DnD virtual tabletop Roll20 gets its biggest update in a decade

Fans of Dungeons and Dragons and other tabletop RPGs will soon be able to play virtual games on a new and improved version of Roll20.

Roll20 Jumpgate logo

On November 29, Roll20 announced Jumpgate, “the largest overhaul and modernization of our VTT platform since we started”. A Roll20 blog post says the update will bring “a faster, more performant VTT, with a beautiful modern interface, built on top of the latest web technology”. Pro users will apparently be able to playtest Jumpgate in Q1 of 2024.

In the blog post, Roll20 founder Riley Dutton explains the virtual tabletop is designed for web browsers that are years out of date. “This is our opportunity to rework that legacy code with an eye toward what browsers are capable of in today’s world”, Dutton writes.

Speed is a major concern for Roll20 – both in terms of the VTT’s performance and how quickly the team can add new features. “The end result will be a much more powerful engine that will not only deliver your tabletop games with speed, we’ll also be able to introduce new features to the VTT more quickly”, Dutton writes. “And as new web technology such as WebGPU becomes widespread, we’ll be ready and able to take advantage to increase these wins even further.”

The blog post even features an early demonstration, showing the difference in performance between Jumpgate and modern-day Roll20. Here’s the video:

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“The first part of the video showcases a very demanding page with 100 animated dragon tokens”, Dutton explains. “Legacy Roll20 really struggles with this scenario even on the high-end computer on which this was recorded, requiring 400% total ‘CPU’ usage (this also includes GPU usage due to how Chrome reports), as well as 4 GB of memory. As you can see in the video, it’s pretty much unplayable in Roll20 right now.”

“With Jumpgate on the other hand, CPU and GPU usage is a mere 50% combined, and only 1.5 GB of memory is used”, Dutton adds. “We’re using just a fraction of the CPU resources we were previously.”

Roll20 will also apparently continue to upgrade its user interface, “with an eye toward things that interact with the VTT tabletop itself, such as the right-click context menus, token bars, and more”. Dutton promises more will be shared about these changes in the coming months.

By the end of Q1 2024, Pro users will be able to import their existing DnD campaigns (and other tabletop RPG games) into Jumpgate for testing. You can read more about the announcement in the official Roll20 blog post.