Production Update—Bear in China
Hello, wise vislae—
As promised, we’re posting an update every Friday to let you know how things are coming along with Invisible Sun production. This week our art director, Bear Weiter, is in China at the factory, doing final approvals of the myriad Black Cube components as they come out of production, and working on how they fit into the Black Cube.
Bear reports that his travels (he flew out on Tuesday, arriving Wednesday) went smoothly, and he was lucky enough to have a row to himself for the 15-hour flight. He’s in the city of Jiaxing, about an hour southwest of Shanghai. Jiaxing is a city of two million or so, which, apparently, is considered a pretty small city in China. Our vendor isn’t the only manufacturer there—among many others, there’s a Lego factory nearby. We’ve worked with this vendor on a number of other projects, including No Thank You, Evil! and the Exclusive Numenera Boxed Set Edition, but this is the first time we’ve ever gone to their factory, so it’s been very interesting to get Bear’s reports.
It’s also great to hear how things are coming along. Here are some highlights:
- Bear spent almost one full day reviewing printed components as they’ve come off the presses. With a couple of exceptions, all the printed material is done—nearly 100 print elements. (The books are in the bindery now—so while they’re fully printed, they haven’t been made into finished books yet. They’ll be bound over the weekend.) Bear was looking at not just the quality of the printing, and making sure the quantities of each thing are correct, but also checking that they were printed on the right stock. He did find one issue: The paper stock for the character tomes didn’t take pencil well. So he’s having the tomes reprinted on different paper. That’s a fairly minor issue that shouldn’t result in any delays.
- Bear has looked at several options for the mundane die. (The magic dice are already awesome and in production.) The original color scheme didn’t have enough contrast with the magic dice, so he explored some different ink and plastic color combinations, ultimately settling on black plastic and a blue ink color.
- A big project this week was packing the Black Cube—working out exactly how everything fits into it in a way that’s well organized and secure for shipping. It’s been a challenge—there’s a LOT of stuff in the Black Cube—but Bear and the printer have it pretty much worked out. When all the final components are in place (probably late next week), the printer will do controlled drop and shake tests on special equipment. So it’s possible there will be some tweaks if any problems arise at that point, but so far it’s looking good.
- And, finally, they’re working on the outer carton. Normally this is just a corrugated carton that holds several products. In this case, though, special care is being taken to ensure there’s no damage to the Black Cubes in transit. Most products are shipped and stored in “case counts” of 5 to 20 (or more, for small products) items per carton, but the case count for Invisible Sun is just 1.
It’s already the weekend in Jiaxing, but the factory is putting in overtime to keep Invisible Sun on track. Bear will be there through Monday, boarding the plane to return to us on Tuesday. There’s still plenty left to do, but so far everything remains on track. We’ll have more to share with you next week!
—Charles and the MCG Team