Best-Laid Plans

Dear Insane Children, 

There’s lots going on behind the scenes these days but I’m prevented by those pesky NDAs from sharing specific details. Still, you know me, I’ll still try to provide you some hints at the sort of progress being made. Why? Because you’re making all of this possible! 

Without our Insane Children, we wouldn’t have the funding for a team a artists, producers, and designers required to bring together the kind of high quality pitch materials needed for this kind of endeavor. Your support and involvement is CRITICAL. I only wish I could give you greater visibility into exactly what’s going on… needless to say, it’s good stuff.

So, while I can’t say WHO this pitch is going to… I can say that we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of schedules and budgets (for pre-production, vertical slice, and main development). The main image (above) shows a resource schedule for Alice: Asylum – a peek into the guts of the sausage. 

Here’s another slide from the new deck we’re working on which illustrates a critical point that I think many of our online critics tend to miss. Merchandise and why it’s important. 

I’m not a huge fan of digital-only-DLC or online-only games. Because you purchase something and it only lasts for as long as that game remains playable or online. We had this experience with some of the online games built by Spicy Horse. And I’m still getting emails from players who put money into those games and are disappointing years later that the games are no longer online. 

For years now (going back to my time at EA between 1996 and 2000) I’ve advocated a Physical Merchandise revenue stream model for games. I was preaching this before we’d ever heard of “DLC” or its inherent issues. 

Anyway, I could go on for hours about the benefits and features of linking physical merch to games. But the point is that this is another feature of the pitch we’re making. And it also explains why I’ve leveraged Patreon and Mysterious to try and prove some of the thinking behind this model. 

My goal here is to avoid a bunch of digital-only DLC stuff. And to make the game successful on its own merits (single-player, narrative driven) plus tangible collectible items (toys, jewelry, art, etc). This isn’t just because it’s fun and we like all those physical goodies – but because we’ve got to give the Bean Counters a viable replacement for the revenue they’d want to create with digital DLC. 

Art, Design, and Story 

Lots of Biz Dev stuff happening – which is a big YAY – but we’re still cranking out pre-production Design Work as well. 

This image from Omri explores a new idea we’re playing around with for the Main Baddies in Alice: Asylum. Remember that in our story we’ve got an Epic Battle going on between Chaos and Order. With the Queen of Hearts on the side of Order. And some Mysterious-something on the side of Chaos. And we’re exploring how to represent Chaos in the world as enemies… 

I am LOVING these concepts Omri put together. And can imagine these in-game with proper procedural generated growth and movement… wow. 

Here are some notes from me: 

        I really prefer what you call “Naturalistic” and really dislike the Crystal  stuff. Crystals are a bit of a joke in the game industry. “Collect the crystal  shards to complete the puzzle,” is a trope so tired it fell asleep while  sleeping. Please, no. No crystals.

The Naturalist  images you share = LOVE. This goes directly to the notion of Young Alice as a  Little Naturalist. Chaos and its representation in Wonderland should be a  natural attraction to Alice’s curious mind. She should want to explore,  dissect, and understand what’s going on with The Chaos. So, yes, more of  that.

Now… keep in mind that The Chaos might be something  that’s able to take over and Transform all the creatures of Wonderland. Like the  Thing in the movie “The Thing” – a creature that copies and mimics its host. Or  perhaps like The Borg? 

Imagine a Card Guard being taken over by  mushrooms, fungus, insect legs, octopus tentacles (there’s  something in that – need to think about the relationship to The Queen of  Hearts), etc.

So… something to explore ASAP would be the  Wonderland creatures and enemies we’d normally fight being overtaken by The  Chaos (in the form of a fractal “mold” or “fungus” that turns them into a new  type of enemy).

Expect more Techo-Tentacles soon!

Oh, and tonight I am meeting with the 3D Artist who we’ll commission to make a High Detail Alice Model (13-year-old Alice from Asylum). If all goes well, I’ll be able to show you that model in about a month. Woo.

PS: A GIANT THANK YOU to Alex for his effort on the Biz Dev Decks being put together these days. He takes all of our ideas and information and condenses everything down to a really sharp and beautiful series of presentations. We are SUPER lucky to have someone like him building these decks for us. 

From Shanghai with Plans, 


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