Tag Archives: kickstarter fund

Wasteland 2 campaign ends tomorrow, exclusives added for $30 backers

The Kickstarter funding campaign for post-apocalyptic CRPG Wasteland 2 is going to end tomorrow at 5am (EDT, sounds like), so if you’ve not gotten in on it yet, now’s the time. Actually, it’s the best time, because tantalizing rewards have been added for those who put in $30 or more:

– An extra digital download of the game in any format. Many people wanted to be able to get a Mac AND a PC version, or PC and Linux, or even an extra PC version for a friend. Now you can.

– Access to a collection of exclusive Ranger portraits that will double the pool of character portraits you have to choose from at the start of the game when you are rolling up your Rangers. This unique image collection will not only give you more Ranger portraits, but more Ranger icons used to display your party location on the world map.

– Access to a four-episode Video Development Blog that will show you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the design and development of Wasteland 2. Sit in on designer meetings and art-review meetings to see the process behind how the game is made. See interviews with Brian Fargo, Chris Avellone, Mike Stackpole, Alan Pavlish, and the rest of the development team as they explain to you what they are doing and why they are doing it.

– A novella by Chris Avellone based on the universe of Wasteland.

Hit the source to fund, and keep your eyes peeled there for a greenlight launch party livestream tonight, featuring Avellone, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, and others.

Shadowrun Returns: $1 million in pledges guarantee Linux port

With the recent announcement of a Mac port, the Linux community has come out asking whether Shadowrun Returns will support Linux. Harebrained has said it doesn’t want to overreach, so that version has been off the table until now.

“As we said over the weekend, we’re being very careful not to over-commit to ideas and features (especially just to get more funding),” the Kickstarter post update reads. But with $1 million, the developer is confident it can outsource the port to a trusted studio and offer a Linux version shortly after launch. Zipline Games has already built Linux support into Moai, the development environment used by Harebrained Schemes to create Shadowrun Returns.

If the $1 million goal is met, all $15 backers will have access to the Linux port of Shadowrun Returns when it’s ready.

Wasteland 2 Hits $2 Million On Kickstarter

Concept artist Andrée Wallin is on the Wasteland 2 team. An example of his work.

If you kick in $15 or more on the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter crowd-funding drive you’ll get a “Digital Downloable copy of game DRM free for PC or MAC OSX or Linux.” Better yet, “your party will start with a unique and quirky skill.”

There’s something about being very fan-oriented in your game development that I think shines through with projects like these, and that will only become more accentuated if the crowd-funding model takes off. It appears to be doing so already with titles like Double Fine Adventure and Wasteland 2.

For instance, DRM is widely seen as the antithesis of good gamer/developer relations. Sure, there’s a reason for DRM and there are ways to go about managing it that are seen as less pernicious than others (such as Steam.) But with a crowd-funded project, gamers are telling the developer that they’re willing to kick in right from the beginning. Fans help build the project from the ground up, and developers respond in kind. Trust is there from the get-go, and it shows.

If there’s one thing missing in the gaming industry right now, it’s trust. I’ve been surprised, quite frankly, by the level of distrust and animosity in gaming right now: toward the media, toward developers, and toward gamers themselves. When you peel back some of the layers, though, you begin to see why. Maybe crowd-funded games can be one piece of the process in which this is all turned around, patched up and repaired.

Wasteland 2 has crossed the $2 million mark, with over 42,000 people backing the project. That’s an average contribution of over $47. This is impressive, and for fans of the game it means more content. Brian Fargo and co. said that “after $1.5 million the sky is the limit.”

With $2 million in the bank, and ten more days of funding remaining, the team has promised Mac and Linux versions of the game, more maps, and better environments. All this cash “means a better product for all as we can hire more writers and scripters to add even more depth of consequence to the world, add more music and sound to set the atmosphere, and make the world larger to explore.”

It’s neat to see the whole thing unfold from the outset. Game-changing, really. Lots of assumptions about the relationship between gamer and developer are starting to wobble, including what role piracy plays in the success of a game. I for one can’t wait to see what comes next. And to play Wasteland 2, of course.

Oh, and if you’re really a high-roller, you can be in the game. At $1,000 the Wasteland devs will include you or your name as a weapon, NPC, or location in the game itself. It’s sort of like product placement, but with people…

10 Tips for Raising Money on Kickstarter

Double Fine, the game developer, raised $3.3 million for its adventure game, Double Fine Adventures. InXile, a game development company, made $500,000 in 17 hours for its role-playing game, Wasteland 2. Both did it on Kickstarter, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. Naturally, it would be easy to think of Kickstarter as a virtual Gold Rush. That would be a mistake.

Kickstarter has its challenges. Even as a successful participant, I’ve hit some bumps along the way. The lessons I’ve learned from this experience are worth observing. If you’re looking to get funded on Kickstarter, here are ten tips to help you succeed.

1. Do Your Research

Not every project will work on Kickstarter, and even fewer will create a feeding frenzy. So do your research. Observe, for example, what has worked and what hasn’t for other project creators. To find successful examples, look at sections of the site such as “Staff Picks” or “Popular.” To find projects that have not hit their goals, look at some of those under “Ending Soon.” Obviously, projects succeed and fail for different reasons, but researching examples of each will help you get a feel for what to do and what to avoid.

2. Define Your Goal

Decide exactly what you want to accomplish and how much money you need to do that. Remember, if you don’t meet your goal, you get nothing. Better to ask a reasonable amount and then work hard to exceed that goal. Double Fine initially asked for $400,000, but blew that out of the water. If possible, have at least a group of friends who will support you with pledges from the get-go. That will help you build momentum. And remember, you cannot change the amount after you launch.

Also, think about how long your project should run. Kickstarter recommends a maximum of 30 days, but some people have succeeded with longer cycles. Consider your audience and how long it will take to get the word out when making this decision. As with the funding amount, you can’t change your project length once it’s set.

3. Consider Your Rewards and Costs

You’ll quickly learn that people want something in exchange for their pledges. Create rewards, gifts to backers based on the amount they pledge, starting at low values, like $5. That way you can reward even small-time backers. Double Fine is a good example of a project that created great rewards tailored to their audience. Their lowest reward was a digital copy of the game for $15. The highest was a private party with the developers for $10,000.

Another critical factor to consider when creating rewards are related costs. For example, if you’re going to send your backers something by mail, calculate the postage and packaging you’ll need. Don’t get blindsided and discover that your costs will cancel out a part of your funding.

4. Prepare Your Pitch

How you introduce your project can make a huge difference. On your project page you’ll describe your project, goals, and rewards. Be specific and include engaging images of your work. Kickstarter recommends that you also create a video. Make it fun, natural, and compelling by including key elements like people talking about how great or important the project is. Remember, your pitch should pump people up about your project and show both your enthusiasm and your ability to follow through.

5. Market the Hell Out of It

Once you’ve pulled the trigger and published your project, it’s time to promote via social media, friends, family, even strangers. Any updates you post will automatically be sent to your current backers, but urge them to re-post and re-tweet. If you can find a way to make your work newsworthy, pitch popular websites and newspapers.

6. Keep It Alive

Your initial marketing may bring you some early success, but you need to keep feeding the fire. Find ways to update the project. Add new and fun rewards as you go. Keep people informed about your progress, and definitely share any good news or milestones like “We’re halfway there!”

7. Listen to Your Backers

Many of your backers will offer advice. Listen. Some of them have backed many projects and know what works. Others just have an opinion, and even if you don’t agree, consider how many other people — potential investors — may think the same way.

8. Be Patient

There will be times when pledges seem to flow in steadily, and times when it seems that nobody cares. When this happens, you’ll need to stay positive and re-engage those who got you this far. Start by letting your biggest supporters know it’s time to step up and spread the word. If they’ve backed the project, then they also want it to succeed.

9. Be Flexible and Creative

Be prepared to do things you never anticipated doing. You hadn’t considered a special T-shirt as a reward? Maybe you should. A supporter offers to create limited-edition rewards to help your project? Why not? Bottom line: Be open and flexible.

10. Have Fun

This is going to be a crazy ride so enjoy it. And remember, if at first you don’t succeed….

Wasteland 2 Dev: More Tension Between Developers And Publishers Than You Would Believe

A lot of times publishers send out their PR spokesmen to patronize the gaming community; telling gamers they don’t understand the process of game development. That gamers just don’t understand the business aspects of getting a game out there.

Lead designer for the Kickstarter funded Wasteland 2 basically breaks down and explains that it’s not all peaches and roses between developers and publishers, and oftentimes gamers assumptions about the poor quality of a product being the publisher’s fault is correct.

Ripten has a very, very informative interview up with Brian Fargo, as he talks about the process of getting the game made, some of its features and most importantly, how no big publisher was willing to pick up the publishing rights and actually get the game made.

What’s more is that Fargo explains that the relationship between publishers and developers is no laughing matter…

There is more tension than you can believe. You would not believe the stories you hear about how developers are treated by publishers these days. It is abysmal….

When asked about why there is so little transparency on the matter, Fargo further explains that most devs just want to keep their jobs and spilling the beans on a big publisher is not the way to go about staying regularly employed in this multi-billion dollar industry…

“…they are afraid to talk, because they’ll never get another contract if they do. That’s why. You cannot believe… it’s awful. It’s really bad. You should try to dig in and get some stories out there. Look at the most recent one with those poor guys at Obsidian. They did Fallout: New Vegas, the ship date got moved up and, who does the QA on a project? The publisher is always in charge of QA.

“When a project goes out buggy, it’s not the developer. The developer never says, “I refuse to fix the bug,” or, “I don’t know how.” They never do that. It’s the publisher that does the QA, so if a product goes out buggy, it’s not the developer’s fault. So, (Fallout: New Vegas) goes out buggy and they didn’t do the QA, their ship date got moved up and they missed their metacritic rating by one point. Did they get a bonus? No. Do you think that’s fair? I tried to get some of my publisher friends, who I used to make a lot of money for, to donate. Do you think they donated? No. Their employees did.”

Oftentimes, savvy gamers are quick to point out that most big publishers are greedy. It’s a given. Most big publishers use the PR route of simply passing it off as if gamers don’t understand, but most people already understand that it’s all about investments and making money. But that’s not why hardcore gamers are hardcore gamers…we don’t care if a big business wants to go from an annual intake of $4.74 billion to $5.2 billion the following year; we care about whether or not the games are good, are long lasting and fun.

When asked if he would return to a big publisher if Wasteland 2 manages to become a critical success, Fargo simply stated that…

I don’t know why I would need to. Kickstarter and Steam allow me to bypass publishers and bypass retail. I think the world is going to go toward creative people carving out a direct relationship with their fans, and they are going to find a way to do business in their niche.

The interview also covers one other very important topic. The inflating cost of video game development. This has been a subject of contention for quite some time, but Fargo breaks it down by explaining that budgets for most games, under big publishers, can inflate anywhere between 25% and 35% due to mismanagement and over-spending, oftentimes in the areas of cinematics, voice acting and audio recording. He explains that…

“At least 25%. In some cases, 35%, because sometimes they insist on taking over functions like doing all the casting and audio recording, where they would spend way more than what we would, if it was our money. I mean, it is our money, because it’s advances, but they insist on taking it over. They can trump the cost up.”

The entire interview is great, and Ripten did a fantastic job of asking all the right questions. It definitely gives you something to think about and coincides a lot of what was covered in the Top Misconceptions about Gaming.

You can check out the entire interview with Wasteland 2’s Brian Fargo over at Ripten.

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