Sure, we've had over 5 years of pre-production, testing and knowledge called my work on Firefall. That part is done. I know what needs to be done. And a sad but true fact of modern crowdsourcing is that nobody funds a game on grey boxes moving around anymore. That ship has sailed.
But again, all the research is done. We know what was fun and worked, and what didn't. I spend 5 years figuring that out and see no need to go through it again. I am bee-lining towards the culmination of all this prototyping and see no need to start from scratch again and lurge from system change to sytem change.
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As we put together the next round of funding, we will be reaching out to many more ex-Firefall players and new faces. We'd like to use some testimonials. If you have one you'd like to share and will let us use, please post it here. Short and sweet pls!
A testimonial is a short quote by a customer/backer, who wants to leave a positive comment about the project that we can use in marketing.Last edited: Jun 11, 2017
A new chance to back Em-8ER’s milestone crowdfunding will be announced and go live next week. Check your e-mails, our forums or our website for the exact time next week. In the meantime, we have lots of updates!
We’re happy to announce that we’ve completed the milestone for our previous fundraiser. To recap, here is what we delivered:
1) THMPR art demo - The THMPR lives! We originally promised a THMPR moving around on a whitebox test level using the Unreal Engine. We blew through this goal by adding a half square kilometer of frozen terrain with the latest in procedural texturing and real-time tessellation techniques. On top of that we had Firefall’s composer, Michael Bross, contribute some great music to the demo. Sprinkle in some bonus weather effects and fantastic landing, walking and drilling animations, and we have a art demo that is both beautiful and promising of what’s to come.
2) Design Vision Book - The book, both digital and print, turned out beautifully. 20 full color pages (24 counting covers) of detailed information about invasions, the aliens, game lore, crafting and resource systems, omniframe system, and base building clearly define the direction of the game. In my past experience this is the most complete and best “pitch-book” we’ve ever made for publishers or prospective gamers. This should go a long way to explaining how Em-8ER will feel and play.
3) 3D printed THMPR busts. These prints are highly detailed, with many overlapping layers and “undercuts” that made printing them a challenge. We created “model kits” by re-sculpting parts in zBrush, then output them in parts and assembled them. We also created bases for them as a bonus, made from copper and stained wood. The process takes almost a day for each THMPR, not including painting times for the highest tier backers.
These rewards are in the process of shipping out to backers. We can’t thank you enough for your support and help during this past milestone.
WHAT’S NEXT - NEW FUNDRAISER
With the past milestone done, our new milestone fundraiser will be unveiled next week! This milestone will focus on the human characters, both male and female models, their “geesuits,” basic animations, and a gun for the Omniframe so we can have basic shooting mechanics.
New backers will gain immediate access to the current THMPR art demo and the design PDF at eligible levels. Since our mailing list has grown from 1500 to 8300 members, we anticipate a lot of newcomers who haven’t had the chance to back Em-8ER before or see our current progress!
All these milestones (we anticipate 3 more or so), will combine to create the ultimate playable mockup of the game. The mockup will include a sample THMPR encounter with attacking Tsi-Hu shapeshifting aliens, gliding and jetting Omniframes with basic abilities, and a frenzy of sample ranged and melee combat. This demo will be used to promote our eventual Kickstarter and future funding of the game.
Finally, JoeSolo continues his work on the Omniframe by modeling the legs and streaming it live. Join us this Sunday from 6PM-8PM PDT to watch Joe work his modeling magic on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSieVxJhO1EbiRVn3XfYerA
Looking back we’ve learned a lot about how long things take with a part time team. It took a long time to build the THMPR model to AAA standards, longer than we would have liked. But given only one part-time modeler doing everything from high-poly to low poly and materials, we were able to still deliver a stunning result.
Lacking an animator and a rigger (someone who prepares models for animation) also added time and cost. We did not budget for this originally, and finding someone to take on this task was a challenge. In the end we found a AAA animator who worked on Gears of War 4 ready to help out and we got some fantastic animations into our demo.
Physical goods also consumed a lot of time. Each THMPR 3D print took nearly 19 hours to print, clean and assemble (57 models made). Booklets also took a long time to write, layout, proof (thank you community!) and print. Add shipping times for 1 person packing everything and filling out 80 customs forms and you have a lot to do!
Taking all the lessons we’ve learned, we’ve taken steps to speed up the process:
1) More hours - More of us are putting in more hours (away from our day jobs, I myself am full-time on Em-8ER). This increases the cost, but we feel momentum is more important to building support behind the project.
2) More staff - We’ve added a second modeler to the team, and I will be doing some of the modeling duties for props in world and the gun. We’ve already addressed the animation issue by adding 2 devs to our animation team and built those costs into the budget.
3) No physical goods - Building and shipping physical goods takes time away from development. In some cases, quite a bit of time. Focusing on awesome, yummy, virtual rewards will free up over a man-month or two of production time that can be used on the game itself.
4) Staggered milestones - While we are working on one milestone, we partially spin up the next one, even before funding it. We take the risk (of the next milestone not funding) so that we can speed up delivery of each milestone. The new fundraiser for the player characters is our first foray into this process. The humans are already more than 50% complete, so a 4 month process will seem to only take 2 months to backers.
5) Pure gumption! - We are super excited about the project, seeing the THMPR run around, drill and laugh over the frozen landscape of Em-8ER is a huge boost to both developer and community morale. We are sure that Em-8ER is a THING and that we are headed in the right direction. The design vision book also clarified and focused our scope to an achievable goal.
With your help, Em-8ER has grown from a single piece of concept art to a Unreal engine art demo of a living, breathing, drilling THMPR MEK/A, a gorgeous design doc, and a community of over 8000 members.
With two successful milestones behind us, we look forward to the the next! See you in Em-8ER!Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
In the lore drop we learned about humanities initial contact with these dangerous and enigmatic enemies. Very little has been brought to light about them so far, but we do know they that call themselves the Tsihu. However the reaper teams that endure their constant attacks have a more colorful name for them. That name is....up to you!
Greetings fellow Reapers,
Welcome back to the glorious conclusion of our first community contest. The Alien Naming contest. Where your submissions and your votes decide what will be the official nick-name that the reaper teams call the Tsi-hu.
How did this contest work?
Round one was when the community submitted ideas for the name. We received over two hundred submissions. Round two was when community votes narrowed that number down to the thirty most popular names. Round three was when the community votes will narrowed the number down again to only ten finalists. From those ten, Grummz Himself has selected his favorite.
The top ten finalists are-
Blinkers - from Tominakc
Grievers - from MattHunX
Jumpers - from Nubilus
Morphers - from Fooni
Phasers - from t3hsquirr3l
Shapers - from Estender
Shifters - from Astro
Splicers - from Daynen
Voiders - from RaZoR
Warpers - from Quepieces
Note: In the event that two people suggested the same name the prize goes to whoever suggested it first.
Now, without further ado, here is the man himself to announce the grand prize winner!
" The amount of fan support for the game is what drives me to create it. Seeing so many great names has been inspiring, not to mention helpful. I'm very happy with the slang name "Shifters" for the Tsi-Hu. I think it reflects both their ability to shift through time as well as alter their form. Well done! "
Let's here it for Shifters and the Top ten!
The prizes for the winners!
The creators of the names that made it into the top ten will receive 8x10 signed color glossies of the new thumper vs Kaiju poster and 8x10 of the omniframe, thumper and Tsi-hu.
The creator of the name that Grummz selected at the end has won the grand prize. A 36x24 thumper vs Kaiju poster, and the Gatestrider reward level from the last campaign. If they already have it, they can gift it.
It's this big beautiful poster!
It's been a ride Reapers, but there is little time to rest. A new kind of contest is coming very soon.