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Bob the Hamster
OHRRPGCE Developer




Joined: 22 Feb 2003
Posts: 2523
Location: Hamster Republic (Southern California Enclave)

PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think they are in-line in comparison with other Kickstarters, but most kickstarters also have a much higher goal, so from that perspective they might be a little high.

But I am hardly the one to ask, my kickstartering experience is very limited :)
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Rya.Reisender
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crown wrote:
Thanks for digging that up guys! Yes, the Kickstarter campaign is up! I have been spending a lot of time trying to promote it and I have been posting about it all over, but its pretty difficult to get people's attention. A lot of people frown on shameless plugs for help and a lot of forums have policies against posting about a project if you aren't a part of their community.

Yeah, that's why people who get a lot of $ on Kickstarter usually are already popular in various communities. Though of course it also depends to a high % on the appeal of the game.

The former is for example Zeboyd. He is very active on TIGsource and other bigger communities (honestly I keep running into him in all kinds of communities, he is there, talking with the players and stuff). He made a very simple game and sold it for $1 on XBLIG calling it "Breath of Death VII" (this is a marketing trick, he uses words that are appealing to many RPG players, VII as in FFVII is popular). He didn't make any financial gains with that but he gained popularity. He proceeded making 3 more games, getting gradually better and also more expensive. Now with his 5th game and being really popular already, he started a kickstarter and uses marketing tactics again like mentioning Phantasy Star, Chrono Trigger and Skuidien and voilĂ  easily $100000 reached: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1596638143/cosmic-star-heroine-sci-fi-spy-rpg-for-pc-mac-ps4

The latter is for example Radio The Universe or Hyper Light Drifter. From completely unknown persons, but that have such an awesome and unique design and especially promotional video, that they drew in much more pledgers than required:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1548272412/radio-the-universe-0
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1661802484/hyper-light-drifter
But well, not everyone can be a prodigy like this.

It's hard to tell someone what he needs to do to be successful on Kickstarter, since most really depends on the game. Most campaigns that fail simply do so because there aren't enough people interesting in that type of game. Of course it can also be that it was simply not promoted well enough on the Kickstarter page itself, so while the game is good, nobody gets the impression that it is. After all, you can't really count on people being just nice and giving some money, you need to count on people actually wanting the product (or whatever they get for the pledges they do). The campaign being too unknown can be a reason too, but it's fairly rare. I once found an RPG on kickstarter that failed a while ago and I posted about it in an RPG community and everybody was like "Man if I had known about it, I'd totally have pledged for it".

Not sure if what I wrote helps at all, just some thoughts from me about it.

If your game has RPG elements you can always try getting covered on IndieRPGs (but it's probably too late for that now) for example. Craig occasionally lists all currently running Kickstarters of Indie RPGs there (strategy can count into that). You could also collect opinions on forums about your campaign. Rather than advertising it, you could for example just show it and ask people why they DON'T pledge for it. It gives you a better idea what's turning potential backers off.

Though that again depends on the actual page numbers. If you have 100 viewers and 50 pledgers, then your page must be pretty awesome, but not enough people heard about it. If you have 10000 viewers and 50 pledgers, then a lot of people visited it, but weren't convinced by what was presented.

Ok I'm seriously talking too much about it.
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Crown




Joined: 30 Oct 2008
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Rya, your comments are truly insightful. You are certainly an observant and intelligent individual and I appreciate you taking time to help me out.

I do know about Zeboyd and I own most of his games, but I didn't know how he gained his success. I haven't played through all the games though, but they are really good. He is a good model I think to follow and one that I should have maybe taken more notice of. If I had started with some smaller games and getting involved with the community earlier I might be in a stronger position today. I think it would be something to start working towards now in hope that in another year or two I'll be in a position to have a greater following and exposure. I do have one other game that is done and just waiting for art to finish that should be done by the end of the year that might give me a bit of a publicity boost.

As for the unique design and awesome factor, I think our game does have some of that but I think that the project might be a bit too early in development to tell. We don't have enough done to show a lot of gameplay and I think that means people don't know what the product is. That might ultimately be the sluggish response I'm seeing. I may need to put more time into development and create a video that is heavier on actual footage and game description than it currently does.

It could be also that the game itself is too niche to garner a large following but I think it has enough promise. The feedback I have received from people who have taken the time to look at it has be very positive.

Alright, so one other thing. What does 'being active in the community' mean? Is it that he posts often about his own game? Does he comment/blog on industry news? Does he respond to a lot of general posts like, "What is your favorite game" or "What music are you listening to now"? Does it mean releasing periodic content like art music? What things can you do to be active in the community?

I do like your idea of asking people about why they aren't funding. I have been asking for opinions but not getting much response. If anyone here can see something obvious (or not so obvious) that might be problematic in my plans, please tell me! I have a thick skin, I can take it. Lol
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Rya.Reisender
Snippy




Joined: 18 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zeboyd isn't doing too much general posts I think. But for example the moment someone opened at thread about his game on a forum he posts in it within some days. Usually answering some question he can answer best. I also heard he is very active on TIGsource but didn't follow that too much. I just heard it from other people that everyone knew him from there before he even released his first game.

He is also very "public". Even his own website. With many indie developers you hardly get any info from them other than "Release date will be published soon" or stuff like that. Zeboyd actually posts post-mortems on all his games. He even explains design decisions he has to make during development.

On a sidenote, you should read all his post-mortems and generally post-mortems that indie developers publish. I think learning from mistakes of others is a very efficient method to improve fast.
Or as Benjamin Franklin said "Only fools learn from their own mistakes. Smart people learn from the mistakes of others." (might not be literal)
Most of my info about how to make a successful kickstarter campaign also comes from people from failed campaigns explaining why they think it failed or from communities of which I told about a campaign and they replied with why they won't pledge for it.

People will have it hard to tell you what's generally wrong with a campaign, but it's easy to tell what personally was the reason not to pledge. I personally never pledge myself on Kickstarter (no credit card), but I forward games I want to be done to my communities.

For me it's mainly because it's not really my type of game. Neither my art style nor my gameplay style. And there aren't even music samples. It's lacking explanations why the game is particularly good, getting players just with numbers like "over 80 playable characters" isn't really too attracting. It's like saying "Feature of my RPG: It has over 9000 dialogues." That can be great but that can also be annoying, we don't know. It doesn't tell us about the quality of them.
Also one more problem I spot is that a windows version is a stretch goal. Basically you automatically turn off all PC gamers with that. If they pledge now and you end up between $8000 and $12000, they won't even get anything they can use. This is very problematic.
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Crown




Joined: 30 Oct 2008
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again Rya, this whole thing is an insane learning experience. I am definitely doing quite a bit wrong, clearly, or my project would probably more successful. I definitely agree with the lack of explanation and the stretch goal. I'm not sure sure what I can do about it at this point, I'll have to think about that, I do have over a month left in the campaign so I might be able to make some changes yet. I may have to make a decision on whether I will make a PC version or not and go with that regardless of funding.

Anyway, if you think of anything else or have suggestions as so where I should lurk, let me know!
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Crown




Joined: 30 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just thought I'd let you guys know that our campaign is officially over and unfortunately we were unsuccessful in getting funded. Still, it was a great learning experience and I don't regret doing it. I have posted a postmortem of the campaign at http://www.sunsetoverlievnos.com if you are interested.

Thanks!
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Bob the Hamster
OHRRPGCE Developer




Joined: 22 Feb 2003
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Location: Hamster Republic (Southern California Enclave)

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The postmortem was an interesting read, thank you for sharing.

I am curious about your language choices. I remember you originally said you were working in ObjectC, but I assume when you switched focus to include a PC port rather than only the iPad version, you must have changed languages too, which did you choose?
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Rya.Reisender
Snippy




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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the post mortem, I always like reading those.

When you write "Kickstarter" in your blog you probably should let the word link to your Kickstarter campaign. More convenient to get to it to check it rather than scrolling down to blog entry where you originally announced it.

Regarding higher tier rewards, I can't really give concrete hints on it because I HARDLY ever have seen a higher tier rewards that I really wanted. I mean if your game has a great OST then offered game+OST for more money works well. If your game has great artwork, offering art works well (I know some people who pledged $100 for projects they weren't even interested in just to get a picture-on-demand drawn by the artist, simply because normal artists take $120 or more for that).
Things that require shipping usually are better for higher rewards and not just $15 and $25 because the effort in actually shipping everything is just too high. A physical copy of a game with a nicely designed case actually can already net you $40 or higher pledges.
Finally I can again point out the DreadOut campaign, because they actually managed to basically sell all their higher tier rewards and made most of the money just from them (http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dreadout). Of course not everyone is able to create hand painted sculpts.

The "Not enough to show" problem is usually solved by learning how to program "deep". You basically only need a fully fleshed out 30 second long game. So instead of starting to create everything a little and say "To make it better we need money" pretend you already have the perfect game you just need to finish. People won't realize that if you only show 30 seconds of the footage that this is all there is to the game for now (of course it also depends on how well you cut it together).
Also what I saw some people did was to explain why the game mechanics are so great and fun: They simply drew a Gif illustrating it.
Doesn't that single gif already make you want to pledge for the game?

And it ended up with $645k.
Or this video of project phoenix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eou3UMAZ5cc#t=262
They only have a freaking screenshot, not even animated, but still get to explain why the mechanics are great using just that single screenshot (plus some red circles).
The point is: If you plan to use Kickstarter you need to develop the game differently than you usually do. Nobody cares if the prototype crashes every 30 seconds. Nobody cares how long the prototype is. You can just show the good parts and it will create the illusion that there is a lot more behind it already.
Basically all crowdfunding campaigns that are like "It looks like this, sorry doesn't look so good yet, but that's why we need money, to improve the animations" failed so far.

To the rest I can simply agree (and we discussed about that before anyway).
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TMC
On the Verge of Insanity




Joined: 05 Apr 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for writing that up. While you didn't get the funding, it's good that you had positive results, especially the publicity. And now that you decided on a PC port, I can look forward to it :)

Quote:
I am curious about your language choices. I remember you originally said you were working in ObjectC, but I assume when you switched focus to include a PC port rather than only the iPad version, you must have changed languages too, which did you choose?


It's not necessary to switch from Objective C to create a portable program; gcc supports it everywhere. The biggest problem would be all the iOS specific APIs. As for the OpenStep/NeXTstep APIs that Mac OSX apps use, there's the portable GNUStep implementation and another one, but I would expect it's not too complete.

----

You mentioned being forced to work on your Macbook Air as a drag on development. Unless you're going to get a better mac soon anyway, it sounds like it would help to work on the PC port so that you can switch dev environment... BUT such a port is sure to be hugely time consuming and demotivating as you make zero visible progress, so think carefully about when you want to do that. It would help to not break the iPad version in the process (aside from all the extra work of having to support two rather different platforms).
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Crown




Joined: 30 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob: I am indeed using Objective C up until this point and moving it to PC means I will probably switch to C++. I already have a framework set up that should give me a head start on the port.

TMC: Are you suggesting it would be possible to compile the classes I have already created and just use those DLLs in my C++ PC port? I have logically separated my code so that display code is very separate from logic, so I would only need to recode my display class. I wonder how difficult that is to make work? I may have to investigate further.

Yes, the idea behind the switch would be to get away from using my Macbook Air. My PC is a great development machine. What I may end up doing is reversing the order of release so that instead of porting to PC after the iPad version is done, port to iOS after the PC version is done. With any luck the PC version can fund a new Mac. I realize that all of this porting is a huge pain in the ass, but I have done it in the past. I created a flash poker game that I ported to an iOS app that didn't take me too long to do.

Rya: As always, some great observations. Moving forward I plan on taking advantage of things like screenshot Saturdays and doing what you suggest and getting something that looks finished up as soon as possible. I definitely like the idea of animated gifs. They load automatically in the browser and they provide a quick glimpse of gameplay. If I attempt another funding campaign I'm going to make sure I have more of the game to show and more details in place. I'm also going to reconsider the higher level tiers and I think try to reduce the cost of the levels for the original art and/or find other interesting rewards.

Anyway, with all this out of the way I can get back to work on making this game again, which I'm excited about. I'll definitely keep you guys posted on progress!
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TMC
On the Verge of Insanity




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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't actually have any experience with ObjC so I don't know what problems you might run into using it for cross platform work. Also if you prefer C++ over Objective C, you could also consider using Objective C++, which is supported by both GCC and Clang and on iOS. Or just use ObjC++ for the C++ to ObjC glue code.

I don't see any reason to split things up into .dll files; just link everything together statically, whether written in C++, ObjC, or ObjC++.
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Crown




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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool, thanks for the ideas TMC, I'll definitely have to take a closer look into some of those options, it would sure make doing two versions a lot easier.
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Rya.Reisender
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On one of your comments in your blog:
Quote:
I have also had quite a few comments on wanting to hear some music from the game. I may have to figure out a way I can get into my friend’s studio and do some composing and recording to get the ball rolling on that front as well.


Some Kickstarter campaigns that don't have the resources to get music specifically done for the game before funding instead post music (1-3 songs) already done by the composer (for other purposes). Though of course it's better to have game music already.
Music can indeed be an attraction point, I mean Project Phoenix probably was only successful because the music is by Nobuo Uematsu. You rarely heard "There is a kickstarter campaign with interesting gameplay mechanics called Project Phoenix" but rather "Hey dude, check out this campaign, Nobuo Uematsu does the music for it!"

It's good for people to hear how the game music will be like, even if the actual music will not be in the game and is just from the same composer.
At very least it will make people more confident that there is competency behind the project.

On the other hand, especially in this game genre, I don't see it as that important. Honestly most strategy games I played I don't even recall how the music was. Well, I remember the notable melody of Warcraft 2. =p

Gameplay exposure is probably what was lacking the most in your case.
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TMC
On the Verge of Insanity




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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I mean Project Phoenix probably was only successful because the music is by Nobuo Uematsu

Wow, I'd already completely forgotten that he was involved in that.

Quote:
Honestly most strategy games I played I don't even recall how the music was. Well, I remember the notable melody of Warcraft 2. =p

Two strategy games that I think had great, very memorable music are Red Alert and Age of Empires 2.

As for gameplay, I feel it was explained adequately, though it course most of the game wasn't shown (because it didn't exist). I don't think there was any interactivity shown in the game at all aside from scrolling a view. While I doubt there would be much flashy stuff in a turn based strategy game like this, demonstrating a little bit of gameplay might help to show how it could be fun.
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Crown




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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, I never thought about just putting up some music that I have done in the past just as a sampler of what you might expect. That's a very good idea and something I will probably end up doing if we make another go at a second campaign.

Yeah, there won't be a lot of flashy animations or anything like that but I do think some of the cooler features could be better demonstrated with some gameplay videos. One of the neatest aspects of this game is talking to characters, learning about them, and making them offers which we didn't really even have a screenshot to convey which is also one of the key points that makes our game different from Gemfire and Romance. I am glad to hear though that our descriptions of how the game plays weren't entirely lost in translation! I do agree though, there is something about seeing the game in action that makes it more 'real'.
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