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 Post subject: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:14 pm 


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Since Kickstarter appears to be going nowhere soon, I figured that I would start a topic on the interesting items—games or otherwise—listed there and on Indiegogo as well. Folks are also free to list their thoughts or mention any trends they see in the world of crowd funding.

As many have mentioned, Kickstarter is a system built on trust and it may take only one failed/scam blockbuster project to ruin the idea for good. I've pledged for a few projects already and have had one entirely completed (successfully of course) with others still moving along.

The trends in crowd funded gaming seem to be that pledge costs are higher to account for the development cost donation and the potentially smaller scale. A PC collector's edition that would probably go for $80 on retail shelves is usually $100-150 on Kickstarter, which seems reasonable to many to support the developers.

Established designers who have already worked on popular games have found the most success obtaining crowd funds. However, numerous series that did not result in a strong established fan base have fallen by the wayside or barely made the cut, even those from popular designers, indicating that the type of games designed is much more important than name power. Type of games can usually be split into genres. First-person dungeon crawlers have had unusually poor success on Kickstarter, perhaps mirroring their less attractive role in modern gaming..

Rewards in crowd funded games can be separated into 3 key areas that also correspond to the money involved:

-First are digital goods, which are the cheapest to buy and the cheapest to give. This area always start at the lowest levels of crowd funding but oftentimes can generate the most revenue due to volume.
-Further along are physical goods, which require more money to produce but also earn higher prices. It's not clear to me yet whether physical goods are noticeably more profitable than digital goods but many middle range crowd funders demand physical goods to contribute.
-At the top level are individualized digital content that take the most time to produce but require high development costs. The prices of these seem to clearly outweigh the costs, resulting in high margin, but there are few people around willing to spend so much on a single game.

Each of these steps normally includes rewards from previous steps. Besides these 3 basic reward types, there are also name and title recognition within the game that progressively rise in prestige and visibility with higher pledges. There have already been numerous successful game projects (Kickstarter helpfully allows project ordering by funding amount) by which new game developers can look for inspiration on segmentation and other marketing strategies.

Most projects being built from the ground up are constantly communicating with supporters (1 email every week or 2) about status. I don't even care about this status but I suppose they provide reassurance and are exciting to some. Much like most projects, one trend has been delays, which for some of these established designers is almost certainly due to scope creep. When designers leave projects open-ended and add stretch goals for more content, scope can easily become less clear.

Some folks thought most crowd money for games had been sucked dry with big name projects in the past year but recent introductions within the past month have proved the doubters wrong. Here are 3 of the biggest active ones:

Torment: Tides of Numenera by InXile (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/inx ... f-numenera): The creators of the wildly popular Planescape: Torment are creating a new RPG in the same mold. Ever since the heights of Bioware and Black Isle D&D CRPGs, there have been clamoring for more in the same 2D mold. Neverwinter Nights represented a style shift long ago that I wasn't really interested in, and it seems many CRPG fans felt similarly. Torment, like its crowd-funded twin Project Eternity before it, is basically offering a continuation of the expansive adventures and comfortable mechanics from the turn-of-the-millennium RPG classics.

Shroud of the Avatar by Portalarium (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/por ... -virtues-0): Most folks haven't heard of Portalarium before but they likely have heard of Lord British, AKA Richard Garriott, before (no relation to Gradius here, folks). Just as Torment: Tides of Numenera is the spiritual successor of its namesake without the D&D license, Shroud of the Avatar is the spiritual successor of Ultima without the license. Pledges haven't been as spectacular as some other RPGs for 2 reasons that I can think of: the game was initially branded as a successor to Ultima Online, where many crowd funders have no interest in playing online, and there was no physical game pledge level until yesterday. Garriott has noted this feedback and plans to adjust accordingly, which I think is very smart flexibility since I probably wouldn't have pledged if these 2 issues weren't addressed.

Skullgirls updates by Lab Zero Games (http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/keep- ... ls-growing): Before Skullgirls, there was a common idea in gamer communities that Indiegogo could not fund large projects due to its lower visibility. It's not clear whether Indiegogo results in less traffic but from the Skullgirls project, it is clear that bigger projects can still succeed. This project is very interesting for the fact that the game is already out and its main rewards will be free DLC for everyone. Meanwhile, its pledge rewards are relatively unappealing with limited physical goods and individualized content. Still, it's been very successful due to extremely engaged fans.


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:00 am 


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Interesting tidit from http://money.cnn.com/2013/03/13/technol ... ckstarter/

Torment reached $1 million in ~7 hours when it debuted last week, a Kickstarter (and I would assume crowd funding) record. Today, the Veronica Mars movie (based on the cult TV hit) reached $1 million in 4.5 hours, becoming the new record-holder. It seems there's a lot of mileage left for big crowd-funded projects. I do wonder though how much higher funds at the super-popular level could be were it not for the $10k limit thanks to US law. Not to mention $500 for a voicemail message from Kristen Bell seems on the low end to me, and sure enough all the limited rewards have been long taken.


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:06 am 


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Wonder what a Kristen Bell hand doogie would run.

I never watched the show, but I applaud their effort for getting it done. Also, I read $2 mil in 7 hours was the total.
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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:16 pm 


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I never watched the show, but I applaud their effort for getting it done. Also, I read $2 mil in 7 hours was the total.


You should, I watch a shit-load of TV shows and I consider it one of the best ones up there with Battlestar Galactica, Alias, Twin Peaks and Breaking Bad.
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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:37 pm 


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Cool to see that Skullgirls managed to get the funding for both Squiggly and Big Band. Getting to the $600.000 in the time they have left is probably not possible, but they will most likely get to fund BB's stage and theme.

I kind of like this new trend. It lets some small developers realize their projects and, in Skullgirl's case, save games from certain doom.
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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:35 pm 


neat http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/yac ... vel-knight


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:14 pm 


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Ooo, pretty pixel graphics.
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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:03 pm 


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4 observations about Shovel Knight:

1. It's cool that this game is made by former WayForward employees who naturally know a thing or two about sidescrollers. I almost missed that tidbit.

2. The game immediately reminded me of the unrelated earlier Kickstarter funding success Volgarr the Viking. The mechanics look very different but it's hard to ignore Rastan roots with the buff protagonist and jumping downstab.

3. The Enchantress boss sprite looks really similar to Disney's Maleficent. The developers should probably make some adjustments unless they want to risk getting sued.

4. I wish developers would focus more on 16-bit pixel sprites. There are way too many indie sidescrollers with either 8-bit sprites or with modern line sprites and almost nothing in-between.


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:28 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:12 am 


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4. I wish developers would focus more on 16-bit pixel sprites. There are way too many indie sidescrollers with either 8-bit sprites or with modern line sprites and almost nothing in-between.


http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/144 ... f=activity

:P


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:46 am 


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Aww, if that collection had one nice looking sidescroller, then I'd jump on it.

Anyway, for those wondering how much of these crowd funds are going into game costs, MikeZ—the creator of Skullgirls—has provided some perspective. He's mentioned before the $200,000-250,000 cost per character for Skullgirls but since some folks are still shocked that the costs are so high, MikeZ has elaborated on today's game industry costs with quantitative and qualitative info:

http://skullheart.com/forums/index.php? ... costs.602/

The part that seems strange to me is that a modern AAA title—such as Resident Evil 6—may have 400-600 people on the team whereas a top-level title around the turn of the millennium—such as Sonic Adventure—only needed 30 people. Another recent link provided these facts:

http://www.destructoid.com/aaa-game-dev ... 7366.phtml

Consequently, it's not clear that we're comparing apples to apples here. If the average programmer makes $100,000 a year, then you get the equivalent of 2 programmers (of course there are artists and other tasks necessary) to make a character in a year. Just some thoughts to consider.


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:40 am 


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Torment reaped $4.2 million in Kickstarter funds alone (good for #1 most funded video game on Kickstarter).
Shroud of the Avatar got $1.9 million (#8 most funded video game, over $2 million total with PayPal funds included).
Skullgirls got $830k (#1 most funded video game and #6 of any project on Indiegogo) and will consequently feature 3 new characters. Potential new characters are listed here: http://www.labzerogames.com/3rdcharacter/

The next interesting Kickstarter game for me is Divinity: Original Sin: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lar ... iginal-sin

Basically, Larian—the developers behind the respected Divine Divinity, forgettable Beyond Divinity, and mixed Divinity II—are out to make the next installment in the Divinity RPG series and has already reached its funding goal. Original Sin almost certainly won't be as popular as the above hits but I think it has as much chance to become a great RPG as the others. Its inspiration is Ultima VII and so far, it looks more the part than Shroud of the Avatar.


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:33 pm 


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I liked this, just what I needed really - a nice cheap simple compact wallet for the small number of things I carry around.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1369622196/the-crabby-wallet-a-wallet-that-is-not-for-everyon
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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 1:13 am 


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http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/144 ... rex-rocket


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 1:54 am 


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The spiritual successor to Eternal Darkness with some former Silicon Knights employees involved: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/617 ... e-eternals

I never got the appeal of the original but I understand it was a cult hit. The episodic approach and lack of physical game tiers may put folks off though.


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 2:00 am 



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http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rya ... attle-in-t

This looks great. Board game involving your favourite pantheons of gods battling it out. I will pick this up when it's out for sure.
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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 2:21 am 


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Ganelon wrote:
The spiritual successor to Eternal Darkness with some former Silicon Knights employees involved: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/617 ... e-eternals

I never got the appeal of the original but I understand it was a cult hit. The episodic approach and lack of physical game tiers may put folks off though.
I'm a big fan of the original eternal darkness, so this interests me alot. Unfortunately silicon knights' history after leaving Nintendo leaves alot to be desired so it somewhat sours the prospect of a sequel for many (including me).

As far as episodic goes, I think it's both a good and bad decision. The original eternal darkness was already split into various chapters each played by a different character, so a spiritual sequel in an episodic format isn't that unusual. But considering its crowd-funded, theirs always the prospect that the first episode will be funded but the subsequent ones will not.
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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 7:08 am 


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Not sure if this really counts, but it is pretty important to some people. There are much bigger projects (spiritual successor to Road Rash could be really bad, or pretty neat).

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nyu ... g-game-tri

They are trying to get visibility that will hopefully get more overseas games on Steam. It's a good game series and will be in English. I would love to see more PC games localized.
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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 7:58 am 


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Kickstarter projects of note...and nobody mentions Wasteland 2? May Red Ryder and the Hobo Oracle have mercy on your wayward souls!


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 6:59 am 


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http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/174 ... developers


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 5:55 pm 


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ED-057 wrote:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1748556728/the-untold-history-of-japanese-game-developers


Backed.
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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 2:27 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 4:11 pm 


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Really excited about The Untold History of Japanese Video Game Developers. John Szczepaniak is probably my favourite VG journalist, and his writing made stuff like Retro Gamer worth forking out a fiver for every month. His features for The Gamers Quarter and HCG101 really give a good taste of what a full length book by him will be like, i.e awesome.


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 5:03 pm 


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>The Untold History of Japanese Video Game Developers
Backed. Sounds excellent, enjoyed Power-Up, expecting this to add plenty more original, interesting stories.
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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:54 am 


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http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kan ... ukas-the-c


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:55 am 


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Thanks for the Tezuka post! I would have missed that otherwise. This might be my first Kickstarter pledge, since that looks like it's the only way to get this one.


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:57 am 


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drauch wrote:
Thanks for the Tezuka post! I would have missed that otherwise. This might be my first Kickstarter pledge, since that looks like it's the only way to get this one.


If you are going to pledge please read the updates carefully. This will be a hard title to track down the road in the future.


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:06 am 


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Domino wrote:
drauch wrote:
Thanks for the Tezuka post! I would have missed that otherwise. This might be my first Kickstarter pledge, since that looks like it's the only way to get this one.


If you are going to pledge please read the updates carefully. This will be a hard title to track down the road in the future.


Yep, thanks for the tip. Probably would have missed that T-shirt offer if I wasn't going to pledge the $40. Anything else I'm missing?


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:14 am 


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drauch wrote:
Domino wrote:
drauch wrote:
Thanks for the Tezuka post! I would have missed that otherwise. This might be my first Kickstarter pledge, since that looks like it's the only way to get this one.


If you are going to pledge please read the updates carefully. This will be a hard title to track down the road in the future.


Yep, thanks for the tip. Probably would have missed that T-shirt offer if I wasn't going to pledge the $40. Anything else I'm missing?


Nope. You are good for $40.


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 Post subject: Re: Kickstarter projects of note
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:11 pm 


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Today I learned about this cool off-road simulator: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/358 ... -challenge

Looks pretty amazing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wn7Y83NpgdM

There's a tech demo you can download and give a try. Includes a jeep and the 8x8 truck in the video above.
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