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Never Let Them See You Sweat (Inside the Kickstarter)

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Shadow Elusive
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Joined: 01/10/2013 - 09:38
Never Let Them See You Sweat (Inside the Kickstarter)

It has now been a bit over two years since our Kickstarter, and while progress has not always been as fast or as smooth as I would have liked it, it has been going steadily in the right direction. But, it is time to confess a little secret about some of the rougher patches, and how they came about due, primarily, to the mistakes we made all the way back in the Kickstarter itself.

When we originally designed the Kickstarter, we made the decision to keep it as lean as possible, with the fewest distractions to get in the way. So, our pledge tiers fed into each other, by design. And, as part of that, the decision was made to not have any add-ons for the Kickstarter itself, but to develop ideas for post-Kickstarter pledging using what would have been the add-ons. And that seemed to be generally seen as a good idea.

Then, the Kickstarter itself began, and our projections were all thrown out the window. We were getting a lot of pressure to include add-ons, and I mean a lot of pressure. Other Kickstarters had included them, why had ours not, many people wondered. The leadership made the fateful decision to pull the trigger, and rather than leave them to later, include them in the Kickstarter itself.

And that, in hindsight, was a mistake.

What we have found out is that handling the add-ons has been a huge workload on our artists, far more than we expected. By no longer having them handled after the Kickstarter, piecemeal as we could fit them into the production schedule, we now have all of them at once to handle. We had to collect the information for buildings which were not going to be designed for over a year being collected with t-shirts and mouse pads that were coming out sooner. And we could not shelve elements which we no longer could fit into the schedule in order to keep release targets. We'd already promised them all, up front.

However, we had some of our best managing this, so while it was stressful, it was making steady progress. And then Murphy once again demonstrated that his law was supreme. Medical issues, financial woes, employment issues, and the stress surrounding that, became their world - as it should have. Partners for delivering various physical add-ons went out of business, or shut down the product we were counting on, forcing us to find replacement vendors. Oh, it has been a blast, let me tell you.

The result is that what was already an overloaded system became a huge glut to work through, and no real solutions to lighten the work. The more overloaded a system is, the harder it is to delegate it to someone unfamiliar with the issues at hand, after all. Add to it the disruption to other scheduled work from our artists due to their leads unforeseen absence and we are incredibly grateful for the patience you all have demonstrated.

And yet, looking back at the Kickstarter, not a single person ever mentioned that the add-ons did not fully fit with the flow of the entire process. I can only chalk it up to the old stage saying to always make it seem a part of the show. Some actor flubs their lines, make it seem to be natural to the play. A musician forgets their cue, improvise cover.

There have rarely been days in which I was not ready to bawl my eyes out, scream at someone, or tear my hair out for some matter or another. From timetables slipping, personality conflicts, quality issues, and deliverables being delayed, there is never a moment that some issue or another is not rearing their head. But, when it gets too much, I take a breather, gather myself, put on the smile, and break a leg.

We often times get pressured to show off, to give people access, put together some cobbled together material and pretend that it is a fully working demonstration or vertical demo. We get compared to other game titles which gave people access incredibly early on, and asked why we do not do the same. But we remember when we did give into pressure, and the cascade of issues that happened. It gives us resolve not to release until things are good and ready.

Our aim is ultimately to entertain all of you of the grand community from whence we came. For all of its majesty, excitement, and action, every game from the biggest MMORPG's to the tiniest indie titles, is there for entertainment. Mankind has been entertaining each other since before we began painting on the walls of our caves. And over those thousands of years, the same rules have held sway.

Always put your best foot forward.

Always face your audience.

Always have your brightest smile.

And never, ever, let them see you sweat.


This update written by Doctor Tyche.

We're having all kinds of fun - but don't worry, everything's still moving along. All add-ons are still scheduled and being built.

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