Topic: Crowdfunding : your thoughts?  (Read 22581 times)


Erkka

« on: October 29, 2020, 10:05:27 AM »
Hello!

This is Erkka from the Enormous Elk development team. We are planning an another game as a small side-project. To make this happen we'd like to set up a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo platform. The plan is to use Discord as the main platform during the development phase, so that there would be weekly updates on development progress, and monthly Q&A sessions (hopefully with a video stream). I think the funding phase would run for three weeks, aiming to have the first playable alpha or beta version before the end of this year.

To maintain the suspense, we will announce the project details only a few days before the crowdfunding campaign starts (before mid-November, that is). But what I can say already now is that the game would run on Windows, Linux and Android, also aiming for Mac and iPhone release pretty soon after the non-apple release. And also, in case you wonder - from the development point of view a side-project is beneficial also for the actual UnReal World development; a smaller sibling game would double as an experimental laboratory, where different kinds of algorithms and ideas can be tested.

So, at this point - before I start to set up an IndieGoGo campaign - I'd like to ask for your thoughts, ideas or personal preferences. What kind of perks would you like to see, for what sum of money? If you have ideas, please post replies suggesting things like "can we have a €25 perk for an access to the monthly live video streams?". Also, it would be cool if someone provides their views on perk range, like "Because of these reasons [....] I think that the minimum perk should be X euros for perk Z1, ranging up to Y euros for perk Zn" Or, what kinds of perks would you love? Digital content like music or concept art? A physical item like copies of game graphics design drawings, or a  hand-written thank you card?

Ps. More news in the weekend. I'm planning a blog post about my personal thoughts and the process of preparing for the project. In the blog post there will also be a bit more details about the project plans.

UnReal World co-designer, also working on a small side project called Ancient Savo

Credit

« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2020, 10:50:14 AM »
No thank you.

There's still a shit load of stuff to add in UnReal World - looking at the roadmap.
This will surely slow down the development of the "flagship", no?

Erkka

« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2020, 11:03:35 AM »
Quote
This will surely slow down the development of the "flagship", no?

We aim to have it the other way around. Personally, I'd love to quit my main work to be a full-time indie game developer, so that in the future I would have more coding time to help Sami with UnReal World development. After considering various different ways of taking this leap the chosen tactics is a crowdfunding campaign for a small side-game project.

For so many years I have had trouble with finding proper coding time next to my main work. The time has come to ditch my other odd jobs. I do believe that taking this leap will eventually lead to boostin UnReal World development, instead of slowing it down.

EDIT: to clarify; the mentioned side-project is not intended to be a long-term development like UnReal World is. The plan is to spend a few months coding a release version (1.0), then slow down for a few more additional versions (like 1.1 or 1.2), eventually leaving the side-project as it is, so that there will be more time to concentrate on UnReal World development. So, this another game is just a temporary transition phase.

And, as mentioned: an another game could also double as a test environment to develop and to polish algorithms before implementing them in UnReal World. For example, back in the time when I was coding the weather simulation for UrW, I first coded a tiny text-based test environment. I ran hundreds of tests in the sandbox environment so that I got the details of the simulation polished, before the whole thing was implemented in the main game. Now I'm planning a full stand-alone small game, partially for the same reason - to have a sandbox where I can experiment with various algorithms. But this is purely to coder point of view - for the player that mentioned small game would naturally be a fully playable and fully enjoyable game in itself.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2020, 11:24:53 AM by Erkka »
UnReal World co-designer, also working on a small side project called Ancient Savo

JP_Finn

« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2020, 02:45:42 PM »
A lot of crowdfunding tends to price themself high. E.g. perks/packages in hundreds and even thousands of $/€/£/¥.
It can be a money maker and your comment on being able to ditch other side jobs is honest approach. A full size A-title games sell for about €60. So that should be a “gold standard” to aim for. Higher price support packages should get something concrete; physical merchandise, autographed storyboards/comic of the game etc. or have a ingame representation of their avatar/character (within good taste and retaining immersion of course)

$10 “I believe in you”
$30 early access beta/monthly updates
$60 above and alpha access
$100 above and mention in credits
$250 (if someone feels generous?) above and hand drawn and signed doodle about something in game.

That type stuff seems usual.

Credit

« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2020, 03:55:41 PM »
Quote
This will surely slow down the development of the "flagship", no?

We aim to have it the other way around. Personally, I'd love to quit my main work to be a full-time indie game developer, so that in the future I would have more coding time to help Sami with UnReal World development. After considering various different ways of taking this leap the chosen tactics is a crowdfunding campaign for a small side-game project.

For so many years I have had trouble with finding proper coding time next to my main work. The time has come to ditch my other odd jobs. I do believe that taking this leap will eventually lead to boostin UnReal World development, instead of slowing it down.

EDIT: to clarify; the mentioned side-project is not intended to be a long-term development like UnReal World is. The plan is to spend a few months coding a release version (1.0), then slow down for a few more additional versions (like 1.1 or 1.2), eventually leaving the side-project as it is, so that there will be more time to concentrate on UnReal World development. So, this another game is just a temporary transition phase.

And, as mentioned: an another game could also double as a test environment to develop and to polish algorithms before implementing them in UnReal World. For example, back in the time when I was coding the weather simulation for UrW, I first coded a tiny text-based test environment. I ran hundreds of tests in the sandbox environment so that I got the details of the simulation polished, before the whole thing was implemented in the main game. Now I'm planning a full stand-alone small game, partially for the same reason - to have a sandbox where I can experiment with various algorithms. But this is purely to coder point of view - for the player that mentioned small game would naturally be a fully playable and fully enjoyable game in itself.

Only you, knows what's best for you. And whatever you decide we can do nothing, best of luck with it.

As a customer of UnReal World, I'd much much rather have more updates on that and/or even crowdfound specific features. I don't wanna grap another game to fullfill my UnReal World "needs" and is a little concerned about the state that game could/will be left in (I haven't been here for 28 years, just 2). It does seems counter productive, from a customer's point of view. And I my opinion, there's lots of small stuff to work with in UnReal World already.

MrMotorhead

« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2020, 05:23:06 PM »
Sounds great.  Another project can be just the thing to get creatively active.

My favorite type of reward are things that we backers can add to the finished game.  I supported Prison Architect slightly higher to be able to submit a custom prisoner that was included in the game's release.  This can be easier or harder depending on the game design but worth considering.  They clearly had done a lot of work to make it simple for many people to add something small but significant without manual work for each additional additional backer.

Erkka

« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2020, 05:41:50 PM »
Quote from: Credit
As a customer of UnReal World, I'd much much rather have more updates on that and/or even crowdfound specific features. I don't wanna grap another game to fullfill my UnReal World "needs" and is a little concerned about the state that game could/will be left in (I haven't been here for 28 years, just 2). It does seems counter productive, from a customer's point of view

I understand and appreciate that point of view. So, it remains to be seen if most of the UnReal World players feel that way - if the another game project won't get backers, then clearly that will mean that I won't be wasting my time coding a game no-one wants to play =) If that happens, then we need to change plans, no problem.

Quote from: JP_Finn
A full size A-title games sell for about €60. So that should be a “gold standard” to aim for.

Ah, sure! But here I've been crafting plans for a small indie game which could realistically see the first full version released after 3 months of coding or so. I feel that a game like this would sell for half the price of UnReal World, which would make the price tag of 6 €.

That means that either we need to sell a lot of "early access" perks for a cheap price, or then we need to come up with interesting perks in the €10 - €250 range, with emphasiz on stuff at €20 - €50 range.

This has been my line of thinking, wondering what extra people would like to have if they'd decide to support a 6 € game by donating 25 € or so. (Or, to rephrase myself: what perks would people like to have, if they donate to help Erkka become a full-time indie coder, ultimately boosting the UnReal World development, and also getting a nice small game as a side-effect.)

(Yeah I talk about ditching my main work, and I'm already living on minimal budget. Something like 2000 € would be a good sum to keep me coding almost full-time for two or three months. I'm self employed, so luckily it is not a total yes/no decision of quitting my current work. It is just that I'd love to have indie coding as my main work, leaving only a few hours a week of my current work on the side.)


Quote from: MrMotorhead
I supported Prison Architect slightly higher to be able to submit a custom prisoner that was included in the game's release.

That's a good idea, I'll think if and how that would fit with the planned project. Just for clarification: in what form did you submit your custom prisoner? You mean pixel art, or a xml-structured text file describing character details, or something other?
« Last Edit: October 29, 2020, 05:50:55 PM by Erkka »
UnReal World co-designer, also working on a small side project called Ancient Savo

PALU

« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2020, 06:06:01 PM »
I'm staying away from supporting games at the concept stage, as I've seen too many either just fold, or change key features such that I'm not interested anymore to support something that is just a concept (the one I did turned out well, however). I believe Erkka is considerably more trustworthy than many others, but I'll stay away on principle.

One trap I think many developers fall into is to offer rewards that actually cost more in time/money than what the backer provided. That's OK if it's a deliberate marketing move to raise awareness and increase interest, but not if the money is intended to actually be used for development. Thus, a 10 euro submission mustn't cost more than 10 minutes or so in total processing if it's to mainly contribute to development (with "mainly" being very considerably above 50%, so no fantasy salaries implied).
In the prison case, if you'd have to generate 1000 prisoners anyway, getting their specifics from backers probably costs very little, so most of the money could go to development (although you'd still have to specify submission formats and handle the responses). A quickly produced "special feature" (a badge of honor for the main character?) that can be "mass produced" easily without getting bogged down in key protection issues (a simple key code will be posted on the net within minutes) might be cheap, but any additions to a 3 month project is significant...

MrMotorhead

« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2020, 06:55:36 PM »
Quote
in what form did you submit your custom prisoner?

They had a selection of head and body sprites you could choose and then you could submit an optional text backstory as well as a name for your prisoner.  In the game, when a prisoner arrives, the game would choose from a large list.  The choice would be added to a machine generated personality and criminal sentence. 

I really like this reward, it's easily my favorite reward out of all the indie games I've supported.  Even though it's a small thing with no real effect on game play.  There is an option menu where you can search through all of the submitted prisoners and flag one "this is me" so the game would always select that prisoner when you are playing.

Compare and contrast that reward to the crayon drawing reward that the Dwarf Fortress creators used to send to each backer.  In that case, each donation would create a new task for the developers and the output of that task is nothing that adds to the game.

I would likely back your project just because I've had so much fun playing UnReal World and I'd like to see what else you come up with.

paulkorotoon

« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2020, 07:36:54 PM »
I don't really know how crowdfunding should be managed, so probably cannot give a good advice. Yet I would gladly donate as soon as I'm able to. Just because of being grateful of all the fun I have playing UnReal World. And 'cause I hope to become an indie game developer some day.
Biggest Russian UrW fan

Dungeon Smash

« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2020, 04:16:47 PM »
I have faith in the Enormous Elk team, no matter what.  For the paltry sum of a lifetime membership many years ago, I have been rewarded with countless hours of entertainment.  I know whatever project they begin, Sami and Erkka will approach it with the same care and dedication that they put into UnReal World.  Therefore I will be happy to support any new venture. 

Erkka

« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2020, 03:20:31 PM »
And here is a blog post which focuses mainly on my personal thoughts and feelings on preparing for the side-project. It also contains a little on the actual game idea.

I feel that once the campaign starts the focus of feedback and communications is most likely going to be in the actual game and coding-related stuff. So, before that phase I felt like writing a more personal post, going through the psychological stuff which anyway affects everything we human beings do or don't do. Hence this blog post.

And thank you for all the feedback and ideas for Indiegogo Perks. I think I have found a way to fit MrMotorhead's suggestion neatly into the planned project. But more of that kind of stuff once the Indiegogo campaign is ready to launch. In the meantime, feel free to post further suggestions, to send negative or positive feedback the way you find it.
UnReal World co-designer, also working on a small side project called Ancient Savo

PALU

« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2020, 08:34:58 PM »
Two comments on the blog post:

1. Fairly trivial (and certainly no level of professionalism behind it), but you're not saying "No" to all the other projects, but rather "I'll start with this one", it's not as if you were hunting and had to chose one out of two animals and the one you does not select will bolt.

However, once you go for one you definitely have to lock the others out most of the time until done (depending on how you, personally, function, it may or may not be "safe" to think about others as a distraction when you need a break, but it depends on if you can lock them out again when "done" [for that time]).

2. "Slash and Burn" is a good title, but it has to be made very clear immediately that it's NOT about crushing your foes, as that's the meaning that's used most of the time.

Erkka

« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2020, 08:54:04 PM »
Good comments, PALU, thank you!

You are right about the point 1. Maybe I should've been more clear with my writing. I think that by "saying no" I actually mean "not now", instead of "no, never".

2. is something I didn't know! This one needs to be considered carefully, as indeed the intention is to make a peaceful game with no simulation of warfare.
UnReal World co-designer, also working on a small side project called Ancient Savo

paulkorotoon

« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2020, 09:47:22 AM »
@Erkka, your blog post is pretty inspiring. I do know what depression is, and it's so helpful to see someone actually overcome it.

Your game seems to be quite interesting (and have the spirit of UrW, that's cool). The description somewhat reminded me “King of Dragon Pass”, another great game. I hope you'll succeed!
Biggest Russian UrW fan

 

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