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Lone Wolf Staff
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 8,232

Old August 31st, 2018, 06:05 PM
When I read the first post in this thread, I was in disbelief. I thought it was a gross exaggeration - it couldn’t have been that long. Then I spent a chunk of time finding out what was real. And I was stunned and dismayed, because it’s absolutely true. So all I can do at this point is apologize, offer some context, apologize some more, and provide some info on the current state of things. Here goes…

Shortly after the Kickstarter, we hired someone whose responsibilities included communications with KS backers. That person left around April 2016, not long after the last KS post. Until a replacement could be hired, those duties were supposed to be assumed by another person, who is no longer with the company. BJ was hired that August, which was around the time I started getting sick on a regular basis and ultimately crashed. It turns out that BJ was unequivocally told by the interim person to not make any posts on the KS, and she acquiesced because she was brand new and was told by a very senior staffer.

At this point, I need to interject a brief note about my illness to fully explain the next two years. After being hospitalized, I was put on some very nasty meds that caused extreme brain fog and made it almost impossible for me to sleep for more than 2-3 hours each night – which ultimately made my brain even more foggy from sleep deprivation. My wife equates it to “baby brain”. Thankfully, I’m finally starting to taper off those meds and get a little clarity once again. If you really want some additional details, please see my post here:

Once I became ill, I remained oblivious to this issue for a while. I just assumed – quite wrongly – that any basic RW information we shared in newsletters was being re-posted to the KS. When I was finally made aware of the problem, the KS page had languished without an update for a very long time. At that point, we were expecting the missing pieces we needed from the Paizo API to be available “any time” so that we could finish things up and launch the Content Market. We really wanted to post concrete, good news when we came back to the KS, so the decision was made to wait until we could do that. Unfortunately, the API we needed for the Content Market kept getting delayed, and the KS continued to languish along with it. It reached a point where we’d waited so long that posting anything to the KS that wasn’t concrete delivery details was probably worse than just keeping quiet, so that’s what we did for a while longer. In hindsight, our handling of this was misguided, and for that I can only apologize.

Late last year, there were many things that I had been mostly neglecting due to being sick, and the things I actually was dealing with were consuming my limited energy and mental faculties. So BJ was promoted in order to take over some of those things, which would allow me to focus what energy I had on development so that further headway could be made on that side. Thanks to this change, we were able to get started on a multi-phase plan for RW and deliver a few content items to KS backers around Christmas. However, we also uncovered some technical issues within the guts of RW that made it impossible to deliver some of the additional items until those problems were fixed. Unfortunately, those items were not reliably reproducible and buried deep inside the bowels of code that I had written – and I was the only one even remotely familiar with that code.

The obvious solution was to fix those bugs and get things out. The problem was that a foggy brain and sleep deprivation tend to make in-depth coding and bug fixing significantly more difficult. Since I know there are lots of software folks out there, I’m sure many of you are familiar with how difficult it is to debug something deep inside a complex piece of code that is not reliably reproducible. Now imagine trying to do that with a perpetual hangover and a splitting headache. Now imagine needing to solve a handful of these issues. Given the circumstances, I projected it would take me a massive amount of time to figure out the issues, and I wasn’t even sure that I could really trust any “fixes” that I might come up with.

So I made the decision to focus my efforts on less intensive tasks that would help us get Hero Lab Online out of the door. Based on what I was hearing from the doctors, I figured I’d be more clear-headed and able to tackle those complex issues in the near future. And since we were again being told that the remaining pieces we needed of the Paizo API would be ready “any time”, it seemed like a prudent choice at the time. Well, the months wore on, my mental clarity didn’t improve, completion of the API continued to be delayed, and there was no shortage of less intensive tasks that I could focus on. So I continued to work on those tasks, not really grasping how much time was actually passing.

Every month or so, the question would again arise of “what do we do about the KS?” The doctors would still be saying my clarity would improve shortly. And getting the missing API pieces was similarly going to happen shortly. So the delays continued. At the time, it was occurring in small increments, it didn’t feel like a long period of time, and the choice always seemed like the right one. Looking back now, things got pushed back so many times that it’s pretty ridiculous, and for that I must apologize.

Thankfully, this brings us to this past June. At the start of June, I finally got the green light to begin the 4-5 month process of getting off the nasty meds I’ve been on. Huzzah! I’m now past the half-way point and feeling significantly more clear-headed. In fact, I’ve already resolved one of the major issues down in the guts of RW, and I’ll be continuing with the others next week. Additionally, at the end of June, we were finally given what will hopefully be the critical remaining pieces of the Paizo API. That means we’ll theoretically be able to get the Content Market completed, although some last-minute changes to the API will necessitate a couple weeks of rework on our end. Our current target for the Content Market launch is the end of September, and content delivery to KS backers should occur prior to that launch. So the marathon wait for everyone is finally going to be over.

Please note that the set of content we’ll be delivering to KS backers won’t exactly match the items we originally promised. We’ve made some adjustments, added new content, and I think that everyone will enjoy what we’ll be providing to backers. At the time of this posting, BJ has already put together an outline of what we’ll be delivering, including some explanatory notes about the adjustments. Please look for that mid next week – on the KS page, no less.

Looking back, I’m honestly not sure if there was a better strategy we could have pursued with regards to getting something delivered, as the alternatives were just as flawed – simply in different ways. We were dealt a crappy hand and had to play it. That said, the companion strategy of staying largely quiet about things was clearly a poor choice in hindsight. I didn’t want to make my illness a fully public issue, even though it had a profound impact on everything we were doing with RW. At this point, it’s become a public thing anyways, so the effort was for naught. The one thing for which there is no debate is that we completely screwed up by not posting anything to the KS for well over two years. That ultimately falls to me, so my apologies to everyone for the way that played out.

I hope the above sheds a little light on things. It doesn’t excuse anything, but it hopefully provides some useful insight into the past two years. Please look for an update to KS backers next week with details on what to expect over the upcoming weeks.
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