The holidays were a busy time for everyone. And while family time is a given, we still got a lot of work done on the development front, as well as on the front-end here at the website and our social media outlets, getting everything in place for our 2015 – 2017 development cycle.
First up, we have a new website layout and design! If you’ve been around for awhile, you’ve noticed it. If you are new to the fold, well, you don’t have to scar your eyes with the nasty free theme we were using for the bulk of 2014 while we built everything up.
Next up are our forums, which you can find here (or by clicking on the menu tab at the top of the website). This is going to be one of the most important places for you to focus on in the coming months and years ahead, as our game is community driven and you won’t be able to complete content in the game without a group of friends and allies to adventure with.
With pre-alpha access coming down the pipeline in early 2015 (tentatively planned for around March) as part of our crowdfunding campaign (access will be restricted to subscriptions/backers), you’ll also want to start forming alliances sooner rather than later, so that you’ll be able to get into the game with your friends and start testing content and exploring the world we are creating.
It’s vital to your survival as well as for your exploration to get to know your fellow community members, form alliances, guilds and, most importantly, friendships so that you have people you can group with in the game.
This is also where you can follow along the development of our group-based MMORPG, as well as participate in polls and Q&A sessions and be a part of the overall development process. Note: these forums are not planned to be permanent. Instead, they will remain during our development phase and through our alpha and beta. Once we move into the Live version of the game, we’ll be switching over and these will go away.
Then we have our official newsletter. This is probably the most important part of the work that was done over the holidays. The newsletter is a members-only area where we’ll be sharing the juiciest details – the ones we don’t share at our social media channels or here at the blog.
On top of that, members have first access to many of the special features we have coming up in early 2015, including (but not limited to) the pre-alpha access, crowdfunding campaigns, giveaways, contests, live Q&A sessions with the development team, Twitch feed specials, premium access to our backer forums (for backers/subscribers), and so much more.
Oh yeah, that’s the third thing. Our Twitch channel is now live. Note that we aren’t currently streaming anything just yet, but in the next couple of months we are going to start streaming live development feeds from various team members while they are working on things like character modeling, world building, programming and beyond.
What’s In Store For 2015
Whew. Now we get into what’s going on for the rest of the year! There’s a lot, but the most important thing to remember is that we are working with the agile development process, which means everyone is wearing more than one hat. And, because we are currently bootstrapping and working day jobs that pay the bills while we work on this in our spare time, our schedule is somewhat flexible.
We are still actively hiring new team members, and will eventually flesh out to around 15 members throughout 2015. We just brought on our 10th member two days ago (our soundtrack/music composer, David Bradford), and we’re interviewing a 3d artist on Friday night. We are currently on the lookout for more C# programmers/world builders.
Our pre-alpha should be up and running in Spring of 2015. No exact dates are set just yet, but we have an internal goal of getting a playable alpha up and running by March. Alex has most of the server architecture in place presently, as well as login processing + screen, a rough character creation/selection screen, and next up are adding a few character archetypes for testing combat and skills + the basic GUI.
Once that happens, we’ll be launching our crowdfunding campaign. You’ll have the traditional tier system in place, where you can pledge anywhere from 15 bucks up to 50,000 dollars (completely made-up numbers; we aren’t releasing our min or max backing levels at this point), but we’ll also have a subscription-based option that will let you work your way up through the tiers as your subscription accrues.
We’ll also have lifetime subscription options and a variety of other ways you can support us, such as a web comic featuring the characters from The Story So Far during adventures that are separate from the official chapter content, plus a merchandise store where you can pick up a variety of Saga of Lucimia memorabilia and items.
Then there’s private forums, private webinars, premium subscription access to our alpha and a lot more coming down the pipeline as far as crowdfunding goes, but we can’t tell you everything here. You’ll have to wait and see!
We’ll also be doing more Q&A sessions starting later this month; the rough goal is to do at least one of these per month. Also coming on a monthly basis are chapters in The Story So Far, detailing the ongoing story of Volume One. We’ve released the prologue + three chapters so far, and there are around 30 chapters for Volume One, leading up to the release of our game.
That’s our “rough” timeline; another 27 chapters/months until we are ready to launch the official game, which gives us an early Spring of 2017 launch. Please bear in mind that this is in no way, shape, or form an official release date. This is an estimate only.
We’ll have our first “official” trailer coming out sometime around March, coinciding with our pre-alpha access. We’ll be building up through 2015 to a Kickstarter later in the year; we are thinking around October. Our goals with Kickstarter will be dependent on what we see from our private crowdfunding options.
Something to keep in mind: all of us here are working day jobs while we work on this game in our spare time, for free. Our primary payout will be in 2017 when we launch our game. Any crowdfunding funds will go towards game development costs; assets, hardware, software, legal fees, development fees, subscriptions and the like. Once development costs are met (and only then), any additional funds will be divvied out between team members on an equal basis as a “salary”.
There won’t be any individual team members taking a huge chunk of the crowdfunding money to pay personal bills or draw a salary until game costs are covered. We are using 100% of the crowdfunding money to pay for development FIRST, and salaries ONLY IF there is enough extra left over. All of us make enough money in our day jobs to support ourselves throughout the entire development process, if necessary.
That being said, I’m not going to hide the simple fact that I want all of our team members to be able to make money from their time working on this sooner rather than later. I have a personal goal to get our crowdfunding campaigns and subscriptions to the 30k per month mark by the end of 2015. That might sound like a lot, but if you take out development costs and then spread that out between 15 team members, it’s only 1500 – 1800 a month of take-home pay; nowhere near a full-time salary.
If you break it down even further, we are shooting for 3k subscribers, at a minimum, by the end of the year. People who believe in us and trust us and who are involved in our alpha and development process on a daily basis and are willing to help us with the development through funding and paying 10 dollars or so a month for a suscription and/or various crowdfunding options and extras.
Anything beyond that will be icing on the cake and will allow us to enhance the game beyond the original vision, bring on more team members, and etc. But we also won’t be “crushed” or “ruined” if we don’t hit that goal. Again, we all make enough with our day jobs to support us all the way through to game launch, if needed. But I obviously want everyone making money sooner rather than later, so thus our objectives!
The only way that is going to happen is with your help and support as we make various crowdfunding options available to you. Whether it’s a subscription to our alpha, picking up merchandise, backing our game for a series of extra rewards, or choosing to invest in our development as a traditional investor with a negotiated ROI, every penny you pledge adds up and will help us make our game better, faster. Start saving now, so you can support us later this year when our crowdfunding options go live!
Most of us have been working on this since March of 2014. Others are more recent additions. We’ve got a long ways to go still, and your support has been invaluable since we first started letting our friends and family know what we were up to. An MMORPG is a massive understaking, and this is a team effort. Every single one of our team members appreciates your enthusiasm…because believe me, as much as all of you want to play this game, we want to play it even MORE than you! That’s why we building it in the first place: to provide ourselves with the ultimate MMO that we want to play, and then enjoy it along with the rest of the world!
That’s it for this update. Stay tuned for the next one!