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harkan May 31st, 2008 12:35 PM

Next version of AB
Any news on where the development of the next version of AB is at?


Pilgrimdb July 23rd, 2008 08:18 PM

I received a reply on the 31st July 2007 stating that Loan Wolf Development were behind on their schedule for a new release of AB and that not only was one planned "before the end of the year (2007)" and also that "we'll need to address this (paying for frequent updates but not receiving them) in some way for users". I then received another email stating that an announcement would be released "at the end of the month (Oct 2007)". However, still no announcement and now no replies to me emails. I think this "revolutionary" licensing system has just been a way to gather more profit for the company and, rather than making things better, has merely led to us paying more.

I would really like a reply from LWD to just let me know that they truely are working on this issue and not just ignoring people that have paid for a service (frequent releases) and are not receiving them.

gilvagor July 25th, 2008 08:09 AM

Not to stir up anything but I'm just wondering what people want and update for?. AB is super solid and reliable. I don't see the need to update it. It runs great on my machine and I would fear that an update might make it slow or laggy. The only thing I would love to see added would be an Inventory system...that would rock. Other than that no need to fix what isn't broken.

Jamz July 25th, 2008 10:37 AM

I would just be happy to hear from Rob and know that he's alive and kicking and that AB isn't a "dead" product. Otherwise, I agree with gilvagor in that it's fine "feature" wise but an Inventory system WOULD be neat :)

Pilgrimdb July 25th, 2008 06:29 PM

I would think that the main reason for wanting an update is because that's what people, like me, who paid for a three year license paid for. Their main site continues to promote this licensing system as one that provide constant refinements and new additional features if you shell out the money to pay for them. However, here I am, two years into my three years and I may as well have not paid for the extended license at all.

Olorin July 27th, 2008 05:55 PM

I feel exactly the same way: after a year of no updates, I renewed my license yet again because they promised an update before the end of the year. At that point, eleven months ago, I was annoyed about having paid for a year of updates which they didn't provide, but I accepted their apologies and assurances that a new version would be ready before the end of 2007. Since then, I have received absolutely nothing for my one year renewal; today, I got a reminder from AB3 that license renewal time is coming up yet again! Do they think that users will keep paying and paying whether they provide updates or not? They seem to have decided to put all their efforts into Hero Lab, and ignore the AB users who are paying for updates.

It has been over two years since they put out so much as an incremental release, even though they claimed that AB3 was a product that was being continually worked on and updated. We were supposed to have an inventory feature incorporated well over a year ago. The fact is, they set up a licensing model where they couldn't keep up their end of the bargain. They should admit this, and give AB users either refunds or free extensions. They can't expect to keep users happy when they have them pay for nothing.

rob August 8th, 2008 01:00 PM

Next version of AB
Hi Guys,

As is usual, topics like this invariably come up immediately before something major, such as GenCon next week. :-(

I would love to take the time to explain this in more detail for you right now, but I leave for the airport in 2.5 hours. So I'll give you a basic explanation and then go into more detail when I get back from GenCon (in a couple weeks).

As most of you are aware, we've been developing a new product for RPGs entitled Hero Lab. Colen and I have been adding extensive new functionality to that product that is planned for integration back into AB. In fact, we've gone to great lengths in designing Hero Lab features to ensure lots of the new stuff will benefit AB. Unfortunately, the problem with getting it actually released for AB has been four-fold:

1. We have one big thing planned for AB that has no bearing on Hero Lab, and we keep getting hit by surprises that have kept us from getting that completed.

2. There's one facet of Hero Lab that I desperately want to integrate into AB that will represent a *revolutionary* improvement for data file authors. I have been putting off the AB update because I *so* want to incorporate this new stuff, but I just can't seem to get the time to re-integrate it into AB.

3. The development effort involved in getting Hero Lab to its current state has far exceeded our original expectations. As such, we've spent vastly more time and energy on it than was planned, and that has obviously been a major factor with the seeming inattention to AB.

4. As quite a few AB users have commented both here in this thread and elsewhere in the past, AB is a very solid product right now, so there isn't a compelling need for it to be updated. Meanwhile, Hero Lab has gone through the same evolutionary process that AB did when it was first released, wherein there have been lots of things that would make it significantly better that we can add right away, and there are competing tools that we need to stay ahead of.

In brutal honesty, item #4 is probably the most critical reason why AB has not yet been updated. Put yourself in the shoes of a parent with two children, one of whom is happy, healthy, and doing well. The other child is a young infant that is constantly demanding your time for a littany of reasons. It's really easy to focus all your attention on the infant, much to the dismay of the healthy child. That's basically what's happened with AB and HL, and I'm definitely the guilty parent here. :-(

At one point late last year, we had a plan mapped out for how to address this in what we thought was a reasonable way. But we found out there was a huge hole in the plan when we talked to our legal counsel and had to scrap it. It feels like that was just a few months ago, but it's acutally been 9 months now. :-(

I don't begrudge you guys for feeling like we owe you an AB update - we absolutely do. But the nature of development is that it's incredibly inefficient to spend a little bit of time on each product in parallel - it's much better to focus months of effort on something and produce an excellent result. There are only two of us doing development here at Lone Wolf, and I spend an inordinate amount of my time on all of the business stuff as well, so we effectively have only 1.5 developers here. We can only accomplish so much, and I keep focusing on the infant child. While it wasn't my intention, I've essentially ignored the healthy child and now that healthy child is not happy with me.

This doesn't tell you what we're going to do to fix the situation - I honestly don't know the answer right now. However, this at least gives you an honest assessment of where we're at. Colen and I have been talking about lots of strategies for AB in the past months, and we now need to nail something down. If possible, we'll spend some time at GenCon discussing it further (unlikely). Otherwise, we'll discuss it when we get back.

Please give us a chance to figure something out and present it here. After that, you can line up with torches and pitchforks if you wish. :-)

For those of you who will be at GenCon next week, stop by and say hello. We'll be in booth #2339.

Thanks, Rob

Taubay August 9th, 2008 01:13 AM

Hi rob

thanks for the update, it's good to hear what is going on.

have you thought about opening some of the code for AB up as open source and allowing other developers to help out. even if that was only on on some of the small stories or refactoring work etc

I'm a java and c# developer myself so I know the pain that comes with any development work and I would love to be given to opportunity to help out in any small way.

rob August 20th, 2008 10:04 AM

Next version of AB
At 02:13 AM 8/9/2008, you wrote:

thanks for the update, it's good to hear what is going on.

have you thought about opening some of the code for AB up as open source and allowing other developers to help out. even if that was only on on some of the small stories or refactoring work etc

I'm a java and c# developer myself so I know the pain that comes with any development work and I would love to be given to opportunity to help out in any small way.
Opening things up partway requires that we properly carve out those pieces and define essentially a plug-in model for them, thereby allowing others to adapt and extend the functionality. Unfortunately, doing taht well requires lots of time in the code and then to document everything. I would love to do it, but there just hasn't been time to get it done.

If it came down to it, would it more valuable to open up AB like this? Or would it be more valuable to actually add new user-centered and/or authoring functionality? In other words, given a fixed amount of development time, where should it be spent?

Taubay August 21st, 2008 01:17 AM

well I have to say, given the limited development time you have then concentrate on the core functionality

maybe you could open it up at a later date

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