Lone Wolf Development Forums  

Go Back   Lone Wolf Development Forums > Hero Lab Forums > HL - Savage Worlds

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Gelfarin
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 23

Old April 4th, 2017, 09:18 AM
This is going to be a bit of a rant here and I probably just misunderstand the way this works. I get the clear impression that Hero Lab is really just a tool for Pathfinder and the rest of the gaming systems are just lucky enough to use it. Since I've been paying attention to the Savage Worlds forum, it appears that anything we want, we generate ourselves. We then submit it and then it gets sold back to the rest of us? I'm having to constantly update for Pathfinder (and DnD) which I wrote off a few years ago (as an unwieldy dinosaur) but next to nothing for Savage Worlds. Many of the online/digital tools find that this is the second most used system after Pathfinder/DnD (all versions). Yet we're really red headed stepchildren here.

Since I starting playing Savage Worlds a little over a year ago (specifically Savage Rifts), I've not used Hero Lab as it's really pretty useless for that setting. I've found great joy in doing manual character sheets again. And, although Savage Rifts is the number one popular setting for Savage Worlds, we continue to wait for our own community to generate a working character sheet.

Again I'll state that I probably misunderstand the nature of how Hero Lab is supposed to function. It's probably intended to be a Pathfinder program first and I missed that when I purchased it with additional licenses. I really appreciate the group that works so hard here for Savage Worlds, however wonder if there's any point in using Hero Lab to play it.
Gelfarin is offline   #1 Reply With Quote
jfrazierjr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 122

Old April 4th, 2017, 11:09 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gelfarin View Post
This is going to be a bit of a rant here and I probably just misunderstand the way this works. I get the clear impression that Hero Lab is really just a tool for Pathfinder and the rest of the gaming systems are just lucky enough to use it. Since I've been paying attention to the Savage Worlds forum, it appears that anything we want, we generate ourselves. We then submit it and then it gets sold back to the rest of us? I'm having to constantly update for Pathfinder (and DnD) which I wrote off a few years ago (as an unwieldy dinosaur) but next to nothing for Savage Worlds. Many of the online/digital tools find that this is the second most used system after Pathfinder/DnD (all versions). Yet we're really red headed stepchildren here.

Since I starting playing Savage Worlds a little over a year ago (specifically Savage Rifts), I've not used Hero Lab as it's really pretty useless for that setting. I've found great joy in doing manual character sheets again. And, although Savage Rifts is the number one popular setting for Savage Worlds, we continue to wait for our own community to generate a working character sheet.

Again I'll state that I probably misunderstand the nature of how Hero Lab is supposed to function. It's probably intended to be a Pathfinder program first and I missed that when I purchased it with additional licenses. I really appreciate the group that works so hard here for Savage Worlds, however wonder if there's any point in using Hero Lab to play it.
As someone new to the forums, I think you are partially correct. The problem stems not from HL itself, but in the content source licenses. HL started as a generic tool which had few licensed products due to the draconian nature of the original content companies. I GET that they want to project their intellectual property and I can agree with them on that point, but they did not come up with quality solutions(if any at all). That all changed in the past few years with Pathfinder agreeing to allow HL to directly develop a settings file and for at least many of their expansion products. Of course, plenty of people BEFORE the license agreements came into being "rolled their own", and that's exactly what the SW fans did to a much greater extent.

I suspect as others have mentioned that there are LOADS of people who purchase HL explicitly because it has PF and 5e rule elements built in and they can easily new content for a fee with no manual coding. On the SW side, I would doubt that many people really care that much about a builder simply because the SW ruleset is, well... fairly simple. There are not 800 spells or 75 skills or 50 classes to keep track of. That's not a knock in SW's by any means and frankly, this is one of the reasons why I am switching from a stalled 4e campaign to SW. I wanted HL for several reasons:
  1. Character validation(making sure only stuff I wanted would apply)
  2. Consistent character sheets and stuff for my players and myself
  3. Extendability(this is key for me)

on the latter, this is key. The ability to easily edit a program and add items, or give extra starting skills, or whatever is something I EXPECT any such software to have. For 4e, I used the original CB and liked it a LOT. However, I fell in love with it after finding the "thing" that decompiled and let me add my OWN rules to it(for the most part) in ways that work way things from the original base application worked(and how HL mostly works).
jfrazierjr is offline   #2 Reply With Quote
Paragon
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 875

Old April 4th, 2017, 11:39 AM
Also, note that SW products are scattered across a large number of sometimes little companies. This means its often not cost-effective to work out deals with every one of them.

And even when something is coming through PEG itself, or someone else big, there's always the question of how much work needs to be put in to support it. I followed the Savage Rifts discussion enough to know that it uses some mechanics that the basic Savage World framework is not that set-up for.

To some extent, the bottom line is that there are some issues SW deals with which Pathfinder doesn't in HL.
Paragon is offline   #3 Reply With Quote
CapedCrusader
Senior Member
Volunteer Data File Contributor
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,274

Old April 4th, 2017, 11:58 AM
Well, Pathfinder gets the most attention for a couple of reasons. There's so much material out there for it. It's allowed them to create a model where people will pay to have someone else enter all the data for them. Folks could go in and enter all of that data themselves, but they don't need to.
Savage Worlds, on the other hand, doesn't have anywhere near the level of content that Pathfinder does. Also, the Savage Worlds fans were a little more pro-active, and had a tendency to enter the data themselves.

Also, the material presented for Pathfinder is all the same game system/setting. It's more in the nature of more material than completely different setting. Savage Worlds is much more variable. Each Setting can completely re-write the game system in certain ways. Savage Rifts is one of the worst. It bends the game system rules in ways that are tough to duplicate with Hero Lab, considering everything else it has to support for Savage Worlds.
The other issue is that, because of licensing issues in the early days, the Savage Worlds community took to writing Setting files and then passing them around. So no one made any money off of the deal, Lone Wolf or the folks that owned the IP. This had the side effect of removing Lone Wolf's capability to make a business out of Savage Worlds supplements. Even now, except for the Companion books, Lone Wolf doesn't charge/make any money from the Savage Worlds modules except for the base module. None of the Setting files cost anything.

The delays in the code releases is also part and parcel to this. I only do this part time, fitting it around my day work. On their end, they are very busy with their other offerings, because that's where their money is. It's the nature of the beast. We've got an update in the final stages of testing that's almost ready to go out, but I had a convention to help run last weekend, and my mother is in the ICU. So, there are other priorities that must be dealt with.

We kind of made our own bed in the Savage Worlds fan community. We created those Setting files ourselves, and gave them away.

I feel that Hero Lab is an extremely useful tool. As a GM, having the ability to quickly spin up characters is invaluable. I also use it for my own characters. In our defense, I will say that you did pick the most complicated Setting. It's also the newest. There's a Setting file in the works, but Rifts does some things that no other Setting does, and some of them are really difficult to arrange. To do it right, we'll need to make base code changes that affect a lot of things. The ability to have more than one Arcane Background is a killer. We have to be so amazingly flexible to be able to support all of the Settings that Savage Worlds has, it causes some issues when we get to some of the specifics.

_
Currently Running: Savage Grimnoir, Savage Galaxy Rangers
Currently Playing: Pathfinder 2 Test, Savage Wearing the Cape
Setting Files: Deadlands: Reloaded, Flash Gordon, Gaslight, Interface Zero 2.0, Slipstream, Solomon Kane

Last edited by CapedCrusader; April 4th, 2017 at 12:07 PM.
CapedCrusader is offline   #4 Reply With Quote
Gelfarin
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 23

Old April 4th, 2017, 12:25 PM
Hi all, and thank you for the better insights. I agree with everything stated though I might not like it. I really wish I had the skills to code more and help out. I can usually find the time, but the actual coding is beyond my current understanding. And yeah, Savage Rifts did break the book for Savage Worlds. Interesting, fun, but not easy to slap onto the current ruleset. Thanks for all you guys do!
Gelfarin is offline   #5 Reply With Quote
zarlor
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Metairie, LA, USA
Posts: 1,780

Old April 4th, 2017, 01:46 PM
I've done quite a few of the settings files, but I will say I don't fully agree with CC about our shooting ourselves in the foot on that. When I first made the decision of which product I wanted to use the two that really only had any true settings in them and had some potential to modify for house rules and such what Hero Lab and MetaCreator. Neither one of them had more than a few data files available, though. There was a Deadlands file, Rippers and maybe one or two others through the official release mechanism, if I remember correctly (there were also a few other files on non-PEG, Inc. settings that were available privately, as is still true today although there are a lot more now).

After playing around with both programs I settled on HL and decided I would have to make data files for the settings I wanted, because they just didn't exist and nobody at LoneWolf was really giving any indications they were going to do them that I was aware of. If they had I probably would have been willing to pay a few bucks for them, but I just didn't see it happening. It wasn't until I was posting a ton of questions here and was contacted by LoneWolf if I wouldn't mind publishing my HoE file through their update mechanism that the first of my files went out for free. Apparently LoneWolf has an agreement in place with PEG, Inc. to allow that to happen for official Pinnacle settings (third-party is a different story, as I've been given the impression Lone Wolf would need some agreement in place to make any of those files available in their update mechanism and only a few of those have been done). I've told LoneWolf they are more than welcome to actually try to sell my data files if they really wanted (I need no compensation, I'd be doing them for myself anyway!) but they have only thanked me for the offer but decided they prefer it this way.

I don't know the exact reason why that is the case but my personal guess is that I don't think the Savage Worlds setting, nor the add-ons for it, sell all that well. SW may be 2nd for things like Fantasy Grounds and some other utilities, but I think the overall scheme of things it's a pretty distant second in this case to Pathfinder/d20. So I just don't think Lone Wolf makes enough money off of us to do something like pay CC the big bucks to make all of the major overhaul of changes we'd probably like to see.

Now is that because I (and others) made those data files that SW doesn't make much money here? I personally don't think so. To me it was a bit of a catch-22. Without having data files why bother getting Hero Lab for a relatively simply system to craft characters for, like SW is? Yet now that we have data files for free, do we now have enough folks using Hero Lab to make money off of data files is they started wanting to sell them? Or are there simply too many free files out there in the wild that they don't think they could get away with selling them? I don't suppose we'd really know unless they tried.

In any case I think the main answer is really that Lone Wolf doesn't make enough money off of us... so presumably there just isn't enough of a market among Savage Worlds players/GMs when compared to the mega-monster of Pathfinder/d20 and even AD&D that Lone Wolf probably just doesn't see that they would get enough out of their investment to spend more effort on this side of their products.

That doesn't even include the pretty massive investment and focus they are placing on Realm Works. (Yes, I know it's a different development pool, but it's still the same pot of financial and management resources which are, IMHO, focused more on those areas rather than on Savage Worlds.)

Even so, it's still be a pretty useful investment for me personally. Yes, there are a TON of things I wish were better about it, but it's definitely improved over the years and the content is still pretty good overall. Heck, for my own personal files that I submit to Lone Wolf I also post at the exact same time that I have a file ready for use. Some of those were available within a week of the public release of a setting by Pinnacle so you could get a usable file very quickly. With the caveat that it may change between then and when Lone Wolf approves a finalized file. I just haven't been all that involved in data file creation lately, is all. Even so folks like Dartnet, jbearwillis and now Paragon, among others, have really stepped up to the plate with some of their files and SeeleyOne has been massively helpful on getting crazy things to work in code and helping folks out here, too. Obviously CC has been instrumental in implementing some really crazy stuff that a data set built to originally handle just base Savage Worlds wasn't really meant to do.

So in that sense, much like a lot of the Savage Worlds community, it's all about community support here. I'd LOVE to see more Lone Wolf love sent our way, and I have some willingness to pay for that, even, but I can only guess that our community, and therefore are market, are still just too small fish in the Lone Wolf pond to make it worthwhile for them to send more resources our way.

I guess the real answer, then, is to get more of your SW playing friends to buy Hero Lab and the Savage Worlds datasets? I really is exceptional useful for some of the reasons others have pointed to here. As was also pointed out SR is a pretty huge setting, but it's also hugely oddball compared to base Savage Worlds, so getting it to really work right is going to be pretty tough so I guess I just wouldn't suggest using that setting as a measure of what Hero Lab is good for.

Lenny Zimmermann
Metairie, LA, USA

Data files authored (please let me know if you see any issues with any of these if you have/use them):
Official (In the downloader)
50 Fathoms, Deadlands: Hell On Earth, Deadlands: Noir, East Texas University, Necessary Evil (requires Super Powers Companion), Pirates of the Spanish Main, Space 1889 (original file by Erich), Tour of Darkness, Weird War II, Weird Wars: Rome
Coming Eventually
Evernight (LWD has completed their review but I have some fixes to make first... although Pinnacle mentioned this might get an overhaul to SWADE so I may just wait for that first. If you just HAVE to have this now, though, just PM me)
zarlor is offline   #6 Reply With Quote
CapedCrusader
Senior Member
Volunteer Data File Contributor
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,274

Old April 5th, 2017, 08:04 AM
One point. zarlor. By the time you came on board to do your terrific Setting files, this model was already in place. It was all the passing around of files before the agreement with PEG came into being, and we could do official releases. Heck, it even pre-dates me.

_
Currently Running: Savage Grimnoir, Savage Galaxy Rangers
Currently Playing: Pathfinder 2 Test, Savage Wearing the Cape
Setting Files: Deadlands: Reloaded, Flash Gordon, Gaslight, Interface Zero 2.0, Slipstream, Solomon Kane

Last edited by CapedCrusader; April 5th, 2017 at 08:31 AM.
CapedCrusader is offline   #7 Reply With Quote
zarlor
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Metairie, LA, USA
Posts: 1,780

Old April 5th, 2017, 10:18 AM
Yeah, I do get that, but I would also suggest that there weren't all that many files being passed around that way. Of course there was a bit smaller selection of settings available, but I'm not sure it was really THAT many. By the time I jumped in there still wasn't much in the way of data files, even through the "PM me to get it" method. But, maybe there was a burgeoning torrent out there or something that I was never away of, I will admit.

Lenny Zimmermann
Metairie, LA, USA

Data files authored (please let me know if you see any issues with any of these if you have/use them):
Official (In the downloader)
50 Fathoms, Deadlands: Hell On Earth, Deadlands: Noir, East Texas University, Necessary Evil (requires Super Powers Companion), Pirates of the Spanish Main, Space 1889 (original file by Erich), Tour of Darkness, Weird War II, Weird Wars: Rome
Coming Eventually
Evernight (LWD has completed their review but I have some fixes to make first... although Pinnacle mentioned this might get an overhaul to SWADE so I may just wait for that first. If you just HAVE to have this now, though, just PM me)
zarlor is offline   #8 Reply With Quote
CapedCrusader
Senior Member
Volunteer Data File Contributor
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,274

Old April 5th, 2017, 08:03 PM
Well, if there was a time it could have changed, it was when we started distributing Settings though Hero Lab. But that would have meant asking everyone who already had Deadlands and Solomon Kane to pay for the updates. If I recall correctly, those were the first two official ones. Also, I don't know the details of the licensing agreements they have with Pinnacle. Not charging for the Setting files may have been a requirement.

_
Currently Running: Savage Grimnoir, Savage Galaxy Rangers
Currently Playing: Pathfinder 2 Test, Savage Wearing the Cape
Setting Files: Deadlands: Reloaded, Flash Gordon, Gaslight, Interface Zero 2.0, Slipstream, Solomon Kane
CapedCrusader is offline   #9 Reply With Quote
poizen37
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Northeast Quadrant
Posts: 128

Old July 2nd, 2017, 01:29 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gelfarin View Post
And yeah, Savage Rifts did break the book for Savage Worlds. Interesting, fun, but not easy to slap onto the current ruleset. Thanks for all you guys do!
No kidding, right?!? I've done a lot of work in HL for Pathfinder stuff and trying to put in just enough to make my Rifts Mystic without adding a million permanent adjustments taxed my HL skills to the limit. I love doing the work myself but I'm totally down for letting someone else do the heavy lifting on this one.
poizen37 is offline   #10 Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:27 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® - Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
wolflair.com copyright ©1998-2016 Lone Wolf Development, Inc. View our Privacy Policy here.