Lord help me, I’ve taken the plunge: I’m building a projector setup for my in-person D&D gaming. Inspired by Ian at the local store and by Sean Pecor online, I figured that if I’m going to be true to my Online Dungeon Master self while still playing in-person, it only makes sense to bring technology to the table and use my computer to run in-person games, too.
I did a lot of research, culminating with a conversation I had at my bowling league tonight with a guy who works with video setups for a living. He confirmed that the sort of things I was looking at were indeed the right tools for the job. I did a bunch of searching on Projector Central and ultimately settled on the ViewSonic PJD5152. The features that I like about this projector are:
- Short throw. This means that the projector doesn’t have to be very far away from the tabletop in order to project a clear image (which means my rig doesn’t have to be crazy-tall).
- 2,500 lumens. That’s pretty bright for a short throw projector, which (I hope) means that I will be able to use it even in a setting where there are normal lights on.
- 5.5 pounds. That’s pretty lightweight, which I care about since I plan to take this rig with me when I’m DMing at a store or a convention (hello there, TactiCon!).
- $464 from Buy.com (via Amazon.com). It’s still a big purchase, but compared to most of the other options out there, it’s a good deal.
- 30 day return policy. If it turns out that this won’t work properly, I can get my money back.
The features that I’m a little more nervous about:
- 800 by 600 resolution (SVGA). That’s not super-high. Now, I’m figuring that it will be fine for my purposes (my projector expert friend agreed), but the other DMs I’ve seen with similar rigs have had 1024 by 768 resolution. Getting that would have meant a big step up in price. On the other hand, my bowling buddy said that if I’m going to be using the VGA output on my laptop to connect to the projector, higher resolution wouldn’t do me any good.
- 2,500 lumens. While it’s pretty high for a short-throw projector, my bowling buddy was saying that I would want 4,000 to 6,000 for good image quality in normal light. I couldn’t even find a short-throw projector with 4,000 lumens (3,000 to 3,500 were available for beaucoup bucks). Sean Pecor seemed happy with his 2,000 lumens, so I’m optimistic, but still a little concerned.
- The price. Yeah, it’s a good deal by projector standards, but holy cow that’s a lot of money!
The projector should arrive sometime early next week, at which point I will most likely be in New York on business (that figures). I plan to try it out without building a rig first, just holding it over a table. Once I feel confident that this thing is going to work, I’ll begin construction of the rig to hold the thing. I like Sean’s setup, and I plan to build mine largely based on his.
So, am I nuts? Any advice for me as I (perhaps foolishly) forge ahead into the realms of becoming a projector-wielding DM?