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Genthar
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 12

Old February 10th, 2018, 06:19 PM
So, I managed to use Hero Lab Online with a recent Starfinder session and here's my experience:

Notes:
  • Hero Lab Online Build EFCA53D
  • I was running the character from an iPad Air (first gen Air), no other apps running, and on power so no battery issues.
  • iPad was fully patched to the latest iOS version, and I was using the built-in Safari browser.
  • Full wifi signal on a high-speed mesh network connection.
  • I'm still getting used to the layout, so I'll reserve comment on that until I've used it more extensively.

The good:
It worked. When it was up, I had full access to my character, and was able to roll all required items from the app, take damage, heal damage, etc. I was able to read descriptions and for the most part get whatever information I needed at a click (or tap in this case).

The not-so-good:
Occasional "invalid token" errors, or other issues that seemed intermittent. Since I was in a game at the time, I was not able to try to isolate/replicate the causes unfortunately.
Unable to access gear/weapons to add a weapon at one point, but was fixed by relogging.
I chalk these up to growing pains and while annoying, didn't stop me from using my character.

The bad:
It would periodically disconnect for no apparent reason. During these times I would be unable to use my character until it reconnected. None of the other devices (various web browsers on Roll20 where our map was) disconnected during those times, so it's not a connection issue. Another player using HLO on her laptop (after she saw me using it) also experienced disconnections from HLO, but not Roll20. She also was unable to use her character during those downtimes. This is what I most feared from HLO. For it to not so gracefully handle the offline condition, and for it to be utterly unusable when offline. This is under near ideal conditions as it is a small group with a strong wifi connection and a lot of bandwidth. In a setting with poor connectivity, this could be a deal-breaker.

It would periodically become very slow responding. During those times I wondered if I missed a click or tap, so I'd hit it again, sometimes several times since I wasn't sure if it was hung or what was happening, then it would finally respond with multiple things appearing (not always what I wanted to see), or the item I wanted to read appearing then disappearing in a flash. Obviously it was queuing up input until it could catch up and then all of the input would trigger and cause problems.

Verdict:
I'm not giving up yet, but, I'm not happy at this point. It's going to need a lot of work on handling network stability, and handling the offline condition really needs work. If I can't do anything at all when it goes offline, it will be pretty much unusable. This was just one game, but, another player was experiencing the same issues, and she was on a laptop (a gaming laptop, so hardware resources shouldn't be an issue.) I know it will improve as they work on it, but for me this is a rocky start.
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Kryosar
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Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 5

Old February 11th, 2018, 07:35 AM
I also saw this behavior in our session last week, on an ipad air 2. I was planning to bring a laptop to this session to see if it dropped off as well.
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octimus
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 2

Old February 11th, 2018, 12:55 PM
First, thanks to the dev team for reading all this feedback. I'm a software developer, too, and get a lot of comments / criticism from the public...so I know what that feels like.

I've been using Hero Lab Online on my laptop, phone, and tablet. The responsive web design is nice and really does work well, assuming you have a good internet connection.

There's a few UI implementation details, however, that make the experience somewhat frustrating, but thankfully I think are easy to address. The following would vastly improve usability:

1) Retaining Scroll position All popup windows that are accessed from a list, such as weapons, armor, feats, etc. When the window is closed, either because an item was selected or the close button was pressed, the scroll position in the list is reset to the top. This makes it very difficult to use, because you have to keep scrolling down through large lists.

2) Filters There's lots of lists: armor, weapons, etc. There's no way to filter out options that are unavailable or illegal for a PC, so you end up having to scroll through large lists of "red" unavailable items. Being able to filter these out would be a huge improvement.

3) Search Similar to 2) above, there's no way to search for a particular item in a list. It's very hard to find an individual item. I waste a lot of time scrolling and searching manually.

Thanks!
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Ian
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Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 136

Old February 12th, 2018, 08:57 AM
Thank you for the feedback so far. We'll definitely be working to improve the issues that you've noted. We have some UI items like the ones that @octimus noted on our short list of improvements to make, too.
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octimus
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 2

Old February 13th, 2018, 08:43 PM
That is great to hear. Thanks so much, Ian!
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TheMaskedFerret
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 116

Old February 14th, 2018, 05:01 PM
Character Layout issues:
I am running Hero Lab Online mostly on a laptop. On the Character selection screen, there is only one column of characters. However, there is a great deal of unused screen real estate. Could you please expand the number of columns of character entries, so that people with large numbers of characters with wider screens don't need to scroll as much?

Settings:
Hero Lab offers the ability to set default settings for each game system. Could the same feature be added for Hero Lab Online? It is annoying to have to go back each time I create a new character and set it to be a Starfinder Society character.
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Ian
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Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 136

Old February 14th, 2018, 05:17 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMaskedFerret View Post
Character Layout issues:
I am running Hero Lab Online mostly on a laptop. On the Character selection screen, there is only one column of characters. However, there is a great deal of unused screen real estate. Could you please expand the number of columns of character entries, so that people with large numbers of characters with wider screens don't need to scroll as much?
This is on our immediate to-do list to go along with NPCs and monsters. We'll be revamping that whole page to work with much larger numbers of characters, along with different organizational schemes (probably "tag" based, with different ways to view/filter tags you've set).

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMaskedFerret View Post
Settings:
Hero Lab offers the ability to set default settings for each game system. Could the same feature be added for Hero Lab Online? It is annoying to have to go back each time I create a new character and set it to be a Starfinder Society character.
This is something we're also thinking about, both for this kind of use and for broader settings like with the tag-based views I mentioned above.
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TheMaskedFerret
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 116

Old February 14th, 2018, 05:40 PM
Awesome! Thanks!
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Wageslave
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 5

Old February 14th, 2018, 11:30 PM
Is there a section for character exporting (say, for BBCode as is available in HLC) so it is much easier to port character stat blocks to forum play (say on the Paizo Forums?)

Am I missing it?


Also:

Is there currently a plan and/or workaround for getting the Firefox version to print the 'full' version rather than the skeleton version that currently kills trees at a prodigious rate?

I STRONGLY prefer Firefox ESR as my browser and do not desire to change browsers simply to get functionality of one program.

In addition, in Firefox ESR, when in the 'Play' mode, the character sheet does not fully display in the browser window, requiring zooming the window out to 67% to see the entire character sheet.

Thank you very much for your time in advance and have a great day!

Last edited by Wageslave; February 14th, 2018 at 11:35 PM. Reason: Additional Information added
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TheMaskedFerret
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 116

Old February 15th, 2018, 04:39 AM
Which Firefox ESR?
TheMaskedFerret is offline   #10 Reply With Quote
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