When Dragon Federation thought about the impossible task of bringing Dragons to life we were faced with many questions.
- Are we a pet or are we a game?
- Are we hand-made or are we mass produced?
- Are we for every user or are we for a select audience?
- Are we limited or unlimited?
- Are we what people expect or are we the unexpected?
We are difficult to classify and compare, and that is by design. We have discussed internally and publicly what the current state of VR and AR is and it is not what we are trying to be.
The truth is Dragon Federation was started because nobody was creating games or experiences for mixed reality platforms the way we wanted to experience them.
Let's dive into the thought process and creation of the egg.
"If we are making real dragons we have to have a physical product that you can hold, share, cuddle... And it has to feel real, be very satisfying."
That was the immediate conversation surrounding this experience. Let's break the planes of reality. So we went to the hobby store and got clay, wood, and foam and got sculpting. We didn't start modeling in 3d. We sat down, with my kids, and begin shaping, carving, baking and painting.
The initial attempts were as follows...
Nothing we would sell, but definitely a strong proof of concept.
We quickly realized that what we wanted to accomplish with our eggs is to be better than what is currently available. That means we need to outdo the $50 Game of Thrones egg. Furthermore, how do we compete with the artisan etsy eggs that can fetch upwards of $500 per egg?
When we began our Kickstarter last year, our experience was jeopardized with conflicting views of our financial partners of what an MVP (minimal viable product) and what we wanted to release. Yes, we need to be profitable so we can continue to create and innovate, and no we didn't want to be the money hoarding-lifesucking-dividend-paying corporate greed machine like so many other business in the marketplace.
We were not going to make an injection molded-plastic egg that could compete with Hatchimal and other throw away consumer products.
In fact, those are the pieces of the equation that lead to us shutting down the Kickstarter and shedding the pursuit of early equity funding.
Afterall, you all spoke loud and clear - "Take your time. We will gladly wait for you to get it right then rush the product and have it be disappointing."
Frankly, we couldn't agree more.
We started experimenting with different materials and processes, which led us down the road of several iterations with various types of materials.
High density foam blocks to...
The results were stunning yet we still were not there yet.
We have been striving to achieve a level of realism that is the manifestation of our story, which would feel and look like years of heat, weather, and pressure would create. A petrified egg that could last throughout time, yet still be able to hatch a baby dragon.
Then after the hatch, the egg would still be a work of art to be displayed proudly.
So we again got back to work.
Last year we we shipped our early prototypes to our tester group. These were a combination of milling, handworking, finishing and painting.
To get the correct feel and weight we even added materials to the inside that would mimic organics.
And the end result was much closer to what we wanted to see in a finished product...
But we still weren't satisfied. So back to the drawing board.
We wanted something with the sub surfacing you'd see in prehistoric ice. We wanted the blue and white eggs to feel and look like this.
And we've arrived to a couple of conclusions...
The materials have to have translucency
The materials and process have to be layered
The composition has to include different pieces of materials
The egg still needs to be finished without seams and integrated ways to self identify with technology for every user without interrupting the overall experience.
For those that work in the field of manufacturing, tech and composites may know how complicated this is. For those that don't, well this is why we are writing this post.
So back to work, testing layered fiberglass and pigmented resins.
Which led to this...
Then adding a touch of earth and other natural materials...
Which finished like this...
Now we are getting somewhere!
But we still aren't there. Another hypothesis, using silicone and a two separate processes and eggs to be combined to create this...
Now we are very close.
The final egg mold has been printed and today we are pouring the mold. Next week we are casting the first prototype of the production series.
Pending a successful cast, and validation, we will beginning shipping the new egg to the testers.
Pending the successful rating via our tester evaluation we will begin manufacturing and shipping all the pre-order eggs.
This Mountain Skal clutch will be labeled like pieces of artwork. Validating the rarities and limited availability in the marketplace. What does that mean... really?
There will never be another 1st series clutch ever again!
Does that mean it's worth the price in both patience and monitarilly to you? What a great question, one that only you can answer.
It does, however, mean to us at Dragon Federation, that it is worth the price of our effort to get it right!
We are not fast.
We are not immune to the feedback we hear.
We are a small team.
We are growing.
We are passionate.
We are artists.
We love what we are doing.
Afterall, if it's not something we would buy, why would we think you would?
And If it doesn't meet the standard and alignment of our vision then why would we release it?
One thing to keep in mind after reading this. If we've gone through the pain, delays, and criticism to get here on the eggs. What do you think we are doing on the programming side?
Read the last blog post "A Walk In The Dragon Realm" to even start to understand.
Many times we take for granted that you understand the delays, but many of you are not on the inside track, and those that are still don't have the full story.
Please keep in mind before a couple of weeks ago we were a team of 4 doing most of this work. Creating a life and world is a HUGE undertaking and we are all up to the task.
We thank you for your continued support, we truly couldn't do this without you.
See you in the clouds.