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  1. #1

    Lone Wolf news :(

    This sucks for the people getting laid of, including LJ and Owen that moved from Seattle to Evansville just a month or so ago so she could take a job with them.

    Lone Wolf is undergoing several major changes and I wanted to personally take the time to update everyone on what those changes are and how they will impact our users.

    While Lone Wolf is a business, the company itself is comprised of people. And when it’s a small company, it’s more akin to family. There’s also our user community (you), which in many ways is like our extended family. Over the more than 20 years we’ve been creating software tools for gamers, we’ve garnered a significant number of loyal fans – fans who have been crucial to our success and whose ongoing support is greatly appreciated.

    This sense of family was core to how we operated in the past, but when I got deathly ill three years ago, I strayed away from that. Now that I’m mostly back to my old self and finally completing my rehabilitation, I’ve realized we need to get back to those roots. You should see that shift reflected here in the increased level of disclosure and in future communications from myself and staff.

    For quite some time, we’ve spread ourselves too thin across different efforts, and that’s been especially true for me personally. We’ve been doing an insufficient job at multiple tasks instead of a great job on a much narrower set. This has clearly hurt us. By implementing the changes outlined below, I fully believe we can get back to producing our normal level of quality products in a timely manner.

    To start with, effective immediately, we are officially suspending work on Realm Works while we focus on improving our other products. Realm Works is “my baby”, and there’s a great sadness in making this decision, but the reality is that, despite our efforts, Realm Works is failing as a commercial venture with what limited resources we can put into it. There are quite a few things we could do to improve it, but that would require a significant investment of time and resources, neither of which we currently have.

    Various aspects of Realm Works may begin to emerge within the Hero Lab Online framework in the future, but the Realm Works desktop product will not see further development at this time. Realm Works will absolutely continue to be available, and the servers will continue running, so the product will remain incredibly useful in its current form. However, for the foreseeable future, no more coding changes will occur beyond the significant bug fixes that went out over the past couple weeks.

    Another big change we’re making is with our staffing. For quite some time, we’ve been leveraging investment financing to allow us to carry extra staff and pursue some varied objectives while we transitioned from Pathfinder 1st edition to 2nd edition. – one of which is on the verge of readiness (more on that in a moment). Alas, we didn’t get those projects completed within the investment funding time window (due to spreading ourselves too thin), so corresponding adjustments are now a necessity. We’re therefore saying goodbye to some excellent people, and that just adds to today’s pain.

    Everything thus far sounds somewhat dire. So the obvious question is whether there’s any good news to take the sting out of the bad. Thankfully, the answer to that is a resounding YES.

    First off, Hero Lab Classic isn’t going anywhere and it just received a major upgrade in the form of native 64-bit support on both Windows and Mac. If you haven’t downloaded them yet, please do so, as you should see both performance and stability improvements. We also have several data packages ready and waiting for release. However, Apple has changed their rules and is now refusing to let us update our Hero Lab Classic iPad app, so the new packages have been held up while we determine how to appease Apple. We obviously want to release them on all platforms simultaneously, but we’ll need to come to an agreement with Apple before we can do so. We’ll provide an update as soon as we make some headway here.

    For Hero Lab Online, Shadowrun 6th Edition hits store shelves in early October, and we’ve been working hard to launch support for it in the weeks ahead. We’re also preparing the big hardcover books for both Pathfinder 2nd Edition and Starfinder, not to mention some significant performance and reliability improvements. But the truly BIG thing we’ve been putting into place is something we’ve dubbed Campaign Theater™. We previewed it at GenCon in an early Alpha state and you may have seen the video promo on our social media. Since the preview, we’ve been fleshing things out and testing like crazy so we can debut it in time for the holidays.

    So what exactly IS Campaign Theater? The goal is pretty simple. Bring all the power of Hero Lab, in a unified manner, to everyone in the campaign – GM and players alike. In HLClassic, we’ve long had the Encounter Builder to let GMs prepare scenes and the Tactical Console to let GMs run them. But everything within HLClassic is disconnected, and nobody can see what anyone else is doing during the game. While still quite helpful, there are major limitations with this approach. Now imagine a unified display of all participants in the current scene, with the GM seeing everything and players only seeing a suitable subset of information the GM allows. Any time a player makes a change to their PC, or the GM to a monster, everyone sees the update in real-time on their own device. And imagine having all your scenes prepped and ready to play out with a few clicks. That’s just the tip of Campaign Theater and what we’ll be starting with.

    Some of you have mentioned this sounds a little bit like a virtual tabletop. Well, sort of, except that our focus is on all the detailed character/monster manipulation that VTTs don’t excel at and Hero Lab does. So there may be some similarities, but very little overlap. In fact, we’re developing these capabilities with the ultimate goal of integrating with VTTs, allowing those products to focus on all the tabletop visuals and Hero Lab to handle all the character mechanics in a coordinated manner. I like to think of it as the RPG equivalent of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

    We’ll have more to share regarding Campaign Theater in the near future, so stay tuned for that. As you can see, there’s still plenty to look forward to in the next few months, and even well beyond that.

    In closing, allow me to say a big THANK YOU for your continued support over the years. It’s been extremely gratifying to create products that I love and to know that thousands of gamers are using them every week. Thank you for giving me – and the rest of the team here – that opportunity. It means more than we can express.


    Rob Bowes, President
    Paul Grosse
    PCGen BoD
    PR Silverback

  2. #2
    mattekure's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Virginia, USA
    Wow, thats a bummer. I dont use Herolab anymore, but I did enjoy Realmworks for many years. Sad to see its development stopped.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Virginia Beach
    I am glad they are formalizing what has been the case with complete lack of RW progress over the last year and almost no progress (other than 64 bit which should have been there from the start) for 3 years.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Lake in the Hills, IL
    An honest appraisal to sharpen focus and define a clear vision - a tough but necessary step in any viable business.

    On multitasking - it’s been concluded

    Multitasking sacrificed our power of full presence when we multitask, and we do so for a perceived benefit of improved productivity that simply doesn't exist.

    Research indicates that multitaskers are actually less likely to be productive, yet they feel more emotionally satisfied with their work, thus creating an illusion of productivity.
    Currently GMing:
    * The Haunted Highlands - Castles & Crusades

  5. #5 a RW backer, that stings. I'm certain that I've not got my money's worth on the product, and will move on to new methods of campaign management. I can't see them keeping the servers up indefinitely, and I can't see many people putting forth the money for a subscription for it, with it being a product on extended hiatus. I'm certainly sad for all the people that are going to be jobless because of the downsizing...some very good people at LWD.

    My $0.02.

    Ultimate Edition license holder - No License Needed to Play My Games (Need Demo Version of FG Downloaded)
    FG Community Developer:
    [Available]Millennium Knights, Savage Suzerain [In Progress] Tyrnador: Fate of Ventar [Personal Use]Savage Rifts

    Currently running:
    AD&D 2e - Against the Spider Queen (FGG Lost Lands Adaptation)
    Savage Worlds - Savage Rifts Vampire Kingdoms

    In planning:
    Way too many games!

    Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) United States; GMT -4 hours

  6. #6
    I have seen and written a lot of posts in the past days on this topic. RW being my main tool for anything related to the hobby (except character management) and this freeze is truly disappointing.

    The good part is that the tool provides everything I need and more, therefore staying as is is OK. In the near future nobody will be able to produce something similar to that, all are jumping to the web-based subscription crap. It is even stated somewhere, that in case LWD goes out of business, the RW will be released and the server lock removed. We will see, I hope we never reach this moment.

    Hope dies last.
    The past is a rudder to guide us, not an anchor to hold us back.

  7. #7
    I still use the heck out of Realm Works, although I havent opened HeroLab since I gave up Pathfinder a few years ago. I plan to continue to use it as is. The market content is never what sold me on the product.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Virginia Beach
    Well, do what you will, but I recommend doing an export because it is probably only a matter of time before you hit one of the corruption bugs that have been plaguing folks for 4 years, and there won't be anyone there to fix your file.

  9. #9
    Sad but accurate prediction.....

    The Lonewolf decline has been precarious, painful, and predictable. The losses of certain key support employees, shortsighted "plans" versus grand "vision" by the singular power steering all has created cracks within the very foundation. All of this without elements to complete promises already made and / or the ability to support them.The same visionary, while proclaiming transparency yet not truly understanding what it means to be such, has relied ever increasingly on the very community that tried to support the vision by mocking them as not understanding the "complexities of software development and customer relationships".

    Lastly choosing to have a growing dependency of the community but condescending those that would, through their generosity, help to support a software for its possibilities. And further not providing good documentation nor access to assist but only portions of the code are some, but not all of this has brought them to the brink.

    As a newcomer to Fantasy grounds but a long time supporter of Lonewolf and Hearolab and Realmworks, FG would do well to learn from the mistakes of Lonewolf. From what I see sofar, FG has a good relationship with their community. I hope that continues.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Virginia Beach
    They made strategic error on the web version of Hero Lab, IMO. And they seemed to abandon their long-time clients with the tons of content. That is when I jumped off the Lone Wolf train. Had they just kept going with the non-web version of HeroLab and focused on properly finishing RW, they would have done fine. At least, I would have kept investing in their add-ons. When they finally released their content market, their Pathfinder materials were nothing more than PDFs but more ugly - almost no content linking like the program is designed to do! (You couldn't even look up an NPC)

    Sad, and I hate to see it, but as you said, it was the result of bad decisions stacked one on another.

    Nice to see you over here, Galen!

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