Welcome to the CoE Weekly Update for the week of July 25th! This week's update is relatively short as a lot of the fun-stuff we've been working on was shared throughout the week. Honestly, I'm not sure if that's good or bad. In any case, we'll share it again here for those that don't regularly visit the forums or IRC.
Also, I wanted to begin this week's update by sharing a crazy experience that I had mid-week. In truth, it's extremely relevant, and should be obvious why from part of the update. So, earlier this week the team and I decided to go out to lunch with a friend of one of the employees. That's not uncommon, but what was uncommon is about a third of the way through the meal a man at a nearby table called out to me and started providing his insight on the conversation we were having.
He seemed nice enough, so I responded, and the gentleman and I struck up a conversation. We started talking about telecommunications, technology, video games, etc. At some point, the conversation naturally turned toward Chronicles of Elyria. Here is where I did my usual thing of forgetting all about where I was, who I was talking to, or what I was doing, and I began raving about all the game's features, the new business model we're introducing and so much more. I explained why we wanted to use the business model we did, how it benefited our players over existing MMORPG business models, and how we were going to change the industry.
After maybe 45 minutes of this, the conversation began to wind down and I realized that I'd been sitting at a table with my employees for the entire lunchtime, while simultaneously turned aside talking to a gentleman that had now come and sat down next to me so we could have a conversation with shouting. It was around this point that I realized I didn't even know his name, or what his business was. So naturally I asked. I was floored.
While I won't share the information here, what I will say is the gentleman I was talking to has had a distinguished career, including being Vice President for a Fortune 100 company, and had worked side-by-side with some of the greatest minds of our age. He must have known what I had just realized, but instead of making a fuss, he simply offered his business card to me and asked for mine.
He told me, good businessmen are made up of two things: passion, and virtue. Put differently, he explained the most successful men he knew achieved their success due to two things: A love of their product, and a love of their customers. He wanted to know my name because he believed I possessed both, and Soulbound Studios was going to go places.
He was right. While I can't claim to have a monopoly on the idea, what I can say unequivocally, is that I love my game, and I love our players. With that, let's get into the update.
One of the ways we show the players how much we appreciate them is by listening to them. I mean really listening.
Earlier this week we posted the first screenshot of the Ursaphant, which you can see here.
Now, it's not bad, but let's compare it with the two concept pieces we'd shown previously of the Ursaphant.
After a closer look at the concept, it's obvious there's a few discrepancies. One of the things we pride ourselves in is being true to our word. That, to us, includes concept art. Historically, we've been really good about getting our characters, creatures, and environments to look as close as possible to our concept art. But in looking at the Ursaphant it's clear there's some differences.
So when we showed people the Ursaphant earlier this week there was naturally some concern, some voiced opinions, and even some well-constructed feedback. We love it when that happens. When we get constructive feedback it gives us something to work off of. So, with the feedback in hand, I had our character artist revisit the Ursaphant to make a few alterations to bring it closer in line with the original concept art. Here were the modifications that were made.
And shown here is the final result. As you can see, it's much closer to our original concept, and it shows what happens when the players and developers work together.
This week in Production was... productive. First, we made the final arrangements and our new Web/UI Developer begins tomorrow, August 1st. He has a pretty impressive resume and joins us from another MMO company, where he was their Lead Web Developer.
We're extremely excited to have him joining us and look forward to the work he'll be doing on the website, as well as on the game.
Next, we pushed out version 2.0.8 of the website, which included many improvements and bug fixes and makes the mobile version of the website almost usable now. We've just got a couple more hot-fixes and then we'll be re-focusing our attention on features - including the store.
In addition, we've got a new video which we'll be sharing out this week to people who have a Max Influence of 3,500 or higher. The video will be linked from our new exclusive Early Access Forum, which was advertised as a Kickstarter reward at the $350 Tier and above, and grants those with Alpha 1 access exclusive Early Access to game content and footage.
This first video, which has already been shared on IRC with people who came in with 3,500 Influence or higher is nothing special. It's 5 minutes of the character walking around New Haven. The video was originally shot to capture screenshots, and was taken back at the beginning of July when Raevantiel came into the office. However, he was missing animations and the latest binaries so the video wasn't acceptable for broad release.
In spite of that, we're sharing it with our Alpha 1 backers and so far, the feedback has been quite positive. For those that aren't at that 3,500 Max IP Level but want to be, don't worry. Once the store opens you can upgrade your pledge, and the video will still be available in the exclusive Early Access Forum.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, we got our open positions posted up on LinkedIn and have already received emails from several promising candidates. If you'd like to check out our open positions click the links below.
This week we'll be working to get our open positions posted to our own website, as well as several other job websites. Hopefully it won't be long before we've grown to a full team of 25 people.
This was a super productive week in design. Unfortunately, it's too early to talk much about it. This week myself and the other designers have been re-visiting character creation, max-lifetimes, and even marriage. We'll have more information for you in an upcoming update.
Well, that's all for this week. And in an effort to stick to my promise of talking only about what we have been doing, not what we will be doing, I'll avoid telling you what we're working on in the immediate future. However, stay tuned in August as we should have some really good updates coming your way.