Will Google+ pass the Dungeons & Dragons test?

dungeons and dragons movie director rob lettermanGoogle+ users are finding a variety of novel applications for Google’s new social media system, whether it’s fiddling with Google+ circles, conference “hangouts,” or the “+1” button in order to explore the network’s potential.

For those keeping score, you can now add Dungeons & Dragons campaigns to the list of activities Google+ is able to facilitate.

Over on the Top Hat Sasquatch blog, writer Rob Lammle is chronicling his experiences using Google+ to host a campaign in the popular role-playing game. After grouping players into a Google+ circle, Lammle interacts with them via Google+ posts and hashtags that allow for game-related communications to be easily found and archived.

And while the gaming aspect of his experiment isn’t likely to pique the average G+ user’s interest, what it’s revealing about the limitations and potential of Google’s social media service is intriguing:

While the hashtag search has worked well, I also see this as a real opportunity for Google to make G+ an invaluable tool with a few tweaks to the infrastructure. It would be really great if you could create an exclusive Circle that only includes the people you’ve invited to join. And, more importantly, the only posts you’d see in that Circle’s Stream would be ones that were shared with that Circle specifically. This would eliminate the need for hashtags and really help filter out pictures of cats and funny YouTube videos that you might otherwise post, and only show relevant updates for people in that Circle.

As Lammle notes, resolving the issues he’s encountered with using Google+ for Dungeons & Dragons could improve the system for other, more mainstream, applications:

Businesses could use these exclusive Circles to coordinate work on a project even if the participants are in offices that are thousands of miles apart. Students could create an exclusive Circle for a school project and be able to work on it without having to actually get together. A close group of friends could use exclusive Circles to communicate without having to mention each other in every post. It would be ideal for high school classmates coordinating for a 20-year reunion. You could share relevant Google Docs, photos, +1’s, links, and join Hangouts with the people in your exclusive Circle, creating a great way to filter out the noise, but still have all the advantages that the Google Plus infrastructure has to offer. It seems like a lot of people could really use such a feature, not just us D&D geeks.

However, there is one thing Google+ lacks in D&D functionality that isn’t likely to be resolved any time soon: a way to roll the dice and have both the player and host see the results. Lammle has gotten around this problem by using an online dice-rolling system (complete with “+1” button), though he mentions that a Google Chrome extension could ensure the entire experience is contained within the Google-verse.

And the more time people spend within the Google-verse, the less time they’ll spend inviting their Facebook friends to play Mafia Wars or Farmville, right?

Mobile

5G is the swift kick VR and AR gaming needs to come to fruition

There's a lot of hype surrounding augmented reality and virtual reality, but is it really the next big thing? We take a look at where the new mediums stand, as well as how 5G is poised to help them break into the mainstream.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (February 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Gaming

Among hundreds of choices, these are the best 25 SNES games of all time

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System might be the greatest game console ever made, but what are the best titles for the system? Here are our picks for the best SNES games.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially popular League of Legends.
Gaming

Need to perform a factory reset on your Xbox One console? Here's how to do it

Whether you're upgrading to a One X and giving your old console to a friend, or troubleshooting a technical issue, sometimes your Xbox One needs a clean slate. Here's our quick guide on how to factory reset an Xbox One.
Gaming

Battle royale-style Tetris 99 is the first Nintendo Switch Online-exclusive game

If you want to play online multiplayer on Switch, you'll need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Here's what you need to know about Nintendo Switch Online, from price to features to the awesome library of NES games.
Computing

Metro Exodus update brings DLSS improvements to Nvidia RTX 20-series PCs

Having issues in Metro Exodus? A February 21 update for the title recently delivered enhancements to Nvidia’s deep learning supersampling feature and other fixes for low-specced PCs. 
Gaming

The best PUBG weapons to win you that coveted chicken dinner

Which weapons in PUBG are worth the time to scout out and fit with attachments? Which are going to help you become the last player standing? We've got the answers you need in our best PUBG weapons guide.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in Destiny 2: Forsaken

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Gaming

Want to play as Iron Man or Waluigi in GTA V? Our favorite mods make it possible

Grand Theft Auto V is best on the PC for many reasons, and modifications may be the most important. You can cause riots, spawn unique cars, and play as a cop with just a few extra files.
Deals

Walmart slices prices on PS4 DualShock 4 controllers just in time for Anthem

The standard black PS4 controller is what usually comes with the console itself, but if you want to add something a bit more customized your gaming experience, Walmart is offering a wide variety of colorful DualShock 4 controllers at…
Gaming

How you can give your PS4 a fresh start with a factory reset

Learn the many ways you can factory reset your PS4. From reverting your settings to factory to doing a full wipe and reinstalling the latest PlayStation firmware, we cover it all here, step by step.
Gaming

Here's everything you need to know to trade with friends in Pokémon Go

After literally years of waiting, Pokémon Go finally gives trainers the option to trade Pokémon with others. It's not easy, though, and the cost is quite high if you try trading with strangers.
Gaming

Here's what you need to know about World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the latest expansion for the now 14-year-old MMORPG. It goes back to the roots of the Alliance vs. Horde conflict. Here's what you need to know.