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–  Frequently Asked Questions  –

Welcome to the FAQ for the Army Builder® brand roster construction tool. While we've done our best to ensure that Army Builder is intuitive to use, there are various questions that come up with relative frequency. As the name implies, this FAQ contains a list of the most commonly asked questions about the product, along with a (hopefully) adequate answer. The purpose of the FAQ is to answer general questions about the product, its future, licensing, etc. If you are encountering a problem with Army Builder, then it is probably addressed in either the Important Bugs or Solutions to Common Problems section, so please refer to those sections if the topic is not covered below. If you have questions that are not covered on this website, or if the information provided is not sufficient to answer your particular question, please contact technical support for further assistance.


I am currently using an older copy of Army Builder (e.g. V2.0a) and I wish to upgrade to the latest version. I want to know if there is anything special required before I upgrade?


Users of V2.x can upgrade to any newer release of V2.x without any difficulty. Simply download the latest version and install it OVER the currently install version. This should consist of simply accepting all of the default choices when installing the new version. If you accept all the defaults, all of your existing settings should be preserved by the new version. This includes your registration license information (if any).


I'm a registered user of Army Builder, and I just purchased a new computer. I have installed Army Builder on it, but my System Code has changed and I'm stuck in Demonstration mode. What can I do?


The licensing mechanism used by Army Builder is NOT tied to a specific computer. Instead, it is tied to information associated with the operating system installation. The restriction is that you can only ASSIGN it to one computer at a time. When you obtain a new computer, it is almost a certainty that your System Code will change, so you will need to transfer your license to the new computer. This can be accomplished automatically via our web-site. You will need to have the original email you were sent with your original license information, as you will need your license number and password to access the web-site. The full details on where go on the web-site and what steps need to be followed are included in the original license email you received.


What happens to my registration license if I upgrade the hardware in my existing computer?


The method used to generate the System Code is not tied to the computer hardware at all. The code is tied to information that is stored when the operating system is installed. Therefore, hardware upgrades should not usually impact the registration mechanism, unless you re-install the operating system during the upgrade. If your System Code does change for some reason as the result of a hardware upgrade, please refer to the answer to question #2.


I'm a registered user of Army Builder, and I upgraded to a new version of Windows. I didn't touch Army Builder, but my System Code has changed. What can I do?


Please see the answer to question #2.


I'm a registered user of Army Builder, and I was forced to re-format my hard drive and re-install Windows (perhaps due to a Virus). My System Code has now changed. What can I do?


Please see the answer to question #2.


Will there be a version of Army Builder for platforms other than Windows?


There are no plans to port Army Builder to other platforms at the present time. However, all of the non-visual components of the product (i.e. 60% of the code) are written to be completely portable. This means that it would be very tractable to effect such a port, but the demand would have to justify the investment, and that has not been demonstrated at this time.


Does Army Builder run on the Macintosh?


There is not a native version of Army Builder available for the Macintosh. However, Army Builder has been demonstrated to run quite successfully on the Macintosh via the use of PC emulators running Windows. The product runs smoothly under both Virtual PC and Soft PC.


I have a registration license and I want to switch to the CD version of Army Builder.


Existing owners of a V2.x registration license have two options for converting to the CD version of Army Builder. Option #1 is to maintain both the CD and the registered license at a cost of US$20. Option #2 is to convert the registration license to the CD, with your current license being terminated, for only US$15. Shipping is additional, depending on where the CD is being shipped to. The shipping details are the same as for normal CD orders.

If you would like to take advantage of either of these options, please notify Matoska Trading Company (matoska@matoska.com). You'll need to provide them with your original order number so that they have all the necessary details. You'll also need to indicate that you authorize your credit card to be charged for the upgrade costs.

When you notify Matoska, also notify technical support via email, and be sure to include your new system code. If you select Option #1 and your system code has changed, we will manually re-issue your current license to the new code so that you can resume using the product right away. If you select Option #2, we will issue you a temporary license that will get you running while your CD is being shipped.


I just downloaded data files for game system 'XYZ', but now I don't know how to get them into Army Builder. What do I do?


Instructions can be found in the Help menu under "Help Topics". Click on the option "Importing Data Files". More detailed instructions can also be found in the manual, which is automatically installed with the product. Instructions on how to access the manual can also be found in the Help menu under "Help Topics".


What sort of product support can I expect?


Our goal is to provide a great product at a great price. If you've got a problem, let us know and we'll do our best to sort it out to your satisfaction. We don't have a big marketing budget, so the success of Army Builder is the result of people like yourself spreading the word. We realize that this only happens if you're thrilled with both the tool AND the overall experience of dealing with us.

We're a small outfit, so we can't provide telephone support. Instead, we offer support via email (support@wolflair.com). Typically, we are able to answer questions within 48-72 hours of receiving your inquiry. There is also a fast growing group of users that can often answer questions and provide ideas and suggestions. Questions can be directed to our support forum that is hosted on the eGroups online service. The forum is free and can be accessed at groups.yahoo.com/group/armybuilder. There are many avid users of the product on this forum that are usually happy to answer your questions. Staff members of Lone Wolf Development will also monitor the forum and answer questions when it is appropriate to do so.

In general, customers have been quite happy with the level of support provided, and most of them will happily tell you of their experiences if you ask them (such as on the support forum). All we can promise is that we will do our best to provide useful support for the product. If there are things that you feel we could do better, please let us know and we'll strive to correct the situation.


Why do I need a registration license?


The primary objective for the registration model is two-fold. First, it allows people to actually use Army Builder before they decide to buy it. There needed to be some way to provide a moderate level of anti-piracy within the product while still getting a working version of the product out to people, and this was the best solution that we could come up with. The second objective is to keep the costs down for international customers. Due to the costs of shipping and import duties, plus sometimes unfavorable exchange rates, forcing users to purchase the CD version would seriously impact users abroad. The registration license enables international customers to obtain the product without incurring these extra costs.


If I have multiple computers, do I need to buy multiple licenses?


Yes, you will need to buy a separate license for each computer on which you wish to run Army Builder. If you expect to use the product regularly on more than one machine, you will likely find the CD-ROM version to be a good value. The cost of the CD is not much more than the cost of the registration license, and the CD allows you to take the product anywhere with you.


How does the CD-ROM version work?


The CD-ROM version of the product contains the exact same files that are distributed online. The important difference is that the CD operates as a "key disc" and therefore eliminates the need to have a registration license on every system. If the CD is installed when the program starts, the product treats the CD as a valid registration code. If the CD is not present, then a normal registration license is required, else the product operates in demonstration mode (with the corresponding restrictions). The real advantage of the CD is that you can freely take the CD anywhere you wish, and you never need to worry about having a registration license. Simply install the product off of the CD and run it.


Does the CD-ROM contain the latest version of the product?


Not always, but this should not be a problem. Whenever a major new release of Army Builder is made available, we discard any remaining CDs with the old version and have new CDs produced. However, stores will often still have the older version for a brief time. In addition, maintenance releases of the product will be released after you purchase the CD to fix any bugs that are uncovered in the product. In both of these cases, all you need to do is download the latest version from the web-site and install it. The new version will continue to work properly with the CD that you have.

Every release of Army Builder looks for a registration license and defaults to Demonstration mode if a license is not found. The CD operates as a "key disc", containing a hard-wired registration license built into the CD. Once the CD is inserted, it is automatically recognized by Army Builder from that point forward. So, regardless of what version of the product you are using, the CD continues to work the same - as a "floating" license. This means that all you need to do is download new updates from the web-site, install them, and keep running with the same old CD. Users with the original CD release are still using it successfully with the latest version. In addition, there have been no upgrade fees to date for CD owners - it's always just been a free download.

Note! This policy applies only to standard updates, such as V2.0 users updating to V2.1. Users who purchase Army Builder will receive standard updates for free (e.g. users of V2.0 will receive all V2.x updates for free). However, major version changes (e.g. V2.x to V3.0) are not guaranteed free upgrades.


Can I purchase Army Builder with a check or money order from outside the United States?


Originally, we allowed users from outside of the United States purchase Army Builder via a check or money order. We quickly discovered that this doesn't work for either the customer or ourselves, so we can only accept purchases via credit card from outside the U.S. The key issue is that the banks often charge the customer an extra US$15-20 for the service, plus we get charged another US$10 on this end. This makes no sense for the price point of Army Builder, since the extra fees equal or exceed the cost of the product itself.

If you find yourself in a position where you don't have a credit card and want to purchase the product from outside the States, there are options you can explore. One method that some customers have used is to ask other members of their gaming group (or family) to purchase the product for them. The ordering portion of the web-site is secure, and the process is quick and painless, so you might ask someone else to use their credit card for you. You can pay them back on the spot. Army Builder has also entered into worldwide distribution. Most of the major distributors around the world now have access to Army Builder, so your local store should also be able to order the product for you (although it may take a little longer to get it).


Why doesn't Army Builder force users to comply with all of the rules for each game system?


There are two different methods that Army Builder uses to ensure that army composition rules for a given game system are followed. The first and most obvious method involves Army Builder forcing you to create an army that is valid. For example, if a unit can't take more than one magic item, Army Builder won't let you give it more than one. The second method entails Army Builder allowing you to create an invalid army and then informing you of the problem. This second method is the result of what is called "roster validation" within Army Builder.

Both of these techniques are used extensively within Army Builder, but the validation technique is consistently the preferred method, for two primary reasons. First of all, any implementation that precludes an action by the user requires that all facets of the existing roster be considered continuously, including the interrelationships between units and their options across the roster. This is extremely expensive to compute and Army Builder would run like a slug on many older computers if this method was used extensively. In contrast, the validation mechanism does a global analysis once, after the user has completed a sequence of actions, and it caches these results.

The second and most important reason for the preference of roster validation is that precluding a user's actions compels him to behave according to a specific set of rules. Every gaming group and tournament setting has its own house rules, and there are often special scenarios that relax and/or change many of the more subtle army construction rules. If Army Builder forced the user to conform to a fixed set of rules, then the program would be less versatile and less useful to many gamers. Because of this, most army composition rules are ideally implemented as validation rules. When a validation rule is employed, Army Builder simply flags the conflict, but it doesn't preclude the user from creating an "illegal" army. This way, games with special and/or relaxed rules can be more readily accommodated, as the reported "conflicts" can simply be ignored.


I want to create data files for a game system. Where do I start?


The tools necessary to create your own data files are available for free with Army Builder. They are packaged as the Construction Kit. If you have the CD, they can be found there. You can also download them from the web-site. Included with the Construction Kit is a detailed Tutorial and instructions on how to create data files. Please refer to the Construction Kit User Manual for details on the various steps required.

You are welcome to ask questions as you embark on the effort. While we've attempted to make things as clear as possible, writing data files is not always a simple process, so you will likely run into a few uncertainties. Just let us know and we'll do our best to answer them. The Army Builder forum on eGroups is also an excellent resource for data file writers, since all of the other data file authors frequent the forum and are happy to offer their own ideas and suggestions.


Why isn't the V2.x upgrade free for existing registered users?


The registered version was originally intended to be ABANDONED with V2.0, requiring that all existing V1.x users purchase the CD. The plan was to charge existing registered users the cost difference to make switch. Why was this being considered? Because the old registered version was being seriously impacted by piracy.

Correcting the problem meant coming up with a new registration mechanism. This would require setting up, automating, and maintaining the new registration mechanism on a dedicated web-server. Not only would all this be a lot of work, but it would also incur a monthly cost to both setup and maintain the server on an ongoing basis. This just didn't make financial sense to do for free, so the original plan was to stop the registered version.

Lots of users said that they really wanted the registered version to remain. Also, international customers would be REALLY impacted by having to buy the CD, since shipping costs and import duties start to add up quickly. After much deliberation, we decided we would continue the registered version. However, we had to somehow cover the costs of a new mechanism. The solution was to have the users who opt for the registration mechanism incur the cost for supporting it. That is how the pricing model came about.

Under the current set of options, existing V1.x registered users can switch to the V1 CD for the cost difference. This was our original plan when we were going to abandon the registered version. Alternately, those users can simply pay an extra $5 to upgrade to V2.x. Effectively, that's a $5 upgrade cost, and you won't find much software offering $5 upgrades these days. Existing registered users can also switch to the new registration license at a very minimal upgrade cost. Consider this in contrast to the traditional upgrade costs of other software products. For the V1 CD owners, there is no extra cost incurred by us, so they are allowed to upgrade to V2.x for free.