Interesting Kickstarter Catch-All

manta173 wrote:

How many people here don't know what Critical Role is? Just kinda curious how far they've penetrated into general nerdom.

I didn't know what it was before reading the replies.

Perhaps the best example of Critical Role IMO is a video one of the players shot of their home game before streaming it was ever an idea. For anyone claiming their emotion and enthusiasm are trumped up for the cameras, this is a fantastic counter. If you don't like this 10 minutes, you won't like Critical Role. No spoilers, as this occurred well before the first episode. I will now shut up about CR (in this thread, at least).

Thanks, will check out video. Had never heard of them before. I don't even listen to the GWJ roleplayng, except that Bioshock one, which was okay but IIRC scripted.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
manta173 wrote:

How many people here don't know what Critical Role is? Just kinda curious how far they've penetrated into general nerdom.

I didn't know what it was before reading the replies.

So 1 (in this thread)... that's pretty good market penetration.

manta173 wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
manta173 wrote:

How many people here don't know what Critical Role is? Just kinda curious how far they've penetrated into general nerdom.

I didn't know what it was before reading the replies.

So 1 (in this thread)... that's pretty good market penetration.

Make it 2. I'd never heard of it before either, but I'm not a D&D player.

Mantid wrote:

I’ve been aware of Critial Roll since around the time it started.

Like all podcasts, I’ve never listened to a single episode.

I listen to some podcasts, but my commute is short so it can take several days to get through one short episode, so as I work through my backlog I should get around to Critical Roll sometime in...2047.

I know about it, though.

Hi I'm Rahmen and I might have an addiction as I have watched every hour of Critical Role.

Only heard about Critical Role due to some of them voice acting in Pillars of Eternity Deadfire.

Tried listening to that first campaign episode yesterday. Cant imagine I have the patience to listen to much more. Never played D&D though, probably takes away the nostalgia factor.

It is completely insane they have gathered $6 million though.

Shadout wrote:

Only heard about Critical Role due to some of them voice acting in Pillars of Eternity Deadfire.

Tried listening to that first campaign episode yesterday. Cant imagine I have the patience to listen to much more. Never played D&D though, probably takes away the nostalgia factor.

It is completely insane they have gathered $6 million though.

It was filmed, so the podcast version is lacking until much later when they had the money for a better studio.

Shadout wrote:

Only heard about Critical Role due to ALL of them voice acting in Pillars of Eternity Deadfire.

FTFY

I need some help from you guys regarding your top 3-5 video game kickstarters
in terms of setup and management. I am looking for templates that I can use
to get a project I want to do off the ground.
I am actually more terrified of it being wildly successful than of it failing. If it
fails, I get to walk away. If it is overly successful the demands will be nuts and
I feel like I will spend more time managing the community than making the game
I want to make. I know all too well about managing expectations so I want to be
up front about starting simpler and then expanding.

In terms of scope I am thinking of asking for $70K (roughly a year's salary or two
if I work part time) if that helps narrow down the list options.

Thanks guys!

Do you mean Kickstarter templates? Like how they structured the rewards, bonuses, stretch goals, etc?
Here are some that spring to mind that I backed:

Completed (rewards received):
Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey
I'd call this one an unrealistic goal for you, TBH. It's a big studio continuing a well known and loved series. They offered digital art, collectors books, names in credits, a graphic novel, and a closed forum for backers. They had good communication during the campaign and decent communication after. There were delays (of course there were, making video games is hard!) but I eventually got all my rewards, though I haven't actually played the game yet.

Perceptions of the Dead 2
Not knowing what kind of game you're looking to make, I feel this should probably be your template (out of the ones I backed) for a first go. It's a smaller game, continuing the story of a free one on steam, and the developers didn't bite off more than they could chew. Their stretch goals didn't include anything that would mean massive engine or mechanics changes, it was simply "more story". Rewards included digital art books, digital soundtracks, and a physical poster (which is, I think, the only physical reward they offered).
In short, they focused on their core strengths, kept it simple, and as such, I think they actually got me my rewards before the promised date. The only video game kickstarter I have backed to do so. Tiny studio, maybe just a few people, so definitely check this one out.

Haven't received rewards:
Pathologic (Мор.Утопия)
A remake of an older game by the same studio. Smaller studio = more realistic in terms of your project, but although I feel that the original Pathologic game and the studio are kinda on the niche/cult fandom side, they did a good job with the Kickstarter.
Rewards were for a copy of the old game, access to betas, digital art books, and an exclusive in-game item. However they are taking a long time. They have released a beta and it definitely worked, so I know they're still at it, but estimated delivery was November 2016 (roughly 2 years after the kickstarter)... so... They could also do more frequent communication for my tastes.

Summer in Mara
This one only just finished their campaign, but I'm including it because of their rewards and stretch goals. Communication during the campaign was good, we'll see what happens now. I also bring it up because it looks like they have a sizeable chunk of the game already completed, which is probably unrealistic for you, but is something to think about.

UnDungeon
Oof. This one has been plagued with problems. They went dark for almost a full year. They did explain it eventually:

Spoiler:

When the first demo version was finished (about 3 months ago), we were completely dissatisfied with the quality of certain systems, such as combat or AI ones. Thus, we’ve decided to delay the release of the demo and polish the available version. However, it wasn’t a simple task. After a month of attempts to fix the behavior of units, our only programmer left the team.

We’ve rapidly hired two new members, but it is obvious that the quit of the only person responsible for the game code pushed us back to the situations when the team was forced to explore the game code from the very beginning.

So let this be a cautionary tale. If you hire a programmer, make sure you know what's going on in case he/she wins the lottery and walks out on you. They have gotten me a demo, but after releasing the demo in early November, they've gone dark again. Not sure what's going on here.

General tips:
- I don't know if Kickstarter will make you give an estimated delivery date, but if they do, pad the hell out of it. Only one game I've backed has been delivered on time so far, and most took a year longer to get to me than expected, even the ones coming from larger studios. And if you have physical rewards, pad your estimated delivery dates AGAIN.

- Keep your rewards simple. Anything physical has to be manufactured, then shipped, and that's going to mean 3rd parties who will add complications and delays. If you do need a shipping company to handle reward distribution, look at Blackbox and BackerKit (I think BackerKit does more than just reward distribution, too). Plus, if you need to manufacture in China, remember that the whole country more or less shuts down for Chinese New Year for about 2 weeks. I cannot tell you how many kickstarters I've backed that got hit with that delay. In general, for a first go, try to focus on simple digital rewards. If you're going to do concept art or write a script, include those as "behind the scenes" rewards.

- Don't bite off too much. AKA keep your stretch goals simple. The best projects I've backed are ones that didn't do massive changes to the core structure if $X was reached.

- COMMUNICATE!!! Oh lordy you need to communicate. I'd say that one update every 2-3 weeks is perfect, even if it's a simple, "game's still coming along, worked on x, y, and z since last time but not much to show you right now." As a backer of multiple projects that just went dark as deadlines zoomed by, it's incredibly frustrating and that's when I see the most backers start howling for refunds and saying that the project is a fraud. I'd be 100% ok with delays if they were just up front about them! Again, even short notes are better than nothing. So communicate, communicate, communicate.

And one last note, take a look at Patreon as well. Since it's based on a monthly revenue model, it's a little more freeing in terms of costs. You just need to get your patrons something periodically to keep them happy. For the games I've seen on there, it's generally a new version released every month or two, with periodic updates, teasers, and art in between. Might be easier for you.

Brilliant!
Thanks a ton Taharka.

I am not planning on having physical rewards because I know of a lot of pitfalls with that. I also want to avoid the ludicrous tiers ($2,500-10,000 backers)
What I am thinking of doing instead (among things like digital art books and posters) is offering unique models or models inspired by the game that backers can download and print themselves with a service like shapeways.
The thing that I like about this route is that the backer could scale the model to the print size they wanted and print it in some type of metal or plastic (clear, opaque, neon, etc) Plus if my game's protagonist is a ship, I can make models of the crew, enemies, or equipment that are cannon but may not be in the game. (for uniqueness)

I also thought it would be funny and charming to offer the simple little proof of concept I made in 2004 with Multimedia Fusion 2. (it is Asteroids with Diablo controls - no scoring, no death but oddly cathartic as a clicker game) I plan on showing footage in the launch video.

fangblackbone wrote:

Brilliant!
Thanks a ton Taharka.

I am not planning on having physical rewards because I know of a lot of pitfalls with that. I also want to avoid the ludicrous tiers ($2,500-10,000 backers)
What I am thinking of doing instead (among things like digital art books and posters) is offering unique models or models inspired by the game that backers can download and print themselves with a service like shapeways.
The thing that I like about this route is that the backer could scale the model to the print size they wanted and print it in some type of metal or plastic (clear, opaque, neon, etc) Plus if my game's protagonist is a ship, I can make models of the crew, enemies, or equipment that are cannon but may not be in the game. (for uniqueness)

I also thought it would be funny and charming to offer the simple little proof of concept I made in 2004 with Multimedia Fusion 2. (it is Asteroids with Diablo controls - no scoring, no death but oddly cathartic as a clicker game) I plan on showing footage in the launch video.

If you need a tester for printing the models, I do have a 3d printer...
Best of luck to you, and don't be afraid to ask for feedback on your pitch!

Taharka wrote:

- I don't know if Kickstarter will make you give an estimated delivery date, but if they do, pad the hell out of it. Only one game I've backed has been delivered on time so far, and most took a year longer to get to me than expected, even the ones coming from larger studios. And if you have physical rewards, pad your estimated delivery dates AGAIN.

There are very few games that have managed to ship on time, so your schedule needs to have more padding in it, even when you take into account that your schedule needs more padding.

Consider hiring a producer. Can just be someone who freelances/consults as a producer. (I've got some friends who do this.) Even if you don't hire anyone, have someone who can check up with you and keep you honest. Both so you don't slack off AND so you don't overwork yourself.

- Don't bite off too much. AKA keep your stretch goals simple. The best projects I've backed are ones that didn't do massive changes to the core structure if $X was reached.

Luke Crane (who manages the game section for Kickstarter) has a standing recommendation, last I checked, to not use stretch goals. I don't know if that's changed, but I do know that the ones that he's run himself don't have stretch goals.

That's partially because he's been doing indie publishing for ages now, and does the other useful thing of having a finished product mostly ready to go. That's...much harder with a video game where you need the funding for production.

- COMMUNICATE!!! Oh lordy you need to communicate. I'd say that one update every 2-3 weeks is perfect, even if it's a simple, "game's still coming along, worked on x, y, and z since last time but not much to show you right now." As a backer of multiple projects that just went dark as deadlines zoomed by, it's incredibly frustrating and that's when I see the most backers start howling for refunds and saying that the project is a fraud. I'd be 100% ok with delays if they were just up front about them! Again, even short notes are better than nothing. So communicate, communicate, communicate.

A Night in the Woods has a monthly update email which I've always been impressed with.

You might consider having someone to help with marketing/social media: these are harder to find than producers because there are plenty of people willing to tell you that they can help you with marketing and then do basically nothing. I've heard too many horror stories, vet them well if you do hire them.

Marketing and communication before the Kickstarter starts is important too: you want to get as many people signing up on the first day as you can manage. That's the biggest predictor of a funded campaign that I've seen.

And one last note, take a look at Patreon as well.

Also a good idea, though harder to get that initial boost. Especially before you have a demo/early access. Also needs regular communication with the fans...but that's inescapable for commercial indie development.

I figured out a while back that I like making games but don't really want to sell them, so I went into academia instead. But that's my personal path and I know a lot of indies who are out there making their games.

I am sort of mumbling through the premise ideas right now. And then working on getting some of the concept models out of my head and into 3D. And I have to document things along the way because I have to twist my head around to believing that stuff is valuable or adds value or tells a story that supporter can relate to.
Mmm, mmm, mmm... Inspiration Commencing!

This is not a kickstarter, but a shameless shilling of our Hons Degree show! We are crowd-funding for money to pay for our show catalogue and advertising, BUT more importantly, 10% of cash (plus everything left over after paying for the catalogue/ads) will automatically go to a local autism support charity which is dangerous close to being shut down after having their funding cut by the NHS. One of our classmates really needs their services, so if you've got a few spare pennies to throw our way, that would be greatly appreciated!

I now return you to your regular broadcasting

Root new expansion kickstarter is up

Look at the set of vagabond meeples! OMG!

Ouch. $150 pledge to get the base game. I must ponder this.

A friend (and the person who very kindly invited me into her D&D group and got that whole obsession started again) has a story in this fantasy RPG comic anthology, so if you like cool indie comics with a high fantasy theme, maybe give it a look?

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1961263130/faemarket-a-fantasy-rpg-anthology

...and yes, can confirm the thing about the pockets full of sausages is truth.

Had to pull back from that Critical Role KS. I tried watching some of their videos but they really seemed far more like friends hanging out than some kind of publishable content. Sure, if they’re your friends already, that must be a blast, but being part of the out-group and having not RPGed in 15+ years....I can only hope that scripting and animating their activities makes it more palatable. But I’m not certain enough of that to give up $20.

Keithustus wrote:

Had to pull back from that Critical Role KS. I tried watching some of their videos but they really seemed far more like friends hanging out than some kind of publishable content. Sure, if they’re your friends already, that must be a blast, but being part of the out-group and having not RPGed in 15+ years....I can only hope that scripting and animating their activities makes it more palatable. But I’m not certain enough of that to give up $20.

You pretty much described TTRPGs perfectly. That fact got me back into RPGs and D&D after 30+ years. There is a marked increase in production value as they got more of a following (and $), but not enough that it isn't still a bunch of friends enjoying telling stories together. It certainly is not for everybody.

I am not concerned in the least at their ability to produce publishable content. They have already published or produced:

Two Art books

The animated opening for their current Stream

Spoiler:

A digital comic book with Dark Horse (with a new run and hard copy versions upcoming)

A campaign guide

Additionally, they have decades of award winning experience as professional voice actors and directors in animation and video games and have a well regarded writer and animation studio on board.

This is by no means an effort to sway you to kick in $ but more to say check it out when it is released, as it will be it's own thing. At $7.75M and 28 days to go, it is very likely they will get a full 10 episode animated season.