We have brought up and tested three out of the ten of the production board samples that we received in January. We have also nearly completed all game modes and major features in the production firmware. All that is left to do is to clean up some things and test and fine tune the live gameplay with all of this new code, to ensure that we have not introduced any performance issues, and then we will create some videos of the production design.
We found two minor hardware issues in our new design. We will have to decide between fixing these two issues with a straightforward design change (resulting in a revE board), or developing a firmware workaround to compensate for the issues. It is possible that we can completely fix them in firmware, but it needs a little more work to figure that out. Other than these two minor items, everything is rock solid.
We have put a lot of work into finalizing the five game modes.
One Hit To Win It – This game mode requires a single “clean” and solid hit to win the game. By clean hit, that means that the hit has to arrive after a period (i.e. one second) of no sword clashes. You’ll have to be sneaky to get your sword in there clean in order to win.
Countdown – There have been no changes to this game mode as that is the standard mode that we have always used to demonstrate the swords. This game mode typically lasts between 30 and 60 seconds. Those that have played the game always are surprised by that fact and swear that it seemed longer, as they struggle to catch their breath!
Metered Damage and Eternal Struggle – These game modes are similar in that your opponent’s health is decremented based on how solid and how clean a strike lands. You don’t score extra points for swinging extra hard, but you do get more points if your strike lands squarely, and even more points if you land a strike long after the last sword clash. Both game modes allow you to gain back health with successful blocking, but the Eternal Struggle allows your health to climb more quickly and it also climbs automatically over time. Both game modes are intended to result in matches that last longer than the Countdown game mode, particularly for evenly-matched players.
Endless – This game mode has been implemented as literally an endless match. Each strike on your opponent will increase your score. If you are hit by your opponent, your sword shuts down for a moment and then respawns. The display screen on the Grandmaster models display your score as well as your opponent’s score. So whenever you decide to stop playing, you can see who landed more strikes and who won the potentially never-ending match. In addition, the health meter displays green bars for the winning player and a red bar for the losing player, in order to support models without a display screen.
We are almost ready to take pictures and videos of the production design in action. At that time, we will update the survey tool with the correct media for all rewards. That will be your opportunity to select or change your reward as well as update your shipping address.
Thanks once again for your support and patience.
Sincerely, David Lynch – Inventor, Sabertron.