Dev Update 8

We will be at Pax Unplugged 2018. We have swag and slap bracelets. Find us wandering the show floor!

Now that we have that important news out of the way, lets talk about development! We’ve been working pretty hard to bring you more content. We’re closing in on having finalized content for the second test wave. It will more than double the content currently available. That is to say, some things are quadrupled while some are seeing a touch under double. When you smash the classes with magic, its like, a lot of content. That’s how math works, right?

We have not set a final date for the Kickstarter. But it will happen in January. I want to stress a few things about this one. It will be a PDF only. This keeps our costs under control, allows us to focus on creating and editing the product, and makes it more affordable for backers. Once all that is done, we then will launch another Kickstarter for the book printing. Trying to do everything at once (developing, editing, printing, shipping, etc.) is very costly and would diminish the overall product. Splitting the Kickstarter campaigns into two separate campaigns alleviates this and makes both campaigns more affordable for us and for the backers.

Why should we support this first one instead of waiting for the book campaign? Well, totally reasonable question asker, I’ll tell you why. Because of the PDF Kickstarter isn’t funded then there will be no physical book.

We’re a very small team (2 people) and we can only create so much in our spare time. While we would love to keep developing forever, we need to eventually release some more content. The reality is that we have bills to pay and food to buy. Every hour we spend working on the Retroverse project (writing these updates included) is an hour we could have spent working at a cash register. We hate cash registers.

So, if you want the project to be finished in any reasonable time, we need to limit the amount of time behind cash registers. An easy way to do that is to support the first Kickstarter!

Why not just finish the PDF first and then do a Kickstarter for the book? Jeez, who gave you a microphone? Well, to help with context, in 1 year we have created over two novels (1.5 of that you haven’t even seen yet!) worth of content, released three adventures, created nearly 100 new illustrations, and facilitated several crossover promotions. All of this from our own pockets, free time, and patreon support.

Now imagine if we had an actual budget and could even hire some help.

Also, we’re still a long way off from the completed project. We’re doing very well at our current rate, but it could take a whole lot longer if we continue working on this only in our free time.

How can we make sure you hit funding on the first day? Great question, totally random person I certainly didn’t plant in the crowd. In this day, Kickstarter campaigns can be made or broken in their first day. Being funded on day 1 ensures that we can immediately begin working on finalized content goals. It also greatly boosts the chances of hitting stretch goals (like new adventures, character sheets, Pixel Minis, and even a Systems Reference Document possibly). With a PDF, our goal will be far lower than the $50,000 of the first Kickstarter. That being said, the backer tiers will also be more affordable. So even if we have the same number of backers, it will not result in the same amount of funding. So, what can you do? Here’s some important things.

1.       Don’t wait to back us. If we fail, you’re not charged. So, throw your hat into the ring day 1.

2.       Tell you friends. Seriously, this helps more than anything in the world.

3.       Play the Retroverse. The first test wave is free!

4.       Tell your family. I Can’t stress enough how powerful word of mouth is.

5.       Give yourself a big ol’ pat on the back. You’re awesome and we appreciate you regardless if you do any of these things!

Ultimately, if we can do in 30 days, what we did in 4 on the original Kickstarter, it’s going to be amazing.

In other news, we put out a Halloween adventure. It’s cool and free. It’s got new Retroverse content (the Restless race and Glitch Hunter class) and a full spooky adventure inside. Have fun trying to survive. 

In final news, we have been doing a Development Diary every month. We’ve talked about a ton of content and we plan on doing a lot more! Come check them out!  

Final reminder to see us at Pax Unplugged! We do not have a booth. We will just be there to meet and greet people! It’s likely we will run a game or two as well.

Thanks for all you do!

-Chris

Dev Update 7

Hey there!

It's been a little bit since I wrote out one of these. Canceling the Kickstarter was kind of emotion ordeal and it took Lluis and I a bit to climb back on the chrome stallion. We've been back on the project for quite some time now and have made a ton of progress! It's still not even close to being finished (and who knows when it will be) but progress is being made. Since the First Test Wave we have (nearly) finished work on:

3 New Subclasses, 3 New Races, 2.5 New Classes, the Next Castle mission, Non-magical weapons and Armor, a handful of Feats, and the Cliche Mechanic.

There have also been dozens of minor changes based on your notes.

All in all, the Second Test Wave is coming along nicely. One thing we want to make sure of is that we have a solid editor look over the Second Test Wave before we release it. This means it will likely not release immediately after our next Kickstarter but hopefully within 30 days of it ending.

Speaking of, the plan is for the next Kickstarter to be in late August or September, though it may creep all the way into November. November would mean we have been working on the project for a full year, which just means more content for you. Something about starting the Kickstarter on our year anniversary feels right, so we may go that route.

Also, we finally got the Development Diary video series going! We plan on doing one video every month. We will always stream it so you can get your questions answered directly by us! Because of our crazy schedules we do not have a set time. Please follow @Snickelsox or @LluisAbadias on Twitter to stay in the loop on that one.

Developer Diary Video

See you in the Vector Wilds,

-Chris

 

Kickstarter Canceled for now: An explanation, apology, and path forward.

Yes, we have closed down the Kickstarter for now. This was an exceedingly difficult decision, but Lluis and I feel like it was the right one. We understand that you’re likely confused, frustrated, and disappointed. Let me do my best to explain the situation.  If I do not answer your questions here or you feel the need to express your frustration, please contact me directly through Twitter.

TL;DR

Inexperience and miscalculations led me to believe we could do things we had no chance of doing. Our project is sound and would be delivered but the side stuff (dice, cassettes, etc.) would not be attainable because of how much we were trying to do at once. If we can not deliver everything that we promised and create a super cool project at the same time, then we need to go back to the Kickstarter drawing board and come up with a better plan. We are doing that.

Is the Retroverse cancelled?

Not a chance! Just this first Kickstarter. The Kickstarter was imperfect, and this gives us the time to really sink back into development of the Retroverse. When we come back, both will be even better. In fact, its so far from cancelled that we will be releasing the First Test Wave to all our backers as a thanks for your support thus far.

But you were nearly funded?

Yes, and 75% of the work on the base product is actually already done. The issue is that we shot too high on some of our goals and the people who would suffer would be our backers. Specifically, the 75+ who had already backed us at the Starter Kit tier or higher. We would not be able to hit the numbers required to make this tier worth the backer’s investment. Unfortunately, there is no way to cancel a tier once it has been backed. So even if we had taken the loss in confidence and momentum by canceling a tier, we didn’t have the ability. We could also have done a partial refund, but our backers pledged to that tier because they wanted a product, not a refund. This, and a few other issues, pushed us to make this hard call when we were already so close.

Additionally, we thought it better to take action early, rather than surprise everyone near the end of the campaign. This is already not great, and we did not want to make it worse.

What happened?

I’ve broken down the costs of everything before and it’s important to understand exactly what all that meant. Before we even began thinking about a Kickstarter I crunched the numbers and weighed how much heat we we’re receiving and figured by those projections that we could create a book, PDF, dice, music, and some other things simultaneously that would make you say, “Holy shit!’ when you got it. I was wrong. That reaction is important because the goal was not to create a kinda cool product, it was to create something that would blow you away.

Developing a new project is never easy, even when the skeleton (5E) is already there. If we were just making a PDF, our Kickstarter goal could have been around 2,000. Hire an editor, layout artist, and pay any hosting or advertising fees. When you include physical books, dice, posters, etc. that number jumps. It jumps badly. When that number grows, so do the taxes, so does Kickstarter’s take, and you suddenly must deal with shipping. All these make the number you need to hit even larger yet again. We had planned for all this and our minimum goal would have allowed us to do this, hopefully with enough left over to pay our heating bill for a month or two.

If we could have delivered the minimum product, what is the problem?

It is threefold. The first and simplest is that the minimum product would not have given you the “Holy shit!” reaction we were going for. That isn’t to say it’s not cool, it very much is, and we will be releasing the first test wave soon as a sign of good will towards all our backers. Hopefully this will ease some unrest and confirm to you that we are serious about continuing to work on this project.

The second issue is that, because we were doing this all in one campaign, it made the investment much higher. If we had done a smaller campaign, with no major physical rewards, the price of everything goes down. Once development was complete, we could run a second Kickstarter for physical books. This method would reduce their cost as well, because we’re not developing the product anymore, just printing it. The sticker shock on our product is valid and we are certain we can reduce it if we try again in a few months. As it stands, it’s too much of an investment for people and we can do better.

The third, and biggest, problem is the Starter Kit and higher tiers and the inability to effectively cancel it. As I said, we expected to blow through our funding goal. This was my fault. We did very, very well for a first time Kickstarter but there was no chance that we would have hit even the dice stretch goal. This makes the Starter Kit a total rip off. This was not the intention with this tier and its unacceptable to continue to offer this tier, and the ones above it, if there is no chance on delivering the dice, album, etc. we had hoped to give you.

Again, let me personally apologize to you for this one. I made too hard of a bet and it backfired. I should have thought of this, but I didn’t. I’m sorry.

What happens now?

We will be releasing the First Test Wave to all backers. Please keep in mind that it is still a test, there are minor bugs and there are sure to be balance issues. By all means, give us your feedback on it! We have cancelled the Kickstarter and will be coming back in about 6-9 months with a better, more focused, more affordable Kickstarter. During that time Lluis and I are going to pour ourselves into the Retroverse and will keep updating you the best we can on the project. We’re working on getting a Developer Diary video series going and hope to have your continued input to make this the coolest universe possible.

I supported you and am unhappy about this.

I understand. Many people came together to help us get to this point. To them, I’ve failed you, I’m sorry. You can find me on Twitter @Snickelsox. If you feel the need to express you displeasure, I’ll be there.

Thank you. I know this is not great. It was an extremely hard decision to make but we believe it is the right one in the long run. If this has soured you on the Retroverse we ask that you give us another shot in 6-9 months. The next Kickstarter we have planned will be more focused on delivering the best possible project imaginable and not on lofty goals.

Thank you for your support,

-Chris

Dev Update 5 - On the cusp

Hello everyone,

Chris here, likely for the last time before the Kickstarter launches (April 10th). Just wanted to give you some minor updates.

The free preview that we sent out was a huge hit. My favorite part was not the praise it got, but the critiques that came with it. I've gotten a lot of feedback so far and I'm happy that anyone took the time to really dig into it. I hope to have those bugs squashed before the first Test Wave is released. It's going to be a fun experience, seeing how everyone interacts with the different systems. Just please understand that this is exactly why we test things, and are going to continue to test them, until it is nearly perfect. We're not going to give you a broken game.

We finally have a good trailer for the Kickstarter as well! Check it out here: https://youtu.be/wlhOSJugVC4

We have put up three new pages on the website. Official Artwork, which is stuff that may not make it into the final game but Lluis made and is too good to just let the twitter maw consume. Fan Art, if you have Retroverse themed fan art, please send it to us! It's likely we will put it up there if we like it! Media, this is where we are putting any media coverage the Retroverse receives. If you've written something or made a video, we want to see it!

We are gearing up to the last bit of Kickstarter prep. It's been a long road and really, this is just the beginning. I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has helped us along this path. I ask that you keep it up for just a bit longer by sharing our stuff, telling your friends, and providing any feedback you can think of.

You're awesome,

-Chris

Dev Update 4 - Test Stream

Hey there! Chris again.

Many of you have been asking to see the Retroverse in action. Well, now you can! We did a live test of the First Wave Test and it was a blast! You can watch it here!

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/238156948

In other news, we are so close to the Kickstarter. Less than 30 days. I want to thank you for coming on this journey with us and hopefully we can keep walking together in the future.

Stay safe in your brain,

-Chris

Dev Update 3 - Kickstarter

Wouldn't you know it, it's Chris again! We're chugging along with development and reaching the end of the first bit of playable content we want to release to the world. We want to have it finished so that backers can play it as soon as the Kickstarter is funded. Also, the Kickstarter launch date is set of April 10th. We have a newsletter sign up sheet on the main page if you want an e-mail notification.

We have also been doing a few interviews recently that you may want to check out!

With Nerdarchy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfzemE9JFJQ&t=1430s

With Dungeon Dad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFEjFQyQbs0&t=2s

With Sir Lucien: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgPOitf0Ty4

Thanks! See you soon!

Dev Update 2

Hey there! Chris again. We are steaming right along with the development of the test version of the Retroverse project. We've just wrapped up work on a bunch of new spells and are tidying up some of the quest stuff we're providing; so that you can play around in the Retroverse and help test before the final release. We still have a lot of work to do but our Kickstarter will be here before you know it! Thanks for your support and patience!

-Chris

Dev update 1

Hey there!

This is Chris, the lead designer on Lasers & Liches. Just wanted to check in and let you know where we are. We've got the skeleton of our Kickstarter set up. We want to offer you the greatest bang for your buck. To do this we've been doing a lot of research into exactly how to handle shipping and development. The good news is that we are getting very close to having something ready for you to play with! The bad news is that shipping outside of the U.S. is a nightmare. For now we will be limiting our physical books to the U.S. only. However, PDFs can go anywhere! So while we try to get this problem resolved, please feel free to enjoy our eventual PDF release... you know... when we do release it.

Anyway, thanks so much for being patient with us. The test product is nearing completion for the writing and editing phase. Still finishing up art and PDF conversion. Once we have it in a workable state, or at least close, we will begin our Kickstarter.

Thanks so much for your support and inspiration!

-Chris