1 week left and still more than 8k shy

Dear community,

Any ideas on how to push beyond the 30k on Kickstarter? I'm not really sure what we can do to reach the goal on time.

Thanks for any input regarding that matter.
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Comments

  • Honestly, I'm not sure. The few people I talked about it weren't really interested. From the kickstarter they understood the game to be a tech demo at this point, and turn based roguelike didn't really appeal.
    If I then said that his is just one of many options, that even a baldur's gate could be remade in it, they became more interested, but not willing to pledge for air.

    If the kickstarter doesn't get funded, I'd wait a year before trying again. Add more gameplay, grow the community. Having a daily or weekly dev log would be beneficial as well, and gives journalists something to write about.

    On a personal note, my first impression of the campaign were "does Gavan even want money?". Not as a personal remark, but it's in his best interest to get as much money as possible, for the future of the game. I looked beyond that and pledged for the potential of VQ, not as much the presentation of it.

    I'm sorry if this sounds overly negative. I just think that the (next) campaign could stand with some professional PR consulting.
  • We need a beefy update post to make it to the FP of HN and some medium sized subreddits. Hopefully we can capitalise on the "now or never" factor of being in the last week.

    A few projects picked up steam in the last week and hopefully we can replicate that. Highlands for instance.
  • edited November 2014
    I got in touch with a dozen different news sites, and while I heard back from four of them, nobody ever wrote an article. I'm not sure if that's a failure on my part or something else.

    Reddit is definitely, definitely a good idea. And... perhaps not touting it as a roguelike quite so much. As Flatfingers stated elsewhere, the open-world nature draws explorer types, while the roguelike mechanics punishes them for exploring. :P

    Katorone had some excellent points, too.
  • To add to some of the discussion here--I definitely agree that there needs to be more content about the actual game. Though the engine is pretty damn cool, I don't think that the majority of supporters will necessarily care what can be done with it in the future--they would want to see what could happen now, with the game that Gavan has planned in the design doc. For example, the AI features are a huge draw.

    Though the design doc exists, it sounds like there isn't a one-to-one correspondence between what Gavan has in his head and what everyone's been talking about. There are a lot of different ideas floating around the forums, and while they're great, it can be hard to gauge what's actually going to show up in the game and what's just a really cool idea. I tried working on an update with @Talvieno‌ and @Clement‌, and we had a bit of difficulty distilling the forum discussion into something presentable for current and prospective backers. We might have better luck presenting a more coherent game idea.

    From the engine side, Gavan has done a great job of explaining that he supports an (incredibly) open modding community. I think it's hard for people to grasp the value of that. There are a couple of cool things that I think ought to be emphasized and explained plainly: procedural world and quest generation, it's completely voxel-based (and what that means in terms of destruction and change and environments), and easily modded.

    But about mods: for games as big and nostalgic and established as TES, Far Cry, and Fallout, modding makes sense to people. Yay, more textures! Sweet, more stories! Gameplay fixes or cool new items or game modes! People get excited about that because new features are being added to games that they love. But nobody has that kind of connection with Voxel Quest yet, because they haven't played it. So maybe emphasizing how the core game can be modded isn't a big deal at this point (at least not until people really have a sense of what the game is about and what it looks like).

    In fairness, Gavan has explained that VQ could be used to convert tabletop RPGs to computer games. But (and I'm legitimately asking, this isn't rhetorical) how big of an audience exists for that? And obviously it's a bit tricky to talk at this point about how it works, since the majority of the work that Gavan has done to this point is about the engine.

    I'd suggest that in the future, it might be a cool thing to have some kind of display of what the community would like to make happen with VQ, to show the scope of potential VQ-based projects. I think somebody on the kickstarter page talked about a 1500-page RPG campaign that they wanted to port. Dwarf Fortress has gotten some attention here, as well as a "god mode" game option. I've got some ideas, and I'm sure that there are a ton of others. Since Gavan has clearly left the VQ engine open to encourage this kind of exploration, it wouldn't hurt to publicize what people are thinking about.

    TL,DR: Put out more gameplay content, make it clear that VQ is also a platform for other creations, and emphasize exactly how freaking cool the AI and voxel-based aspect of engine are.


    Sorry for getting a little off-track. I'm just trying to explain how I see this going from my perspective as a future modder and player. Gavan is doing a really, really cool thing with VQ and I respect the hell out of his work and work ethic. Developing and promoting a game is at least two full-time jobs, and if I had more money, it would definitely be headed in Gavan's direction.
  • Whoa, I just read the LT forums for the first time and Gavan's responses are really, really awesome (as well as what the commenters are saying!). A lot of my questions have been answered there, and I'm sure that Gavan's addressing some of the critiques. So my post may have been a bit early.
  • Gavan has explained that VQ could be used to convert tabletop RPGs to computer games. But (and I'm legitimately asking, this isn't rhetorical) how big of an audience exists for that?

    It's hard to say. The people who have ideas from tabletop games tend to be passionate about seeing those ideas brought over to the computer. The question is whether there are enough of them willing to transfer their interest in a particular game over to a general make-multiple-games-in-it project... and, of course, whether they even hear about the project or not.

    I've seen one example of this miss its target in KS already. Storyscape had some similar ideas as VQ, but focused more on the general ruleset through which different roleplaying games could be implemented. Their funding target was much higher than VQ's, and they didn't come close.

    A slightly different take was Storium, which wasn't so much about translating a tabletop RPG to computers as telling different stories through a computer. Maybe because it wasn't trying to talk to the RPG world, it was funded successfully... at 10x what the developers asked for.

    Those are just two data points, and I hesitate to draw any firm conclusions from them. If forced to look for some pattern, I might observe that most people care more about the specific and tangible than the general and abstract. Maybe that means the most effective hook for VQ is not the "I can make other games in it with some work" aspect but the "I can play this one unique and fun game in it right away" aspect.

    So, some totally unsolicited advice, which may not even come close to Gavan's vision: if it were me, I would make a video that clearly shows -- even if in a very rough early form -- what will be fun to do in Voxel Quest the day it ships. I'd emphasize the destructibility of voxels, I'd demonstrate something of the AI, I'd show sped-up dynamic lighting to bring out the colorful dynamics of the world, and I'd highlight the intended reactiveness of the world... and only then would I mention that, in addition to the world you get right out of the box, the game will also support modding so that you can construct your own worlds with it.

    Everything I've seen from KS for the last couple of years has made me think that there are two ways for a project to get visibility (other than being a completely impossible-to-predict "potato salad" project): be a Famous Game Developer already, or have a visually exciting video that shows interesting gameplay that no one else has. Printed explanations don't reach enough eyeballs, and even audio (as happy as I was to share a microphone with Gavan a few nights ago in Skyfligher's podcast) has only a very limited reach for most people. The #1 channel is video. If there's anything that can put Voxel Quest over the top, I believe it will be a new video that shows people an early draft of a game that's visually exciting and mechanically interesting, and that can be enjoyed as soon as it's delivered.

    Again, I don't really know if that's how Gavan sees VQ. Regardless, I'm glad I backed this project and I hope there'll be a chance to continue to write tediously long posts about it in the months to come. :)

    TL;DR: Make a video about what will be fun to do in VQ the day it ships.
  • edited November 2014
    $8,221 to go, 5 days left.

    As others has said above, the game needs a better explanation to what it is. I was ready to pass on this until he actually explained what his intentions are on the LT board.
  • Thank you all for your valuable contribution. You have all mentioned some valid critique and I will try and take it up with Gavan, when we replan the funding and development plan of the project.

    We had a surprisingly good Greenlight phase (we were added to Steam after only 25 days, depite no gameplay), which led us to believe we can do the same in Kickstarter. This was clearly not the case. Honestly, I would have expected it the other way around. I guess, when people don't really need to commit money to a project, they are more interested in the general idea. But if money comes into play, you want something more tangible.
  • Even if the kickstarter doesn't pan out at this moment, I'd love to be able to contribute directly!
  • If Gavan agrees and gives me the "green light", I'd like to go ahead and put some reddit ads in some subreddits related to development, game development, programming, and games. Never did it before so I will think it through depending on the options (I was thinking in an ad focusing in the development side to post in development subreddits, and another focusing in the game side for gaming subreddits).

    Apparently reddit charges around $.75 per thousand impressions. With 50$ I would volunteer to start with, that's ~66,666 impressions which hopefully can bring some new people in if we do it right.

    8,221 US$ to go in 5 days, we have to raise the game substantially over the last few days (10x+ fold).

    Just today I saw a kickstarter project advertised in reddit.
  • edited November 2014
    jackdaw67 said:

    If Gavan agrees and gives me the "green light", I'd like to go ahead and put some reddit ads in some subreddits related to development, game development, programming, and games. Never did it before so I will think it through depending on the options (I was thinking in an ad focusing in the development side to post in development subreddits, and another focusing in the game side for gaming subreddits).

    Apparently reddit charges around $.75 per thousand impressions. With 50$ I would volunteer to start with, that's ~66,666 impressions which hopefully can bring some new people in if we do it right.

    8,221 US$ to go in 5 days, we have to raise the game substantially over the last few days (10x+ fold).

    Just today I saw a kickstarter project advertised in reddit.

    Sounds like an interesting idea. I will bring this to Gavan, when he is available. I think he's still asleep right now, so I just have to wait. ;)
  • Even if the kickstarter doesn't pan out at this moment, I'd love to be able to contribute directly!

    I guess you refer to something like a Paypal form, were you could pre-order your key. Sounds reasonable and hopefully it's not too much work to integrate into the website. It might actually be a good alternative to the Kickstarter.
  • @Pain, yes, that's exactly what I mean. And while I would back at my previous level (and higher) without regard to reward, I wonder if it would be beneficial to keep the reward system (kind of like how Star Citizen has handled their preorders). But if you and Gavan choose to go this route, do you think it could undermine a future kickstarter? Though it would get Gavan needed funds right away...
  • @jackdaw67‌ Sounds like a good idea? I never forget a favor - maybe you can give it a test run, and if successful I can setup a little donation pool to buy some more advertising? I'll throw some additional rewards your way, and hopefully I can do more to return the favor in the future. :)
  • edited November 2014
    OK, we had a call and we discussed a couple of things.

    - Paypal is something we are checking out at the moment, regarding feasibility. Shouldn't be too much of a problem though.
    - Reddit-Ads: Gavan will shortly give you his blessing, jackdaw67. :)

    Edit: Damn, you beat me by a minute Gavan. :D
  • edited November 2014
    Katorone said:


    If the kickstarter doesn't get funded, I'd wait a year before trying again. Add more gameplay, grow the community. Having a daily or weekly dev log would be beneficial as well, and gives journalists something to write about.

    On a personal note, my first impression of the campaign were "does Gavan even want money?". Not as a personal remark, but it's in his best interest to get as much money as possible, for the future of the game. I looked beyond that and pledged for the potential of VQ, not as much the presentation of it.

    I'm sorry if this sounds overly negative. I just think that the (next) campaign could stand with some professional PR consulting.


    I agree - after one year, I probably would not come back to KS though - at that point we will be doing early access. Setting up and managing a KS campaign takes at least 2 months of time, and I'd rather invest that in improving the game.

    I will probably continue collecting money with a donate or preorder button. Hopefully as things progress my account funds will drain less rapidly or even turn around a slight profit.

    If I did do another KS, I agree that I need to be more aggressive about raising money, pricing reward tiers, etc :)

    I'll add in some additional comments in a bit, BRB :)
  • Another option could be to launch a KS for a gameplay system built on your engine. For instance 12k for implementing baldur's gate type gameplay. That way you could work modularly and use the extra content as DLC.
    I don't know how that meshes with open source though.
  • Katorone said:

    That way you could work modularly and use the extra content as DLC.
    I don't know how that meshes with open source though.

    I think that'd be a really cool thing to do and could also be applied to the "base game" defined in the design doc. Release a paid alpha on Steam or somewhere else, start selling copies, and then open up a kickstarter with a lot of initial gameplay footage and explain what you plan to add given extra funds. Sort of like stretch goals, but focused on the next stages of planned development. That would solve the current issue of not enough gameplay shown and also gather support for extra features or modules, as @Katorone‌ suggested.
  • edited November 2014


    Though the design doc exists, it sounds like there isn't a one-to-one correspondence between what Gavan has in his head and what everyone's been talking about. There are a lot of different ideas floating around the forums, and while they're great, it can be hard to gauge what's actually going to show up in the game and what's just a really cool idea. I tried working on an update with @Talvieno‌ and @Clement‌, and we had a bit of difficulty distilling the forum discussion into something presentable for current and prospective backers. We might have better luck presenting a more coherent game idea.

    I agree - taking community input has greatly changed the direction of the game from things I thought were important to things that the community values (I'm still going to strike a happy medium where possible).


    In fairness, Gavan has explained that VQ could be used to convert tabletop RPGs to computer games. But (and I'm legitimately asking, this isn't rhetorical) how big of an audience exists for that? And obviously it's a bit tricky to talk at this point about how it works, since the majority of the work that Gavan has done to this point is about the engine.

    Its a good question. The market for Tabletop games is actually huge (probably the single most successful Kickstarter category). The market for virtual versions, I am unsure. I figured this would be more "low-hanging fruit" since I am already implementing a sandbox mode (for testing and other things) that would handle most of this functionality. Still, maybe it is wrong to advertise this, and better to focus on other things?


    I'd suggest that in the future, it might be a cool thing to have some kind of display of what the community would like to make happen with VQ, to show the scope of potential VQ-based projects. I think somebody on the kickstarter page talked about a 1500-page RPG campaign that they wanted to port. Dwarf Fortress has gotten some attention here, as well as a "god mode" game option. I've got some ideas, and I'm sure that there are a ton of others. Since Gavan has clearly left the VQ engine open to encourage this kind of exploration, it wouldn't hurt to publicize what people are thinking about.

    TL,DR: Put out more gameplay content, make it clear that VQ is also a platform for other creations, and emphasize exactly how freaking cool the AI and voxel-based aspect of engine are.

    Another good idea - its often hard to relay the AI to people without talking about it in length like we have in the forums. Most people (rightfully) say, "well, that's a nice idea, good luck implementing it."


    Sorry for getting a little off-track. I'm just trying to explain how I see this going from my perspective as a future modder and player. Gavan is doing a really, really cool thing with VQ and I respect the hell out of his work and work ethic. Developing and promoting a game is at least two full-time jobs, and if I had more money, it would definitely be headed in Gavan's direction.

    No worries - thanks for the input as usual, these are the types of things I like to hear. :)

  • So, some totally unsolicited advice, which may not even come close to Gavan's vision: if it were me, I would make a video that clearly shows -- even if in a very rough early form -- what will be fun to do in Voxel Quest the day it ships. I'd emphasize the destructibility of voxels, I'd demonstrate something of the AI, I'd show sped-up dynamic lighting to bring out the colorful dynamics of the world, and I'd highlight the intended reactiveness of the world... and only then would I mention that, in addition to the world you get right out of the box, the game will also support modding so that you can construct your own worlds with it....

    TL;DR: Make a video about what will be fun to do in VQ the day it ships.

    Well, the source is going out on github soon so people will get to actually experience this stuff, rather than have me tell them, but just as well I need a method of relaying this information without requiring an install.

    As mentioned elsewhere: I really need to get the world simulation going. Right now we have a dead world, with some ghost towns. I think once there are characters moving about, going about their lives, and you can play your (small, but meaningful) role in the world, people will see a lot more potential.
  • edited November 2014
    gavanw said:


    As mentioned elsewhere: I really need to get the world simulation going. Right now we have a dead world, with some ghost towns. I think once there are characters moving about, going about their lives, and you can play your (small, but meaningful) role in the world, people will see a lot more potential.

    Can this not be shown in a video? Even if "faked"?

    The idea would be a powerful motivator to get people involved.
  • gavanw said:

    @jackdaw67‌ Sounds like a good idea? I never forget a favor - maybe you can give it a test run, and if successful I can setup a little donation pool to buy some more advertising? I'll throw some additional rewards your way, and hopefully I can do more to return the favor in the future. :)

    Ok then, it's a bit late here in the UK but tomorrow I will get this done.

    BTW rather than uploading to github right away (at least while the KS is going) you could offer access to the pre-alpha sources to, say, 50$+ backers. Just an idea (making it clear that the code will go open soon anyway).

  • Re: github, if you've already committed to that, then you should do it.

    But most people -- including gamers -- are consumers, not creators. While VQ may appeal more to the engaged, creative gamer, most money is in the pockets of passive consumers of entertainment. They have no idea what github is, but they know how to watch a YouTube video. Some of them will be willing to take the all-important next step and pledge money for a game that, at some point, they can download in a finished form and play immediately, and that's what I think I've seen put most game projects over the top. (Other than having a perceived one degree of separation from a Famous Game Developer.)

    As for the content of a video, showing dynamic NPCs, as I suggested, would be a good move. That highlights what I think is the Unique Selling Point for Voxel Quest, which is the highly reactive world. But in keeping with my previous paragraph, it's also extremely important to show the consumer-gamer some mechanics -- what can they do in/to that world that looks like exciting fun?

    I'm an idea guy. I love cool ideas, and few things make me grumpier than someone spouting the old canard "ideas are a dime a dozen." The ideas we can already see in Voxel Quest are good ones that I'm looking forward to seeing realized in some form. I think some other people will be excited about those ideas, too.

    That said, most people care less about ideas than about products. They're excited by what they can have and can do, not by what can be thought or felt. A KS pitch can only go so far on the potential of ideas; showing them "this is the uniquely cool stuff you'll be able to do" is what gets clicks on the Pledge levels.

    I'm not sure how near or far VQ is from a video that demonstrates that, but I'd do everything I could right now to make one.

    Again, all of this is just my opinion and should be regarded as such. It's also not meant to be critical (and I think Gavan already agrees with some of it); I'm just thinking out loud about some things that might help this project succeed -- we all win that way.
  • Zanteogo said:


    Can this not be shown in a video? Even if "faked"?

    The idea would be a powerful motivator to get people involved.

    Yes, but even if I could get it in on this short of notice, it would be too late for funding. I went with the first person camera because I thought it was something that would be easier, and have a good effect on the campaign. By the way, just made MAJOR headway with this and the FP camera could be ready to go tonight or tomorrow if I can fix a few bugs. Results and performance are looking good, but I'll save everyone a look at it until it is a bit more ready, for the full effect. :)

  • I'm an idea guy. I love cool ideas, and few things make me grumpier than someone spouting the old canard "ideas are a dime a dozen." The ideas we can already see in Voxel Quest are good ones that I'm looking forward to seeing realized in some form. I think some other people will be excited about those ideas, too.

    That said, most people care less about ideas than about products. They're excited by what they can have and can do, not by what can be thought or felt. A KS pitch can only go so far on the potential of ideas; showing them "this is the uniquely cool stuff you'll be able to do" is what gets clicks on the Pledge levels.

    I agree, ideas are inherently worth "nothing" - i.e. try to sell one and see if anyone will give you money for it. :)

    After I get the FP camera in, I will probably edit the video and page again in a last-haul effort. I'm thinking of dramatically simplifying everything (i.e. deleting or archiving a bunch of stuff), and making a short 2 minute video with my voice over the video rather than text. Might be ready a bit too late for KS, but should help future backers at least make a decision. :)
  • Oh! I missed a lot this week-end.
    So yes, now only a massive arrival of new backers could save the day. Advertisement could do it, but you'll need some precise targeting and quick results. Otherwise a 'star' talking of VQ should bring a lot of visitors (PewDiePie ? :D)

    As @PreacherJayne said we tried to come up with a summary of what has been said on the forum. But somehow, even if we had a good view of all that has been said we struggled to write a decent summary. The main problem (for me) was that too much has been said (And we didn't read LT forum at the time !) and we were kinda lost in the data . Writing catchphrases out of it felt impossible.
    Related : I feel the game is going in too much directions in the same time. Having a lot of (great) ideas and adding some ideas of the community is amazing but you need to end with a core concept which can be implemented in a limited time (let say 6 months) and then refined into something playable.
    gavanw said:

    After I get the FP camera in, I will probably edit the video and page again in a last-haul effort. I'm thinking of dramatically simplifying everything (i.e. deleting or archiving a bunch of stuff), and making a short 2 minute video with my voice over the video rather than text. Might be ready a bit too late for KS, but should help future backers at least make a decision. :)

    Maybe a little late, but could only be positive. You already have a lot of advices for that video (maybe too much), but if you need help in the process I'm sure many would volunteer here ;)

    As previously said, Paypal is OK for me too.
  • edited November 2014
    $8,111 and 4 days to go...

    It's so close, but not close enough that one person can say "screw it, I'm putting it over the top!"

    Clearly the $100 or so a day it has been getting will not be enough.

    I plan to up my backing today, but I'm certainly not dropping 8 grand...

    It's unfortunate, but it's not the idea or the concept that's flawed here. It's the presentation. (Sorry Gavan)

    As I have said before, I nearly passed this project by. "Level fast, die fast", I almost stopped the video at that point. It was the limit theory discussion that brought me in.

    Even if the KS fails, at least a fan base has been created. It's a start.
  • I just went ahead with the ad but the bad news is that it won't show until tomorrow (can't advertise on the same day).
  • There are a couple larger boards on reddit that you can advertise in, but only in the last 48 hours of the kickstarter. I'll get on that when it comes.
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