Herolab Woes


Product Discussion


I use herolab to stat out NPC's for my home games, design monsters, and work on my occasional PC. I don't use the combat manager or really have much of a reason to open the program more than about once every 3-5 weeks.

The problem is, it seems like EVERY TIME I OPEN IT, I have to download the "new" version which is about a 10MB file, then relaunch and download the new data package (Even if I didn't buy anything) which is about a 130MB file.

Herolab servers aren't exactly the fastest on the internet. The 130MB file takes 5-7 minutes. So after launching, downloading, relaunching, and downloading, I'm at at least 10 minutes. It's kind-of a beating for a piece of software I spent over $300+ on to be so freaking PITA to use.

So, fellow hero-lab users, do you have these concerns? Does everyone else use the combat manager and so they open the program all the time and the monthly updates only seem incidental?

Lonewolf Dev guys out there, why oh why cant you set up the data packages as incremental updates instead of data dumps? What can you do to make this process less annoying?

Just as a point of reference, I started typing this post when I was told I needed to download the new version, as I finish it, the data package is about 1/3 finished.


I use Hero Lab more frequently than it sounds like you do. It doesn't take me quite that long unless there's been a new book release (such as Pathfinder Unchained) or a major patch update. I don't use the Combat Manager either, just the character creation tools. I also run it on 4 devices, so have to update 4 times.

I don't think the updates are that long, but perhaps I'm running on a faster internet. The 10MB file takes all of about 30 seconds for me. The 130MB file is a chore, but again, it only happens when there's a massive update; frequently a week or two after a major books release.

The only suggestion I'd say is if you don't want the new books added, which it sounds like you do considering the $$$ you put up, don't apply the update until after you are done. But if you want the increased database of character options, then it's a necessary evil with the way Hero Lab is designed. The alternative would be a web-based service. Perhaps Hero Lab will someday make a web-only application that won't require updates (but won't work offline) for you. You might contact them and inquire as to that option.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Maybe I'm missing something here, but you can just skip the update, right?

I use HL much the same way you do: for PC/NPC generation, but not much for combat. I open it every few days, so the updates are incidental for me. When I update the data package, it downloads in 2-3 minutes. When the program updates and reinstalls, it takes less than that.

Perhaps I'd feel more like you do if it updated every time I used it (3-4 times/week). However, I'm very happy to have a well-supported tool that never seems to be more than about 1 month behind the print edition of the game.

-Skeld


Skeld wrote:

Maybe I'm missing something here, but you can just skip the update, right?

I use HL much the same way you do: for PC/NPC generation, but not much for combat. I open it every few days, so the updates are incidental for me. When I update the data package, it downloads in 2-3 minutes. When the program updates and reinstalls, it takes less than that.

Perhaps I'd feel more like you do if it updated every time I used it (3-4 times/week). However, I'm very happy to have a well-supported tool that never seems to be more than about 1 month behind the print edition of the game.

-Skeld

Yes, you can skip it, which I do if I just need to get in and print something I already made. If I'm making something new or if I want to mess around with options I want the updates. I just want them to be more streamlined.

An autoupdater tool that runs at 3 am every Tuesday night or something similar. Or if they would just make the data package be incremental would go a long way to making this more bearable. Also, why does the actual program need to be rebuilt every month? Are bug fixes patched directly into the base application?

I just can't think of any other software I run that needs that much updating that often. Even other specialty software I use like Chemdraw (which has updates all the time, but are done incrementally) and cuteftp (which does build patches all the time but downloads them in the background while I use the app and then does the rebuild after I close it) don't cause so much grief.

Anyway. Seems as though I am atypical in this concern.


Those of us with crappy internet feel your pain.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
BigDTBone wrote:
Also, why does the actual program need to be rebuilt every month? Are bug fixes patched directly into the base application?

I'm just guessing here, but it's probably new rules subsets that require new code to add the capability that hasn't existed previously. Something like the Variant MultiClassing (VMC) from Unchained might require completely new code to support (and by extension, a new executable or whatever).

I agree that an autoupdater would be great though. If there's been a significant update, I usually try to give my players a heads up so they can update their devices before they show up to game.

I don't think anything you're saying is invalid.

-Skeld

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigDTBone wrote:
I just can't think of any other software I run that needs that much updating that often. Even other specialty software I use like Chemdraw (which has updates all the time, but are done incrementally) and cuteftp (which does build patches all the time but downloads them in the background while I use the app and then does the rebuild after I close it) don't cause so much grief.

You're thinking this wrong. You're not updating software, you're updating a database where much of the new data interacts with a majority of the old. You ever do an update of a database record by record? That's much more closer to what goes on when you update the Pathfinder rules data sets.

President, Jon Brazer Enterprises

You don't have to do the update. Either that or turn on hero lab, start the download, go watch TV, check IG every so often and its all good.

Grand Lodge

One thing with why they have to do all the files at once instead of incremental is that adding something to core files can literally change tiny things in every single file in the game (which there are a couple hundred in those pkg files). So while something seems incremental and you may not be purchasing any new books there is something added. If you have no need for the newest update, there's nothing saying you have to download it.

I have 6 copies of PF installed in my Hero Lab for various publishers that I do work for and while there are a couple I keep completely up to date (like the installation for Lone Wolf) my home game installation might be 2-3 updates behind because I just don't need the new stuff. You can always find out WHAT is updated/added/fixed on the forums. They sticky a post right at the top with all the recent changes listed.

I also find it faster to download straight from the website instead of through the app.

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