Hey everyone! Burning Earth Chris reporting in. It's been a minute since I've updated the website blog, but a lot has been going on behind the scenes and we're excited to reveal what it all is!
Status of Let's Plays
The month of November has seen us do something unexpected: we are taking on TWO separate Let's Play series at the same time. This wasn't an easy decision for us to make, but there is a reason for it.
After spending about a year working on the Let's Play series for Knights of the Old Republic, I felt like it was draining primarily because I focused on just playing that one game and nothing else -- and it took almost a whole year to finish the series. While I enjoy the game, dedicating a whole year's worth of work to just playing one game made me feel stagnant -- like I wasn't going anywhere. I'm sure there were others in my audience who felt as I did -- "Post something else! Try another game! How long is this LP going to go on for?!"
I didn't want to repeat the mistake of having the channel feel stale after spending a year on a single game, so I ended up deciding I would do one game that would take longer to finish, and a second game that would be much shorter, no more than 15 episodes or less. I ultimately chose Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (with my sincerest thanks to my friend Capitalist for unexpectedly gifting me this game for my birthday) for the long haul, and the second, shorter game being one of my all-time favorites, and the game that made me want to choose the career of being a visual storyteller and VFX artist -- Star Trek: Bridge Commander.
As soon as Bridge Commander is finished, the goal is to take a week off and breathe before continuing Danganronpa and starting up another short game (which is currently undecided at this time). I still haven't decided whether to do a second long-haul game immediately after Danganronpa, but I have a while to think is over. I hope that everyone likes both games; while Danganronpa is different from our usual sci-fi shtick, I decided to start it because, at the time of recording, it was Halloween, and one of my friends suggested it might be a great horror/suspense themed game for the season. Going into this game blind, I at least have enough vision to see they were correct. Heh.
Restarting Earth-Link Origins
Hoo-boy, this is going to be a long story. Try to bear with me on this.
Many of you may know this, but for those who don't, we've been working on a sci-fi feature called Earth-Link Origins for several years. We got a lot done for it -- a script for the pilot, voice acting, a couple ships and props, and with building this thing came some very invaluable film production experience. But at the beginning of this year, I made an uneasy decision to stop work on Earth-Link Origins because I felt that motivation on the project had ceased, and I had already invested a lot of time and money into it -- and the only thing that ended up coming out of it was a bunch of test videos and a short demo scene. Feeling stagnant and like nothing was getting done, and considering the extensive amount of time and effort I put into it (including an IndieGoGo that fell very short of its goal), I felt like the project had failed despite giving our best efforts, and that feeling of failure was taking its toll.
What else happened at the beginning of this year was that I got a job interview for something that would have changed my life for the better -- a full-time job as a graphic designer for a casino in Philadelphia. I went through two interviews and even took some time off work to ensure I could do a graphic design test for them in time. It was the first time I had an opportunity of such significance -- a step towards a job that I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
And then COVID-19 hit, and the only thing I looked forward to this year was ripped away from me when they told me, "Thanks for your interest, but due to the global pandemic, we're putting the hiring process on hold."
Not that I blamed the company I applied for, but the combination of things I was feeling -- a dream job opportunity lost, in addition to something I put many years of my life into seemingly falling apart -- shattered me. There were days where I wanted to just cancel the channel, cancel the Patreon, and every other project I was working on. It was like that for several months -- it felt like everything I had ever worked for for years had evaporated in front of me, and all that remained for me was a life of servitude in my day job; it made me a tad bitter, insofar that I wasn't able to use the talents of my true calling.
But then I had a talk with my college professor (bless his heart), and I vented to him, and told him what had been weighing on my mind for most of the year. I showed him everything we did for Earth-Link Origins -- the artwork, the music, the short demo scene we did, all of it. And he told me what I needed to hear probably more than anything in that moment:
"I'm proud of you."
Hearing that made me feel like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, and I started looking into options as to what I could do to finish what we started. I didn't want to make the same mistakes I did with the production at first, but I knew I had to do something. So I cracked open Unreal Engine 4, did a couple test demos, and came up with the first piece of footage we had done for this thing in months:
While it is just another piece of demo footage, it has since paved the way for many other things -- including the permanent addition of Unreal Engine as a VFX and demo tool at our disposal.
But to get this thing off the ground again, we also needed money. That's where the next two parts of this post come in.
An Update On Sons Of Centauri
With Earth-Link Origins mostly shelved for the past few months, we have been working on a second project for much of the spring and summer -- a visual novel called Sons of Centauri. Our goal with this visual novel is to create a simplistic yet fun action-adventure sci-fi story that looks and feels like a combination of movie and novel, with some semblance of interaction by the player.
A feature that many visual novels don't have -- one that we plan to use in ours -- is full voice acting.
One of our voice talents has already finished 95% of their voice acting for this project, with three others about 20% of the way done their lines as well. This visual novel is planned to have only 7 main voice roles for its first chapter, unlike the ensemble-focused Earth-Link Origins. Also, unlike Earth-Link Origins, no IndieGoGo for this project is planned; while Origins was designed and planned with a bigger budget in mind, Sons is being done much more frugally.
But creating any sort of media -- be it video game or film -- takes time, and we wanted to give our fans a second option in case they wanted to support us in our endeavours beyond just donating to us on Patreon and Ko-Fi. That being said...
We're On Teespring!
Several of my teammates on Earth-Link Origins had mentioned it before, but we didn't have the design experience, resources, or time necessary to get one off the ground. However, after spending a bit of time redesigning the Burning Earth Productions logo for this year (and seeing how beautifully it looked on a t-shirt), I finally bit the bullet and launched one, which can be found here.
There isn't much to see on it yet, but we do have a small start, and hope to add more designs for t-shirts, tote bags, and more in the coming months. Our Teespring will be covered more in a separate blog post, considering the length of this one.
Please keep in mind: if you purchase anything from our Teespring, it may take a couple weeks to ship. We have no control over that, and while we know almost bupkis about how their processes work, the quality of their products does speak for itself, and Teespring have proven to be well worth the waiting period and the pricing that they offer.
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That's pretty much the long and short of what we have to tell you guys right now. We will keep you all appraised with more information as it comes!
-Burning Earth Chris