– October 2012 –
Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of our newsletter! Goblins and gremlins will certainly be on the prowl tonight, not to mention all the little kids trick or treating, and we hope you're ready as well with some great holiday plans. We're cranking away on several fronts here in the Wolf Lair, not the least of which is figuring out our costumes, and are happy to share the following updates with you:
Last month, we shared the current design for the in-play character sheet implementation on the iPad. In addition to sharing another image generated from our evolving development work, we thought it would be interesting to provide some insight into the evolution of the application. Keep in mind that there could be some alterations to what we're showing as the iPad elves continue working on the application, and we'll share the changes as we can.
Let's start with the character sheet display we showed last month. The image below represents some of the steps involved in getting us to the current iteration. We started the project by taking the existing Pathfinder character sheet and putting it on the iPad. Obviously, we weren't very excited by the result. As you can see, it didn't map very well to the iPad, and we felt it didn't reach our goal of being easy to use.
So, our next step was to distill that initial attempt down to the core material we wanted to display and work through some layout iterations, one of which you see below. At that point, the elves worked their magic and, presto, the current character sheet materialized (OK, admittedly it wasn't that easy, but it sounds better).
We've also been able to do some interesting stuff with the portfolio listing you'll see on the iPad. We started with a simple interface listing of the portfolios, and then decided we wanted something a little less boring. So, we undertook some steps to enhance the visual appeal while maintaining its usefulness, and were pretty happy with the result. Once we implemented it on the iPad, we realized we wanted to make some additional tweaks, which resulted in the current design you see below:
In November's issue of the newsletter, we'll share more on the progress we've made putting Hero Lab on the iPad!
This month, we successfully launched the second phase of our beta testing for Realm Works. Over 100 additional people are now busily hammering away along with the original beta testing group. We're looking forward to all the great feedback everyone's going to produce as we continue refining Realm Works into the best campaign management system possible!
Last month, we also promised to provide updated information and visuals on our web site so everyone could start to see how things are coming together. We've begun mapping out these updates, and expect to have new material in place on our web site in the next few weeks. Once we've finished the changes, we'll post an update in the Realm Works forum on our web site.
Hero Lab 4.1, released in conjunction with this month's new material, delivers some fantastic enhancements. The primary change involves how Hero Lab saves files. Not only are the saved portfolios smaller in size, they are also easier for other programs, like Realm Works or a virtual tabletop system, to read and use. The new saved file format is a standard zip file and in addition to containing proprietary information for Hero Lab, it now includes text statblocks, html statblocks, images, and the custom output XML for all heroes contained in the portfolio. If you want to learn more, you can find full details in the new "Reading Hero Lab Saved Portfolios" section of the user manual.
This new version of Hero Lab is available as a free update for all Hero Lab users. One important note about the new version: Any saved portfolio you create with Hero Lab 4.1 will not load into older versions of Hero Lab. That means if you need to create or update saved portfolios to share with other people, those individuals will be able to read your file after they update their version.
For all you Army Builder users out there, Army Builder v3.4a is a must download, especially if you use a Mac! This new version eliminates some of the bugs that snuck through our testing, and is a free download if your license is current.
Grab your update today and start taking advantage of the improved functionality!
Along with the new releases of both Hero Lab and Army Builder, we've reached some important milestones related to the operating systems on which both products will run. Hero Lab and Army Builder now support Windows 8! (Both products run on the desktop, rather than under the new Windows-8 style UI.)
It's important to note that this support does not extend to Microsoft's new "Surface with Windows RT" tablet, and neither product will operate in that environment. We expect that both products will run on the "Surface with Windows 8 Pro", and we will test that once it has been released.
At this point, we've also withdrawn support for the Windows 2000 operating system. If you're a Win2K user, please be aware that future versions of Hero Lab or Army Builder may not run on that operating system.
For those of you running Army Builder or Hero Lab on the Mac, we've also expanded the operating systems on which they'll run. With the latest release, we've added support for the use of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion in conjunction with both products.
At the end of the month, we released an update for Pathfinder to support "Paths of Prestige". With 30 new Prestige Classes, there's something for everyone! Become a Lantern Bearer sworn to contain and eliminate the drow, ride a Mammoth into battle, or concoct lethal poisons like only a Daggermark Poisoner can. A host of options for your characters or NPCs are now available. We've added the "Paths of Prestige" data file to our Campaign Setting #8 data package. If you've already purchased this add-on, the "Paths of Prestige" was added to your license as a free update. If you haven't purchased this add-on yet, it's only $4.99 and contains information for "Giants Revisited", "Lost Kingdoms", and "Magnimar: City of Monuments", as well as the new Prestige classes. Download yours today!
One thing we're really looking forward to is Paizo's November release of the NPC Codex, and hope you are as well. We'll be creating portfolios for each NPC from the Codex, and, better yet, everyone with the Pathfinder game system is going to get the material for FREE! We aren't sure of the release date for these NPC portfolios, as there is a lot of material we need to address, but we'll keep you up to date as things solidify.
Everyone with the Pathfinder game system also received a free update with our inclusion of the player content from "The Asylum Stone", the third installment in the Shattered Star Adventure Path. The search for pieces of a fragmented relic continues, and it leads your stalwart adventurers into new dangers. Will you recover the shard you seek from its current guardians, or simply add your soul to those claimed already? Only one way to find out....
We launched a new data add-on for Pathfinder at the end of the month, our Campaign Setting #9 data add-on, which is on sale for $4.99. The first book included in this add-on is "Artifacts and Legends". With over 60 major and minor artifacts, you can wield some incredible power. Over the coming months, we expect to add another two to four books to this Setting add-on as they become available. As always, if you buy this package before we've added the last book, you'll get the additional content as a free update when it's released.
Good luck in your upcoming adventures!
We're looking for detail-oriented people to help us out on a contract basis over the next few months, and if you use Hero Lab with Pathfinder, we'd love to hear from you! In fact, if you've built Pathfinder characters in Hero Lab, you already have one of the key traits we're seeking. Experience using the Hero Lab Editor is not required, but is a bonus. You'll be working from home, so you should also be self-motivated, a good communicator and accurate in your work.
If that sounds like you, and you think you can allocate 15 to 20 hours a week to projects for Hero Lab in November and December, send us an e-mail at email@example.com. We'll put a little extra coinage in your pocket, and you won't have to shave your head or sell your watch! We look forward to hearing from you.
We've released "Magical Societies" and "Nightfire Presents" (from Runner's Black Book 2074) as the newest offerings in our Shadowrun PDF Bundle #3 data add-on, joining "Gun Heaven 2" in that package. This add-on can be purchased for $9.99. We'll add at least one more PDF to this bundle, "Used Car Lot", and expect that will be available in November. If you buy this package before we've added the last PDF, the additional content will be added as a free update when it's released.
We'll be working on several Shadowrun projects throughout the remainder of the year. In addition to "Used Car Lot", we'll be supporting "Hazard Pay", "Parazoology", and "Running Wild", as well as finishing the remaining pieces of "Runner's Black Book 2074". "Parazoology" is the final component of PDF Bundle #1, and will be provided as a free update if you purchase that add-on before we release it. "Running Wild", the detailed overview of animals, non-metahuman entities, and spirits, will be sold for $9.99 when we release it. In next month's newsletter, we'll provide additional information on the expected release dates of the new content.
As we've mentioned in previous newsletters, we secured Pinnacle's permission to distribute some of their Savage Settings for free. Currently, two are available for download directly through Hero Lab, and we're happy to announce that a third Savage Setting has now joined the party!
"Rippers" joins "Deadlands: Reloaded" and "The Savage World of Solomon Kane" as another free data file you can download through the Update Mechanism in Hero Lab. Just click the "Find Updates" button from the "Select a Game" window, find the Savage Setting you want in the list, and download it! Once you've installed it, you'll be notified of any updates. New titles will appear in the list periodically, so check back now and then to see if your favorite is among them.
We want to take this opportunity to give a big "Thank You" to the members of the community that have built the data files for the Savage Settings now accessible through Hero Lab. This completely voluntary effort is a key reason behind our being able to offer the files for free. So, without any further ado, thanks to Ron Steinhauser (aka Caped Crusader on the forums) and Scott Crosson (aka Dartnet on the forums) for contributing their time and expertise in constructing the files! We truly appreciate what you're doing to expand the options for Savage Worlds in Hero Lab.
This month, we've got some new products that used Hero Lab to highlight for you, including material created by Plate Mail Games, the newest publisher to take advantage of Powered By Hero Lab:
As always, you can keep up to date with what we're doing by checking out the following social networking sites!
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