*Warning - there are tons of pictures in this post!* I've been having a great time going over the entire package of hard proofs! I've got the full rundown below, but first:
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Hard Proofs in Detail
Well, we are at the final checkpoint before mass-production begins. If we want to make any changes - now is the time.
The Hard Proof package is divided up into four separate categories: HQ Prints, White Box, Mock-up, and Samples. The hard proofs are not the first copy of the game, each category plays a unique role in informing us about the finished version will look/feel.
The High Quality Prints are high quality previews of every printed part of the game. We use the HQ prints to look at print colors, tone, saturation, vibrance, etc. I am very happy with how these have turned out, but I applogize, the lighting was not amazing for taking pictures, so some colors appear a little off in these photos:
I've gone over every HQ print and things are looking very good! When looking at these it's important to remember that our linen embossing / matte finish will decrease the brightness of the images by roughly 10%. I've pre-brightened all of these prints in anticipation of that (back in September I believe?) so everything will be slightly muted compared to these samples, but that's according to plan.
HQ Print Issues
There was one large print issue - for some reason all our punchboard prints and about half of the rulebook prints are using light gray instead of black. The text looks very light and all the images (especially on the black-heavy punchboards) look very washed out. I've notified Panda and they're looking into what happened. I'll let you know when I hear something.
Other than that - I'm only making a few changes, as everything looks so good already! Going to update the backs of the Tier 1 ship cards, for easier readability, and change some very small text on the front of the box art from white to black - so it stands out better.
Overall, I'm very happy with the HQ prints! Artwork is crisp and sharp, colors really pop, and I think you'll be very pleased!
The white box is very simply the high quality final components we'll have in Xia. This lets us assess the weight, size, thickness and feel of the materials. Some pictures then my thoughts:
I have to say I was surprised at the white box - I did not anticipate being impressed by unprinted components! However, these are very high quality components, each one feels sturdy, and they all have an amazing linen embossed finish! (with the exception of the glossy rulebook).
I really like the new ship mats - having them as true 1mm cardboard makes them much more sturdy, and rounded corners keep the wear/tear down considerably!
Also - the box is 2.5mm cardboard - it's super thick. I was very impressed by the box itself, strangely enough!
The mock-up is a low resolution, low quality mock-up of the printed components. This allows us to assess how all the printed components will be oriented and the size / cutouts of them. Most important is to asses that we have the correct front / back / orientation of all the components.
Again - the prints on these are intentionally low resolution - everything looks washed out, that's ok, this is the Mock-up, not the HQ prints! :)
I'm happy to report that everything had the correct front / back / orientation in the Mock-up. Also - things appear to be the correct size, and all die-cut and fold lines are correct! No hang-ups here!
And now for the component samples!
We'll have to try again on those colors - they should be solid, not see-through.
Not sure what happened here - they sent me the original 10mm samples...and we got mini-ones! We'll get it fixed...but they are cute little damage markers!
I am incredibly happy with how well the silver ones turned out! They look and feel like real coins - something out of a sci-fi movie! Really really cool! Even the tiny text is legible (something very difficult to achieve at this level of mass-production)!
The blue credits turned out super cool! But unfortunately they didn't get the "wash" applied to them, so they're not quite as cool as the silver ones. Also - it's hard to tell from the pictures, but I'm having Panda increase the saturation on these slightly - so they appear a little more blue.
Saved the best for last! The ships are amazing! I am astounded at how well Panda has replicated the ships! They are very detailed, and the paint jobs are really good!
I'll try to post more pictures of these next week, but here's what I've got right now:
I am very pleased with how this first run has come out! There are indeed some changes that need to be made - as a number of you suggested we're increasing the brightness of the paint jobs. Also the wash is a little dark - so we're going to thin that out a little and try to get it a little more consistent.
There are about 3 ships that have some mold issues - some deformations that we're going to try and resolve - but for the most part, the ships are very well sculpted, and look incredible!
Also - the flight stand system we've created works great! You can slide ships onto stands easily, you can shake them around, play with them, and the stands stay on. But it's still super easy to pop the stands right off! I'm very happy with how it all works. Also - we've dropped them many times off the table, and no breaks yet!
The paint seems very scratch resistent - I've taken my fingernails to them pretty hard, and they haven't scratched! I'm thinking they will be alright - even for those of us with young ones who will test their limits.
Well! For the most part I think Panda really did a stellar job! Almost all the components are exactly as I'd envisioned them! I have submitted my list of changes to Panda, and I am looking forwards to their response!
Some of you have asked about schedule - are we on track for March 2014? Much of that will depend on how quickly these changes can be implemented. If we turn around quickly - we should still be alright!
Wow - that was a big post - I'd love to hear your comments below! If you'd like better pictures of anything - feel free to ask! I'll do what I can! :)
Have a safe weekend backers! I'll see you starside!