldn’t virtual ones be random too?
The Roll20 development team has solved that problem by hooking its dice rolling program up to data from a light beam splitter in Australia.
The light splits randomly giving random data details. Roll20 uses those numbers to decide the outcome of a die rolled on the website.
It’s so ridiculous that most of Roll20’s fans have been calling it an April Fools joke or overkill for the problem.
My opinion? It’s a pretty damn cool way to solve the problem using freely available methods. I won’t notice while playing, but I like that the developers care.
That’s all for now!