2015 Reflections – What the Hell Did We Learn Anyway?

Hello backers, friends, fans, passionate gamers, lifelong LARPers, newbies, and the rest of our vibrant community!

While we are winding down the year and the VtM Kickstarter, as well as gearing up for 2016 and Werewolf, we wanted to reflect on what we’ve done and learned. It’s been a long and sometimes painful process publishing our first core book and supplements. We want to say again how thankful we are for everyone’s support and patience. We really could not have done all this without you!

What we’ve done together

With the support of our backers and our wonderful community, we have:

  • published over 6500 copies of MET: Vampire and shipped them to 22 countries
  • listed over 150 games on our website in 17 countries from 13 different international fanclubs and 78 individual troupes that are all using MET: Vampire
  • published a quick-start guide to get new players gaming faster, an ST Secrets book to help Storytellers run better games, a module version of our popular Blood & Betrayal scenario, and the first ever period setting book for VtM LARP – Pickering Lythe
  • Released 47 individual clan pins, including pins for clans, sects, and bloodlines that have never been seen before
  • Run 3 massive playtests in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, where upwards of 300 people per game helped us develop not just the mechanics but the actual story of the World of Darkness.
  • Received and read over 1000 pieces of feedback from the community. Thank you!
  • Grown from 5 people on Skype talking about publishing Mind’s Eye Theatre products again to a vibrant community of players all across the world. There are almost 10,000 people on the By Night Studios Facebook page alone! Thank you!

 

What we have learned and how we are changing

Doing all of this was only possible through the passion of our community and support of the backers that funded us. While our products are intended for eventual consumer publication, we simply would not be able to print them without the funding of our Kickstarter backers. You helped us realize our crazy dream of revitalizing a game we love. And now we have the chance to do it again with another beloved game line – but not without some reflection.

DO LESS – With MET: Vampire, we tried to do way too much and it delayed our publication schedule – especially with the unforeseen setbacks, medical emergencies, printer meltdowns, and other associated problems that come with publishing a book. This time around, we have scaled back the number of things we are going to offer during our MET: Werewolf kickstarter to only what we know we can publish in 2016. We will not be doing two separate art styles nor will there be a deluxe version of the book. We are working in a new way with international translators and publishers to complete the translations of MET: Vampire, and to bring future products to international customers more efficiently. The Portuguese and Italian version of MET: Vampire will be the first products of this new publication process. We are only publishing one supplement for MET: Werewolf instead of three. Our stretch goals mostly tackle additional development for the core book instead of additional, separate books. All of these changes ensure we can hit our deadlines. MET: Vampire was our first product, which meant we guesstimated delivery times. Now, we have solid data that we can plan from and allow us to be effective and efficient in our process.

COMMUNICATE MORE – When we first kicked off the project, we planned bi-weekly developer diary videos, daily email updates, and previews of the work raining from the sky at all hours. Needless to say, that was far too ambitious. This time, we have worked out ways to communicate with our backers and customers that aren’t so labor intensive. Instead of trying to do video diaries, we plan to use blogs to talk about our work. Instead of a flood of email updates and then silence, we planned a more regular cadence so we always have something new and interesting to talk about. Our preview slices have been worked into our development process now more than ever. Our previews are meant to help us ‘playtest with the whole world‘. Our community is a part of our development process in the most meaningful way we can possibly ensure, allowing us to make a better product based on your feedback.

START SOONER – With MET: Vampire, we went from zero to Kickstarter in about five months. This time around, there is no secret tomb we are emerging from. We have been howling loudly and proudly about our intentions to tackle Werewolf: The Apocalypse almost since we published the first run of Vampire books. We have published 3 playtest slices since we started development. This has allowed us much more time to work and to interact with our community. Our book is much closer to publication ready than it was during the Vampire kickstarter, which has given us more time to release preview slices for community feedback. We also have MET: Vampire out in the wild, with two years of troupe and club play to help inform our process this time around. When you tell us what you love (and hate) about our products, we listen. Then we take that feedback and strive to get better.

2016 and Beyond

Okay, everyone get their obligatory Buzz Lightyear jokes in… Ready?

With Paradox Interactive’s acquisition of White Wolf and their intentions to build White Wolf and the World of Darkness into one unified world, the time could not be better to be a WoD fan! We are honored to be working closely with White Wolf’s lead Storyteller Martin Ericsson on key elements of the story and metaplot for Mind’s Eye Theatre: Werewolf The Apocalypse. This book is the first step into that dark and thrilling night.

MET: Vampire was our firstborn, with all the uncertainty that any new parent can tell you about. MET: Werewolf has all the benefits of that hard-won knowledge but it is its own unique beast. We are treating it with the reverence it deserves as we work to bring about the return of the World of Darkness. We are going to take what we learned from MET: Vampire and publish smarter, faster, and more efficiently. Now is the time for the Garou to stand tall and proud.

Join us, won’t you? Night is rising…