Camera Overlay

Virtua Rasa includes augmented reality to help share table top games with remote players. This is provided by a low bandwidth live video stream. It’s not suitable for a conversation, since it updates only once per second, but when you combine it with our perspective correction algorithms, it lets you share a game with remote players.

Setting Up A Camera Feed

Virtua Rasa uses your browser’s built-in multimedia support to talk to the camera, so there’s no extra software to install (other than whatever you need to use the camera normally).

Get to the “Cameras Page” with the “Cameras” link in Virtua Rasa’s menu. This opens a new tab (or window), which you’ll need to leave open to keep the camera updates going. (If you see a camera feed start to turn sepia on the map, it means Virtua Rasa isn”t getting updates for that camera any more. This usually means the “Cameras Page” for the camera got closed, or the user’s having trouble with their Internet connection.)

To get to the “Cameras Page,” choose the “Cameras” link in the application menu. This will open a new tab (or window), which you’ll need to leave open to keep the camera updates going. (If you see a camera feed start to turn sepia on the map, it means Virtua Rasa isn’t getting updates for that camera any more. This usually means the “Cameras Page” for that camera got closed.)

Right now, each user may have only one camera feed per world. (Additional cameras for a single user will be added as a Premium feature.)

Under the “Local Cameras” section of the Cameras Page, there”s a drop-down menu of cameras that your web browser can use. Next to it is a checkbox to start the camera stream. Choose the camera you’ve pointed at your game and check the box.

If everything’s working properly, you’ll see a live feed from the camera. Otherwise, see Troubleshooting at the bottom of this page.

Perspective Correction

Trying to align a camera above a map so the squares line up in Virtua Rasa seems to be nearly impossible. We’ve wasted a lot of time trying, before we decided there had to be a better way. Once we added perspective correction to the camera view, the position of the camera can be much less precise.

We’ve gotten usable results at a 45° angle, though miniatures look odd at such a sharp angle.

To correct your picture:

  • Position the camera so the map is more or less centered in the preview. Try to make the map as large as possible without clipping the edges.

    • If the real map is bigger than the view seen by the camera, it’s hard to remember what can be seen at the table vs what can be seen in Virtua Rasa.

    • This can be fixed by putting marks on the map at the virtual edges, but it’s simpler if the camera can see the whole thing. Plus, then there’s more space that can be used in the game!

  • Add control points by clicking on each of the four corners of the map. (If the map is pretty close to centered, the software can automatically figure out which corner you’ve clicked.)

  • Text fields are near each corner of the image. These fine tune the points, if necessary, or if Virtua Rasa guessed wrong. Make “X” bigger to move the point to the right, and make “Y” bigger to move the point down. (Smaller values move left or up, respectively.)

  • Once you’ve chosen all four corners, you’ll need to count the squares between the points.

    • If you’ve clicked on the corners, there should be the same number of squares between the top points & the bottom points, and the same number between the left & right points.

    • Enter the number of squares between the left and right points into the first text entry field below the live preview.

    • Enter the number of vertical squares between the top and bottom points into the second text entry.

  • If you want to include a bit of the surrounding table, so that miniatures can be used even a little way off the map, check the option for a two square border. (In our games, no matter where we start, players always end up trying to move off the map.)

  • Finally, click the “Set Correction” button.

  • Below the live view is a preview of the corrected image, based upon the chosen settings, along with a grid overlay so you can check alignment. If necessary, adjust the control points or the numbers of squares and press “Set Correction” again, until you’re satisfied with the results.

  • Optionally, if you’re using the camera with something that doesn’t have regular corners, you’ll need to wing it. Try to make the number of squares match the aspect ratio of the control points. This is easiest if you make the area between the points square.

Using the Feed as a Map

The live camera feed is used by changing the icon of a unit. All of these steps are performed on the "Main Map” for your game.

  • If you don’t already have a unit you want to use for the camera feed, create a new one.

    • Usually, only Gamemasters can add new units to the map, but anyone’s camera can be used with any unit.

    • Any Player can add a camera to any unit they’re allowed to edit.

  • Go into the “long editor” for the unit.

  • Choices for icons are about five lines down. Choose “Camera” under “Special” in the first drop-down.

  • A second drop-down will appear on the right of the first one. You can choose the appropriate camera here (based upon the username of the player with the camera). The size of the unit will immediately change to fit the camera feed.

  • Make the unit “inanimate” (this way, it won’t interfere with other units).

  • If you want the camera feed somewhere other than the top left corner of the map, set the X and Y coordinates accordingly.

  • Save the new unit.

Using the Feed as a DungeonCam™

If you put a camera near a miniature’s eye level, you can use it as DungeonCam — our name for a live image from the miniature’s point of view.

  • If you don’t already have a unit you want to use for the camera feed, create a new one.

    • Usually, only Gamemasters can add new units to the map, but anyone’s camera can be used with any unit.
  • If you’re not the Gamemaster, ask them to give you a new unit for the DungeonCam.

  • Go into the “long editor” for the unit.

  • Choices for icons are about five lines down. Choose “Camera” under “Special” in the first drop-down.

  • A second drop-down will appear on the right of the first one. You can choose the appropriate camera here (based upon the username of the player with the camera). The size of the unit will immediately change to fit the camera feed.

  • Optionally, set the X and Y coordinates to somewhere away from the immediate gameplay, so it doesn’t block the action in Virtua Rasa. You can also drag the unit around as needed.

  • Save the unit.

Saving Images from the Camera

There are two options to save camera images to your wiki. They’re both optional, but can be handy if you’re setting up map backgrounds ahead of time, or you want to grab a snapshot of a particularly exciting view. You can save both the uncorrected image and the image with the perspective correction applied.

One use for saving corrected images we discovered after adding perspective correction is to use hand-drawn maps in Virtua Rasa. Instead of fiddling with editing them in a graphics program, you can use Virtua Rasa to correct it for you.

Warning: If the wiki already has an image with the same name, it will be overwritten! Right now, this can’t be undone.

Troubleshooting

Is your OS blocking access to your camera? Check the “Privacy” settings in your OS.

You also might have blocked all websites (or just Virtua Rasa) from accessing your camera. Check your web browser’s “Privacy” settings.

Only one program or website can access the camera at a time, so if you’re letting something like Skype or Google Hangouts use your camera, Virtua Rasa won’t be able to. You can leave the other program running as a voice channel, or you can tell it to use a different camera. It just can’t use the same camera you want to use in Virtua Rasa.

Sometimes web browsers act like they’re using the camera, but nothing happens. This can usually be fixed by restarting the browser.

If none of these are the case, see if any other programs can access your webcam. Maybe it’s really not working, or it came unplugged or something.

Finally, rebooting your computer sometimes fixes this sort of thing.