Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 7, 2013.

Update #46

Private Forums Update

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Hmmmm ... what does THIS button do?

PRIVATE FORUMS ARE OPEN!!

Any member that supported the Gunny + or higher, the Private Forums are open and available to you today. You will automatically be directed to the TOS (Terms of Service) and required to accept those terms before being allowed access. Should you have any questions regarding the TOS, kindly message any MOD or Staff Member.

We trust you are just as excited as we are as we hit these milestones. As you enjoy the rewards you supported in KS, we are already back to work looking ahead to the next goal.

 From all of us at SOF Studios, we thank you for your continued support in our journey.


Update #45

Live Broadcast, Surveys, Contests and more

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We've been a bit quiet, but that just translates to "busy" which is a good problem to have. Let's dig into the good stuff and catch everyone up to speed.

The Dev Team is settled into our new studio space and cranking out milestones. If you missed the tweet David Sears dropped in his excitement, we think you will enjoy it as much as we did.

Tom has been busy with the logistics of fulfilling the physical backer rewards (read: stuffing envelopes) and some of you have been sending us pictures of your patches received and we love the feedback. We are on track to have all the "physical" rewards filled for you by Christmas. Santa is going to be so proud of us, we hope you are too.  

This leads us into a plea for help. We are STILL missing surveys from our backers. If you believe we might be missing yours, and you contributed through the Kickstarter Campaign site, please log into your Kickstarter account to check - you will see a notification at the top of the site for any missed surveys. No notice means you are GOOD! If you were part of the Paypal drive after Kickstarter and think you may not have sent your survey, kindly send us a message on the (contact us) so we can look into it and get everybody the rewards they so richly deserve. Please include the email you used to pledge and your user name on the forums.

That's not the update news you were looking for? Then how about we update you on the Private Forums? (yea baby!) We are ready, set, hold on a second ....

Just kidding. We will have those opened and rolling before you start Trick or Treating. How does October 23rd sound? We have started some streamlined threads on the forums to kick things off and we want to hear from ALL of you on them. Our Team Lead, NO_FEAR will be hosting the Private Forums once they unlock and Team Lead, Rosie_Rascal will be holding down the public forums, reach out to them if you should have any questions.

Let's end this with a BOOMSTICK shall we: A Live Broadcast with the studio has been added to the calendar this month. On October 29th we will host a Live Broadcast, dropping knowledge and updates all over the place. If you go to Twitch.tv/SOFstudios and click that purple "follow" button, it will email you a notification anytime the studio goes Live.  More on this news can be found in our forums early next week.

If you haven't done so get plugged in on our forums www.sofstudios.com, follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/SOFstudios or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SOFstudios so we can all stay connected. Make sure to Tweet us your member user name so we can follow you back. 

What you want MORE? Eh, why not! Hmmmm, let me think .... Oh I got it, let's do a contest for entry into the Private Forums with Beta access! YES THIS ALL DAY LONG! Vines and more Vines, the popular mobile app that let's you record a 6 second video. https://vine.co

Record us a Vine video giving H-Hour: World's Elite a "shout" and post them up on our forum thread (we will open one, Titled: Vine Contest). Be creative. I'm not opposed to seeing one spelled out in ketchup on your kitchen floor. There our members will "Like" their favorites and on October 22nd before our Private Forum access opens, we will choose a winner by who has accumulated the most "Likes". Now, keep them classy please! 

This contest is open to everyone, backers and non-backers alike and yes even those that already have access through our Gunny + pledges. If you already have access and win, then you can take a friend of your choice along with you. 

Bam! Pow! Boom! 

As always, we appreciate your continued support and feedback. 


Update #44

PSYOP: This One is Tom

Well, this is not my update, not entirely. For this week’s status, Tom runs down the whereabouts of Kickstarter fulfillment swag and does a walk around of the studio. There is a disconcerting hum throughout the video but we could not hear it while recording. I think it’s the sort of audio signature that ghosts leave behind and only dogs and cats can normally hear. In this case, the video camera did a great job of picking up and amplifying whatever the noise was and as promised, we’re not going to worry about the production values on this updates too much, so you get to hear the hum too. At least it’s not a table saw.

The upshot: fulfillment of a large part of the Kickstarter and PayPal backer swag is looming close. We’re looking forward to getting those items in your hands soon. We’ve already got enough patches to tile the space shuttle but we’d rather send them out to you. Thanks for being patient.

We’ve been in our new studio space for over a month now but we’ve been so busy with the game that we haven’t taken the time to bring in a bunch of action figures or camouflage netting or whatever. When you’re running lean and in startup mode, that kind of stuff seems less important. However, I believe that over time the studio will be stuffed to the gills with all kinds of visually stimulating collectible nonsense. It’s a game studio, after all.

In the video you’ll meet two of the “new guys” who have been supporters of the project for some time. First is Kevin, the sort of quiet, introspective guy who falls on the “not going to go postal” but “busy thinking deep thoughts” side of the fence. In the last month he’s kicked major ass on the ballistics system, getting weapons in the hands of the characters, and generally integrating assets as they come in, among many other things. Today’s he’s working on a “hot updater” that will allow me to modify weapon parameters while the game is running and see changes instantly. Given the uncounted hours I spend tuning weapons, the tool he’s creating is worth its virtual weight in rare earth elements.

By the way, the sticker on his “fake gun” is just so visitors to the office don’t freak out about having weapon simulacra lying around. I’ve worked in places where Airsoft firearms were not allowed to circulate and had to be “checked out” from a weapons locker. Seriously. Everyone at SOFs likes guns and we don’t have any ridiculous “sensitivities” to having gun props in sight. We are making a game in which the primary form of player expression is shooting, for crying out loud. Having a few (dozen fake) guns on hand seems only natural.

“New guy” Number 2 is Patrick Gross, a veteran of game industry journalism. His background in graphic and audio design, built from years of “learning out of necessity,” made him an ideal candidate to help out with all those sorts of tasks for the demo, a process that I’d describe as a cross between “best production practices” and “guerilla warfare.” Right now he’s hooking up buttons for an early version of the UI based on some block-ins I did. Later he’ll supervise dialogue recording sessions and edit sfx, among many other things. “Among many other things” is definitely a theme around the office, and it’s great to see people busy wearing lots of different hats. It’s fun and certainly not boring.

During the Kickstarter campaign someone asked me if I was going to take time off after we wrapped the pledge drive. I said that I was going to head out to Seattle to pick up my comic books from storage then drive them back to North Carolina. I was planning this trip for later in September but when the opportunity to fly out a bit earlier and attend Pax came up, I went for it. I’m glad I did.

The first day’s focus was meeting with our Seattle team. This was a lot like a Zipper mini-reunion and it was great to see these guys in person again. Russ has already made an appearance in our updates, but I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to someone you may or may not already know. I’m talking about Doug Wilcox, animation lead from Zipper, and one of my all-around favorite people.

 Doug is a Director level Animator with over 15 years of experience delivering AAA game titles. He has extensive experience with hand keyed animation, motion capture, rigging, and can write Maya pipeline tools. He was Lead Animator on the entire SOCOM game franchise - PS2, PS3 and PSP. Additionally Doug was Lead Animator on MAG.

We are very excited to be collaborating with Doug on H-Hour. His first assignment is to animate the persona of the “troubled” hostage for our Snatch and Grab game mode. I am sure that he will more than deliver on her personality. I know from personal experience that Doug likes to over deliver and will give the hostage the attention she deserves.

So, back to Pax. This seems to be far and away the largest fan oriented conference in the industry. I had not previously attended because no publisher I worked for offered to send me. The “big boys” were certainly there with smaller versions of their booths from E3 and these drew large crowds. But the real action was in the Indie Mega Booth and smaller independent booths scattered around the show. Fans were fully engaged with the developers of their “soon to be favorite” games and the fervor was palpable. While I like E3 for what it is (and what it is is loud and full of stage smoke that makes me wheeze) Pax struck me as a much more honest show without too much of a marketing layer between the makers and the players. I really liked that about it, and highly recommend it to anyone who has never attended. I hope to see you all there next time. If nothing else, Pax has really great Daleks. Not to be missed.

The drive home was uneventful, if very tiring. I did learn that Kansas is beautiful when seen in person and if you ever have a chance, everyone should drive across the country at least once. It’s diverse and wide enough that you have plenty of time to obsess over all the things you left in the office and really, really want to get back to.


Update #43

PSYOP: This One is Rough


Today’s update is actually a video blog that focuses on the level under construction for our demo. In fact, you’re probably watching that video rather than reading this, but for those of you who are reading, here’s some insight on the contents.

First off, I’ve made the conscious decision to spend less time on polishing update videos and apply the time savings to actually working on the game. What this means is that while you’ll still see the work in progress, I won’t really worry too much about transitions and precise editing. That’s what I mean by “raw” or “rough.”

Secondly—and it’s always worth repeating—what we’re showing today is work in progress, and is already a few days old. All the assets are low poly but I hope that you’ll start to get an idea about the feeling and the scope of the environment.

Speaking of the environment, it was inspired by an actual village in remote Serbia. I mention the “fairytale quality” of the place in the video but it’s not just the signature architecture which is really charming. It’s the fact that the residents of Zarozje appear to believe—at least some of them—that vampires are real and that they have one. I remember talk about a curfew and everyone has long braids of dried garlic hanging on and inside their houses. I’m not sure whether I believe that they have an actual vampire on the loose or not, and maybe I’ll be able to go there and investigate for myself one day, but for now I can tell you that there is no vampire in the H-Hour map inspired by this village and others like it. Really. There isn’t.

I mentioned in the video update that there’s construction happening in the studio. That really isn’t in our space but it’s so close that it might as well be. For the duration we’ll just keep our headphones on most of the time and for my part, I’m blasting industrial music which I find marginally more melodic than the sound of power tools.

For those reading this, here’s a little more information than I covered in the video update. The coding of the ballistics model has begun and in anticipation of its completion, Kevin has already built our test range level. While the first complete pass of the ballistics model is still about three weeks away, I am already imaging all the intense—but fun—hours tweaking the weapons in that test level.

The speed with which the character animation is coming together was not a surprise in the sense that the animators working on it are all pros but the fact that they are building the animation trees/hierarchies at the same time and with startling speed. What this means is that not only are the animation cycles very cool and authentic, but that they already blend one to another. Even analog input is working so the characters transition smoothly from “creep to run.” I guess I shouldn’t say I’m surprised since that was what I anticipated but usually at a larger company something happens to derail this kind of progress. I like to think that it’s proof of how things are going to roll going forward.

A lot of people have requested that we include an overweight hostage/VIP in the game and we listened. The hostage for the demo gametype Snatch & Grab is not the healthiest person on the planet but she’s got attitude. I’ll let you wonder about what exactly that means for now, but let’s just says she’s going to be a memorable character.

If you have comments about the preliminary assets you’ve seen in today’s video please post your comments on my blog (if you’re reading this on the SOF Studios website you’re already there). This will make it much easier for me to respond to questions. Thanks!


Update #42

Backer-to-Website Integration #2

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With both the Kickstarter and PayPal funding campaigns completed, we can now provide accurate numbers of amounts raised and from how many backers. The amounts listed factor in transaction fees, but we accommodated for that in our Kickstarter stretch targets. As such, the funding campaign still hit the $250,000 stretch target.

$250,000 Stretch Target
With this level of funding we can include more game mechanics, characters, and prototype community tools in the demo. Convincing VCs to fund us the rest of the way is much easier and we don’t have to resort to threats.

Total
Raised: $246,737.62
Backers: 2,905

Kickstarter
Raised: $224,290.00
Backers: 2,693

PayPal
Raised: $22,447.62
Backers: 212

The 2nd round of surveys have been sent out to 507 individuals. At the time of writing this, 168 people have already filled out the 2nd survey. If you fall into one of the following categories, expect a message in your inbox instructing you to fill out a survey.

  • You donated through PayPal.
  • You had a tier selected that did not match your amount pledged.
  • You have still not filled out a survey from Kickstarter.

If you happened to donate both on Kickstarter and PayPal, but we had all of the necessary information from the first survey that was sent to you, we did not send you a second survey as it was not needed.

We are no longer accepting survey results from Kickstarter. If you have filled out a survey since August 13th, you have been sent a new survey and are asked to complete it (this was a very small percentage).

In the near future, we will be opening up the private forums. Please note that we will be awaiting the majority of survey results before integrating the 2nd round of people who donated. So if you fall into this category, please remain patient as we work to get everyone setup in a timely fashion.

Also still in development and preluded to in Backer-to-Website Integration #1 is a post-management and integration of all funding data. This will give all backers a confirmation of the amount pledged, what tier they are at, what rewards they will be receiving and the ability to change primary information such as their shipping address and H-Hour version. The remaining data such as T-Shirt, hat and hoodie sizes will be locked in from the surveys sent out due to us having to order these rewards in advance.

As a reminder, do not hesitate to contact us with any Kickstarter, PayPal or general enquires. You can also head over to the Kickstarter & PayPal Support Forum to start a new topic or search for existing problems and solutions.

www.sofstudios.com


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    PATRIOT ============================= Wallpapers + Forum Backer Badge ============================= H-Hour digital wallpapers featuring art from the game for your PC. You will receive a unique Backer forum badge to showcase your contribution.

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    GUNNY ============================= Beta Access + Sound Track + Founders T-Shirt + Forum Gunny Badge + Private Forum Access + All Previous Rewards ============================= With guaranteed beta access, you are among the first to play H-Hour. Your input weighs heavily with the dev team and you have access to the private H-Hour forums—a virtual window into our studio. We listen to everyone who wants to play H-Hour but there are only so many hours in a day. Guarantee that your comments go to the top of the queue with access to our private H-Hour Funders Forum plus receive exclusive behind the scenes videos and blogs. You also receive a limited edition soundtrack featuring the full length versions of all the music heard in the game via download. All this plus an elite “founders” t-shirt for our gunny-level backers. An exclusive t-shirt designed by the folks at Black Palm featuring the game logo in distressed green along with a catchy slogan.

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    STYLISH ============================= Founder's Wardrobe + All Previous Rewards ============================= Now you can add unique items to your character’s in-game wardrobe—a virtual hoodie, virtual t-shirt, and virtual cap all bearing the H-Hour logo. These items can be worn in addition to whatever BDUs and gear you select to customize your character. No one but our Kickstarter backers will ever have access to these items.

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    TACTICAL GROOVE ============================= Unique Victory Dance + All Previous Rewards ============================= Nothing adds insult to injury like a victory dance. H-Hour backers at this tier and above will receive a unique victory dance that no other players will have access to—only our Kickstarter supporters will receive this reward. The final victory dance will be chosen by the community.

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    SENIOR CHIEF ============================= Laminated Tactical Maps + Unique Clan Icon + Early Registration + All Previous Rewards ============================= A month before the game ships, you are invited to log into our servers and register your clan name, assemble/invite your clan members, create your clan logo and motto, and use all relevant community tools to get a head start on everyone who didn’t participate in the Kickstarter campaign. Our friends at SeaSnipers work hand in hand with us to create full color top down maps of our core multiplayer environments. Suitable for lamination so that you can plan your strategies with erasable markers or just hang on your wall for reference.

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    MASTER CHIEF ============================= Exclusive Content + All Previous Rewards ============================= Backers at this level and above receive a DLC pack exclusive to our Kickstarter supporters. This pack will include at least one unique character, in-game badge, and a firearm that no one else will get. Ever. And after you see it, you'll want it. But then it will be to late.

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    BEEP AND SQUELCH ============================= Tactical Gaming Headset + All Previous Rewards ============================= At this pledge level you receive a high-quality headset forged by community input and manufactured by makers of military-grade hardware. As a mark of further distinction the headset bears the H-Hour logo.

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    UK MOBILE COMMAND ============================= GAEMS Vanguard Personal Gaming Environment + All Previous Rewards ============================= NOTE: This reward tier is specifically for those located in UK to accommodate for shipping costs. If you are not located in UK, do not pledge at this tier. ============================= At this pledge level you will be able to take your gaming with you anywhere with the GAEMS Vanguard. The Vanguard is compatible with your current Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 Slim, and will be compatible with Next Gen Hardware. The rugged case protects all your gaming gear from minor impacts. Only available in North America (due to high shipping rates). This Tier includes all previous rewards INCLUDING Beep and Squelch!!!!

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    MASTER SERGEANT ============================= Limited Edition Game Hoodie + Game Poster + All Previous Rewards ============================= At this tier you receive a very rare high quality black hoodie featuring the H-Hour logo. Equally rare is the game poster that comes with this level of pledge.

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    SERGEANT MAJOR ============================= Your Name And/Or Face In In-Game Advertising/Products/Backgrounds + All Previous Rewards ============================= H-Hour is a generally realistic game but we can’t fill the world with real-world products. Work with the design team to build an advertising campaign for a virtual product that bears your name, face, or image/title of your choosing. You will be pervasive.

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    LIEUTENANT ============================= Your Own Easter Eggs + All Rewards From Master Sergeant & Previous ============================= Everyone loves to find these things. Now’s your chance to make and hide your own. Work directly with the development team to design one to leave behind for others to find. Hint: almost nothing is too outrageous.

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    MAJOR ============================= Studio Visit/Designer For A Week + All Rewards From Master Sergeant & Previous ============================= A week-long visit to the studio during which time you will participate in design meetings and play testing. You can just watch or we’ll put you to work; the choice is yours. We cover travel, food, and lodging for the visit. Note: we will only cover half the traveling expenses for international flights.

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    ADMIRAL ============================= Tactical Golf & Dinner + All Rewards From Master Sergeant & Previous ============================= A round of golf on one of United States foremost courses, Pinehurst No. 2, located in beautiful Pinehurst, NC. Play along side veteran special operations operators and see what playing under stress really looks like. Lodging and transportation provided. Note: we will only cover half the traveling expenses for international flights.

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    LIEUTENANT GENERAL ============================= Boot Camp + All Rewards From Master Sergeant & Previous ============================= You are part of an exclusive three day military training experience where you eat, sleep, think and train just like the best of the best and discover if you have what it takes to handle “the real thing”. Our instructors are former special forces elite and among the most sought after military trainers on the planet. You can expect to return home more knowledgeable than when you left and with some good stories to tell your friends. Some of the events you can expect during your journey will be simulated room clearing in a real close quarter battle house; wilderness survival skills training; and a leadership seminar among other focused activities. You must pass a background check and be a US citizen in order to participate.

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    GENERAL ============================= Research Trip + All Rewards From Master Sergeant & Previous ============================= Accompany the core team on a research trip to an exotic location. This isn't a luxury vacation—you’ll rough it with the team as we go indigenous. Think of it as adventure tourism with a special forces bodyguard. We cover transportation, food, and lodging. You are responsible for getting your own immunizations. Trip estimated to last approximately one week. Note: You must posses a valid passport or ability to obtain a passport prior to trip. Reimbursable flight cost will be determined based off of backers departure information.

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