The Virtues of Straw Houses

When I first invited you to become Patrons it was to support a series of game and video creations produced largely while bobbing around SE Asia on my sailboat. That was the plan back in July of 2016. Since then lots has happened. I traveled, sailed, shut down the Shanghai Spicy Horse studio, got engaged, encountered personal disaster, traveled and sailed some more… 

Along the way I’ve continued to examine the “what & where” of my creative output. In June I started work on and eventually launched a Kickstarter to fund “Out of the Woods.” That campaign successfully funded on August 18th. 

These days I’m laying out plans for the next 12 months. And I want to share those plans with you: 

The idea of sailing full-time has been abandoned (for now) but I continue to create videos and new projects. I’ve been doing weekly live streams on YouTube and have seen seen my channel grow significantly (at nearly 9k subscribers as I write this). I’m really enjoying the audience interaction and feedback. I plan to continue using live streams as a way of interacting with my audience and sharing development progress. 

I’ll deliver “Out of the Woods” in early 2018. Assuming that’s well received I’ll launch another campaign for “Out of the Woods II” shortly after. My hope is to create a series of books and card games – each containing ten classic tales – and develop one or two of these projects per year. 

Alice: Asylum” needs to be pitched to EA. If they like what they see and will allow crowdfunding then I’ll work towards launching a campaign for that around October of 2018. I’ve started working with artists for the initial batch of illustrations we’ll need. And I’m writing with RJ Berg the narrative and design outline needed for that pitch. 

To support this new approach I’ve switched the Patreon funding setup to “monthly recurring” as opposed to per-video/game. As Patrons you know that in the past I rarely hit the “charge Patrons” buttons on the videos I uploaded. In large part because I wasn’t really sure what that funding was going towards – though your support was much appreciated!

Now, with serious money going towards the art and design work on “Alice: Asylum” I know exactly where to spend the funding you supply and really need that funding more than ever. For example, a single illustration costs between $750USD and $1200USD. For “Out of the Woods” I spent nearly 30kUSD on art, setup, marketing, and labor before the campaign completed. It was a big risk and a big investment but it proved I could independently manage and successfully fund a large-scale project. 

Upfront costs on “Alice: Asylum” before the concept is pitched to EA will likely approach 10kUSD. If they approve the plan (and I feel pretty confident they will) I’ll need to continue spending towards the creation of a crowd funding campaign for that project.

So here we are… 

A year ago I thought I’d become a full-time sea pirate. I had no thoughts in my head regarding a new Alice game. And I’d not yet encountered the chaos which inspired me to create “Out of the Woods.” I was living in a “straw house” and saw it blown to bits. That’s life. Things change. Nothing’s permanent. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I’m doing my best to take knowledge and inspiration from the chaos. 

With your help I’ll build a new house. The foundation is already in place. And the plan you see above is pretty solid. 

What’s in this for you? Going forward you can expect to see your names in the credits on the live streams, to get sneak peaks at art and design ideas on OOTW and Alice: Asylum, and … more? What else would YOU like to see? How do you think Patrons can best be engaged and rewarded around these goals? 

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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