January Update

Hi Backers!

We’ve had a pretty incredible start to the year. Ice-Bound‘s been honored with nominations at two prestigious indie game events: the Independent Games Festival at GDC, with a nomination for “Excellence in Narrative” (and an Honorable Mention for the Nuovo Award, to boot), as well as the South by Southwest “Gamer’s Voice” award. In both cases, we share a nomination with some pretty incredible games. We’re amazed at the love, and looking forward to attending both events!

And we’re not the only ones getting recognition– our composer, N.J. Apostol, made Indie Game Reviewer’s Top 10 Indie Game Music Soundtracks of 2014 list (at #4!) for his work on last year’s adventure-puzzler Ether One. (Congrats, NJ!)

Work continues on two major fronts right now: putting the finishing touches on the Early Explorer for PC version of the game, and finalizing the pages of the Ice-Bound Compendium before we deliver them to our printer. A few days ago we printed out all the pages at 1/2 size, spread them over a table, and discussed the arrangement, the thematic tagging, and what should fill the last few pages to be designed. Assembling the Compendium is a more delicate operation than it might appear: since the book pages drive the game’s story, the two parts of Ice-Boundhave to stay roughly in sync. One of several positive results of our tabletop exercise was realizing there are a few thematic threads on the digital side that don’t yet have enough analog pages referencing them, which hampers players’ ability to bring those elements into their own versions of the story.

Also, Jacob thinks the mini-Compendium is absolutely adorable. No, stop! Too late to make new backer rewards!

The only bad news is that we’ve had to push our schedule back by about six weeks. There are three major reasons for this:

* The PC port continues to take more time than we’d budgeted for. It’s one of those things where the last 10% is taking 90% of the time: something that works on one setup will crash the webcam on another machine, or not reliably pass information back and forth between the interactive narrative and AR parts of the app on another. There are also more extensive UI changes than we’d anticipated to handle the context change from “camera as window” on the iPad, to “camera as mirror” on the desktop. It’s been a long and sometimes frustrating process, and we’ve been “almost there” for a while now, but the experience is still not quite solid enough for us to sign off on. But we’re getting there! Early Explorers, please bear with us for another few weeks…

* The festival nominations (while amazing) necessitate a week of our time each, for travel and exhibition, assembling the requested press materials, preparing a demo build appropriate for a show floor, and so on. That’s two fewer weeks between now and release to actually work on the game itself.

* Rather than rushing the printed Compendium into production, we’ve decided to take our time to make sure every page is exactly how we want it first. Nothing like getting ready to pull the trigger on printing a couple thousand books to make you double-check everything…

So our revised plan is now for the game and books to come out in early June. We’ll keep you posted with our latest info once we get that more locked down. And in the next month or so, we’ll start contacting our Author Explorers to chat with you about the collaborative parts of your backer reward (which after six weeks of code slogging, we’re really looking forward to!)

Hope your 2015’s off to a great start. Stay warm and keep in touch!

–Aaron and Jacob