My "how excited I am about Shmeppy" meter has gone up and down the last ten months. I've had days where I'm sure Shmeppy will flop, and days where I'm so excited I can't stop looking at it. Today is the latter.
I am so proud of what I've accomplished, I've been hosting games weekly where I use Shmeppy and it's exactly the sort of tool I wanted to build.
I recently found a subreddit r/vtt that has a pretty comprehensive collection of virtual tabletops (ie: my competitors). I spent some time yesterday night just looking through them. I was curious to see whether anyone else is building the same thing.
The answer is no. None of the offerings go for the "forced simplicity" angle that Shmeppy goes for, and they all try to give the user a lot of raw power: weather effects, ambient noises, dynamic lighting, etc. I think they all look really cool but they're not what I actually want from a virtual tabletop.
Shmeppy uniquely says "you don't have to choose between spending a ton of time making a map or using a prebuilt one." Building a map with Shmeppy takes very little time and using it is super straightforward.
Now I'm still not sure just how many people are going to be super excited to use Shmeppy and give up the power of the other virtual tabletops. Like Astral and Foundry have a ton of cool features and I'm sure I'd enjoy diving deep into them as a user. But I know some people will, because I would, and some people already are. And thankfully, Shmeppy isn't some startup with a massive burn rate: I'm the only employee, my savings are large, and its profits can be meager.
I think as Shmeppy gains its own hyper-focussed features I'll convert more people too. I'm super excited to have awesome mobile and touch support. And I'm excited to let users upload images to use as maps, because that's a huge use case that I think will be so well served by Shmeppy. There's even a really cool AoE effect/region tracking tool I've been thinking about for awhile that solves a wide berth of real problems at the table.
It's a shame everything takes so long, I want to launch this thing already and build a bustling community but I'm still getting the pieces together. Soon though.