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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Kickstarter rewards

So, here's a thought. We're looking at doing a Kickstarter for a game, quite possibly in coordination with another gaming organization, which will likely be of considerable interest to wargamers of various genres. This is not First Sword or any other combat management game, just to be clear.

Having looked at various game kickstarts, successful and unsuccessful, I haven't been terribly impressed with most of the rewards. I've got a few ideas, but since this is one of the communities that would be most likely to harbor a supporter or two, I'm interested in knowing what sort of rewards might be of interest to you.

We're just brainstorming here, so go ahead and throw them out. I won't say anything more about the game, except that it will be multiplatform.

Labels:

82 Comments:

Anonymous guitarman November 30, 2014 7:53 PM  

Free books from Castalia. I really don't know how rewards work, though.

Anonymous EG November 30, 2014 7:54 PM  

Have y'all considered Indiegogo? They seem more amenable to projects that might be considered less mainstream/beholden to modernist orthodoxy.

Blogger Josh November 30, 2014 8:00 PM  

Step 1 create kick starter
Step 2 get death threats
Step 3 profit

Anonymous kfg November 30, 2014 8:08 PM  

A wargame by wargamers for wargamers that this particular wargamer thinks is a kickass wargame is more of a reward than I expect these days.

Maybe that it runs native on Linux?

Anonymous Flannel Avenger November 30, 2014 8:10 PM  

A bottle of Maker's Mark from Nate's private barrel. Autographed by the Nate-Of-American himself.

Anonymous Blume November 30, 2014 8:11 PM  

I normally get board games from kickstarter and I really like the promo cards and free expansions. With video games I guess specialized content would be the way to go. The computer games I play are strategy games like Victoria, Europa Universalis, Civilization 1-5. So for those type of games bonus skins, unique units, unique civilizations would be the ways to go.

Anonymous dh November 30, 2014 8:13 PM  

I've contributed to over 200 kickstarters or go fund me's. The ones that most me interest me for rewards are:

1. Nothing. Anything that costs actual dollars is counter productive. Anything that is a distraction is counter productive.
2. I contributed to a kick starter where the top contribution got me an in person visit from one of the principals, anywhere I was in the world, and two-days with him to learn the thing really in depth. When the thing came out, I had a huge advantage. This may not translate to game development. It was a $10k contribution.

3. Early access. Yes, I've paid to beta-test.
4. Source code access, or, early source code access. Developer/contributor only forum or site access.
5. Free updates for life.

Things that are not interesting to me:

6. Credits. Vanity is lame.
7. Anything personalized - bumper stick, stupid swag, etc. It's just cost for no benefit.
8. Special content, special levels, etc. I hate freemium crud.

Things that would make me not kick in.

9. Anything signed. Unless it's John Carmack, don't care.
10. Anything that reeks of false status. In game status, in game monikers, upgraded avatars, etc.

STRONGLY urge to consider opening up to the ilk for private investment before going to kickstarter. Unless you need big six-figures, I'd stay away from the big funding sites.

Blogger TontoBubbaGoldstein November 30, 2014 8:14 PM  

Alcohol, tobacco, firearms, NFL tickets, boobies?

Anonymous maniacprovost November 30, 2014 8:21 PM  

For music, I like T-shirts, but for a game that only makes sense if there is no physical merchandise. Also it would have to be an awesome shirt.

For small contributions DLC.. For mediumish large, custom / autographed DLC. For large, design a map / unit / character.

A figurine would be cool but absent 3d printing, the tooling would be expensive.

My advice is to see what type of merch is popular in Japan right now. No body pillows plz. Kthxbai.

Anonymous Viidad November 30, 2014 8:25 PM  

A date with Spacebunny.

Anonymous Viidad November 30, 2014 8:27 PM  

Sort of on-topic: I really dig the Computer Game World reviews. My son and I have been reading through them together. Some of those games - like Descent - were a big part of my youth. I'd love to see someone tackle a review of EV Nova. That's a seriously excellent piece of game history and one of the few good strategic games made for the old Mac platform.

Anonymous Viidad November 30, 2014 8:29 PM  

Depending on the game you're offering, something of intrinsic value might be an interesting offer. Poured silver pieces of eight with game graphics, for instance.

Anonymous Porphyry November 30, 2014 8:33 PM  

"Depending on the game you're offering, something of intrinsic value might be an interesting offer. Poured silver pieces of eight with game graphics, for instance." Id go for that.

Blogger Alexander Thompson November 30, 2014 8:34 PM  

Will this be video game or table top?

Anonymous jack November 30, 2014 8:40 PM  

A warm and friendly letter of Thanks from SpaceBunny; even if she had to grit her teeth and suppress distaste to write the thing. And, an release of said letter for sale on ebay, lets say.

Anonymous Ulmer Miller November 30, 2014 8:44 PM  

It seems like some kickstarters for table top games and even some video games have issues with rewards throwing off the game's balance. So, without knowing much, just something cool that won't break the game. I don't know.... maybe a bazooka that shoots exploding chainsaws.

Anonymous GLaDOS November 30, 2014 8:45 PM  

Cake, of course.

Anonymous Roundtine November 30, 2014 8:52 PM  

A special unit, something that will never be obtainable through gameplay. Not a gold plated unit. For more money, maybe an entire race/army that cannot be obtained through regular gameplay. Not simply something superficially different, but qualitatively different that is either superior in some way, or makes playing the game different (requiring different strategy, for instance.)

Anonymous VD November 30, 2014 8:59 PM  

Anything that reeks of false status. In game status, in game monikers, upgraded avatars, etc.

I have to strongly disagree with this from the game design perspective. False status, or what we call "chrome", is absolutely ideal, because allowing the purchase of real status usually breaks the game. (It also offends my sense of design morality). I absolutely hate games that permit you to purchase a material advantage, which means that either one has to forgo the revenue, which is a complete non-starter, or unbalance the game.

However, we may have a bit more flexibility here, as there will likely be as much more more interest in single-player as in multiplayer.

STRONGLY urge to consider opening up to the ilk for private investment before going to kickstarter.

The problem with investment is that people rightly want ownership. Kickstarter is simply pulling the demand forward in order to finance it. We'll be happy to give the Ilk first crack if we can figure out how to do it, but the reality is that while Castalia's sales are fine, the revenue is an order of magnitude too low to even think about funding the development this way.

Anonymous VD November 30, 2014 9:00 PM  

For more money, maybe an entire race/army that cannot be obtained through regular gameplay.

Hmmm, very interesting. This is very on target.

Anonymous VD November 30, 2014 9:02 PM  

I really dig the Computer Game World reviews.

Glad to hear it. I've got dozens more to post, assuming I can ever find a 1.44 MB disk to USB system around somewhere. I have to start a new Video Game World list too.

Blogger Nate November 30, 2014 9:09 PM  

you could actually put specific donors in the game some how. Develope a small design questionaire... let them fill out the specifics on what the character will be... then put it in the game... and send them a document officially giving them credit for the character.

Blogger Preston Phillips (S1AL) November 30, 2014 9:16 PM  

In my (very limited experience), the rewards that get big backers ($1000+) excited are things like designing an element of the game with the designers, something that gets their contribution noticed right up front. The smaller backers (<$50) are generally more interested in simply getting the game itself, perhaps with some sort of minimal perk like custom avatars. Fluff/Chrome is king in these areas.

The groups between that ($100-$200) are more complicated, and I would probably recommend just checking out the more successful kickstarters.

Blogger Brad Andrews November 30, 2014 9:18 PM  

I take it this is an electronic game. I have never backed that on Kickstarter, only board games.

I HATE things that are always exclusive, though I can live with a period of exclusivity. I am not sure this is as bad for a computer game though, if it is cosmetic. I doubt the bonuses or stretch goals would do much for me in a computer game.

Blogger Brad Andrews November 30, 2014 9:19 PM  

I am not sure I would pay for it, but having an in game likeness might be tempting, depending on the price. I would not price it low enough for me to want to do it though, as the intent should be to make more funding for startup goals.

I see no value in getting mentioned in the rules or such, to add to what someone else said.

Anonymous trev006 November 30, 2014 9:22 PM  

Steam has turned cosmetic upgrades into an industry, to the point where some consider Team Fortress 2 to be a hat simulator.

I'm only half sure they're joking.

At any rate, if cosmetics isn't enough, maybe put in reward units that differently balance the game. Maybe things like berserkers, who add punch to an Amorran army... at the cost of no longer being able to field triarii, so you lose some of your defensive strength. A heavily armored scout car that helps you conquer territory, at the cost of losing your ability to build APCs.

Anonymous FP November 30, 2014 9:43 PM  

Pets. Fluffy bunnies!

Regarding cosmetics, see https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/14336-Letter-From-The-Chairman

Anonymous Jack Amok November 30, 2014 9:59 PM  

Signed concept art, especially if the artwork is distinctive, seems to do well.

Also, Nate mentioned something close to this - put their name in the game somehow. Not sure what the actual game is, but for example, a Squad Leader-esque game, maybe one of the leader counters get's their name (Lt. Mando). Or perhaps a town on a map (Nateville) or even just an in-game reference (a billboard advertising DH's Hair Tonic or the Corishev Arms Hotel). Nothing says "in-game status" like saying "why yes, this town is named after me..."

My own idea, a signed CD (or thumbdrive loaded with the mp3s) of the soundtrack if you have a smokin' soundtrack. Maybe even give them the individual tracks in case they want to do their own remixes.

All things that don't impact the actual gameplay and don't cost much money to provide since they'er repurposing exisiting content.

Anonymous Valiant November 30, 2014 10:08 PM  

I would perhaps allow the ability to reserve character names if they are unique to one.

Blogger Northern Hamlet November 30, 2014 10:10 PM  

dh, Nate, and Jack Amok hit a lot of points that I'd agree with.

As an aside, depending on your approach, I'd really like to see something mobile that has robust, complicated strategy and long time scales against many online opponents. Something I can hit constantly to keep my mind busy. Everything out there now leaves me very unsatisfied outside of chess.

Anonymous dh November 30, 2014 10:10 PM  

VD-

Sorry, I think we are closer to the same page. "I absolutely hate games that permit you to purchase a material advantage", this is what I mean by "false status". If you can skip game play with cash, you are basically Farmville, and that's not good unless you want to be Farmville. Having a two-tier game - free players and fremium players - is toxic in the long-term. I am thinking of games where you build a character or vehicle, and you get the next avatar, next badge, whatever by being a kickstarter or paying subscriber.

I understand on the ownership thing. Kickstarter is expensive pre-sales, basically. If you are looking for a big budget, than it's probably a solid method. Kickstarter is dangerous now because they are about to become the SJW police.

Anonymous Beau November 30, 2014 10:14 PM  

Along the lines of Nate's thinking, have some Ilk inspired characters.

Anonymous Anubis November 30, 2014 10:24 PM  

"you could actually put specific donors in the game some how" Name a character after them If its a game with quests you could name a questgiver. I believe that John Scalzi is already reserved as the NPC name for the picking up pig feces quest like WOWs burning crusade had.

Anonymous paleopaleo November 30, 2014 10:35 PM  

Vox, Where can I send you a link to some of my work? SJW are thick in my parts.

Anonymous Trimegistus November 30, 2014 10:36 PM  

Personal connections are a great way to reward donors: a tour of the studio, beta-tester status on this game or the next one in the pipe, attend the Nebula Awards as Vox's guest . . .

(Well, I'd certainly pay to see that last one!)

Blogger Jamie-R November 30, 2014 10:44 PM  

Putting Bane into a game, now there's a thought. His quotes and a more disturbingly positive character than the purely unhinged style of Trevor in GTAV.

Anonymous Daniel November 30, 2014 10:49 PM  

A decent strategy guide.

That's about it for me.

Anonymous Agnostic November 30, 2014 11:03 PM  

OT, can a Christian here provide some evidence to disprove this documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xY0Ib3aPG6Y

Blogger Nate November 30, 2014 11:06 PM  

We did it with MUDs in the 90s. For example... for a certain amount of money.. we'd build your character an actual house in the game. Or in one case.. we built a guy a whole store... Dilvish's Jungle Bazaar and his character actually recieved a small percentage of the store sales.

Anonymous bob k. mando November 30, 2014 11:07 PM  

Jack Amok November 30, 2014 9:59 PM
maybe one of the leader counters get's their name (Lt. Mando)



hey. if you're going to drag me into this, you may as well get the nomenclature right.

the first nick that stuck to me was
"Correct Sir Commandant".


also, this is like the fifth time i've tried to repost this.

Anonymous bob k. mando November 30, 2014 11:08 PM  

try it in firefox just for giggles, see if it sticks this time:
Jack Amok November 30, 2014 9:59 PM
maybe one of the leader counters get's their name (Lt. Mando)



hey. if you're going to drag me into this, you may as well get the nomenclature right.

the first nick that stuck to me was
"Correct Sir Commandant".


also, this is like the fifth time i've tried to repost this.

Anonymous Viidad November 30, 2014 11:09 PM  

"assuming I can ever find a 1.44 MB disk to USB system around somewhere."

I have one of those - I think I got it for a few bucks on Amazon. Very handy.

Anonymous bob k. mando November 30, 2014 11:10 PM  

posting in firefox is asking me to fill in a captcha question, palemoon just posts straight through.

that may be why the commenting system is post / deleting, because for some reason it decides AFTER posting that you should have been asked Captcha and were not.

Blogger Doom November 30, 2014 11:23 PM  

Do those who engage in a kickstart get returns if the product goes live? I suppose there is risk, but... I can't just give away money. And, yeah, I think some people can and do. I am often ignorant, not (necessarily) stupid. Though, I do play the part from time to time. *cough*

Anyway, regardless of what you think of a broken game, Vox, I like getting in on a little slice of easy. You don't have to make it whole game breaker, perhaps slide it so that while it works as well as anything else at mid and end game, it offers a little extra at the beginning. I also like the idea of free updates/expansion.

Now, this would be different from simply buying extra once the game is developed. It would be sharing out what the programmers do on their own, for themselves, anyway. They build cheats in, better armor, units, whatever, to test things (well, and to kick some butt easily while sloshing down a fifth on the weekends... come on, don't lie to an old gamer... I've dreamed of such). This would just be inviting the investors in on some of that "special" gaming action. Me? Yeah, I use it, and then I don't use it. Depending on mood. You don't have to use gimmicks, cheats, or upgrades if you don't want to, you know. Options, is all.

If you do go local, for funding, I might be able to put a little in the pot. Uhrm, if it will be available on a platform I can currently use. Probably limited to PS 3 currently. I've always wanted to own a little piece of a little more game. :p

Blogger JDC November 30, 2014 11:24 PM  

How about an infinite giant flaming hammer that allows the gamer to destroy any piece of candy/fruit they choose?

Anonymous Viidad November 30, 2014 11:41 PM  

Or a secret level where you get to play a teenage girl that beats John Scalzi's pasty ass?

Blogger ChicagoRefugee November 30, 2014 11:54 PM  

Can't you find a funding platform other than Kickstarter?

They refused to host the Kermit Gosnell documentary fundraiser and their "community manager" thinks - and tweeted - that "whiteness is bad."

http://twitchy.com/2014/11/28/seriously-twisted-heres-what-kickstarter-community-manager-thinks-of-white-people/

Anonymous Ian December 01, 2014 12:10 AM  

High Prize: Voice Talent, Image, and or likeness used in game. Some hob-nobbing and or travel involved.

Medium Prize: Free computer version of the game.

Low Prize: Thanked by name at the end of the game, in closing credits.

Blogger Ghost December 01, 2014 12:10 AM  

I was going to mention that kickstarter is SJW-infested, and someone there hates white people and they love abortion, but I see that's already been covered. Are go fund me or Indy go go any better, anyone know?

Anonymous Porphryry December 01, 2014 12:10 AM  

Can we pay for thinly clad women cheerleaders in game? I know its a pr problem but I won't let Sclazi know; I promise.

Anonymous johnc December 01, 2014 12:22 AM  

If you need any software developers, I'd be interested in a portfolio-builder.

Anonymous Porphyry December 01, 2014 12:34 AM  

Test-- Porphyry

Anonymous Porphyry December 01, 2014 12:36 AM  

Tanks! Cheat codes? in game mind altering drugs; this comment check system is annoying as hell

Anonymous Jack Amok December 01, 2014 1:01 AM  

hey. if you're going to drag me into this, you may as well get the nomenclature right.

A ha, this opens up a new possibility: winning bid sets the nomenclature!

Hmmm, random thought. Perhaps you set up two sides, each kickstarter funder gets to pick a side. The side with the most funding gets some game element their way. E.g. Blues vs Greens or some such...

Random challege thought: ilk vs. warren. largest total contribution wins for the calendar graphics - either Vox and Markku pose a la Scalzi and Heines, or else we get Italian women who love science. Has the advantage of sunk costs - people will feel a need to double down on their existing investment if the other side manages to pull ahead. Worst case, Vox would look better than Scalzi in a corset causing the lawned one immense grief while diverting SJW funds towards Vox's game.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 01, 2014 1:02 AM  

@Nate

We did it with MUDs in the 90s.

Curious what exactly you mean by "we". Were you making MUDS in the 90's?

Anonymous Earl December 01, 2014 1:18 AM  

Kickstarter will not host Vox Day due to the Alphagameplan blog being "sexist." Place yer bets.

Anonymous Jump the Shark December 01, 2014 1:48 AM  

Y'all're forgetting Vox has more than two nom de plumes. For all we know, he's thinking of kickstarting this as Summer Glau.

OpenID thenoisyrogue December 01, 2014 1:50 AM  

I've also contributed to a few video game kickstarters and i echo some of the more serious points that have already been raised here.

But I'm trying to think left field and tap in to some different items that may readily appeal to gamers. Something that I always loved in video games that you don't get any more because everything is downloadable content, (puke), was a seriously good game manual. With maps, and great artwork, and a well thought out contents list, instructions, and even strategy guide. Remember the original Civilization manuals? They were awesome.

So how about a really super-smicko one of those that you can only obtain by pre-funding? Having it signed by a bunch of key personnel would just be gravy. That may be a good item for your $100 range players.

Anonymous dh December 01, 2014 3:53 AM  

Or a secret level where you get to play a teenage girl that beats John Scalzi's pasty ass?

I will kick in absolutely for some sort Scalzi abuse. I don't actually care what it is.

Anonymous VD December 01, 2014 3:53 AM  

Can't you find a funding platform other than Kickstarter?

I'm not concerned about what a low-level "community manager" thinks. Especially not an Asian feminist who hates white men. You don't think there weren't a few of those at Konami and Sega, just to name two companies with whom I've worked?

Blogger Bogey December 01, 2014 4:21 AM  

I kind of miss the old box art and manuals that games used to come with. A retro large box would look nice on my shelf and of course a colorful game manual that I can hold in my hands. Large wall maps are also nice. An in-game title such as "The Dread Ilk" could be cool.

Anonymous rho December 01, 2014 4:40 AM  

If the game lends itself to original artwork, signed limited edition prints are a good mid-tier bonus. Find a real screen printer or printmaker to do the work, don't simply print something on an inkjet.

Access to special races/classes are good, but now you've just added balancing issues. Unless the race/class is merely a graphic swap.

Vanity rewards are easy and cheap. Name an NPC, listing in the credits, etc. The ability to design (within reason) a side quest that delivers a unique weapon/skill/ability would be a higher mid-tier example.

Wargamers tend to be a unique breed, so anything that confers unfair advantage, real or implied, will be frowned upon.

Curious what exactly you mean by "we". Were you making MUDS in the 90's?

If you had Internet access in the early '90s and liked gaming, you eventually found MUDs. They were great tools for learning practical programming, if nothing else. Writing LPC for LPMuds taught me a lot about design. It's since been overtaken by the Web, but it was good stuff back then.

Anonymous jayb December 01, 2014 5:07 AM  

+1 for representation of some sort in the game; be it names, locations or items.
+1 for beta development/testing
Designing Easter Egg dialog/events.
In game gear/characters/units that are reskins (or are still available to other via achievements)
Credits are always nice, but not en masse. They're only worthwhile if you contributed something besides money.

Anonymous Harry P. December 01, 2014 5:43 AM  

Just few notes:
dh's approach to Kickstarter is imho really rare, I wouldn't consider it too much.

I would recommend not to mention your name in the campaign as it probably wouldn't be best incentive for game journos to make news about your project. Although gamergate is quite strong now, it's not that strong.

Anonymous VD December 01, 2014 5:56 AM  

Sorry, I think we are closer to the same page. "I absolutely hate games that permit you to purchase a material advantage", this is what I mean by "false status".

Ah, yes, then we essentially share an opinion. My thinking is that active player involvement should be rewarded, and money can be considered one part of that effort, but regardless of what form it takes, the benefit it conveys has to be very limited. For example, T11 does a nice job of balancing that; if you take the trouble to actually watch a game, you get a +5% advantage. If you recruit other players to watch as your supporters, you get +1% per player.

This is reasonable; no one objects to those actually putting in more effort getting a net 8% advantage, when the home team gets a 5% advantage. In any event, I'm not interested in designing any game where the basic player who puts in a normal effort does not have a reasonable chance of winning. By the same token, it can't be purely random, where your effort goes for naught and you might as well flip a coin.

I've been working on this issue for a while now, though, and I think we've got a pretty good solution that will be regarded as fair by everyone. It goes well beyond the monetary issue; for example, how do you reward special players who enhance the game for everyone without attracting those who simply seek rewards but are incapable of enhancing the game in that manner? We've addressed that as well.

Anonymous VD December 01, 2014 5:58 AM  

I would recommend not to mention your name in the campaign as it probably wouldn't be best incentive for game journos to make news about your project.

Not concerned about that, to be honest. This game will be of considerable interest even if Hitler and Stalin were attached to it.

Blogger Cinco December 01, 2014 6:23 AM  

I recommend you do what Valve did get rid of the +5-8% advantage, and just offer loads of different skins/models for people who want to play the game more than casuals/fund the kick starter.

Blogger Nate December 01, 2014 7:59 AM  

"Curious what exactly you mean by "we". Were you making MUDS in the 90's?"

I was indeed. I coded on both Final Realms and Realm of the Dragon.

Anonymous kawaika December 01, 2014 8:21 AM  

Some kind of miniature.
A poster/postcard/bookmark (some kind of cheap art).
Cheaper price.

Anonymous Salt December 01, 2014 8:25 AM  

what sort of rewards might be of interest to you.

Watching Lena Dunham squeel like a pig on Colbert's show.

Blogger Nate December 01, 2014 9:04 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Daniel December 01, 2014 9:20 AM  

This game will be of considerable interest even if Hitler and Stalin were attached to it.

If this game's got Robo-Stalin as the final boss...you don't need to offer any other rewards.

Anonymous Ten41 December 01, 2014 9:22 AM  

Here are the things that would interest me:

1. Blume's skins, units, civilizations idea. You would know right away, anyone that had that ability, was a contributor.

2. Custom artwork/map. Rolled, in a tube so as not to have those unsightly wrinkles that an iron and starch can't get out.

3. In game plug such as a character name, place name, etc.

4. Game QA

5. Early game release

6. Bottle of fine Italian wine shipped to front door.


Finally, as to Bogey's suggestion about having a "Dread Ilk" reference - that would be quite entertaining.

Anonymous Giuseppe December 01, 2014 9:52 AM  

I agree with some others that some level of financieer "appearance" in the game would be cool. Either as a character that exists as part of the background or maybe less obvious the, say, "Karazov Blacklight Fusion Rifle, designed by legendary rifle builder Yuri Karazov" or whatever for say Mr. Karazov who helped fund the project.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 01, 2014 11:13 AM  

I was indeed. I coded on both Final Realms and Realm of the Dragon.

Excellent. I see they're both still going too.

If you had Internet access in the early '90s and liked gaming, you eventually found MUDs. They were great tools for learning practical programming,

I had already learned practical programming by then, and I think I was getting my rpg fix from Ultima at the time. But you're correct they're great ways to learn programming. Minecraft seems to be the modern equivalent. The first "program" my son ever wrote was something to control an automatic door to his minecraft house.

Hmmm, another idea for a reward Vox. Don't know if the game has anything like a World Builder or Editor, but maybe early access to such a thing for contributors?

Anonymous Anonymous December 01, 2014 12:26 PM  

GMT recently did a very good job with their Twilight Struggle kickstart. Of course, I'm a rabid fan of the game but I liked their perks and I'm not normally attracted to kickstarter campaigns.

JT

Anonymous WaterBoy December 01, 2014 3:50 PM  

IF there's some kind of online service that will require a subscription or other monetary access mechanism,

THEN I would suggest a free subscription period for X number of months as the bonus;

ELSE nevermind.

Anonymous Gecko December 01, 2014 3:51 PM  

Things like decals and avatars seem gimmicky to me, but for some reason I do find special skins/meshes for existing units appealing.

Add a vote for designing a NPC or mission.

Honestly, though, I'd rather have something physical like a M4 mag or a knife. Just saying...

Starcraft's USB drive was actually cool. I know; I'm a sucker.

Blogger Hound December 01, 2014 4:53 PM  

You just want to be very, very careful with physical rewards. More than one Kickstarter has been funded only too see vast amounts of their funding chewed up before they can blink.

Kickstarter takes a cut, Amazon takes a cut, taxes take a cut, lawyers and accountants to deal with the taxes take a cut...

And physical rewards can be staggeringly expensive once you factor in the cost of acquisition and then the cost of distribution. International shipping is outrageously expensive.

If doing physical rewards, I would avoid posters like the plague. Their weight-to-cost shipping ratio is utterly absurd. Small and/or light things like USB drives with the game or tshirts are going to be much more cost effective. Of course, "chrome" is even more cost effective. Name-in-the-credits is a fantastic lure: it's very popular, and effectively free.

Beta/Alpha access is deeply loathed by some people, but it's also a good lure. It can just be a mess to manage all the input.

Blogger Panzerdude December 02, 2014 1:15 AM  

Maybe the opposite perspective will help clarify what you're looking for. Here are some of the KS rewards I really dislike:

- soundtracks
- super-duper equipment/perks that are over-powered
- some delay before selling the game for the same price the backers buy it for. Why did I give my money 12 months ago?
- 37 award levels that after you look at them you realize that if the game doesn't contain them, it can't be very good. So they aren't really "award" levels, they are just telling you to expect a lousy game unless they reach level 37.

Things I like:

- a real discount in exchange for getting my money a year earlier.
- Unique KS only items/features/etc. Like a KS only plot line in an RPG.
- A free/discounted other game already published.

Basically, any award that acknowledges the "time value" of money and provides some form of compensation that will not later be provided to non-backers for the same or lower price than that paid by the backers.

Anonymous 204 December 02, 2014 9:57 AM  

since you are planning on using Kickstarter, this is relevant.
http://twitchy.com/2014/11/28/seriously-twisted-heres-what-kickstarter-community-manager-thinks-of-white-people/

Anonymous Anonymous December 02, 2014 9:15 PM  

As I'm setting up for a Kickstarter for a game myself...
Badges and thank-yous in the credits, the cosmetic stuff, is truly easy money on KS so that's a given in my mind. Some things you might consider is selling digital copies of the artwork or sound files customized by voice actors, OSTs, things like that as add-ons for those who buy the game. An actual discount for supporting the game at the front-end is pretty necessary- KS crowds do not typically respond well to being treated exactly like customers, they expect a little something for being ahead of the ball. I'm always envious of the digital-medium projects' abilities to include their backers so much more easily (numerically anyway) than board games.
For computer games, I'd definitely do some sort of "likeness" reward level. People on KS eat up KS-only stuff, or anything that makes them feel like they actually contributed to the process of making the game a reality: naming places, characters, helping decide on elements of the game like sound effects, making their own sound effect, deciding what a unit should say if it's clicked on 50 times in a row fast, Easter eggs, etc.
I do not recommend withholding parts of the game from non-backers, or for selling power (even balanced power, which can be done) though if there is a planned 'experience' meter that unlocks different parts of the game, that would be a neat unlock- I haven't got a lot of time to play so rewards of that nature greatly enhance the game to me.
I would also advise you to include a $1 pledge level, with nothing between that and your most vanilla version of the game itself. The space at the top of the web page is at a premium, but the $1 level is worth it; people typically look at a project, then ask 'what's it cost' and look for the game- you want this info to be super easy to find. The $1 allows people who are on the fence to chip something in to see the behind the scenes stuff if they don't know the developer, and it also hooks folks in who might be interested in it once you're close on funding or they've seen that it has succeeded, or that the project hit a certain stretch goal (which, by the way, stretch goals are extremely important to a campaign succeeding, typically. Don't withhold crucial pieces, but have some exciting ideas for mini-expansions waiting in the wings to get people's imaginations firing); it functions as a low bar of entry and shows that you understand the nature of Kickstarter, which plays on the spirit of 'come support my idea to make a thing' and invites people to back you just for that.

Barg Uist
Civanpro.com

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