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Kickstarter - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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Hi lads and ladies!

 

Recently I have been working on a new game, a fun little shuriken-shooting side-scrolling action game (Roaming Ninja). Still in early development the scope of the game has grown quite substantially. Working on it part-time with personal funds and even with additional assistance I still see the launch of the game some time off, hence considering Kickstarter to work on it full-time.

 

So... I want to do the Kickstarter right, and what better place to ask for feedback then my fellow passionate Atomicians.

 

What would you guys look for in a Kickstarter? what would make you guys 'back' a small developer (like myself)? What cool rewards would you like to see? What is too much or just right to pay for certain rewards (ie. copy of the game, or copy of the game plus physical rewards) And also, what rewards that you often see that don't float your boat? Any other feedback also appreciated!!!

 

Here are some of the rewards I'm looking at:

- Digital copy of the game (for Android, PC and Mac - too difficult to give iOS copies because of Apple)

- LARGE wall posters

- Tshirts or Jumpers (we are in winter after all)

- Physical characters from the game, colour 3D prints of characters about 3" or 7"

- Beta access

- Soundtrack

- Comic???

- Kickstarter Post Party (probably in Melbourne)

 

Cheers, and thanks in advance!!!

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Compared to others they all seem like reasonable rewards, your best bet with pricing is probably to first figure out how much each part of each tier (at a small run) will set you back and go from there. What I hate seeing is the 'extension' rewards once a project has been funded, to me they look like "If you give us extra money we won't make the the half arsed".

Edited by GoFaster

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Good luck with your project.

 

And while I support the use of Kickstarter for projects such as yours there are a few trends and things I have seen lately have have kept me away from all things Kickstarter....

 

So, the following is IMHO suggestions for you:

 

1/ People want a game. At a fair price. Any other tier rewards are fine but focus everything around the game tier.

 

2/ Be clear on a time frame. And be realistic and make damn sure you deliver in that time frame (even if it means you initially grossly overestimate). Delivering 6 months early is far better than delivering 6 months late.

 

3/ If you want to set 'stretch goals' make damn sure you can still deliver on time with the goals included. Or make it clear that stretch goals will add to dev time. Deliver all stretch goals + 1 (one more than was reached) It will lead to positive feedback.

 

4/ Kickstarter is not a shop. Set your tiers before you launch the campaign and don't add or change tiers once started.

 

5/ Beta is not for sale. Get actual testers who will test (and help you make the game as good as it can be) not just kids who are paying for early access and to get "sploits" so they can win and prove how "1337" they are when the game launches. Choose testers from within those who pledge by all means - but 'selling' beta is a bad idea.

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Yes, I agree the game needs to be fairly priced - I was thinking maybe $10 (which is a copy for all platforms except iOS). So, for those who just want the game they don't need to spend an arm and a leg.

 

Though I'm not always a big fan of 'gimmicks' I think sometimes this can be a good thing when trying to get some exposure, offering something different or extra for attention and keep the dollars coming in. I try look at it from something that I would like and willing to part ways from my hard earned money. Yes, everybody does t-shirts, so I think if including a t-shirt it needs to be damn awesome!! (and hopefully the design will be). I tried to be a different and personally I think it would be cool to have physical characters from the game - which will be colour 3D printed (designs currently on my website).

 

I'm sure about the desktop wallpaper stuff - do people really care? (though it wouldn't be hard to make) but an actually large wallpaper to hang on the bedroom wall would be cool (again as long as the designs a good - check them out on my website ;-) ).

 

Comics I'm not sure on. It would be digital so delivery costs would be low, and it could possibly be a great way to extend the story outside of the game. Any thoughts???

 

I think with beta testers it's more paying for early access rather than a solid channel for feedback. There are great channels where I can already meet up with other developers and people for testing the game.

 

Thanks for the feedback, please keep 'em coming ;-)

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Yes, I agree the game needs to be fairly priced - I was thinking maybe $10 (which is a copy for all platforms except iOS). So, for those who just want the game they don't need to spend an arm and a leg.

 

....

I'm sure about the desktop wallpaper stuff - do people really care? (though it wouldn't be hard to make) but an actually large wallpaper to hang on the bedroom wall would be cool (again as long as the designs a good - check them out on my website ;-) ).

 

...

 

I think with beta testers it's more paying for early access rather than a solid channel for feedback. There are great channels where I can already meet up with other developers and people for testing the game.

 

Thanks for the feedback, please keep 'em coming ;-)

$10 sounds fair. Consider Humble Bundle some time after release too (say a year min - to be fair to your Kickstarter supporters)

 

Desktop wallpaper FTW! I would rather have that than a physical poster.

 

Okay - so say "Early Access". If you say "Beta Test" there should be some... er .... testing? Selling "Early Access" and simply calling it what it is, is fine.

Edited by gyrus

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I've never liked the digital rewards options, like wallpapers/comics/soundtracks. The terrible thing about these is once they're released to backers, they will leak and you can just grab them yourself.

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I've never liked the digital rewards options, like wallpapers/comics/soundtracks. The terrible thing about these is once they're released to backers, they will leak and you can just grab them yourself.

True. But the advantage of digital rewards (from the developer's point of view) is easy distribution.

 

My advice would be (if you want to do physical rewards) is to go and have a serious chat to Australia Post first.

Find out how much it will really cost, including the cost of returns and 'lost in transit' post.

Particularly if you are going to be posting overseas to Godknowswhere in Curruptandstealyourstuffiopia

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I've never liked the digital rewards options, like wallpapers/comics/soundtracks. The terrible thing about these is once they're released to backers, they will leak and you can just grab them yourself.

So, what physical rewards wet your appetite? Physical game box? Game characters?

 

 

I've never liked the digital rewards options, like wallpapers/comics/soundtracks. The terrible thing about these is once they're released to backers, they will leak and you can just grab them yourself.

True. But the advantage of digital rewards (from the developer's point of view) is easy distribution.

 

My advice would be (if you want to do physical rewards) is to go and have a serious chat to Australia Post first.

Find out how much it will really cost, including the cost of returns and 'lost in transit' post.

Particularly if you are going to be posting overseas to Godknowswhere in Curruptandstealyourstuffiopia

 

Don't worry, I will plan every cent. The margins on the 3D prints won't be huge but it will be a balance between generating funds for the game and offering a low enough price point to get people to back the reward.

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I'm always a sucker for good quality/looking figures of the game characters.

 

Maybe with the character, you could have a little printed out diorama for them to stand on, rather than just on their own.

 

Posters never interested me (mainly because we rent and can't really put them up)

 

Physical game box, not so much because it just gets put in the shelf with everything else and you just see the spine.

 

tshirts/jumpers are always nice (and with all the services around you could get this done fairly cheaply/inbulk)

 

 

a side note, you need to fix your images on the site so they open by default in a new window/tab and don't hijack the current one. (or so they come up in a lightbox)

Edited by PointZeroOne

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I'm always a sucker for good quality/looking figures of the game characters.

 

Maybe with the character, you could have a little printed out diorama for them to stand on, rather than just on their own.

 

...

Little figurines are okay... but if you are going to do that why not go the whole way?

Make them some kind of game piece?

 

You could either... have a code on the base that gives some kind of in game bonus??

Or have a simple tabletop game to go with it?

Or have a set of Trading Card Game cards....

 

Yeah, I know that's like a whole new project in itself.... but I had a Nerd Brain Fart.

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I mainly back at the main game tier, unless the digital rewards of the next tier are very tempting and the difference in price is reasonably small.

 

Price wise, remember that your backers are paying for the game well in advance and sight-unseen. Asking them to back at what will be full price on release is a bad idea. Given the time value of money and risk issues, I'd be looking at a 50% discount. If you make it onto steam you'd be selling at that discount soon enough anyway. Higher tiers can be more ambitiously priced, of course. This is looking at it as a consumer or potential backer. You need to make sure that the numbers add up and you can still make a profit (or essentially use it as loss leading).

 

Regarding offering Beta access: as noted above, do not expect people to actually test the game. Most people will think of it as early access or a demo. You might get a few that will submit bugs, but don't count on it. You will still need to beta test yourself (or pay for it to be professionally done). You should also consider that first impressions count. If someone is (rightly or wrongly) expecting early access, and is instead given a typical beta build, they will think that your game is a bug ridden unbalanced mess. Expect to see posts on your beta forums (if you have them) about how bad the game is because it is buggy and/or unfinished. That said, you can use this to your advantage. Pad your timeline so that "beta" really is early access. Make sure you impress the beta testers, and they will do (some of) your marketing for you. Word of mouth is an incredibly useful thing. About the only useful data you will collect is as a stress test of your distribution servers, though.

 

Another option is a special backer skin. It will mean extra work for your artist, though, so make sure that it's worth it. A special weapon or ability that is mechanically similar to those already in the game is also possible, and shouldn't cause too many balance issues if done properly.

 

Sidenote: you may want to update your website. The game description claims that you're expecting a 2012 or early 2013 release...

Edited by DaCraw

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Thanks again for the feedback.

 

Diorama for the characters could be an interesting idea. Card game, hmmm... I don't want to detract too much from the making of a 'video' game. Maybe there is a compromise here - I'll have a think about it. 'Indie' board games seem to be going off like a rocket at the moment, could be an interesting in road here...

 

What are you thoughts on pricing for game characters? For the smaller ones (3 inch) I was thinking less than $100 for maybe 2-3 models ($75 price point??? perhaps with some extra gear). For the larger 7 inch models the production cost alone would be $100-$200, so the reward would more likely be $300 or $300+. I realise some people are only going to pledge $10-$25 just for the game anyway, but I've seen them go anywhere from $500-$2500 (some a little larger).

 

Surprised the posters aren't more popular.

 

Fair point of the 'beta' / early access, I will keep this in mind.

 

As I mentioned the planned game price will be about $10, with other $25-$35 tiers jammed pack full of digital goodies (digital wallpapers + posters, soundtracks, comic, etc).

 

PS: Fixed the image / new-window, and release date things. Cheers!

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...

 

What are you thoughts on pricing for game characters? For the smaller ones (3 inch) I was thinking less than $100 for maybe 2-3 models ($75 price point??? perhaps with some extra gear). For the larger 7 inch models the production cost alone would be $100-$200, so the reward would more likely be $300 or $300+. I realise some people are only going to pledge $10-$25 just for the game anyway, but I've seen them go anywhere from $500-$2500 (some a little larger).

 

...

How much would they cost to make?

 

I mean - they are selling packs of Skylanders (3 pack) for $21 - but they probably did a bulk order for tens or even hundreds of thousands of each one for manufacturing. Molds and painting alone could be expensive for a small order?

But then again - some times you get surprised. I know one company I contracted to had a US supplier for specialist stationery made in the US (which was apparently difficult to make)... we went to an Australian printer and they said "no worries mate". They do it cheaper and with less fuss.

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...

 

What are you thoughts on pricing for game characters? For the smaller ones (3 inch) I was thinking less than $100 for maybe 2-3 models ($75 price point??? perhaps with some extra gear). For the larger 7 inch models the production cost alone would be $100-$200, so the reward would more likely be $300 or $300+. I realise some people are only going to pledge $10-$25 just for the game anyway, but I've seen them go anywhere from $500-$2500 (some a little larger).

 

...

How much would they cost to make?

 

I mean - they are selling packs of Skylanders (3 pack) for $21 - but they probably did a bulk order for tens or even hundreds of thousands of each one for manufacturing. Molds and painting alone could be expensive for a small order?

But then again - some times you get surprised. I know one company I contracted to had a US supplier for specialist stationery made in the US (which was apparently difficult to make)... we went to an Australian printer and they said "no worries mate". They do it cheaper and with less fuss.

 

 

My brother in law got a custom headsculpt done bit bigger than 1/6 scale for $200 MYR. Fully painted up, this was done by an artist in Malaysia

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...

 

What are you thoughts on pricing for game characters? For the smaller ones (3 inch) I was thinking less than $100 for maybe 2-3 models ($75 price point??? perhaps with some extra gear). For the larger 7 inch models the production cost alone would be $100-$200, so the reward would more likely be $300 or $300+. I realise some people are only going to pledge $10-$25 just for the game anyway, but I've seen them go anywhere from $500-$2500 (some a little larger).

 

...

How much would they cost to make?

 

I mean - they are selling packs of Skylanders (3 pack) for $21 - but they probably did a bulk order for tens or even hundreds of thousands of each one for manufacturing. Molds and painting alone could be expensive for a small order?

But then again - some times you get surprised. I know one company I contracted to had a US supplier for specialist stationery made in the US (which was apparently difficult to make)... we went to an Australian printer and they said "no worries mate". They do it cheaper and with less fuss.

 

Cost for a single 3 inch model will be a little less than $20, so 3 for $21 isn't going to happen. You have to remember this is not mass production and more of collector pieces. I could invest $10k+ for some (each) injection molds, then do each for under $1 but that's no very realistic. Another option would be making my own molds and making each piece one at a time but they would then need to be hand painted, so the costs come back up but time goes through the roof. It's not as cheap as people think.

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It's hard to define what appeals to me exactly. I can't put my finger on it.

 

I would be more interested in the game itself, with crisp and fluid movement, animations that aren't over the top, yet not under-done.

 

But I would need to see some gameplay of it. Not over the top, and yet not giving a boring overview.

Also some "perks" available to backers(mentioned above) (extra skin/weapon/effects etc).

 

I'd be interested in the game no doubt. Have you thought about making the soundtrack a physical and digital reward?

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It's hard to define what appeals to me exactly. I can't put my finger on it.

 

I would be more interested in the game itself, with crisp and fluid movement, animations that aren't over the top, yet not under-done.

 

But I would need to see some gameplay of it. Not over the top, and yet not giving a boring overview.

Also some "perks" available to backers(mentioned above) (extra skin/weapon/effects etc).

 

I'd be interested in the game no doubt. Have you thought about making the soundtrack a physical and digital reward?

Hmmmm... how about exclusive backer character and bonus levels?

 

I hope to have more gameplay up soon(ish) - the engine has been completely updated. Having a good game seems to be only half the battle, but still an important part (the base requirement if you will). The other is having a good 'hook', like a wacky gameplay mechanic, well know industry personality, or something else to grab people's attention. So the more I can grab peoples attention with amazing rewards the better. It seems that most Kickstarter backers come from an established fan base or related industry. So for every backer I do get I want to knock their socks off and make them want to tell there friends! The controls, animations, and fluidity of the game is a make or break - I really get this, trust me! It will be really different to most (if not all) mobile platform games out there.

 

I haven't thought about have a physical soundtrack - ummm, really? no, really???? :-/

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It's hard to define what appeals to me exactly. I can't put my finger on it.

 

I would be more interested in the game itself, with crisp and fluid movement, animations that aren't over the top, yet not under-done.

 

But I would need to see some gameplay of it. Not over the top, and yet not giving a boring overview.

Also some "perks" available to backers(mentioned above) (extra skin/weapon/effects etc).

 

I'd be interested in the game no doubt. Have you thought about making the soundtrack a physical and digital reward?

Hmmmm... how about exclusive backer character and bonus levels?

 

I hope to have more gameplay up soon(ish) - the engine has been completely updated. Having a good game seems to be only half the battle, but still an important part (the base requirement if you will). The other is having a good 'hook', like a wacky gameplay mechanic, well know industry personality, or something else to grab people's attention. So the more I can grab peoples attention with amazing rewards the better. It seems that most Kickstarter backers come from an established fan base or related industry. So for every backer I do get I want to knock their socks off and make them want to tell there friends! The controls, animations, and fluidity of the game is a make or break - I really get this, trust me! It will be really different to most (if not all) mobile platform games out there.

 

I haven't thought about have a physical soundtrack - ummm, really? no, really???? :-/

 

A few projects I've backed have gone down the road of having a physical soundtrack, and in some, not all cases, its worked for them. But they've been able to afford it. But more costs have been added to their overall pledge minimum for this.

 

Backer characters/levels/perks/weapons sound like a good option to experiment with, but it would need to keep everything as level playing field for everyone else.

You can't say

"Back this project and you get the "Ultra-Mega-Hyper-Incinerator Cannon" that can kill everyone and everything it touches!

for example.

 

With the gameplay, it might be a good idea to point out that ragdoll physics aren't one of my favorite things. It just makes things look too "Cartoonish" for me. (I can't speak for everyone else though) And having characters drop like a stone to the ground makes it seem a bit... I don't know... robotic. There needs to be a bit of give to make it more lifelike as such. A bit of resistance if you will.

 

However, I am interested in seeing some gameplay first to get a good idea as to where this is going. But all good things take time.

Edited by krispy89

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