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-   -   Importing Secured Content (http://forums.wolflair.com/showthread.php?t=62310)

EightBitz March 23rd, 2019 08:56 AM

Importing Secured Content
 
First of all, congrats again. I have a few observations, comments, questions and suggestions. Not demanding anything or trying to rush anything, just pointing out some things and asking some things. I'll be posting three different topics so as not to muddle disparate things.

1. Content Sharing Between Realms
I recall an early discussion where it was said that eventually, content would be shareable between realms. Is this feature still on the docket, or has it been replaced by the import/export feature?

The import/export feature obviously has some limitations with secured content. If I just want, say 5 or 10 creatures from the Bestiary in my own campaign, my understanding is that I would have to import the entire bestiary and delete all the entries I don't want. That seems a bit cumbersome.

If the content sharing is still on the docket, great. If not, would it be reasonably possible to modify the import process to allow us to select which items we want to import?

Or, would it be reasonably possible to allow us to selectively export, as we do with an unsecured realm, but to an rwsecure file, so your protection is maintained?

2. Printing
With the inability to export anything, I can't even print a Hero Lab stat block from RW. I recall that a print feature was put on the feature list, but wasn't a priority. Same question as above. Was this replaced by the import/export feature, or is this still on the docket? If it was replaced by the import/export feature, that doesn't help with secured content.

Maidhc O Casain March 23rd, 2019 01:58 PM

I just did a partial export of the specific content I wanted from the Bestiary, then imported it to the realm in which I needed it. Worked like a charm.

Maidhc O Casain March 23rd, 2019 02:16 PM

Well, I say I did. However, I didn't have time to actually check the topics to see if there was anything in them...

EightBitz March 23rd, 2019 02:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Maidhc O Casain (Post 277195)
Well, I say I did. However, I didn't have time to actually check the topics to see if there was anything in them...

Yeah, when I do an export, the topics are there. But no content.

Maidhc O Casain March 23rd, 2019 03:02 PM

Well, that's a pain. So currently, say I put together a one shot with 2 or 3 monsters from each of 3 of the Bestiaries, I've got to import all three of them in their entirety, then manually delete the 800 to 900 monsters I'm not using...

That can't be right.

daplunk March 23rd, 2019 03:11 PM

You can't export secured content. For obvious reasons.

Now what you can do is make modifications to secure content. This is awesome! Picture this use case:
  • The D&D 5e SRD contains all of the monsters but none of the monsters pictures, descriptions, etc. Every-time you import the content you are therefore lacking the pictures etc.
  • Import the SRD into a realm.
  • Adds pictures.
  • Add descriptions.
  • Export the content.
  • Now you have an import pack that can be imported over the top of any SRD installation and it will re-apply the changes. You only need to update the pack once with the changes you want.

This is very powerful given most providers in this situation would simply block you from modifying or sharing the content.

EightBitz March 23rd, 2019 03:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by daplunk (Post 277207)
You can't export secured content. For obvious reasons.

Now what you can do is make modifications to secure content. This is awesome! Picture this use case:
  • The D&D 5e SRD contains all of the monsters but none of the monsters pictures, descriptions, etc. Every-time you import the content you are therefore lacking the pictures etc.
  • Import the SRD into a realm.
  • Adds pictures.
  • Add descriptions.
  • Export the content.
  • Now you have an import pack that can be imported over the top of any SRD installation and it will re-apply the changes. You only need to update the pack once with the changes you want.

This is very powerful given most providers in this situation would simply block you from modifying or sharing the content.

"This car has only has a 3 gallon gas tank."

"Yeah, but it has an awesome stereo system."

What you're saying may certainly be true, but it does nothing to address the issue at hand.

Maidhc O Casain March 23rd, 2019 03:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by daplunk (Post 277207)
You can't export secured content.

So the following is a true statement, then?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Maidhc O Casain (Post 277201)
Well, that's a pain. So currently, say I put together a one shot with 2 or 3 monsters from each of 3 of the Bestiaries, I've got to import all three of them in their entirety, then manually delete the 800 to 900 monsters I'm not using...

That's a huge pain in my butt, and way more trouble than it's worth. It might actually be easier to just manually input the encounters I need - in which case I've wasted a lot of time waiting for the Content Market (and Bestiaries) to come out, and I likely won't be spending any more of my money on them. A shame, since that's what I primarily meant to buy.

daplunk March 23rd, 2019 04:37 PM

I dont understand this mentality at all.

It's way easier to have an import. You import the Monster Manual. And for most people I'd wager that's enough.

For the people who really only want a couple of monsters in their realm from that Monster Manual. You import the book. You create a new heading called "The monsters I want". You drag the ones you want into there and then right click delete the original Monster Manual container and delete the descendants.

It's a simple process. The idea of picking which parts of the import you want at time of import sounds tedious to be honest.

And I get that people are going to want to export secure content. But it's secure content for a reason. LWD can't just allow us to do what ever we want to do with it because it's legally not their decision to make.

Maidhc O Casain March 23rd, 2019 04:56 PM

But choosing what entries from the Bestiaries I want for my adventures is exactly what I do now.

The method you describe sounds easy - and I guess maybe it is. But to me it just seems... I don't know. Inelegant?

Say I'm making a 'realm,' an adventure, that's maybe 6 or 7 encounters. How big will that be - 10 mb? 20? I don't really know. But say it's 100. So to make that 100 mb realm, I've got to first bloat it out to a gb (roughly, assuming I'm using stuff from 3 different monster books at about 300mb per), then go back and delete most of that gb worth of material. Not to mention the time it takes to import those three large files.

And either way I've got to sort through them to find the monsters I want, so it's really a wash whether I do that before or after the import.

I totally get that that have to secure the content! It's sad, but there's no question, no doubt, the general population can't be trusted not to pirate it if given the chance. But it seems like it should be possible to set the export process up so that the exported file carries the same security as the original. It may not be - I'm no coder for sure so I don't really know. But there should be a more elegant solution.

Don't get me wrong - I don't regret purchasing RW (even at the ridiculous backer level I chose). It's still the premiere campaign management tool. But using the Bestiaries this way is cumbersome/unwieldy/inelegant.

EightBitz March 23rd, 2019 05:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by daplunk (Post 277213)
I dont understand this mentality at all.

It's way easier to have an import. You import the Monster Manual. And for most people I'd wager that's enough.

For the people who really only want a couple of monsters in their realm from that Monster Manual. You import the book. You create a new heading called "The monsters I want". You drag the ones you want into there and then right click delete the original Monster Manual container and delete the descendants.

It's a simple process. The idea of picking which parts of the import you want at time of import sounds tedious to be honest.

And I get that people are going to want to export secure content. But it's secure content for a reason. LWD can't just allow us to do what ever we want to do with it because it's legally not their decision to make.

In my original post, I asked two questions.

Quote:

If the content sharing is still on the docket, great. If not, would it be reasonably possible to modify the import process to allow us to select which items we want to import?

Or, would it be reasonably possible to allow us to selectively export, as we do with an unsecured realm, but to an rwsecure file, so your protection is maintained?
Are those fair questions to ask?

Maidhc O Casain March 23rd, 2019 05:23 PM

OH! So no exporting at all - just choose which parts we want at import from the rwsecure file. That would be elegant, if it could be done.

kbs666 March 23rd, 2019 08:03 PM

I'm confused. Haven't people been paying attention? Secure content was never going to available for export. That was made clear when the import/export stuff was added over 2 years ago.

MNBlockHead March 23rd, 2019 08:35 PM

@kbs666 Most people are not going to remember discussions from 2 years ago. Lots of folks don't follow the discussion board closely. I do, but forgot about this. I don't particularly care as I'll just follow the process that daplunk recommends. It does make it more important, imo, to keep a copy of the purchased realm file handy since you'll need to import from that file to get purchased content into a realm.

This is why I would eventually like to see a web version of RW and have all this handled server side. With D&D Beyond, as a comparison, once I buy a book than its content is available for any character in whatever campaign. I don't have to worry about moving it around or doing multiple imports. Now, what DDB provides is not where near as complex and rich as what RW does. This is all blue-sky wishful thinking.

Bottom line, I'm extremely happy with the CM. It has greatly increased RW's value to me, even with the inelegant import functionality for secure content.

I was able to purchase Kobold Press's Tome of Beasts and Book of Lairs, download, import and was ready to run a game for my sons in under an hour. Smart maps, Hero Lab portfolios, and all the topics and linkages all done and ready.

I was also able to add Kobold Press's Creature Components to my current ongoing campaign realm and instantly have a system for harvesting and using monster parts added to my campaign.

Now if they could only license the official WoTC publications....

EightBitz March 23rd, 2019 09:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kbs666 (Post 277228)
I'm confused. Haven't people been paying attention? Secure content was never going to available for export. That was made clear when the import/export stuff was added over 2 years ago.

If you're confused, please reread my initial comment.

Cammagno March 24th, 2019 03:05 AM

In my opinion, wht could make this possible without requiring to export secure content, and that could be useful in a lot of other user cases, would be a "copy to another realm" function for topics.

Cammagno March 24th, 2019 03:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by daplunk (Post 277207)
You can't export secured content. For obvious reasons.

Now what you can do is make modifications to secure content. This is awesome! Picture this use case:
  • The D&D 5e SRD contains all of the monsters but none of the monsters pictures, descriptions, etc. Every-time you import the content you are therefore lacking the pictures etc.
  • Import the SRD into a realm.
  • Adds pictures.
  • Add descriptions.
  • Export the content.
  • Now you have an import pack that can be imported over the top of any SRD installation and it will re-apply the changes. You only need to update the pack once with the changes you want.

This is very powerful given most providers in this situation would simply block you from modifying or sharing the content.

Sorry, I didn't get this :(
If secure content can't be exported, after I add to that realm the Pictures and descriptions from purchased secure content, how can I export that modified content to make the import pack?

Farling March 24th, 2019 03:44 AM

I haven't tried it, but I would expect that RW would not export a snippet that you modified from a secured import; otherwise you could modify every snippet (add a dot) and then export the entire secured realm.

ibecker March 24th, 2019 07:54 AM

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that there was supposed to be a way within Realm Works to share content between realms, but it relied on the Content Market to work. The export/import functionality as we now have it was a crutch that they released to appease the user base because the Content Market was so delayed.

I'm hoping that is still the plan - the export/import functionality is great for putting info into Realm Works or getting it out (especially with all of the work Farling has put into it), but it's still really clunky for sharing info between realms. Realm Works should make such inter-realm sharing easy, and in the process could continue to protect secure content.

-Ian

kbs666 March 24th, 2019 08:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ibecker (Post 277257)
Perhaps I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that there was supposed to be a way within Realm Works to share content between realms, but it relied on the Content Market to work. The export/import functionality as we now have it was a crutch that they released to appease the user base because the Content Market was so delayed.

I'm hoping that is still the plan - the export/import functionality is great for putting info into Realm Works or getting it out (especially with all of the work Farling has put into it), but it's still really clunky for sharing info between realms. Realm Works should make such inter-realm sharing easy, and in the process could continue to protect secure content.

-Ian

What was publicly stated when import/export was announced was that there had been plans for a different sort of functionality for getting content in/out and shared between realms but that it was turning out to be too complicated/taking too long to implement. Import/export is what we have for all of that.

ibecker March 24th, 2019 11:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kbs666 (Post 277258)
What was publicly stated when import/export was announced was that there had been plans for a different sort of functionality for getting content in/out and shared between realms but that it was turning out to be too complicated/taking too long to implement. Import/export is what we have for all of that.

If true, that's most unfortunate. The current export/import system really is much too clunky to be the long-term solution for inter-realm information sharing within the same Realm Works account. Additionally, there's no good reason for it to be - if Realm Works can marshal the information and write it to a file, and then import that file, there is no reason why that external file step can't be skipped. The program should be able to directly take that info from one realm to another without the intermediate external file. In the process, since the information would never leave the program, secure information should be able to be shared between realms.

Farling March 24th, 2019 11:29 AM

I think the current import/export was used because their original method proved unfeasible as KBS666 says. However, now that the CM is out, they can start planning on improving the import/export methods to maybe take out that intermediate step within the same RealmWorks account.

Valyar March 25th, 2019 06:30 AM

Import/Export features definitely need improvements...A lot.

Cammagno March 25th, 2019 03:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ibecker (Post 277267)
If true, that's most unfortunate. The current export/import system really is much too clunky to be the long-term solution for inter-realm information sharing within the same Realm Works account. Additionally, there's no good reason for it to be - if Realm Works can marshal the information and write it to a file, and then import that file, there is no reason why that external file step can't be skipped. The program should be able to directly take that info from one realm to another without the intermediate external file. In the process, since the information would never leave the program, secure information should be able to be shared between realms.

I agree 100%
Import/Export is far from ideal for exchaging material between realms within RW account.
And the possibility to move secure content between realms of the same account would greatly increase its value...
I think this should be a priority.

Farling March 26th, 2019 12:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cammagno (Post 277312)
I agree 100%
Import/Export is far from ideal for exchaging material between realms within RW account.
And the possibility to move secure content between realms of the same account would greatly increase its value...
I think this should be a priority.

Don't you mean after Calendars? :-)

(I thought I would get that in first.)

Grey Mage March 26th, 2019 01:42 PM

What he (Farling) said...!!!

Janrith March 26th, 2019 04:20 PM

To borrow from the old AD&D Core Rules 2 Expansion toolset, selective content import is a well-used feature of that toolset.

Of course, they didn't have the concept of "secure" imports... but still, you could open an import file and view the contents. It would show what items would conflict with what was in your DB and allow you to either select everything, or just the items you wanted.

VERY handy when you have a large export for archival purposes, but only want to grab a few things from it for a particular encounter set.

This is still a use case I employ today in that tool.

-=Janrith

Farling March 26th, 2019 04:25 PM

There has certainly been discussion about selective import in the past (several years ago).

Maidhc O Casain April 6th, 2019 02:40 PM

It took about 35 or 40 minutes to import the NPC Codex this evening. Then I had to turn around and delete 90% of the content I imported, as I didn't need it. There has to be a better way...

ruhar April 13th, 2019 08:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by daplunk (Post 277213)
I dont understand this mentality at all.

I guess I'm one of the misunderstood mentalities. I thought that what we got from the CM we would be able to add a few things from it to an already created realm.

Basically, I see the realm (the adventure) as an organized three-ring binder. My impression was that I could buy the Bestiary, take three "pages" that have the monsters I need to for my game from that binder/realm, and add them to my adventure binder/realm. Apparently not.

So why should I bother buying reference and rulebook materials if I can't take "pages" and add it to my current realm? Those reference and rulebook materials are a waste of my money because I still have to 1) create my own reference in my realm or 2) have access to the internet to look it up or 3) have the actual reference books and rulebooks next to my computer. It would be different if we could have more than one realm open. Then we could link to the content in another realm.

Farling April 13th, 2019 11:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ruhar (Post 278001)
It would be different if we could have more than one realm open. Then we could link to the content in another realm.

The second sentence is a whole step more complicated than the first sentence

AEIOU April 14th, 2019 09:14 AM

@Farling That is very true. And I'd imagine that the structure of RW makes that nigh impossible at this time. At least one of RW's competitors can do this seamlessly and totally painlessly, even linking content by other creators as long as you have access rights. It's definitely something RW needs to consider. But it would likely take an engine retooling.

I'd love to have a master world realm, campaign realm and game system realm in RW. Each is focused and recyclable. I'm not holding my breath for RW to do this.

Cammagno April 15th, 2019 04:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ruhar (Post 278001)
Basically, I see the realm (the adventure) as an organized three-ring binder. My impression was that I could buy the Bestiary, take three "pages" that have the monsters I need to for my game from that binder/realm, and add them to my adventure binder/realm. Apparently not.

You can, but in a very not-optimal way: you have to add all the Bestiary and then delete all the unneeded pages.

Kathorus April 17th, 2019 09:50 AM

Perhaps I'm missing a vital piece of info, but here's my use case.

I'm preparing a 5e campaign, I've imported the SRD, Midgard Worldbook, Heroes Handbook, and Tome of Beasts.

In Realm Works all of this is stored in the World Almanac and Mechanics Reference.

I rename the "Story Almanac" to "Dornig" which is where the game is taking place, then add all that I need from the World Almanac to the new view. Then I make a Mechanic view called "My Mechanics" and add all of the SRD to it, a few races that I am allowing from the Heroes Handbook, some spells, monsters, etc... from the various other sources. The new views are my 3-ring binder.

So now I have everything I need from all sources in two views, I stop using the World Almanac and Mechanics Reference altogether. I've deleted nothing, so that if I want to add another monster from the ToB or an area from the campaign world, I can easily do that.

In Addition, I can add all the various views and tools from the Ribbon to the the Quick Access toolbar and then minimize the Ribbon so I'm not seeing the World Almanac or the main Mechanics View and just use the Quick Access Toolbar to navigate between the various items.

I realize this doesn't cut down on import times or the amount of data in the database, if that's what the issue is, but it does address only needing to see certain items within the software itself as I'm using it. Also, any custom items I add, even if it is a picture and description to a monster in the SRD (per daplunk's post towards to beginning) can be exported out of this realm, and into another realm with the SRD and it will merge with the existing record.

MNBlockHead April 18th, 2019 02:15 PM

@Kathorus

I've never used the quick-access toolbar, so using that with the ribbon minimized is a good tip.

Creating specific views in a Realm is certainly one way to recycle content for different campaigns, but the problems is that the reveal history is not view specific. You could copy topics and articles and organize them by campaign, I suppose but that seems to even more work than reimporting the SRD, etc. into each campaign.

I am not running concurrent campaigns in the same setting and I don't run many different campaigns, so I don't really have any issue with the current import/export functionality.

But for those who do, I *think* what may be particularly helpful is a feature many have been asking for: individual player reveal. That way you can run multiple groups through the same setting concurrently, without having to make and maintain multiple realms for the same setting/adventure.


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