Greetings once again our wonderful, generous, thoughtful, and most importantly, patient, backers! There are several items we want to touch on in this update, the first of which is the impending beta. If all goes as planned we're going to send out the first small batch of beta keys (somewhere between one and two hundred) out somewhere around the end of July. The method we use for selecting the recipients of these few keys is still up in the air, but we're leaning toward sending them to the earliest backers from each campaign: First, Second, and PayPal. It's the “fairest” method we can think of. We know that most (if not all) of you want beta access and we're going to get you all in as soon as we can. If you don't get a key from the first batch, just console yourself with the idea that there will be less bugs and more game in the beta by the time you get it :)
Needless to say there's a great deal of artwork to be done for Worlds of Magic. A load of units, buildings, spell effects, etc, have to be hand crafted (and in many cases hand painted) to give WoM it's artistic feel. Work on the art front is making great progress and more and more races are getting their units and buildings finished one by one. Marcin (our 3D model artist) decided to make a speed paint of one of the models he did for the game. He thought you might find it interesting and we certainly agree. Watching it will give you some insight into the work it takes to bring our 3D models to life. And here it is:
Now, as some of you may know, Steam allows publishers to put games up for “Early Access” before the game is 100% ready for release. This allows developers to pull in more beta testers and raise a little last minute capital to fund the polishing stage. Up to this point the development budget for Worlds of Magic has been close to $300,000 (yes, that's USD). Opening the game for Early Access would raise our budget ceiling a bit and give us a little more time for polishing. We're interested on hearing your thoughts on Early Access. Should we wait until the game is essentially ready for release and use it basically as a form of advertising? Or should we open it up as soon as we have a solid beta version ready, in order to raise more capital to help put all the final flourishes in place? We've asked for your opinions from the very beginning and we'd appreciate your feedback on this.
Some of you may have noticed that we've pushed back out Beta deadline a time or two. We wanted to let you know that one of the reasons for that is that we're working hard on the AI. In any game with the strategic depth that Worlds of Magic offers the AI is a tricky animal. We're working hard to make it shine like the rest of the game does. We felt it was important to let you all know how seriously we're taking this subject. Part of the delay we've run into is the work it takes to build a AI worthy of the rest of the game. We hope you understand and appreciate your patience.
As always guys we want to offer you our deep and sincere thanks. Without you none of this would have been possible!