A Busy Week for Goblinworks
Dear Kickstarter Backers,
We're about to begin on the busiest weeks ever for Goblinworks. Today we are going to post an Update with the first of several Technology Demo videos with several more to follow. Once they are all posted, we're going to work on putting together an option for backers to gain access to the complete set in a higher resolution than what we can easily post as Backer Updates - we'll have more information about that in a few weeks.
We are also going to provide some background on the details of the project itself, starting with a quick overview of the finances of the Technology Demo.
A Quick Review of the Numbers
Of the $307,843 we raised from our Kickstarter, we collected $279,680 after failed pledges, Amazon Payment Service fees, and Kickstarter's fees.
To streamline matters a bit, we used Paizo Publishing's pre-existing accounts to initialize the Amazon Payment System, which is why you may have seen a transaction with Paizo's name on your bank statements. Paizo passed the proceeds of the Kickstarter forward to the Goblinworks account immediately on receipt.
During the months of June, July, August and September, we spent a combined $282,608 on the Technology Demo.
We've prepared some charts to illuminate those expenses, as follows:
June total: $49,636
July Total: 56,545
August Total: $78,509
September Total: $97,919
A few bits of explanation are in order. "Office Operational Cost" includes items such as software and hardware, furniture, supplies, and other expenses related to setting up and operating our workspaces. For the first three months of the project we leased space just big enough to accommodate the team as we grew, and in September we moved into our permanent offices which are large enough to allow us to complete our staffing plan without needing additional real estate. Travel includes expenses incurred for recruiting staff and for relocation of staff to the Seattle area as well as business related travel such as attending shows and meeting with vendors. Advertising during this period is primarily expenses incurred to make open positions at Goblinworks visible on sites like Gamasutra.
Staff salaries are our biggest expense and will remain our biggest expense for the lifetime of the project. Software development is a people-intensive task. Most of the team we recruited for the Technology Demo have transitioned to long-term employment with Goblinworks and will remain with us for the foreseeable future. We have had one early departure but that setback was not material to either completing the Technology Demo, nor to our forward progress afterwards.
In addition to these expenses we have made a provision of cash for middleware licensing. The timing of the disbursement of those funds is flexible and based on several variables, but we have made what we believe to be adequate reserves for those expenses. Those funds are kept on account at our bank and are immediately available as we need them.
We currently have 9 people on staff full time and are in the process of hiring several more. So far all of our staff have worked on MMO projects and several have worked on games that have shipped and are being operated as live games. Our art team is our largest team, followed by game design then engineering, and we are focusing on adding additional engineering staff immediately. We will not add Publishing staff (customer service, GMs, virtual world operations, marketing, etc.) until the game is much more developed.
You can see a list of our open positions here:
We are hiring and are actively looking for people with a background that includes experience on an MMO project, especially on games that have shipped!
Relationship with Paizo Publishing
Our connection with Paizo is and remains strong. We are effectively sub-leasing our office space from them, which allows us to build our team in close physical proximity to the Paizo staff, ensuring a continuity of communication and consultation. It also enables us to easily utilize a wide variety of services that Paizo has created such as its extensive warehouse and logistics center, and its web and customer service teams. Paizo has taken the lead role in fulfilling the rewards for the Technology Demo Kickstarter Project and they built and maintain the tool we use to collect information from our backers for shipment, pledge management, and resolving billing issues.
The senior Paizo leadership team is fully engaged with Goblinworks and is briefed regularly on our progress and our process. The rest of Paizo participates regularly in presentations Goblinworks hosts to explain the state of the project and solicit their feedback, much of which is actionable and excellent.
Following the successful completion of the Technology Demo we entered into long term agreements with backers to arrange financing to put the game into production. We have sufficient resources to continue to operate the team in its current configuration, plus a few more staff members, for as long as necessary to achieve our development goals and to release the game.
That arrangement assumes a longer development cycle than we consider optimal, and we are continuing to explore options to increase the level of funding we have so that we can accelerate the project substantially.
Thanks to the investment we have secured we are able to operate with a cash reserve substantially above our monthly burn rate so we have a cushion against an unexpected setback or a need to make a large unplanned capital purchase.
We have a nice selection of videos in development for our Kickstarter backers including interviews with the staff and a "behind the scenes" look at how we transform characters from 2D illustrations to animated 3D models. As each of those videos is completed and we have consensus that they're ready for distribution, we'll be posting them as Backer Updates here on the Kickstarter Project page.
Fulfilling the Rewards
We intend to ship all the physical reward items in one shipment to each backer, which means that we have to wait until everything has arrived and is ready to be packed for delivery. Currently the item with the longest lead time is the Thornkeep book which has finished production and is in transit to our warehouse. We're currently anticipating beginning shipments to Backers in January, subject to the arrival of all components in our Redmond, Washington warehouse.
You should already have received information via email on how to provide your shipping address and specify T-Shirt sizes, and you should have received the information you need to download the PDF version of Thornkeep. If you have not received this information, please contact email@example.com
Stay in the Loop
We try to answer any questions that are asked here on Kickstarter but we'd like to remind our Backers that we're also very engaged with the Pathfinder Online community at
If you backed the project at the $30 level or higher during the Technology Demo, when you post a message on the forums, you'll see a special Goblin Squad icon attached to your message, letting everyone know that you've been supporting the project from the beginning!
Thanks Again for Your Support
Without you we would not have been able to make any of the progress possible. With your backing we are able to make this project happen and everyone at Goblinworks is deeply appreciative and thankful for everyone who backed the Technology Demo project!
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Pledge $5 or moreYou selected
You'll be able to see an exclusive long video of the final Technology Demo. Additionally, in thanks for your backing, you’ll be listed in a Special Thanks section of the Goblinworks website as well as in the release of the Pathfinder Online game.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $15 or moreYou selected
You’ll get access to the PDF of the Thornkeep book. In addition, you’ll get the $5 reward level.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $30 or moreYou selected
You’ll become a member of the Goblin Squad, with a special icon on the Goblinworks messageboards. The Goblin Squad will receive special alerts letting them know about new information first, and we’ll give special priority to Goblin Squad members throughout the development process. This is your chance to identify yourself to us and to the community as a key supporter of Pathfinder Online. In addition, you’ll get the $15 reward level.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
You’ll get a printed copy of the Thornkeep book. In addition, you’ll get the $30 reward level.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $75 or moreYou selected
You’ll get a printed copy of the Thornkeep book autographed by author Rich Baker and members of the Goblinworks team, and a poster of the Thornkeep cover art by artist Wayne Reynolds. In addition, you’ll get the $30 reward level.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
You’ll get a special Goblinworks T-shirt. In addition, you’ll get the $75 reward level.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $250 or moreYou selected
61 backers Limited (189 left of 250)
You’ll become a Goblinworks Founder, and will receive a certificate suitable for framing and a special Founder icon on the Goblinworks messageboards. You’ll also receive a Goblinworks Founder challenge coin. In addition, you’ll get the $100 reward level.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
78 backers Limited (172 left of 250)
You’ll become a Goblinworks Executive Founder, and will receive a gorgeous granite plaque with stand and a leather messenger bag with an embossed Goblinworks logo and a nifty e-gadget portfolio for your tablet. You’ll also receive a special Executive Founder icon on the Goblinworks messageboards. In addition, you’ll get the $250 reward level.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
29 backers Limited (21 left of 50)
You’ll be welcomed as part of a very small group of alpha playtesters in a closed playtest of Pathfinder Online. This will be a great chance for you to give us direct input on how Pathfinder Online ends up looking and playing in its final incarnation. In addition, you’ll get the $500 reward level.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $2,000 or moreYou selected
1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)
You’ll be welcomed to Goblinworks HQ in Redmond, Washington for a unique chance to play the technology demo. After getting a chance to play the demo, you will have lunch with members of the Goblinworks staff where you can ask questions and find out what it is like to work on Pathfinder Online. If there are enough backers at this level who can make it on a particular day, we will schedule them together—playing with a larger group will be much more fun! Otherwise, we will work with you to find a mutually acceptable day. Backers at this level are responsible for their own transportation and lodging. In addition, you’ll get the $1,000 reward level.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $5,000 or moreYou selected
2 backers Limited (1 left of 3)
You’ll get the ultimate one-on-one experience at Paizo and Goblinworks HQ! Bring up to five guests for a five-hour Pathfinder RPG gaming session with the celebrity GM of your choice: Rich Baker, Jason Bulmahn, James Jacobs, Erik Mona, or Wes Schneider. You’ll also enjoy a three-hour nine-course dinner at the world-famous Herbfarm restaurant with Ryan Dancey, Lisa Stevens, and your celebrity GM. We will regale you with stories from our times in this industry and answer your questions in an intimate setting. Backers of this level are responsible for their own transportation and lodging. In addition, you’ll get the $2,000 reward level.Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)