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Hi DG2 team,
We've been quiet for a couple of weeks because we've been hard at work. Part of that work is making sure when we're ready for you on the new forums, that we're really ready for you. By the way - thanks again for all of your support!!
First up - Surveys!
If you were a backer that had a pledge tier $50 and higher you were sent a survey for your shipping address and/or how you wanted your name shown in the credits. We have received 1786 surveys back which is 96.3% "answered" of the 1855 folks we sent surveys to. That's pretty awesome - thank you! It does mean thought that there are 69 of you we haven't heard back from. Please get back to us so we can know where to send your goods or how to list you in the credits, or both!
If you didn't include international shipping on top of your pledge tier, and you had physical goods you wanted to receive, make sure we know about it by emailing us at email@example.com . We've been talking with many of you, and have got pretty close to catching up with everyone, but there are still some folks we haven't heard back from.
Also, if you know someone who wants to pledge to the Kickstarter and missed the 5 week window when we ran the campaign, have them contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we can happily include them on the team.
What's been going on?
People and Accounting
As you may guess from the above, we've been working the database, transferring the survey results into our records, updating international shipping payments, dropping international shipping for those who decide they don't want certain things sent to them, and getting everything ready in order to get the fulfillment folks everything they needed. We've generated many dozens, maybe hundreds of paypal invoices for international shipping adds and over 90% of those have been paid. A lot has been happening on that front.
Stuff and Shipping
With regards to "stuff", we expect to receive video cards and mice during September, with all the other stuff that we're making coming later in October or November. We went over Thursday evening to the Penny-Arcade Fulfillment Warehouse and talked with Brian there about logistics. So far they have received 1 of 3 video card shipments of PowerColor HD6870 1GB GDDR5 (V3) video cards and PowerColor HD6770 1GB GDDR5 V2 video cards from AMD and 1 of 3 mice shipments from Razer. More are coming. In the original plan, we would have received them all by now, but that hasn't happened yet, so hopefully we'll get them all soon - we're working the phones and following up on email with our partners at AMD & Razer, and they're following up with the actual folks shipping the goods.
With regards to USB Gun Towers, those have gone to production already and we expect to get those in a month or two. The audio button manufacturer tried a couple of times, but couldn't get the button to look as good as we wanted it to, so we actually switched manufacturers for the audio button and are waiting on our first sample from the new manufacturer. We are feeling good about this new company, so we'll see if that translates to a great audio button too.
Private Backer Forums
With regards to the private backer forums, our web team has a beta of them running, and have been working on how backers will receive an invite to access the forums. The UserVoice piece is hooked up, but authentication isn't there yet, and the right categories aren't set up yet, but that's in progress.
Not only will you be able to post your game ideas on UserVoice, but we'll also be using it to help vote on the final T-shirt designs and final poster designs. We'll start on that right away, and once we feel that we've come to a group consensus - hopefully in two to three weeks after the forums open or sooner, we'll then go to manufacturing on the posters and shirts.
Early Digital Downloads
Composer Duane Decker has been going over the original game soundtrack, remastering and ordering the tracks, writing up liner notes and putting together ringtone files for you to download.
Also some of the internal team has been finalizing the way the Level visualizer will work and testing that out so that we can get you that tool and let you upload layout images that the team can see.
The artists have continued concepting for both DG:Containment and DG2, and hopefully in the upcoming week or two we can get some time from the folks who will put together the desktop wallpaper pack.
We met with the Humble Bundle folks at PAX last week too, and went over our plans to put together the digital download packages that those of you who pledged to receive those downloads will be able to access when it is all ready - hopefully in the upcoming weeks.
Welcome New Community Manager Christa Charter!
Don't worry, we're not going anywhere, but already from the comments on Kickstarter we can see that this "doing work" thing gets in the way of communicating with you regularly. So, between the recognition that we wanted someone in the office to always be thinking of you, and the opportunity that presented itself to work with a true community management rock-star, we're pleased to announce that Christa Charter, also known as Trixie360, will be joining Hidden Path as our new community manager. We're pretty excited about this opportunity as she knows us pretty well already. Several of us at Hidden Path worked with her before at Xbox when she was keeping the Xbox community informed on Xbox.com and through her regular video segments on Xbox LIVE. We think its exciting for everyone and can't wait for you to get to know her if you don't already.
We know you want to have regular updates and direct access to the development team, and we're going to be around as well, but by having Christa also present and always focused on you, she can be your conduit, interviewing team members, answering your questions, helping with weekly challenges, and making sure information is flowing at a constant rate, while the game still makes progress. It is a true win-win!
I was invited to give the keynote address at PAX dev a week and a half ago, and it made enough positive noise that the folks from Kickstarter themselves wanted all the data that was shown. Soon we'll be posting the slides on our site and making sure that everyone can get some behind-the-scenes insight to what was going on during the prep for the Kickstarter, the campaign itself, and how it compared to other video game Kickstarters. Congratulations on all that you accomplished in getting us moving towards DG2.
DG:Containment & DG2 pre-production
Over the last few weeks since the Kickstarter ended, we've been in Defense Grid: Containment pre-production, and we're already seeing how some of the new experiences planned are coming together.
Also, this last week, we had a major story meeting for Defense Grid 2. We want to get the key touchpoints of the DG2 story flushed out more before we build DG:Containment. Containment is the prologue to the full DG2 story, and it was time to go from the broad larger ideas we had for it, to dive down into some of the details and make sure that the Containment story arc accomplishes all we want for setting up DG2. I can't tell you how exciting and energetic the team was as they came out of that multi-hour meeting. This storyline is going to be pretty cool, and DG:Containment is going to kick that off.
We're also having multiple conversations with folks who are interested in helping us fill the gap to make DG2. That means a lot of data on the game going to potential investors, numbers and spreadsheets being run, forecasts, platform options presented, ideas, suggestions, approaches, etc. all being discussed. It's very cool to have increased interest, and because of the Kickstarter we're closer than we were before and hopefully we will be able to get the right DG2 deal done soon!
Wrapping this Up (date)
There is even more going on with respect to game art, design, database work, server transfers, network issues that were solved, other things going on in the studio, and there are always more things asking for our attention. We're very focused on you, though, and can't tell you how much we appreciate you joining us. The welcome mat is being prepared, sorry if it is taking longer than you'd like, but hopefully you'll be pleased when the door opens and we can all talk about your thoughts in an open and structured way for DG:Containment and DG2.