Time for another quick update on “what's going on at ArtCraft?”
2018 is off to a roaring start! We can’t believe it’s been a month already since we closed our $6M investment and turned the page on a new year. If you missed that announcement, you can still read about it here.
That raise, when added to our licensing fees and crowdfunding to date, officially pushed us past the $20M market in total project funding. This capital infusion puts us in a great position to soft launch Crowfall® this year! We didn't make a huge deal out of it because ultimately a game is judged by the quality (regardless of the budget!), but we did want to thank you (AGAIN!) for making this project happen. These funds will allow us to “hit the gas” in 2018, so it’s probably worth it to spend a few minutes talking about how we’re going to put this money to work.
First, we’re adding some 'fresh blood' to the Crowfall team. We've hired 10 new people (plus two full-time contractors) between December 11th and January 12th. (We'll be introducing these folks soon.) As a result, we now have more throw weight in Art, Design and Engineering – and it also means we’ve started our “Live team” hires (beginning with Operations, and continuing over the next few months with additional folks in Customer Service and Marketing.)
We're delighted to report we were able to get our “first choice” candidate for all of these positions. Seriously, we’re talking about world class talent. One benefit of having such an abundance of talent in Austin is that we can find great people who are excited about the potential of Crowfall and ArtCraft, and success begets success; amazing people want to work with other amazing people. Only two of these candidates are new to our team (meaning that we've worked with the other 10 on previous games), but we have no doubt they are all going to be superstars – otherwise we wouldn't have hired them!
This puts our total Crowfall team at 45 people.
While we are proud of our team (of course!), it's also shocking just how much MMO experience we've collected here at ArtCraft!
Our team currently has a cumulative total of over 550 years of professional game development experience (that’s ~12.25 years per person) and over 340 years of professional MMO development experience as part of that (~7.6 years per person!) The average ACE team member has worked on 3.2 MMOs!
Crazy, right? To illustrate this point even further, remember that we’re also including our “junior hires” in this mix, meaning that a handful of our folks joined the team with 0-2 years of prior game experience. Take out our younger folks and those averages shoot up; now it’s an average of over 16 years of game experience, over 10 years of dedicated MMO experience and four MMOs worked on per person.
We’ve said for a while that we believe we’ve assembled one of the most experienced MMO teams on the planet. Now that we’ve run the numbers, we know that isn’t an exaggeration.
We also paused in January for some housecleaning: we picked up a bunch of new build and development PCs and improved our internal network. These changes should pay dividends every time we cut a new version. We’d like to thank the folks at Origin for the custom-built machines that will speed up our development.
Here's a look at the new rig Video Producer John Gibson is using for streaming and creating videos.
(As a side note, at some point we’ll likely sell some of the MSI Gaming Portables we’ve been using for development. They’re still great machines and very capable of running Crowfall, so we'll let you guys know via social media if/when they are available for purchase.)
While version 5.4 presented some challenges, the final critical bugs and scaling issues were addressed and we were able to roll it out to LIVE on Tuesday afternoon. Now that that’s done, we’re planning to reintroduce the EU server full time (this could happen as early as this weekend), and we'll be doing some small tests in other regions, as well.
Looking a bit further out, version 5.5 is progressing well, and our plan is to bring that to TEST in February. The overriding goal is to get our complete game loop in place ASAP with the remaining features for Alpha implemented as early this year as possible.
As always, we cannot stress how much we appreciate your support and continued assistance in testing Crowfall as we close in on Alpha.
J. Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton
Co-Founders, ArtCraft Entertainment