Postmortem: Capitán Kalani Kickstarter

Making a video game is always a challenge, and achieving the necessary momentum does not always go well, this is my experience with a failed crowdfunding campaign.

Spanish version here

On December 8, 2016 at Poiesus Games we started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the game Captain Kalani, the target set was $ 80000.00 MXN, which is approximately $ 3,673 USD, a price calculated to be able to maintain the production of the project by 8 Months, the purchase of a better equipment and the corresponding payments of the platforms. Rewards included the OST, a digital book with the game art, put a person in the game and of course the game.

Poiesus Games it’s basically me, one men army, I've worked intermittently in the game for over a year, learning everything from scratch to do the game: art, music composition, programming (using the Game Maker engine) and level design. Each level has been a production challenge but I have already been able to finish just over a third of the game.

Captain Kalani is a platform action game in 2D, set in different retro futuristic (Dieselpunk) and some dystopian scenarios, which may be a lot to say since the art is 8 bits, remembering the games of the NES; speaking of, I used most of the limitations of that console with some freedoms to adapt it to new generations. In the campaign I explain a little more and eventually I will do it in the page of Poiesusgames.

Talking about the campaign.

What was done well?

-The presentation video lasts 2:04 min, in which I show the game in terms of aesthetics and mechanics.

- I added enough .gif showing the game.

-I explained clearly every point of the campaign in both languages in which I intend to launch the game.

-I put a small playlist so they can listen to the music of the game.

-There is a demo of the game.

- The rewards are justified even if they are digital and the prices are low.

What went wrong?

-The video is not really attractive, I still have to learn how to edit videos.

-The cover image of the game is unattractive.

-The game logo (which was not really planned) is little new.

-English has not been my forte and campaigning in that language is really a problem.

-There was confusion about prices, Kickstarter shows them only in the currency they were created so many thought that $ 100 MXN was $ 100 USD, and that is excessive.

-The marketing was confusing and complicated:

At the beginning of the campaign, I promoted it in different Facebook groups, forums and with some people that are dedicated to the diffusion of video games, the visits reached that day were enough but the demo was only downloaded 4 times and no collaboration. Investigating a little, the optimum publicity is every 3 or 4 days depending on the platform and from 6 to 8 pm in the local time, this annoys less people, reaches more visits and do not lose so much the novelty. This is how I did it the first fifteen days, having a constant flow of visitors, but no collaboration; all the comments I received were congratulating me on the artwork or the interest of knowing more.

I made two great publications apart from the one that was kick-off, resting 20 and 15 days, both with good repercussion which I recommend.

Most of the people I spoke to advertised were interested but took several days to respond, so it is best to contact them at least a month in advance before starting the campaign.

The first donation came after 16 days, by then I no longer wanted to continue, the first 10 days without income are a strong blow to the mood. In those days another campaign in Kickstarter of a Mexican game was coming to an end, without success, which discouraged me a little more.

I do not know if it is always like this, but of all the people who saw the video of the game, only 26% saw it complete; The campaign was more referred to by the page itself than by other means, so a good cover helps a lot; Of the 100% of people who saw the campaign, only 3% downloaded the demo; Of the total number of people who interacted with the campaign link 7% shared it.

Speaking of the platform, a successful financing of a game created in Mexico is Elliot Quest, funded in 2015 using dollars as currency; Until November 2016, Kickstarter did not allow projects resident in Mexico, so in this country the platform is still new, and in general the concept of crowdfunding is not widespread.

The months of December-January in which I launched the Project, are difficult months to be financed, because they are times of vacations and the great titles are thrown for these dates, with which the diffusion of the indie games are dimmed; The best dates are mid-season, when AAA titles do not come out and away from the holidays.

Campaign Thoughts:

For a project to be successful in Mexico, 3 things are needed:

-An appropriate date as I mentioned earlier.

-A wide diffusion, but not only of the game, but of crowdfunding in general, this type of financing is not very effective in the country because we do not have a strong culture of electronic payment, many people are wary of giving money online or not Have form of making this type of payments.

-Let the platform set well in the country, perhaps halfway through 2017 onwards.

Many other projects in Mexico are failing and not because of their quality or production, there are strong external factors that damage the possible success of any campaign, the important thing is not to surrender.

What will happen to Captain Kalani?

I will continue working slowly in the game, I will do my best to finish it in the middle of the year, although I cannot promise that it will be so; I will try to be more active in networks and at least once every fortnight to publish an advance of the game.


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