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Indus101
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 50

Old January 31st, 2015, 09:53 AM
I'll be quick:

Thanks LWD for holding the survey and posting the results!

Bummed about calendars, but understand how democracies work.

Only question, from a technical perspective, is that aren't "Journals" really an offshoot of a robust Calendar system? Since the next big feature will hinge on the current dating system, I just hope you don't run into programming issues when you do get around to handling Calendars, as it seems they be getting built in the reverse order: aka, journals derive from a robust calendar system, not the other way around.

Know that doesn't change the survey, just wondering if the survey could have list journals as the next step that followed calendars, since both features are tied so closely.

As always, thanks for the great product! It's making my life much easier!

best,
Indus
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Dark Lord Galen
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Old January 31st, 2015, 10:16 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indus101 View Post
I'll be quick:

Thanks LWD for holding the survey and posting the results!

Bummed about calendars, but understand how democracies work.

Only question, from a technical perspective, is that aren't "Journals" really an offshoot of a robust Calendar system? Since the next big feature will hinge on the current dating system, I just hope you don't run into programming issues when you do get around to handling Calendars, as it seems they be getting built in the reverse order: aka, journals derive from a robust calendar system, not the other way around.

Know that doesn't change the survey, just wondering if the survey could have list journals as the next step that followed calendars, since both features are tied so closely.

As always, thanks for the great product! It's making my life much easier!

best,
Indus
Spot on observation.
Good post
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Portilis
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Posts: 161

Old January 31st, 2015, 10:26 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Lord Galen View Post
After multiple -200, -300, -500 errors and re-installs and re-re-install- and re-re-re-installs all but one of the machines finally sync'd.
In which case either you're using data that hasn't been updated clearly, you've got other network issues, or you've been really unlucky. My players and I have been running it across 4 different versions of windows (XP, 7, 8.1, and 10), and barring a couple of known issues in the now fairly distant past it's run quite smoothly. The only recent issues I've had with syncing have been cases where I've have -500 errors in situations where I've known that there have been general network issues present.


Quote:
"Charlie testing"
I believe what you're looking for is "Gamma testing".


Quote:
I like what I see, but I can't trust that my data will still be there if it crashes or if LWD goes away? I'll stick to MS Word
As regards the "if LWD goes away", that's true of any software to some extent, but realistically even if they did, existing realms would still work offline, and I'd be surprised if they didn't try to offer some form of solution for handling online service at that point.

Similarly, any software has some crashes.


Quote:
I find the notes useless for journal entry, and if there are no calendars, how will the journal be any different?
Calendars are planned, but overall it depends what you're really looking for in notes and journals.


Quote:
It takes forever to sync
It takes time to sync first time for any decent sized realm, yes. My own master realm is sitting at around 1.5 gig atm, across mainly 4 campaigns. That's about the same as a 45 min HD video, and will take the same amount of time to download.

Further syncing depends on how much data needs to be transferred, and can be quite quick (connection dependant) if there's not much to do.


Quote:
As a herolab user, LWD has made promises for years now that we are still waiting for.
Probably true, but there are always things that get knocked back in any project. Examples would be good, but frankly as someone who is generally pretty actively invested they are one of the best companies I've ever dealt with for listening to what their customers are after.


Quote:
Seems like they cant keep their promises.
Same is true of every software company ever. LWD have been very open when they don't think they're going to be able to keep a deadline however and done their best to explain the reasons, which is a rarity in the software industry.


Quote:
Why take a survey if they don't share the results and do as they want?
Because the survey was for them to find out what their customers wanted. Whilst we might be interested in the results, handing them out is not part of what they are actually there for - the only people who actually ~need~ to know the results are the designers and developers who make the decisions on what is done first.

I'd be interested to know the results as well. That doesn't change the fact that I don't need to know.

The suggestion that they're somehow "manipulating" the results is idiotic. There is no reason whatsoever for it, it would be absolutely appalling business.


Quote:
Why don't they tell everyone what is currently being worked on and what is in the backlog with a start date?
They frequently do tell us what is being worked on. However, going into detail on every item they are working on would take up developer time, which is both a waste and an extra delay.

It is also not a good idea for them to tell us when they're starting work on something new, as in any software project on this scale it is easy to find that you hit a snag that requires significant changes to the underlying structure, at which point you're looking at a big delay. It isn't therefore a good plan to talk about these things too early.


Quote:
Its a waste of our table time, it has taken so much time this week it should have had its own set of dice at the table.
Why are you setting it up during game time? My own group run as weekenders, so probably could have easily spared the time, but we sorted it between games because it made more sense.

Sorry to say, no sympathy on something that is entirely down to your own decisions.

Also of note, doing it all at the same time at the start of the sessions will be another reason the syncing was very slow as you're trying to download several big files at the same time from different machines.


Personally, I've been using it for... some time now. Ever since just after the early release.

It's excellent at what it does. There are other intended plans, but the core aim - campaign management - is very solid. Yes, more player sharing than the player view would be wonderful, and it's something I'm very much looking forward to, but that doesn't make the use as campaign management software any less for the gm.
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AEIOU
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Old January 31st, 2015, 10:48 AM
For the record, it's my fault. All of it. I think calendars got an 8 from me and export got a 9. I screwed up the calendar vote. Blame me, not Rob. Now let's get back to some constructive criticism, community support and bug smashing.

I really liked reading through the whole update but the item that really got me excited was: "...we highlighted a number of smaller enhancements and refinements at the beginning of the survey that we consider fundamental to Realm Works’ success. Some of those have already been completed for the upcoming release, while others are still in the queue." It's gonna be like Christmas in February and I can't wait to cut the bow off and tear into my new present. What will the enhancements be?
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Chemlak
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Posts: 431

Old January 31st, 2015, 10:58 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indus101 View Post
I'll be quick:

Thanks LWD for holding the survey and posting the results!

Bummed about calendars, but understand how democracies work.

Only question, from a technical perspective, is that aren't "Journals" really an offshoot of a robust Calendar system? Since the next big feature will hinge on the current dating system, I just hope you don't run into programming issues when you do get around to handling Calendars, as it seems they be getting built in the reverse order: aka, journals derive from a robust calendar system, not the other way around.

Know that doesn't change the survey, just wondering if the survey could have list journals as the next step that followed calendars, since both features are tied so closely.

As always, thanks for the great product! It's making my life much easier!

best,
Indus
Just going to touch on this point, as it seems to be something that's frequently forgotten.

Calendars work. They already exist in the software.

Now, as I understand it, there are some features that the Dev team want to add (mostly from the beta team's input, but also from the calendar thread), and possibly a few bugs to fix. But they're there, and they do the job.

Journals will be able to leverage new calendars when they do become available.

The issues with calendars are nothing to do with the code behind them (which is for the most part solid), and everything to do with how cumbersome and complex creating a new calendar is.

Now, I don't have any (significant) secret insights, I've never seen the calendar mechanism (I've begged!), but I can understand LWD wanting to make them significantly more user friendly (say, a calendar wizard) than direct numerical input (or whatever the current method is). Calendars are virtually useless if, the first time I try to set one up, I give up in frustration.

I have zero concerns about calendar integration in journals, because all they have to do is make sure that journals can access an already-written (but hidden from most of us) piece of the software.

Chief Calendar Champion Chemlak

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jkthomsen9
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 266

Old January 31st, 2015, 11:45 AM
I am disappointed in the short sighted/trollish responses from the community. I have been using HL for about five years now. In the beginning it was very buggy, did not have much content, and I had to "write" many of my own data sets. I went so far as to take a beginners XML class, only to learn that HL uses a "bastardized" form of it. But David was always helpful when I wrote asking how do i do X,Y,Z.

Then the community stepped in. Shadowcamesh "sorry for the spelling" and chief weasel among others started entering "old" content and then the AP's. ONCE the content market is up and running I fully expect the community to step up again and make this product better and better.

If you don't think it will get better lets look at HL five years down the road. I recently started a new campaign for my daughters, Wrath of the Righteous. From LWD I had every mechanic already in HL to generate the characters. From the community I was able to download EVERY encounter for the entire campaign.

And then it happened.......I have been bitching for YEARS about printing heros in HL. More often than not I forget to turn off the bless spell, the rage condition, or prone condition before I print. Then I turn them off and reprint.......But this time as I was configuring the character I noticed a new block, asking what I wanted to do with the conditional modifyers. I am not sure how long it had been there, as honestly the last couple updates happened at the begging of a game session and I did not read the release notes, but there it was...one of the quirky thing about the program was just gone.
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liz
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Old January 31st, 2015, 12:07 PM
@DLG, similar to what Chemlak said, the basic functionality for calendars exist within Realm Works. In fact at the point of the Kickstarter, the foundational work for calendars was completed or near completion (Rob can clarify if needed, as I came on board after the KS). After the Kickstarter, we were able to get feedback from the Beta team on what we had in place. Based on their feedback, and our own testing, we determined that the interface needed a lot of work. The current interface is crude and clunky. Unfortunately, that meant calendars was a lot less “done” than we initially thought we were.

The calendar interface needs to be completely reworked, and that will take a healthy amount of time. So the survey was assessing whether users valued us taking that additional time on calendars, as opposed to spending the time on one of the other features that may have taken a higher priority in their minds since the release.

As for not releasing the specific results, we explained our reasons but I’ll reiterate them below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ”Realm Works Feature Survey – Charting the Future”
Please understand that we will not be publicly releasing the detailed results of the survey. The reasons for this are many. However, the most important reason is that the survey results are an influential guide for us, but not an absolute dictator. We’ll be using the survey results to help us identify the features that will make the most users the happiest, but there are other factors like available resources, market competition, partnership opportunities, and many more that we also need to weigh when prioritizing features for development. So we won’t be going exactly by the survey results, and it’s therefore best to keep that information internal.
It’s unfortunate that you think we may be deceptive about the results. I can only say that we would not willingly deceive our users like that.
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MNBlockHead
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Location: Twin Cities Area, MN, USA
Posts: 1,255

Old January 31st, 2015, 02:22 PM
The way I look at this is RW needs to focus on what will best help it grow its user base and increase profit so it can grow and afford to continue developing the product. That is why the marketplace and the more collaborative features have be given preference, even though I could care little about them. They just are not going to do as well focusing on GMs like me who are using the tool as a way to organize and build their world, but not to share with players. They need to sell player licences. They also need to bring in busy GMs that prefer to work with pre-created content. The marketplace is critical for this.

I do wonder, however, if the focus on keeping the current user base happy is creating a feedback loop and overlooks what may be keeping larger numbers from buying the software?

I wonder how many people have turned away from buying the program because they would not be able to export or print their content. As much as I REALLY want calendars, I can see the inability to export/print being a more common deal breaker.

As for calendars versus journal—I don't know—I would think lack of custom calendars would be a bigger turn off for potential buyers than lack of journaling. But this may just be a blind spot I have, as lack of journal features is not something I've missed in months of heavy use for how I use the tool.

The blinds spots, I think, are the risk that are the hardest for developers to identify. The survey seems to be designed to be very helpful for retaining users. 15% seems like a good sampling of perspective users, but it is a highly select group of potential users and not a very good sampling of larger market. More interesting to me would be a survey given to a randomized group of gamers (e.g. people who have registered to play one or more role playing games at a large gaming convention) and asking them rate the importance of features, including allowing for the selection of multiple items that would be "deal breakers" if not provided.

I think it might be enlightening to the developers what answers they would get if a large random sample of DMs, who were not current customers, if they would buy a campaign management tool that did not allow them to export or print their work. As a current user, when i go through this thought experiment, I find myself saying no. So why did I buy RW? Because I didn't conduct much due diligence, bought it on impulse, and just assumed that this would be available. I remember being surprised when I learned that I couldn't export/print, but I was more disappointed by lack of calendars.

The good news is that after the initial frustration, I started using the tool and have found it immensely useful. I have not seen anything that comes close to RW for what I use it for. The bad news is that it wouldn't take much for me to change allegiances. If a campaign-management tool came along that offered a decent content-management system with a workable solution for multiple calendars, and an ability to export/print, I would switch. Hours of cutting and pasting would seem like a worthwhile investment.

This, ultimately, is what the RW team needs to focus on. I think that is what they are trying to do with their survey, but when putting myself back into the shoes of a hypothetical GM who is informed about the product's features and limitations, I can see that, yes, the Marketplace is red-hot critical, but I have a difficult time seeing the existence or lack of journaling to be a deal breaker for a potential buyer. It seems to be more about making the existing user base happy.
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MNBlockHead
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Old January 31st, 2015, 02:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkthomsen9 View Post
I am disappointed in the short sighted/trollish responses from the community.

<SNIP>

And then it happened.......I have been bitching for YEARS about printing heros in HL.

<SNIP>
That's a rather backhanded defense of Realmworks, albeit unintentional.

Having to wait YEARS for bugs or glitches to be fixed or important features to be added?

MAYBE I'll wait years, but only if a better solution doesn't present itself. Not sure why pointing this out is trollish.

I don't personally know the developers. I'm sure they are nice people. I know it is difficult to put in long hours and even take on a lot of financial risk to develop a product only to have customers complain and demand more. But it is still better that folks are yelling at them. That means that they care and are invested in the product and really do not want to (or currently cannot easily) jump to another product. As a small business owner myself, if someone does leave, I would rather they do so loudly and let me know, rather drop away quietly. I may decide that their complaints do not warrant deviating from my business strategy, but I still want to know why people leave.

I wasn't part of the kickstarter group so I got exactly what was advertised. Buyer beware and all that. I'm overall a happy customer and try to give constructive feedback because I would like my begging for calendars to be taken seriously (and it has, just prioritized behind features more users were begging for—which is logical).

If, however, features were promised and not delivered or delivered but then yanked away when issues with them arose, well, I can see why those users would be louder in their complaints. I don't read these complaints as trollish. The developers may have good business reasons to continue to put delivering on their promises on the back-burner—that's between the developers and those who feel they did not get what they paid for. Passionate complaints may be hard to stomach at the time, but they are better than being given nothing to swallow.
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Exmortis
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 720

Old January 31st, 2015, 02:40 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MNBlockHead View Post
The way I look at this is RW needs to focus on what will best help it grow its user base and increase profit so it can grow and afford to continue developing the product. That is why the marketplace and the more collaborative features have be given preference, even though I could care little about them. They just are not going to do as well focusing on GMs like me who are using the tool as a way to organize and build their world, but not to share with players. They need to sell player licences. They also need to bring in busy GMs that prefer to work with pre-created content. The marketplace is critical for this.

I do wonder, however, if the focus on keeping the current user base happy is creating a feedback loop and overlooks what may be keeping larger numbers from buying the software?

I wonder how many people have turned away from buying the program because they would not be able to export or print their content. As much as I REALLY want calendars, I can see the inability to export/print being a more common deal breaker.

As for calendars versus journal—I don't know—I would think lack of custom calendars would be a bigger turn off for potential buyers than lack of journaling. But this may just be a blind spot I have, as lack of journal features is not something I've missed in months of heavy use for how I use the tool.

The blinds spots, I think, are the risk that are the hardest for developers to identify. The survey seems to be designed to be very helpful for retaining users. 15% seems like a good sampling of perspective users, but it is a highly select group of potential users and not a very good sampling of larger market. More interesting to me would be a survey given to a randomized group of gamers (e.g. people who have registered to play one or more role playing games at a large gaming convention) and asking them rate the importance of features, including allowing for the selection of multiple items that would be "deal breakers" if not provided.

I think it might be enlightening to the developers what answers they would get if a large random sample of DMs, who were not current customers, if they would buy a campaign management tool that did not allow them to export or print their work. As a current user, when i go through this thought experiment, I find myself saying no. So why did I buy RW? Because I didn't conduct much due diligence, bought it on impulse, and just assumed that this would be available. I remember being surprised when I learned that I couldn't export/print, but I was more disappointed by lack of calendars.

The good news is that after the initial frustration, I started using the tool and have found it immensely useful. I have not seen anything that comes close to RW for what I use it for. The bad news is that it wouldn't take much for me to change allegiances. If a campaign-management tool came along that offered a decent content-management system with a workable solution for multiple calendars, and an ability to export/print, I would switch. Hours of cutting and pasting would seem like a worthwhile investment.

This, ultimately, is what the RW team needs to focus on. I think that is what they are trying to do with their survey, but when putting myself back into the shoes of a hypothetical GM who is informed about the product's features and limitations, I can see that, yes, the Marketplace is red-hot critical, but I have a difficult time seeing the existence or lack of journaling to be a deal breaker for a potential buyer. It seems to be more about making the existing user base happy.
Excellent post, and something I will touch on. GMs and custom worlds, we are at least in a realm of 100 to 1 in favor of pre-purchased content GMs. To this day, I have played D&D/Pathfinder from grade 6 (so what 12?) to now at 45, that's 33yrs give or take, and in that time I have met/played with exactly two GMs that made their own custom world and content, and one is me.

With exception to my current group and the other person I know who does this incedently in my current group), every single group I joined starred in wonder when I pulled out my own game world and adventures as a GM. None, exactly none had ever seen that before.

So from my small little world perspective? The marketplace for Paizo like products to be sold for RW is absolutely job #1 bar nothing. This may not be my favorite item, but its key for the future of RW and LWD period.

Also, it is hard for LWD to know exactly what those who do not own, nor take a survey want or do not want in RW. Rob and team are not omniscient, they can't reach back in the dark place and pull out features for those who do not make them known.

But they can know what those who took the survey want. They also know the market place is key. So chalk that up, and it tells me, A get the market place done, and B Use the survey to keep existing customers here to pay for cloud and licensed products from said market place.

Exmortis aka "Scott"
RW - Game Master/Designer of custom game worlds
HL - Game Master/Designer
RPG Tools - Campaign Cartographer 3+, D20 Pro Ultimate.
Real Life - IT Project management and coordination.
Hobby - Anything on water or ATV.

My YouTube channel for Realm Works videos: Down, TBC at later date.
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