So You Want To Make A Successful Indie Game Using Kickstarter…

Most of my blog posts revolve around personal views on how you should make games and how to sell them (based on my own personal views and mistakes after a tiny bit of experience). I’ve meant to do this next bit for a long time, and here it is…

A multi-part guide on “how to make a successful Kickstarter campaign for your indie game!”

A handful of you know that I had a (failed) Kickstarter campaign for my first indie game, “James – Journey of Existence.” It certainly doesn’t give me too much credibility to give you advice after only one attempt (a failed attempt at that), but I’ve learned a lot about crowdfunding and the indie community in general, and you can never have enough advice on the Internet!

Also, I know I haven’t followed this advice myself… but I wished I did, and will try to from now on. My mistakes are what led to this series.

This guide will have a handful of long posts regarding specific topics as you begin development on your indie game, and start the road to getting it on Kickstarter. Hopefully, these articles can help guide non-game projects as well. The articles should be available as follows (links will be updated here in the coming weeks as they are written):


1. Make a Successful Indie Game Using Kickstarter… Why?

2. Make a Successful Indie Game Using Kickstarter… Make The Game First

3. Make a Successful Indie Game Using Kickstarter… Making Your Game & Company “Official”

4. Make a Successful Indie Game Using Kickstarter… Social Media & Online Presence

5. Make a Successful Indie Game Using Kickstarter… Criticism, Praise, & The Indie Gaming Community

6. Make a Successful Indie Game Using Kickstarter… Making The Kickstarter Page

7. Make a Successful Indie Game Using Kickstarter… During & After The Kickstarter Campaign


I hope this helps you one day! And please do read all sections before going about making your Kickstarter, you’ll find helpful suggestions throughout. And if you have any additional comments or suggestions from your own opinions or experiences, please comment below, I’d be happy to add it to the articles!

5 thoughts on “So You Want To Make A Successful Indie Game Using Kickstarter…

    • Yep, seen it already. Nice advertising your own blog!

      The rest of you, check out that link, it’s a good read. A couple points are actually valid.

      (if you’re not “david,” I apologize)

      • (i’m not sure if this comment was already posted but if it did, please delete this)

        it actually wasn’t me who wrote that. i actually have a different blog. you can feel free to comment if you want. i just didn’t want to necessarily advertise myself.

        i just thought you might like to see it. not to be a dick and say “YOU’RE A TALENTLESS SNAKE OIL SALESMAN” or anything like that. personally i kind of like the IDEA of hand-drawn animation in a game. and maybe when i’m not on an internet connection that’s terrible i’ll download your demo and check out the implementation.

        if you want an honest-to-goodness opinion though, i think you made a huge mistake when you took your game to kickstarter in the apparent state that you did. i think it’s good to put a demo out there but from the sounds of things, you’re in like, a pre-pre-pre alpha state. i understand the desire to get money and be able to focus on your project in a higher capacity, but putting something like this up is SORT OF on the same level as saying “I HAVE A VIDEO GAME IDEA” on the internet. it’s kind of useless. there are TONS of people with “ideas” for games. they want to make MMORPGS with 37 different classes or a zombie FPS or what have you. they think that money will solve their problems but they have no idea how much work goes into making a game.

        that’s not to say that you don’t know what goes into game making but showing people your idea when that’s pretty much all it is, is worse than useless.

        now you’ve probably put a lot of work into what you’ve gotten done so far from the sounds of things, and as great as that is, it’s just not enough to win over a kickstarter audience unless you have an established fan base like double fine or what’s his face who did the wing commander games. worse yet, you could even be damaging your kickstarter with the state your game is in. like, just look at your kickstarter sucks. it’s full of unfinished, half-baked ideas. i would not be surprised if most never even saw the light of day.

        of course, this seems to be an idea you’re hitting on in “part 2”.

        another thing i have an issue with is your budget. you’re asking for $5,000 and while that’s not an exorbitant amount, the way you’ve got it broken down is kind of problematic.

        $1,500 for unity 3d pro – fair enough you want money for the software you’re going to have your game in. but this raises a few issues. the biggest one of all is that you are essentially saying “i don’t even have the software i need to write games in.” regardless of whether or not you are using a cracked version or whatever and are actually completing your game is irrelevant. it just sounds unprofessional as all get out.

        but then asking for $1,500 for unity3d pro when you can license it for $75/month seems kind of ridiculous. i mean, this is actually free software you’re talking about that doesn’t actually charge for licensing until you are making over $100k/year.

        then you want $1,500 for “miscellaneous expenses” and “publishing”. well i know the steam greenlight submission fee is $100 and $99 to get it onto the itunes app store. google play i am not sure about but I THINK it’s free. i know that there are off-market app stores though like amazon where the cost is variable.

        but then you have GOG where they will offer you a royalty advance. so i dunno, man.

        i know that the idea is to get your game in front of as many eyeballs as possible, but when working on a small budget you have to pick and choose where you’re going to focus your efforts. too many places and you risk spreading yourself too thin. $1500 buys you (at the average $100 rate) in my opinion, more stores than necessary. it’s better to have it in a few stores with a huge audience and spend your time on promoting your work through websites like Rock Paper Shotgun, jayisgames, IndieGames among others.

        next, saying “unforseen expenses” is yet another red flag. yes, it’s good to have more money than you need in case of “unforseen expenses” but failing to list any of those unforseen expenses just seems like an attempt at a cash grab. you are one person working on your game on your personal computer. unless your computer blows up, you really don’t have any unforseen expenses. yeah i know, life happens, but we’re trying to focus on the development of the game.

        then you add in that you need some of this money for “additional software” without going into any detail as to what it is or what it could be?

        and frankly, there’s A LOT of free, open source software that is actually really good. i’m not quite sure what you might need in the way of software, but to be quite honest, i’m pretty sure that whatever it is you might need, there is probably a good free counterpart for. 3d rendering? blender. sound design? there are tons of free programs out there like audacity & reaper. need photoshop? use gimp.

        then there’s another $1000 for music and while i hate to advocate not paying artists but you yourself don’t have any money to pay people there is TONS of free, great music on the internet available through creative commons licensing. places like jamendo, bandcamp,, the free music archive and even soundcloud have places where people would be happy to let them use their music for free. hell, if you sent me an email and asked me nicely if you could use some of my songs in your game for free, i wouldn’t have a problem with that (despite my previous statement this is not me advocating you using my songs in your game) because the idea is that using someone’s music in a game is actually a pretty cool thing to happen.

        it’s also a neat promotional tactic. as an artist you don’t want to think of it as “promotions” or “marketing” but yeah that’s what it is. you get your music in front of an audience that wouldn’t normally hear your stuff.

        even crazier: there are some people who are willing to compose for you for free. of course this is a less optimal tactic, and you’ll probably have a lot of crap to dig through, but it exists. yes it does. i myself was part of a crowdsourced game production a while back and while it didn’t get finished in any way, shape or form, it was cool to see a lot of people come on board to do something and offer up their work for free.

        yes i get that my solutions aren’t perfect but when you have no money to make a game, you have to make do with what’s available. and to me, what i’ve seen isn’t on the level of asking for money to complete. i guess that sounds like a dig against you but it’s how i feel.

        but it more has to do with the idea that this is not a game that actually needs money to be complete. it seems like you could in fact finish it without getting any extra money. money does not always equal better. more time, maybe, but even that i don’t know if it would be a big help for you. there are lots of people who have finished games in their spare time. and this doesn’t feel to me like a game that warrants much to me beyond an investment of spare time. right now anyway. we shall see what the future brings for you.

        i have said some negative things, i know. but you know, i hope you realize i’m not trying to be negative for the sake of being negative. i actually hope you do finish your game, which just doing is an accomplishment in my opinion.

        unlike some people i don’t feel there isn’t anything wrong with having stuff on kickstarter. and by all means put your game on there, but put it on there when it’s further along its development cycle. professional studios have a hard enough time finishing shit (see: double fine) and to see an indie developer in the larval stages doesn’t really give people much hope for you finishing your game.


        • I’m sorry I thought you were someone else. I didn’t mean to snap. (that guy actually gets a fair amount of readers for a blog, good for him!)

          Your points are all valid, but I’ll comment on a few for clarification:
          – Unity3D is available for $75/month, IF you have consistent internet access while running the software. My internet’s ok, but not that good, and I’m using the free version right now, but certain lighting/ai/texture/debug options are only in Pro, and I would like to use parts of that before shipping a finished product.
          – “miscellaneous” expenses were for all issues that would come up that I didn’t know about regarding legality and publishing. Probably way too high, you’re right, but I haven’t published a game before and didn’t know exactly what to expect. More research might be in order.
          – I’ve used Blender, it’ll do but I’ve also found Maya to be much easier (educational version) in the past. But not justified to ask for someone else to pay for it, so you’re right.
          – I thought all of those audio websites require you to pay a (relatively) small fee before using their work, but I’ll use your comments for audio as reference when finding other options.
          – I’ve said before that money isn’t to complete the game, but to hire other people to improve on what I lack in (music, art, etc.). I’ll still complete the game, but quality is important before actually selling something (and yet, I asked for money on Kickstarter before completing more…).
          – I rushed into Kickstarter too soon, but I still consider it a success despite how little was funded. This includes any praise and constructive comments such as this that I’ve received.

          Thank you for your comments, I’ll keep all that in mind. My apologizes from earlier.

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