– State of the Wolf 2012 –
It seems like just yesterday when we wrote our last State of the Wolf report. However, we've put another full year behind us, and within that blur of time, we managed to accomplish quite a bit. In addition to summarizing some of these major accomplishments, we'd like to bring you some insight into our plans for 2012. We think we've got a big year ahead of us, and hope you'll agree.
Important! Please remember that the plans and timing outlined herein represent our best guesses, based on the information we currently possess. As such, everything is subject to change, and we'll provide status updates as the year progresses and as the projects evolve. With that important caveat in mind, read on to find out all about what you should expect in these areas:
At Gen Con 2011, we took the wrapper off Realm Works and provided the first glimpse into our revolutionary campaign management system. Encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive reception, we spent the remainder of 2011 preparing the product for beta testing.
We've been astonished by the sense of excitement building around Realm Works. We sent out a call for volunteers to help us beta test this new product, and over 500 of you responded. It was difficult, but we sorted through the responses and selected what we felt was a great representation of GM styles and game systems.
Phase one of our beta testing for Realm Works commenced at the beginning of February. We expect to run three phases of beta testing in 2012, and we'll add new beta testers in phases two and three. If you'd like to be considered for a spot as a beta tester, please complete this survey.
Admittedly, we were pretty ambitious with the plans we told you about at the beginning of 2011. A number of unexpected items clobbered our schedule, and we were not able to bring Realm Works to market as we had hoped. However, at this point, we are fairly confident we've overcome the distractions and will be releasing Realm Works later in 2012. A great deal depends upon the results of the beta testing, though, so we don't have a firm release date quite yet. We will continue to bring you regular updates in our monthly newsletter, and as soon as we have a sense for the release's timing, we'll let everyone know our plans.
The past year proved to be a very positive one for Hero Lab, which won a Gold ENnie at Gen Con for Best Gaming Aid/Accessory! One of our most anticipated items this year is the release of Hero Lab for the Mac. We currently expect to release it at the end of March, and you can find additional information in the Mac section below.
Throughout 2011, we continued to expand our support for Pathfinder®. We now offer support for nearly the entire Pathfinder catalog through Hero Lab, spanning over 60 official rules sources plus all the Adventure Paths. Our goal remains to have new material available in Hero Lab at the same time Paizo releases it, so look for our next big release, the Advanced Race Guide package, when the book comes out in June. We'll also continue to bring you content from upcoming Pathfinder Adventure Paths, Player Companions and the Campaign Settings.
In 2011, Paizo also released their "Beginner Box" as a starter set for Pathfinder. Getting more people interested in roleplaying sounded like a great idea to us, so we released a free version of Hero Lab to support it. This has been so well received, we're planning to add support for another game to the free Starter Edition of Hero Lab later this year. We'll announce the details as they firm up in the months to come.
2011 also marked the launch of Shadowrun® support in Hero Lab. Once we released the initial Shadowrun content at Gen Con 2011, we turned our attention to some of the other sourcebooks available for this futuristic game of technology and magic. Unfortunately, incorporating the additional material for Shadowrun took us considerably longer than we thought it would; over the course of 2011, we weren't able to complete any new data packages for Shadowrun.
That's all changed for the better in 2012. In February, we released several new data packages for the "runners" in the audience. We'll be releasing further Shadowrun content throughout the year, including the ability to build Critters and support for other sourcebooks like "Running Wild" and "War!", as well as assorted PDF publications.
Did someone say, "What about Savage Worlds?" We've got big plans there as well. 2011 marked the release of data files supporting "Savage Worlds Deluxe Edition" and the "Super Powers Companion". By the end of March, we'll release data packages for Pinnacle's other two Companion Books, "Fantasy Companion" and "Horror Companion". We'll also be integrating support for multiple Savage Settings into Hero Lab in the next few months.
Last, but certainly not least, we implemented a number of custom output options for Hero Lab in 2011, and we'll continue to expand this capability in 2012. Whether you're using custom output on your own, or in conjunction with virtual tabletop systems like D20Pro or Fantasy Grounds, you'll certainly want to stay abreast of the changes we introduce in 2012.
The best way to keep up to date with all our plans for Hero Lab is to keep reading our newsletter. There are a number of things we've got percolating on this end, but it's way too early to even whisper them. As these ideas begin to solidify, we'll update you in the newsletter.
In 2011, we launched our Powered By Hero Lab program to help authors publish their own content in Hero Lab. A number of publishers have now released data files they've created, including Rite Publishing, Jon Brazer Enterprises and TPK Games. One of the publishers, Game Room Creations, created data files for their new game setting, "The Modern Path – Heroes of the Modern World".
We expect 2012 will be a watershed year in terms of new content and new game systems released by publishers for Hero Lab, and we look forward to updating you every month on what's available.
2011 was a good year for Army Builder as well. At the start of the year we released a number of new features for your use, including customizable output, new mobile output formats, support for unit images and unit cards, widescreen mode capability for users with larger screens, and a new roster format for tournaments.
We've been busy preparing Army Builder for release on the Mac all year. Unfortunately, work on the Mac version took significantly longer than we expected and prevented us from getting some of the new features we had planned for 2011. The good news is that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel (and it's not a train). Before the end of May, we hope to have Army Builder available for the Mac – see the Mac section below for more details. Later this year, we hope to circle back and add some of the features that were preempted by the Mac version in 2011.
At Gen Con and PaizoCon in 2011, we demonstrated an early version of Hero Lab for the Mac, and we've been busy ever since preparing this eagerly awaited addition to our product line-up. We launched the first of several beta testing phases in November, and subsequently expanded the beta test to 100 additional Hero Lab users in December. We've since made the beta available to all existing customers - if you're interested in checking it out, you can sign up for the beta on our web site.
We currently expect to officially release Hero Lab for the Mac at the end of March!
Once we release Hero Lab on the Mac, we'll be wrapping up Army Builder for the Mac. We'll have a very short cycle for Army Builder, as almost all of the Mac port has already been completed for Army Builder. We currently expect to commence beta testing of Army Builder in April, and we already have a full team standing by, so we aren't accepting further applications. We may open the beta to a wider audience during testing, so watch our web site, Facebook and Twitter for announcements.
If all goes well, we should be officially releasing Army Builder for the Mac at some point in May! We'll keep everyone updated on our progress through our monthly newsletter, so look for more information there in the months to come.
As you know from our previous postings, we had hoped to make significant progress on creating products for tablets by this point. Unfortunately, our development work on the Mac versions took much longer than we expected, which stymied our plans in 2011. Tablet versions of our products are still an important part of our product roadmap, and we expect to get fully underway this year.
After the release of Army Builder for the Mac, we'll be working on the first of our tablet projects. Our first tablet product will be a version of Hero Lab designed for use during play as an electronic character sheet. From there, we'll expand into more complete versions of our products. Our target is to have an early version by Gen Con 2012 that we can show off.
As we've shared in the past, our strategy for the tablet market is to pick one platform for the initial releases. Since each platform has profound differences from the others when it comes to software development, major portions of the code written for one platform will need to be completely rewritten for the other platforms. This limitation is the primary reason we'll be starting with one platform and then addressing others. We simply don't have the resources to address all the platforms at the same time.
We're closely monitoring the market to see what's being released and how well each new product is received, and we have not yet chosen which platform we'll embrace first. We expect to make our choice in the upcoming months. Once we make our initial selection, we'll be sure to let everyone know, so stay tuned for future announcements and feel free to lobby for your favorite platform on our support forums.
As we announced late last year on our forums, Tournament Ace is still part of our product roadmap. However, with all the work we've been doing for our Mac versions and Realm Works, we didn't have the ability to make any progress on the product in 2011.
We expect to begin addressing the remaining aspects of Tournament Ace's development later this year, once we've released Realm Works. We'll keep everyone up to date on our progress through our newsletter, so look for updates later this year.
For the last 15 years, we've been providing innovative digital tools for the tabletop gaming industry; for a lot of that time, we were pretty much a one- or two-man show. While we've grown steadily over that time, 2011 was a significant year for us in terms of growth.
We'd like to thank all of you for your support of Lone Wolf Development. That support translated into record sales for us in 2011, and we've reinvested in the company by adding additional people to our team. In 2011, we added three new, full-time people, almost doubling our full-time staff.
The first position we filled was a software development position. We brought in a lead developer for the Realm Works project, giving us critical capabilities in that area and allowing us to speed up our development efforts significantly enough to launch our beta test in February.
We also added a data file author to our Hero Lab group. He's been instrumental in allowing us to increase the amount of content we deliver for games like Pathfinder.
The final position we filled is our only full-time, non-developer position, as we hired a business development & operations manager to bring some order to the chaos created by our success. This helps take the load off the developers, leaving them more time to work on our products.
We think we've got a great team in place. We're still a tiny company, with only four software developers working on product development, and two data file authors supporting Hero Lab. However, we're well-positioned to accomplish a lot in 2012.
As you can see, we've got a lot going on and some big plans for this year. This promises to be another big year for Lone Wolf Development, as we continue to deliver a diverse range of cool new software for gamers. We've got a pipeline full of major additions to existing products, support for entirely new platforms, and completely new products that synergize with our current lines. We hope you're as excited about all this as we are!
As always, you can subscribe to our newsletter to stay abreast of the latest happenings, or you can keep an eye on our Facebook pages and Twitter to keep up with all the news. We wish everyone a successful and enjoyable 2012. Thanks for your continued support!
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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