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lonewolf-rob's page

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For the past few years, we've been creating and refining a new digital tool for RPGs on a scale that has never been done before. Early this year, we did a highly successful Kickstarter to help fuel our efforts, raising nearly $200K. We're proud to say the wait is nearly over. Realm Works debuts in a matter of weeks!

In a nutshell, Realm Works is the campaign management tool that every GM has dreamt about. That sounds like marketing hype, doesn't it? So we'll instead show off what Realm Works can actually do and let you draw your own conclusions. We've put together a new website specifically for this purpose, with an array of resources to whet your appetite.

* For an immediate look at the product in action, check out the Realm Works Virtual Tour. This short video demonstrates some of the amazing things Realm Works can do.

* Extensive details about the product, including numerous screenshots, will be found within the Realm Works product website.

* A more in-depth look at exactly how things work is provided in our initial set of Realm Works Tutorial Videos. These tutorial videos are primarily intended to introduce new users to how the product operates, but they're also a great resource for anyone who wants a closer look.

Many of you will be familiar with us as the creators of Hero Lab. Realm Works integrates smoothly with Hero Lab, yielding an incredibly powerful one-two punch for Pathfinder GMs. However, Realm Works is game system neutral. In other words, it's not specifically tied to any game system, so you can use it with any and all RPGs you run.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be expanding the information provided on the website as we approach the official V1.0 launch. Answers to important details like pricing will similarly be announced soon. So keep an eye on our discussion forums, Facebook page, and Twitter feed for further details.

Get ready to transform the way you run your games!


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The Hero Lab logo incorporates a central triangle, and the triangular element is also used on its own in various contexts. You'll find it throughout our website at www.wolflair.com.


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Cheapy wrote:

Basically, it comes down to if there's something wrong about HL, LW won't change it until there's an official clarification. And that really doesn't work given the way the design team gives clarifications. It's always extremely annoying whenever someone says 'I won't budge from my stance until the design team personally answers my question', and this philosophy seems to have a major amount of support in the LW developers who develop these options.

It's not even that the program is wrong, so much as the attitude that's taken to bug reports about the application being wrong.

Thanks for flagging the attitude issue! I was completely unaware of this, having been up to my eyeballs on everything for Realm Works. As the guy at the top, this is ultimately my fault, so please accept my apologies. I'm going to pursue this issue internally and make sure that we put in the necessary corrections on attitude.

Please note, however, that we're in a difficult spot with regards to determining what's "right" in many cases. The rules continue to become more and more complicated. As you point out, the way the design team provides clarifications is often less than ideal. We do our best to reason through what the "right" interpretation is, and we get it right the vast majority of times. But there are cases where the rules are simply unclear, or we inadvertently overlook an important detail, or Paizo even chooses not to follow its own published rules. In that middle case, it sounds like we need to be more responsive and/or less attached to our interpretation. In the other cases, though, we're left in a bind with no good solution. So we don't really have a choice in those cases other than to wait for an official ruling and implement the rules based on the best interpretation we can come up with.

Please give us the chance to institute some corrections on our end and then let me know if you don't see an improvement in the upcoming weeks.

Thanks!


Gauss wrote:
Geraint, not long ago I went through a publisher's adventure and noticed enough errors that I started analyzing it. In a 2 level adventure I found in the neighborhood of 55 errors with the NPCs. When I contacted the publisher about the errors I was informed that they used Herolab so it should all be accurate.

Would you mind telling me the specific publisher and adventure - offlist - so that I can investigate what went sideways here? This is completely counter to what our experience has been, so we need to figure out what's going on. Please contact me at rob {at} wolflair [dot] com with the details.

Thanks!


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Quick request regarding Hero Lab errors: Please REPORT bugs when you encounter them. That's the only way we'll know what we missed during our own testing. We strive to fix bugs quickly when they're reported, but we can't fix bugs we don't know about. :)

Pathfinder is an incredibly complex system and continues get more complicated with each new book. We're bound to miss things, despite pretty extensive testing.

Please use the link below to report bugs directly to the development team:
Pathfinder Bug Reports for Hero Lab

Thanks in advance for your help in enabling us to make Hero Lab as bullet proof as possible by reporting the bugs we miss!!


@Mir: Unfortunately, I don't know enough of the niggly details regarding what will and won't be included for Razor Coast to give you a definitive answer at this point in time. My assumption is that material like the Player's Guide will be included, but I don't know that for certain.

Our first tablet focus is on the iPad, which is nearly finished. After that, we'll be looking at what's next for Hero Lab, and one of those options is definitely the Android. But nothing has been officially decided yet for what's next. Stay tuned to our monthly newsletter for updates on that.


Mir wrote:
I just watched the maps video and one thing I would like to see is being able to determine the graphic representation and size for the pin.

One of the things on our todo list is to let users setup custom symbol icons for pins with special meanings. So I think this will give you what you want. I'm not sure if this will make it into the V1.0 release, but it's definitely planned.

Mir wrote:
Also I tend to hate mouse over text. I have my mouse set to auto click when I stop over something. This saves my wrists a ton. Having a pin associated with a graphic takes away a bit of the need for the mouseover text.

Lots of users will want the mouseover text as a convenient way to get more information about a location. However, providing more customized flexibility to how everything behaves is definitely something we can add after the initial release. User requests will be major driving force in determining our priorities for new features after the initial release.

Mir wrote:
Ah Razor Coast.... I assume what will be included is the main book and not the extras (Heart of the Razor etc)? Be neat if those of us who did the Razor Coast kickstarter and got those extras could get them in Realm Works as well.

None of the "Kickstarter Exclusive" material will be included with the free Realm Works content. It's possible that something could be worked out with Frog God for backers of both projects, but that's not something we've discussed at this point.

Hope this helps!


Kthulhu wrote:
lonewolf-rob wrote:
Callous Jack wrote:
So will there be a pdf at some point of Halls of the Mountain King?
That's a question for Open Design. I'm going to guess that it will at some point, but that's just a guess.
Probably a better question for Open Design/Kobold Press, but wasn't that one of the early patron projects that was only given out to the patrons? Is Mr. Baur opening up the locks on those old projects? I'd love to get hem, as I didn't discover Open Design until after their projects started being publicly released.

That's definitely a question for Open Design. I'm not aware of their specific plans regarding a possible re-release of Halls of the Mountain King.


It's official! Thank you to everyone who helped make this project a success!

Now excuse me while I slink back to the coding pits in fear of Alice's whip....

:)


Razor Coast has been unlocked!


Razor Coast is only $2100 away with a full two hours left, so all indications are that we'll make it. Hitting 2,000 backers is going to be a much bigger stretch, but it's doable.


And now it's back down to only $2100.

All... most... there...

:)


mach1.9pants wrote:
Well for the Realm Works kickstarter there is 4 hours to go and 8.2k until Razor Coast, it is going to be close!

It's down to only $3500 with 2.5 hours to go. It's definitely doable!


Less than four hours left! And the Razor Coast is in sight!


Quick note! We're down to just under 12 hours left for the Realm Works Kickstarter. If you've been thinking about it but haven't taken the plunge yet, time is running out!

Just to help the decision process a little bit, here's a quick run-down of all the extra rewards that have been added at various pledge levels. This is all content that will be fully integrated into Realm Works and ready for use. You can find complete details on the Kickstarter page.

* Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Preparation (Engine Publishing)
* Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPCs for Any Roleplaying Game (Engine Publishing)
* Halls of the Mountain King (Pathfinder, Open Design)
* Blood Drive Trilogy (Savage Worlds/Deadlands, Pinnacle Entertainment)
* Pirate's Guide to Freeport (Pathfinder & FATE, Green Ronin Publishing)
* Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters (Engine Publishing)
* The Blight (Pathfinder, Frog God Games)
* Grande Temple of Jing (Pathfinder, Hammerdog Games)

And Razor Coast from Frog God Games is the current stretch goal!


Mir wrote:
Really wish this was being done for Razor Coast, if it was I'd pledge right away. I'm interested in the Pett but I have enough on my plate already. :(

Your wish has now come true. :)


It's official! The Pirate's Guide to Freeport has been unlocked for Realm Works.

Next up as a stretch goal, we've got a lot more swashbuckling with Razor Coast, an upcoming campaign for Pathfinder from Frog God Games. Razor Coast is the long anticipated Caribe-Polynesian flavored, Age of Sail swashbuckling RPG campaign envisioned and designed by Nicolas Logue. It has been praised for its ambitious and original design, its epic flavor and its lurid, full-color art – including a cover by the award winning Wayne Reynolds. Logue tapped a team of veteran designers to help develop and write Razor Coast, including Lou Agresta, Adam Daigle, Tim Hitchcock, and John Ling. Razor Coast isn’t just an adventure, it’s part setting, part adventure path, and part toolkit to build your own unique campaign. It’s non-linear and will never play the same way twice.

For more details about Razor Coast, you can check out the successful Kickstarter campaign that completed just weeks ago.


Mead Gregorisson wrote:
I popped my kickstarter cherry.

That's quite an image you just conjured up for me. It may take me days to recover from that....

However, we definitely appreciate that you allowed us to be your first. :)


The Blight has been unlocked! Now it's time to bring back a timeless classic. If we hit this new goal, we'll include the entirety of the Pirate's Guide to Freeport from Green Ronin Publishing!

Freeport is Green Ronin's signature city setting and has been home to thousands of RPG campaigns since its launch in 2000. Classic fantasy elements, cruel-hearted pirates, and Lovecraftian horror come together in the rum-fueled metropolis known as the City of Adventure. Now a new era is beginning. The Pirate's Guide to Freeport is the definitive new sourcebook for the City of Adventure, set 5 years after the events of the original Freeport Trilogy. This is a pure setting book, focusing entirely on the people, places, politics, and perils of Freeport and containing no game statistics of any kind. The Pirate's Guide to Freeport can thus be used with any fantasy RPG.

The Freeport Companion for FATE and Pathfinder will also be included, detailing cultists, pirates, serpent people, and much more.


As we head into the final 48 hours of the Kickstarter, we doing something completely unplanned. We're adding a new stretch goal that is totally independent of traditional dollar-based objectives and instead tied to the total number of backers we achieve. If we hit 2,000 backers or more, regardless of the dollars raised, every backer at the Timber Wolf ($65) level and higher will receive a free Hero Lab gift license! This is a license you can give to someone else in your gaming group, or you're welcome to be greedy and use it for yourself. :)

Why are we doing this? We've received numerous requests to offer Hero Lab licenses in conjunction with the Kickstarter. We didn't want to do that originally because Realm Works is game system neutral, while Hero Lab only supports specific games. But we're now in stretch goal territory and we want everyone to know we've been listening! So we're going out on a limb and offering something big if we can hit an admittedly big target. The Hero Lab license itself is a $30 value, and combined with all the other great stuff at the Timber Wolf level, this will be a steal for everyone who backs at that level or higher.

Yes, this is an aggressive target, but the reward is equally big. In a few hours, we'll complete stretch goal #3, so backers at this level will receive all three Engine Publishing books, Grand Temple of Jing, Halls of the Mountain King, Blood Drive Trilogy, and The Blight. Throw in a Hero Lab license ($30 value) and the additional content-based stretch goals we're on track to reach, and the value of the Timber Wolf pledge level will be well over $300!

This Kickstarter closes Sunday at 6pm Pacific. Check it out before it's too late!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/610004753/realm-works-streamlined-rpg-c ampaign-tools


Callous Jack wrote:
So will there be a pdf at some point of Halls of the Mountain King?

That's a question for Open Design. I'm going to guess that it will at some point, but that's just a guess.


Kthulhu wrote:
I'm assuming that them Realm Works version of The Blight would be the Pathfinder version? Can't seem to get no love for Swords & Wizardry from you guys. :P

My understanding is that both the Pathfinder and S&W material will be included. Realm Works is not game-specific, so it's possible for us to include both. :)


Marc Radle wrote:

I think the point is that many people would be interested in getting the AP in a print format, or at least in a nice PDF. Limiting its' availability to only Realm Works can be seen as a negative to some as much as a positive to others.

For example, I'd be interested in getting this AP, but only in a printed form or, at the very least, a PDF. Making it available only in Realm Works makes it of no use to me.

Make sense?

That makes complete sense. The part I don't understand is that, just because the format isn't to some people's liking, that doesn't make the thread useless to everyone, nor does it make it misleading - both of which seem to be the tone of a few posters above. As you point out, availability of the AP through Realm Works is a negative to some and a positive to others, so our goal is to bring this to the attention of those who would view it as a positive. What surprises me is the disparagement coming from some posters simply because it's not in the format they happen to want.


zylphryx wrote:

Agreed. Stating

Quote:
If we reach the third stretch goal, we'll be including the entirety of The Blight, an upcoming Adventure Path for Pathfinder from Frog God Games. Richard Pett’s Twisted City - The Blight, is planned to be 12 districts of a city with 12 adventures, providing an Adventure Path with 12 meaty installments.
makes it sound as if the AP itself is being included as a stretch goal, not that the contents of the AP would be integrated into the application.

I'm confused. The AP itself is definitely being included as a stretch goal. The content of the AP *is* the AP. If you purchase a printed book, you have the AP content in one format. If you have the PDF, you have the AP content in a different format. If you have it in Realm Works, you have the AP in yet another format. Everything is present in each format (text, maps, artwork, etc). The only difference is the delivery vehicle, and Realm Works makes the material vastly more usable than PDF or printed book. That's why Frog God Games and many others have hopped on board with what we're doing.

It seems to me that the issue here likely centers on this representing an unfamiliar new change instead of anything actually misleading. We clearly have work to do to explain the new model that we're introducing to everyone.

Thanks for the feedback!


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Nikosandros wrote:
Will Paizo release APs and modules for Realm Works?

That's our hope, but no license has yet been signed, so there's nothing to report at this time. At this point, we've announced licenses with Frog God Games, Open Design, and Pinnacle. We also have licenses in place with a couple more prominent companies that we'll be unveiling as our stretch goals are revealed.


Thanael wrote:
As with the Halls of the mountain King stretch goal, the content will only be made available via the software platform. So no PDFs! I felt that this needs a bit if clarification...

There's a prominent note about this near the top of the stretch goals section. How would you recommend we make this clearer?


Mir wrote:
Really wish this was being done for Razor Coast, if it was I'd pledge right away. I'm interested in the Pett but I have enough on my plate already. :(

Hint: We aren't done yet, and there are more stretch goals in the pipeline. :)


The Realm Works Kickstarter is now rocketing towards its third stretch goal, and this one is of significant interest to fans of Richard Pett and Frog God Games.

If we reach the third stretch goal, we'll be including the entirety of The Blight, an upcoming Adventure Path for Pathfinder from Frog God Games. Richard Pett’s Twisted City - The Blight, is planned to be 12 districts of a city with 12 adventures, providing an Adventure Path with 12 meaty installments.

Between is a temptation too great for some; a land of plenty (and danger) on the doorstep, rich in possible wealth and with the draw of Between Vessels—curious objects that retain memories, feelings and even souls—the reasons for venturing into the land are numerous, and have drawn many. The Illuminati, using the funds of the royal family, have struck again and again into this new empire, and those very incursions threaten to undo the Blight. Constant incursions into Between from the Blight have weakened the fabric of the wall that separates the two places. There are those who wish the levee to break, who would revel in the chaos and madness of life and souls that would happen should a fracture burst and a tidal wave of Between pour into the city. There are also those who have a conscience, who oppose the Illuminati and the royal family as much as they safely can in the face of such power. They know nothing about the levee, but they have their suspicions. And into this world come the PCs…

If you want to get your hands on this epic AP, you'll need to check out the Realm Works Kickstarter.


And a few hours later, we've blown through the second stretch goal! The third stretch goal is big one, and it's of significant interest to fans of Richard Pett and Frog God Games.

If we reach the third stretch goal, we'll be including the entirety of The Blight, an upcoming Adventure Path for Pathfinder from Frog God Games. Richard Pett’s Twisted City - The Blight, is planned to be 12 districts of a city with 12 adventures, providing an Adventure Path with 12 meaty installments.

Between is a temptation too great for some; a land of plenty (and danger) on the doorstep, rich in possible wealth and with the draw of Between Vessels—curious objects that retain memories, feelings and even souls—the reasons for venturing into the land are numerous, and have drawn many. The Illuminati, using the funds of the royal family, have struck again and again into this new empire, and those very incursions threaten to undo the Blight. Constant incursions into Between from the Blight have weakened the fabric of the wall that separates the two places. There are those who wish the levee to break, who would revel in the chaos and madness of life and souls that would happen should a fracture burst and a tidal wave of Between pour into the city. There are also those who have a conscience, who oppose the Illuminati and the royal family as much as they safely can in the face of such power. They know nothing about the levee, but they have their suspicions. And into this world come the PCs…

If you want to get your hands on this epic AP, you'll need to check out the Realm Works Kickstarter.


That was quick! In a matter of hours, we've already blown past the first stretch goal! :)

Keep it going! There's more awesome content waiting in the wings, including a lot of Pathfinder goodness...


We're right on the cusp of reaching our funding goal, and we just announced our first two stretch goals! We've got free Pathfinder content from Open Design and Savage Worlds content from Pinnacle lined up, and we're just getting started!

Check it out! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/610004753/realm-works-streamlined-rpg-c ampaign-tools


Sethvir wrote:
Sorry about that. Basically, our current campaign is everyone brings two sourcebooks, using them, build out the campaign setting. On Obsidian Portal, we documented the list of sourcebooks, the character creation guidelines, the advancement rules and the basic storyline. Realm Works, seemingly focuses on the world itself, which is fine, but just wanted to know if it allows for capturing the, for lack of a better word, the metagame elements.

Thanks for clarifying. That makes perfect sense. Yes, Realm Works has a couple different mechanisms you could leverage for this. Probably the most likely mechanism you would use is what we call "articles". They are similar to wiki pages in many ways and are ideally suited to things like house rules, campaign setting details known by all players (e.g. a players' guide), the list of sourcebooks allowed, etc. Everything in articles fully supports the automatic cross-linking, tagging, full-text search, etc. They are simply another content type that can be leveraged b the GM.

So I think you'll have exactly what you need available in Realm Works. :)


Sethvir wrote:
1). Our current campaign is 8 people walk into a bar and throw down two sourcebooks each, d20 material all legal, and make a game of that. So way to share the materials and in such a system character creation and advancement rules.

I'm having trouble parsing this question. Could you please re-phrase this for me?

Sethvir wrote:
2). When we can't meet we use forum posts on obsidian portal for in character discussions, what are character is doing in between adventures. Any facility for that type of interaction?

Yes, but with a big caveat. The timing for inclusion of this capability is dependent upon us reaching an as-yet-unannounced stretch goal for the Kickstarter. The feature has been fully outlined, but we haven't implemented it yet. The KS will determine exactly when this makes it into the product. If we fund and hit the stretch goal, we'll obviously have it much sooner than if we don't. It's targeted for inclusion into the product either way, but the KS will let us hire another developer, and the presence of that extra developer will significantly impact the timing of when this capability can be added.


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Chemlak wrote:
I can easily see this as a new channel for publishers to release material - can you imagine spending a few $$ on an AP and getting the background material and adventure detail in pre-packaged Realm Works format? How about the entire Golarion setting?

That's exactly the vision. :)

We'll be releasing Realm Works with a number of large examples of this. We commissioned the Isle of Kandril from Super Genius Games, which will be provided to all users for free. A few more will be available for free to backers of our Kickstarter and then available for sale to new users when the product launches. There are a few pretty big names on board already, and we're hoping to add one or two more before the KS completes. So stay tuned for their unveiling...


Heine Stick wrote:

I'm wondering about the cloud aspect of Realm Works when it comes to premade material. I'm currently running the Carrion Crown adventure path and once that's done, I'll be doing a Skull & Shackles/Razor Coast/Journeys to the West mashup. Realm Works seems like the ideal tool for me to keep track of everything in such a massive campaign. However, I wonder about the legalities of having such a campaign be in the cloud, considering it'll probably contain maps/artwork, stat blocks, blocks of text, etc. from published material.

So, my question is, will there be legal issues with running published material through Realm Works and its cloud service?

The material within an adventure path or other settings/modules/etc is published with the express intent of it being shared within your gaming group through play. As such, there should be no legal issues with putting published material into Realm Works and leveraging the cloud service to disclose it to your players. That's the official opinion of our IP attorney, at least. :)

The key caveat to this model is that the published material can't be made public beyond your private gaming group. If it's revealed to and consumed by your players, it's being used as the publisher intended it in the first place. If you attempt to disclose it to a wider audience, then you'll run into problems. We'll have formal terms of service in place that users will have to abide by, and they will include common sense rules like this to ensure the protection of published material. If someone violates those rules, then we'll have to take action, and it will be similar to if you posted a PDF of a published product on a public site today.


Curmudgeonly wrote:

As someone who has never used Hero Lab, and mainly only runs pre-made adventures (from Paizo, FGG and just recently purchased Way of the Wicked) at my place with my friends, can someone explain to me what the process would be to get say Curse of the Crimson Throne to work on this software?

I'm just not sure what it would all entail, but it seems like it would be more work for me to copy all the content from the AP line into this software than work directly out of the books.

There are a few aspects of this to address...

If you only run pre-made adventures, exactly as written, then there would be a reasonable amount of work involved to copy it all out and use it in Realm Works. While we've designed the product to be highly efficient in this process, an entire AP is still a good chunk of material that will take some time to import. In that situation, you'd likely be better off only copying portions that you'll plan on sharing with the players and that you believe will facilitate your games.

If you run pre-made adventures but tailor them into your campaign world, Realm Works will be invaluable. All of the notes associated with integrating the material would be a thing of the past. Instead of having to make notes everywhere, you could make the changes directly to the affected material. In addition, everything from the adventure can be hooked conveniently into your world. If you're placing it somewhere different in your world, that's easy to hook in. Want to change a few NPCs to tie them into existing material in your world? Simple. Want to drop plot hooks to the adventure at various point in your world? Done. And it's all woven together into a unified whole instead of disconnected notes and books/PDFs.

The long-term vision is where we expect Realm Works to really transform most games. We expect many publishers to begin releasing their adventures through Realm Works. When that occurs, you would be able to purchase the adventure pre-built into Realm Works. Then you could leverage all of Realm Works' features immediately, without any need to input anything yourself.

We've talked at length with many of the prominent 3PPs, plus Paizo themselves, about publishing through Realm Works. Every one of them has been keenly interested in the product's potential. At this point, we already have a few officially signed on to publish their material through us. In fact, we'll be announcing some of them over the next week as we reveal some of our stretch goals. So stay tuned on that. I think you'll be keenly interested in at least one of them based on your post. :)


For anyone interested in some additional info and insights into Realm Works, the gang at The d6 Generation podcast spent some time grilling us about it in the episode that just aired late last night. They explore a variety of aspects of the product. Some of the key areas include: how Realm Works will support both game preparation and during play; some of the pain points we're striving to solve with Realm Works; and how we envision the cloud and community repository will be leveraged.

The episode can be found at the link below:
http://www.thed6generation.com//d6g-ep-119-i-m-too-sexy-for-my-game-realm-w orks-interview

The interview with our very own Colen McAlister starts at around the 2:05 mark.

Note: If you haven't listened to The d6 Generation podcasts before, they're high-energy and always entertaining. So we heartily recommend you check out additional episodes!


Urath DM wrote:
The way the add-on is worded, Rob, it sounds like it would include the Tome of Horrors Complete for Pathfinder (as no mention is made of limiting it to Paizo-sourced content). That's certainly a factor in my choosing to pledge with additional money for that add-on.

Doh! Thanks for pointing this out! We completely overlooked that detail.

Unfortunately, add-ons released on behalf of third-party publishers are not developed by us, so we can't offer them as part of the "2013" option. All that we can include are add-ons for Paizo products, which we develop in-house.

We just clarified this on the KS project page and sent out an explicit notification to all backers that could have been inadvertently misled by our lack of detail on that option. So they will all have the chance to adjust their pledges based on the new information. If you've already pledged to include the extra funds for that option, you should have received a message yourself by now.

Thanks again for flagging this oversight to our attention! It's greatly appreciated!


Alice Margatroid wrote:
I also appreciate the answers, and your answers DEFINITELY make me consider backing. Hopefully you get about $1mil and thus can launch with the Evernote-esque system running. ;)

Oh, the things we could accomplish with only HALF that amount...

Pinch me. I think I'm dreaming. :)

Alice Margatroid wrote:
How many Hero Lab Add-ons are you planning on releasing in 2013? Debating whether it's worth my money to go in with that add-on.

At this point, we don't honestly know any of the specifics associated with the books Paizo will be publishing in 2013, so we're taking our "best guess" here regarding exactly how much work those books will entail to implement in Hero Lab. If someone were to purchase all the new content we release for Pathfinder in 2013 as we release it, they might spend slightly less than the $60 add-on. However, based on the amount of “crunch” we're expecting in some of the new books Paizo will be releasing, it's also possible the $60 add-on will turn out to be a cheaper alternative.

All we can do is project the publishing schedule at this point. Our typical pricing hovers around $9.99 for a hardcover book, $4.99 for 3-ish Players Companion books and $4.99 for 4-ish Campaign Setting books. There are 3 hardcovers, 12 Players Companion books, and 12 Campaign Setting books in a typical year. So that likely comes out at roughly $65. So it's not intended as a huge savings so much as a "fair price" with maybe 10% savings that also provides the added convenience to users of just getting everything automatically. Our real focus is on the Kickstarter, and we don't want to cannibalize Hero Lab sales for the sake of Realm Works - it has to stand on its own as a product. So we're essentially giving users who already know they'll want to buy everything this year a chance to do so and also help the Kickstarter out. :)


danielc wrote:
I keep trying to be excited by this. But when I look at it all I see it an increase in my work as GM so the players can access my files in a cloud enviroment?

That's not been the feedback of the 100+ GMs we've had using the product for the past year and providing input. We've been working with a pilot testing team since early last year and refining features that weren't viewed as a big benefit. In some cases, we threw out our original design and started over. The goal with Realm Works is to vastly improve the life of a GM and also empower the players much more than is typically possible with existing tools.

If you take a look at the list of features in my post above, I'd be stunned if you didn't find at least some of those beneficial to your game. :)

danielc wrote:
What are we looking at cost wise for a month of cloud time?

That's still TBD, since we really need to do more testing and usage profiling in this area. We expect to have multiple tiers to suit the varying storage and bandwidth needs of different GMs. Our guarantee to anyone backing the Kickstarter is that they will be automatically slotted in at a tier that provides at LEAST as much value as what they're contributing. For example, if we end up with tiers at $10 and $20 (numbers randomly chosen for illustration only), someone who backs us with $15 would be upgraded to the $20 tier.

danielc wrote:
Each player will need to buy the software as well, yes?

No. There will be a web-based interface that all players can access for free. Initially, it won't be nearly as feature rich as the client application, but it will still do the job and be steadily enhanced as we migrate more fully to the web.

Our goal is to also allow players to utilize the client application as a viewer for free - or some very minimal cost. The issue here for us is that having 5 times the number of users of the client application introduces 5 times the support cost for us to manage. That has to be paid for somehow, and we're still figuring out the best way to handle that.


Alice Margatroid wrote:

I see your program existing in a similar space to things like Obsidian Portal. The main things I see as separating you from OP are:

- Immediate hyperlinking rather than having to manually add Wiki-style links.
- More easily sharing information with players while withholding other things.
- Offline usage.
- Eventually being able to download pre-made campaigns.

What else do you offer that separates you from other similar campaign management programs/sites?

In addition to the items you cite above, we think there are many additional features that separate Realm Works from other existing tools. For example:

* Visual creation of the plots and stories, with the ability to weave all the content into them
* Incremental reveal of maps, which is an important distinction from the reveal of text-based content
* Placing pins on maps that are tied to content, allowing the use of maps for content navigation - with pins being individually revealable to players
* Integration of widely varied content types, including pictures, audio, video, statblocks, and a whole bunch more - all with complete reveal control
* Full-text search indexing of everything for instant search
* Content tagging for efficient filtering and retrieval
* Relationship management with full diagramming, such as family trees - this also includes tracking of attitudes
* The reveal history should make it faster and easier to reacquire context at the start of new game sessions, as well as making it easy to bring players up to speed when they miss a session
* Custom calendars will be incredibly valuable to many GMs, especially the ability to overlap multiple calendars - such as the multiple calendars of Forgotten Realms or the calendars of Traveller

I'm sure I'm forgetting some things, but that's a pretty good list to get started with. :)

Alice Margatroid wrote:
Is there a limit on how many computers you can install Realm Works? Can I have it on both my desktop and my laptop? Are there plans to develop a mobile app version for GMs to use on their tablets and phones?

There is no limit on the computers, so yes and yes. The best analogy for the access model is probably Steam. It won't work exactly the same way, but it will be similar. You can be logged in on your desktop for game preparation, then switch to your laptop for running a game. Once we have mobile access in place, you'll be able to use you tablet to jot down notes and ideas, or maybe make some tweaks at work before a game that night.

Alice Margatroid wrote:
As you can tell, the portability of such an application is of high importance to me. Not having a web-based interface from the get-go is a pretty big problem at that. I would prefer a system like Evernote's, personally, where you can work offline, sync when you're online, and also work from a web interface when installing the software isn't feasible.

The Evernote model is actually very similar to what we're working towards. I outlined this in more detail in my response to @Perram immediately above your post. We're starting with minimal web support for a variety of reasons that are outlined above and migrating towards a complete web-based model. The Kickstarter is actually targeted at accelerating our timetable for getting that functionality online.


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Perram wrote:

Help me understand the use case for this, it seems to be that the real point of this software is to be used at a real game table where the GM has a laptop in front of him?

I assume this is meant for 100% digital play, since there is no mention for printing support and no print button on the menus.

It also seems to be purely PC / MAC aimed, and not web based so... aren't you worried about the shifting sands here towards tablets to fill this role?

Or is this mostly meant for online-only games?

There are both short-term and long-term goals for Realm Works. In the short-term, there are many games being played where high-speed internet access is not reliably and inexpensively available. Cons are a prime example of this, as are venues like many schools, clubs, and libraries. But consider game preparation as well. How many people have constant internet access on the train, on the bus, at lunch during work? If you come up with an idea, you want to run with it then - not hours later.

Now consider the reliability factor. How often do people experience internet drops or slow-downs? What about server outages? What happens when you've only got a slow connection or the server goes down for even 5 minutes? It renders the game unplayable if you're 100% reliant on a high-speed connection to a server somewhere.

What if you're a GM who normally run games at home with full internet access but also wants to run games at GenCon or PaizoCon, where internet access is costly and slow? Do you want to have all these tools available at home and then have nothing at the Con? That's far from an ideal scenario.

The only way to address these issues is to provide a non-web-based solution that runs on a disconnected client. Always available. Guaranteed performance.

That's the short-term reality. So let's look at the long-term now.

As you point out, the sands are shifting. In the upcoming years, internet access will continue to become faster, cheaper, more widely accessible, and more reliable. At some point, it will become truly ubiquitous. When that day occurs, the client application will be of no value to anyone. But we're not there yet. We're living in a transitional period, so we need something that will work today and shift along with the sands.

Enter the cloud. The Realm Works cloud is NOT just storage. It's not Dropbox or GoogleDrive. It's the entire campaign fully operational on a server. Players can access it via a web-based interface from their tablets if they want. It's fully accessible between games. But nobody is reliant on the server in order to actually PLAY their game.

Over time, we'll be replicating all the functionality of the client application onto the server. The net result will be duplicate functionality with both a purely online interface and the client application, catering appropriately to anyone in any environment. At some point, the sands will have shifted enough that we leave the client application behind.

That's the evolution plan for Realm Works.

Now couple that with the ability to find pre-made content like settings, adventures, and NPCs in the community repository. Instead of having different books/PDFs with Post-Its and scribbled notes to cobble them together, everything is integrated into one unified environment. You can rename locations and NPCs to place them into your world. You can establish links to put the Dungeon of Doom from PublisherX into a setting from PublisherY that you've already woven into your own campaign. No more flipping between different resources during games. And it's all available to the players as well - the pieces you've revealed, at least.

That's the overall vision, and I hope that explanation addresses your concerns regarding where we're focusing with Realm Works. It's not just for either online or offline play. It's a solution that will be equally suited to both purposes while further immersing players and GMs into the game.

Oh, and to address your question about printing. Yes, printing support will be included, since some GMs will use Realm Works solely for their own preparation and not at the actual table during play. It's not in any of the screenshots or video because its location is within the "application" menu, just like where you'll find it in products like Microsoft Word and Excel. :)

Hope this helps!


Pat Luther wrote:
About Hero Lab (and DMs): Lone Wolf in past years has been giving away free license of Hero Lab to the DMs at the con. This is an awesome incentive to run a game. (Dunno if they're going to again this year.)

We haven't discussed this detail yet, but I'm pretty sure we'll be doing this again.

Pat Luther wrote:

Questions for Rob (or other Lone Wolf folks):

1. Any chance there'll be an iPad version by the time the con starts?

That's absolutely the plan!

Pat Luther wrote:
2. Will your Character Creation Station be supporting all your games, or just Pathfinder? I'll probably be running a Shadowrun and a Star Wars game this year, and it'd be cool...

All games. We've had all games on them every year thus far and will continue to do so. We don't really promote it at PaizoCon, since the focus is obviously on Pathfinder, but anyone interested in the other games we support can definitely use the Character Creation Station to test drive the product and/or prepare characters for play at the Con.

Hope this helps!


Wildebob wrote:
Out of curiosity, does PaizoCon draw a lot of vendors to it, like Chessex dice, or the HeroLab people, or any of that stuff? Or is it all Paizo, all the time?

Lone Wolf sets up and mans the Hero Lab Character Creation Stations outside of the PFS play area every year, and we'll be back again this year. We don't have a table in the vendor room, but we're readily available to provide demos and answer questions throughout the show. In fact, our hours of availability are actually longer than the vendor room in order to give everyone access to the Character Creation Stations prior to the first round of games in the early morning. :)

We'll also be doing multiple Hero Lab seminars at PaizoCon and showing off our new Realm Works product, which will be officially releasing in July this year.


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The Great Rinaldo! wrote:
Actually, Hero Lab runs beautifully on my Samsung Ativ Windows 8 tablet. This is a full Windows 8 tablet, not an RT, and it runs desktop software.

First of all, thanks for the endorsement!

I think the important distinction here is that you're running the desktop version of Hero Lab on a desktop-caliber tablet computer. Those machines are comparatively very uncommon these days and not what most people think of when someone says "tablet". Most are thinking of iPads and Android tablets (and now Windows Surfaces). But the lines are blurring with devices like yours readily available, and that's only going to foster more confusion among users who haven't yet learned the sometimes subtle yet critical distinctions between the different platforms.

We're getting ready to wrap up the in-play character sheet version of Hero Lab, and we're striving to get it submitted to the AppStore in the next few weeks. After that, we'll continue to get full Hero Lab functionality implemented on the iPad.

And before anyone starts asking, we'll provide an update in our monthly newsletter at the end of December. So stay tuned for that. :)


Worldbuilder wrote:
I've never reported it because I don't use Hero Lab my self.

How recent were the problems you cite above? There was a massive overhaul with extensive bug fixes that we completed a couple months ago. If these bugs were awhile back, you might find that they've been fixed by now.

The complexities of Pathfinder are extreme, with all sorts of conflicts and exceptions throughout the rules, so we rely on users to report bugs that slip through all of our testing. We make a point of fixing bugs when they are reported.

In fact, Hero Lab is significantly more accurate than the spreadsheet Paizo has been using in-house, which is why Paizo is in the process of adopting Hero Lab internally right now. That doesn't make Hero Lab perfect by any stretch, but we're constantly refining and updating it in an effort to achieve that goal.

All that being said, if we don't know about bugs, we can't fix them. :( It's certainly not your responsibility if you don't use Hero Lab, but please encourage any players who do to report bugs to us so we can get them fixed! :)

Thanks!


Christopher Rowe wrote:
Still deafening silence on some other issues (nobody wants to talk about the times 3/4 adjustment Small characters make to the values on the Carrying Capacity table, for instance, and questions about the accuracy of HeroLab when it comes to weight and encumbrance scare people silent), but them's the breaks.

If you're seeking answers regarding Hero Lab that pertain to features not commonly worried about by players, it's quite likely nobody here on the Paizo forums truly knows the answer. Heck, I work for the company and *I* sure don't know the answer, else I would be posting it for you. :)

Please consider posting your Hero Lab questions directly on our support forums - specifically, the sub-forum for the Pathfinder data files. Here's a link. The developers are available there and should be able to get you an accurate answer to your question. :)

Hope this helps!


spades1013 wrote:

http://www.wolflair.com/index.php?context=hero_lab&page=starter_edition

Not exactly what you asked for but damn good.

And 100% free. It also includes the Barbarian.


Nylanfs wrote:

Updated load times

There's two sets of times for PCGen
Load time from starting program (including selecting the datasets): 2:37min
Load time if they are already selected from a previous session: 37.28 seconds.

So yes HL does still seem to be faster (Grrrr), but PCGen is LOADS better than it was. :)

The improvements made in PCGen 6.0 were significant. No question about that. The UI has greatly improved and the performance is now vastly better, so the dev team definitely took things up a notch with this release.

However, in terms of raw performance, I honestly don't think it's possible for a Java-based tool to compare favorably with a native application. Once you reload Hero Lab and see the sub-10-second times I outline above, the question of comparative performance should be put to rest.

That shouldn't really be a concern for you guys, though. As long as the performance is "good enough" to not be a major distraction for users, then you're fine. The old 3-minute loads were a huge distraction and source of frustration, but 40 seconds is into the realm of acceptable, especially for the price point you guys charge.

There's always going to be a cost for everything. Users can "pay" in cash, in time, in frustration, in limitations, in usability, whatever. That's why PCGen has a loyal following the same way Hero Lab, sCoreForge, and others do. Every user has different priorities and is more willing to "pay" in different ways. That's why we make the demo version of Hero Lab available. It's critical that users try out the different options and decide which ones best fit their personal criteria and how they choose to "pay" the costs of character creation. This includes those who choose to stick with pencil and paper, which has its own "costs". Everyone needs to decide what's best for their own situation. :)


Nylanfs wrote:

Yes I completely agree Rob, everyone should definitely try all the tools and select the one that they feel most comfortable with.

Rob, I have HL for the ShadowRun rules, haven't purchased the Pathfinder ruleset. So even though I haven't purchased the licenses the database includes all the data from the books? I will definitely run a more accurate test then.

Sort of. It's not quite that simple due to the compiler. All the data files are included in the download. All the files get processed during the compilation, but not all of them are actually compiled into the finished result - that depends on what access your license dictates. After that, the compiled files load ultra-fast.

Here's how things work on my machine, where I have everything licensed:

* 3-second delay with splash screen at startup before "select game" window appears

* For an initial load of brand new files that requires everything to be compiled: 6 seconds (approx) to compile plus 2 seconds to "Load Game" plus 2 seconds to "Build UI" (10 seconds total)

* On all subsequent loads of the same data files, the compilation has already been performed, so the load consists of 2 seconds to "Load Game" plus 2 seconds to "Build UI" (4 seconds total)

So for me, with absolutely everything licensed, it takes 10 seconds to load the first time and process everything, including compiling the files. Every time after that, it takes 4 seconds to load everything. Note that these numbers do not include the 3-second delay during startup to show the splash screen and then prompt the user to select the game system to use. So you could call it 13 and 7 if you want to include that time for comparison.

Obviously, these numbers will be different for your system based on its performance characteristics, so these numbers aren't valid for comparison to the PCGen numbers you cited above. They are intended as illustrative of how things work with Hero Lab.

Your system spent 28 seconds doing the initial compile and load of the Hero Lab files that first time. Based on my numbers, I'm guessing the compile time was probably about 18-20 seconds of that. The compilation process excised all of the sources that aren't licensed. So on your *next* load, you'll only get the core data files in their compiled state. My guess is that loading the same Pathfinder files a second time on your computer will now take less than 10 seconds, since you'll now be loading the compiled version of the files, which is vastly faster. On my system, the compile process took 60+% of the initial load time.

Our assumption is that users will be loading the same files many times, so we automatically compile the files when they are changed. The compile process takes a bit of time. However, all subsequent loads are vastly faster for a significantly improved user experience.

Hope this explanation helps! If anything here is confusing or unclear, please let me know and I'll do my best to clarify. :)

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