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MaxSupernova
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 411

Old December 3rd, 2014, 06:25 AM
Okay, it's rubber meets the road time.

I have futzed around with Realm Works for a year now, and I've skidded all over the map between "THIS IS THE GREATEST THING EVAAAAAAAAARRRRR!!!" and "What a piece of crap, just release the promised functionality, can't you run a software project?!?!?!" at various points during this period.

I'm sure my vaguely schizophrenic forum personality has been a consternation to Liz and Rob as I alternate between defending and taking not-so-subtle shots at the product and the developers.

But today I make my final stand. I am committing to using Realm Works.

A few threads ago I decided that maybe all this wasn't worth it and I'd just go back to using a wiki. Well, I just spent a week trying to get a wiki to do what I want it to do, and it's simply not possible.

What I want is a wiki, but I want to be able to display some things on a page to some people (me) and not display those things to other people (my players). I want to make a publicly accessible page for me to take notes and say "This part is player and GM viewable, and this part is GM only".

Wikis don't do that well. They will show entire pages to certain people, but controlling access of only part of a page is nearly impossible. There are plugins that do parts of it, but the hidden stuff still shows up in searches, or in auto-created directories. You have to write code wrapping every hidden part, and even then it's not guaranteed. Trust me on this. I've asked reddit. I've asked MeFi. I've researched and installed and tweaked and uninstalled every wiki there is. TiddlyWiki, MediaWiki, Docuwiki, PHPWiki, PMWiki, TikiWiki. WikkaWiki. Hide. IsAuth. AuthIs. Plugins. Wrappers. I have used local wikis, I've used hosted wikis, I've tried windows program-based databases. What Realm Works does, there is simply no other good option for.

Of every single piece of software and website that I've been searching through for a half dozen years, the only tool other than Realm Works that easily does what I want it to do is Obsidian Portal (with its "GM area"), and Obsidian Portal's other functionality is iffy at best.

I threw up my hands and walked away thinking I'd just go back to my old ways, only to realize that Realm Works is my sole option. This is the last great hope for gamemaster organization.

You've spoiled me, Realm Works. I'm back. I'm sorry I doubted you.

Please make it worth it.
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Grey Mage
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 298

Old December 3rd, 2014, 06:43 AM
I completely understand your 'pain...'

I futz'd around with a wiki (actually several different ones) for the past few years also and none really got it 'all' done. RW has the potential to do most of it (I believe). It is just going to take a while. I remember the early versions of HeroLab. It too was a work in progress. Hell, for that matter, it still is. Like our hobby (whichever version of whichever game you call your hobby), HL (and its little brother RW) are constantly evolving. Evolution takes time...

I think we going to get there so long as we are patient and keep providing LWD the 'right' sort of feedback while keeping our expectations reigned in. RW is NEVER going to do everything that everyone wants... but as a user I think it will be a very fine campaign management tool once it has had a little time to grow.

Just my two cents...
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Dark Lord Galen
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Texas
Posts: 702

Old December 3rd, 2014, 09:37 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxSupernova View Post
Okay, it's rubber meets the road time.

I have futzed around with Realm Works for a year now, and I've skidded all over the map between "THIS IS THE GREATEST THING EVAAAAAAAAARRRRR!!!" and "What a piece of crap, just release the promised functionality, can't you run a software project?!?!?!" at various points during this period.

I'm sure my vaguely schizophrenic forum personality has been a consternation to Liz and Rob as I alternate between defending and taking not-so-subtle shots at the product and the developers.

But today I make my final stand. I am committing to using Realm Works.
STANDS AND APPLAUDS

Like you, for good or ill, I'm committed. And also like you, I think Rob & Liz would think I suffer from the same form of schizophrenic tendencies.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxSupernova View Post
Of every single piece of software and website that I've been searching through for a half dozen years, the only tool other than Realm Works that easily does what I want it to do is Obsidian Portal (with its "GM area"), and Obsidian Portal's other functionality is iffy at best.
I agree and would add My search began in 1982.... They had a little known software application called "The Dungeon Master's Familiar" (published in Dec 1983 Dragon Issue #80) to track and simulate combat, keep up with Dice rolls exp, etc... we have come a LONG way from this....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Mag#80
In these modern times, we let printed circuits and memory chips replace spells and enchanted flesh, and we have the
“Dungeon Master’s Familiar.” This program was written to run on a Radio Shack TRS-80 but it can be used easily in any computer that uses a variation of Microsoft BASIC
@ all those community members that didn't graduate highschool before the turn of the century! > That's right, We had electronic Dice Rollers even THEN. heheh

But Like "Super Max" I have been on a long quest for the holy grail of DM support tools.... and with alittle help and support, there might, just might, be some light at the end of the tunnel with LWD.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxSupernova View Post
I threw up my hands and walked away thinking I'd just go back to my old ways, only to realize that Realm Works is my sole option. This is the last great hope for gamemaster organization.

You've spoiled me, Realm Works. I'm back. I'm sorry I doubted you.

Please make it worth it.
Right here with ya on this.... every ten years or so I gamble and "buy into" a vision, enter data, discover warts, and then they are gone. Gone with my money, gone with my data, gone with my effort. And I resort back to the mountain of boxes, notes, hand sketched maps.... and start again.... from the beginning, old school. Why? Because I can depend on me. My records, my notes, my maps... I am not at risk of false promises, lost / encoded/ corruptible data files I cannot access nor bankrupt companies that no longer support my world.

Like You Max..... I'm all in... don't disappoint me LWD, don't be yet another company that promises the moon and fails to deliver.

@ Greymage> Completely agree with your comments... I would only add (and not trying to tone it negatively) I hope it goes BETTER than Hero Lab..... While the HL core is mostly solid, LWD has really yet to Polish it...

There are vast differences in the ability to edit the Pathfinder version vs the D20 version,(and that is just TWO of the sub-types offered) There are an innumerable amount of warts that need fixing even now....

In my line of work I have often found it is easier to do 90% of the work than the last 10%. The Last 10% on average takes 25% MORE effort. Anyone that has built a house know this. The walls go up easily,,, getting them painted is another matter.
Accolades to the HL community for supporting the last 10%.

Last edited by Dark Lord Galen; December 3rd, 2014 at 09:45 AM. Reason: Added comment
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MaxSupernova
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 411

Old December 3rd, 2014, 10:38 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Lord Galen View Post
STANDS AND APPLAUDS
I agree and would add My search began in 1982.... They had a little known software application called "The Dungeon Master's Familiar" (published in Dec 1983 Dragon Issue #80) to track and simulate combat, keep up with Dice rolls exp, etc... we have come a LONG way from this....
Old fart fist-bump.

I remember looking through the source code and trying to work out using it on my C64...
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Indus101
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 56

Old December 3rd, 2014, 01:41 PM
By its current capability alone, Realm Works is worth the purchase price for me. I'm in the process of consolidating notes and wikis scattered everywhere into one place, so like the rest of you, I'm placing my bets in the future of the product.

Not worries though, as LWD have already proven themselves capable of making awesome software and finding ways to update and keep making it better with Hero Lab.
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Kilgs
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 26

Old December 3rd, 2014, 06:59 PM
I'm in the same boat. Fairly schizophrenic because I'm so excited with the product and totally frustrated with the lack of export/print. But I agree, RW has nearly everything I've wanted. I'm just not willing to spend hours inputting data that I can't access or use as I desire.

It's an incredible product. The yearly pricing is reasonable. It simply blows anything else out there clean from the water.

But without export I won't be reupping.
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EightBitz
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Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 1,458

Old December 3rd, 2014, 08:00 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilgs View Post
I'm in the same boat. Fairly schizophrenic because I'm so excited with the product and totally frustrated with the lack of export/print. But I agree, RW has nearly everything I've wanted. I'm just not willing to spend hours inputting data that I can't access or use as I desire.

It's an incredible product. The yearly pricing is reasonable. It simply blows anything else out there clean from the water.

But without export I won't be reupping.
Same here. Without export/print, it will never be my primary tool.
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Pollution
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 346

Old December 4th, 2014, 03:51 AM
Coming from some other management tools for LARPing (Grapevine mostly) and having actually created a few of my own over the years (ah, Access, my old friend...) I feel like RW is at least 90% there as a GM tool, 75% there as a Player Aid, and overall about 80% or so perfect.

List of things that need doing:
PE need to have players be able to create some content on their own.
Hide hidden things in Player View properly (relationships, containers, text that link even though the topic is hidden, small stuff).
Export/print to make everyone happy (though I personally will never use print, export could be nice).
MARKETPLACE!!!! This is what will turn RW from a "chore" for me to create content to a perfect/happy place where instead of spending 60+ hours inputting RotRL for my players, I just spend $10-$20 and call it done. (fyi, that's $20 for the whole thing, I'd pay $8 per chapter or so, and small modules would be a $3-5 purchase IMHO)
Web View, cause, yeah, that's needed too.

And finally, player defined view restrictions. I say this last one, because, Holy Smokes, if I ran another LARP, I'd use RW over Grapevine or other solutions any day of the week. Especially if I can have the Players segregated in some way (think like tags, but for clan or influences). That would be sharp!

All told, RW is almost the perfect product imo. And I too come from old C64 variants of The DM's Familiar, only I actually coded it myself. You're talking to a guy that needed but didn't have dice one day, so I coded up a quick RNG program in VB, cause, I had a PC, just no dice. lol.
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Exmortis
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 765

Old December 4th, 2014, 05:24 AM
Realm Works is it for me, as it allows me to use it, and just it (well I have a basic word doc I have to support non-RW users for camaign start). I used word and my printer and 5 notebooks to cover my campaigns before RW, now outside of a small base Word doc, everything will be in Realm Works and HeroLab (HL will be used for all encounters, and all noptable NPCs will have their own .por file).

With Daede being my last game world I build ground up, using RW is awesome, I also have the benefit of time, most of the features people are clamering for I want, but I do not need for about 2yrs, Possibly 1. With exception to my calendar which I want to build in now. One of the coolest things about RW is the top down approach I take being so easy, and when I get an idea for the main story line, I click a button and write in notes on the story side.

I also love the the dynamic linking, for me 90% of the notable NPCs are world based, that is they are not expendable, they are part of my world and even if killed they will remain as history and lore, thus I create them in the world almanac, and link to them from the story side.

The cloud feature is also extremely useful for me already, as I have a desktop, lappy and tablet I work on, and with a click of a button I have all my latest work on them all. slick! For the fore seeable future I will pay for it, just for that alone. I am probably one of the few who sees PE as an absolute dream, and for 95% of the complaints, it is exactly what I thought and what I wanted, historical player reference. Once calendars and Journals are in and better integrated, it will be perfect, the rest of the features for me are just gravy....Do not get me wrong I love gravy, it is a beverage, but its just the calendar and journals are part of the meat and potatoes of what I need in PE.

RW being part of the LWD ecosystem is also huge for me, any way they can tie these two programs together is like a yet another laddle of gravy on my meat and potatoes, and there is no such thing as too much gravy. The idea that D20 Ultimate could see in better integration with both products is also huge, and why I backed it.

I can't imgaine now playing pathfinder around the gaming table with out LWD having my back. In fact, I don't have too, they have been here for 20yrs, and pretty sure they are not going anywhere. And neither am I.

Exmortis aka "Scott"
RW - Needs Rez spell
HL - Game Master/Designer
RPG Tools - Campaign Cartographer 3+, D20 Pro Ultimate
Real Life - IT Security
Hobby - Anything on water or ATV
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meek75
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Louisville, Ky
Posts: 329

Old December 4th, 2014, 06:07 AM
Hmmm, I'm not there yet on full commitment to RW. Here are my reasons:

1. My gaming group changes games and systems a lot. We like variety and tend to prefer running fairly short games (6-15 sessions is typical). We also have 2 GMs that switch back and forth, so a 15 game arc might last 30 weeks. Using RW require a lot of time to enter material and the cost benefits analysis sometimes isn't in favor of it. If I am running a short game all the up front time required to enter stuff is just not worth it. I can certainly see the huge benefit to people that run a single game for years on end though. In theory the Market Place should help with this. If I can buy or simply download and already done realm, that is a whole different ball game. Unfortunately, we don't play pathfinder or DnD very much, so I am not expecting much in the next few years. If the community supports the marketplace with rule neutral things (or maybe some realms that have a small enough portion of already published stuff to fall under "fair use") then that might be exciting. At the moment I am preparing a 7th Sea Game and RW is much more useful to me in that style of game. The complicated character relationships and plots are much easier to track in RW -- so some of it depends on what I am running ATM.

2. Lack of player interest. My group just will not use the PE off-line enough to merit purchasing the PE. Even at 5-10 buck for PE, my group is not interested enough to buy it. There not having PE lowers my desire to use RW. I know I could buy it for them, but I'm not excited enough by what is currently offers to do so. If a web/ tablet based version comes along that allows players to journal, GMs to reveal to specific players, and a quicker/easier way yo sync the GM/PE then I will probably go all in. However, using the current development speed as a guide, that will be a loooooong time in coming.

3. This is less important, but it's ugly. I know we all want function over form, but the user interface in RW (and HL) is just not pleasing IMHO. If I could customize fonts and backgrounds that would be a big help.

So, the cost of cloud service will probably be higher than I am currently willing to pay. I like RW enough to keep using it (rather than One Note - the program I used before RW) for game prep ATM (the other GM has done by a program called My Info), but I'm not fully won over either. I have high hopes for the future, but the very slow pace of the development makes it hard to be too excited about the intimidate future. This is not an attack on LWD. I think they do a pretty good job overall -- but this just an honest expression of where I am ATM (I too suffer from some multiple-personalities at times )
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