Are you considering going the alpha funding route and selling your game before its official launch? We have an in-depth feature with plenty of insight from developers of alpha-funded games like Minecraft
, Don’t Starve
that you should check out now (or save for later reading)
Here are some quick-hit alpha funding tips from our feature, courtesy of the developers behind DayZ
and Project Zomboid
Dean Hall, DayZPlan for three different scenarios: big success, success, and failure.
If you have a big hit and you aren't ready, it's very hard for your project not to get speed wobbles.
Carefully examine your pricing structure.
Consider your audience, what consumer behavior you want, and then finally how people will perceive that. People's perception is really important here and blowback is easy to get.
Make the design fun.
People can handle bugs, missing content, and all manner of other things. But if the heart of the game isn't there, and you find yourself constantly having to explain away "in the full version you'll be able to do x..." when watching someone play it, then people won't get the game. Kerbal Space Program
was excellent because when I played it, I thought "why has someone not made this before?" I could instantly see what they were trying to do, despite the fact it crashed within five minutes of me loading it.
Get the base foundation right.
If you want to do multiplayer, you're really going to have to do it at the start. Multiplayer in a patch? It's unlikely and you'll just end up upsetting the fanbase.
Chris Simpson, Project ZomboidListen to your community.
Let it steer your priority list of planned features and take on board popular ideas. But at the same time, keep to the principles of your core game idea. Immerse yourself into the community, even if there are bad spots. The good times are good! Support the YouTubers and streamers as they are your life blood. Modding is awesome.
The price point on the first version should be cheaper than every version thereafter
, both morally and also for the understanding and support of your community if there are bumps in the road. They are paying alpha price.
DRM seems to make no difference at all from what we've seen.
Keep updates regular.
...But don't let the (sometimes rather intense) pressure get to you with updates, and hold [the updates] back a few days if it needs it. The code has to evolve over years, as the game design often does also, so don't be afraid to have to rip something major out and replace it -- otherwise repeatedly bending code to your -- or the community's -- will takes its toll on the stability of the game. Maintain multiple branches of the game for different severity levels of development, and merge changes.
Make sure to check out the rest of the feature, which includes comments from Markus "Notch" Persson (Minecraft
), at this link