What Backers Want

What Backers Want

So, as a game developer I made the decision to publish my own design. In doing this I have to choose how to raise the funds for publishing. A common way to do this is through crowd funding via Kickstarter. It is relatively easy to set up your account and build a Kickstarter page. While there are many things to consider for your page and campaign and I am going to limit my discussion to the path I chose to go and the result of that choice.

When I made the decision to use Kickstater there are a lot of blog posts out there that will give you information about what to do and what not to do. In the end there is no right or wrong answer because what works for one person may not work for you. Also Kickstarters are built to custom fit a project. No two projects are the same, so while you do things that others before you have done, you may not get the same result. Though there is a frame work you should follow.

My choice was to build an interactive campaign. I have backed many games through my 2 accounts on Kickstarter. I have seen campaigns that fund and give three updates in 30 days, and they are very small boring drab updates. I have also been a part of a themed campaign which was something it seems that backers want. They not only want the product at the end but they also want a fun and exciting campaign. I read a post some time ago that discussed how many campaigns are boring and don’t offer those fun things for backers to be involved in.

Reading that I thought to myself, self, I need to do something different than other folks are doing. I need to have a fun and make it fun for the backer. I need to have a way for the backer to engage with my product. I need to ensure that the backer has all the needed information about my game and the world that it is set in. By doing this I will provide that fun and thematic world that backers want.

So our team came up with the idea of live missions. I would create a series of missions that are written and themed to the gangster theme which my game is centered around. So while I was working on this idea, I also hired a writer to come onto the project and write me 12 stories about the Hooch world. They would be short stories that would depict the things that occur in the game of Hooch. While fleshing out the ideas for the stories we were able to develop a large world that lives and breathes.

We developed places and people to fill those places. We developed characters with proper names and began to create a back story for each Criminal Syndicate in the game. We gave each Syndicate a distinct ability and created a world around them that helped this ability to stand out and be useful in a meaningful way. So we just did not make a game, we created a world and placed the game into it. I would say this is very different than most Kickstarter and we felt good about the amount of content we had created.

However, we thought we could do more. Using the Missions to push this content I wanted to give backers the chance to get things to personalize the game for them. Many campaigns allow backers to spend a large amount of money and get a custom game, card or be a character in the game. This helps the folks that have money at their disposal to get something very cool and it is a neat concept. But, I wanted to do something different; I wanted to offer this in a limited way to all backers. So for each Mission a backer completes they can get a card for the game that they can print and place into the game. This card is personalized just for the backer and now the backer can have some special cards in their version of the game when they play it.

But still I wanted to go further. One of the things that can happen during a Kickstarter is the interaction between the campaign and the reviewers or bloggers. These are sites that help to push your game and show your backers that the product they are backing is a good one. So to the folks that played my game in order to review it, I wanted to offer a way to drive my backers to their site. Now maybe they already knew about this site, but maybe they did not. The idea being that it would help to generate traffic to the site. I can do this by placing information on the site that is needed for my Missions. So my backers that are doing my missions have to go to the review sight and find information for the Mission and then report the information back to complete the Mission.

So I hired a writer, after effects and video person, a novelist, and collaborators to help me design each Mission. The end result is 10 Missions built in special software that is not used on Kickstarter. There are twelve stories that are built on the Hooch world depicting the events of Syndicates and the world of Prohibition that our game is set in. One short 25 page story based in the hooch world that is different and gives backers a clear view of the world and how the world works. We also created a tabloid for Temperance Town that would talk about each of the Syndicates and describe how and what they do!

So looking at all of this contact I wanted to make it useful to the backer. I took the stories and would weave those with into the issues of “The Flapper”. So now all of this very cool story line would be included into the missions and help to theme the campaign.

So in the end we have a set backstory that is really nice and everything fits well into that story line along with “The Flapper” and the Missions. Only trouble is, I am not having much success in bringing folks to my project. I am advertising on sites, and have passed the information on to many media sites. I wonder if they are just not paying attention of if it really does not matter to a backer that they have interaction. Do they care about the content or do they just delete the update that you put out even when they know it have free personalized rewards attached to it?

If you are looking for the interactive campaign and want to be part of something very cool and different then you should at least check out the project. If you like gangsters and want free rewards for completing interactive content you should check us out. 

If you are a company or indie publisher and you want to see a different kind of campaign you should also check us out.

please see us here on Kickstater 

Thank you for your time and interest. if you have feedback for us please contact us, we would love to hear from you.

Jason Washburn