There are a few news items to share, but the one that everyone wants to see is not going to be one of them; that being the launch of sales of Secret Letter. I once again tried to push everything to get the first game out next month and that may still happen, but the window is closing. February or March may be more realistic. We are getting very close. Here’s a summary of tasks for Secret Letter:
- Produce final artwork including book image, major art, spot art, and character art.
- Complete user interface including new paging functionality, hints, help, compass rose, and map.
- Complete game testing.
- Complete market testing.
- Update website for secure access and sales.
- Develop short-term marketing campaign.
- Send out review copies.
- Setup physical distribution processes.
In other news, we’ve been testing the user interface with various volunteers and will be opening the test environment up to more people in the coming weeks. If anyone is interested in casual play-testing (for free), please send me an e-mail. I plan to open up a secure environment where people can play Jack Toresal and The Secret Letter and Shadow in the Cathedral online via the Silverlight browser plug-in. A signed NDA will be required and will be built into the website.
We’ve started publishing free content from existing games. Eric Eve’s Nightfall game is currently available from the Textfyre website and Jeremy Freese’s Violet is coming soon. If any authors of highly rated games, regardless of content, are interested in adapting their games to the Textfyre book metaphor user interface, let me know. There will be other metaphors in the future.
We have acquired the services of the illustrator Goñi Montes. You can view his regular artwork at GoniArt. Goñi is working on a few major art pieces for the opening scene in Secret Letter and will be adding major and spot art over time. Goñi is working closely with our art director Will Capellaro to raise the visual quality of our games.
We have started to actively seek permission to test in one or two school districts. We’re focusing on northeastern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin, but would work with any middle school in the country.
We have yet to make contact with J.J. Abrams, but we’re hopeful we can get a proposal in front of him soon.
I’m negotiating with a developer to begin creating a Textfyre UI for the iPhone.
I had thought to open a pre-sale web page for Secret Letter and Shadow. The idea was that the IF Community could pre-purchase the games and we could use those funds as pre-launch funding. It’s unclear how much traction we would get with a pre-sale and so it remains on the back-burner.
So 2008 has come to a close. It’s a struggle to start a business without funding and without an obvious market, but we’re making progress at every turn. The recent economic issues are probably not going to help us, but I don’t think they will directly prevent us from succeeding either. It just narrows our options for funding, which means we won’t have access to credit, something I have a dubious view of in any case.
So here’s to the new year and the future launch of Textfyre games!