As all five of you know, I have a Kickstarter campaign running for a hand-drawn, hand-animated 3D indie game, called “James – Journey of Existence…”
So, it’s been one week since it’s launch, and at the time of this writing, we have 16 backers. Chances for success are poor… Sidekick and Kicktraq both believe the project has no chance of getting fully funded. And yet, Kickspy is much more confident in the campaign exceeding its goal. These tracking sites are useful for giving you some insight, and all give different information, but are ultimately as reliable as your local tabloid newspaper, and cannot be taken seriously. All I know is that my project will soon not be on Kickstarter’s “Most Recent” “Video Games” section, and that will put my campaign out of the public eye completely.
Also, it helps to look at early backers and their backing history. Some might be surprised (or not surprised) to see that most early backers are “Kickstarter addicts.” Most of my early backers have backed hundreds of projects, one has even backed over a thousand! As grateful as I am, and as many Kickstarters are, for these people, it isn’t a good representation of your project trending on the Internet.
Also, social media was important so far. I regret creating a Facebook account as a business/company page instead of a personal page, as the inability to connect to people has lost many potential followers, and Kickstarter’s re-post/re-tweet ability suggests most Kickstarter backers still use Facebook as their main social media hub. Twitter is easy to get followers from, as there is a unwritten code that followers follow each other to increase followers, although very few followers actually ever read or care about your tweets. Despite this, a handful of Twitter followers did take genuine interest in my project, for which I am most grateful. Youtube is almost worthless for followers, but is useful for just keeping your videos somewhere for people to view, which is kind-of necessary for any project. Reddit is a strange place with rules for posting things, but is an easy way to just get additional feedback to let you know if your project is actually any good or not. Also, after posting in a Reddit subthread I didn’t normally go to (“Animation” and “Unity3D” instead of “Kickstarter” or “IndieGaming”), I got two new backers within hours (and a lot more honest feedback). Certainly, a small example of the importance of putting your project out there for people to come across, in places where readers are most likely to be interested. However, there is a fine line between updating and spamming people…
I’ve gotten interesting feedback: some people contacted me with music experience asking to be part of the project (why only music, I’m not sure, maybe the midi-music used in my Kickstarter video are just really bad). Certainly, I appreciate interested people, but whether or not I hire these motivated people will be partly based on my Kickstarter’s success. Some Twitter, Reddit and Kickstarter people have given comments… Kickstarter backer comments in particular were helpful to adjust the page and rewards days after initial launch. Although one of my backers seems annoyed that some information of the game’s story is still secret, which leads to my newest realization: people don’t give a damn about hints or teases of your project. Just let them know what you are willing to provide, and that’s what they base their opinion on, the promise of more insight is generally worthless until they actually see what the insight is.
Kickstarter progress may look poor now, but I’m not too worried. A backer suggested looking at “Mighty No. 9” and “Bloom:Memories” for better ways to “run the Kickstarter campaign, but God, those are poor examples. MightyNo.9 is a indie game by famed creator of MegaMan, and naturally received hardcore fans and immediate free press from all major gaming websites to make it exceed its goal within days. Bloom:Memories is a better choice to look at, but that game took three Kickstarter campaigns and years of Internet presence before eventually reaching its goal, not to mention the game today looks much farther along in development. Compared to them, and compared to every other indie game currently campaigning on the site, I’m in a good place. It’s just that that place is unlikely to succeed at this point.
So what’s to be done? I plan to improve the existing game’s demo to better show what the first five minutes of the game will be like, complete with text and or voice acting. I plan to redo the campaign video (it turns out video-capture software like FRAPS work much better than what I was previously using), and update the main Kickstarter page with new art and descriptions. I plan to send my project to as many different website journalists as possible in early January, which will hopefully be the factor to push me over my goal. If all this doesn’t work, maybe this game just isn’t ready yet, and needs more work. As I’ve said from the beginning, the Kickstarter isn’t necessary for me to make the game, only necessary to complete it with the quality gamers deserve. So far, feedback suggests the project is far from complete, but feedback also suggests that this is a game very much worth making.