We arrived home a few days ago to discover a package from halfway around the world with the first two proofs for the Ice-Bound Compendium!
The first item inside is something called an “ozalid,” a bulky book of hand-folded page sheets, printed in a very light draft quality, but with interior pages cropped the way the final book will be.
The quality of the printing is very rough (you can’t really tell from these pictures, other than the image looking a bit washed out) but the point of this proof is to verify the page order, and that the cropping isn’t cutting off anything it shouldn’t or exposing areas without the proper page bleed. We paged through this very carefully: so far, so good!
The second proof is weirder…
Printing error? Nope– the point of this curious artifact is to verify the page stock and book binding is to our satisfaction. This is the actual paper, at the correct dimensions, with the same number of pages and cover stock as our final book. So we now know the exact heft the final Compendium will feel like held in our hands! (More importantly, the book lays flat, which will help when showing pages especially for the iPad version of the game, and the page stock looks appropriately non-reflective, which will also help the camera recognize its images.)
We’re expecting one final set of proofs– the “wet proof,” which will be big uncut sheets printed with the actual ink and process of the final book, that we’ll use to verify the color and ink looks the way we want. Once we’ve signed off on that, the printer will be ready to do the job, and print 2,000 copies of our book (!!)
We’ve made some great progress on the game in the last few weeks:
- Some of the final code structures, for balancing pacing of plot point revelations across a playthrough, are now in place. This was tricky because we want the player to be able to uncover certain revelations at their own pace, but we also want the story to push itself along if the player’s gone too long without discovering anything major. The infrastructure for this is now in place, although it will almost certainly require tuning once we enter beta.
- We’ve signed off on drafts of a couple more levels, leaving only the last few chapters to wrangle into place. We’re pretty happy with how these are turning out…
- All told, we’re a few weeks away from having a completely playable version of the entire game, from beginning to end. A lot of the text still needs revision, and there are many known (and assuredly many unknown) bugs to catch and fix, but this is an exciting step.
- The final level, which has significant (spoilery!) special-case visuals and code, is getting closer to completion: it now functions the way we want, and is close to looking visually how we want.
- We’ve also collected a lot of great input from Kickstarter backers at the “Author Explorer” and “Legendary Author Explorer” levels, whose rewards included a chance to contribute some story content. (If you pledged at one of these levels and haven’t heard from us about this, please let us know!)
- We had a great time being part of the online-only Indie Revolution Expo last month, and apparently they enjoyed our company, too: they gave us an award for “Most Innovative Mechanic!” (Thanks, IRX!)
- We’ve forgotten to mention this here, but Aaron’s other game came out earlier this year: Hollywood Visionary, a “choose your own adventure” style game from Choice of Games. This was largely written the summer before our Ice-Bound Kickstarter, and polished up and completed in the early months of the year. It’s about as different from Ice-Bound on some levels as you could imagine, but if you’re interested in more interactive text from Aaron, check it out: you can play the first part free online, or get the whole game from the Steam, Apple, Android, Kindle, or Chrome web stores.
All right, time to get back to work. Thanks for reading and take care!