Yesterday, Jonathan Dishaw, Matt Estrada, and I took a trip down to Gaikai down in Aliso Viejo in Orange County in order to hear about Yorba Linda-based Iocaine Studios talk about their game "Steam Bandits Outpost" and their hurdles going through their two Kickstarter campaigns. We also got to meet Selatria artist Jennifer Gilliland in person! It was a pretty awesome meet-up, and a big thanks to the IGDA Orange County and Gaikai for holding the presentation.
Given that our studio struggled out the gate with our first crowd-funding campaign, I wanted to get a list of points that would apply to not only our current project "Selatria", but for our upcoming project "ANTics".
Jason Fader, Iocaine's Lead Designer, talked about his project "Steam Bandits Outpost" and presented key-concepts of the game, and how his Kickstarter campaign went. The first attempt didn't reach its goal, so they cleaned up their presentation, lowered their goal, and put their game back up and reached their needed goal.
Here are the notes I've taken from his presentation. (I apologize if they are un-organized, I was writing this down like a mad-man)
- Don't use super-successes as an example. Games like "Wasteland 2", and "Torment: Tides of Numenera" had industry veterans with many years of experience.
- Take about a month to prepare a pitch. Useful things to have ready: A blog for your game, working prototype, video of the game in action, concept art, playable demo.
- Be active. Get the game out there to the press. Post updates and answer questions frequently.
- Find a certain market, and understand your audience. Know who you're trying to appeal to for your game and cater to that audience.
- Don't ask for money to fund your team full-time. It's an unreasonable amount of money. Raise enough to cover your license fees and fees to develop the game. Especially for the re-launch of the Kickstarter campaign, only the bare-bones amount of money they could ask for and still be "happy" with the game was asked for. Original vision of the game was hoped to be achieved through stretch goals if it reached its target.
- If it looks like your campaign is about to not reach its goal, on the last day, edit the page so it has a link to where you can follow the game incase you try again. After a campaign ends, the information is saved on the website and cannot be edited.
- Have a clear defined message. Don't leave the readers/backers of your game confused on your vision. On their relaunch, they went for a clearer approach [retooled message] on their game explanation (used analogies on other games that they can relate to. "Anti-Facebook" Game, etc...)
- Their Budget: 10% Kickstarter/Amazon's Fee, 15% Physical Rewards, 20% Unity Licenses, 13% Computer Hardware, 20% Conventions/Conference, Other: Rainy Day Money
- Don't give up if you fail the first time. Learn from your failure and use that to improve for next time.
- Utilize website Kicktraq to track your projects and others' projects.
- Kickstarter gets far more exposure then Indiegogo. They considered Indiegogo for crowdfunding, but they determined "Kickstarter or bust". Kickstarter gets far more exposure and better ways to find other projects. Better interface to see how you're doing compared to Indiegogo as well. Once Kotaku got a hold of their project, they reached goal in days.
A cool game design idea that was brought up in their presentation:
"Transgaming" - The ability to play one game in a series and be able to send content (such as items or other information) to another game.
While some games like Pokemon do this with trading monsters between games and generations, the presenters had a different idea to which different games of different genres can trade items to one another.
An example was given where the designer's girlfriend can play one game, he plays a different game, he asks her for an item, she gathers it and sends it to him online. "Relationship points/time went up" (to audience laughter)
I am fascinated by this concept, and I hope some games pick this up. There is concerns about it being unfair or at a disadvantage by not playing multiple games, but it was said in the case of "Iocaine Studios" games, the factor would be at around a 2% discrepancy.
See also: Dust 514
Some notes to add for our own small office from observing the locale:
-We need a full-screen white board for our office. (Those things are awesome, I'll have to evaluate the cost. We only have a small one!)
-T-Shirts for the Studio and our games
I'm looking forward to next month's meetup! I'm hoping we can re-launch Selatria with renewed vigor and when it's fully ready for demonstration!