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Welcome to the Hero Lab Authoring Kit Wiki

The Authoring Kit for Hero Lab provides a vast array of capabilities, and those capabilities will continue to evolve with the product. As such, we needed a means of documenting all those capabilities that could readily adapt and evolve as well. We concluded that the best way to accomplish this is to create a wiki that we can extend on an ongoing basis. As an added bonus, the wiki can also enable users to share tips and suggestions.

If you are not familiar with wikis, you can think of them as an intelligently structured assortment of web pages. For information on using this wiki, please refer to the User's Guide.

Wikis are designed to be easily searched, so you can enter whatever term you are interested in and quickly find all the various entries pertaining to that topic. This will be invaluable as you become proficient with the Authoring Kit and want information on specific capabilities. Until you reach that point, you can simply start with this page and follow the various links below to read through all the various topics.

Introduction to the Kit

The goal of the Authoring Kit is to provide everything you need to create and/or edit data files for Hero Lab. When adding material to an existing game system, you can typically utilize the integrated Editor within Hero Lab. However, if you want to create data files for a new game system, you can use the information provided in the Authoring Kit to achieve that objective.

Hero Lab is the first tool that offers a versatile enough engine to handle all the complexities of virtually every RPG system. There is no practical way to develop an engine that inherently handles all this complexity without putting a substantial amount of power and flexibility in the hands of the data file author. With that power and flexibility comes a great deal of material to digest, though, which can make the Authoring Kit seem daunting at first.

To compensate for this, we've invested a great deal of time and effort to simplify and streamline everything, which extends well beyond just refining the engine and how everything works. The documentation is structured to introduce you to concepts in an incremental fashion and make it easy to find the information you need. We've provided a fully operational set of data files as a starting point for your own projects that can be readily adapted to any game system. We've even included a complete walk-through that details how to transform the starting data files into a full-fledged implementation of the Savage Worlds game system.

It's our sincere hope that you'll find the Authoring Kit reasonably straightforward to use and that we've made it possible for you to create quality data files for all your favorite games.

Documentation Conventions

For brevity, the Authoring Kit will often be referred to as simply the "Kit" and Hero Lab will typically be referred to as "HL".

Within the Kit documentation, there are a few conventions utilized. Anytime that important points arise within the text, they will be flagged appropriately using one of the techniques below.

WARNING!  Used to flag the most critical items, which have significant impact on the usability and maintainability of your data files
IMPORTANT!  Identifies considerations that impact the way in which you create your data files, but the results won't usually be horrible if you ignore them
NOTE!  Indicates topics that may influence your choices in data file creation in some situations

PDF Available

The Kit documentation is also available in PDF format for offline reference. The PDF version requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view. You can download the PDF document via the link below.

http://www.wolflair.com/download/hp/hl_kit.pdf (last updated 13-May-2009)

A shorter version of the PDF, omitting the entries from Category: Authoring Examples, can be downloaded here:

http://www.wolflair.com/download/hp/hl_kit_noauthoring.pdf (last updated 13-May-2009)

IMPORTANT! The PDF version will usually not be as up-to-date as the online wiki, since the wiki is updated on an ongoing basis and the PDF version is updated only periodically. If there is a discrepancy between the PDF and the wiki, always treat the information here in the wiki as the most accurate.

Data File Authoring Topics

Each of the topics below will take you to detailed documentation on the corresponding facet of the Kit. A brief summary of each section is provided below as well. It is highly recommended that you start with the first topic in the list and work your way downward, just like you would normally read the chapters of a book in the sequence they appear within the book. Most chapters build upon the material from previous chapters, so skipping material may lead to some level confusion.

IMPORTANT! The Authoring Kit documentation is a work-in-progress and will continue to be expanded as the capabilities of the product continue to evolve. We've mapped out an extensive long-term plan for both the product and the documentation, and the general structure can be seen herein. However, many sections have not yet been written. These sections will appear as red links throughout the documentation and will be added over time to complete the documentation.

Basic Concepts and Terminology

This section covers all of the fundamental topics that the Authoring Kit is built upon. It's critical that you are familiar with all of these topics before continuing with the other sections.

Advanced Authoring Concepts

Building on the basic concepts, this section outlines more sophisticated mechanisms that you will likely want to leverage.

Kit Reference

Details regarding the syntax and structure for every facet of the Kit are spelled out in this section.

Authoring Examples

This section provides concrete examples showing how to add a wide range of features to your data files. This includes a walk-through that details creation of a complete set of data files for the Savage Worlds game system.

Techniques and Solutions [TBD] 

Hero Lab offers a vast array of different capabilities, with different features being appropriate for different game systems. This section provides a laundry list of how to integrate the various mechanisms to tailor your data files to a particular game system.

Skinning the Interface [TBD] 

The Kit provides you with the ability to completely change the visual look and feel of your data files. Once the basic functionality is in place, you can adapt the visuals however you like, just like has been done for the games Mutants & Masterminds and World of Darkness.

User Tips and Suggestions [TBD] 

This section outlines an assortment of tips and suggestions that have been submitted by other users.

Legal Details

Hero Lab is Copyright © 2006-2009 by Lone Wolf Development, Inc. All rights reserved. Hero Lab and the Hero Lab logo are registered trademarks of Lone Wolf Development, Inc. Lone Wolf Development is a trademark of Lone Wolf Development, Inc. Other brand or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders. No challenge to the status of other trademarks is intended by their use.

Contact Information

Company Website: www.wolflair.com
Technical Support Email: support@wolflair.com
Discussion Forum: support.wolflair.com