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Home Sweet Home

When we founded Warhorse we could watch from the windows of our new offices the demolition of an old factory, which gradually turned into a huge hole in the ground, from which a new building started to emerge. Every day we could follow the erection of this mega office building, in the bowels of which there was also to be a massive concert hall one day. It was surprising how few laborers there were working on the construction. At the time there were only nine of us. There were certainly more of them and we used to joke “Let’s see who gets the job done first – us building our virtual world, or them building a real world edifice!”

We need a big hole first

We need a big hole first


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Got a cloning device?

Another month gone (tempus fugit – it feels more like a week) and it’s once again time for an info update. I’ll begin with practical news – new tiers have been added to our website, so if you want to support us, you can now pledge up to King level and get a beautiful handmade woodblock print, a (real) silver coin, a t-shirt, an action figure and other goodies. King is limited and there are only about 250 pieces left.

We have also launched an official Wiki page in collaboration with IGN.com and information about the game will be gradually added there.

Looking at the crowd of backers with a surprise

Looking at the crowd of backers with a surprise

So now back to telling you about how the development of Deliverance is progressing. Although it looks from the previous blogs that the work is going without a hitch, the time has come to cool down a little and look at all the stuff that is not going so great and that we’re seriously struggling with. Not that I want to make us look like incompetent amateurs and lead you to a state of despair, but I think you will be interested to know about all the things we come up against.

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Back to work!

So another month has passed and here I am to tell you what we’ve been up to. A lot of stuff has happened: we launched our own crowdfunding platform, developed several new game features and finally started designing quests, to name just a few things.

We were inspired also by the largest medieval battle in Libušín

We were inspired also by the largest medieval battle in Libušín

The most important news for us is that we’ve finally launched our own crowdfunding platform. It really took us a long time due to the whole range of various issues that arise when you want to make a complex system that must have no glitches, in view of the fact that it’s about money. The process involved lawyers, negotiations with PayPal and an attempt to use an existing platform, which we later rejected and created our own… Anyway, the outcome is that if you register with the same e-mail that you use on Kickstarter, you will see your existing pledge and you can also raise it. One registration will then do you for access both to the crowdfunding and the forums and it should be possible at any time even for new backers to raise their current pledge.

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What’s next

It’s over a month since our campaign ended and we’ve been keeping a bit quiet. Everyone is probably curious what we’re up to now. So here I am to tell you what our plans are for the upcoming months.

Time to store all those Kickstarter money (GDC Humble Bundle Party was taking place in the San Francisco Old Mint).

Time to store all those Kickstarter money (GDC Humble Bundle Party was taking place in the San Francisco Old Mint).

I’ll start with what we did last month. Following a two-month sprint it was time to start dealing with all the stuff that got sidelined, particularly such personal issues as family and taxes. Obviously it was also necessary to reply to the tons of e-mails that had piled up in the inbox and respond to all the interviews we had no time to respond to during the campaign. Following the success of our campaign our doorbell hasn’t stopped ringing and we’ve had a whole series of visits from various newspapers and magazines (like Forbes, for example), as well as a few fellow developers.

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The Art of Waiting

KC_Deliverance_Wallpaper

Our pitching tour over, we went back to work. A moderately nervous team was waiting there for us. “How did it go? Does anybody want it? Are we going to carry on? Can I take a mortgage? Should I be looking for a new job?” “You know, we’d like to know that, as well! But this, ladies and gentlemen, is the gaming industry, and that means everybody has plenty of time!” Everybody but us, of course.

If you, like our colleagues, were expecting our phones to start ringing off the hook one day after our return, swarming us with promises of millions of dollars, then you were expecting incorrectly. The first call finally came about a week later, and it was from our agents, letting us know who had already passed on our game. Very disheartening.

One of the biggest blows was being turned down by a very promising, international publishing company. Although the U.S.-based wing of the corporation seemed very excited about the project, their European representative let us know that they didn’t think the game would fly with Americans. We’ve faced rejection from other companies, too, of course, but that one was perhaps the most painful.

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WARHORSE WORLDWIDE PITCHING TOUR 2013

Me and an unnamed publisher.

Me and an unnamed publisher.

Last time we left off just at the point when we were embarking on a pitching tour of publishers to try and push our game on them. So it’s obvious what’s coming this time. Yes, you are about to find out what was conjured up at those mysterious meetings with the people who decide what games you get to play. Will ours be one of them?
We were fairly well prepared for the trip – I would say even well above standard. We had a working version of the game that looked good and contained a half-hour quest with all the basic game mechanics fully functioning, a several minutes long trailer, lots of screenshots, a presentation and a nice flyer on luxurious paper – all data recorded on flash disks shaped like gold bars and packed in leather cases. You’ve got to make an impression, and when I compare it to how we pitched other games in the past, this is a whole other league (you can read about the preparation of these materials in our previous blogs hereand here).

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VIDEO AND CABIN FEVER

An image from our storyboard, this one was not drawn by me

An image from our storyboard, this one was not drawn by me

A strict deadline for all things to come together invariably leads to “funny” situations. You may for example have fully functional pathfinding and a completely operational crafting minigame and when combined into a single whole, both will stop working for some unfathomable reason. The likeness of that happening increases with the number of systems that are being joined together, as a result, when everything is merged, nothing works.

It goes without saying that the bar goes up as well. You stop overlooking “tiny” glitches like clipping (graphics that vanish when they get too close to camera) in combat. It didn’t bother anybody so far, everyone was happy that it’s possible to fight at all and we saw superficial stuff, like two weapons intersecting each other, as something to be fixed later. But when you show the game to somebody, the clipping and the weapons intersecting each other are the first things they’re going to notice in combat. It doesn’t matter that no other game ever had combat like this: it flickers and looks unfinished, so it must be rubbish.

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POWERPOINT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

A fetching slide from our presentation

A fetching slide from our presentation

In the last entry I covered our overall strategy and how we started to get ready for pitching the game to publishers, I talked mostly about the game demo. But there is more to a pitch than just a playable demo, it includes various documents, screenshots, artworks and most importantly a PowerPoint presentation that summarizes everything in a nice and accessible way and which may be the most important thing of all. We are going to discuss the video next time, today, I am going to submit for your reading pleasure an essay on working the PowerPoint. It’s gonna be exciting!

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