Hi, rather new here. Long-time puzzle solver, new to construction. Done a couple of specialized ones (Fraternal, etc) and have dabbled with some demos to do them. I have searched through the old threads on the forums here and haven't quite found the answer to my question: If you were going to buy one product to build puzzles, what would it be?
So far, I see ~6 or so different software packages out there, let me list what I know about them (so far):
Crossfire: Rather nice Youtube piece on it by a pro building an Angels and Demons themed 15x15 with it ... free lifetime upgrades once you buy it ($50), but has seen only 3 upgrade/fixes (1.0, 1.1 and the current 1.2) since ...? And I'm seeing some people ask if it is still being supported (silence from the author is never good, in fact he didn't bother to reply to my inquisitive email) ... But still, this looks like a decent product.
CCW: Crossword Compiler, the author seems to break it into purchase modules, not well received. You can buy the basic or you can buy the bells and whistles. Gets good reviews by those that use it, but then again I tried the demo and after a few usages it told me buy or goodbye, so it's goodbye for now. Maybe later, but not now. Severely crippling your demos is never a good idea.
Crossword Studio: Tried it, not bad. Looks like a newer entry into the market and if the author keeps improving it, it has real possibilities. Current version 1.2 tells me (like Crossfire) it has not been worked up to its potential. Priced better than the others @ $30, maybe.
Crossdown, Crossword Forge and Crossword Weaver: Didn't try them, no idea whatsoever other than they are still for sale with prices all over the board.
Across Lite, looked and it seemed like it was not capable of what I want to do (could be wrong) ... but it's free and only a malcontent would poke holes in free software. Also, I hear theres a 'Crossword Maestro' out there and Hot Potato Software is a product of an .edu site that may or not be free depending on if you're in education or not (Does my wifes job at the school count?) ...
Comments? I see very little response to some of these question-threads but many seem to have read them (usually 300-400 reads) so I know somebody out there is reading them.
Again, I want to buy 1 product and 1 product only. What would you buy if you were at the threshold and hadn't purchased anything yet?