Hazelnut Bastille, a 16bit Indie Adventure

Created by Aloft Studio

Hazelnut Bastille is a topdown, Zelda-like ARPG, presented in a rigorously-period 16 bit style. Hazelnut is available to back again for a limited time. Our expectation is for orders to be charged when Dawnthorn, the 8-bit sister game to Hazelnut is first released to backers.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Late Backing Success, Nintendo Switch work, Dawnthorn Boss work update
almost 4 years ago – Fri, May 24, 2019 at 03:21:21 AM

Ok, so I was sort of holding off on an update until we accumulated a few big and tangible things, but too much time passed, and we do have a collection of medium-scale stuff to report at least! 

Late backing Success 

On April 3rd, 2019, we launched our late backing program for Hazelnut, which gives folks who either missed the original kickstarter, or who needed to pay through a means like Paypal the opportunity to get involved, and at roughly the same reward and cost points. Despite being fairly casual about the campaign, things went quite well in the first 40 days, reaching all the way to 29,000 USD in extra backing, between new backers and backer extensions! We've just about hit our target amount for that campaign, which in our financial figuring was intended to offset some of the slightly underfunded liabilities for the campaign (we thought of the KS and the Paypal system as one unit as we were planning everything in August). Put another way, we've close to zeroed-out, and our known costs are nearly fully offset by funding now. We haven't hit too many financial surprises yet, so at this point our numbers continue to look pretty good.   

I spent more time than I anticipated answering questions and doing customer service for the late backing, and it went a bit over time budgeted, but not terribly so.   

There is a bit of a caveat to explain with this late funding, in that we can't treat the money the same way as the Kickstarter funding, and apply it as needed to costs incurred as we go. It must only be used for costs at the end of development, due to policies Paypal has about crowdfunding.   

Nintendo of America Presentation 

 Based on where we are in development, we are at a point where we need to start integrating the constraints and special needs of the Nintendo Switch platform into our builds.   

The hurdle that we had until recently is that devkits and information related to the Switch are very closely guarded by Nintendo. Nintendo's method of operating is centered around curation and quality control. Their philosophy, as best as I can work, is to offer the customer a very high level of care at every level of their experience, from their customer support, their conscientious first party content, and their selective certification for third party content. Nintendo is also famously tight-lipped about their process for approving third party developers.   

Facing this big and intimidating unknown, and in a position where we must not delay integrating the Switch into our development now, I spent a very large amount of time on our presentation for approval for Switch development- admittedly more time than I expected and budgeted for it. We covered the Studio's history, our personal backgrounds, the development history of Hazelnut, our full development outline and projections, our demographic targets and studies, the relationship of the work with Nintendo's design and content philosophy, major selling points, the mechanics and player experience, quirks of implementation on the Switch, our finance and budgeting, our marketing techniques and projections, a guide to our current media, a collection of past gamespress and influencer coverage, Youtube material, and several other areas. It came out to 40 pages of text and another 50 pages of media, all indexed for easy perusal.

Nintendo liked the presentation, and we've been approved to access Switch development tools and material, as well as the devkits, which is exciting! We can't say a whole lot about it, as there is a deep NDA involved, and it would be easy to say too much without meaning to.   

Switch Development   

Something else that is interesting to note is that our survey is now at 93% reporting, so we have pretty reliable numbers for various things now.   

One surprise is that the percentage of users requesting Switch copies for their rewards is QUITE high... approaching 90%. Going into the campaign, we knew that the Switch community would be the biggest block of interest in the work, but I didn't expect 90%. Seeing those numbers has led us to change how we think about the work; previously, we thought of it as a PC build that would be ported for Switch and PS4. But now I think we have to think of it as a Nintendo Switch game with a PC release and a PS4 port. Some things are the same either way- we are still using the same Unity build, and all the builds are going back to a parent build, but it is a shift in how we think about things.   

Mark is working on refactoring the code base to prepare it for the console builds... basic stuff like how input and menus are handled, how ticks and the event manager function. Now that we know what the Switch's constraint profile looks like, we can finally start on that. It is sort of a moment where some coding tech debt is catching up to us, which is one thing that has contributed to not so much outward content to see recently.   



This section unfortunately echoes, the past few updates.

Still not much to report here; we expected to present the first Hiroki Kikuta track by now,but HK had to spend a bit more time working on “Indivisible” than expected during May (Be sure to check that out, it is looking amazing!), so is only just now starting Hazelnut work. Shannon is in a similar place, but we hope to get a few tracks done together shortly. Crossing fingers! If we do get these in, we might preview them in a mini-update.


Dawnthorn Boss work 

 The biggest area that I've been focused on content-wise is getting the boss material finished for Dawnthorn. We have a pretty full roster there, with 11 main boss encounters, and 6 or so minibosses. I got into a good groove with that work, and decided that it would be good for development pacing for me to do all of these bosses and minibosses at once, over 25 days or so. I know most folks don't like to see too much of the boss material before playing the game, so here is just one (please forgive the "prototypey" presentation):

We've prototyped just a couple (I've been working separately from Mark for a bit, as we focus on individual tasks), but it shouldn't be too much work to hopefully get them all working and integrated soon!   

Hopefully we will start getting to the point of wrapping up Dawnthorn content, so we can start showing more Hazelnut Content updates! There is still a fair bit to do with DT, but we are getting there! 

Late Backing is up, with Paypal Support; Everyone may now use the Survey System
almost 4 years ago – Thu, Apr 04, 2019 at 02:20:30 AM

Late backing and Preorder Store is up at: 

As always, our support email is: 

 Surveys going out 

The April 1st “Smoketest” of the system went over quietly, and revealed no issues.   

240 Users (5%) were selected randomly, and 154 reported after 2 days, for a rate of around 64%. It will probably take weeks or months to get to 90% reporting. Only one of those users asked a question, and it did not seem to point to an underlying issue.  We feel these results are good enough to go ahead with the full launch now. All users should receive notification of the survey, and can use it immediately.   

Most users will have paid exactly the amount that their tier and associated shipping costs. These users don't need to do anything else involving money or payments. The system is setup to handle Addons, so they will go through an interface that shows them credits and payment information, but at the end it will show no additional charges, and result in no charges.     

What to do if you want Addons, or Pre-paid for them 

Some users pre-paid for extra items during the Kickstarter. A common thing was to pay the 50 USD and shipping for additional physical copies. For these users, the system will notice that the user overpaid for their tier, and will credit them the additional money. The user then is given the opportunity to apply the credit toward the Addons they want.   

Other users may have paid exactly what their tier costs, but they would like to take the opportunity to purchase Addons now. These users will pay the balance of the extra cost via either Paypal or Stripe.   

The system is setup in a way where it should only show you Addons which make sense given what tier you chose. For instance, someone at a very high tier doesn't see most of them, because they already have the majority, but such a person still has the choice to buy additional copies, digital and physical.   

Late Backing, Paypal, and Pre-order store 

People who did not, or could not support the Kickstarter now have an opportunity to do so through a system that is called the “Pre-order store”. A common problem in some countries is not having access to a credit-card or debit card with credit-like features, which is a requirement for Kickstarter. These users generally prefer Paypal.   

We wanted to offer a Paypal option during the campaign, but the complexity of setting it up and having the necessary legal paperwork to do it properly took much longer to complete, so we combined it with the Addon and survey system; we are there now: we can officially offer a Paypal option for payments.   

In this sense, the Pre-order store is also our late-backing and Paypal alternative.   

Paypal, Stripe payment

We have two options available for payments for Addons, late-backers, and “Pre-orders”. Stripe is the system which Kickstarter also uses to process payments. We've set the system to plan to charge these payments around the time Dawnthorn (the 8bit-sister game we are working on alongside Hazelnut)  should have been released for our HB backers.

We believe you should not be charged until that moment, but we don't yet have confirmation on that.   

From the Smoketest, users selecting Paypal seem to be charged immediately, and we have already received these payments.   

 What is available for Addons, late-backers and Pre-orders

 Here is the list of what is offered:  

  •  Name in credits, 5 USD 
  •  Digital Copy of Hazelnut, 15 USD 
  •  OST, 5 USD 
  •  Sheet music, 5 USD 
  •  Artbook, 5 USD 
  •  Alpha, Beta, Second copy, 35 USD 
  •  Physical copy, 50 USD  
  •  Deluxe Package (identical with 100 USD tier), 100 USD


The logic behind offering these specific items, is that we have to carefully serve three audiences at once, in a way that doesn't confuse any of them, and is fair to four unique users.   

There is the backer who wants an Addon: this user should have access to Addons at logical cost that don't duplicate things they already paid for.   

There is the later backer: this user should have access to the same sorts of things offered during the Kickstarter, while not having to pay extra for them.   

The Pre-order person is similar.

Also important is that the normal Kickstarter backer not be disadvantaged by a superior deal offered afterward.   

Since the Pre-order and Addons system also share items, we had to set it up in a way where there wasn't confusion between an upgrade item and a standalone. For this reason, we made choices like bundling the Alpha, Beta, and a Single Copy together. This way, a person who got that item isn't advantaged over a normal backer in having access to the game without having purchased a digital copy, yet the same item still functions as a logical Addon to a 15 or 20 USD backer, and a standalone.   

It was a small challenge figuring out a fair way to do this, and I scrapped several systems before arriving at this setup... the problem most of them had was that I felt they would confuse a normal user with too many options and result in hundreds of tickets and mistakes.   

This system seems both fair and straightforward to me.

 Further Questions 

So at this point, the system has no revealed issues. But that doesn't mean it doesn't have any! If you hit something unexpected, and you've carefully re-read everything several times, go ahead and send me an email at:

You can also ask a question right here in this update topic, if it is something that applies to lots of people.   

Keep in mind it is me personally answering these, so if I have to spend a week answering 1200 questions, that is lost dev time of course, but if absolutely necessary, I am here to answer them, and will answer every one as always.   

Some users will have some advanced thing they did with their order (man, I don't even want to say what some of these users did, to give others ideas about how to make our job impossible, hehe), but if you are such a person, go ahead and send me an email that explains your special situation. If the interface doesn't look like it is setup to handle your case (it handles around 98%+ of the cases, so think carefully!), go ahead and send me an email that describes your special situation, and I will enter a manual note for your account based on the info.   

If you are such a person, THIS is the time to tell me about your case, even if you did in the past, since this is when I am recording the special notes! I estimate there are about 10-20 of you guys.     

How long will this stuff be up? 

You've got quite a while on the surveys. Pretty much until Dawnthorn ships really. Even after you enter your info, you can change it, as it isn't really going to hurt anything.   

Especially important to note is that you can change your address up until we ship Hazelnut copies, so don't sweat it if you move! There are 5000 of you, so it is only natural some will move.   

We will have the Addons and Pre-order stuff up for at least a month, to give late backers the same shot to get on board. Some of the Addons will probably disappear over time, like the Alpha-Beta item, so if you are someone who pre-paid for Addons, better to get your survey and order done early to have the largest number of choices; but that said, most of the things that make sense for actual KS backers to get as Addons will be around a while probably.

Here are a couple gratuitous Dawnthorn videos... content update coming soon!


Let me know if you guys run into any issues! 

This has been an awesome group so far... keep it up!


"SmokeTest" of Survey and Late backing launched
about 4 years ago – Tue, Apr 02, 2019 at 01:51:48 AM

This update is mostly a heads up! Also, this update is NOT an April fools joke, hehe; for that refer here: 

So at this point, the system we have for collecting surveys, handling late backing, addons, and pre-orders is up and running! 

We've sent the system to 250 users to test out, to check for bugs, oversights, and user experience issues. If all goes well, we should have it up for everyone to use shortly after... maybe within a week? 

There is a 5% chance you've received an invite to use the system, so if that happens, that is what is up here! 

If you run into an issue with the system, let us know! Email, KS messages, or this update topic are all fine places! 

When everything looks good, we'll have another update to give some background info on that system, and then we can FINALLY be done mentioning it every update!

Happy April Fools, guys!

Dawnthorn Content Update, Accounting Hijinx, and Suvey/Latebacker/ Addon Solution Progress
about 4 years ago – Thu, Mar 07, 2019 at 12:55:10 AM

Ok, New update on what we've been up to for the last month! It went a bit differently than the planned content I mentioned last time, so here is what went down: 

 Title Screen Candidate for Dawnthorn

Content-wise, I began work this month with the intention to finish several dungeons. A bit of time was lost due to investigasting some accounting issues described below, and then the design was further delayed by finding a couple editor bugs which were making level design tricky. Mark fixed these bugs in the next build of the project, alongside some content and mechanics updates, but in the meantime I did alternative work on other aspects of the game meant to happen later. 

One of these is work on a possible concept version of the title screen: 

You can probably see the Crystalis reference without too much work, hehe. I will probably make at least one more concept for the titlescreen... another idea I'd like to try is one with a bit smaller title, which is more landscape-centric like the current HB title screen. 

 Character Design

We added a few enemy characters to our roster, and I also realized that you guys have probably never seen the full list yet, so here it is! 

We are actually going to offer the higher tier contributers the opportunity to also design a Dawnthorn enemy (in addition to their Hazelnut Enemey), and one of those folks already got started early, with a super-cute and clever concept we can't wait to show later. 

Something I also worked on for a bit is some sprites for the 7 Soup sages (Amaro, Del Mare, Mela, Peperoncina, Limonata Dulce, and Fungi), and some of the copious number of NPCs we have in DT! 


I spent a bit of time collecting information and references for Hiroki Kikuta's full composition history. I've tried to listen to everything he has created over the years, to get a feel for his strengths, interests, personal inclinations, and common patterns. After this little exercise, I think I have a pretty clear picture for how to best integrate his services and skill set. We are about to get Kikuta-San started with a track for Hazelnut Bastille; our expectation is for this to be a boss-encounter track, since it should be the easiest, low-pressure prompt to establish a feel for that working relationship.    

Shannon is currently working on some tracks for Dawnthorn. Her schedule has always been tricky, since she balances a lot of interesting commissions and gigs, but the results should be great when they are next available, and we can't wait to present some new examples!   

 Dungeon Design

After the build update that fixed the editor issue, I got back to work on DT dungeons. We are currently polishing all of the game systems that make for a smooth dungeon experience, but the layout itself I started for level 3 seems in a decent place so far:

The colored paths describe when various rooms are available to traverse, from Red, to Purple, to Blue, to Cyan. Keys and item acquition continually open up new branches, but at every point the player needs to have the opportunity to have multiple options available, to give the sense of exploration, rather than on-rails progression.

I have created a path with introduces enemies in a logical sequence, and allows for multiple paths for completion, while still not subverting the necessary order to encounter certain ramping experiences like puzzles. The enemies themselves are still being tuned a bit. The boss also remains to be created.

Here is the current art view: 

I think we will start seeing some video from the dungeon when it is in better shape (and also some alpha-opportunities, finally).   

Future dungeons will be MUCH faster, now that issues that every dungeon shares are being worked on.


 Accounting Adventures 

Accounting issues were a bigger time sink than expected in February. This is a long and verbose discussion, and you can skip to the next heading if that sort of thing isn't for you! 

I found it more challenging than expected to find a well-fitting accountant, since experience with small-business and startup techniques is apparently uncommon. The majority that I spoke to didn't seem to have a clear, immediate plan for how to approach our case. I researched and interviewed local accountants for around 4 days or so, and finally settled on a decent choice. She interviewed well, had solid answers for our pressing questions, and had a logical plan for approaching the tax situation we have. 

Unfortunately, that went a bit sour only an hour later. After I left her office, she phoned back to say that her plan wouldn't work at all, and that she believed we owed very high taxes on all of the money immediately.   

Now before going into KS, I had gotten a bit of advice on what to expect in terms of taxes, so we could properly plan for it. We were told to defer the income for 2 years, and deduct our operating expenses from it. Now our liabilities for producing the two titles are around 135,000 USD, so that means there would only be the expectation of paying taxes on around 20,000 profit left over when all the services and rewards are paid for. Further, it was suggested that we should elect for S-corp style taxation, which avoids the need to pay the majority of self-employment taxes for social security and medicare on most of the KS income. More on that later.   

The accountant that we retained, despite also offering consulting services, over a couple weeks slowly told us that she would be more-or-less unable to consult during tax time after asking only a couple questions, and had just flat out rejected our pre-KS plan on about 4 grounds. This left us in a very tight spot, since overtime it became more and more clear that there would be no way to resolve our critical issues between our differences in expectation and alignment, and our critical communication issue.   

During this time, with no one filling the consulting role, I took about 5-6 days and studied the tax code and regulations for every condition, stipulation, and technique that applied to us. I also consulted with other accountants to verify my research, so I could form a legally justified plan with precedent on my own. Here is ultimately what I found: 

Gift Status: something that applies to a lot of KS income is the concept of “donation without the expectation of commensurate reward”; this means giving a pledge without expecting something in return for at least part of the money. It can be argued that any of the tiers we have where the retail value of the combined items is a bit lower than the tier, that the difference is “donation” status. Our issue here though is that every tier we have offers rewards, and the IRS would argue the most aggressive retail value for all of them. For instance, it would argue that a digital copy was worth 59.99, despite our protests about the context of indie, and traits of individual games that make the assignment of value more logical to people in this field. We were advised to abandon this technique.   

Deferment: This is a big one that we have available to us, as mentioned above. It is a critical tool that we need to use, and which was a part of the pre-KS planning. Effectively we have the right to defer the money for 2 years, and deduct expenses, before the money is declared personal profit and taxed as pass through income on personal taxes. A big issue though is that we were unfortunately paid in 2018, with 15 days left in the year. This ate up an entire tax year, meaning that normally we would now only be able to defer until the end of 2019. This leaves us with the critical problem of the 65,000 or so that needs to be paid to manufacture the physical copies, and the 10,000 meant for translations. This won't be able to be paid until 2020, so that means we would pay full taxes on 75,000 USD meant for production before we get to spend it. There is another tool available though which has the potential to mitigate this issue: 

Fiscal Year: Sometimes businesses which have some extreme asymmetry in how they take in and pay out money are permitted to assign their own tax year. This asymmetry definitely applies to us, and the best case implementation would be assigning a fiscal year that began in December of 2018, and ends December first of the next. This would allow us to have the normal benefit of 2 full years to defer taxes and deduct expenses. There are tricky stumbling blocks to applying this, like stipulations about personal taxes and traits of the business itself that can be used to disqualify an attempt to do this, but the more of the tax code I read, the more I got the impression that it is full of vague definitions and loopholes designed to be exploited by corporate accountants who are aware of them.   

S-corp election: This is another important situation that applies to us. As in the name, Aloft Studio LLC, is a Limited Liability Company, which is an entity where operating profits pass through as income to the personal taxes of the members. An important feature of this, is that this money is considered self-employment, meaning that 15.3% taxes are imposed for the purpose of social security and medicare. Now LLCs have the strange ability to elect to be taxed as though they are S-corps. This has a few effects. It negates the need to pay self-employment taxes on normal disbursements to a member (meaning less of the money is lost due to being declared profit on a member's tax returns due to ownership), but it also creates a tricky need to pay “reasonable salaries” to members. This exists because the IRS does not want the S-corp tax election to be used as a tool to avoid self-employment taxes, paradoxically.   

The stipulation of “reasonable salary” is that members are expected to be paid a salary which is subject to self-employment taxes, which is what a fair market employee would make if asked to perform that member's role. Now there also seems to be a caveat for that caveat, however. “Reasonable Salary” also applies to the condition of the business itself. Salaries which, if imposed would push the business deep into the red are not expected as reasonable. For instance, it may be declared that a fair market rate for a position is 70,000 USD. But if the business is already operating in the red, this expectation is waived to a very large degree, since it would harm the business' solvency and thus be "unreasonable". 

A strange tool which is recognized to apply in this case as a precedent is a 1:10 ratio. This states that when a business like a startup is on unprofitable grounds, a salary of only 1/10th the ratio of non-self-employment taxed-disbursements to a member is expected.   

Outcome: After spending the time to further learn the intricacies of the tax code that applied to us, and eventually concluding that our accountant was not going to properly serve our needs, we moved on from her, and took on a new accountant. This individual has  been helpfully answering questions and consulting for us while we struggled with our other choice, has a knowledge base that fully checked out which what could be gleaned from the tax code, and is available to continue regular and timely consulting, which is a great improvement over our past situation there. We decided together that S-corp election applies to our case, and are in the process of doing that now. Since the conditions for declaring a personal fiscal year are fairly complex, we haven't worked out yet if we will be able to do that, but hopefully that avenue will be open to us as well!   

Thankfully we are in a much better place now than we started, with accounting services. 

 Surveys, Late Backing, and Addons

We have completed the process of paperwork for Backerkit, and our licensing and tax permits that are required to handle the income from this source are now up to date and renewed. There was a longer road than expected in reaching these prerequisites, but we are now ready for it. The next step is to test the survey system and addons with a small group, called a “smoke test”.  I will try to get to this after I finish my current personal task, which is now a small commission. My expectation now is it will be less than a month before the full user-base can use this system, but I still don't want to make any promises about exact times in case more unexpected (or expected?)  blocks come up.   


I hope you guys enjoyed this update and its content, and we are right on the verge of offering some pretty exciting looks at it all in the form of video soon! We are still working out how we will distribute the Alpha content to that tier for Dawnthorn, and if we choose to use Steam to distribute it, it will delay things by a bit, but at any rate that is on the horizon!

As always, let us know of your thoughts and concerns!

Dawnthorn Update and General Progress
about 4 years ago – Sat, Jan 19, 2019 at 01:16:39 AM

Dawnthorn progress

We took a good 2 weeks to recover from Kickstarter, and we've been at work since then!

After getting general business / accounting / LLC stuff addressed, and sorting out the surveys and paypal system, and some internal planning documents, the main area of the actual project content which has received attention so far is the Overworld, gameplay sequence, and enemy set for Dawnthorn; we have also been making the basic auxiliary systems for DT not yet in place, such as scripts to manage the menus, scene transitions, systems like shops, global variable tracking, boss managers, mapping systems, etc.   

We also made preliminary changes to the basic DT engine that will allow us to integrate future possible game modes mirroring HB, such as harder difficulties, second quests, and the randomizer, since these are better planned as engine features from the start, than added later should there be sufficient player demand for them. This system will also help us more rapidly integrate this capability into HB as well.

 The current worldmap for Dawnthorn is currently available to view as well (granted without our notes that would spoil too much at this stage): 

The current overworld map for Dawnthorn, sans notes! Click through for larger view!
The current overworld map for Dawnthorn, sans notes! Click through for larger view!

In scale... it is maybe roughly 110% the scale of the LoZ world map, and is absolutely overflowing with secrets to uncover, over 60 so far with 5-6 distinct types.

The map will probably see changes in the future of course; spaces are experienced differently from within than they are in survey like this; certain walls and gaps may be changed to re-route the flow of the player through the world, but major bones of the experience seem to be well in place. Progress through this map is tied to obtaining the dungeon items, and a few minor story items.   

The player can visit almost every location from the very start, but they will probably find most of it soft-blocked due to enemy intensity, lack of stats, and needing to take very circuitous routes that get simpler the more items the player obtains (think of the ease which the step ladder from LoZ gave the player in reaching the top sections of that map, as opposed to routing through the "Lost Woods"). 

Once we do another pass over the current enemy set and the items, we should have a good package for alpha folks to test the basic features for DT.

Impromptu concept session for the Hazelnut Heroine

You probably remember Gary Yeung  ( )from his winning fanart contest entry.

  This is a neat series of exchanges which wasn't planned, but happened when he decided to do a low-poly character model for fun, and needed a bit of information to get started.

A full body concept of the current heroine has not been done for a while (all the previous are a bit out of date), so we  had the spontaneous exchange one night playing with particulars of the heroine's covered middle-layer garment: Gary sent over an initial concept; I did a quick paint-over to suggest what my most recent concept for the heroine was, and then he took it and did a really cute full rendering that merited sharing:

My little paint-over from Gary's initial idea
My little paint-over from Gary's initial idea
Gary's rendering in response to the paint over
Gary's rendering in response to the paint over

Surveys and Paypal service, addons 

  In the past, we mentioned to expect these imminently, and we apologize for the delay there. Ultimately, we first decided shortly after the KS closed that we would wait for the new year to have the paypal and late backing for maximum tax deferral (to give time for expenses to be charged against this income), and we would have the surveys out shortly. Our intention was to create an app through our website which could handle a more comprehensive survey than the KS, and allow for revisions.

As we were preparing to implement these, we spoke to the folks at Backerkit one last time. We had already decided against Backerkit, because we deemed their payment model to be incompatible with our special case, because it would have been more cost effective for us to build our own system. They kindly offered us a different payment model (we can't really go into the specifics) that better fit our case, so they became our solution after all.   

We've already built the surveys, and the system that Backerkit uses to handle campaign addons / late backing / pre-orders, but we have one other hitch still; our past concept for the survey and addon app would have allowed us to release them separately, but based on the Backerkit system, how they run things, and our particular case, it would be better to combine their release, because certain users will encounter problems otherwise (the ones who had “soft” addons integrated into their KS pledges by making multiple pledges at once).   

  The main thing delaying the addon system right now is our need to have a means to legally collect sales tax for the state of Virginia; there is a chain of things that has to be completed in order to allow this: the business address has to be run through the local zoning commission at the start of every year, but there was some issue with collecting sales tax from the current address, so a virtual office space needed to be established; this address, once it passes zoning, will then be used to re-apply for the yearly business license, and then allow us to apply for our online commerce license, which will allow us to finally collect sales tax for Virginia, and thus legally start up the survey-addon amalgamation through backerkit. All of this is somehow separate from the LLC registration, because business in the US is fun.

Future updates 

  I've hit a bit of a snag myself, and ended up with a tasty medical bill I need to pay down, so I need to take a good 10 days or so out to focus on commission income to balance out costs for that surgery (nothing super serious, but this is America, so of course anything medical-related has to be $$$); after that period, we should make some pretty rapid visible progress on Dawnthorn (as opposed to under the hood / planning) and hopefully get some gameplay footage from inside, and start the dungeon work!

  After all the “coming super soon”s with the survey-paypal combo, I don't want to jinx it too hard, but it seems like there shouldn't be any hangups once the new address gets approved, and lets the chain of prerequisites uncoil a bit more! I think we are also nearing the time when folks who pledged for alpha level can join us with Dawnthorn and get some feedback for DT's core systems, so that is also something to look forward to! 

As always, let us know if you have any questions about how things are going!