The Compendium is off to the printer!
We're happy to report, at long last, that the final Ice-Bound Compendium files have been delivered to our printer!
Here's a look at the final cover and back cover:
After extensive testing to make sure each page could be recognized by our AR engine (and several iterations of redesign and retesting for some of the more difficult pages), as well as the usual rounds of copy-editing, and our project-specific demands of cross-referencing with our game (whew), the full 80-page book is finally ready to become a reality. Our book printer, Regent Publishing Services, now has the files and is starting to move them into their production pipeline.
The whole process (from proofs through test runs through the printing and final delivery) will take several months. While that's happening, we're eagerly turning our attention back to the other half of the project: the game.
Despite being radio silent for a while (we really wanted to get the book out the door before sending an update!) progress has been ongoing on a number of fronts.
The Game's Title
In part because of another game called Icebound that's coming to Steam, and also to more clearly distinguish the book from the game, we're happy to announce here for the first time that the game's official title will be The Ice-Bound Concordance. Along with The Ice-Bound Compendium (the book) the two halves together will make up the the full Ice-Bound experience.
Now that the book's finalized, we've been meeting again with our wonderful game composer, NJ Apostol. An ongoing challenge as NJ's been developing material is figuring out where the musical core of our multi-layered story lies. Is it with KRIS, the AI you're conversing with? Is it in the stories you're reshaping? How should the player's nonlinear changes to the state of both of these layers affect the music? We have a new strategy we'll be trying out in the next couple of weeks that we feel good about. Keep your ears open, because we hope to be sharing some sample tracks in the next couple of weeks, too.
We're doing the last of the coding for the game this week and next-- mostly some custom code for a few of the special levels you get to later in the story. We also need to build the final UI for the game's climactic level, which exists in a functional but ugly form right now, and there's a stack of (mostly UI-related) bug fixes we've been putting off addressing until the book was finished.
Writing the remaining content will be the next major task after the code-jockeying is finished up. The second half of the story will be moving from sketches to drafts to its final, polished form. Here's some text written this week, the introduction to a character from one of the weirder, deeper levels:
Ice had consumed his ship, warped by pressure into funhouse distortions, or shattered to spar and timber. He'd put it back together over the years, but in new forms: forcing back the entombing ice with reclaimed nails and boards, building a womb of wood. It was a sort of patchwork home now, only much bigger, somehow, than his ship had ever been in life.
He was well aware he should be long dead.
We also have about half the AR overlay content still to create (the images you see when you show pages from the book to the game), and some revisions to the intro levels based on early feedback.
Beta testing will also be happening more formally at some point. For those who indicated they might be interested in participating in their Backerkit surveys, you'll hear from us later this summer.
We have one alarming piece of news, although we're hoping it won't affect any of you. A few weeks ago, Metaio (our augmented reality framework) announced it had been acquired by Apple. This made our hearts jump straight into our throats, because Apple has a history of buying up small companies and discontinuing their products, sometimes to remake them under the Apple brand, other times simply to squash competition. We don't know Apple's plans in this case, but in fact the Metaio forums now say all support for existing Metaio products will end December 15th.
What does this mean for Ice-Bound? We're hoping that as long as we release before December, the tech in the game will keep working-- that is, Apple won't remotely disable Metaio licenses or anything underhanded like that. We've been in touch with Metaio and they can't yet 100% confirm their licenses will keep working after December, which is distressing to say the least. We're obviously hoping the eventual answer will be yes. In case it isn't, we'd have to find a different AR library and re-code a bunch of things from scratch, which would be a grim but not fatal blow to the project-- it would definitely delay the game's release even more, and require some creative solutions on our part.
We'll keep you posted if we hear any news on this. For now, fingers crossed we'll be able to keep using our existing Metaio license.
If your address has changed since the Kickstarter, you can update it through BackerKit at any time (https://ice-bound.backerkit.com/). When we're getting ready to ship (hopefully in early fall), we'll post an update reminding people to double-check their address.
High-tier backers, you'll be hearing from us shortly to talk about your creative rewards.
Thanks for sticking with us-- and we'll try to keep the news rolling at a quicker clip from here on out.
"I sometimes remember what never was, and my memories of the countryside where I really lived can't begin to compare, in sharpness and nostalgia, to my memories that inhabit-- floorboard by creaking floorboard-- the vast rooms of yesteryear that I never inhabited. ...I've become so entirely the fiction of myself that any natural feeling I may have is immediately transformed, as soon as it's born, into an imaginary feeling."
--Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet