📚 Alba - an Open World Adventure Book 📚

Created by Inside the Box

An innovative branching narrative gamebook, set in a desolate post-apocalyptic world. How will your journey end?

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Chapter 20...
6 months ago – Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 02:01:29 AM

Hello, Explorers!

A quick update on the BackerKit! Everything is in and sorted on our end, and we’re expecting them to approve it by the end of their day today, given the maximum amount of time the approval process can take. Since BackerKit is based in the USA and we’re based in the UK, that means it should be approved in the next 8-10 hours.

As soon as the BackerKit has been approved, we’ll be sending out the smoke test, and shortly thereafter we’ll be pressing go on the entire project, meaning you’ll have access to your digital rewards and can confirm shipping!


Team Inside the Box x

Chapter 19...
6 months ago – Wed, Mar 24, 2021 at 07:36:57 PM

Hello Explorers!

As we said last week, this past Friday we received the final artwork for the book, and also the final edit by our wonderful proofreader!

Our talented Art Director Liam has been hard at work making all the changes necessary to the digital files, which we’ll be putting in BackerKit. This means you’ll be able to download it directly, pretty much as soon as you get the email. Although there weren’t any major changes to the text, there were a lot of small ones (things like commas being inconsistently used over other punctuation, like my beloved semicolon).

There’s a bit more to do than we had expected, but Liam is an absolute powerhouse and should be finished this Friday.

Once we have these files, we’ll be putting them directly into BackerKit and ready to launch from our end. BackerKit will then confirm that the project is good to go, and start sending out emails.


When will I get an email from BackerKit?

Once we’ve pressed go for launch, BackerKit can take up to 2 days to verify prior to launch. We’ve asked them to approve Alba as quickly as possible, so it shouldn’t take that long, but we want to make sure you know the worst case scenario.

Once BackerKit has approved us for launch, it will send out a “Smoke Test”. A random 5% of backers from each pledge level will get access to their survey before everyone else (approximately 500 of you wonderful humans, assuming I can do maths right). We don’t have control over which backers will get this, it’s just a way to catch any errors in the surveys before we send them out to everyone.

Once we’ve confirmed that everything looks good, BackerKit will send out the rest of the surveys to everyone else - this should start within 24 hours of the smoke test going out. These surveys will either be sent out to the rest of you wonderful backers at the same time, or an additional 5000 people per day, depending on how many other projects are launching on BackerKit that day.

Our next update will be confirming the launch of the Smoke Test on BackerKit, so you know when to expect your surveys! We’re expecting this to be no later than Monday 29th March - it’s a bit later than we initially anticipated, but everyone should have access to the BackerKit by the end of the month!


I won a competition during the campaign. Will I have access to BackerKit like everyone else?

You sure will! We’ll be manually registering all prize winners into BackerKit with the pledge level that was won, and adding credit equivalent to shipping to whatever country you need it shipped to. If you have an active pledge as well as won a prize, it may not show up immediately in BackerKit. Don’t worry, we’ll be sorting this out as soon after we launch as possible!


In other news…

Now that we have the final text for the book sorted out, our talented voice artist Rob is ready to start recording! In our last update we mentioned that he had recorded the first chapter, which sounded absolutely amazing, but um… yeah, we didn’t think about the text changes from the proof reader! Oops >.<

Luckily, there’s minimal changes to be made to that chapter, so he’s cracking on with the changes to Chapter 1 and moving forward with the other chapters!

Our Media Maestro Lawrence has also finished all the chapter animations (HYPE) and is ready to give direction to Rob as he sees fit - we’ll probably be a bit quiet on that front for the next update or two while we get the recordings in and start approving the work or asking for revisions.

For now, we’ll leave you with a parting gift of one of the special edition chapter illustrations from Marco - can you guess what happens?

Team Inside the Box x 

Chapter 18...
6 months ago – Wed, Mar 17, 2021 at 12:06:59 AM

Hello, Explorers!

Sorry for keeping you in the dark for the last month - rest assured, although we haven’t put out an update, there’s been a lot going on behind the scenes!

Almost all illustrations have been completed, with the final few expected to be finished this Friday. Marco has truly outdone himself with these, and we’ll be sharing some of them in the next few updates! Here are a few to tide you over!

Also happening this Friday, we’re expecting to hear back from our proofreader - although the book’s gone through editing twice already, we want to make sure it’s as perfect as possible before it gets to you. 

From what they’ve said so far, there are no major changes, so assuming they and Marco both get back to us on Friday, we should have the final, edited version of the book ready this time next week!

Once the final version of the book is done, we’ll be ready to launch the BackerKit! Apart from putting in your address and paying for shipping, BackerKit is where you’ll be able to access the digital downloads that are included in each pledge (hello, instant access to the ebook!) - it’s also where you’ll be getting the app code for when that’s up and running. If you haven’t used BackerKit before, don’t worry - we’ll be putting out another update alongside the launch that’ll walk you through how to use it!


The BackerKit will be open until fulfilment starts - if you end up moving between now and when we start sending out books in November, you’ll have plenty of time to change your address!

Things are also moving along for Dagger’s Dagger pledges - we’re still finalising the bookplate design, but the posters have been printed and sent to Marco to sign. Once he’s done with the final illustrations, he’ll begin!


What about the app?

We hear you! We’ve got a good, clear idea of what the app will look like and have sent that to our development partners. At the moment, a lot of progress has been made on the backend, largely in making sure all accounts will be secure. Once that’s done, proper development of the app will begin!

While we’re waiting on the app development, our media man Lawrence has been doing an amazing job animating the chapter illustrations - all completed illustrations have had at least a basic animation made, and most of them are completed.

They are looking quite spectacular, and although we can’t post them here (for some reason, any time we’ve tried to post gifs in a Kickstarter update, it ends up still), they are looking fire 🔥.


We’ve also started to get some audio back from our talented voice artist, Rob! We should have the entire first chapter recorded by the end of this week, and once we’ve given him some direction, he’ll start cracking on with the rest of the chapters. Since this is going to be a particularly large undertaking, we’re not sure when it’ll be finished, but we’ll keep you updated!


Expect another update from us in about a week alongside the launch of the BackerKit, and after that, we’ll be aiming for updates every month, or more frequently if we have something important to say!


Team Inside the Box 📚

Chapter 17...
7 months ago – Fri, Feb 05, 2021 at 09:41:24 PM

Hello Explorers!

First and foremost, thank all of you for an absolutely stellar campaign! Thanks to your help, we absolutely smashed all of our stretch goals, we knocked most of the achievements out of the park, had some truly spectacular entries to our writing competitions, and (arguably most importantly) ended the campaign with an extremely satisfying number of backers - 10301. Who doesn’t like palindromes?

Last night, we managed to unlock yet another achievement by having more than 500 people like the Open World Adventure Books Facebook page, meaning we unlocked the first set of ending illustrations as art cards! Although we didn’t officially meet the other two achievements for art cards, we’ve decided to unlock them anyways - meaning every art card set will come with ALL chapter illustrations, including all ending illustrations! If you haven’t added it yet, you’ll be able to add them in the pledge manager - that’s nearly 50 art cards! 😱

Over the course of the campaign, we also managed to get a total of 76 entries to our Prologue writing competitions! This was an absolutely amazing turnout, and we wanted to once again thank everyone who participated and congratulate everyone who won - including our four most recent winners, Sigfrid Östberg, Charmaine, charlottetrayner, and Michael! If you’d like to check out their entries, please see our final prologue update “Prologue part 4”, which was also posted today.

Since we’ve now officially finished the campaign, we can share a bit more about our planned timeline moving forward!

The next steps

First thing’s first, Kickstarter will be collecting any active pledges from all you wonderful backers! This should happen over the next couple of weeks, so please make sure your payment details are correct - if they aren’t, your pledge will be cancelled (not charged) and you won’t have access to Kickstarter pricing once we launch Backerkit.

We’re aiming to launch the Backerkit sometime in early- or mid-March - you’ll be able to update or upgrade your pledges, set your address and pay for postage, and maybe even add some extra add-ons to your pledge. Backerkit has a really nifty function which allows us to upload files, and will allow you to download them directly - which is pretty amazing!

This means that as soon as the Backerkit launches, you will be able to access and download the Alba ebook(s) that you have ordered.

Backerkit will close a couple of weeks before we begin fulfilment in any region - which should happen sometime in November of this year. This will give you plenty of time to make sure your address is correct, and we’ll send out multiple reminder emails. These emails, by default, will go to whatever email address is linked to your Kickstarter account, so please check it regularly!

**Please note - we operate on a no questions asked refund policy, meaning that if you would like a refund at any point between the end of the campaign and fulfilment of your pledge, we will refund your entire pledge. If you would like to cancel a physical pledge after you have claimed your ebook, we will refund you the cost of the physical components of your pledge, not the entire amount**

That’s basically all we’ll need from you between now and when we fulfill your pledge! We, on the other hand, are going to be extremely busy the next few months.


Our ever-talented artist Marco is currently hard at work on the ending illustrations, cleaning up a couple of the main chapter images that he wasn’t 100% happy with, and doing a few extra images set in and around Alba, to be included with the books. Once he’s done with those, we’ll be sending him the posters he’ll need to sign for all the Dagger’s Dagger pledges, well in advance of fulfilment so he can send them back to us! Those of you who grabbed the Map Print are in for a treat, as we’re adding a bunch of extra art prints to that pack!

Here's a mock up of Alba's Main Character Art Card!

Our resident writer Harley has already written all they need to write, so they get to sit back and relax… until we send them all the Dagger’s Dagger bookplates for them to sign.

Our media guru Lawrence is currently hard at work animating the completed chapter illustrations for the app, after which he’ll have the herculean task of editing the audiobook, which work is already starting on with our narrator!

In terms of the book itself, our Art Director Liam will be finalising the digital files ahead of the Backerkit launch, so you get the right files right away. We already have the book laid out, so this is going to be largely reliant on how quickly Marco can finish the ending illustrations and update the chapter images.

While he’s waiting on those files, we’ll be making grammar and continuity edits to the prologue entries, which Liam will compile into the beautiful booklet we’ll be sending with your pledges. He’ll also be finalising the designs for all the print effects and upgrades, setting up print files, and coordinating with our factory, LongPack, about production.

At the moment, it looks like we’ll be sending the files to the factory in early July, and we’ll be getting samples in July and August. Since there’s a lot of different print effects and we want to make sure the book is the best that it can be, we’re planning on there being a fair amount of back and forth on this between us and the factory. That being said, we’re anticipating having an approved sample in early August, which you will undoubtedly be seeing many (many) pictures of.

Once the sample has been approved, we’ll give the factory the greenlight to start mass manufacture! Since we’ll be making the books, recharge packs, and the art cards, we think that mass manufacture will take a bit less than two months - leading us into early October.

Once mass manufacture is completed, the books will get on a ship to the relevant fulfilment centres. This is when we’ll be closing Backerkit, and all orders and addresses will be locked. Based on our experience, this should take a bit less than a month to get to our fulfilment partners, but that is extremely dependent on the state of the world. This should bring us to the end of October or early November.

As soon as the games are with our fulfilment partners, fulfilment will begin. Since we’re splitting fulfilment between multiple different centres, this should take just shy of one month to complete - all non Dagger’s Dagger rewards should be sent out by the end of November.

For those of you who backed or won Dagger’s Dagger pledges, we’ll be fulfilling your pledges direct from the Inside the Box office - this way we can guarantee that everyone’s bookplate, pin, and book numbers match up. Since we’re not a fulfilment centre, we’re expecting this to take a little bit longer, and all pledges should be sent out by December.

**Please keep in mind, this is the timeline as it looks right now - we live in unprecedented times, and things can change**


What about the app?

An excellent question!

We’re hiring an external company to cover development of the app - as multi-talented as we are at Inside the Box, we don’t currently have the capacity to internally develop it, and we want to make sure that you get the best quality product we can deliver as soon as possible. We’ve been in touch with a couple of companies so far, confirming quotes and expectations, and we’re on track to officially start development in early March.

Since it’s going to be developed externally, we can’t give a full step-by-step breakdown of how it will be developed and when, but we’ll be keeping you updated with its progress. At the moment, the estimated completion date for the core (mobile) app is December of this year, and we’re expecting desktop implementation to be completed next March.

That’s all for now! If you’re still here after all that, big thanks to you, and we’ll see you later this month with another update :)


Team Inside the Box 

Prologue Part 4...
7 months ago – Fri, Feb 05, 2021 at 08:51:34 PM

Hello Explorers!

A massive thank you to everyone who entered our third and final week of the prologue competition! As usual, we had some truly stellar entries, and choosing just one winner for each section was not easy.

Without further ado, here are the winners and their winning entries!


Called to boat by Gaia - Sigfrid Östberg

Returning Gaia’s hearty wave of hand, you take a few hurried steps toward the gangplank before slowing down just a bit as the realization washes over you that the journey begins now; this moment of expectant tension and bittersweet goodbyes is the deceptive prelude that will thrust you out into the great unknowns of the Old World. As much as this was something you had wished for as long as you can recall, the actual and physical sensations of treading on the unsteady plank and inhaling the crisp salty breeze fill you with not only nervous anticipation but indistinct, near-nauseating foreboding as well.

“Part and parcel,” you whisper to yourself.

This is no way to set out on the greatest adventure of a lifetime. Whatever awaits out there, it sure beats rotting away in the Vault. An endless sea, a limitless sky. The rest, you’ll take as they come. "Come ye beasts and goblins, I’ll give you a run for your money."

Invigorated by this mental exercise, you look over to Gaia who is now in lively conversation with Viktor (who plays the less lively part in the conversation). Vola had told you that no matter how far you journey from the Vault, you’ll always have a lifeline in your companions. You obviously still have a few rungs to climb before you get to call yourself a weather-beaten explorer, but you nonetheless know enough from the books you’ve read that you should cherish the people you travel with and nurture those relationships. For reasons of safety as well as having people to share the thrills with.

Sail unfurled, it’s nearly time for departure.

The creaking of the boards and the swaying of the boat becomes more noticeable as the wind displays its invisible force. It’s a bit of a strange feeling really. The ground beneath your feet not staying put. You want to join Gaia and Viktor’s discussion, but you find it increasingly hard to ignore the queasiness building inside you. Perhaps it wasn’t just nervosity after all?


Realise you’ll be late and go to the boat - Charmaine

The innards of the Vault blink red as sirens blare, commemorating the opening of the Vault doors. A glaring reminder that you’ve been dawdling for far too long. Cursing yourself, you pull your rucksack forward. No doubt, others will be milling through these halls soon, too. Don’t want to get stuck between them.

You hurry down the corridor, but as you step around the corner, you find they’re already flooded with Vault-dwellers, all excitedly heading one way: the pier. Hugging your bag tightly, you throw yourself into the crowd and are seemingly carried by their flow, making the run much faster.

---

“I’m h--Woah!” You say, carelessly jumping onto the ship’s deck. Luckily for you, the swaying of the ship is not unlike the chain bridges you used for training, and you manage to stay upright.

Something smacks your back, though, causing you to fall over anyway.

“Glad to have you on-board, torpedo legs!” Gaia chortles.

“A torpedo would have gotten here much sooner…” Viktor gruffly replies, crouching out of a small cabin.

“I bet you two rations that if they’d landed any harder, we’d be down with the fishes!”

Viktor grunts in response.

“You, in here.” He commands. You’re not immediately aware who he’s talking to as you’re busy collecting your things. Though, when he notices you still planted on the floor, he sticks a hand out, this time nodding towards your bag.

“Unless you’d fare better with those on the seafloor?” He pulls you up, nods towards the tiny room, and leans out of the way… Or, well, he tries to, but despite his best efforts, you just barely manage to squeeze by.

---

Throwing down your rucksack, you feel the boat rock. Harder than it should have and the clamor from the docks rise. You look outside, but your view is obstructed by your companions’ backs. The sirens and the shouts from the Vault, you notice, slowly drift away.

No, that’s not it. We’re drifting away!

You join Viktor and Gaia on-deck and it hits you now, as you watch the people-filled pier drift out of view, that everyone from the Vault had come out for you. You clench your hands, realizing they’ve been trembling, but why, you don’t know. The boat? The nerves? The excitement?

Viktor firmly grips your shoulder as he moves past you, already inspecting other parts of the ship. You shove your hands into your pocket, hoping the shaking wasn’t too apparent.

“Looks like smooth sailing ahead!” Gaia shouts, gaily from the top of the small cabin. When had she hauled herself up there?

You chuckle, eying your companions, proudly. Just as you had on-stage.

It’s only going to get harder from here, and while it isn’t essential for all of you to get along, it would definitely make the days easier. Then again, you know more than anyone that the Mayor doesn't just send anybody out into the Old World! You’re out here for a reason…


Called to boat by Viktor - charlottetraynor

There it is again, you hear it clearly now: your name being called for the second time today. The voice is flat, almost emotionless; a voice you’d surely become familiar with, eventually learn to trust, maybe even depend on.

You steel yourself, trying to meet the gaze in front of you and give a stoic, silent nod. This was goodbye. This was determination and courage, or at least as much as you can muster in the moment.

Turning hesitantly away, you reach for the door handle; your body automatically going through the motions for you. No need to think, it’s all just unfolding in front of your eyes. You’re leaving.

On the other side of the door your eyes meet Viktor’s. For a second you think you see the same uncertainty in his expression as you’re sure is apparent in your own. Maybe you’re projecting?

In synchronised, comfortable silence you turn and walk at a brisk pace to the dock, trying to keep up with Viktor’s confident strides. Unknowingly, you’ve found yourself 50ft up on the ship’s deck, next to an energetic Gaia. She beams radiantly, waving to the adoring miniature versions of the vault people below.

The Mayor stands on a tall plinth, the largest of the ant people, and begins another impassioned speech. You can’t concentrate, but their final words catch your attention: all eyes are on the three of you now and the atmosphere becomes solemn.

“Our thoughts, hopes and dreams for a new world now rest in the hands of these fine young citizens. Farewell, heroes – may we meet again, in green and fertile lands.”

They always ended with this. You don’t recall ever having seen the previous returning “heroes”.

---------------------------------------------------------------

“I’ll take the top bunk!” Proclaims Gaia, bouncing up to her bed. You smile sheepishly and take the bunk beneath her. Viktor is methodically unpacking and repacking his sparse belongings on the single bed opposite.

Staring through the small porthole above Viktor’s bed you’re lost in the expansive horizon. You can’t have been sailing for long, but the vault is now a distant memory, not even a speck in the distance. The view suddenly vanishes, sky replaced with water, as you lurch forwards, falling to your knees.

“What’s wrong?” You blurt out, “Are we sinking?!” Your stomach floats into your chest as you pull yourself shakily up the sturdy steel bedframe.

“It’s just the boat heeling as the swell evolves,” Viktor says matter-of-factly. This doesn’t settle you, or your stomach… “big waves,” he adds looking at your blank expression. This peaks Gaia’s interest:

“Let’s go!” She motions and you follow up the stairs, now feeling unusually hot and walking like a drunkard.

On deck the air is salty and fresh. Large, moist particles hang in the atmosphere and cling to you. You inhale this dense air deeply, it’s invigorating – you feel alive! You smile widely at Gaia and head determinedly for the bow.


Vola tells you to go to the boat - Michael

“Go on, get going. If you don’t go now, you’re going to be late for your own party” Volas voice cracks a little as she says it, and you actually see a tear in her eye. Unshed, she’s holding it together, but it’s definitely there.

You add your new acquisition to your pack, turning your body away from Vola so she doesn’t notice what you’re putting in there, but more to shield your own eyes away from her. If she’s not going to make this harder on you by shedding tears, then the least you can do for her is the same. You blink them away quickly before turning back to her.

A final hug, squeezing her a little too hard for her frail form, but she squeezes just as hard back. “I’ll miss you” you say and then pull back, turning and walking away so that she doesn’t see the tears that did, finally flow over and trace sad tracks down your cheeks. You’ve said your proper good buys for days ahead of today and discussed already that if you really were one of the chosen, you’d both make this as fast and painless as possible.

You head is too deep in to your past as you board the ship, and your not looking in to the future. You look over at your new crew, Viktor, standing spear straight, looking forward, watching as the ship starts it’s journey. You wonder if he’s feeling the same things you are as you sail and if he’s just better at hiding it. Gaia doesn’t bother to hide her tears. You can see that she’s weeping openly, but also that she’s got a smile on her face as she looks forward, anticipating what’s to come.

You’re the only one who doesn’t seem to be focusing on the mission at the moment, being more concerned with your past. You shake your head a bit to dislodge these thoughts. You’ve been looking forward to this moment ever since you watched the last team leave a year ago. Really, you’ve been looking forward to this for your whole life. You look off to the side of the ship, just moving your face towards the breeze, when you see the mist being blown towards you.

“Gaia, Viktor,” you say, your training starting to take over and your emotions taking a step back away from control. “look over here, the wind’s is bringing us a little present.”

They both look over and their eyes widen slightly. ‘Little’ this present isn’t. It’s just a wall of cloud moving towards you with the wind. Surely it must just be an illusion that it’s moving faster than the wind? You realize you’re new to the outside world, but you’ve been studying physics, and learning about sailing, among your studies… Clouds are pushed by wind, right?

“Let’s use this wind, stay ahead of it, focus on our objective” Viktor says as he starts to move. At the same time, though, Gaia says “Let’s turn and tack into it, meet it head on. It looks to me like it might overtake us anyway”

They both look to you, Viktor with a look on his face that says there’s really no choice to make, Gaia, eyebrows up as if she’s challenging you to a friendly game.



Absolutely amazing work, everyone! Between the three competitions, we managed to get a whopping 76 entries - which is truly phenomenal!

Moving forwards with the prologue, we’ll be doing some basic continuity/ grammar edits to the entries, and then our Art Director Liam will be compiling them into a booklet, exclusive to the campaign!


Until next time! Team Inside the Box