The Banner Saga progress report for late July
Hello, backers! A bit of new information for you this week along with a status update, and we'll start, as usual, with the prizes.
We've now shipped every tube for the t-shirts, buttons and posters. Depending on how far you live from Texas you may have received it already or it may arrive in a couple days. Thank you so much to all of you for being patient about the prizes; while we made a huge effort to have them to you on time, the sheer volume took us longer than we anticipated, even though my house was full of people packing for us non-stop.
We started producing the landscape lithograph and animation cels in early July and they're now coming together (physical prizes take forever to get made!). We'll get those out to backers as soon as possible. Here's a color proof for the landscapes right before we sent them to be printed via color plates as lithographs:
Developing games is an interesting process. Unlike comics, movies or television which produce tangible, finished content all along the way and then polish everything up until the end, games are heavily front-loaded. You only rarely consider something "in the bag" along the way. By this I mean you'll work for months and months on tools, pipelines, systems, foundations, outlines, schedules, documenting and concepting (all generally referred to as "pre-production") and it feels like you're making no progress at all. As the deadline closes in you start to wonder how you can possibly pull it off. And then, with the systems in place, all cylinders firing, everything suddenly comes together. Personally this is the fourth major project I've worked on where I've had that feeling. Other developers' experiences may vary.
I'm glad to say that we're starting to cross this threshold and we're seeing everything come together quickly on our first release. Since the last update we've accomplished:
- Final art for every major combat UI
- Final art for every major gameplay UI including upgrading, matchmaking and team-building as well as the option menus, combat resolution screen and many miscellaneous functions.
- Final UI functionality for combat
- Gold standard combat environment
- Final, animating character portraits
- Final base combat particles
- Implemented the majority of the playable character animations
- All tooltips for every ability and action in combat
- The locomotion system that allows us to adjust the speed of an animation versus how fast they move across the screen to avoid the "sliding" effect common in 2D games
- We've also made progress toward multiplayer functionality
With these latest changes we'll be able to send our contractors a working client so they can begin implementing sound effects, music and creating quality assurance test plans. Within days we'll be able to start playtesting the combat with outside testers.
Art Blog aka "TBS in the News!"
As you may have already seen Arnie recently put up an art blog describing his process creating our gold standard combat board. It's got a lot of big images that we can't post through Kickstarter updates, so if you haven't seen it yet, check it out HERE. This blog update also got picked up on Kotaku and Rock Paper Shotgun amongst other gaming news sites. They've been calling it the first "in-game" screenshot of The Banner Saga. Funny, so far literally everything we've shown has been real in-game art.
One of the more common bits of feedback we get is that you really enjoy hearing how a game comes together, and we're happy to oblige. In fact, we've gotten so many messages asking us for advice on breaking in the industry or running a Kickstarter campaign that I thought it couldn't hurt to point out two resources that we personally support.
For anyone interested in breaking into the games industry, I enthusiastically recommend Games Industry Mentor. A friend of mine from Bioware (now at Red5) made a huge variety of podcasts talking to almost every department in the industry with real game industry veterans. Each podcast deals specifically with how to get a job in that department. It's the best resource I know of for authentic, useful, specific advice.
As for running a Kickstarter campaign, I recently wrote an article for Gamesbrief, an excellent business-minded site for developers. Kickstarter is such a new phenomenon that there isn't much information about how to run a campaign. In this article I lay out both what I think it takes to start and maintain a successful campaign. If you're thinking about starting your own game campaign check it out.
That'll do it for this week. In the next few we'll be pushing hard to get multiplayer up and running as well as expanding our content now that we've got most everything to gold standard.
Alex, Arnie and John
pledged of $100,000 goal
seconds to go
Mar 19, 2012 - Apr 20, 2012
Pledge $5 or more
An exclusive desktop WALLPAPER for your PC, Mac, tablet or mobile device, along with our heartfelt thanks. Choose with or without the logo. Be a part of the movement!Estimated delivery: Apr 2012
Pledge $10 or more
A copy of THE BANNER SAGA with all the Chapter 1 content, along with all the big upgrades we're planning to add to the multiplayer, distributed digitally on PC or Mac. Includes all previous rewards.Estimated delivery: Nov 2012
Pledge $25 or more
Get the AWESOME SPECIAL EDITION of The Banner Saga. The single player game as described above, plus the digital art book including production art and design sketches, the original soundtrack and desktop wallpaper. On top of all that, as a special thanks we'll include your name in the OFFICIAL CREDITS for the game.Estimated delivery: Nov 2012
Pledge $50 or more
Be a real part of The Banner Saga! At this tier we'll provide you a template and you provide us with YOUR OWN CREST DESIGN which we'll put into the actual game. In both single and multiplayer, players will choose a family crest that represent them; this is your chance to get your family or guild symbol into the Banner Saga (must meet a few reasonable decency guidelines - see the FAQ). Includes all previous rewards.Estimated delivery: Nov 2012
Pledge $50 or more
SPECIAL POSTER PROMOTION: We've gotten so many requests for just the poster that we can't ignore them any longer! For this special reward, get just the poster (unsigned) and the special edition of the game, no frills. This prize does NOT include the button or the guild crest but DOES include your name in the credits. All higher level donations continue to get the $80 version of this prize. Include an additional $10 for shipping outside the US & Canada.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $80 or more
A limited edition print of the official game POSTER for The Banner Saga in full movie poster size (24 x 36 inches), SIGNED by the team at Stoic. Look to the left to check out the art. Also, to show off your viking spirit in public we'll include a BUTTON that looks just like the main character's brooch. Includes all previous rewards - please add $10 for shipping outside the US & Canada.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $100 or more
Your generous donation guarantees that you'll get not just the poster but a T-SHIRT designed exclusively for the Kickstarter campaign (check the art to the left). Once it's over we won't be making any more! Includes all previous rewards - please add $10 for shipping outside the US & Canada.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $150 or more
Austin Wintory, composer of the hit game "Journey", will be providing limited edition PHYSICAL COPIES OF THE SOUNDTRACK, hand-signed by the composer himself. Different from the official soundtrack, once the campaign ends these special edition CDs won't be available again. As part of the special music promotion, the donations we receive from this prize category go directly to help fund an all-out, full orchestral score for the game, recorded in a live studio! Includes all previous rewards.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $250 or more
47 backers Limited (3 of 50 left)
Don't just support the Banner Saga, own a piece of art from it. This tier features a physical, numbered ANIMATION CEL from the game, just like how they used to do it back in days of yore. Choose one of two pivotal characters from the game. Includes all previous rewards - please add $15 for shipping outside the US & Canada.Estimated delivery: Jul 2012
Pledge $350 or more
17 backers Limited (33 of 50 left)
Get an autographed copy of the performance parts from the recording sessions; the SHEET MUSIC used by the actual musicians who play on the score. Needless to say, this prize will be a limited run. As part of the special music promotion, the donations we receive from this prize category go directly to help fund an all-out, full orchestral score for the game, recorded in a live studio! Includes all previous rewards.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $600 or more
50 backers All gone!
Kickstarter is a chance not just to fund the game but to offer art for the sake of art. Get a full-sized, 12 x 36 FRAMED LANDSCAPE work of art inspired by the incredible American master Eyvind Earle. No logos, no gimmicks; numbered and signed by the artist. Check it out in the details to the left. Includes all previous rewards - please add $20 for shipping outside the US & Canada.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $800 or more
17 backers Limited (8 of 25 left)
Immortalize something meaningful to you in The Banner Saga. Send us a photo of YOUR OWN HEIRLOOM, memento or just something you'd like to show your friends and we'll turn it into a relic of value and power. We'll work with you to come up with a unique name and description that could include anything from a mysterious inscription to giving off a certain aura. You'll personalize it and make a coveted piece of gameplay by choosing from a list of rarities and in-game bonuses it provides. Doesn't look very viking-themed you say? That's ok, the marketplaces trade in items pillaged from all over the world. Because this includes all previous rewards, please add $20 for shipping outside the US and CanadaEstimated delivery: Nov 2012
Pledge $1,200 or more
10 backers All gone!
We're incredibly excited about this one. We've partnered with an amazing artist to turn our landscape artwork into a 3-dimensional SHADOWBOX that replicates the feeling of parallax you get from traveling across the land. Framed with a glass cover and coming in at 20 x 16 inches this is a serious piece of art. Numbered and signed. Includes all previous rewards - don't worry about the shipping cost; you're good.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $2,500 or more
7 backers All gone!
The gods may be dead but they're not forgotten. BECOME A VIKING GOD in the actual game. We'll create a unique deity with your likeness and work with you on a great name and backstory for him or her. You'll appear in the game in various forms of effigy and be written into the lore, where all may see. Includes all previous rewards. Email us for more info.Estimated delivery: Nov 2012
Pledge $4,500 or more
0 backers Limited (2 of 2 left)
You are invited to personally ATTEND the music's recording sessions in Los Angeles or elsewhere later this year. This will include a day of hanging out with all of us at the recording studio, and lunch (on us). You will also receive a signed, leather-bound book compiling all of the game's music (produced as a one-off and therefore never commercially for sale) and earn a Music Associate Producer credit in the game and on the album. Not enough? Austin will personally compose an original 30-second ringtone, just for you! As part of the special music promotion, the donations we receive from this prize category go directly to help fund an all-out, full orchestral score in the game recorded in a live studio! Please note: this is a special case prize. While it does include the signed CD and the sheet music, it does not include any of the previous rewards. This one's for serious music fans. You must be able to travel to the Los Angeles area or elsewhere. If you're interested in this prize you must contact us to make arrangements before the end of the Kickstarter campaign.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $5,000 or more
3 backers All gone!
We'll rotoscope and ANIMATE YOU, personally, into the game doing an attack or using a special ability so you, too, can look like a badass viking. How many chances will you have to be animated into a 2D game? Backers must be local or able to travel to the Austin/Georgetown area. Afterwards, let's get some lunch. Includes all previous rewards, do we even need to say it at this point? Email us for more info.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $10,000 or more
1 backer All gone!
We have so many prizes now we had to compile them all into ONE FINAL, HUGE MEGA-PRIZE. The Executive gives you every prize we have to offer (except for the rotoscope shoot), including the viking god and attending the recording session. On top of that, you will be given an Executive Music Producer credit in the game and on the album. Lastly, receive a framed copy of the Banner Saga main theme, each note inscribed by hand by Austin Wintory, who will also be kind enough to sign his work. Has anything like this even been done before? Please contact us before donating at this tier.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012