#1 Edited by IcyEyes (177 posts) -

I'm currently working on creating a kickstarter campaign for a small retro arcade style indie game I want to make. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time, but I just haven't had the resources to make happen. I work a full-time and I just don't have the luxury of lots of free time or money to devote all my energy to such a endeavor. This has really been starting to depress me too because I know I can do it, I just need the time to make it happen. Kickstarter seems to be the perfect tool here to help me make this a reality, but I hate the idea of asking people to back a project without any real proof or evidence that I can accomplish what I promise. This is why I've been working very hard to get a prototype built to give people a taste of what I'm going for, and that I am capable of making it, but it's still a slow process.

So in the mean time my question to the GB community is what is the most compelling reason to back a kickstarter project for you? (Indie game projects in particular). I'm hoping your input can help me focus my campaign better on what matters most to backers before launch.

Thanks!

#2 Posted by gumdealer (96 posts) -

I did an interview with an Indie developer who got funded through Kickstarter, and he had some advice for other devs that I agree with: make a video of yourself talking about your game and what you want to accomplish. If you are genuinely excited about your game, make your case in the video. People respond better to a video than just reading text on a Kickstarter page. Also, having a playable build will help a lot.

#3 Posted by ajamafalous (11868 posts) -

For an indie game by a developer without a pedigree? Probably a playable build, honestly.

#4 Edited by eskimo (473 posts) -

Tim Schafer

edit: And there, I've had my fun been a dick. Seriously though, it sounds like you're on the right track. A solid prototype is probably the most compelling reason I can think of for becoming a backer of an unknown indie dev. Don't get caught up in the reward tier trap, just focus on completing the original project.

#5 Edited by Dixego (383 posts) -

Proof that the project will actually take off and... you know, exist. Whatever proof is good, but a playable build seems reasonable.

#6 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -

Proof that it exists, a clear objective, enthusiasm(Seriously, people with no emotion in Kickstarter campaigns piss me off.), and innovation. Innovation doesn't make your product better, but people will pay more attention to your project this way.

#7 Posted by Brodehouse (9636 posts) -

Animation. Show me the game running, even if it's just your target. Show me what you envision. Enthusiasm is great, but ...

This is Valdis Story. I turned on the video and immediately thought that this was going nowhere. And then I saw the game in motion. Good fucking Christ. Same goes for Banner Saga, even when I hear 'mature, intelligent storyline' and 'well realized setting based on Norse culture' I'm not sold... when I see the animation on those guys and the target renders of the conversations I put 50 dollars in.

#8 Posted by dungbootle (2457 posts) -

Space.

#9 Posted by Dolphin_Butter (1913 posts) -

Professionalism and competence. The only project I've helped fund was Republique, but because I felt like they knew what they were doing, I threw $100 at it.

#10 Posted by SlapHappyJesus (120 posts) -

Something not normally seen on store shelves.

Preferably from a team with some real experience in the industry, but I am more than up to backing those with a great idea and a drive to make it real.

#11 Posted by killacam (1284 posts) -

TnA

#12 Posted by crusader8463 (14415 posts) -

Their video of them begging for money has to be mostly gameplay so I can see what the game is actually gonna be and not just a bunch of empty "our game will be the best" promises. Otherwise it has to be a dam good pitch, or something I feel really strong about seeing anyone take a shot at it.

#13 Posted by casper_ (901 posts) -

as far as video games go i think it should be unique in some significant way whether that be an interesting new idea or an older idea that is under-represented in the market or even a very unique art style/presentation.

now i'm not trying to discourage you (and maybe a lot of people would be interested) but unless your retro arcade style game has some very unique hook, there are already a ton of those out there so i'm not sure i would get behind it just knowing as much as i do now.

#14 Edited by Jimi (1126 posts) -

I don't look at kickstarter projects. Mainly because so many fall through I don't want to get my hopes up. So I guess some sort of reassurance that the thing will actually be made.

#15 Posted by Athadam (673 posts) -

What people look for also depends on how much you are asking for and what are you willing to give back - so how much are you?

#16 Edited by CornBREDX (4840 posts) -

In my opinion you should speak with

He is a indie developer that frequents these forums and has used Kickstarter to fund projects. He may be able to give you tips on what he did that helped him be successful doing that.

As for me, if it's an unknown (such as I_smell originally was to me, and maybe to some still is I guess) I look for an idea I am interested in and what they can show they are willing to put into it. Even just a good video of some finished concept footage for what you want to do is a great way to get interest.

This was the video used for No time to explain that made me really interested in I_smell's look at games.

The video is on their kickstarter page here

Sorry I keep mentioning him but when it comes to unknown developers he's only one on the forums I know that have used Kickstarter successfully. I am certain there is more people as well.

#17 Posted by yoshisaur (2665 posts) -

I would need a solid foundation and presentation. I know it sounds harsh, but I cannot get behind a project that has no real substance to it. I love hearing people's pitches and ideas, but in the end if there isn't a physical representation of it I won't support it. It would also have to contain a precise and informative presentation that let's me know you are dedicated to the project as well as talented enough to see it through.

Just think of what you would require to invest a sum of money. I know $10 here, $15 there, may not sound like a large amount, but money is something people generally second-guess their decisions with. Get some concept art and find a buddy who is willing to work on a really rickety build so that when you create the Kickstarter page, you have something to show. I can guarantee you that my mindset is not uncommon and I'd hate for you to jump the gun only to further depress yourself. Also, don't forget that you are competing against everyone on Kickstarter, so mark your entry with a bang :)

Good luck!

#18 Edited by I_smell (3925 posts) -
@CornBREDX: Yeah we made our Kickstarter video just be the trailer, cos that's what people are backing, and it looks pretty fun and exciting. Putting a video of me saying the same stuff everyone else is saying would be slow n awkward n boring.
I think the success of my Kickstarter is because I work with Alex, who knows how to write press releases and promote facebook pages and do all those corny marketing things.  I wouldn't have had the balls to charge for a game, or to start a Kickstarter, or had the smarts to make any of it work without someone like him who actually knows how to do that.
Also it was a free web game first that came out about 6 months earlier, and web games can get hundreds of thousands of hits if they're fun. By the time we'd set up the Kickstarter, I'd already made enough of the game to make a trailer. The trailer is basically all the footage I had at that point, and some of it's not even game footage, it's just animated! (90% of it made it into the game though).
 
Here's the thing though: Mine was made and done like last year. We had no competition and Kickstarter was still fairly hip. The only game kickstarted at that point was Cthulu Saves The World for $5000. When Alex set our goal at $7000 I freaked out at him and said that's way way too high, that's how long ago this was. So it could be that anything I say now is completely outdated, and kickstarting a game is completely different now.
Even projects with full-on finished work that looks awesome fail to get kickstarted, by the way.
 
EDIT WAIT! - You already make games right? If you've not already made some games then don't kickstart one. Cos everyone's first few games suck. ...Apart from Phil Fish and that guy who made Dust An Elysian Tale I guess.
#19 Posted by Imsorrymsjackson (855 posts) -

Nostalgia value. If it is going to be a new game then don't try and break any boundaries for a first project, make something I can relate to, that I can pick up and put down fairly easily and that makes me smile. Then ill back you.

#20 Posted by Vodun (2370 posts) -

Something that gives me hope it will actually get done. So either you gotta have existing trust (Wasteland 2, DF Adventure etc) or you're going to have to show me actual work in progress, preferably playable to some extent.

#21 Posted by IcyEyes (177 posts) -

@killacam said:

TnA

Wrestling?

@dungbootle said:

Space.

This has actually reminded me of one phenomenon on kickstarter I still don't understand; Star Command. Their pitch video seemed quite weak in the first campaign with only a synthesized voice narrating a slideshow of concept art. Yet they went well over their target goal and this was before the double fine craze. Now they have a new campaign for $100,000 to do a PC version before the mobile version is even released, and it looks like they're going to make it. weird....

@Castermhief117 said:

What people look for also depends on how much you are asking for and what are you willing to give back - so how much are you?

It's not finalized yet, but I'm only going to be asking for the minimum amount needed to cover living expenses while I work on the project full-time for about six months with a little extra for software and equipment costs. I have a mortgage and car payments to consider along with the fees kickstarter(5%) and Amazon payments(3-5%) will deduct from the final amount raised, plus any additional taxes I may need to pay.

@Jimi said:

I don't look at kickstarter projects. Mainly because so many fall through I don't want to get my hopes up. So I guess some sort of reassurance that the thing will actually be made.

When you say "fall through" are you talking about not being successfully funded or the end result after it has been funded?

@Vodun said:

Something that gives me hope it will actually get done. So either you gotta have existing trust (Wasteland 2, DF Adventure etc) or you're going to have to show me actual work in progress, preferably playable to some extent.

I agree with this sentiment completely and it's the reason why I'm building a prototype. I've studied a lot of kickstarter projects and it appears to me that the success of a project depends mosty on two main factors. First that there is proof that it can actually be done (track record or prototype), and secondly that there is actually an audience for it. This second factor I think is a reason why some great-looking projects still fail.

@I_smell said:

EDIT WAIT! - You already make games right? If you've not already made some games then don't kickstart one. Cos everyone's first few games suck. ...Apart from Phil Fish and that guy who made Dust An Elysian Tale I guess.

This is not my first game, however, it will be my first publicly released game. This is where the idea that "everyone's first few games suck" can become a little bit inaccurate. It's more like "everyone's first few attempts at a game will suck" FEZ might be the first game released by Phil Fish, but I can guarantee you it was not his first try. It also took five years to make! I wish I had that amount of free time. :)

@gumdealer said:

...make a video of yourself talking about your game and what you want to accomplish. If you are genuinely excited about your game, make your case in the video. People respond better to a video than just reading text on a Kickstarter page. Also, having a playable build will help a lot.

I'm definitely going to have a video for the kickstarter campaign, but I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to do it. I have something of a social phobia and I don't really like the idea of filming myself, even though I know it would not be nearly as bad as some of the pitch videos I've seen. LOL. I also don't want to show just gameplay because even though that is the most important element it doesn't communicate the full message. I'll probably at least be talking in the video and explaining what I want to do.

@ck1nd said:

....I can guarantee you that my mindset is not uncommon and I'd hate for you to jump the gun only to further depress yourself. Also, don't forget that you are competing against everyone on Kickstarter, so mark your entry with a bang :)

Good luck!

I am trying to be very careful about how I go about this and making a good impression is one of my primary concern. It's also the reason why I can't go into much detail about the the project right now. There is definitely a unique twist to it, but it's something I can't reveal until just the right moment. My main source of stress at this point however is the fact that it's taking as long as it is. Every delay is just making it more frustrating and I haven't even been able to use any of my vacation time to work on the project since other things have had to take priority. I also never really planned to talk about the project anywhere until I could actually show something, but at this point I think talking about it even vaguely is better than not at all.

#22 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

I tend to look more favorably on projects I'm on the fence about if they bear the Kicking It Forward logo.

#23 Posted by Creamypies (4052 posts) -

Anything horror related. I recently pledged towards a game called Paranormal, which is a Paranormal Activity style haunting simulator.

#24 Edited by BraveToaster (12590 posts) -

When I look at a Kickstarter, I don't want to hear about how awesome the game is, I want to see how awesome it is. I don't want to hear sob stories either.

#25 Posted by IcyEyes (177 posts) -

@BraveToaster: At least sob stories are a slight inprovement over just bitching, right? I mean being able to vent and complaining about shit on the internet is what forums were invented for! :)

#26 Posted by BraveToaster (12590 posts) -

@IcyEyes said:

@BraveToaster: At least sob stories are a slight inprovement over just bitching, right? I mean being able to vent and complaining about shit on the internet is what forums were invented for! :)

What I mean is the video game Kickstarters who use the whole "struggling indie develop against big greedy corporation" as a selling point. Then you have Kickstarter pages with people bragging and making promises, but they have nothing to show. I would like to see a sample of something before I give my money to someone. I would just like to have a developer show me why I should donate to him/her instead of donating to the other aspiring devs looking for donations.

#27 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1538 posts) -

I've only ever paid for one kickstarter, and it was more-or-less a donation to a podcast that I'd enjoyed for months beforehand (2 years later, the project hasn't materialized, but it wasn't really about the actual product in the first place for me).

I think paying in advance for a product that doesn't yet exist is almost always a bad idea -- whatever money I'd save from "pre-ordering" is more than offset by the chance it turns out horrible, never comes out, or loses my interest by the time it comes out. Games in particular are tough because they take a lot of work to make, and more time than I think most people investing in them understand. If I were to start using Kickstarter, I'd invest in projects that have names with a proven track record behind them, aren't too ambitious, are something truly unique (that I actually have a use for), and aren't commercially viable without support. A game that I'm really into seeing made could potentially meet those requirements.

With all due respect, "small retro arcade style indie game" doesn't do anything for me -- if I were coming up with a parody of an indie game Kickstarter, I'd probably use the same words. I don't want to come off like a dick, but are you sure the game you're thinking about is unique enough that people are going to care about it? It would suck to get really excited, put yourself out there, and have the thing just fizzle.

#28 Posted by sins_of_mosin (1556 posts) -

It'll take several of these that have actually produced a final product that isn't just more then simple fodder for a bored night.

#29 Posted by IcyEyes (177 posts) -

@BraveToaster & @GrantHeaslip:

I completely agree with you both. I also dislike devs that think all they need is a funny pitch video to get people to throw money at them. Thanks Tim Schafer. Even though the Double Fine pitch was hilarious, I don't think it was the main reason people backed them.

@GrantHeaslip said:

With all due respect, "small retro arcade style indie game" doesn't do anything for me -- if I were coming up with a parody of an indie game Kickstarter, I'd probably use the same words. I don't want to come off like a dick, but are you sure the game you're thinking about is unique enough that people are going to care about it? It would suck to get really excited, put yourself out there, and have the thing just fizzle.

Yeah, I know "small retro arcade style indie game" is a little vague. :) I just can't revile much more about it at the moment, but your concerns are completely justified. I do believe I really have something here, but I know it's impossible to tell for sure until I get some feedback on it. There are a few people I'll be showing the prototype to first before the kickstarter campaign. So I'll see where it goes from there. I really just wanted to get some feedback here on what everyone thought about kickstater and it's already been very helpful. So thanks everyone!

#30 Posted by StarvingGamer (8031 posts) -

Names I know and trust primarily. Beyond that I won't even bother to look at a Kickstarter unless there is something important that lies beyond the scope of the project itself, things like Ouya and Republique.

Sadly, there isn't much chance of me backing a game project from an unknown/independant developer unless it's a tactical RPG, and even then only if they have something really solid to show. Something like Banner Saga.