Update provided via email to buyers from Skit-B on 12/16/14:
Good evening, fellow pinballers, I bet you thought I forgot about starting up this bi-weekly newsletter, huh? Lots going on over here, as usual, so let's get everyone caught up to speed, shall we?
While we've been slammin' away and getting games ready, nothing can be expected to go off without a surprise or two. Ok, I'll admit there have been a lot more than two, but we've been able to work through the majority of them without much trouble along the way. Currently we are only hung up on two relatively small things, but they are very integral to proper game operation. Firstly, we ran into a bit of a snag with the speaker panels we were going to use, so I've been working with the guys over at VirtuaPin to come up with a more modern and aesthetically appealing panel and it won't be slowing us down for long. This kind of thing is in their blood, and they've done an awesome job so far.
Second item is our custom ball trough. While it is something I'm pretty excited for (and trust me, I could write whole paragraphs about it, but I'll spare you all), it is a pretty complicated part that has a lot of dependencies that have to be absolutely perfect to be trusted for the lifetime of a pinball machine, and with all of the help and guidance from the folks at Pinball Life, I'm sure it will do all of that and much more. Trust me, I've been trying to break this thing for weeks and it just won't give! That being said, to keep things moving, we're going to move a handful of games with a more industry standard part that will be a drop-in replacement down the road. I've spoken with a few of the guys at the front of the line about this and all seems well to keep the momentum up, but if you're one of the first-ups and would like the part replaced with our custom trough after they start coming in, this will obviously be handled without any extra charges or anything. Then again, if you're a hardcore collector, I guess this is as close as we're going to come to an "LE," so it might be fun to hang on to it. Ya' never know!
It's a pretty hectic time for indie developers right now, but to be sure it must be a nearly nail-biting experience for the supporters and early adopters in the scene at this time. I'd like to think that we wouldn't need to take time in these newsletters to address rumors and such, but during these tense times I'm sure a little reassurance would go a long way, especially for those of you who hadn't caught up with us on the forums a few weeks ago. While there haven't been any direct fingers pointed, there are a lot of worries that the new indie movement in pinball is ripe with opportunities for unethical situations and is causing some general unrest in a part of the industry that we're most definitely included in, so it would be good for all involved for us to address a few things.
Licensing is obviously a big deal, and while these types of things have simply been accepted in the past, indie pinball (yes, I'm going to keep calling it that) is potentially a completely different beast altogether. Gathering copyright and likeness permissions is a huge, daunting process, but is very rewarding in the end. That being said, this is something you need to have reasonably taken care of before making any major announcements or commitments, and we've done a lot of work and spent countless hours making sure everyone involved is happy with how things turned out. I have many stories I could tell here, but I think I will wait until a time when there's a little less actual news to catch up on At any rate, I can see how one might wonder if a small indie startup would be able to handle this sort of task, but it is certainly not an issue over here. Don't expect any wild omissions or absences when you open up your first Skit-B new-in-box!
Some folks give me a particularly hard time for "plugging" other companies or products, and I'm likely not going to stop any time soon. P-ROC is awesome. Marco Specialties is awesome. Spooky is awesome. I say this kind of stuff all the time, but there's one company that deserves a huge "plug" that doesn't come up very often but is at the heart of everything we do and how it relates to you all, and that is PayPal. I know, I know, now I'm essentially giving a plug for the bank, but I promise it is relative (again, especially if you hadn't caught up with us on the forums a few weeks ago). While we're on the unfortunate subject of potentially unethical opportunities, I'd like to take a moment to remind everyone that your investments are safe. Through the conventions that we've worked through with PayPal, not only do you get the inherent internet benefit of buying pinball in your underwear (raise your hand if you've bought pinball in your underwear before the internet...anyone?), but it comes with monumental security benefits that guarantee that, no matter what happens, your investment is never at any kind of risk. They're taking a big risk on us that they never had to take, and for that they deserve some sincere appreciation.
Speaking of risks, I've come to understand that a few guys on the forums have a running bet going on that involves us. I'm not 100% in-the-know here, but as I understand it, the wager goes a little something like this: Two parties have come up with an embarrassing garment to be worn by the other party to the Midwest Gaming Classic coming up in April. If we don't get a game out by the end of the year, one party has to wear the embarrassing garment, but if we do, the other party has to wear the embarrassing garment (ugh that's getting annoying typing out 'embarrassing garment' over and over). I don't want to share names--even though I only know one of the parties--but, as long as it's alright with the gentlemen involved, I will be throwing my name into that hat, as well. While we are going at absolute break-neck speed to make sure our first boxes say 2014 on them, we can't PROMISE anyone a game within the next few weeks. That being said, I CAN promise that if someone ends up losing a bet because of it, I can at least share in that misery a bit. Worst that can happen is I end up looking stupid, but if we don't get some games out soon I'm gonna end up looking kind of stupid anyways. Might as well own it, right?
No progress update would be complete without a few pictures, so let's start with the fun stuff: the toys! Matt over at Back Alley Creations has really outdone himself with the creation of such lifelike adornments that really drive the point home of what it means to be hunted.
This week's eye candy:
Picture #01: Our army of bodies. They're enjoying their last time being upright, for once they are installed, they will forever swing from the trees upside down.
Picture #02: Some assembly required for us with these skull/spine combos for the VUK, so sometimes you just gotta bring your work home.
Picture #03: Hundreds of claws! They aren't made to balance on-end, so organizing them was getting to be pretty tedious. You can tell how many there are left by the large pile below the claw-o-saur, which is laid out like a dinosaur because I guess I tend to act like an eight-year-old some time after 2AM.
Until next time,
-Kevin Kulek, Skit-B Pinball