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Time Keeps On Slipping, Slipping, Slipping into the Future!

Okay, Pathfinder Online fans, we are well and truly down to the wire.

The clock on the wall says 4 days left until we're scheduled to complete the Technology Demo. So far we appear to be tracking pretty close to that deadline!

Here's what's going to be happening in the near future:

  • The Goblinworks team will present the Technology Demo to the Paizo team next week. We'll go over the gameplay and the graphics. If everyone is happy, Paizo will officially approve the Technology Demo and we'll have completed our Kickstarter project!
  • We will take the completed and approved Technology Demo into our video editing suite, where we'll create vignettes taken directly from the client to show off features of the demo for the long-form video that will be available exclusively to Kickstarter backers who pledged $5 or more. We anticipate that it will take 2 to 3 weeks to complete the long-form video, which means backers will be able to see it around the middle of October.
  • We'll also be working on a shorter video that will be shown to the public as a way to highlight the success of the Kickstarter project and to build awareness for Pathfinder Online and Goblnworks. That shorter video will be developed after we finish the longer presentation for Kickstarter backers.
  • Paizo is due to complete the Thornkeep book before the end of September as well. They'll present it to Goblinworks for our approval, and then send it to the printer. Kickstarter backers who pledged at least $15 will be given access to the Thornkeep PDF in late October, and backers who pledged at least $30 will also be given access to PDFs of the Thornkeep Dungeons Flip-Mats. Printing and shipping the physical book will take a few months; we currently expect to release the print edition in January. Because we need to ship all the physical rewards to each backer at the same time, that means that the posters, Flip-Mats, T-shirts, founder certificates and challenge coins, executive founder plaques, messenger bags, and e-gadget portfolios will all be shipped in January as well.
  • Paizo has finished the design for the Goblin Squad T-shirt, with art by Andrew Hou. Here's a preview:
  • The Paizo team has been working on a fulfillment tool for our Kickstarter backers. This is how they'll do things like add Goblin Squad icons to messageboard accounts, and deliver Thornkeep books, PDFs, and other rewards. We expect to launch that within the next week or so; we'll email all backers as well as issue a Kickstarter update to get the word out when it is ready.

The Leader of the (Art) Pack

We're incredibly pleased to announce that Mike Hines has joined as as our Art Director. Mike's background includes managing the Atlas project at Epic China's Titan studio in Seattle, building a middleware layer for MMOs using the Unreal Engine. (No, speculators, we're not using Atlas, or Unreal).

Mike brings a unique perspective to the team, having managed engineers and artists as well as working extensively with Epic China's Shanghai offices during his time working on Titan. Mike will join Lead Designer Lee Hammock and CTO Mark Kalmes as the trio primarily responsible for implementing the vision of Pathfinder Online.

Arrivals and Departures

We're also very pleased to announce that Lee will be joined on the game design team by Stephen Cheney, who worked with Lee on Fallen Earth at Icarus Studios. Stephen is in the process of relocating and will be on site at Goblinworks HQ early in October, but he has been working remotely with Lee on combat system design for the past week, not letting any time go to waste.

We're sad to announce that concept artist Kieran Yanner has decided to move on. He's a great talent and we'll miss his contribution to the art of Pathfinder Online.

As we reach the end of the Technology Demo period, and we have our key leads in place, we're looking forward to expanding our hiring pipeline. If you have already submitted a resume to our career site, we thank you, and we're going to be setting up screening calls with many of you in the next month or two. And if you want to join the team here at Goblinworks, the best way to get started is to find a position you'd like to apply for and send us your cv on our career site.

We Need Your Help

We are busy planning the next steps after the end of the Technology Demo. As a part of that, we're building a roadmap that takes us through the point where the first paying players are invited to join the game.

As we've said before, we're going to be opening the game to paying players in a nontraditional manner, gating the number of new players into the game at less than 5,000 a month for most of the first year.

The players in the game during that period are going to be engaged in something that's a lot more than just a "beta test," so we don't really want to call that period a "beta." Beta-testing MMOs is often a synonym for stress-testing—a way to test the balance of various mechanics, or a dress rehearsal for launch.

When we go live, we'll be taking players into a really exciting phase of the game's development. Because we're making a sandbox game, not a theme park, we don't have to (and don't want to) have the game fully developed when players enter the world of Pathfinder Online. Instead, our goal is to open with a very carefully implemented set of basic features, and then iterate continuously to add new features and refine existing features based strongly on player feedback. The people playing the game at launch will essentially be helping us co-develop the game, and especially in that first year, the efforts of the Goblinworks team will be strongly influenced by the insights we're getting from the players.

We'd like your help in naming this kind of release. What shall we call it so that people who hear about it are intrigued enough to seek out more info? We'd like the name to avoid confusion with folks who may be more familiar with traditional "beta testing."

We're open to any and all suggestions—please post them in the discussion thread for this blog post in the Pathfinder Online forum. If we use your suggestion (or you give us insight that leads us to the final term) we'll welcome you to the Goblin Squad as a reward!

The next dev blog will be in the post–Tech Demo world, and we can't wait to get there. See you on the other side!

Discuss this blog on paizo.com.