Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 20, 2013.

Update #137

Questions and Answers

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Hey, everyone. Wayne here. For those who have wondered, yes, I was sick; and yes, I was working weekends anyway. Still fighting off a nagging cough, but anyway...

I’m sorry for the delay on these. I meant to post these answers last week, but I needed some info from the Ninja Division guys, and they were attending Adepticon last week, and are now at PAX East this week, so not only have they been hard to reach, it's been difficult for them to dig up some of the info I needed.

I’m still trying to get some followup information, so I’ll further elaborate on some of these as soon as I can.

Can we get a projected schedule, broken down by dependencies, to allow for product to be shipped to backers before Gen Con?

Not yet, I’m afraid. I’m still trying to get some of that information. Between the conventions last week and this week, and the need for some of that info to come from China, I just haven’t been able to get all the info I need to give you all a detailed schedule. I am working on it.

How close is the project in regards to completion of the First Wave?

Here’s where things stand:

  • The Zentraedi Artillery Battlepods, Blast Template, Command Tokens, and bases have finished tooling (mold-making). Initial runs of the Arty Battlepods are en route to us for inspection and assembly. I’ll include some photos of those below.
  • The standard Regult Battlepods and the Glaug Command Pack are in tooling right now, and will be finished shortly.
  • The Defender/Tomahawk and Spartan/Phalanx Destroids are awaiting final approval of corrected renders we just received, and will begin tooling next.
  • The Valkyrie is having its sprue layout finalized. We were told over two weeks ago that prototype pieces were being made, and we received new, corrected renders of all three Valkyrie modes on Tuesday, so the prototypes should be showing up any day now. When they have been examined and approved, and sprue layouts are finished, they’ll go into tooling.
  • Print elements are all either finished or going through final adjustments and approvals. Specifically, I can tell you that for the rulebook I have 2-3 final corrections and adjustments to make, and I’m currently laying out the painting and decal placement guide in the back of the book.

When all of the above is finished, the game will immediately go into production. Factory time has already been reserved, and they’ll be ready and waiting to start when the last bit of tooling is finished and approved.

The seams in the figures that we've been shown appear significant. Is it possible to see versions of the figures that have not been assembled and then disassembled to see how the seams would appear coming off the sprue?

As tooling for various game pieces finishes, we’ll receive runs from the molds that we’ll be able to remove from the sprues and assemble. We’ll document the process and show you photos from every step of the way, up to and including the assembled pieces.

The piece-count on these figures seems high, while the options for alternate poses seem limited. Is there anything that can be done to rectify this situation, both to reduce piece-count and increase poseability?

First, allow me to disagree with the assertion about the poseability. Of course it’s limited to some extent, but some sets have multiple poses of extra arms to choose from, and many game pieces have round or ball-and-socket joints to increase the variation in poses.

As for piece count, we have tried to keep it as low as possible without losing detail. Some will say it’s not low enough, but there’s nothing we can do about that at this point. We've promised highly detailed game pieces molded in ABS plastic from the very beginning, and with the original designs we have to work with and re-create, there are limits to how low that piece count can feasibly go without changing to metal or resin, which we are not going to do.

Is it possible to miss the Gen Con release date, if necessary, to remake the figures with fewer pieces and less noticeable seam-lines?

We have no desire or intention of delaying things any further, and the piece count cannot feasibly be reduced without changing to resin or metal. Most of the seams are located right where they need to be, in order to avoid either losing an element of detail on that surface, or increasing the piece count even further. (In the much-discussed example of the Spartan, the seams running down the legs are necessary to preserve the ridges on the front and back of the legs and feet, as well as the inset half circles on the backs of the legs.)

As for the noticeability of the seam lines, we have been assured that the fit between pieces will be tight and the seams will be minimal, unlike some of the relatively large gaps that have been seen in our primered, glued, disassembled, and hastily reassembled prototype pieces. Those weren't show pieces, but prototypes not originally intended for public display. They were shown on here to keep you all informed and give you a look inside the process, but they were never expected to be pretty or polished pieces. The final production pieces will look much better, as we will show you when we have them.

What are the plans to support this game at launch? Will the Megaversal Ambassador system be used to help spread and advertise the game?

The folks at Soda Pop/Cipher Studios/Ninja Division will be lending their experience and helping us establish and improve our organized play program. The Megaversal Ambassadors will be the backbone of that program. They are a group of volunteers who run demos and regular games in their local stores, as well as conventions they attend. Most of them, and many new applicants, are eager to start running Robotech® RPG Tactics™ games and demos, and we will do all we can to support them and coordinate their efforts.

Are the other generations planned for a future release?

Definitely. We've had some internal discussions of how to deal with potential scale issues (a game that includes both the Mk.II Monster and Cyclones on the same field of play makes scaling of game pieces tricky), and the rules have been designed with future expansions and generations of Robotech® in mind. The Masters Saga™, The New Generation™, and The Shadow Chronicles® are all planned, but our focus for now is on getting the rewards for this Kickstarter done and in your hands.

Can more videos of actual game play be provided? We would like to see videos of games played by experienced testers and players who have only been given the rules with no guidance.

That sounds like a good idea. I’ll see what we can do.

Is it possible to have a community organizer interact with us on Kickstarter to provide regular feedback, and not just in the form of updates?

I’ll try to do a better job of that. Palladium Books is a small company with only six full-time employees. Manpower is severely limited, and none of us can spend significant amounts of time watching the comments sections of these Updates. Jeff reads all the direct messages that come in and answers those as best he can. The rest, I try to address in these Updates. Like I said, I’ll try to do better.

What plans are in place to rebuild credibility and goodwill within the backer community?

My plan is to be as open, honest, and communicative as I can, providing info and updates as often as possible. I think we still have credibility and goodwill with the vast majority of the backer community, but we have a number of very vocal, dissatisfied backers. I think the only way we’ll ever make them happy will be to deliver a high quality game and game pieces, as soon as possible. I know it can’t be soon enough, because it’s already several months late, but we’re doing everything we can.

Can we please have detailed pictures of each figure as it gets completed? Both a detailed, assembled 360 degree set of pictures and also shots on the sprue?

Absolutely. As soon as we have them to show you, we’ll be happy to do just that.

At the moment, the only such thing I have to show you are these photos of the first test runs of the Artillery Battlepod mold. Note: I’m told the white/light gray frames were run for the factory’s own test purposes, and the darker gray ones were the first test color they ran. The actual color the production game pieces will be is still being discussed.


Update #136

Battle Foam Bag Photos

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Hey, everyone. Wayne from Palladium here.

As many of you are aware, I spent some of last week at the GAMA Trade Show in Las Vegas, chatting with retailers and distributors about Robotech® RPG Tactics™ as well as our other game lines. I took many of the prototype game pieces we had, including a few that we hadn't yet shown pics of. Once the show began, and a number of retailers and members of the press starting snapping photos, I thought, “Well, there go my next few planned Kickstarter Updates.” Even when Ninja John received a package the next day containing four new prototypes, soon enough a few people came by and took some shots of them as well. I’m sure many of you have seen those photos, and although I will show those prototype pieces in more detail over the weeks to come, they won’t have that same special, first look feeling.

For those of you who don’t watch the comments of these Updates, here is a sample of photos and video from the event:

http://www.crittohit.com/events/gama-trade-show-2014-palladium-books-robotech-rpg-tactics

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pR-z5PBsJx4

The good news is, there was something else at that show that nobody got to see. Romeo from Battle Foam brought the prototype Robotech® RPG Tactics™ carrying bag for me to examine and approve! Check it out.

I know some of the tray photos are blurry (sorry, I didn't realize it until later), but you may notice there are 96 total spaces. That’s exactly the number of pieces that come in Battle Cry, and the tray layouts are designed to hold every piece in the Battle Cry set, as promised. Let me tell you, it was tough finding room for them all, but as long as you don’t go crazy with some of your poses, they should all fit just fine. And of course, you can always purchase pluck foam or custom trays from Battle Foam to suit your specific needs down the line.

Questions Received, Answers Coming

In the past few days, a number of questions have been submitted to us about a few aspects of manufacturing, where things stand, how we’ll proceed in the future, etc. I just wanted to let you know that we have received them, and we’ll answer them as best we can in the next week. I need to confer with the Ninja Division folks for some of the details, but we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

See you next week.


Update #135

Spartan Followup

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Hi, everybody, Wayne from Palladium here.

Clearly, a number of you have some concerns about the Update from last Thursday. I’ll do what I can to address them.

Why are there so many pieces? Why are there seams on the front of the legs, chest, etc.?

A lot of people have been asking these questions, and they are really the same issue. These mecha designs – the Spartan in particular – have lots of detail on every surface. Raised lines and ridges, indented areas representing lights, markings, etc., and other design elements that, if they were designed from scratch to be molded in this scale, would have been altered or left out entirely. However, we don’t feel we have the luxury of leaving out or changing details to that extent, which means we need to split various sections in two so that we can maintain some of these details. Here’s an example:

This is a cross section of one of the Spartan’s legs. The Spartan has a distinctive pair of ridges running vertically down the front and back of each leg, as well as on the top of the feet. It also has a great deal of detail on the sides of the legs. For us to get all of this detail onto each leg, the legs need to be split into two pieces. There are several reasons for this, but they basically break down to the fact that the game pieces will be made out of a hard plastic, and the molds will be made out of steel.

Details such as the ones in the above picture prevent the leg from being molded in one piece because they would be “undercuts,” and would prevent the piece from coming out of the mold. For the manufacturing process to work, there can be no more than one set of these ridges per piece, so that the ridge can be at the dividing line where the mold plates meet, so the top plate of the mold can move freely up away from the piece, and the piece can move freely up out of the bottom plate of the mold. A cross section of the mold at that point would look something like this:

Differences between metal, resin, soft and hard plastic miniatures

Some have posted here and elsewhere online that they have seen miniatures with similar levels of detail that were molded in as few as one piece, or only 6-8 pieces, and they are sure that the same could be done for these. What some of these folks don’t realize is that those other pieces were often molded in metal or resin, and those manufacturing processes are very different, and usually allow for more undercut than plastic injection molding does. With both metal and resin, the mold itself is made from a soft material, allowing some “give” when removing the piece from the mold. Other miniatures use softer plastics, which are more flexible, but often have trouble holding the same level of detail that we’re going to achieve.

The bottom line

We had a choice between fewer pieces, or less detail. We went with more accurate, detailed game pieces. Some of you clearly wish we had chosen differently, but we have been promising highly detailed game pieces all along, and we mean to deliver just that, because that’s what people have been telling us they wanted.

For my part, I regret showing the Spartan before the other Destroids. It is the most complex of the Destroids, and maybe the most complicated piece in the entire game. Yes, it has a large number of pieces, but please keep in mind that not all of the pieces in that photo are used to make one figure. There were several options for the right arm pictured, and only one of them is needed to make the figure. The same goes for the chest; both open and closed missile pods were shown, and only one set goes into each model.

I've assembled a bunch of these now, and I didn't think they were difficult to put together (and I’m no expert; I was very rusty when I started assembling these prototypes a few months ago). Some of them have been sitting on my desk for weeks, and everyone who sees them thinks they look great! Nobody looking at the physical pieces in their hands has commented on the seams. And as I mentioned in the last Update, due to primer and glue residue, the seams on these have gaps that will not appear on the production pieces. These are pre-mold prototypes, made to show us what detail is present and to help us verify that all the necessary pieces are included. Fitting will be much tighter in the production pieces.

I also want to note that we have made some changes to the Spartan since these prototypes were made. For example, the head lasers have been thickened a bit to make them less prone to breaking. We've also noted a couple of ways we can add posability without adding pieces, and maybe even reducing the overall number slightly.

I’ll try to be online and available to answer any questions about this, but for the next few days I’m going to be out of town for a trade show. For the same reason, the next Update won’t be until Friday or Saturday.


Update #134

Spartan Prototypes!

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Greetings! Today I’m going to keep the Update short, but I have a bunch of photos to show you.

The Destroid prototypes arrived at the Palladium offices this morning, so much of today was spent carefully disassembling them so we could examine the parts breakdown and snap some photos for you all, and then putting them back together again. The disassembly was necessary because Ninja John had assembled them to do his own checks on how well parts fitted together and whether anything was missing.

First up, here’s a look at the Spartan. From the parts breakdown you can see there are a few different arm and weapon options, and both open and closed chest missile bay versions.

And here are a few shots of two assembled Spartans in different poses.

Note: Some of you will notice the seams, especially in the upper legs, where they are particularly wide. Because these have been assembled, disassembled, and assembled again, as well as painted with a sort of primer at some point to make details easier to see, there are glue residue and primer between some of these pieces that I just couldn't quite remove. That’s the main culprit in some of these seams being as wide and noticeable as they are. When the pieces arrived this morning, some of those seams were barely visible, if at all, and a good coat of paint should conceal them quite well.


Update #133

This and That

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Hi, folks.

This week, with the color guide images done, Jeff moved on to finishing up corrections for the various expansion pack boxes. Those were sent over to the Ninja Division guys today, and they’re working on them.

I spoke to Ninja John today, and he has received the Destroid prototypes from China. I've asked him to take a couple of photos before he sends them off to us here in Michigan. Either way, I should have some assembled and photographed to show you next week.

John has also been working with the engineers to nail down all the details on the Valkyries and other pieces, and reports things are coming along nicely.

Today I have a couple of different images for you. One to clarify something from last time, and another to show you something new.

First, here we have a mockup of the scatter template as the end product will look. It will be a transparent blue plastic with designs molded in, and some details painted in white as shown.

And here we have a Valkyrie in Fighter mode, broken down into parts. The Valkyries will come with several different missile sets, and shown here are the standard medium-range missiles. Also shown is the VF-1A head.

Now go out and enjoy your weekend, and we’ll talk again next week.


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