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Hey Everyone! Andreas here, (I still have not found the right voice for this sort of stuff but I digress).
Anyways, the last update I've posted about whats going on in the Metal Weave shop has been....a long while, and aside from the few announcements, and even then I've done a bad job with them. Things have been busy...really busy.. (which if you know me is kinda a common theme to whats going on.)
So, whats going on at Metal Weave? whats going on with the projects we've got out and have still pending?
lets try and do a long summary of whats going on.
To start out, this year has been really tough. A project manager on our team has not returned project funds and after more than 3 years, we finally have to take legal action. In addition, Owlbear Plush was more expensive than we had anticipated, which pretty much put us ~$150k in the red. We've been able to survive (barely) month to month, covering operating expenses (like keeping our warehouses going, and paying bills as they come up, but its been really really rough). And, to be honest, we probably wouldn't have survived if it weren't for us expanding getting a focus on retail relationships and getting into FLGS stores. Retail sales have literally kept us afloat during these times. And finally, in addition to the above, im now dealing with an IRS audit (same year as the missing funds), as well as a quickbooks error which forced me to recategorize about 2000 transactions.
As i said, its been a hell of a year.
2024 Baby Bestiary Calendar
Timing for these calendars is always difficult, and each year i keep telling myself i need to start earlier. Granted how long it takes to develop does depend on the artist and their methods, but as so far, its twice now that we've launched on backerkit and both times feel a little late (both for different reasons).
For 2024 Calendars should arrive Dec 2 and the warehouse is already prepping mailers for the orders to go out on, so hopefully no issues with this project as we clean out the year.
Hyper Light Drifter
I hate to say it but sometimes too much success is a problem, and the Owlbear Plush did exactly that to us. With all the things that have been going on, time had to be taken away from somewhere, and unfortunately the only ball that could fall was Drifter.
The good news is that the Basic Rules and core foundation of the game is and has been done, it has just been reapplying everything from those into the new rulebook, and thats where things started stalling. I've since brought in Matt Click to help out, whos been known as a finisher and developmental editor to help me finish Drifter once and for all.
The biggest takeaway from this project I've come to is, limit your manufacturing partners. As stretch goals, I wanted to include a Lorebook and a Pewter Mini in the box, and I had the great idea of producing them separately (one for production time, and the other cause it was cheaper to use an different manufacturer than the one who would kit it with the plush.) Turns out, that was my biggest mistake. Mini manufacturer has had sporadic conversations (I've even seen prototypes) but for the life of me cannot get an order with them.
Since then we've offered replacement rewards to backers, which most have taken, but there are a few who are still waiting for a mini and a lorebook (prolly 150 or so...which is about less than 5% of the total backers). Solution now, is to send the existing pewter minis we have (since the number of people who want the mini have dwindled and we actually have enough inventory of our old pewter minis to sufficie. And for the lorebook, time is my greatest enemy (as you might have noticed from the above), I have a bunch of art for the book, and even a full manuscript, so its just to finishing it.
The ABC book needs to go to print, and the Travis Hanson Childrens book needs some text work to be finished up. There are a few other digital rewards, which has been hard to focus on, but i do have a manuscript and art of the owlbear classes, and in the case of adventures...but those are on a longer backburner.
Also, because of the success of the plushes in retail, I've already run out of standalone brown and rose owlbears, which means I now have to coordinate a quick interim production run so we can have stock. During this order we're going to try two new limited colors, and try to develop out some much requested accessories packs.
As of right now, i hear there is a manuscript that will start editing soon. I cant speak much more on the matter publicly, but I am working to get this in-house so we can wrap it up and get it out to backers.
Of course we have more plushes in the works!, Right now we're working on a Dragon Turtle and a Phoenix Hatchling. One prototype is done, with both probably going to be finished before the year is out. If all goes well I hope to crowdfund the two by Feb/March 2024.
(name pending), Inspired by the recent lovecraftian fishing game: Dredge, I'm happy announce we've sponsored two beloved ttrpg designers to make a solo-duo fishing lovecraftian fishing game. Im super excited to see what comes from these developers and to talk about it more when the time is right (and when more work on the system is done).
Codename: Shark World
This is a project that is both inspired by and in collaboration with the brightly illustrated shark people created by @Requinoesis. We've gotten a bunch of foundational lore, and in the background we have a modeler working on some minis of the shark people. With the change in project managers, we'll probably slow down as we still need to take some time to find the fun, and really define what we want to do with this IP, lorebook? boardgame? ttrpg? all three? or something else? I love the art, and our son loves the shark mini we've printed, so I do look forward to the day I can give this project more attention
Atlas and Embers Statbooks
I did say im including everything that's going on, and these are two little thorns that have been in my back for a long while now. Some of these did get cleaned up, but ive removed pretty much all of them from the shop since a couple were incomplete and I've gotten a few complaints about their incompleteness. In time they'll get finished up and released.
Large Foam Dice
Plush dice are going to be a tricky thing to implement, and as so far Ive only seen 1-2 inch dice on the market. So, I decided to get a prototype of a large foam die, which comes in at the size of an owlbear or waterpolo ball. So far started with just the d20, but I want to launch a project for the whole set.
Timing wise, im not sure when we're going to launch this, but I am hoping soon. I hope I'll be able to do more 'short and quick' style projects like this as our bread and butter, as it will allow us to do more things.
Also, I love the die! dog bites can def mark it, but its got a good slight squish and a satisfying bounce to it. (dog/chew toys are on my radar potentially next).
I was able to obtain the domain name of ZineQuest.com, and my goal for it is to turn the site into the ttrpg Zine hub. Starting as an eCommerce platform, i aim to expand it's support for supporting zine creators. As of right now, I've brought in @isfridayTV, to help get us started and get creators on the platform.
Fulfillment for this project went swimmingly, and we're looking to support the Animon game and brand in its future iterations. Hopefully soon we'll be able to offer Zaks supplements for Animon, as well as help out in Animons next big chapter!
We're super excited to announce we've licensed the entire line of Apothecaria supplements from Anna Blackwell, and we're super excited to be bringing those into print and distribution. We also have to do a reprint of Apothecaria.
We're excited to be a publishing partner of Gubat Banwa as well as financial backer to allow a project like this to exist. Funds recently came in, and we're already paying the team to get to work on bringing the game to life.
Tales from Myriad
Emberwick has been working on the project, and things seem to be doing well, fortunately there is little on my end i currently need to do, but I believe book production will start happening sometime in Q1 2024.
As you can see theres a lot going on, my biggest limitation is that Metal Weave is still an after-work endeavor, coming after my main 9-5 work and being a new father, the most time I can spend on MWG is during my work breaks, or after everyone is in bed, staying up to (looks at clock) midnight, just to write all of this down.
My current work contract lasts only a few more months, and with the success of the plushes, there might be a potential future where I can do MWG fulltime, but at this point i feel like i need to bolster our income by some means, so I'm currently looking for part-time remote work that could sit as a safety buffer, allowing me to spend more time working on MWG.
Anyways, thank you all so much for the support. Its crazy that I've been creating for what is now 10 years, and I get excited to see the new things that come down the pipe.
If i dont send anything until the next one, Merry Christmas and Happy New Years.