Delays! (Plus a Guest Update!)
I've got some sad news, some good news and few words from our friend Erik Dinnel.
Delays, Delays, Delays
A lot of you saw this coming, and a lot of you already know via the forums, but it's time to make it official: The Alpha is delayed until mid-October. To quote myself: "The delay is due to some typical development stuff (interface refactoring taking longer than expected) some real-life stuff (a family wedding that I'm on the road for as I type this*) and some unexpected stuff (the departure and replacement of my head writer). No one thing was enough to bog me down but together they've set me a week or two back. These delays may also affect delivery of the remaining kits I had lined up for this month, though I may still pull through with those."
(*Congrats Ken & Carla!)
I'm still keeping the kits listed as September releases on the Backers Calendar just in case I can pull it off but they're looking more and more like an October release.
On the Plus Side
Delays aside, things are going well. Some recent achievements:
- ALL of our side quests are written (a whopping 160+ pages of fun-tastic material)
- Ryan has stepped in to finish the main quest and he's doing great
- Given continues to kick ass on the new terrain
- The official site has gone live (still needs tweaking, but it's coming along)
- As of tonight the interface back end is much more Oculus and Controller friendly
- Other things that are cool but it's time to get to the Guest Update
Guest Update - Erik Dinnel
Lastly, I've asked several people on the team if they'd be interested in contributing a fun story or a unique perspective (a la Steve Barnes' Update of Happiness,) and Erik Dinnel was the first to turn his in - I'd expect no less from the guy who shot and cut both our campaign videos in in a matter of days. I had completely forgotten about both the land sharks and the white 'X' so this was a treat to read - hope you all enjoy!
Last winter, after one of our occasional bro-dates to the local Cinerama, Lars mentioned he'd been making a game in his "spare time." Lars has always been somewhere between the game and film worlds, but given he was working full-time on Breaking Bad I didn't realize how serious he was. Then one evening while at his place he suggested I play it. Play it? I hadn't a clue he was that far along. He fired it up though and there it was: FRONTIERS, in all its explorative glory (commence the Steve Barnes music now). Sure it was still in alpha-mode, like terrifying great red sharks––hovering over the land where they weren't supposed to be alpha-mode––but Lars had made a game, and it was a fun one. He'd created this vast, beautiful, mercurial world: You're on your own, now go explore was definitely the vibe, and you wanted to. And I did. And it was fun. And then I was eaten by a magic pulsing red shark. Which was kind of cool. Not as cool as the path system and speed travel, but up there. For the folks concerned that they might not find a game about exploration engaging enough, all I can say is Lars doesn't do boring. Check out the first thing I ever saw him make back in our college days (totally recommended for kids before bedtime). Frontiers is going to hold your attention. Hell, it might even make you a vegan.
Anyway, it wasn't long after that that Lars started talking about crowdfunding. He needed a video and quickly cut together a pretty good trailer, but it was all game. At some point they're going to have to see your face, I told him, something I'm sure he knew already. But it's the rare VFX artist/programmer that's excited to step in front of a camera and pitch, and Lars was no exception. Thus, we had to figure out what was right for him. We talked about doing some goofy stuff, like our campfire skit, but we decided to go with a straightforward approach first, see where that got us, then get more creative later if stretch goals were within reach.
Most important was to ensure that Lars came across as honest, and with a clear vision. Being a direct, no bullshit-type to begin with certainly helped his cause, but we still had to make sure he came across that way. Strange things can happen to folks once the camera starts rolling and you never quite know what it'll be until it it does. In Lars' case it was his eyes. I assumed he would do best just talking to me, sitting next to the camera, having a conversation. But once we started rolling he started blinking and staring at the floorboards while speaking. Trying to pull off a whole interview like that would've been a disaster. So what did we do? We asked him. He said he thought he might do best just talking to the wall (way to make me feel like this, old friend!). So we affixed a little white X on the wall and had him talk to that. Worked like a charm. I'd ask him questions, he'd answer to the X. That's right, you can thank a white X for helping us reach NPC death and beyond––yes!!! I shoot a lot of interviews and there are definite lens-people and people-people, but I've never seen someone do so well at talking to virtually nothing (whatever works Lars, just make Frontiers awesome like we know you will). Other things we payed close attention to were location, composition, and lighting, of course. And then the biggest killer of so many a Kickstarter vid: audio. I'm probably preaching to the choir here but bad audio is unforgivable. No matter how rad your video looks, if your audio sucks, you're going to suck––or at least appear that way. Conversely, if your audio is good you can get away with a lot. It's easy to get good audio nowadays with USB mics, converters, etc., but if you don't want to worry about it it's well worth the hundred bucks or so to just have a sound engineer come out and record you for an hour, like these guys. Such things may seem subtle but they do pay off. They also work best when you're working with good people that care about that kind of stuff (that's you Neilson Eney, Luke Chmura, David Albright). That's all for now, I've got some super important pad thai waiting.
- Erik Dinnel
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