The good news is that my projector arrived today early enough to give me time to play around with it before I have to leave for a two-day business trip to New York.
The bad news is that I think I need a higher-resolution projector. Take a look at this close-up of the projected map (click to enlarge):
That’s just too pixellated for my taste. I’ve put some physical tokens next to the digital ones for the sake of comparison.
Having gotten the projector into my hands, I’ve learned a few useful lessons.
- 800 by 600 resolution flat-out isn’t enough
- 2500 lumens is plenty to use in normal lighting (yay!)
- MapTool is going to be fantastic for this purpose (though if I want to jump the projected screen to what I can see on the DM screen, I’d better make sure the scale is the same)
- The tripod setup isn’t that bad, but I want to pursue the single-pole approach
The main reason for that last point is not so much that the tripod is a little unsteady (though it is) or that the legs get in the players’ way (though they do). It’s that having the lens right above the middle of the table means that the image will be off to one side, just because of the way projectors work. The much cleaner solution will be to have the projector mounted more or less directly in front of the DM’s seat, thus projecting nicely out onto the table.
- Play around a little bit more with this projector to see if I’m missing a way to work around the resolution problem (any suggestions?)
- After that, return the projector to Buy.com and take the plunge on a higher-res version (sigh)
- Start working on a single-pole rig that can be clamped to the table in front of the DM or that can sit in a mount at the DM’s feet.
I’ve dreamed of setting up something like this for years. But the projects just seemed to expensive for my wallet.
yea, 800 x 600 is not going to cut it, especially with that large of an image.
Two points: 1) Wouldn’t it be easier (and maybe safer) to attach the projector to the ceiling? 2) The problem with projectors is that the bulbs burn out – and some of those bulbs are Expensive (with a Capital E)!
@Chuck – Yeah, it is NOT going to be cheap! Sigh. Now that I know I need a more expensive projector, I’m having second thoughts.
@Paul Kasper – Do you have any guess as to what kind of resolution I’ll need in order to have decent image quality?
@Sean – Yes, a ceiling mount would be great, except that I need this to be portable (I’m taking it to a game store and a convention, plus maybe a friend’s house). I hear you about the bulbs, too, but they’re rated for thousands of hours. If I’m only using them for four hours at a time, that’s still a lot of gaming before I’ll need a replacement (I hope!).