Those of you who have followed our GMT Customer Updates over the past few months know that the west coast port issues have caused delays across almost our entire production schedule and near-term product line. The hopeful note is that it looks like management and labor have to come to some agreements and we should see a return to normalcy over the coming months. The bad news is all the port backlogs (and the ensuing failure to even ship on the part of some of our print suppliers – something we just became aware of) and delivery delays have just shredded our 1st Quarter Production schedule.
The biggest bad news to come out of all this, in my view, is that all of the physical reward items for our Twilight Struggle Kickstarter backers are still stuck somewhere in the printing process (we only usually get updates when they are ready to send us samples, and apparently they're not at that point yet) and probably won't be shipped to us anywhere near the time-frame that we were initially promised. Tony is uncertain on timing, as they did not respond to his request for an update yet this week, but he said "tell the customers July for delivery, to be safe." That's a disappointing answer, and we'll see, it could get better, but for now, that's where the production delays have left us. I'm really sorry about the wait, guys.
Tony tells me that we should have physical samples of some of the really cool stuff (miniatures, wooden box, etc) sometime in April. As soon as we have those, we’ll take some pics and make sure you guys get to see them right away. And of course, we’ll keep you updated here as we get more information from our printers.
One of the decisions we made when we started on Twilight Struggle was to use the Unity engine. This choice would give us the easiest path to supporting as many platforms as possible, while giving the artists full 3D capabilities. In doing so, we had to make code integration decisions for our game engine that was right for a board/card game. In addition, Unity has recently released a native UI solution that we have decided to migrate our UI design to. So we are now able to play Twilight Struggle in Unity on several different platforms, and going forward this architecture decision will make it easier for us to maintain a multi-platform game after it is released.
In addition, we are working on the online game system for Twilight Struggle. This will eventually give Twilight Struggle friends lists, chat, and matchmaking for online games. While this doesn't have significant impact on the client side code for Twilight Struggle, the UI for it will be written to run within Unity, and that work coincides with switching to Unity's native UI solution. We're currently working towards a plan for releasing an online-only beta so we can start to receive backer feedback on the interface and game play sooner than later. That will be followed with a beta version with AI.
With the programming team making these architecture changes to our engine for Twilight Struggle, our artists are designing the User Interface, the iconography for the game, and implementing the card art. They are also iterating on the board game map, and while that is still a work in progress, we want to share this with you so you can see how the digital board is shaping up.
While development is steadily progressing on the game, at this time we do not expect to have the game ready to ship until Summer 2015. We want to be able to give this game the polish and detail it truly deserves, as it is an amazing board game with an incredibly dedicated fan base, and we believe you and GMT deserve nothing less. So we had to make the difficult decision to push back the release in order to deliver a high-quality game to play over and over again with your family and friends.
On another note, we are currently working with GMT to introduce a pledge-managing tool that will grant everyone the ability to make any last-minute updates to their pledge and reward information. This toll will allow you to make changes to your reward selections and your shipping address in case this has changed. When we have this tool in place, we will invite everyone to it so you can log in and alter any information you may need to before rewards start shipping out.
Thank you for your understanding and patience, and we will be sure to update everyone again soon!