Liz Theis from Lone Wolf Development gave me access to the software and agreed to organise an interview with her after having tried the software out. This morning (my time) I sat down with Liz over a Skype call to discuss the software with her. Now a professional hardened blogger would have prepared questions! But no, I just gushed about how much I loved and appreciated the software and how I fear I am now a little addicted to it. Liz handled it like a pro and offered me some good information to offer up to you the reader.
|Image taken from the website for the product|
Currently the software is aimed at a desktop environment where the GM has a monitor on the players side of the GM screen and uses that monitor to display information to the players as they find it. The GM would have prepared that information before time and can select, on a granular level, the information to display to the screen. For example, if the players in a game of Call of the Cthulhu encounter a cultist and chase him to his apartment and accidentally kill him they go through his things to find out what is happening. The chase scene can be put up and the map revealed a bit at a time. Entering the apartment you can show an image and then reveal more info as the find the diary, and the theological text and the receipts one at a time even though it is only connected to the one scene in the software.
|Helpful tips allow you insight into the software|
|Easy to edit...|
|Granularity in being able to display information...|
But Liz also tells me the developers realize that gaming online is a big growth area and so a lot of what we see in this initial release is a stepping stone for moving to an online platform as well as, eventually, a completely online app that will sit side by side with the desktop application. I put my main concern about the software to her in that I largely play the majority of my games online and I would use this tool to reveal information they find in between sessions so they can review that data instead of sending me an email (which I get a lot of currently). Liz tells me that the intention is to have a web interface for players to access data for free by the end of 2014 that there needs to be more work done in this area before it will be available. That said Liz advised that the functionality I described will be covered by a Players Licence of the software that is releasing next month! This will be a desktop application that will allow the player to access their GM's work (what they have revealed anyway) from their computer when they need it. Sounds like I will be wording my players up on this!
|All sorts of information can be caught. Nothing is too big|
or too small for inclusion in the campaign world!
You may have read through all that and thought to yourself, "Hmmm... souds good but I do not have the time to create material anymore. I have the job, the kids, sports on Saturday...." then Lone Wolf have also thought of you. Not available right now but definitely coming in 2014 is the Content Market. Lone Wolf intend to release campaign material from the likes of Paizo, Frog God Games, Green Ronin, Pinnacle and Kobold Press were the names already confirmed. I like the odd adventure path so when the content market comes, I can buy the campaign all set and ready for use in Realm Works! That rocks. But it does not stop there! User generated content can be put up for grabs as well. I could offer my Traveller system of Bathune for download for free or ask for a fee to be attached to it! Caught in a bind for that Tavern you want to include in the game but have not got the time to build it, browse and buy or download from someone else!
I have given up work on so many online, offline and even paper attempts at managing some of my campaigns in the past. there is so much work and when a computer program wants you to have to learn its meta-language to build database queries or just to link material you end up spending so much time doing other stuff than building your campaign. This hides all that extra work and gets you to think about the campaign ahead of you. It handles the meta data, the types of data in the database. It integrates most types of data you could want in the software. Images, text, stat-blocks, custom calendars (time keeping is a major topic at the moment), smart images and much, much more. They have new technology called Fog of World athat allows a highly granular revealing capability in this software so the players see exactly what you want them to and nothing more.
|NPC's are beautifully fleshed out...|
Overall this software is 5/5 for campaign building but the current sharing of material largely restricted to the table lets it down a little. next month the players licence can assist with the player being able to access your cloud version of the software and then by the end of 2014 that information should be available freely via the web interface. Overall, if we are considering the ability to share the information I would give this a 4/5 but as noted this will only get better. The product is addictive, streamlined and advanced. Well done to Liz and Lone Wolf Development on introducing the next generation of Campaign management software to us in such a spectacular package.