48 Until End of Kickstarter… Plus New Art For “James – Journey of Existence”

My Kickstarter for “James – Journey of Existence” (http://kck.st/19wTNSh) has only 25 backers so close to the end, which is a little embarrassing, when the beginning had so much promise. On the other hand, the new IndieDB page for “James – Journey of Existence” (http://www.indiedb.com/games/james-journey-of-existence) already has 4 followers after about 24 hours of being up, so it seems an easy simulation of how a Kickstarter would play, given the growth in community rises at almost the same rate.

There were several things wrong with the Kickstarter campaign. One major one was the current quality of the game itself: the environments were bland, the animations were crude, and the character designs were lacking. Art is in the eye of the beholder and some have truly loved the game’s style so far, but I can’t argue with the masses. And here’s my first step in fixing that: new character designs for James!

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What “Innovative” Means In Games…

A recent keynote presentation with former Uncharted dev Richard Lemarchand had him urge indie gamers to “make experimental games,” even at the risk of failing.

I couldn’t agree more. Indie games are, by nature, both blessed and cursed by having small teams and small budgets to work with. This makes developing large, ambitious games with high quality difficult and entirely dependent on the talent of the team, but also means that making a poor game or making a game that sells poorly isn’t as big of an issue (some indie developers risk their livelihood on their projects doing well, which no one should ever do). This means we can do things that larger companies just can’t afford to do.

Indie games will shape the industry over the next decade. Very few people can argue with this.

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“James – Journey of Existence” Demo Exclusive to Kickstarter Backers

My Kickstarter for hand-drawn 3D adventure indie game “James – Journey of Existence” (http://kck.st/19wTNSh)¬†got a couple pledges this week, one of which nearly doubled the pledge count (not difficult, given how low it was a few days ago). Promising.

From the beginning of this Kickstarter, I promised that backers would receive an exclusive demo before the end of the Kickstarter campaign. There were a few reasons behind this: it was a very nice incentive for giving a reward for the $1 tier, and it was like a last-minute demo that might convince backers to increase their pledges a bit (or remove their pledges completely, if they so felt that way). And in the likelihood that the Kickstarter campaign fails, backers would still get something as a sign of thanks for their early support.

After a couple stressful weeks actually making the extra content for the demo, I can say it is completed, and the demo will be made available today to Kickstarter backers.

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The Types of Indie Games That Get Attention and Sell Well…

This just pisses me off. Sure, my indie game “James – Journey of Existence” is doing poorly on Kickstarter (http://kck.st/19wTNSh), and that’s largely because of how poor it looks this early in development. But it’s trying something new, and is trying to be meaningful. Then I look randomly online and find this game:

“Catlateral Damage”

(note: The following rage is based on believing this game will cost money as opposed to being entirely free-to-play upon completion. If this isn’t the case, please ignore this post.)

What is it? It’s a game (very obviously made in Unity3D) that lets you play as a cat in your owner’s bedroom. The gameplay consists of you trying to knock over as many things as possible in the room in two minutes. Get a high score.

What do I think about it? It’s a cute idea. But the gameplay is simplistic, the models are simple and crude, the cat’s animations are laughable. Basically, I (and I’m sure most other people) could make this game from scratch within a week. It’s a online free minigame at best.

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Kickstarter Rewards Updated (or Removed)

The Kickstarter for “James – Journey of Existence” is picking up a couple backers, which is reassuring given that it isn’t even on the “Ending Soon” projects page yet for Video Games. Anyhow, some backers might notice that the description for the project was shortened a little, and more importantly, the rewards were updated. Or rather, some of the rewards were removed completely.

A lesson I learned from this campaign: when putting a new game on Kickstarter, people probably don’t care about your game yet. So when you offer physical rewards such as documentaries, art books, or soundtracks, very few people would actually be interested. It can even hurt the campaign, as you appear vain to be willing to spend money on making such things before an audience ever suggests they want it. As much as I would love a plush toy of The Cat in “James – Journey of Existence,” I’m probably the only one who does.

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