Saturday, May 14, 2016

Thoughts on Crowdfunding

Okay, I'm preparing some game materials to show, and a general description, which should also come in handy for other purposes besides a crowdfunding campaign. But I'm also researching platforms like Indiegogo and Kickstarter (though the latter does not support my country, and I'd rather not meddle with third party campaign hosting.)

Lots of questions arise, so here are my thoughts, and I hope you can help me decide some things.

Would you like a PADLOCK with RAZE'S FACE ON IT?

Notes before proceeding:
  • My regular writing voice is pessimistic, so the campaign would have to be corrected to not sound like me. :)
  • I might split the game into tiny bits to make production more manageable. I've discovered I'm so much better at polishing and adding conversation choices when I have a short section to work on.
  • There would be 5 small chapters, of which the 4th one is the most difficult to finish because... high expectations, the game can't end just yet. As for the last chunk, I have the key part written and the endings planned, in a way that gives closure to the current plot, but leaves the protagonist alive in case of a sequel. :D
  • There would be a single campaign, not 5 of them.
  • I keep saying I'm from "a poor country". The country is Serbia, so judge for yourselves. The average monthly salary here is about $400.
  • I'm sure that when I mention "commercial game" or "crowdfunding", some people instantly imagine millions. Especially people I'm trying to hire. I don't imagine anything of the sort. I wonder if this game thing would be enough to make a living in Serbia. I'd probably still do it anyway, because I love it.

I've heard managing a crowdfunding campaign is like a job - it takes so much work to succeed, that you may as well find a job and raise money that way, instead. Well, I've had a freelancer job that I could return to, only it seems to take up all my time when I'm doing it. I'm obsessive. We all know time is an issue for me. I just wish I could finish game content faster.

The goals of having a campaign would be:
  • To get some financial help to make it easier and less risky for me and my family to fund the game resources. Optional features like voice acting or custom soundtrack definitely cost too much for us here.
  • To introduce some new people to my work.
  • To see how much interest there is, anyway.
  • To get help getting greenlit on Steam.

In light of these goals, I ask, does the campaign really need fancy perks? What about the dreaded funding target?

  • Fancy perks are additional work for me and would cause delays.
  • I don't have an original soundtrack to offer (~$4000), or a digital artbook. That would be much easier if I were a composer or illustrator. I've worked with different illustrators, and keeping things under control is tricky as it is. I can't ask them to do the additional work of assembling an artbook. Whatever that is.
  • There is this legend about mysterious rich people wandering about, wanting to give money to campaigns, but if you have no expensive perk, they won't do it.
  • Physical perks seem expensive, yet they don't really bring much more profit than the digital ones. A t-shirt in a $50 perk? Would cost around $25 to make and ship. So it's all the same to me whether someone bought a digital $25 perk or a $50 t-shirt perk, only I have more work with the t-shirt, and I'd have to worry if it turned out good. I don't know if "$50 for a t-shirt" seems expensive to you, btw. To me, it kind of does.
  • Also, how many people would buy something like a t-shirt? In the smaller successful campaigns I have seen, it's usually around 2 people.

  • With no costly perks, it would take a lot of backers to reach the goal. Say, if the only perk is $10 and the goal is $2000, it would take 200 people.
  • But if there are no perk expenses (neither physical perks nor having to pay artists to produce a digital one), then the campaign goal could be set lower.
  • Does a low goal imply a lame project? Or lying? When I see one game asking for $10.000 and another similar game $300, something seems fishy. Are they really missing just $300 and have to campaign for it? (Well, both campaigns seem fishy to me, but that's because I'm from a poor country and $10.000 would seem like asking kind strangers to fulfill all my dreams.)
  • So, a high goal makes you look greedy and is more likely to result in a fail campaign, and a low goal makes you look unprofessional, like you don't even know the costs, or your team is cheap and therefore must be bad. Then what is the right goal? Does $5.000 sound greedy to you? Does $500 sound pathetic?
  • I know the costs of the project, but a lot of features are optional, plus I could beg my dad for more money and eat bread and butter for a year. :D Also, I could say the game will only be finished if there is enough support ("fixed funding", all or nothing). No point in eating bread and butter if no one cares.
  • It seems fancy perks are more trouble than they're worth, but offering no fancy perks might make it look like I haven't put much thought into the campaign. In fact, I've put too much thought into it. -.-
  • Then I imagine myself reading "Top 7 reasons why your campaign failed." -"You didn't have any perks. Did you not do the basic research?"

By the way, if there's going to be a campaign, it should start soon. Hopefully June. I will update the blog soon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Still alive

It's nice to be back and not see any "project/lamb is dead" comments. :) I have a super good excuse for why there haven't been any updates, but I'm not ready to announce private life stuff yet.

Yes, there have been a lot of changes. It keeps happening. I feel it's best if I don't promise anything, or someone might buy the game and not get what they were expecting. Remembering the Thayn storyline, I'm sorry it's not in this project, but I hope I can do a sequel.

Here is a Facebook page - still in preparation:

Until I'm ready to write a bigger update... Thanks for checking the blog. :)