KS campaign progress
Kickstarted was so exhausting and specific part of development, that I decided to write one whole blog. This can be considered one of the most difficult parts of the project along with alpha finalization.
The Kickstarter (KS) campaign preparations were done and everything was ready to be kick started (ba-dum-tsss). On 11th March 2015 it went out, we were watching closely and at the same time we were heavily engaged in communication with all the various communities we connected with in the preparation phase.
Fig 1 – Art, one of many
Our PR agency did focus on communication with various gaming webs and magazines, the result was positive – we started to receive a lot of interview requests. Our PR manager was not too successful, our impression was that she just spams Twitter and forwards emails between our PR agency and us, in the end she did not bring us added value, only caused disagreements within the realization team.
Straight from the start I started to respond to all sorts of questions and comments and was also during the whole campaign I attended staggering 28 interviews. Unfortunately my level of english was average at best, so I had to ask for help. I would like to thank my then translator-in-chief Jan Riha 🙂
We have prepared about 15 campaign updates in advance, each several pages long with pictures, everything prepared in our native Czech and of course English. These updates covered mainly design and development team introductions. One of the updates contained tech demo, which caused a little headache to our programer 😉 As I mentioned before – KS is one big fake. For example our tech demo had little-to-nothing to do with the final code, as lot of stuff was hard coded, not much was reusable at a later point, code was hand tailored for the tech demo and later largely scrapped (experience was valuable though). At this phase we were presenting vision, not a real thing. The order of the day was – get backers interested, thats what is KS for.
Fig 2 – Tech demo
The first few days delivered about 20 per cent of the target, which was not great. We did post updates, gave interviews, communicated everywhere we could and moved out of cyberspace as well. In one Prague gaming club we organised a contest who can finish the tech demo with highest score. Results were mixed: not too many participants, but those who attended were very interested.
We even shot a viral video trying to point out the specifics of our game in a funny form. The clip was received positively, but we cant really estimate its impact on the amount of backers.
As days passed by, money on KS were piling up slowly, but a little bit too slowly, about half way through failure was in the air, but then 10k USD appeared out of the blue, we started to investigate immediatelly and we had one super-generous 7k USD backer, this gave us new hope.
At the same time we started Greenlite campaign. Greenlite was a Steam platform project that does not exist anymore. In short – Steam users could vote about upcoming games if they want them or not. We succeded in 5 days, so had the door opened to publish on Steam. We “just” had to finish the development 😉
We grew tired by the day and even despite getting some traction again in the second half of the campaign and despite attracting couple of big backers, things were looking grim. We were just hours away from the end of campaign and were missing 2k USD, the only thing we could do is go out, spam everywhere we can and beg our backers to toss some extra coin.
We made it in the end. 2 hours before the deadline we reached the 60k USD mark. Pure joy. We really made it.
Fig 3 – All the folks who participated on the campaign
Time to sober up!
After celebration it was time to do the accounting. We didnt know yet, but major disappointment was in the air. Unfortunately KS does not guarantee that people who promise backing will deliver. We never received 15 thousand dollars, thats 25 per cent! Then we had to pay taxes, pay our american “white horse”, PR agency, Pr manger, KS takes its slice, externists, etc.
In the end we were left with about… FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS! All that work for so little! When the dust settled we were left with just about 10 per cent of what we asked for. Okay, the campaign paid for assets and work of all the externists, but we were left with little to nothing for the developent itself.
So if I sum things up, KS brought us mainly PR, but not much in terms of money. Just a few figures from our accounting below.
After tax and after paying KS royalties we gained about 36K US Dollars
PR agency: – 5K USD
PR manager: – 5K USD
Mocap: – 5K USD
Arts: – 2K USD
Music: – 2K USD
And then myriad of few hundred dollar expenditures that I dont want to list here.
So we were left with about 5K for development. Absolute madness, but not much we could do about it. This was also where first rift between me and Daniel appeared, some of the stuff we burned our money on were of little added value in my opinion, but since he controlled our accounts, there was little I could do.
So KS campaign was done and we had to develop aplha that we promissed to deliver in about years time.
But thats for another blog.
Translated by Robajz