Episode 19: New Prototype + PAX + Turkey
Hey robot family, we just returned from PAX Unplugged, where it was a pleasure to see quite a few of you! We were at Booth 859 with Copper Frog Games. Check out their game Pigment, its campaigning right now!
Now that we're back, we've got that monthly fix of updates for you today.
The Big Chart
The robot art is now 99% done! Check out these sweet new pieces by Maung Thuta, wrapping up all backer commander art! Last thing to do is polish one or two robots that could use some spiffing.
But check out these phresh and fancy new arts for the five Kickstart Dawn Commanders' robots:
Not to mention the IKA-100, who also finally finished its facelift:
GRAPHIC DESIGN PROGRESS
Oh my god. Look at this box. Oh my. God. Look. At this box.
Still getting some final tweaks here and there, but if you've been following us on Facebook and Twitter, you likely noticed us posting since iterations of this box in the last few weeks and it's come quite a long way. Great work by Stephen Gibson.
Other graphics updates:
- Robot cards: We re-formatted all the cards in the game, fixing minor errors like typos, fonts, unaligned symbols, missing artist credits, etc. Our cards are very complex so this was a big task. From the front they look similar, but on the back end they're much better off, and it allows us to make changes easier.
- Punchboards: This ties into Production, but we'll be redoing the punchboards for the third or fourth time, but it's easier every time. This iteration will be smaller, with larger robot pieces. There was an issue with the box cover slightly caving in, so we're working some geometric science to fix that. This means that the robot tokens and other tokens are going to be touched up a bit too to accommodate the new punchboard designs.
GAME DESIGN PROGRESS
Not many changes here. The game is sitting at a pretty good spot, and we're continuing to test the Machineless Commanders on Stream each Wednesday.
We have begun moving forward with testing and organizing the campaign for the game, which will be 18 chapters of different game-play scenarios found in the digital World of AEGIS book that comes with the deluxe box (or you can add it onto your current order for just $5 via our Pledge Manager). We hope to have some cool examples and a chapter list in the next update.
Here's some neato stuff for you! For PAX Unplugged we ordered our first full-color prototype of the game, featuring cards, board, punchboards and of course, the box. The goal was to see how colors looked, if our dieline tolerances were looking good, etc. We then had a good face-to-face meeting with our guys at the manufacturer and went over a laundry list of things. Here's how the project's looking:
- Box: The top is concaving a bit, due to the size of it and how the components inside aren't flush. So we may reduce the overall box thickness.
- Punchboards: These honestly look good, though the graphics on them were only for testing purposes. We received some advice from the manufacturer that they should get smaller, so they could match sizes with the folded board and do some lego-fitting to prevent the box top from warping after the pieces are punched out.
- Plastic vacuum tray: I've been mulling this one over for a bit, thinking on how to let you all organize the pieces and cards in the game in an efficient manner after you open the box. A bulk of our manufacturer conversation was about this subject, and we settled on making a vacc tray design that works well without breaking budget in half, while also including baggies in the box for you. So yeah, you all are getting a bunch of baggies to keep your robot pieces sorted, along with a pretty functional tray.
- Cards: The cards came out really good. I think you all will enjoy them.
Linen vs Not Linen
- Linen Coating: So the board, punchboards and the box itself are all "linen coating", which we unlocked via stretch goals. Over time, we've had a few prototypes of this game made - matte, glossy and linen. Originally the idea was that we would put linen coating on the final components because they were more durable, however, this is not entirely the case. We discovered that for many (most, likely all) games, linen coating is not actually any kind of coating - it's just a pressed texture on the paper. A fascinating revelation indeed, apparently this is not a widely known fact even among designers and publishers. The linen pressing process dulls the colors of the game, and our manufacturer put forward the idea that the pieces, etc would be better looking in glossy due to our fabulously vibrant color scheme. The main difference is that glossy shows damage faster, whereas linen hides scratches and the like better.
I would like to poll you, the robot family, and get your opinions on this matter. Would you want the box, robot pieces, terrain pieces and tokens to be linen, or shiny and glossy? Or a combination of both.
SHOUT OUT TO BATTLE FOR BITERNIA!!
So a while back, another cool campaign was running around when AEGIS's was going on, and they didn't quite make it. But now they're back, and I think all of ya'll who enjoy colorful strategy games with the video game aesthetic should give them a look-see.
Stellar Ascent Story, Part 5
Finally, the story continues! Our last entry took us into the inner world of our favorite Bomb Duelist, Poppet. She sees things differently, compared to the rest of us, and that's... not okay right now! She's joined up with the mercenary Ryos, and together they're bringing destruction upon the Great States' west border! Gamound has been dealing with Poppet's bombing runs for a while at this point, but now that Ryos is involved, the global peacekeeping forces up above the clouds have dispatched Stell to the front lines to stop and detain the destructive duo.
Ryos was on the job. Who was the client? Who knows? Too convoluted at this point. He had received at least three different cash transfers this week, telling him to be at this spot and wreck as many robots as possible, be they active or not, belonging to a nation or not. Well at least, that's what the contracts added up to. None of them really contradicted each other, and if he completed all of the jobs, he could get all of the rewards.
He walked across the debris, keeping a steady eye on the battle. Explosions shook the dust and lasers split the clouds, and every time there was a lull, he would strike. Inhale, exhale, a flash and a bang. Ryos was unique - a man who could see and feel energy as though he were wading through water, and have it flow and crash around him as naturally as breathing.
Squad after squad of ABB robots stomped and clunked across the battlefield, and like clockwork they fried and fell to a hidden electromagnetic pulse. A series of ARLY robots would drop in from over head, and fall prey to a sudden series of shocks, locking them in place. An enemy would sometimes circumvent the traps, and that's when an overwhelming show of force was required - Ryos's favorite. He was a one-man army, and knew full well that armies need both tact and power to seize victory.
An sudden explosion annihilated the stray foe, sending shrapnel whooshing by the mercenary's head. Ryos remembered that was now part of a two-man army, where the other man was a psychotic teenage aristocrat.
The man spun, glared and let off a series of expletives punctuated with in-depth strategic philosophy. When another enemy blitzed through the debris, Poppet launched a volley of rockets, tearing apart its legs.
"Only a bit, like that? Is it broken the right way?!" the girl jointly exclaimed and questioned.
"Yes, like that." Ryos launched a spear of lightning to finish it off, siphoning its energy. "Use your power with brain, not your trigger finger."
His wisdom was met with emphatic nods.
This girl saw the world through a different lens, a different perspective altogether from all the soldiers, generals, rebels and officers that Ryos had faced off with on job after job. A different perspective from the crowd is the most freeing, powerful thing in the world - something that can't be taught.
However, this girl couldn't shoot lightning from her hands. She couldn't bench press a boulder. She was too young to know what her goals were. Hell, she could barely communicate like a normal person. When she dropped helplessly out of the sky, was it obligation or responsibility that Ryos felt?
Regardless, here she was, getting taught crucial life lessons between electric blasts and mortar shells. Poppet was in Ryos' school now, not a mansion, and the classes were "crush the enemy to get paid" and a charred tome he found called "The Pun Book of Funs" - she had to learn to read somehow.
The pair was up to 47 destroyed robots today, a new record. Ryos aimed to find dinner at 50, but Poppet and her bomber charged in towards the border's absolute defense line.
"I'm going to break the leaders! The two right there - yellow and green!! Then we can get to 100 easy!"
Ryos shouted, but Poppet was already too far forward to hear. Ryos had studied both enemies - one wielded a long-range Sky Thresher for destroying air machines, the other summoned allies from the sky to surround and disrupt. A beat-up bomber didn't stand a chance, no matter how erratic the attack pattern. Ryos commanded an ARK to combine and dash in after her while he caught up.
Immediately, the entire battle formation shifted. The clanging and explosions died down, and Ryos was surrounded. Nearly all the robots that had been fighting weren't his - they were duplicate makes and models to his. Beating on each other to simulate a battle.
* * *
Gamound let out a laugh and nearly choked on his hoagie. Stell turned to him in concern and disgust.
"See, space lady? All you had to do was mail order a bunch of his robots and drop 'em right in during the commotion. His dudes were generics, you can find ARKs like those anywhere. Think with your brain, not your trigger finger."
"A gross misuse of resources..." Stell replied, looking back into her viewfinder.
* * *
Poppet dove in and sped towards the border walls, skimming the ground, eyes ready for a good time.
To Be Continued
We will be updating the Tabletop Sim and Print & Play Demos within the next week or two with the new and changed content, so stay tuned for that!
Enjoy the Holiday!
Fight and Unite