I'm not sure if everyone saw the TMDR Floating City 'wrap-up' letter, so I have posted it below (how can you not like the word on the t-shirts?).
Dear Floating Citizens
The game is finally over! I was on tenderhooks yesterday as the final Daring Sortie opened up; I was wandering around a maritime museum in northern Brittany, checking my iPhone every few minutes to see how long it would take before all 9 tribes completed the final challenge. And I was delighted that it took under an hour for that to happen, without any major hiccups!
Congratulations to all who finished the game, and well done to the victorious Muluberry Clubbloc Seaboard alliance, who won themselves a free concert (see below.) For those who scored a free Oceanea CD or EP download, we will get those dispatched as soon as the dust settles. Many more players completed all the albums than we anticipated, so I'm sorry we ran out of physical CDs quite early on. For the rest of you, I hope you're enjoying the MP3s (over 25,000 downloaded!).
What a mixture of emotions for all of us. So many people have immersed themselves in this strange alternative reality we cooked up, and invested so much time in making it real. I think my favourite aspect of the game was the way the quirky individuality of the Forum posts added up to a collective fictional consciousness. It seems that every twist and turn of the storyline could be adapted and folded into the whole. This can continue into the future--we deliberately left some loose ends that YOU can resolve via your own creative writing.
I would like the Floating City to live on. Now the FC has gone 'airborn', you can create your own sequel! How to go about this I will leave up to you, the players. So, at the very least, the Forums will stay open, though you should talk about whether we want to pare them down to fewer areas. We're also planning to make a new version of the Map that is browsable so that all Daring Sorties can be explored at will. What other aspects of the game should stay current? do you want the trading reset so you can start from scratch if you want to? My only criteria are that we have to reduce the maintenance (in man-hours, programming, server cost etc) to close to zero. Let me explain....
There is no record company behind this game, no marketing budget, no cynical ulterior motive. I dreamed it up as a way to fuse together all the mythology running through my songs and lyrics over the last 30 years, and to tie it in to my new album. It's an extension of my own artistic expression. I love to tackle unexplored media, and diving headlong into it with little clue what am was doing--as I did with electronic music in the 70s, music videos in the 80s, the Web in the 90s, and so on. My motto has always been, if something doesn't break, you're probably not taking enough risks!
I've never talked publicly about the production aspects of the game, but in a nutshell here's the story: last year, two respected online game companies turned the project down because they said it couldn't be done within my tiny budget. So this game was created by a small team of dedicated individuals in different time zones, who have mostly never met in person. I had one face to face meeting with game designer Andrea Phillips in New York, but I've never met project manager Sara Thacher, programmer Peter Smith, CSS guru Marcus Reidner, or art director Paul Sizer in person. You know Carli Schultz Kruse (aka Lunesse aka Europa) who for years has run the thomasdolby.com site. Since about November 2010 we've all met on Skype chat most days at teatime for a 'scrum.' Everybody was juggling FC work with other jobs and projects. I paid the principals a fee that is certainly way lower than they would normally command, and despite this they've graciously put their all into the game, running into thousands of man-hours. In addition, there has been voluntary work by several wonderful people to whom I will be eternally grateful; including the G.O.D.s (Nikki Sorenson, Darren Goldsmith, Melissa Jordan, Jon Chiddick, Rachel Armstrong, Andrew Down, Grant Morris, and Matthew Seligman--thank you!) and my son Harper who sub-edited the Gazette! A special thank you to Darren Goldsmith of The Pirate Twins who made some excellent 3D graphics for the Blimp and the final 'City Rises' visual, and edited the videos; to Michael Brandon for his voiceover; and to the world-class photographers who contributed their work for free.
Nearly 5,000 players signed up for the game, though as you know, the pool of 'active' players was in the hundreds. I am delighted with this number. When we started out I looked at Facebook games with millions of players and prayed we would not get that many, seeing as I'm paying for the server. But I also worried we might end with a mere couple of dozen! So 5k was a perfect middle ground--enough players to keep things interesting and (mainly) civil, but not a 'success catastrophe' like Farmville
I didn't want to charge money for the game, nor to sully Paul Sizer's lovely graphics with advertising. So it's mainly about the satisfaction of creating an original piece of entertainment that kept people enthralled for a couple of months. Plus, hopefully, the addition of some new fanatical fans to the hardcore group who have followed my music for all these years.
You've asked repeatedly about official Floating City merch. With that in mind I'd like to announce that we're going to be printing Floating City t-shirts. We felt it would be great to have individual tribe tees, and I think you'll agree Paul has made a simple and classic design. But this causes a logistical problem, because we'll need to print 9 tribes x 3 sizes x 2 colours x 2 territories--total 108 SKUs! So I'd like you to let us know if/what you plan to buy, using the form below. This will keep wastage to a minimum and allow us to keep the cost down to £15.95 UK or $24.95 US.
Here's the pre-order form, please take a minute to fill it in--and understand that it doesn't commit you to buying anything! http://www.thomasdolby.com/fc/ts/
And here's an example of a 'tribal T':
About the free concert: The prize was won by the Muluberry Clubbloc Seaboard alliance, and the top tribe was Mulu. This tribe is geographically based in the south of the UK, so I will perform the concert in their territory, as promised. Now we know the winner, I can start to plan that with my band. I don't know yet when or where it will take place. It may be in the timeframe of my upcoming UK tour this November, but no promises. All within the Muluberry alliance will get a free invite. I will try to live-webcast the concert for all other players; failing that we'll video it and put the results online. As soon as have more details I'll let you know!
I should also mention that I'll be doing some lecture/performances about the Floating City Game in the USA this October, to which the public are invited. More news on these to follow. What would be REALLY helpful is if you could recall your favourite moments--Forum posts, Patents, fan art, etc--and post them so I can pick and choose highlights for my lectures! Or just your personal review of the game that I can quote. Here's a new thread to post to: http://www.floatingcity.com/forum/index ... pic&t=5936
And finally, if you have unanswered questions about the story/characters/scoring/rules/programming/production etc, we are hoping to do a live chat room Q+A with myself and Andrea this coming week or weekend. We will send out a general message with the time and place.
Thanks again for playing The Floating City game!