My desk is at the bottom of a well at the end of a staircase with a thousand steps. And there are vampires down here, too.
It’s ben a while since I’ve blogged about what’s happening with Vampire, you know. Sorry about that. So, in an attempt to rectify the information flow as we’re just under a month outside Atlanta by Night, here’s where some things stand.
After many long months, people are receiving their prestige print copies of the V20 Companion. There’s been some positive feedback and some negative feedback. On the plus side, people are very happy with the look and feel and quality of the book, which is great to hear. In the minus column, especially as they receive the physical copies, people want more substantial books — that is, more page count. We’re fully aware of this and, going forward, every book has both a greater word count and page count than the Companion. The V20 Companion was 40,000 words in length: just a bit longer than the word count of the original clanbooks. The subsequent books in current approval and development (Children of the Revolution and Hunters Hunted 2) are 75,000 words in length, and we still have yet to nail down on the details for Anarchs Unbound (but I can’t imagine AU being shorter than 75,000 words, can you?).
The single greatest expense on the V20 Companion was the printing cost, as you might expect, with its full-color printing, gilt-edged pages, and leather cover. Each of those books cost $41 to print. So, if you ponied up $50 for your copy of the Companion, as per the Kickstarter, $41 of that went to the printer. Another $2-$5 went to shipping. Some amount of the rest rolled into logistics (KS and the pay service, Amazon Payments, takes a cumulative chop of about 7-10 percent of the total amount Kickstarter funding) and other things, like getting me to Atlanta to do the book signings. So there’s some transparency about how that whole process came together. We discuss this a little more in the roundtable call from a while back, if you’d like to have a listen to that.
Children of the Revolution
All of the art for CotR has been approved by CCP, Rich has done the initial layout, and I’ve proofed that first layout. Hereafter, a final, printer-ready proof is coming together, which CCP will approve and we’ll fire off to the printer. That should be the version available to the Kickstarter backers of the prestige print run. It’s come together really well, a spiritual relative of Children of the Inquisition and Kindred Most Wanted, with a full-color layout that’s really sharp. I think it’d be awesome to have these PDFs in your hands… er, inboxes… um, tablets… whatever by Atlanta by Night, but that relies on the pipeline between Rich and CCP. Keep an eye on the Kickstarter updates for the status of that. The Red List update is also in the works, with all of its art complete, I believe, so that extra add-on is shaping up nicely. Here’s an excerpt — check out the background texture, the full-color art, and the bold layout. (Remember also that this is from the first proof, and is subject to change on the graphic design end.)
Click to embiggify.
Hunters Hunted 2
I should complete redlining the outstanding draft over the course of this holiday weekend, as only the Numina chapter remains to be marked up on my end and sent back to the writer. I have many of the other drafts in their final form and ready for development, including the intro, high-concept and setting chapter, tactics chapter, and characters chapter. Final drafts should be a quick cleanup (you can see the shared redline markup of the tactics chapter here) and then off to Rich for art direction. I’m a little behind on putting together the video script for the Kickstarter project, which I should complete soon, and Rich and I will see what sort of prestige offering we can make that enhances the value for the players, since the prestige print runs come at a very high of expense to perceived value ratio. That is, we’ll talk about doing another leather-bound prestige print run, but we’ll also discuss other options that make for a prestige print run that might yield greater satisfaction to cost on the player end. Me, I suggest printing the entire print run on shotgun shell wadding and sending the “prestige print run” as a box of shotgun shells with the book printed inside them. Rich… well, he’s not as supportive of this idea. FINE, IT’S IMPRACTICAL, I GET IT.
I haven’t yet outlined or contracted AU, but I have writers in mind for it. What I’d like to do is sit down at Atlanta by Night in a panel or conference room and nail this down in a real-time feedback session with players and attendees. That is, we’d block out an hour of programming, I’d peck at my laptop and anyone who wanted to could offer real-time input to the outline as we create it and project it onto the conference-room screen. I don’t yet know if this will happen like this (I have a phone conversation scheduled with Ric tomorrow to discuss show details), but I think this would be a great opportunity to work hand-in-hand with players so that they have some proverbial skin in the game. Thereafter, we’d put that outline doc on the internet to solicit wider feedback, like we did with HH2, and then turn the writers loose on it.
So there, in a nutshell, is where Vampire development currently stands. It’s slower than I’d like it to have been, but I have to balance all of this freelance development with my full-time day job, in which I have one project in production and another in pre-production. I’m aiming to have everything back on its original proposed schedule after AU, at which point, we’ll head into our next round of approved proposals, but we’ll talk about those in the future.