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Kickstarter Journal, 30 days and counting. Day: -04

Kickstarters pop up every day, some are a success while others slowly fizzle out of existence. As part of my kickstarter I am keeping a day by day journal, documenting everything I learn and every dumb idea I come up with. Wish me luck!

The countdown to the countdown.

Day: -04

Its four days until the Bears Can’t Drift kickstarter begins and I was asked by Dan if I would keep a day by day journal of the event. Not 100% sure why he asked, I think it had something to do with inflicting it upon some of his students. But I thought the journal would help me put down some thoughts and maybe even come up with new ones so here it goes. Four days left before launch, where am I at?

 

Well I have most of the kickstarter page done, apart from the video and that god awful risks and challenges section, the kickstarter equivalent of being asked what is your biggest weakness in an interview, and thats all I have... this is not going to end well. I say that, but I do have a functional gameplay demo which I worked on with a colleague for a month, from what I read it helps to have something playable.

 

I have decided to label this pre-kickstarter time as the three P’s. Planning, Prep and Promotion (look how clever I am). I have been doing some research on kickstarter and found some articles on what you should and shouldn’t do. Some useful, some not so much. One of my favourite articles has been by Marc McCann on Gamasutra, A small guide to getting your game known. Not necessarily written for a kickstarter but still an interesting read and very applicable.

 

I also found out about some sites that do a kind of pre-kickstarter build up of social media. The idea is that you create a page on one of these sites, and then get a load of people to ‘pledge’ their twitter or facebook profile. If you reach the targeted number of pledges it posts a pre set message from all of the pledged profiles on a date you specify. I signed up to a few of them but really I needed closer to 30 days instead of 4. Its Still an interesting idea, the power of social media is commonly thrown around as being one of the most important aspects of a campaign, but with my poultry 48 twitter followers I doubt I will be making any waves. The main sites I visited were Prefundia, Thunderclap and Epocu. While I have made poor use of it, I'm sure someone who is a bit more social media saavy will have much better luck with it.

 

Today was spent on promotion. I decided to target the youtube lets players. I figured they would be easier to contact (this is not true) and might be more open to playing something that, putting it politely, wasn’t all there yet. I contacted over 100 youtubers asking if they would play my game. Most of my messages were sent through youtube’s message system. Which I imagine for these youtube celebs must be filled to bursting with other hopeful indies asking them to also play their game that they also thought was really great. Either way, heres hoping for some responses.

 

I also was linked to this great site for hunting down lets players. Its a huge list that you can order by subscriber number, twitter followerers etc and was the main way I tracked them down. I also noticed an interesting trend, there seem to be four types of lets players. 1. Exclusivly plays minecraft 2. Exclusivly plays Nintendo 3. Exclusivly plays Horror games and 4. Plays a range. I didn't bother sending requests to the first three as my game was neither nintendo, minecraft or horror. I wonder if youtube would explode if Notch released a horror version of minecraft onto the wii.

 

 

The most difficult thing with a kickstarter is promotion. While I have a demo that people can play I have nothing to alert them to my existence. I have no contacts to speak of in the field of reviews, previews, advertising, lets plays. No buddy at IGN or mate at kotaku who I can swing an email to. Everyone I talk to is stranger to me, every email an [email protected] or [email protected] Even my facebook, twitter and youtube profiles have a pitiful number of ‘subscribers’, most of them being friends and family members.

 

But less doom and gloom, I love a challenge. I need to find a way to get these people interested and I do genuinly believe I have a fun little game that people will enjoy.

 

So how do I get more people to look at my game? One tactic I have deployed is releasing my game onto Steam greenlight. Love or Hate greenlight you don’t really need to advertise for people to find your greenlight page. The community seems fairly active. I put up a game on their a while ago that I did with Adam for a games jam and it taught me a few useful things.

 

The first, no matter how crap a game you put up on their, youre probably going to get 1000+ people looking at it. Now thats some good free advertising… I think.

 

The second is that you don’t even need a game for greenlight. I linked to the game I had made and out of the thousands that voted, 24 people actually downloaded and played it. Even the few people that voted yes didn’t bother playing the demo, I was reminded of the extra credits video on why no one does demos anymore, I miss demos.

 

Thirdly you get a big hit right at the start. So the plan is to make a steam greenlight page and release it the same day as the kickstarter. Hopefully I can use it to give myself a bump.

 

Anyway thats Day -04 over, Thanks for reading and talk to you tomorrow.

 

@Arran Langmead

 

Link to Day: -03

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