You probably already know that I build web-based applications for people to fund my nerdy habits. With the launch of the now popular DnD Beyond, I began to wonder just how long it might take someone to come along and challenge it. If there was any way you could beat the behemoth that is Wizards Of The Coast, it would be to design an app that did more than just Dungeons & Dragons, which is precisely what Ultimate Games Master (UGM) does.
Cross Platform & available offline
Any digital app coming out these days is almost expected to be cross-platform and by that I mean that it should work on any iOS, Android, Mac, Windows or Linux machine and Ultimate Games Master does exactly that. The other thing that I think is required for this sort of app is to be able to work without the need for the internet. It’s the worst thing in the world when you are trying to use some sort of application and your internet connection dies and you lose any changes you have made. Applications have got a lot better over the years at handling this situation (as well as more reliable internet) but having the internet as a requirement can cause issues.
Ultimate Games Master does not suffer from this ailment. Not only does a lot of the app work offline but you can actually run the application through your local network. This means that even without an internet connection as long as all the players are attached to the same network you can still send them messages and view all the relevant information you need.
It’s almost a given these days that a modern application that provides a service will charge you some sort of subscription fee. Pricing a subscription service is a tricky one. I am a fairly demanding customer when it comes to subscriptions, I want to be able to pause my subscription, I also want the option to pay for a whole year (or longer) and hopefully receive a discount for doing so and so on. I think the most important of all, I want to feel like I am getting value for money and that is certainly one thing I can say about; you get great value for money. Below are the prices (at the time of writing) for each subscription.
- Player – $2.50 per month
- Games Master – $5.00 per month
- Total Immersion – $7.50 per month
- Developer Access – $15.00 per month
Now you might be wondering if the company are based in Cornwall, why are all the prices in US Dollars? Well… I wondered the same thing, so I asked Justin and he put it very simply.
Mainly because the largest market for us is in America.
It makes business sense, they are currently using PayPal to take payments so you will be billed in USD and then Paypal will convert that to your preferred currency. You don’t have to do any hard work and it would mean that your player subscription in the UK works out to about £2 and a GM subscription around £4 a month which is still very affordable. For more information on what each package gives you, then have a look at their subscription page
Other notable features
As part of their Total Immersion subscription, UGM gives you the ability to hook their interface into other 3rd Pary apps. So you can easily hook into Spotify to play a piece of music or even better than that you can link directly with Syrinscape so you can trigger any sound directly and stop the need to have two devices to control. Also included in this package are the “Living Maps” which means that you can broadcast a map to any other player, trigger weather and lighting effects as well as import your own 3D models. The system is also totally compatible with LARP!
I’m a bit torn on this as an application. I’m all for embracing technology, as soon as MP3’s were a thing I was all over it but I still miss the beauty and physicality of vinyl. I love having a Kindle but I still sometimes (especially for RPG’s) prefer a physical book. I’m all for going paperless but I would totally miss having a traditional character sheet that I have encased in plastic so I can use dry wipe markers to make adjustments to.
As a player, I can see how investing 2.50 USD a month in something like this is a benefit. It’s not exactly going to break the bank and being able to allow the organiser of your game complete access to your character and be able to access your character on any device is a great thing. It’s now almost impossible for you to not have your character sheet. As a GM the amount of tools that it gives you for the price is incredible.
I’ve not had a chance to try it in either state but I’d be certainly willing to give it a go. Maybe we should all harass our resident freelance DM to get a subscription and report back just how good it is. If you have had a play with UGM and have an opinion on it then we would be more than happy to hear it. You can get in touch via the comments section or as per usual over on Facebook, Twitter and our Discord