2015, 2016 : Out with the Old, In with the New

AAB Here. A year or so ago, I wrote that I had been asked to take on some more direct control of the company. It was 256’s turn for a break. I had just had some pat leave before that, so fair is fair.

Anyway, at the time I set some clear goals for 2015. I shared some of those with you at the time. We had to grow income. We had to create a new flagship game. Then promote it, and crosspromote the portfolio. We had to maintain existing games, and improve them if possible. We had to test out new technologies, new approaches, new theories. We had to grow the team. We had to move offices. We had to pay for all of this.

I put a plan into place. It was aggressive but attainable.

Income > Financially we hit our year goals within 5 months. Much of that was due to winning competitive government supports. These are kind of like VC investments, but with different goals than only maxing profit. We gained $135,000 for building World War Mobile and  $500,000 for building Star Pirates : Infinity (SPI). We also had others including Export Fund for travel, hiring supports, and more. Players will never see the results of this as directly as a new feature; but new features would not exist without these. We are very grateful for the trust the organisations have shown in us. We will ensure we deliver well. The net result of this is we can pay our bills until at least end of 2016, even with a much expanded team.

World War Mobile > We soft launched World War Mobile in the fall of 2015. The game worked, and hit all the criteria that government asked of us. We could see the game was ok, but we could do better. Plus the world was changing too. We had started the game in 2014, and a new type of Mobile JRPG was hitting the market. So we pulled WWM, and adapted.

Wasteland Heroes : Boss War > We’re really excited about this. This is what WWM evolved into — a Mobile Platformer JRPG. It will soft launch Feb 2nd, 2016 in Canada on Android. It’ll roll out to other locations, and other platforms. At that time, we’ll start sharing game play visuals, and even a form of preregistration. We may even ask some of the existing Mods to pretest in late Jan. From what we can see, WH will be a new flagship game. At least that is the plan. We have the funds to promote it right, although we may make a deal with someone for that as well. It depends on initial response. We’ll know soon enough.

Tentative Rollout Roadmap of Wasteland Heroes: We had committed to a rollout roadmap by Jan 5th. Surprise here it is already. Further Android rollouts are likely Australia, NZ week of Feb 19th, and in March UK, USA, and remainder of majority native English speaking locales. iOS rollout is contingent on a bug free version of the Game on Android — Apple’s 2 week delays for updates mean we cannot advance before we can trust a build 100%.  We, again, apologize their problems become your problems. Localisation into other languages for Android will occur in parallel with the iOS dev. All of this, of course, assumes Wasteland Heroes is moderately successful. Times will change if it performs better or worse, or if we get some additional funding.

Star Pirates : Infinity > Production has already started on this Card Collecting Game based in the Star Crash Universe. It will roll out as a Beta in 2016, and continue to develop. It has some really neat game tech that we’re not discussing yet, but it really adds to the fun.

There are other plans for new games, and furthering existing projects, but that depends upon how these games do, and hearing back about additional government supports – we’ll know more in late January.

 

Existing Games > So what about the existing games? With a growing team led by Christian Latour, most are getting support and some get good love! Read more here: http://www.shgstudios.com/were-growing-again/
The exception is Guts and Glory. GnG was a stepping stone on the path to Wasteland Heroes. While we thank you for your support, GnG simply didn’t take. So GnG will likely be officially sunset soon.  That means it will now officially be no longer supported with new development, but still be live for the foreseeable near future. Those who spent in the 3 months leading up to sunset will get some additional benefit from SHG, likely in Wasteland Heroes. We don’t have to do this but we try hard to be moral, and respect those who support us.

New Things > We tried out a lot of new things this year. I think we should ask Tom Brown, our Tech Lead for WH to write that up one day. We also rebranded as SHG Studios. That’s been a good move. Oh and we got some press, and won some awards. Small Business of the Year for Hamilton, and the 1Awards. Both very cool signs of a well run business. And super exciting for us!

Bigger Better Team & Office > Our team has doubled in size this year, including adding Bret Measor as SHG Production Manager. We may stay this level, we may grow, we may shrink. We’ll know in the next month or two. We’re at 16 people for now including contractors (really!). Growing past 20 people changes company culture dramatically; so if we do that, we’d have to reorganise into clearer functional groups. It may be better to have a strong core team, and contractors. We will see. Oh and we moved to twice the space in Feb 2015, then held a kickass party in April 2015. We’ll do another one this year, at about the same time. Bigger and Better. We just got new furniture, a gaming couch, and will look to add decoration and cool stuff in the new year.

What does 2016 hold? Well I’m certainly not the company lead anymore. That ended spring of 2015. But we have a really awesome management team, with efficient cross communication. I’m super happy with those hires, and how it’s come together. The owners/admins are not the day to day leads of everything anymore. We expect that trend to continue as we grow into other spaces. We do need to solidify the Art Director position for new (existing?) games. Maybe a Stats/Live Ops person. Pay our team more, we hope. Always more team members in all spots are welcome if the budget allows.

I think we have clear plans for a lot of things for 2016 already. Having the money to know we’ll pay staff is huge. It does mean we’re committed to some things over others, but that’s cool. These are good and important projects. As for our plans, we’ll know better in Feb after hearing back from the funding applications, and WH’s level of success.

2015 was our best year yet. The company grew in great ways; so did I personally. 2016 looks to be awesome as well.

Happy Saturnalia, Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years and whatever other holidays you may hold dear.
AAB – Colin Ferguson, Dec, 2015

Toaster Hunt

Pirates! There be a treasure, rare and mythical, that ranks among the greatest in the Galaxy. Few echo its words, and those that do speak with reverence and hushed tones. Be warned, this treasure has made it’s way to our corner of the galactic community. It is, none other than… Space Toast. 😮 (<—shocked face)

What is the Toaster Hunt?

As the metaphorical dust settles after an invasion only one pirate finds the Mythical Toaster that the invaders left behind. Other pirates may steal or otherwise find this toaster by attacking the player who currently has it.

If you have the toaster:
– Stay out of the shipyard! If you are in the shipyard you will drop the toaster and a random online player (who is not in the shipyard, lost, in ascension, or frozen) will pick it up.
– Move around! If someone attacks you and wins they get the toaster instantly. If they attack you and lose they can still knock it loose and you will drop it! It will then be picked up by a random online pirate
– Use cloak + SSC! If you are hard to hit you may be able to hold on to the toaster for longer. It also makes it slightly harder to pin down your location
– Do not use a Letter of Marque, as it offers no protection to you from attacks
– Do not Ascend. Choosing to ascend makes you instantly drop the toaster, and it gets picked up by a random online player.
– You are not immune. Normal attacking immunity does not apply if you are currently holding the toaster

If you do not have the toaster:
– Use the “Hunt” hints to track your prey. These appear in the same location as invasion notices
– Attack the person who has the toaster even if you are too weak to win, if you manage to dislodge it (50% chance) it still counts as a find/claim for you. There is a prize for doing this! Also you help to diminish their chance of winning.
– Stay out of the shipyard! If the toaster is dropped you can find it if you are online but not if you are in the shipyard, lost, in ascension or frozen. Remember chatting alone does not count for activity
– Use cloak+SSC! If you attack the person who has the toaster and win their event log will tell them who took it from them. They can instantly attack you and take it back. But if you are cloaked this can help to cover your tracks.
– Check player profiles! You may see a hint to indicate that they have the toaster.

In the end the pirate who has the toaster will win a prize. There are equivalent prizes for finding the toaster the most, and holding the toaster the longest. One pirate can win multiple (or all of the) prizes. The prize is 1,000,000 in item credits for your Save for Ship fund, unless you have the best ship in which case you receive it to your Galactic Credit account.

 

 

3 Month SHG Update

So what has SHG done over the past 3 months?

A lot. As always, a lot.

www.baneworld.com is being migrated to the larger NEaB community. That means lots of more quests, content, and players to infuse the game.  If things go well, in 3 months it’ll be fully run by the NEaBS admin team.

As for our more popular StarPirates.net and SpyBattle.com, our Gem over that time is:
* Mission Control – see post here.  Players get to “live” the stories of their cohorts.  How cool.

It’s live in StarPirates and a variation will be live in SpyBattle soon.

We knew that our games could be confusing to start, and if someone’s confused, they’ll wander off before giving the games a shot!  So another big release was:
* Walkthroughs for new Players: Try to get confused about the game now! Just try 🙂

Also released:
* Dozens of new NPCs to fight
* New items
* Updated jobs
* A slew of gaming upgrades; we’ve lost count.

On a sadder note, we’ve mourned the real life passing of one of the games’ legends.  We miss you GDL.

On a happier tone, the marriage of two of our players lit up the community.  What makes this marriage extra special?  They met in the game, fell in love here, and continue to bring cheer (and pirate ways) whenever they come online.  And maybe if you’re nice they may give you some of their unique wedding cake (!)

We’ve also cleared some trouble makers out of the game. Community is what makes our games extra fun – we won’t put up with those that are dragging it down.

Since role playing is such a huge part of the game, (thanks role playing community!), we’ve been involved creating official Canon for the SP/SB universe.  This allows storycrafters to ensure their work fits intot he overall tapestry (no pressure tho).  This has been underway for a while, and will be released this week.  Lots of hard work, and sacrifice, from the Role Playing community to help with this. Thanks.

What’s next?  Well that’s for another post.  Stay tuned!

— Admin ArrBilly out!