Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Interview - Realm Works

I recently got the chance to do an interview with Liz Theis of Lone Wolf Development  about her company's newest RPG tool Realm Works. Just a heads up, I am by no means a professional journalist or have even conducted an interview before this so there are probably important questions that I missed and follow-up oppuronities I didn't catch.

I followed Realm Works through its development, watched all the videos about it and plan to pick it up once the wedding is over and the money flow isn't so regimented.  But enough about me time for an interview!



GLG -  How is Realm Works unique compared to other VTTs like Fantasy Grounds, Tabletop Connect and Roll20?

LT - Realm Works is actually different than Virtual Tabletops. We view virtual tabletop tools as complementary to Realm Works, and we don’t want to reinvent the wheel when there are a lot of good VTT tools out there. We have some great relationships with Virtual Tabletop companies from our integration with Hero Lab, and our hope is to leverage those relationships to ensure that our tool and VTTs work well together. 

How is Realm Works different? Realm Works is first and foremost, a game-system neutral campaign management tool. You can bring your world to life with images, statblocks, and even audio and video files. Once built, you can automatically link your game details together and visualize your world’s relationships and connections.

You can even share your story with players by revealing your world using Realm Works’ patent-pending Fog of World™ tools. This technology can be used to share every aspect of your story with your players – maps, portraits, NPCs, locations, relationships, plots, and more, either on your laptop screen or an external monitor.

GLG - How does Realm Works innovate the modern landscape of tabletop gaming?

LT - A few months ago I talked to a lot of gamers, and I asked them what their most memorable game sessions where. A lot of them told stories that had one core similarity - the Game Master and the players were telling the story together. I think that philosophy really drove the creation of Realm Works. This is really the first campaign management software that brings fantastic tools, like family trees, plot diagrams, wiki-like linking, and more, altogether into one connected tool, and built with the players in mind. We want GMs to use Realm Works to bring their players into the story.

Another innovation, which will be a part of Realm Works in the future, is our Content Market. Imagine that you’re getting ready for your next game and you realize that your players said they wanted to visit a nearby town to re-gear. You don’t have time to create a town, so you go to the Realm Works Content Market and download a town created by another Realm Works user, or purchase one from a publisher. It doesn’t quite fit your game (maybe the name doesn’t work within your world). You make a few tweaks, and you’re good to go for the game tomorrow. That’s the future.

GMs will be able to integrate published adventures, settings, rulebooks and more into your game. Content from major publishers, like Green Ronin, Pinnacle Entertainment, Frog God Games, and more, will be available for purchase in the upcoming Realm Works Content Market. GMs will also have a chance to distribute their own created content for use in other users’ campaigns.

GLG - How supportive of the social aspect of tabletop gaming is Realm Works?

LT - Realm Works is really player focused, so we think that GMs will find that Realm Works enhances interaction and engagement at the table. Once the Player Edition releases in the future, players will even be able to stay engaged with the game in between sessions. 

GLG - There is mention over support for pre-existing published adventures being eventually available. How are you planning on doing this and how difficult would it be for smaller, indie publishers to translate and publisher their adventures onto Realm Works?

LT - As I mentioned before, all publishers will be able to sell their content though the Content Market when it comes online. RPG Publishers that are interested in getting their work in the Content Market can contact us at rwpublishers@wolflair.com. If a Realm Works user is interested in getting their work out there and they don’t have a publishing company, they can still share or sell their content as a user.

GLG -  Right now Realm Works is Windows only, any chance at Linux, Mc or tablet support in the future?

LT - Our future plan is to move Realm Works to a web application. What’s nice about this option is it’ll work on everyone’s favorite device, including the ones that are released in the future. Obviously, this will require an internet connection, but we’ve found that the internet is becoming more and more common as the years go on. Transferring Realm Works to the web will take time, but the first big step will be releasing the web-based player access. The web-based player access will allow players to view revealed content via a web browser from their own device. After that releases, we’ll work on releasing a feature-limited version of the Realm Works web application, and add more features over time until it has the same capabilities as the native Windows client.

GLG - What inspired the team to create Realm Works?

LT - Rob, our company founder and owner, had the idea for a tool like Realm Works before he founded the company 20 years ago. However, the technology wasn’t where he needed it to be to create the tool he envisioned. Instead, he created Army Builder®, and oversaw the release of Hero Lab. Eventually, technology caught up with his dream, and he began work on Realm Works. The whole Realm Works development team is made up of Game Masters, and they’re approaching every idea and issue with their experiences in the back of their mind.

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