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SSC need help with Kickstarter pitch


maksw
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People of SSC - I call on your generous aid for feedback... we're ready to roll out our Kickstarter pitch (again) and I'd really appreciate your thoughts on our pitch.

 

I've got some minor edits (to do with the "Meet the Team" section) but other than that we think it's ready. The target fund goal will be £100k.

 

http://dominion.maksw.com/pitch

 

The intended launch date is May the 4th - yes, deliberately 😉

 

PS. D1 - if this isn't the right place - let me know and I'll move it. I'm not sure if the forums you granted me have visibility across the SSC site. Cheers!


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DarkOne
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PS. D1 - if this isn't the right place - let me know and I'll move it. I'm not sure if the forums you granted me have visibility across the SSC site. Cheers!

 

I split the post and added it to your area, everyone on the site has access to the Dominion forum area. As things get posted here and more conversation happens it will grow. You might also want to link to this area from your blog as well, for anyone that comes across your site. 

 

Now on to the pitch, I think you covered a lot of content that Dominion will have and what people can expect with initial release. I personally like the fact that this will be a single player game and will grow into something else if funding permits. If you can have videos or concept art that you can roll out every few days during your funding will show your motivation and keep people interested in your project (Star Citizen had like 50 some odd updates throughout their kickstarter). Your audience is tech savvy, treat them with more in-depth analysis of some of the features you have planned.

 

When you start your kickstarter make sure you post videos on youtube and use tagging to your advantage to get the word out. If I remember correctly I think Elite's campaign was like 45 days. That should help you get near your goal. I look at it that if Limit Theory can hit roughly the same amount of money so can you with the right promotion and info behind your campaign, and I will do what I can as well.  


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Geraldine
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Very impressed by this pitch. You have obviously studied previous kickstarters to see what works maksw. You must be in with a shout at least. I have a few "SSC Outposts" scattered around the net in all sorts of places, so I will give you a plug once your campaign goes live as every little bit helps. Best of luck to you!


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SolCommand
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That's a lot of good info you put in there mate. I read through it all and enjoyed it so -> nice job !

 

If I were to suggest anything that you could improve I'd say you should show some more of the stuff that you have already been working on, even if it's not completed (WIP status), eye-candy things such as several variations of cool planets, ships, stations, other solar objects and game graphics etc. etc. This is a big issue for me usually when I have a look at KS game campaigns, I like to look at the pictures and videos and rarely read the entire wall of text. I think people need to see that you've been working hard on this project and it's not just something you suddenly decided to create so you should show them things that have already been completed, things that are WIP and things that are planned to be done in the very near future, even during the campaign.


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Hypnotron
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you need videos to prove that you've got a legitimate chance at reaching your target.  if you don't have an alpha already and your time frame is 12 months it's just not going to happen with one programmer.   people know this. 


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Geraldine
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Yea, good point Hypnotron, this is what Josh did with Limit Theory and that was a big success. A basic gameplay vid speaks a thousand words as they say.


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SolCommand
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A working prototype is most definitely needed, especially with all the goals and features you plan to have in this game. That is a sure way to convince many people and without it, the campaign could fall short.


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Pinback
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Good pitch and as already said back it up with some video of the features.

 

Also I would state at the beginning what type of game you are making a single player game or MMO ect as I seem to fail to see any mention of it.


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maksw
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Cheers everyone - that's a really positive vibe overall, and some really solid feedback - which is truly appreciated!

 

So - I seem to be getting a habit of "mega-posting" on SSC - and I'll pickup the points above all in one go...

 

Videos - this is one of our big "bug-bears" - I can show lots of flyby's, general "prettiness" - stage a few scenes etc. but gameplay-wise there is very little to show 🙁 this is one of the big problems we had in the original pitch - we need funds to do gameplay, to show video to get funds... I'll be cross-linking in the current frag video, and the TV trailer spoof from our youtube channel, and of course be adding new videos/screenies as updates as we go. But in general - would flyby's and "prettiness" videos be enough do you think? 

 

 

Your audience is tech savvy, treat them with more in-depth analysis of some of the features you have planned.

 

Funny you should say that D1 - in the very first pitch I had some stuff about scene management, et al - but the "tech" talk wasn't going down well, so I pulled it. My plan this time is to have "tech" stuff on our website page, and then cross-link to it with "Click to see more" links in the pitch itself. Do you think that would be enough? I can inject some small-tech-talk into the pitch though. I certainly don't want to "dumb-down" or patronise anyone - as I see it "backers" are investors, and generally do know what they are backing, so want to see "tech" - especially as really, it's all I have to show atm! 😀

 

As for campaign length - this is a toughie with no "science" behind it. 30 days is recommended to "generate drive" or urgency. But it's not much time to try and build PR interest unless you strike it lucky. I thought ED's 45 day campaign was needlessly long for such a highly exposed project, but it might be the sweet spot for ours!

 

 

I have a few "SSC Outposts" scattered around the net in all sorts of place

Geraldine - thank you - I can't tell you how much that means! It's our one biggest weak-point (I think anyway!) - exposure. It's what killed us the first time around (other than expecting too much money of course 😉 ).

 

 

I'd say you should show some more of the stuff that you have already been working on, even if it's not completed

 

Will do Sol 😉 we've got some concept work we can float out again - and of course, your awesome contributions!

 

 

I would state at the beginning what type of game you are making a single player game

 

I'll be sure to clarify this Pinback - D1 also noted a spot of confusion that was lingering from the original pitch, so I have to do a proof-read pass again across the pitch and our site to make sure it's all consistently "single player" for this pitch.

 

 

 

People of SSC - thank you 🙂 I'll definitely be sure to pick up on these points and get them addressed!


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DarkOne
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When it comes to the videos it will have to do if your not at that point yet and maybe express that is what a lot of the funds are going toward in building the combat and core features, it seems like your art is doing well and you just need some coders to speed things along. A 1yr delivery time is actually fairly short in my mind for the feature set you are promising, not doubting the skill of the developers or the artists, it just seems like a large project and first impressions are always critical. Especially with the promising of all the modding abilities this would be need to be working and pretty much bug free.

I think linking to your website for the 'tech' stuff is fine, or you can public something every few days as an update and not have it in the actual pitch itself. This gives the backers something to read and chat about and you will get valuable feedback at the same time. Use the updates as a way to gauge what your backers are looking for and like some of the other projects out there you may want to think about a paypal donation option as well on your blog for those that cannot use kickstarter.

On the length of the kickstarter, yeah Elite's kickstarter was long but they didn't make funding until like the last week. Personally it was because of the pitch and the updates, but once they starting doing the updates the funds came in. I think this is very doable with the right info and some screenshots and possible videos.


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maksw
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Updates are key for sure - we managed about 20 last time, this time we're staging some up before launch so we can do regular content updates throughout the pitch itself. 

 

I've addressed a few of the things raised already - http://dominion.maksw.com/pitch, and we'll be bringing in the others as updates I think - so thanks again for the feedback everyone 🙂

 

It is quite a lot to develop - and that's where we've hit the hard spot - we need another coder to take the load off myself to realise some of the better features (owning stations, etc) which is why they are now stretch goals. However, the fund, and MVP featureset are comfortably do-able - by now my estimation skills (having been sharpened on plenty of AAA titles) are up to the task. Of course - only time will tell!


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maksw
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"(having been sharpened on plenty of AAA titles)"

 

 

I didn't mean to sound like quite such a muppet there 😉 


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DoctorClot
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Do you plan to port this to android and Do you have a stretch goal for Open Sourcing the Game engine that you are using? 

 

Some Raw uncut footage of the game being played would help in the Kick Starter Video or a Kick starter Update.


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maksw
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Android is definitely on the cards - it just needs a dedicated bit of effort to get the engine onto that platform. If we get as far as the iOS stretch goals (we hope!) then we can most likely do Android off the back of that for a restricted set of devices to start (Nexus 4 and tablets most likely).

 

The engine itself won't be open-source - as it's already been developed over the past ten years. However the binary version will most likely become a cheap to license / free for non-commercial use engine. It was always envisaged to be made available that way once we'd used it in a proper commercial project. The game itself will be made as moddable as we can though!

 

As yet there's no gameplay of any note to show off - however, we'll be doing some video updates in the pitch to show "tech" - such as trading, shooting ships, turrets in action, destroying things - that kind of thing.

 

Cheers DoctorClot 🙂


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DoctorClot
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Android is definitely on the cards - it just needs a dedicated bit of effort to get the engine onto that platform. If we get as far as the iOS stretch goals (we hope!) then we can most likely do Android off the back of that for a restricted set of devices to start (Nexus 4 and tablets most likely).

 

The engine itself won't be open-source - as it's already been developed over the past ten years. However the binary version will most likely become a cheap to license / free for non-commercial use engine. It was always envisaged to be made available that way once we'd used it in a proper commercial project. The game itself will be made as moddable as we can though!

 

As yet there's no gameplay of any note to show off - however, we'll be doing some video updates in the pitch to show "tech" - such as trading, shooting ships, turrets in action, destroying things - that kind of thing.

 

Cheers DoctorClot 🙂

 

Hey No problem 🙂

 

Showing off any game play will help with pledges. Showing this off to the Gaming press will also help.

 

People / Places of note who you should contact are - 

 

Rock Paper Shotgun - Email / Forum

 

PC Gamer - Forum

 

EuroGamer - Forum

 

There are more I just need to dig them up. 🙂

 

I would like to see this on the OUYA. I have been offering a OUYA Console to various developers that I know can deliver. You mention that you have an Android port in the cards. I would recommend the OUYA. 

 

I would also recommend if you get any emails from potential investors/Publishers that make you an offer too good to be true. It more than likely is. I have a few articles on this.

 

Dealing with Publishers 

 

Dealing with Publishing Contracts and Deals

 

Can you share any details on the engine?

What are the features that make it unique? 

How much will it cost to license? Will I be able to license it during the Kick Starter?

 

DoctorClot


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maksw
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Cheers again DoctorClot 😉

 

We've already tried RPS, PCG and EG - they've shown no interest at all, and we think we have a decent enough approach and PressKit (feel free to check it over here, feedback welcome - it's been given the thumbs up by a journo).

 

From day one of the original pitch back in Nov last year, every single press approach we have made has evaporated (apart from the Telegraph, which eventually fizzled out). We're guessing that "Space Games" simply aren't news atm - after the big boys made the headlines.

 

As for Ouya - it would definitely be a target platform as soon as we prove our tech on Android - I listed Ouya as an intended platform on the original pitch, but now it will have to be parked until time/funds permits. It'd probably take a week solid to port the engine to Android (of note Mac took 5 days, iOS took 3 days). So if we got the iOS stretch goal, Dominion's assets would pop out off the back of that from the "mobile" build pipeline we'll create for iOS. I'm not sure of Ouya's spec's anymore, but I'm guessing it would need another set of assets baking.

 

As for publishers/investors - I've felt that pain through many studios, and tried myself twice, it's too costly and too painful to go over the details - but we're more than happy to try crowd-funding purely because of the honesty involved, the involvement between us dev's and the backers (ideas exchange, feedback) and the trust factor.

 

Backers trust us to deliver, and we thank them for that trust by delivering. There is no other way to go about honouring that relationship IMHO.

 

The engine itself is OpenGL based, with Newton SDK for physics (not used atm), OpenAL, written entirely in C/C++ and designed to be modular, extensible and flexible. I've spent 13 years writing it (spare time) and always with industry grade quality in mind.  There is no aspect of it that you cannot "take out" as a dev, ie. if you want to use a different rendering API - off you go. Turn off the internal collision system? Fine. Use your own scene graph? Ok. Enable physics? No problem.

 

Uniqueness? Well, compared to other engines (both free/indie and AAA) I'd honestly say "nothing". It delivers what we need, but not tied to "Dominion" - it's entirely game agnostic. We can create anything we like in it (I created a 2D game on iOS called Slam! with it), and it isn't so tied up in itself to become a cliff-wall learning curve which takes months to climb. It also doesn't restrict your game design with it's limitations either. That was a driving goal behind it's design. It also benefits from 13 years of working for various AAA studios and doing the same things for them - more often off the back of my own work on my own engine!

 

As for licensing it - yeouch 😀 Not the cost though 😉 it's more "Is it ready to license"... I'd say it isn't. There are horror tricks and traps in there lurking for the unwary that I'd have to resolve before I could bring myself to let anyone else play with it - whilst they are horrors, they are stable horrors 😉 nothing that would jeopardise Dominion being developed. Then there's tools, support, documentation, et al. That's all too much to pick up with the Dominion project hopefully looming large.

 

The original aim was licensing would be cheap - free for non-commercial - pretty much the standard "indie level" licensing common on most other engines these days. But with things like UDK and CryEngine all muscling at each other along with Unity - we have no competitive edge against those guys.


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maksw
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The time has come folks... after some great feedback on the new pitch, we're ready to go on our publication date of 00:00 on May the 4th!

 

Our hope is that we can ask everyone who is interested in backing us to back us on the same launch day! If we can get some momentum going on day one, it will help bump us up on the visibility list on Kickstarter and Kicktraq - and hopefully more people will get to see our pitch - increasing the chances of being funded this time around!

 

So - we ask that if you are as enthusiastic about seeing Dominion take space-flight as we are, please be sure to back us once again, on day one of the pitch, on May the 4th!

 

Thank you for your support!

 

(PS. I'll post a reminder the day before just in case - not to spam anyone, but as you can tell, we're pretty keen to succeed this time!)

 

Going to make this a thread on it's own 😉


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