During two decades or so of pen-and-paper role-playing gaming, I never quite got myself into the world of tabletop miniature/wargaming. Especially if the game mechanics tracked firing arcs and ranges of various tabletop game objects (like which guns of those 20 tabletop units of yours are pointing in whichever direction, which are aimed at the target, which are not, etc.). Tried out a dozen of them to find out time after time that this stuff wasn't quite my cup of tea.
To keep accurate track of dozens of objects on the tabletop, using only pen and paper, was IMO a time-consuming ordeal (not to speak of the frustration if you noticed an error on your tracking papers later on, an error which would have altered the outcome of the whole scenario
) and all that was deducted from the enjoyment of my gameplay.
Then it occurred to me... how about trying out these tabletop wargames with computer-based assistance? Creating a UI/framework of sorts that keeps track of your game assets with pinpoint accuracy, throws (most of) those thousands of dices for you and gives you results with the click of a mouse button - but STILL keeping a strong sense of a tabletop wargaming on it all; the computer won't move your objects, won't throw the most critical dice rolls for you, won't edit your character/unit sheet as the game goes on - you do all that by yourself, but without the higher math and thousands of details you have to remember for each turn and for each unit like it is with pure pen-and-paper. (or at least that's how it felt to me
So, I went out in search of three things to start from:
1) An easily scriptable virtual tabletop gaming platform. Found an open-source, non-profit platform called the RPtools
2) A reliable set of tabletop gaming rules for space fleet combat level battling. Found a starborne board game system called Starmada
3) A space based campaign setting that is free to use and hasn't been overused... *drum fill* Freespace.
My aim is to merge these three into something that can be enjoyed with friends and popcorn.
And thus my bold project was born - the Freespace Virtual Tabletop.