As soon as I set eyes on the original iPad, I knew that I wanted one. I was aware that I didn’t need one, but the allure of that Star Trek UI was irresistible. It looks like something from the future. There’s only so much will power one person can muster and gamers tend to be on the low end of that spectrum.
By my own standards, I did well. Instead of immediately thrusting pocketfuls of cash in Steve Jobs’ face, I managed to resist all urges until the iPad 2 was announced. I sat at my computer at 00:29am on 25th March and hammered the F5 key. Moments later, I had ordered the iPad 2. After an anxious three week wait I finally held it in my hands.
Since receiving the iPad 2, I’ve been trying to justify my extravagant purchase. The truth is that while it’s a nice gadget, everything it can do can probably been done by a device that you already own. So, how could I justify my new toy? One of the ways in which I have been trying to justify my purchase is its potential as the ultimate roleplayer’s companion.
Here’s how it’s fared so far…
I don’t know about you but I enjoy throwing dice. It’s part of the fun of playing games. However, rolling physical dice also has its downsides. Do dice that fall on the floor count? Will an errant dice chip paint off your beautiful newly painted Gnome Barbarian? What exactly does a D18 look like? Rolling dice is a potential minefield and the solution is a virtual dice roller.
There’s plenty of adequate dice rolling webpages out there and even IRC bots that will do the job for you. However I needed to justify my shiny new iPad, so I splashed the cash on Dicemonicon. It’s a relatively sophisticated dice rolling app, with animated 3D dice and some nice customisation options. If you want to roll 3D8 + 2, simply enter the roll with the customised on-screen keyboard and save the dice roll formula for future use. Want to re-roll your last throw? Shake the iPad and watch the dice dance.
Dicenomicon is expensive for a dice-rolling application but it can’t be beaten for features and polish.
Replacing all of my rulebooks with a single, light-weight device was something I dreamt about when I first decided to buy an iPad. Thankfully, the iPad works as well I hoped it would for viewing PDFs. There’s a whole host of PDF viewers available for iOS – both free and paid. I bought GoodReader.
So, what swayed me towards GoodReader? Mostly, the great reviews it has been receiving. All the reviewers appeared impressed by the app’s responsiveness and its ability to handle large files. I can only agree. I’ve thrown 300MB PDFs at it and the files have opened instantly. Every page flicks smoothly to the next and the scroll bar down the side makes finding the exact page you want a doddle.
Another great feature is GoodReader’s DropBox integration. For those that don’t know, DropBox is an online back-up and syncing service. Install the software and point it at the folder. Once it’s all set up, DropBox will keep the files in that folder synced between as many PCs and mobile devices as you wish. The basic version of the service (with 2GB of space) is free so it makes a great alternative to USB memory sticks. GoodReader can access files from your DropBox account and sync them down to your iPad – perfect if you ever forget to bring a vital rulebook with you!