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Op Ed

Last Jungle In Sector 17 - When Indie Dream turns into Indie Reality- aka our Kickstarter disaster.
Right after the launch we sent out emails to 65 gaming news sites and posted announcements to 68 forums and to our twitter, facebook, steam, youtube and indiedb channels. The response was rather cold, we got 1 reply from the press (greenlitgaming.com) and many forums actually banned us for advertising. After 26 hours, we had managed to get 284 video views and 7 backers (5 of them within first hours after launch).

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29 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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29. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 19:24 ViRGE
 
Dacron wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 14:27:
Suppa7 wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 14:22:
So many indie developers suffer from dunning krueger, thinking they are better and that there games are better then they really are.

Reality is most indies suck and their games are mostly mediocre to bad, if not entire rip offs of games from a long time ago.

And several dozen side scrollers (indie or commercial game makers) are not very interesting.
And that's really the crux of the matter. Though it's wider than that. There are too many people trying to pitch too many video games at all levels of production. Everything from 2 guys with an idea to 100 man studios that want to make MOBA n+1. With so many (too many) video games in production, a lot of them are going to fail to grab attention and players. If nothing else because of Sturgeon's Law (90% of everything is crap).

They at least seem to understand the outcome - you don't get much traction unless you get listed on a major news site - so there's that. But I'm not sure they understand the cause, which is unfortunate. With the flood of video games people simply don't have time to evaluate every single game, let alone every single Indie game. IGN, TotalBiscuit, etc are essentially the pre-readers for the larger gaming community, which is harsh but necessary to distill so much information into something an individual can handle. If you can't make a major news site then it's probably not just a matter of them not knowing about you; it's you failing to make the cut. Which again sucks, but it has to happen to someone.

Creston wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 12:44:
and posted announcements to 68 forums

Major faux-pas. Nobody wants to see their forums turn into fucking craigslist.
That may be the most damning bit of all of this. Spamming forums not only shows the authors to be ethically questionable, but they fail to understand the difference between self-promotion and having a 3rd party discuss your game on a forum, and why that differentiation matters.
 
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28. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 19:17 Cutter
 
Prez wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 18:03:
I think I see your point. It doesn't make them look like a very professional outfit and I can see how it would undermine confidence in them - but I don't really see why.

That's pretty much it. I don't have a lot of faith in a start-up that has to ask for 5 grand.

Yeah, what was this? 2 guys? So they can't raise $2500 each, or just work on it PT over the next year? Come on.
 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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27. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 18:30 Creston
 
jdreyer wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 15:15:
Creston wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 14:08:
And he refused to admit that the problem wasn't Kickstarter fatigue, the problem was that the other big names were saying "Hey, do you guys remember these awesome games we made? We're going to make one JUST LIKE IT!" whereas he was saying "Hey, do you guys remember those awesome games I made? I'm going to make a weird FPS/MOBA hybrid now!"

It's incredible that they can't see what the problem is there.

In Chris's defense, he needed another $5m to finish Kings and Castles, and knew that wasn't going to happen on KS. With his company about to go under, he made a desperate attempt at getting funding for something he thought he could make cheaply. It wasn't necessarily what he most wanted to make, and he knew it's not what people were looking for from him. A drowning man will grab onto anything floating nearby.

Fine, but then admit "Yeah, the game I proposed didn't resonate with gamers."

As opposed to the "It's crazy that everyone is getting hella bank, and I don't get anything!" crying that he kept doing for weeks on end.
 
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26. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 18:03 Prez
 
I think I see your point. It doesn't make them look like a very professional outfit and I can see how it would undermine confidence in them - but I don't really see why.

That's pretty much it. I don't have a lot of faith in a start-up that has to ask for 5 grand.
 
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
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25. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 17:05 Bubicus
 
Give me a game like this with co-op, allowing builds like heavy armor/shielding, low armor/massive firepower, repair/collector...basically allowing dungeon crawling in space. I'd buy that. I'd love to be deciding if I want to widen my shield's reach at the cost of more power consumption, so I can block incoming fire from our miner, while another player is dodging in and out from behind the shield, takin pot shots with ridiculous weaponry.

Some of those features are in Drox Operative. You should try the demo.
http://www.soldak.com/Drox-Operative/Overview.html
 
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24. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 16:24 Quboid
 
Prez wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 10:19:
Then there's the issue of kickstarting a measely $5k - I tend to think that a game developer who can't even put together that tiny amount of capital need not be developing a game. Hell, I could raise $5000 in a few months delivering pizzas on the side.

That's what they were doing, trying to put together $5,000. Why waste time delivering pizzas for a few months if you can sell a few pre-orders and get started on what you want to do?

I think I see your point. It doesn't make them look like a very professional outfit and I can see how it would undermine confidence in them - but I don't really see why. It seems like it should be a last resort (which I think is what you're implying?) but I don't see any actual reason for this other than Kickstarter's relative newness and that some others, like Chris Taylor, have used it as a Hail Mary option.
 
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- Quboid
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23. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 16:18 saluk
 
Wow. Indie devs + kickstarter = serious entitlement issues.

Some steps for a better go next time around:

1) Polish and scope the product. Be original somehow, and sell that originality in your product itself. As someone who really enjoys the genre their game was in, the video was boring and didn't make me care enough to even download the demo.

2) Speaking of the video, wtf was that? Who the heck are you guys and why should I give you money? Floating text on top of the current demo's very incomplete implementation is just not exciting. Some of the text didn't even really make sense. You need to get in front of the camera and sell me on your concept, what is the game going to be like AFTER the 5k you raise. If the demo is good enough to sell itself, you don't need a kickstarter. And if it's not good enough to sell itself, you have to actually do some WORK to sell it.

3) Targeting. You guys posted to 68 forums and sent messages to a bunch of unknown youtubers? You have to be strategic about it. Who is likely to give you the coverage you need. Otherwise you just sound annoying.

Of course all of this is basically moot if you don't have a strong concept to begin with.
 
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22. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 15:43 Prez
 
I have to echo what jdreyer said. I love the realtime 4X genre, but a game needs to have singleplayer skirmish AI for me to consider buying it.  
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
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21. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 15:38 jdreyer
 
NKD wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 15:21:

The game I really want to make, no one will ever buy.

Well, if it's a side project anyway, you may as well make what interests you. There are markets for niche grognard games, and even though the fan base is smaller, they tend to be more passionate (i.e. more willing to spend $$$).

On thing though, I would say you should add A.I.

1. With a deep hardcore game with a small player base, it will be hard to find people to play with.

2. Playing vs. the A.I. is a good way to learn the rules of a deep, complex game.

3. You'll make more sales, as lots of people love complex games they can play buy themselves: Civilization, Gal Civ, Alpha Centauri, etc.
 
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20. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 15:21 NKD
 
Prez wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 14:35:
Dacron wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 14:27:
I'll support indie game makers when their product looks interesting. I don't support them so they can 'follow their dreams'.

That's my feeling too.It would seem that the idea for indie development is to hit that seweet spot where following your dreams = making what lots and lots of people are interested in.

It's very tough to try and come up with something that meets your design goals AND will have players. My project was originally something along the lines of a multiplayer-only real-time 4x. (I didn't want to waste CPU cycles on some AI that would have been shit anyway). I wanted it to be really deep with a lot of emergent gameplay so I started with very fundamental rules to the universe, some basic physics simulation, etc.

After a while I was so far down the rabbit hole of weird simulation-ish mechanics in my 4x that I realized the game was too complex to ever get anyone interested outside of a few super hardcore players. Scrapped that prototype before there was even any gameplay, just a galaxy with procedurally generated planets orbiting in real time.

The game I really want to make, no one will ever buy.
 
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If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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19. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 15:20 HoSpanky
 
It's yet another top-down space shooter that doesn't look as good as SPAZ, nor does it add multiplayer. Give me a game like this with co-op, allowing builds like heavy armor/shielding, low armor/massive firepower, repair/collector...basically allowing dungeon crawling in space. I'd buy that. I'd love to be deciding if I want to widen my shield's reach at the cost of more power consumption, so I can block incoming fire from our miner, while another player is dodging in and out from behind the shield, takin pot shots with ridiculous weaponry.  
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18. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 15:15 jdreyer
 
Creston wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 14:08:
And he refused to admit that the problem wasn't Kickstarter fatigue, the problem was that the other big names were saying "Hey, do you guys remember these awesome games we made? We're going to make one JUST LIKE IT!" whereas he was saying "Hey, do you guys remember those awesome games I made? I'm going to make a weird FPS/MOBA hybrid now!"

It's incredible that they can't see what the problem is there.

In Chris's defense, he needed another $5m to finish Kings and Castles, and knew that wasn't going to happen on KS. With his company about to go under, he made a desperate attempt at getting funding for something he thought he could make cheaply. It wasn't necessarily what he most wanted to make, and he knew it's not what people were looking for from him. A drowning man will grab onto anything floating nearby.
 
Avatar 22024
 
"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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17. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 14:35 Prez
 
Dacron wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 14:27:
I'll support indie game makers when their product looks interesting. I don't support them so they can 'follow their dreams'.

That's my feeling too.It would seem that the idea for indie development is to hit that seweet spot where following your dreams = making what lots and lots of people are interested in.
 
Avatar 17185
 
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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16. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 14:27 Dacron
 
Suppa7 wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 14:22:
So many indie developers suffer from dunning krueger, thinking they are better and that there games are better then they really are.

Reality is most indies suck and their games are mostly mediocre to bad, if not entire rip offs of games from a long time ago.

And several dozen side scrollers (indie or commercial game makers) are not very interesting.

I'll support indie game makers when their product looks interesting. I don't support them so they can 'follow their dreams'.
 
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15. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 14:22 Suppa7
 
So many indie developers suffer from dunning krueger, thinking they are better and that there games are better then they really are.

Reality is most indies suck and their games are mostly mediocre to bad, if not entire rip offs of games from a long time ago.
 
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14. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 14:08 Creston
 
hex863 wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 13:24:
It irks me when people see broad conclusions in individual results. It only goes without saying that they learned a first hard truth about their own project - nobody really cared about their project via the marketing they used this time around. To conclude whether "the industry" cares about "another small indie game" requires looking at the stats on a host of equivalent games over time.

Yep, but some people just have blinders on. "Well, other games were succesful on Kickstarter, so my game must therefore automatically be succesful too, and if it's not, then it must be because of {really basically anything except the game just not being very interesting.}

Chris Taylor was a prime example. "Something is just off with these numbers. All the other big names were doing Kickstarters and had this much money by this point, and my Kickstarter is a magnitude off. It must be Kickstarter fatigue! Let me go have 400 interviews in which I blame it on Kickstarter fatigue, even though other games Kickstarting at the same time I did are getting a million plus."

And he refused to admit that the problem wasn't Kickstarter fatigue, the problem was that the other big names were saying "Hey, do you guys remember these awesome games we made? We're going to make one JUST LIKE IT!" whereas he was saying "Hey, do you guys remember those awesome games I made? I'm going to make a weird FPS/MOBA hybrid now!"

It's incredible that they can't see what the problem is there.
 
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13. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 14:00 Yakubs
 
Failing to get a measly $5,000 to partially fund an indie game is not a "disaster." If this is really their dream then they need to get some side jobs and do what it takes to survive.  
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12. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 13:54 Cutter
 
They learned nothing from this, and it's why they're taking their ball and going home. Oh well, guess the idea of being a developer is way cooler than the reality, huh fellas? Sucks when things aren't just handed to you, huh?
 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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11. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 13:52 MajorD
 

NKD wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 13:36:
jdreyer wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 12:59:
NKD wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 10:01:
Whenever I read stuff like this, I put down my own project for a few days and sulk.

Do you have a blog or something where we can check it out?

Nope. Don't really have anything I want to show yet. I'm still writing my own engine so it's a lot of boring technical shit that I'm slowly sucking less at.

Once I have something to show this'll be the first place I do it though

Very cool! I look forward to seeing your work.

 
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10. Re: Op Ed Aug 26, 2013, 13:36 NKD
 
jdreyer wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 12:59:
NKD wrote on Aug 26, 2013, 10:01:
Whenever I read stuff like this, I put down my own project for a few days and sulk.

Do you have a blog or something where we can check it out?

Nope. Don't really have anything I want to show yet. I'm still writing my own engine so it's a lot of boring technical shit that I'm slowly sucking less at.

Once I have something to show this'll be the first place I do it though
 
Avatar 43041
 
If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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29 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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