Privateer Press has released its long awaited War Room app: “War Room is the first official utility app released for Warmachine and Hordes. The app puts an extensive library of Warmachine and Hordes stat cards in the palm of players’ hands and gives them access to a wealth of features intended to facilitate faster and easier gameplay. In addition, users will receive regular news and rules updates from Privateer Press straight to their mobile devices.”
The idea of War Room sounds amazing and might become a game changer for tabletop wargaming in general: army creation workshop, in-game damage tracking and list sharing, turn clock, full card display, rules reference – all in one app and device. The anytime, anywhere benefits are obvious:
- Instant list building
- Never again forgetting or losing a card
- Accurate damage tracking and healing
- No more black fingers
- Fast cards and rules look-up
- No additional timer needed
And the War Room App looks great in Privateer Press’ demo video:
But real life is not a demo and software development an extremely different approach than book printing or model creation: Nobody, at least nobody who’s got an idea of software development, expected a bug free, 100% working, and perfectly optimised War Room app. Privateer Press has never released an app before, neither for iOS nor Android. TinkerHouse Games, the actual developers, have released only some smaller apps prior to War Room.
Still, the list of problems is long, longer than anybody had expected:
- Non-functioning devices, unable to run the War Room app at all
- General problems with War Room in-app purchases and refunds
- Software development and usability issues wherever one looks
- An overall slowness and unresponsiveness of the War Room app
- A massive battery drain while playing with the War Room app
- A massive amount of editorial mistakes regarding cards and rules
- The inability to manage bug tracking and communications professionally
And there’s one more thing: iBodger! Privateer Press demanded the iBodger app to be taken down from all mobile markets. iBodger is a great list building and collection management app, features the War Room app is sadly missing as it can not validate lists. The combination of removing iBodger without adding all of its features to War Room causes a growing irritation of iBodger and War Room users.
So what’s next? Privateer Press had a great idea. War Room shows a lot of potential. PP is trying to listen and communicates pretty actively on its forums since the release of the War Room app. But that’s simply not enough:
- PP should use a professional bug tracker or at least open up a dedicated War Room sub forum.
- PP should stop being hastily and remove bugs sustainably without adding new problems.
- PP should hire professional help in form of a usability and a software development expert.
- PP should commit itself to add iBodger’s features to the War Room app as soon as possible. If not they should allow iBodger to return.
- 13/08/12 PP has established a War Room sub forum finally and updated its road map.
- 16/08/12: New version 1.0.7 for iOS – Account sync on login added, Power usage optimized, Maintain login added, 3g/4g data carrier connections usable as internet, Warjack attachment working for solo warcasters units and unit attachment with Jack Marshal, FA scales properly with number of warcasters in your army, Drag and drop remove on faction unit in army editor, Button active area and responsiveness tuned throughout, Warlocks, casters and characters need to be FA:C, W button active in reference, Clear password when leaving login/creation, Creating a new army goes directly to faction selection, Add Card option added back to solo game, Store reorganized to show bundles first, Merc colossal card art fix, 2 Card Character unit order fix, Quick stat crash on “-” POW fixed
- 31/10/12: New version 1.0.8 for iOS adds the following new features: Mercenary contracts and Minion pacts now selectable when building army, Mercenary and Minion separation in army editing, Display for owned/unowned cards, Numbering of multiple cards in army, Client version display, Update version display, Battery life optimizations and solves the following bugs: 6 unit elite health not properly supported, Jack Marshals don’t properly allow attachment if only 1 caster in army, Graceful handling of deleted cards, Long ability titles names fix, Solo caster header bar fix, Gargantuan/Collosal rule copy proofing, Infinite range visual support – Cygnar Captain Allister Caine, Put delete button back in army entry, Duplicate Woldwrath animus, Spell name overlaps focus/fury cost, Disappearing casters in Card Library after game fix – Sadly, the iOS app stays very slow.