I’ve been using MetaCreator for a few years now, but wondered if it was worth switching to Hero Lab. So, I downloaded the Hero Lab free demo. Here’s what I found…
|Look and feel||Utilitarian.||A bit snazzier.|
|Output formats||One-page character sheet in landscape, portrait or portrait with combat crib sheet; two characters per sheet; RTF statblock; 3×5 index card; tabular output for large numbers of characters;||Nice-looking one-page character sheet or statblock.|
|Savage Worlds Support||Explorers’ Edition; Evernight; Necessary Evil; Tour of Darkness; 50 Fathoms||Explorers’ Edition (De Luxe Edition in progress)|
|Other systems supported||Ars Magica, d20 SRD, Call of Cthulhu, CORPS, Fudge||D&D 4E; Pathfinder; World of Darkness; Call of Cthulhu; Mutants & Masterminds; d20 SRD; Shadowrun; GRC Modern Heroes|
|Other features||Die roller; online game session client (separate fee); random name generator||Die roller; tactical console (GM combat aid)|
|Niggles||Windows 7 keeps asking for permission to launch||It flags Healing as an error when selected for Arcane Background (Magic); experience can’t be entered directly but only as part of a diary entry.|
|Vendor support||Excellent; fast, friendly response to queries.||Unrated – haven’t tried it out.|
|Price with one game system||$29.95||$29.99|
Hero Lab has a very similar look and feel to Lone Wolf’s other products, such as Army Builder. I could probably fix the niggles if I could be bothered, but my programming days are long behind me now.
Hero Lab looks prettier, but MetaCreator has better functionality for my main game, namely Savage Worlds. In particular, there are many more options for printing without having to customise the software, and I use most of them. Also, Lone Wolf’s house style of small, pale blue writing on a dark blue background is getting harder for me to read as my eyes age – MetaCreator’s black on white is easier on the eyes.
So I’ll stick with MetaCreator for now, but if Pathfinder passes the “tryout” phase and gets added to the regular stable, I may get both programmes.