Producing NISEI: May 2022 Update

Hello! Extrac from the Production team here with another production update.

This article was delayed slightly from April in order to align with the completion of a major production milestone. We wanted to present to you the most accurate projected timeline we could, which here meant accounting for this significant step.

Gannt chart tracking production of Midnight Sun
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And what’s that milestone? This week we officially completed signoff and sending of all the Midnight Sun art briefs! Art briefs are the initial specifications for commissioned illustrations that we send to the artists we work with. Having them finished means our teams have finished the last stage of art-related work that’s completely internal to NISEI. We’ve done our part—now, with the briefs in-hand, our partner artists are hard at work bringing the scenes you’ll see in Midnight Sun to life.

The process of contracting artists began some time ago as we had some of the briefs ready to go and artists ready to create, but with the completion of these last briefs, we are now fully focussed on finishing contracts and working with the artists to complete the most complex aspect of set release.

Screenshot of a Trello board tracking art progress for Midnight Sun. It has seven columns: Brief Comlpeted, Artist Messaged, Brief Sent, Artist Contracted, Sketch Received, WIP Received, Final Received. The first three columns show 65/65 tasks complete.
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To dive into a bit more detail on the art status, we have 100% of card briefs in the artists’ hands with work-in-progress drafts and final pieces are starting to arrive (57% have had initial sketches completed and 20% are either in WIP-approaching-final or final). We’re now fully focused fully on a dialogue with the artists as they complete the work based on these briefs. It’s been really motivating to see the words on the page given shape and form. We look forward to sharing this work with you soon!™. 

In parallel with this, the cards (surprisingly) require text. In our production pipeline, that means both finalised rules/mechanical text, to ensure the cards are functional, clear, and consistent; and flavour text, to provide further texture to the world of Midnight Sun. As of this week, the Rules team has signed off on final card text, with flavour text due to follow shortly after! This text then gets passed to our Translation teams so we can continue NISEI’s commitment to provide a multilingual experience for our players. This handoff to Translation is slightly later than originally projected but is not anticipated to affect the overall timeline of the release.

Once the artwork and text for the cards are complete, we will move to the final steps: layout and templating of the cards so they are ready for deployment both to Jinteki.net and to our physical print-on-demand partners. The team has made some great progress creating an automation tool to speed up this process, so we anticipate this being completed quickly. From there we go to final set signoff and spoiler preview season can begin— watch this space for our upcoming schedule!

Overall, despite some delays in individual tasks and some lessons learned, which we intend to put into practice for Parhelion, we remain confident in our July projection for the release of Midnight Sun and look forward to sharing it with you as the finalised cards become available. This has been a learning experience for all of us on the production team and has represented what is hopefully the first of many fully planned out and controlled releases.

That’s all from us for this article. As always if you have any questions please contact us at the production team for more information. We look forward to updating you further as we complete more milestones on the road to release! As a special treat, we sign off with a sneak preview of a piece of art from Midnight Sun! Always Be Running!

Spoiler card art: In netspace, a sphinx made of light is trapped by string held by ghostly fingers
Art by Bruno Balixa

Author

  • Extrac is a member of NISEI's Production Management team. He's a UK player that will one day install Harbinger with net damage when the Rules Team, the FAQ and reality itself stop disagreeing with him.