Jacobin Games: Bringing Miniatures to Life with W4 Cloud

May 23, 2024 by
W4 Games

We're excited to feature Jacobin Games, a Canadian company run by Cynthia and Tyler. They are partnering with Tundraworks Miniatures to develop an amazing wargaming AR application using Godot and W4 Cloud! Let's delve into their project and discover how W4 Cloud is helping them bridge the gap between physical and digital experiences.

The Project:

Can you tell us a bit more about the AR application you're developing with Godot?

Revolution: the Wargame is the first wargaming AR application developed by Jacobin Games. It is a miniature wargaming system based in the French Revolutionary period. 

While at its core, Revolution: the Wargame plays like a traditional tabletop wargame where players roll dice and move figurines to fight battles, it utilizes an AR application to enhance gameplay. The application acts as a game master throughout the game, walking players through each turn step-by-step while providing helpful tips for new players. It also creates immersion through fog of war (hidden information), which helps put players in the mindset of an army commander from 200 years ago with limited time and information. 

The application will also include other video game-esque features such as server-supported solo campaign systems, multiplayer modes, and more.

What inspired Jacobin Games to develop this innovative AR experience?

Here at Jacobin Games, we are all miniature wargamers that love the hobby and the community. We love the socializing that comes with tabletop gaming, we love preparing and putting together elaborate tables with intricately painted figures, and we love how the hobby is steeped in history (both in terms of the subject matter, but also its origin - wargaming was first developed in the Prussian army in the 19th century). 

But, we are also keenly aware of its barrier to the modern audience. While board games, RPGs, and video games have all become more and more mainstream, miniature wargaming is still a relatively niche hobby. New players are often intimidated by the thick rulebooks and the complicated stats. 

I, Cynthia, still remember how overwhelmed I felt the first time I played in a wargaming event. Despite reading the rulebook front to back twice, I still had a hard time keeping up, let alone enjoy the game. In the moment, I couldn’t even recall basic steps like how to advance my troops or how many dice I needed to roll. 

So when we, Jacobin Games, decided to design a miniature wargaming system, we knew we wanted to modernize it with a UI designed for the modern audience. We want to create an experience that is approachable, and we wanted to let technology take over the nitty-gritty so players can focus on the actual gameplay, and not waste time flipping through hundreds of pages of rules, or marking casualties on pen and paper. As charming as the old wargaming hobby is, it is due a little shake-up.

Godot & W4 Cloud:

Why did you choose Godot as the game engine for your AR application?

As an indie developer, we love that Godot is open source and easy to learn. But we really love how great Godot is for developing 2D games that do not require too much processing power. While the app integration greatly speeds up gameplay, these miniature wargames still take an average of 2 hours to play through. We needed an app that can run on most devices and does not drain the battery. Nothing can be more frustrating than being immersed in an intense battle of wits to have the game drop out because your phone died.

What initially drew you to W4 Cloud as a solution for integrating multiplayer functionality?

The fact that W4 Cloud directly integrates into Godot made it a no-brainer for us. Also, like Godot, W4 Cloud is friendly to indie developers and has solutions that meet our needs at our level. Of course, we hope that one day our game will blow up with thousands of users, but at the moment, it’s great to find a solution that meets our current demand without going overboard, both in terms of functionality, but also cost.

Success with W4 Cloud:

As an early adopter, what features of W4 Cloud have been most beneficial for your project's development?

So far, we love the user profile management and matchmaking function that come with W4 Cloud. It’s great letting W4 Cloud take over the basic user log-in, authentication, match creation, etc., so we can focus on other parts of our game design 

Can you share a specific aspect of W4 Cloud that you've found particularly impressive?

We really like the workspace that comes with each W4 Cloud account. Even in beta, it already has lots of useful functionalities like account management, server/fleet management and more. The user interface in the workspace is also very easy to navigate. 

What has been your experience with testing W4 Cloud in real-world scenarios?

We started implementing multiplayer gameplay with W4 Cloud late last year, and have recently ran a successful three-day event at CanGames, a long-running Canadian tabletop gaming convention, this past weekend. We hosted at least 20 games during the event, using the multiplayer mode developed on W4 Cloud. We are happy to report that all games were completed with no major issues. The servers worked very well.

Collaboration & The Future:

How has W4 Cloud impacted your development process and team collaboration?

As an indie developer with a small team, we’ve been able to leverage W4’s expertise and resources in server creation. We were always able to get help from the W4 team in a timely manner, whether it be clarification on documentation, or troubleshooting issues with our project. This has freed up a lot of our time and energy to focus on our specific game design.

Looking ahead, how do you envision W4 Cloud playing a role in the future of Jacobin Games and the AR experience you're creating?

Because miniature wargaming is such a social activity, it will always be important for us to have smooth multiplayer gameplay in our AR application. We also envision expanding the game further to include solo-campaigns, mega-club battles that will all benefit from a good server set-up. So we definitely envision W4 Cloud continuing to play an integral role in the success of our game. And as hinted earlier, Revolution: the Wargame is the first game we are developing under Jacobin Games, meaning there will be more to come. We are excited to explore other periods and settings of wargaming with the Jacobin game app and W4 cloud. 

Final Thoughts:

Would you recommend W4 Cloud to other developers looking to integrate multiplayer functionality into their Godot projects? Why or why not?

Definitely! We have had a great experience working with the W4 Cloud team so far. We have run dozens of multiplayer games using the W4 Cloud server for our internal test group and have recently completed a 13 player full day play test at CanGames this past weekend. Of course being in beta, there are little kinks to work through, but it is also great to be involved early to see the process, and hopefully, provide input for future directions.

We want to thank Jacobin Games for taking the time to share their story and insights. To learn more about their upcoming miniatures line, visit their exciting Kickstarter campaign.

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