So you want to crowd fund?

Kickstarter is a fickle beast, we all know this by now, for those of you that have made the leap, I salute you. Win or lose it takes courage to put yourself in front of the internet. Recently I had a chance to share some of the information I have hoarded for a long while, and I wanted to polish that up and put it down in a more readable way. Most of what I talk about will be in the context of indie game developers/development.

Pitch Video:

This is a big topic, that I have seen covered many ways but what it boils down to is this:

  • Keep it Short, Sweet, and to the Point.
  • The star of your video is the game, chances are no one knows who you are, and looking at you in a video run on about your passions will cause people to click off. So show of something interesting(game play, production art, etc)
  • Branding, Branding, Branding: Have a polished logo, use it, use it a lot. Yes, in the video, at the start, at some point during the video, at the end of the video(find a way to make it stick to people minds’ eye)
  • This is not an independent film, there is no time to build to a climatic reveal, you must hook the viewer as fast as possible so give the viewer something to see early on (first 30 seconds or sooner) that pulls them in.
  • Update the landing page image for the video with updates graphics calling out updates on the project(New Stretch Goals, Funded!, Last Day, etc.)

Community:

Often times, much like audio, community or even simple marketing are not taken into account for indie games on Kickstarter. If you are planning to crowd fund, start a mailing list, get some hype on the project(not the kickstarter) before you publish your crowd funding venture.

Some Key points:

  • As stated, start a mailing list people who sign up are potential champions for you and can have a huge effect on drawing more people to your project.
  • About two weeks to a month before you launch your Kickstarter send out a newsletter to the people on your mailing list giving them a heads up about your intentions.
  • Tweet, blog, Instagram, Facebook – be active in all of these, remember your building hype so the more people talking, the more people that will jump on the bandwagon when the time comes.
  • Ramp up community activity and promotional events those two weeks leading up to the launch of your Kickstarter (build hype).
  • Interact with the community(answer questions, banter) this is the time to show your passion.

Website:

Running a website can be a pain, yes, but it is a necessary evil, while running a kickstarter you may want to keep in mind the following:

  • Your landing page should be calling out the crowd funding campaign. I should be able to click a link from your website and be taken straight to the  Kickstarter, this should not be hard to find.
  • Get as much information as you can on the main page, the less a user has to click through a strange website the better.
  • Images, videos and the like should be prominent.
  • Remember that mailing list I mentioned a bit ago, yeah that should have a home for signups on your main landing page.
  • Link all the thinks, besides your crowd funding campaign, makes sure you have the rest of your social outlets available for people to check out.

Backer Rewards:

One final chunk of information to pay attention to:

  • Physical rewards cost money, not just to produce, but to ship, keep this in mind when you not only finalize the amount of money you are asking for, but when you put together your expense list.
  • Kickstarter takes a percentage of your funding, also keep that in mind.
  • There is a transaction fee/Taxes to take into account when finalizing your Kickstarter.
  • Any chance you can engage a backer and make them feel like part of the development cycle is a great up sell(not just a name in credits or a thank you, but something actually in game).

What is written above in no way guarantee that you will have a successful Kickstarter. Hopefully it sets you on the right path though. I wish my fellow indie devs the best of luck in their crowdfunding adventure.

Bonus:

(Lost) In Space(4)

So I mentioned a while back that I would share a bit more about the Space things I had been working on. So that is what I am going to do! First off Is a video  showing off the entire demo. Since creating this video I have tweaked the mission layout and structure. As always this video is not representative of final product, it is still in pre-alpha phase, but I like sharing, so here we go! Space_Demo Space_1 Space_2 Space_3 Space_4 Space_5 Space_6 So Diving into this project, I did not keep myself in check, my scope blew out of control. The first concept for this game was to make something like the old Colony Wars games from the PlayStation 1 Era. While getting my ship controls together, I let my brain free, and started adding exploration into the mix. Now this is not a /bad/ thing from an idea perspective, but I had already put a lot on my plate, I was already running into issues with my enemy Ship AI and mechanics, and here I was putting new ideas into the project.   I took some time to evaluate what I was doing, and after a few attempts to decided to make exploration the highlight of this project, yes out the door was my ‘ lets bring back an awesome old game’ and in was lets explore! So I set off on my adventure. Ship controls were Smooth especially after I switched from keyboard controls to an actual game pad. Other systems were coming along and then I had 1 week until Ludum Dare, I had to finish up my systems and level  if I was even going to attempt Ludum. Thankfully I got to a good place, baring some visuals, I had a playable demo! While I don’t need to write out some giant Game Design Document, I do need to keep the scale and scope of my project in check, and digging into AI a bit more would be beneficial to future projects. Overall this project  turned out nicely and while I need to step away from it for a while, I would like to come back to it in the near future!

Ludum Dare #27

Ok! so I am recovering a bit from participating for the first time in Ludum Dare, The 27th on its kind. With a theme being chosen of ’10 seconds’ I had 48 hours to make a game, with that theme. The first 3 hours were spent brainstorming and trying to figure out what I really wanted to try and show, that met the theme requirements, but I would be capable of pulling off in 2 days. What I ended up with was ‘Cast Out’ http://www.rekindlegames.com/Alpha/Cast_Out_LD_27.html

Cast_Out_StartChar_Select  Game_Over Win_Screen

‘Cast Out’ is a 10 Second Exorcism game. YOu pick to play as 1 of 3 priests and you will combat a random demon with its own strengths.  In the end its kind of like a Wario Ware Game meets a pokemon battle, fighting over the soul of an innocent!

Despite having things besides the Ludum to do during that 48 hours I felt good about what I was able to get accomplished. The game is playable, there are win/loss screens, The mechanics I used were within my ability and did not blow my scope out of whack. And honestly that is awesome. Obviously if you play the game you will notice a few things missing, some text next to the health bars for example.  This was one of a few things I just ran out of time to complete.

Missing in ‘Cast Out’ would be Audio, and SFX, along with some witty banter from the demons to distract the player, all of these do not hinder the player from playing the game however and would only serve to enhance the experience. After submitting my entry into Ludum Dare I have been keeping my eyes on the comments I get, mostly for feed back on what I could have done better that perhaps I didn’t think of, The biggest thing I see is that a tutorial would have been nice instead of just dropping the player in, this is a good call, as I do need to take various types of players into account when making a game, be it for a Ludum or a full project.

Ludum Dare was great, It helped me  not only test my abilities as a Game Designer but also showed me where I have areas to grow in this field. I am looking forward to the next ludum or Game Jam that I can participate in!

Space Adventure(3)

SO I’ve started cleaning a few of my systems up trying to get a smooth set of systems going before I jump into some of the features I would like to try and add.  You can check out a quick web build i’ve done here http://www.rekindlegames.com/Alpha/Web_Build.html . Since making the build I’ve tweeked the place holders for the ‘mothership’ and her fighters. I need to implement a particle system to help with the visual signs of motion and drag/slow down. I also feel  that the timing on my shop slow down is a little fast/abrupt so I will be tweeking the timing on that.

I wanted to do a 3rd person ship at first but after living in First view for development it has really grown on me, and I am going to lock it into a cockpit view style game, with that I will be looking in to making a kick butt  cockpit view with system consoles and all that sorta stuff  Designing a game is an interesting process, I am looking forward to touching up my Enemy AI in the near future to see what i can pull off , get a little space dog fight going on soon or something.

Space Adventure(2)

Just a quick update today(Still such rubbish with doing these updates, I swear I’ll do better some day!)

So I have place holders in for some Enemy ship, I have a simple patrol set up for a small squad of fighter enemies, and a ‘mother ship’ home base that they are a part of. Fun times! not much to show this time around just a lot of boxes and more boxes !

Space Adventure

Space_update

It is amazing having an artist in the home. It really is. I came home to a surprise asset for my little project. It was an Asteroid!!!! I mean I was using some silly plain cylinders for testing purposes but this is amazing! I was also honered with a new  star field instead of that generic dark cloudy  sky box I had been using. SO not as much progress has been made since my last post, but honestly that is ok.

I am really trying to dive in and tune up the keyboard controls, I’m shooting some something similar in control to the old Colony Wars game on the PS1. So while smaller advancements like  reloading the level when all the asteroids are destroyed or being able to shoot the asteroids is nice, I am glad I am putting some extra time into the controls.

So there we have it still early assets (except for the asteroids, those are amazing XD) but  we have space flight, asteroid shooting and a star field, we almost have a game!

Playmaker!(2)

Just the other day I said I would be back, this time with something possibly different from Kitsu-ga! Well today is going to be a little different. I love games, and as I am learning, should have spent more time in my younger days developing the skills I am trying to learn now. But that is neither here nor there at this point. the fact remains I love games.

So I’d like to show off something completely different  this time.

Space_underneath

This little project comes from another one of the things I love, space. When I first started on this project I was using a basic sphere and cube latched together as my ‘ship’, but the great thing about living with a 3D artist is that I came home the next day and I had a rough space ship to start using instead, the textures I pulled from some random Unity sample and viola.

It was a kick in my butt honestly, to keep going. and well  I have. What started as a way to test out some more functions in playmaker has developed into something pretty neat. While I continue to fine tune the controls, this little space adventure might just be what I bring with me to PAX Dev this year.

Playmaker

In my last post I mentioned diving head first into a visual scripting tool for Unity 3D. THe tool is called Playmaker! and I am in love.

I continue to learn code(C#) to grow my skill set, but I keep returning to playmaker as a tool to prototype and visualize an idea withlittle code. During the Playmaker class I practiced on some assets my fiancee had made for a small project we had been talking about.
Kitsu-ga is the name of that title, the idea for this game, is a 3rd person stealth adventure game.

kitsu_Banner

Kitsu_stealth_1 Kitsu_notes_1

Kitsu_Chest_1Kitsu_Chest_FSM_1

 

Some rough assets and a taste for the nostalgic, I set out to start creating the systems that would be needed to make Kitsu-ga feel awesome. As you can see in the pictures
there are a few things I am doing, a visual reference to a stealth mode able to be toggled on/off with a key press, intractable objects, and pickups.

 

Have I said I love Playmaker? I know the basics for Javascript and C# and I mean the basics, so having something to help me see what I am trying to make, it helps me start putting my thoughts into proper code.

 

So thats a little bit with what I have been up to, I’ll have  more to show soon, it just might not be more on Kitsu-ga.

 

Until Next time!

SkillShare

Over the past couple months I have been /QUIETLY/ learning new things. I say quietly because I haven’t mentioned anything about it here.

I have taken two online classes from a site called Skillshare (www.skillshare.com). The first was a viral marketing type class, it gave me a brief look into how I may need to market the things I would like to produce in the future, needless to say it was a great learning experience.

The most recent class was a 4 week game development class. A tool called PlayMaker! for the Unity 3D development program. This is a 3rd party tool that allows rapid development of prototyping games without diving heavily into code. You can check out the Visual Scripting tool here http://www.hutonggames.com/#&panel1-8 .

This tool is fantastic, it has allowed me to test systems in unity out, without having to hard code it all in, saving me time, and most of all head aches(being someone who is still learning C#).

I have a goal in mind, and Playmaker may just allow me to race for the finish line. There is much work to be done, hard work, and I think my body is ready!

Baby Steps

I’ve never been much for these blog things(oh god I’m old!). But the path my live has taken, especially as of late, has deemed that perhaps it is time to dive in and just /deal with it/.

So, Greetings! I’m honored that you’ve visited my blog(I mean really I wouldn’t, but that’s just me). I hope to use this space as a place to keep my projects and goals  both organized and on a forward progression. To that extent Over the next few days(or weeks) I plan to share a bit about what I am doing in my life and the crazy adventure it is turning out to be!

So I guess I will leave it off here with a little bit about me.  Being of /sound/ mind and the ripe age of 28 years old, I’ve lived in the Seattle area for a good 5 years now. Alongside my partner(in-crime) we are attempting to craft various types of video games(of which I will discuss at a later date!).

Prior to moving to Seattle, I was Born and raised in Southern California. This is where I fell in love with audio, and took my first steps in trying to etch out a career in Sound recording(little did I know how drastic life would challenge me).

Some time later /bam!/ I found myself in Seattle(I’ll  spare you all those details for now). Where I was introduced to Audio Design for video games. I had the opportunity to assist on several student project from the animation department at the Local Art Institute(Ai Seattle).

While my life dictates I pay the bills I have found a secure position at an UN-named Office Supply store.  During my free time however, I have been learning the Unity engine as well as some C# coding language.

I can’t say I know what the future holds for me, but what I can say is that I’m in for one wild ride, and all i can really say is “Bring it!”