Posting an update for a long-overdue project has been a tricky proposition. While most backers have either hung back in silence or simply asked what's going on, there is a vocal minority that has responded with anger even at big content-filled updates. And having an update without content sometimes feels like sticking my head out of a foxhole when people are actively shooting. Recently, folks have begun contacting friends and colleagues and used words like "fraud" and "charlatan."
I try to focus on the positive and move forward, but damn. I've earned my lumps on this project more than any other in the dozen-plus years I've been working professionally on roleplaying games. So I will again thank all of you, including the most upset of you out there, for making this project possible in the first place even though it's had difficulties I never could have foreseen.
I had originally planned to get a Black Friday (USA post-Thanksgiving date) update together for everyone that included peeks at some final—and very important—art assets going into the book. Those haven't shown up yet. I've had more contributors stumble on delivery dates for this project than anything else I've worked on in almost 14 years. It's frustrating, but in the end we have to work with what's in front of us. Up to this point, backers have seen the early version of 132 pages of the 160-page book.
So What's the Good News?
Backers will have the complete, first-pass version of the book before the end of the month. Everyone who backed the project at any level will have the first-pass version of the book in its entirety, on or before December 31, 2014. I sent another book to press last month and this is the only production I'm working on until it's completely finished.
It's going to be a better game. I've run and tinkered with the engine that drives this game a lot in the past two years. With notes and thoughts and discussion I've made some under-the-hood adjustments that make the gameplay more exciting and engaging but really only a affect a few small sections of the text. (We're talking about interpretations of dice rolls, how initiative is handled, things like that.) Those changes will be reflected in the edits/revision after the first-pass is delivered to the backers.
The book is locked in at 160 pages and I have final print quotes in-hand. I will soon be making a final decision between two printers (one in Texas, one in Minnesota). The revised production schedule is set for Jim to have final approval (or requested last-minute changes) by February 9, 2015 with files uploaded to the printer by the following day.
I have extra help in organizing reward fulfillment and responding to backer requests. Renae has joined me part-time in the office and is handling the majority of the mail order business and is organizing crowdfunding fulfillment so I can focus more time on production. She will be contacting backers before the end of January to make sure that everyone's rewards are properly listed, that shipping addresses are up-to-date, and that other issues are resolved in a timely manner. But you don't have to wait if you have a direct question for her. You may email her using renae (at) signalfirestudios (dot) com.
Backers will see the first-pass Chapter 9: A Mutant Menagerie (critters and robots) by Monday and the adventure "The Petting Zoo of Death" with the "rough" version of the complete book by the end of the month. I will also be offering preview images of other upcoming rewards, t-shirts being the first on the list.
When I get those art assets I mentioned at the beginning of this update, I'll make those available to backers right away.