If you’ve been reading this blog for a year or more, you might catch the sarcasm in the title of this post. Last December, I posted “Here Comes 2015,” which was all about the big things that were going to happen this year. It took a longer than I expected, but we got through it all and launched the Kickstarter, finally, in November.
Sadly, Kickstarter wasn’t what we expected. My naive impression of it was “Show your idea to the world and get ready to have money thrown at you.” It may have been something closer to that five years ago. Like anything, success and money change everything. Kickstarter has been enormously successful since it started (2009?) and now it is fairly flooded. That’s just me making an excuse for why our project didn’t get noticed, of course, but it’s true. At the time we posted, there were 650 other projects in our category, alone. There’s no longer any approval process, so anyone can post anything. Just having a good idea and asking for crowdfunding isn’t enough any more.
So, what now?
We’re going to make a game that’s fun. I’m spending more time in the code making the game actually playable and less time making complicated visual effects. I already know that the game is going to look cool because I know what Josh can do as a modeler and I know that Unreal Engine can deliver really stunning visuals. What we failed to convey was that this game is actually fun. No one looked at our videos and our description and said “Man, I really have to play that game!” The most common feedback we heard was, roughly, “It looks cool,” or “It looks like it has a cool story,” immediately followed by “But I can’t tell much about the gameplay.” Woops.
We got tons of useful feedback during our campaign. Some of it was from people who saw us on social media, some was from the creators of other (successful) Kickstarter campaigns, and some was even from some very awesome and intelligent people inside the video game industry. There are some interesting articles written about the psychology of Kickstarter and it’s true that their “all or nothing” model plays some cruel tricks on your mental state. The way I look at it now is that you need to have something good enough that people want to buy it before you show it to the world. Then, the funding campaign has much less of a “do or die” feel to it.
I plan to have a playable version of the game ready by January. We’re already close to that goal, after the work we had to do to get ready for Kickstarter. Then, we’ll take a couple of months to build on that demo version with as much feedback from the gaming community as we can get. I’ll be active in gaming forums, posting progress and asking for opinions. We’ll do all the little things like “Screenshot Saturday” wherever we can and direct everyone who’s interested to download the game and try it out. I’ll do as much social media as I can, but I have to admit that it will probably be a lot less than we did in the last few months. I really believe that more effort needs to go into the actual making of the game than into talking about how great it’s going to be.
Lastly, again, I really want to thank everyone who has been involved in any way. You guys supported us more than we deserved! We’ll repay you all by making this game all that it should be.