It’s been a heartwarming 14 hours or so, and I have to start by saying thank you to all the kind and supportive emails and comments I’ve been getting. I had been dreading today for the past week or so, as we worked up the details and I scrambled around to find some silver lining to our dark clouds. Turns out, I should have come to you all sooner in my search for support.
Which brings me to the first question I’ve been asked by both backers and media: why are we just hearing about this now? That is the fairest of questions, and I should have addressed it in my post yesterday. You’re only hearing about it now because I was scared to bring you bad news. I kept hoping things would work out, that we would find our way through to launch a beta this month and move forward from there towards release. I wasn’t really certain that wasn’t possible until close to the last minute, when everything failed to come together.
I should have been more forthcoming and regular with updates, but not sharing bad news was too easy and too much of a temptation for me. In retrospect, I and you and the game would have been much better served if I’d set up a strictly scheduled, regular update regimen. However we end up moving forward, that will be part of things from now on.
I mentioned that we’ve spent all the money. That’s not strictly true, but as far as hiring new programmers to work for a regular salary, it is. We actually have a fair amount in the bank, but most of that is about to be sent to the IRS as part of payroll taxes. I also still need to pay for sound and have money set aside for licensing fees for FMOD once the game releases. We met our goal back in the beginning of July, raising $28,000, of which we got to keep about $25K after Kickstarter and Amazon Payments fees. With the addition of Josh in August, our burn rate went to about $1900 per week for salaries for Jonathan, Austin, and Josh. Eleven weeks of that cost a little over $20,000, plus another $1200 or so for printing and shipping t-shirts.
I’ve had a lot of interested emails from programmers offering their help. Thank you all very much! There’s a lot to sift through and I’m not sure what the best way to proceed will be, but I am very encouraged by these offers and want to try and figure out the best way to take advantage of this opportunity. I’ve reached out to a good friend of mine who’s an expert in collaborative open source development, and he and I will talk soon. I also want to discuss this exciting development with Blue Mammoth and get their take on it.
A lot of you have mentioned that we should open source everything if worse comes to worse. In fact, the code is already open, but if we cannot pull together to make this a retail product, we will absolutely fully open source everything, content and code and turn it over to the community. Actually, at some point we’d like to do that no matter what, even after a retail release (however many years later, when it makes fiscal sense). But right now the code is under the same modified BSD license as the Go programming language and the contents are all Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Share-Alike.
Some of you have noticed that the caricatures for the high-level donors are in the game. Other of you have gotten your t-shirts. Austin has been driving hard to finish game content these last weeks, so he hasn’t had time to polish up and package the physical caricatures and the t-shirts for our highest-level donors. He’s on that now, and we should be shipping them out next week.
I’m doing an interview with a blogger from Forbes this afternoon, and I’m sure he’ll have some more tough questions for me, so look for that sometime soon. I’ll also be doing a chat with Bill Abner from No High Scores, who has run some successful Kickstarters of his own, so hopefully they will help keep me in line and ask the questions I’m not thinking of.
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