It’s been a very busy few weeks for us here at the Jasco Office. Obviously, there’s been a lot of UFS related news on our Facebook feeds, but some have asked about board game news. We’ve held off mostly because we’ve been busy working on the game to get it finished! Some good things to report, after working through several weeks and weekends, we have a few topics to cover today,:
Graphics and Typesetting:
The typesetting is essentially done. We’re going through adjusting type here and there (little things like spacing letters that run together, reviewing items for design reasons like widows/orphans and numbers, and a few other mundane things. We’re hoping that it will be in approvals very early next week. As we typeset, we realized while discussing with play testers that there was some confusion on cards, so we’ve adjusted graphics for some things which does mean approvals will look those over, but we’re hopeful that it doesn’t slow us down. Once the graphics with typesetting are approved, we’ll be able to finally send out the rulebook that our backers have been waiting for. We’re really excited to get this whole thing out the door.
Plastic production has started, and the second round of color approvals have started. To might right, we actually have a pile of game pieces with the new colors how they’re going to appear in the box. Capcom has received them, and forwarded them to Japan for approvals, and we’re hoping for a positive result, as we discussed what colors should be used quite extensively to try and save time. The new pieces we have were painted with the tooling process and so therefore what things should look like in final production. They will all be in their own plastic bag to preserve the paint during transit.
The printer is busy making sure that all the components are going to fit in the box that they’ve talked about. They’re producing what they call a “white sample” where they just take blank white paper and cardboard and put it together and make sure all the components fit comfortably. We’re trying to gain ground on production time which is why we’ve asked them to start production of the game pieces. We’re hoping for no real adjustments on packaging, although since it would only adjust size a small amount, it shouldn’t require an extra round of approvals if anything was to change, only if the design actually changes significantly from the images.
As this part of the board game is now winding down, in our down time we’ve been discussing the next expansion of the board game, and what the plans will be. We’re probably looking to Kickstarter for the expansion, however, internally, we agreed on several things, most notably that we’d like to get more production done up front. We’ve decided that we will have the game complete and the scope better defined for the future, but also to avoid potential delays that we’ve experienced with this project. We have learned quite a bit on this Kickstarter. Being this is our first board game, we’ve gotten advice from everyone we could, and while we padded the schedule for approvals, we have learned a lot along the way. So when we have a firm feel for Mega Man 2 Expansion, we’ll have more info for our backers. Also, we’ve got some special plans for Mega Man in the future that allow you to use the board game pieces for other things. Stay tuned for more info in the coming months!
Sorry for the delay in updates. It's been a whirlwind of events in the office: getting ready for GAMA, getting colors approved, finishing typesetting, and going over production models with a fine-toothed comb to make sure that they're good to go, getting colors approved, and finishing typesetting.
Update on Typesetting:
The game is about 85% typeset. As we write this, we're doing final edits for grammar and making sure stuff makes sense in the rulebook, but not to waste time we're doing the layout as we speak and will make edits as needed. Only a few things remain, Boss cards, Protagonist cards (i.e. The good guys!), and a few other things, as well as the finishing touches on the rulebook, obviously. As soon as the Rulebook is approved, we will be sending out the link in an update for folks. We're excited to get these things to you. We know you've been more than patient, and we really appreciate this. It's been quite the experience getting this game together and watching the process start to come to a close and get to print.
Update on Approvals as they stand:
Several of the miniatures have been given the go ahead; anything that the production model and colors matched. Capcom wanted the flesh tones more pale, and decided that some colors were off. Going back and forth, I sent them what I felt could be a better replacement, and they gave me some and approved the others. Now we're waiting for updated color models so I can send those back into Capcom.
If all goes smoothly this weekend, we're hoping that everything will go back into approvals on Sunday night. Hopefully Capcom will give comments quickly. Since the graphics were approved with only slight changes, such as move a logo here, remove art there, we should be in the final steps. The printer is busy looking over box contents and preparing what they call a "white sample" which is where their engineers create just a blank box with all the stuff inside to make sure that everything fits. They'll amend any dies that need to be changed, then we fit the graphics and off we go!
So we didn't show off minion models in the update with the color samples. Well, not entirely true, Big Eye pushed his way in there, as well as Yellow Devil. And they were in the box. But I digress! I have a soft spot for Sniper Joe personally, but they're all so cool they fit into every game!
If you pledged a level that gets a photo in the rulebook, we need that photo ASAP! Anyone who does not get a photo in by the end of next week will be missing out on their chance to be immortalized in the rulebook.
So it's a short update this time, mostly because we're wanting to get back to getting this product out the door and everything finalized!
As I mentioned in last weeks update, I was going to talk a bit about the approval process for the game pieces, and some artwork. I'll be showing off some artwork that I don't believe we've shown before for the board game. One of the biggest time consuming part of this board game has been the approval process. The producers of the game in Japan are very meticulous about all things Mega Man, and that shows nowhere like the approvals process.
That's not a knock though, because their attention to detail helps make the game look that much better, and makes it certain that it's the best product we can put out for you, the fans!
At the beginning of the process, we had discussions about what exactly we were able to put into the game. To start, we were wanting to create the best possible experience that we could that would emulate the game. However, we also wanted to make sure that the game was expandable over time. Some of our original ideas didn't really fly with that, and originally the game didn't even have a game piece component. The things that were continual were the fighting through robot master levels and the customizable deck components. We did a massive brainstorm a long time before the Kickstarter ever launched, and we started the process of talking to people who had experience creating game pieces. After that, we had a conference call with Capcom, and explained our ideas. Originally, they were hesitant at the scope of our game, but we discussed things, sent them preliminary rules and some very basic graphic ideas. Then we got to wait. They submitted the whole idea to people in Japan, and after some back and forth of us answering questions we finally got the go ahead.
We still wanted to make sure that Mega Man fans would be happy with our endeavor. We needed to promote the game, which is when we started doing graphics for Gencon. With the turn-around time for some of these, some graphics were started in very early July. We already had a bunch of artwork from the comics, which was a good place holder for things that we were eventually going to upgrade later. We had a great fan showing with the Mega Man Collectors tins, which were also a first for our company, and we were thrilled that things went smoothly with Capcom. But we had yet to go through an artwork approval of any sort with them, because the tins were entirely using Archie comic work because it was needed for a quick turn-around time to get the tins out.
However, at Gencon, our partner, Ninja Division had already had two test sculpts to show us which we were able to show off. These actually were entirely new, we hadn't seen them, but it was more of a test run to see what their sculptors can do. We were thrilled, and they were two little treasures.
So what all goes into a miniature? We'll take on Mega Man in this instance.
The first sculptor we got really nailed the Robot Masters, but his Mega Man figures were not quite what we were hoping. He was close, but there were issues with the face that didn't seem to be able to be fixed.
There were several things that needed to be corrected on this model, and this was even before Capcom saw it. We were aware that they were probably going to come back on plenty of things. We had gotten both color renders and black and white renders, so we went to make our comments. We got another revision (version D) at that point, and continued to make tweaks. Since Ninja Division was our contact for this project, our approvals process generally went something like this:
Miniature renders delivered (Day 1)
Jasco goes over the model. At least two people looked over the model to check for quality (Day 2-3)
Comments made to Ninja Division (Day 4)
Ninja Division delivers comments to sculptor (Day 5)
Sculptor generally has a specific day reserved for each project, so we have to wait for that day. (Day 6-12)
Sculptor delivers new render to Ninja Division (Day 13)
Ninja Division delivers new render to Jasco (Day 14).
At that point, we repeat the process until we were comfortable with delivering to Capcom for their comments.
With revision F, we had this:
We submitted to Capcom, and then they gather all the items to submit for their approval, and it's between 7-10 business days before we hear back from them.
Here's an example of comments that we sent to Ninja Division:
As discussed above, we eventually decided that we would switch sculptors on Mega Man. The other sculptor had already taken on Rush and Roll, and we really liked his ability to take on those characters. So we decided that we would have him start with the Blue Bomber. This of course, added time to the approvals, as we're now starting from scratch.
The new sculptor decided that he was going to start with a non-posed figure, so that we could get everything out of the way detail wise, and then he could pose it afterwards several times. This was to speed things up so that there weren't tons of revisions to the final model. Little did we know that wasn't entirely how it was going to work out, but it certainly did help.
And in response, Capcom sends something like this:
This was fairly typical early on for Mega Man. He was by far one of the hardest of all miniatures (except for Ice Man!).
As one can expect, with all these revisions, it was taking it's time. The only pieces that were approved right away were some of the simpler minions, like Tackle Fire and Octopus Battery. The rest had a lot of little tweaks.
Our last comments from Capcom on Mega Man before he was approved:
From the start of Mega Man approvals with the new sculptor, which Capcom's initial comments were in January of 2014, the Thumbs Up Mega Man was the last to be approved. He was not finally approved until the end of July!
So one of the things we wanted to make sure was that we had awesome artwork. We spoke to one of our favorite UFS artists who we really enjoy working with. His name is Eduardo and he does this guys (read: the guy writing this update) personal favorite UFS artwork. However, I was not aware that the guy was a huge Mega Man fan. But, Jason, the boss man, showed me this piece of artwork that Eduardo had done for fun:
I was sold! So we talked to him and he jumped at the chance to do some artwork for us. The cover was our first priority, and here are the ideas he came up with:
For the uninitiated, number 4 was the chosen one! Which one is your favorite? You can post in the comments.
Also, we were needing new Robot Master artwork for the cards. We knew we were going to use Capcom artwork or the cover in the cases of Protagonist cards, but the Antagonist cards were something else. We needed them wide, so that we could put them in our frames.
Here's the artwork as it's approved:
So there you go! If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments and we'll do our best to answer!
It has been a busy few weeks, and first off, let us apologize for the time between updates.
The Big News
The first and foremost we have a big update today! Originally, I was going to talk about the approvals process, because we've heard people talking about the delays in the process and we wanted to touch on the subject so people understand why things can take so long. However, something was dropped on my desk this week. Well, two things really. But while both are Mega Man related, only one was board game related, and sure the part that is more exciting to people. I'll touch on approvals in a future update.
So as I arrived for work on Tuesday, I had a feeling it would be a good day. Sun was out, wasn't too warm in sunny Vegas, and while I'd say that my Monday wasn't as easy as I hoped, Tuesday was met with great gusto. Then the UPS man came into the office and dropped off a box. From the writing I could see immediately that it was from the printer. They had mentioned that they had done a lot of work right before the new year and wanted to get us samples before they shut down for the Chinese New Year.
I attacked the box (carefully!) with the vigor of a child at Christmas with his first present. What I opened was pure gold. Every single Mega Man miniature, carefully hand painted for color placement and to show the colors we had discussed. While not everything is correct, seeing it in the flesh I'd say most of it is very close. Which leads me to part two of this exciting story:
Meeting with Capcom
So on Thursday morning, I (as in the guy writing this update) had a breakfast with our licensing rep from Capcom. They were in town for something entirely unrelated, but I jumped at the chance to meet them and show the game pieces in person. Here's a photo of what they saw:
It's interesting to see people's reaction on projects. It's always something to see a computer rendered picture, it's another to actually hold it in your hand. To quote Capcom: "The quality of the Mega Man figures were amazing." They finally were able to see in their hands what we were trying to do, and said that the level of detail was more than they imagined. Both reps immediately pulled out their phones and asked to take pictures.
The extra benefits is that we were able to talk production and schedule. They said that they're going to do everything that they can to help us get this out as soon as possible.
Segue into the next part of this update:
Status of Graphics
Graphics have gotten about 95% approved. They asked for them, due to time constraints to be just dummy text for the last few updates, unless it's something simple like say, legal lines. While we snuck in some text on things, for the most part we obliged. I'll be including some of the graphics on this update. The things that we have now are pretty small, and will be approved once all the final typesetting has been completed.
The things which require some additional time at this point are some of the images on the dice (we've gone back and forth with them on these a couple of times), some logo placement, and some artwork placement and removal on some things.
However, I'm hopeful that we will have the final rulebook in your hands in the next few weeks all nice and pretty!
So on to the photos!
Color Samples Photos
To whet your appetite, I'm going to show some of the photos that I've taken of the new game pieces in all their glorious color. This is at my desk, so please excuse the lack of backdrop and everything, we just want to get these out to you as soon as possible. We have to get a space for the miniatures to be photographed for Capcom as well.
Please note: These models are hand painted, and very close up. I'm including a size comparison with a quarter so people can see how big they actually are. The "Thumbs up" Mega Man is the one that we compared as the base size for all models, and he stands 4 cm tall. The largest, Yellow Devil is 10 cm tall. These samples are for color placement, and therefore when it's finally gotten the color tooling finished, the lines will be sharper.
As noted above, most of the graphics have been approved. So I'm including new box images, cards, card backs, protagonist cards, boss cards, and a myriad of other things. Hope you enjoy!
The rest of the antagonist cards will follow suit, with the symbol and art and title changing of course.
These will have artwork and titles that reflect the different characters.
In a future update, we will show the typeset items, other parts that are completed and approved, and the new artwork we have for the Robot Masters.
We do apologize for the lack of updates. The person who writes them (me!) was out for the holidays, and while no vacation actually survives without work, there was even more catching up to do afterwards.
What have we been doing on the Mega Man Board Game? Good question. Speaking with the printer is our first and foremost priority. Since our last updates, we have gone through and put in numbers for units ordered for all things, given more detailed color sheets for each character, and been making notes and comments on game pieces.
We'll talk about the Mega Man models in a paragraph, as we have discussed with the printer on various ways to make them stand. Since they were sent as just a model (if you remember from previous photos, some didn't have feet that would be flat to the ground) and therefore we had to explore how to exactly make them stand on their own on the base.
First we'd like to touch on the time frame.
Discussing with the printer what they told us in August, was what we can term as "true at the time." This was when they told us that we have to just send them the 3D files and they would create everything from there. However, when we gave them the files, they in turn told us much later that we should have them printed domestically, and then we'd send them directly to the printer. That was done, but that apparently shuffled the queue a bit, and therefore it wasn't until recently that they went through their dismantling and building of each miniature so that they can be molded and tooled correctly. This is good in some ways, because we were able to provide a very high-quality print of the model, and we had a lot more control than if the printer in China was doing it. However, it now has apparently delayed things at least a month or two. They have said that tooling and everything needed before the model creation will be done before the Chinese New Year, but that month we were trying our best not to hit is apparently looming now. So we're hopeful that it's early Q2 at this point, but we'll keep you updated as the printer gives us more. Obviously, everything hinges on how fast color approvals go, but we're trying to get those in as soon as possible. We're unhappy that it's another delay, but once again we'd rather get things right and to you in the best quality that we can. We appreciate your patience on the matter.
Mega Man Poses:
So most of the Mega Man poses didn't need anything special, however, most of the models we had to do visual inspections of each one put in a base to see how it stood, if there were any imperfections in the reproduction process, and anything else that could potentially be an issue. This week, we're going to cover Mega Man specifically, and just show you how things progressed on models that are posed in a difficult way. We had to have a discussion with Capcom about how the feet interact with the base itself, to make sure that they understood that detail in the feet would be lost, because if there's something we've learned in our dealings with licensors is that it's best to keep them in the loop as often as possible.
Mega Man Running:
With Mega Man running, the biggest thing was that the printer initially kept the foot flat. Not the worst thing in the world, but we had to explain where the peg needed to be afterwards. Don't mind the pen marks, we were told those are only used by the engineers for unrelated things and don't have anything to do with the model itself.
The "but" is that this didn't keep the aesthetic we wanted. Also, we noticed that they had not put the design of his foot that would be upright back. So we had to say it in corrections!
Mega Man No Helmet
Did you know one can actually be confused on Mega Man's hair color? Oddly, I have two pieces of "approved" artwork that have different hair colors! And, still took me a few days to get from Capcom which the actual approved version is. However, none of that actually affected any of the images you are about to see. There was no Mega Man hair colors harmed in the steps of this game piece!
See notes above about the transparent base. Same thoughts here.
We've asked if we can actually just have it stand on the front peg, instead of needing both. We're waiting to hear, but we also said based on time if it required both for balance purposes, that we'd understand and keep it there.
Mega Man Jumping
Wow. OK, well, guess the photo of how he was supposed to stand got lost somewhere. Seriously, was waiting to see some ripples from bullet time going over when I saw this. But I digress...
OK, points for effort. However, put the stand on the wrong leg, and let's go with just a peg! There was actual discussion of whether or not he should have a stand like Peng or Octopus battery, but it was decided to keep him on the base completely.
So there you have the journey of the 3 Mega Man poses that were an issue. Next time I'll go over some of the other issues that we ran into during the engineering part of the process.