kLoOge.Werks Mini Interview (2011-03-20)

How long has your VT been around, do you feel its keeping to it's original "design"?

We introduced kLoOge.Werks 1.0 at Gen Con in the fall of 2000, so we're going on 11 years. That original version had hard-coded support for two game systems: "2nd Edition" and "3rd Edition" D&D. It did not have integrated character sheets (character sheets were stored separately as HTML files) and dice expression handling was minimal (in fact, the only thing included in the program to roll dice was the "Roll Dem Bones" plug-in).

That version from eleven years ago, though, has more in common with the version of today that you might think: maps, obscured areas, Icons, targeting, measurement at map scale — those were all there since day one. What we've expounded on is supporting other systems and integrating very powerful scripting and character sheet handling that, I think, represent a better rendering of the original vision than anything else.

So, yes, I think we have kept pretty well to the original design.

How many people contribute to developing your VT?

That depends on how you look at it. On the one hand, everyone who makes a feature suggestion, or reports a bug is contributing to the development of kLoOge.Werks.

On the other hand, I am the only one writing code.

Do you target a specific RPG system, if so why? Is this likely to change.

We do not "target" a specific RPG system, per se. There are certain systems that we play more than others, though, and, as a result, tend to receive more focus from us than others.

Being a small organization, we do the best we can.

What system do you feel is the most popular on your VT, do you feel your user base would be affected by an official VT for that system?

I do not have any hard numbers, but if I had to guess, I would say the "d20" system is the most popular, if only because it has been around for just about the entire life of kLoOge.Werks.

I think "official" versions of Werks for particular game systems would be a big win for the players and the publishers. Unfortunately, I can't think of any publishers who share this opinion, which is why there are no such "official" versions.

How do you decide which RPG systems to adapt for your VT?

Primarily, we picked systems that people told us they used. Then certain publishers got angry that we were providing their players with an easier way to play their games, so we developed the game system definition system that's in place today, allowing end users to adapt and create definitions for whatever system they like.

Do you offer accessories for your VT, do you think there is a market for this?

Not currently, no. There might be a market for something like this, but without official sanction from the publishers, it would be difficult to pursue. We toyed with the idea of publishing modules early on, but it never seemed to take off.

Are you seeing an increase in the number of people that use your software, are VT's becoming more popular?

It's hard to say. We have seen a fairly steady stream of people using kLoOge.Werks over the years, even in the face of what some might call "competition."

I don't know if virtual gaming is becoming more or less popular. It seems like a fairly fringe segment, that has certain barriers to entry that keep it small (by comparison to, say, the video game playing in general).

How have the tight financial times affected your product?

In an abstract sense, perhaps, but not in any concrete way that I could enumerate.

What do you think the strengths and weaknesses of your VT are?

Game system neutrality, mature scripting and cross-platform access are very big strengths, in my opinion. The only weakness that I'm aware of is the lack of officially sanctioned content from the game system publishers.

What do you have on the cards next, what should we look forward to?

There are always things afoot, but I can't really go into particulars. There may be some interesting things on the horizon, though, so keep your eyes open.

Where do you think RPGs and / or VTs will go next?

It's hard to say. We, as consumers, are constantly being bombarded by this kind of "massively multiplayer, always online, pay every month" sales pitch that, as far as I'm concerned, only benefits the people collecting the money. But, who knows? Maybe, someday, players and game masters might actually buy into this notion. I hope not, but one never knows.

In one sentence tell me why I should use your VT, over the competition?

We have competition? There's something out there that's game system neutral, runs on more than one operating system and is affordable? I was not aware of that.

Kidding aside, we developed kLoOge.Werks because we play roleplaying games, not because some marketing hack decided that a revenue segment was not being monetized appropriately for the current fiscal climate. We wrote kLoOge.Werks because there was nothing else like it out there and, eleven years later, that is still the case. We care about the user and the fundamentals of roleplaying games. We don't want to milk you for every penny you're worth.

Did I mention that all updates are always free?

Thanks to Kurris at kLoOge.Werks for taking the time to answer the questions.