– September 2012 –
Welcome to this edition of our newsletter! Fall has arrived, and it's hard to believe that the year has been flying by so fast. Even though we're cranking away here in the Wolf Lair, it's not all work and no play, though. We hope you've had some good gaming opportunities in September as well. This month, we'd like to update you on the following topics:
Work continues at a feverish pace as we prepare Hero Lab for the iPad. At this point, we're still anticipating a release of the iPad version in time for the holidays! We wanted to take the opportunity to share a screen shot so you can get a sense for how Hero Lab will look when it's available on the iPad.
As we mentioned when we announced Hero Lab for the iPad, this initial version will serve as an in-play character sheet for Pathfinder. We'll be incrementally expanding the functionality from that point as we described in July's newsletter.
The image that we're sharing with you is from the actual display from our evolving implementation. So, there could be some alterations as we continue our development efforts, and we'll share the changes in future editions of the newsletter. Here's how the in-play character sheet currently looks on the iPad:
In the initial release, there will be more functionality than is currently represented in the image. One example of this relates to the tracked resources and spells sections you see at the bottom left of the image. When we release Hero Lab for the iPad, those sections will allow you to toggle your selections on and off, track how many times a resource or spell has been used, and activate various abilities.
We're particularly excited to have achieved a significant milestone related to the iPad version as well. We currently have the complete Hero Lab "engine" running on the iPad, so all the calculations and rules are working just like they are in the current version of Hero Lab. So, the bulk of our remaining work will be concentrated on user interface construction and enabling the functionality currently running behind the scenes, which is still a fairly time-consuming effort.
We'll continue to keep you updated on our progress in future editions of the newsletter!
At GenCon, we showed off Realm Works to everyone who stopped by our booth and the feedback was amazing. But we still haven't made anything available to the majority of you who didn't attend GenCon. We'll be rectifying that in October. Since our return, we've been focused on getting ready to expand the Beta team and begin Phase 2 of our testing. That moment is finally upon us and Phase 2 will begin imminently. As soon as it commences, we'll take the time to update our web site with extensive new previews of Realm Works so that everyone can get a peek at what the product offers. We'll have lots of new screen shots and even some introductory videos to share.
With the start of Phase 2 being delayed until now, we extended the deadline for submitting our Beta participation survey until September 9th. Many more requests flooded in. In fact, we received well over 1,000 surveys requesting to participate in the expanded Realm Works Beta! A hearty "Thank You!" goes out to everyone who took the time to submit a survey. Your interest and support is truly appreciated!
We just finished reviewing all those surveys - no small task - and have identified the people we'll be adding to the Beta team. Our goal is to achieve a diverse mix of play styles, group sizes, game systems, and technology experience within the team. We're more than tripling the size of the current Beta team, but there's simply no way to accommodate everyone who wants to participate. We hope everyone understands.
We'll begin contacting the new Beta team members in the first week of October. While we'd like to contact everyone and let them know one way or the other about their submission, the sheer number of requests makes that impractical. Consequently, we'll only be contacting those selected to join the expanded Beta team. We'll be posting details on our support forums when we start notifying people about their selection, so keep an eye out there for news updates.
We're looking forward to this next phase commencing, and we thank everyone for their interest in helping us prepare Realm Works for its official release. We'll update everyone in future editions of the newsletter regarding our Beta testing progress and an official release date. So stay tuned!
Over the last few months, we've released some updates to Hero Lab, the most recent of which was version 4.0c released in mid-September. We're excited about the enhancements contained in the newest release, and hope you've seen the difference already!
The most notable improvement has been in how Hero Lab handles large portfolios. At a minimum, we expect everyone will see at least a 10% improvement in the time it takes to load a portfolio. For larger and more complex portfolios containing a number of heroes and/or minions, your portfolio should load two to three times as fast, potentially reducing the time it takes to load large encounter portfolios by five seconds or more!
We've also improved the validation process and the speed with which changes to your character are handled. Every time you make a change to your character, Hero Lab evaluates the change against the rules. In a large portfolio, this could result in a brief lag between the time you made the change and when it appeared on the screen. So far, we've made modifications to the character evaluations for Pathfinder, and have seen speed improvements of up to 50%. In October, we expect to take advantage of these changes for the Shadowrun data files as well, giving all the 'runners similar benefits in terms of evaluation speed.
For those of you using our Secondary Updates capability, we've added some functionality to make this even more useful for you. Previously, your secondary update sources had to be web addresses. In the newest version of Hero Lab, you can now specify a local file or a file on a network drive as a secondary update source as well. If you aren't familiar with our Secondary Updates capabilities, you can find some more information in our last newsletter.
Along with all these enhancements, we've delivered some key bug fixes for both Windows and the Mac. Download the newest version today, and start taking advantage of these great changes!
This month, we're happy to announce that our add-on data package for "Ultimate Equipment" was released in the middle of September. Thanks for your patience as we constructed and updated thousands of items for the Pathfinder universe! This data add-on is available for $9.99, and it's got something for everyone. New magic items! Cool new gear! Cursed items (OK, maybe these cursed items are just for the GMs enjoyment)! Over 350 pages of stuff available at your fingertips. Get your copy and start making your character's shopping lists today!
In the last part of September, we released some additional material for Pathfinder as free updates for everyone with the Pathfinder game system. The newest Adventure Path, "Curse of the Lady's Light", is the first of these free updates. This is the second of six installments in the Shattered Star Adventure Path. Continue your search for the pieces of a fragmented relic, and brave the challenges ahead of you!
Another free update for everyone with the Pathfinder game system came in the form of a new release for the Beginner Box. Available in both the full version and the free version of Hero Lab, our Beginner Box data file now includes Pathfinder Society support. We've also addressed some of those bugs that snuck through our testing process, so grab the download if you haven't already done so.
We've introduced support for the Player Companion "Knights of the Inner Sea" in our newest data package, the Golarion #4 Player Companion data add-on. If being a knight is your calling, check out the new spells, options, magic items, and traits designed for those glorious champions. Purchase your copy of the data add-on for only $4.99 and get all this goodness. We expect to add at least two more books to this data add-on in the future. If you buy this package before we've added the last book, the additional content will be added as a free update when it's released.
Finally, we wanted to provide everyone with an update on "Paths of Prestige" and "Artifacts and Legends". With "Ultimate Equipment" now behind us, we've made significant progress creating the data file for "Paths of Prestige". We expect to release content for both of these books in Hero Lab in October. Watch our web site for announcements of their availability!
As we've mentioned previously, we're working on additional material for Shadowrun, including "Magical Societies" and "Used Car Lot". In July, we announced these two books would be the next two PDFs included in our Shadowrun PDF Bundle #3. At the time of the announcement, we expected to be able to add this new content in September.
Unfortunately, a few unexpected issues cropped up since the announcement and the addition of this material will be slightly delayed. We'll have an update on the status of these items, as well as additional Shadowrun content, in next month's newsletter.
This month, we're happy to highlight the following new material created for use with Hero Lab:
For the last year, we've provided tips and tricks for Army Builder and Hero Lab in this section of our newsletter. We've covered a wide range of topics, including Encounter Portfolios and the Tactical Console for Hero Lab, Army Builder's output options, including output for mobile devices, and Secondary Update Sources for both products. We hope you've found the information provided useful!
Going forward, we're going to provide information in this section on a more intermittent basis, instead of every month. Additionally, we want to hear from you about the topics in which you're interested. So, if you're doing something cool with Army Builder or Hero Lab, and you think others would benefit from what you've learned, tell us about it! We'd love your help in continuing to make this section of the newsletter interesting and relevant. Just send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org!
We can't promise to use all the wonderful ideas we expect to receive, but we'll do our best to share the information and build everyone's knowledge. Thanks in advance for your ideas!
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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