I got my hands on packages of the final, completed GET LAMP package, with the completed, mastered and duped DVDs. I’ve inspected the product, played through all the parts, the features, the hidden aspects, and the DVD-ROM section. It’s a go. It’s perfect, it’s what I wanted. So yes, GET LAMP is, by my standards, a real product.
I’ve gone ahead and switched the “pre-order” page and title to “order“. Orders made now will ship out next week. It’s a real thing. As I can I’ll add the other payment options and flesh out the website to include more information, but right now, it’s a product.
I’m currently in a hotel room in Las Vegas, the week of DEFCON and CG Expo, two big events that will have a large audience for this movie and DVD. As per plans and payments made weeks ago, I’m here with 260 copies of GET LAMP, shrinkwrapped and in boxes. (This is how I know it’s a product.) At my home are another 1100 copies, representing the pre-orders. I paid a notable sum to ensure to have all the copies everywhere they needed to be.
The original plan had been to ship the pre-orders from the 1100 copies and then have sales here in Vegas. That’s not going to happen. The pre-orders have to start shipping on August 2nd, and from then on.
The biggest hitch I hit was that when it was announcing shipping would happen, people started contacting me in droves to get new shipping addresses for the products. If it had been a few, I could have had my friends who are ready to do fulfillment place those aside – but it ended up being dozens and dozens. They’re still coming in. With thousands of dollars of postage required to do this shipping, it quickly outgrew the chance for me to drop this in the lap of my friends. I need to supervise this personally. (My friends said they’d come over to help to make sure it all happens fast.)
But this means that I will be selling items here at the event before pre-orders get shipped out. While I hope I made clear this situation wasn’t intentional, I do know it says something different than I’ve said up to this point. I know some people will be annoyed. But I hope people will understand what caused it to be this way. Obviously, the coins are numbered in order of people buying copies, so nobody here in Vegas is getting a sub-1100 number for their coins.
The weblog changes from this point – from speculation and explanation of ideas to news of fulfillments, reviews, and upcoming screenings, with and without me. This is the fun part – when people finally get a chance to see what I’ve spent the last four years working on.
So, while you’re waiting for your copy of GET LAMP to arrive (or, as I’ve been told by some, waiting for the copies to start shipping before ordering), may I bring your attention to one of the many helpful introductions to modern Interactive Fiction that are popping up in the world.
It’s called The Gameshelf, a video podcast where you are given a solid introduction to a game or style of game. #8 has just arrived and it’s all IF, all the time.
It’s in high definition, has awesome production values, and really does a solid job of introducing people to the greatness, the problems, and most importantly, the solutions to dealing with interactive fiction. It also dumps into your lap a whole range of games to try out, including ways to try them out immediately. The main GET LAMP site will hopefully follow in the footsteps of this excellent work. (Actually, two interviewees from GET LAMP, Nick Montfort and Andrew Plotkin, appear in this episode as well.)
I got the word from the printers/duplicators (they’re Bullseye Disc in Portland) that the boxes of DVDs have been shipped out and will be at my home across the next few days. The plan is to package everything and start shipping out late Monday (August 2nd) and as long as it takes. People have been sending me change of addresses by the dozens from when they ordered, and this means I kind of have to be there for the shipping, I can’t just have the Orcutt do the work themselves. But they’ll be there with me while I do the packaging, meaning it’s going to be lightning fast and we’re then going to drive the things to the post office and out to the world.
Tomorrow afternoon I will finally come in contact with the finished GET LAMP product (I had copies mailed to Las Vegas) and when I personally verify that the packaging, discs, and all the rest are up to my standards, I will change “pre-order” to “order” and begin expanding the payment options to Not Just Paypal, because I know that a lot of people hate Paypal, and frankly, I totally understand. Currently, my plans are to accept Kagi payments (a site which allows you to use Eurocard, Checks, Money Orders, even Cash!) and the Amazon Payments system, which allowed me to take pre-orders even during Yet Another Case of Paypal Flipping Out. If people have others they think I should look into, let me know.
Last time, there was an option to order directly through Amazon. That won’t be the case this time, for two reasons. First of all, the coin messes things up pretty well for that, because the package isn’t a one-piece. And second of all, for all the convenience Amazon brings, they charge 55% of the cover price. People still gasp when I mention that, but it’s quite true, and I just can’t afford those kinds of bites this time around. I have places/people who want to order bulk copies of the movie, and I’m open to that discussion, but having a place that constantly drains my reserves and drops the margins so low is just not what I can do with this film.
So yes, there are now 4000+ copies of GET LAMP extant in this world. Here’s hoping they all find some happy homes soon.
(In case you’re studying that screengrab, the reason there’s only 28 boxes shipping is because the shipment was split between air and ground shipping, to minimize transport costs.)
In anticipation of a slight redesign of the site (mostly so people can find the DVD and make decisions easier, and to add some good pointers to IF material out there), I took a bunch of screengrabs of the DVDs playing in VLC. Here’s what they look like:
With the DVDs being created by the thousands over at the duplication plant, and the prospect of the final thousands of DVD Boxes arriving at my home, the project moves to a three-pronged situation: logistics, mailing, and outreach. Outreach isn’t very interesting, just me mailing a bunch of press and writing folks about the fact that GET LAMP is about to come out, so we’ll skip over going into that in detail.
For the logistics, the big issue is that I won’t be in town when the DVD boxes arrive – I’ll be in San Diego for Comic-Con and then in Las Vegas for DEFCON and Classic Gaming Expo, where I am going to show GET LAMP as well as sell copies. So I’ve brought in Team Orcutt to save me. Team Orcutt is a husband and wife team who will be taking incoming boxes and packaging them up and sending them out in the mails. We’re old, old friends and I trust them to do it efficiently and masterfully, otherwise I’d be making everyone wait until I got back.
To assist Team Orcutt in doing as little unnecessary work as possible, I am creating the shipping boxes, with labels and coins, over the next couple of days. With over 900 boxes to go, my day is busy, if a little reminiscent of my days as a temp, when I’d be told “go here and separate everything yellow out of this pile” or “add this column of numbers until we tell you to stop”.
There’s obviously a lot of chance for things to go weird with so many packages going out at such a fast rate. I’ll keep people appraised of when the full package sets go out and what’s left to go out, so if you find you didn’t get your package or it came differently configured than you expected, we can talk about it. I will make myself available, as usual, to work out any issues.
I send out packages via USPS, first-class or air mail depending on domestic or international orders. Sometimes the shipping costs eat into the product costs in specific situations (a couple countries here and there) but on the whole, it works out well for everyone. Having two flat rates removes a lot of headaches.
The mailing will be used by printed postage, so don’t think we bought thousands of stamps.
I dropped that photo and disappeared. Let me drop another and disappear less.
These are two sets of the two discs of GET LAMP, just before they got fedexed to the mastering facility which will then hand them off to the duplication facility which will then go to the packaging facility, where 4000 boxes of GET LAMP have been patiently waiting the last few months to be assembled into the final package.
After these packages are shrink wrapped, they’ll be sent to two places – one, to my home, where roughly a thousand copies will be faster-shipped and the rest shipped slightly slower (read, less expensively) and then a couple hundred to a hotel in Las Vegas, where I will be selling copies of GET LAMP at DEFCON and the Classic Gaming Expo.
At my house, I have a team of people, who you’ll hear of shortly, who will be assembling and mailing out the ordered packages. Ideally, it’ll be every single pre-order in a couple days.
So, people looking for hard dates, here you go: DVDs out the door starting somewhere on the 28th-29th, all pre-orders out the door by August 3rd. Since this is such a huge undertaking (there’s roughly 1000 packages going out), there’s some room for trouble and headache, but that’s what we’re working on.
Every order gets a coin. Some people got the impression, I found out, that the coins are only for pre-orders or only up to a certain number. In fact, there’s a coin for every DVD package I’m intending to make for the run, which is 4000 copies. If the day comes I exhaust the current run of copies (again, 4000), we’ll see where things go, but for now, I promise, a coin per package.
If I sound like I’m hedging bets here and there, it’s because submitting a master is only the first step in a process which is mostly out of my hands. I won’t switch the ‘pre-order’ link on GETLAMP.COM to ‘order’ until copies are sitting in my house, waiting for the chance to be mailed out. Similarly, I won’t activate the alternative payment links (like Kagi and Amazon) until same. So you’ll know when I have the stuff in my possession because all those links will activate and I’ll start selling orders in earnest in a lot more methods of payment.
OK, I lied. I’m able to take a moment to explain this:
There’s a lot going on here.
All the bonus features have the time after them, so you know what you’re getting into. I resolved to not force spoilers on the viewer: the responses to this have ranged from “lol 30 year spoilers” to “thank you”, with the average more up in the “thank you” territory, so it was worth the effort.
The titles themselves are designed not to be spoilers. They’re also described as major or minor, and what they’re spoiling, so you can watch all you want.
This is the last update before the ISOs go to the duplicator. There’s just no time.
What’s going on now is a final flurry of transcription, edits, renders, fact-checking, and laying down of menus, slides, data, and what have you into the two ISOs that will be sent to the dupers and turned into the DVDs.
The packaging is sitting in a warehouse, awaiting the DVDs. The final shrink-wrapped pages will then be sent in massive sets of boxes. The last time I had this happen, it looked like this.
Ideally, Ideally, I can be selling these things at the upcoming DEFCON conference, where there’s a showing. It’s looking like I’ll be at the Classic Gaming Expo, which is the same weekend in the same city. I will not have copies for physical sale at HOPE or Readercon, where I am having showings this month as well.
The thing is, I absolutely refuse, by honor, to not sell a single physical copy until all pre-ordered copies are shipped. Same with the coin numbers, which will go out as the same numbers as received orders. If I can’t pull that off, no sales until it is pulled off.
Things are snapping together fast. Almost done. Talk soon.