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# At what point should I turn to kickstarter

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### #1Butabee  Members   -  Reputation: 200

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:13 AM

I'm a hobbyist developer... pretty much one man show. I just started developing a fairly unique multiplayer game with unity. What should I have to show before I turn to kickstarter? I don't know much I'll ask for. Maybe enough to get me by while I work on the game for 1-2 years.

### #2Ashaman73  Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5319

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:38 AM

There's for sure not really a rule. From what I observed, you need a pretty high level of awareness (a known game design, a known studio or known game designer would help) and a good presentation.Then you should consider the uniqueness of your game, getting money as nobody for the 100th minecraft clone is much more difficult then to get money of some unique idea. And least but not last, the cash goal should reflect the value of the game, nobody is willing to pay you 1-2 years of salary for developing your game idea.

So, my two cents with the background, that you have no reference games or a name known in the industry:

- Choose a unique game design.

- Make a kickass presentation.

- Best to provide a playable demo.

- Choose a reasonable goal.

Edited by Ashaman73, 30 January 2013 - 02:41 AM.

### #3Servant of the Lord  Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 14396

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:38 AM

My thoughts on Kickstarter:

Many people with zero knowledge of programming and game development who want to create games will ask for money and not be able to deliver. I'm not going to risk giving money to people who have no clue what they are doing.

Thus, for me to donate, I require the following things:

• A game I'm interested in, or want to support.

AND either:

A) People who have a track of development.

OR:

B) Are already 90% finished with the game before asking for funds.

Keeping in mind what I require as a mature and intelligent consumer* directs my choices in how I'll approach Kickstarter as a developer seeking funds.

When I post my game, it'll be almost entirely finished, so I'll mostly use Kickstarter as a launching/preorderer site, and to explicitely fund the production of the boxed versions of my game.

*Or you could just slap cat pictures over everything and I'll buy it. j/k

Sure, this means I have to somehow find a way to live while working on my game, and yes that's hard and difficult. I'm just simply not going to fund anyone who doesn't have proof of their skill (and no, shiny videos and nice graphics only show good artwork not good programming or good work ethics), and I'm not going to pay them to experiment making games at my expense. Further, I'd feel manipulative and exploitative to ask others to support me while I make a game for myself to profit on at their expense.

So that's how I approach Kickstarter. If you're asking, "How little can I do before I can convince the average (ignorant) joe to give me money to make a game I might fail to produce", that's the wrong question. If you're asking, "How far into development should I be before I can prove to myself beyond reasonable doubt that what I'm selling will actually be finished and not rip off consumers", then you're approaching it at the right angle. This is other people's money, that you'll benefit from. Minimizing their risk, not maximize your own convenience.

If they are "funding" you, they are investing in you completing the project. Minimize their risk, and don't deceive them (or yourself).

If they are "pre-ordering" from you, they are expecting a completed project. Don't manipulate them (or yourself), and ensure they get what they paid for.

If you fail, you still had work for 1-2 years that other people paid for. You still benefited immensely.

If you fail, they get nothing. Zero. After already paying. So you cost them money. They lost money, that you got (and spent). Money changed hands, you benefited, they did not.

Therefore, your focus needs to be on doing everything possible to ensure you won't fail, for the backer's benefit (not yours), before you ask for a single cent.

Having other people pay your living wages to make a game for them is a business - is the business a scam, exploitation, or actually beneficial to the people giving the money? What is the honest way to portray your game? If the honest portrayal isn't something you yourself would invest in or pre-order, then that means you aren't far enough along. If you hide the honest portrayal of the risks involved (or 'dress it up a little') to get more backers, then you are intentionally and willfully deceiving them for your own benefit.

That's how I view Kickstarter, and that's how I view business.

Edited by Servant of the Lord, 30 January 2013 - 02:43 AM.

It's perfectly fine to abbreviate my username to 'Servant' rather than copy+pasting it all the time.

All glory be to the Man at the right hand... On David's throne the King will reign, and the Government will rest upon His shoulders. All the earth will see the salvation of God.                                                                                                                                                       [Need free cloud storage? I personally like DropBox]

### #4Rits  Members   -  Reputation: 259

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:49 AM

Not sure if you've already considered, kickstarter is not the only fund-pledging community out there, even kickstarter is probably the most profound. I've looked into kickstarter and got my project approved already, but from the long term observation, kickstarter local members are not much interested in computer games. The successful projects you could find are majorly rounded from communities outside of kickstarter, but since the money rolled in big and quick, the kickstarter local are convinced that it might be a worthy investment.

I've seen quality indie games in kickstarter that by far didn't get the backers they deserve. no matter you put your project in a commercially strategic fashion or revolutionary passionate one, majority locals wouldn't be impressed, cuz gaming is not quite their thing.

### #5Butabee  Members   -  Reputation: 200

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:59 AM

I'm more than just an "idea guy." I have skills in programming and artwork. I don't think we have the same view on Kickstarter. Not all funded games on there will succeed, but that's whey they're on Kickstarter... to get funds they otherwise wouldn't have to have their games developed. I think I'll aim for the 50% mark before putting it on kickstarter. Kinda insulted you brought up scamming. Maybe some people put up projects hoping to get a free ride, but that's not me.

### #6Dan Mayor  Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1712

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:26 AM

@Butabee, I'm sorry you take offense to Servant Of The Lords statements.  My experiences reading some of his post is that they are a bit direct and opinionated from his view point but once you get over the initial shock they are quite helpful.

@Servant Of The Lord, taken in proper context or with a grain of salt that is very nicely said.  I agree and hopefully will disperse a bit of the tension / hostility between you two with what I have to add.

First, what is being said is not a direct insult to you Butabee, it's the truth of how people with money think.  One thing many of us learn early on is that business and money are rude cut throat portions of life where it always comes down to one single question.  "What does my money get me?".  I personally believe that this is more the point Servant is trying to make.  I don't believe that he means to accuse you of foul practices but more so is acting to show you what everyone who doesn't know you thinks.  That is to say that those of us who don't know you, we don't see any of your previous work and see you asking for money for a project that we don't see... We'll we've all been around the internet to know that is exactly how 100% of scam's work.  No we aren't accusing you of being a scammer but we will be hesitant to trust you.  Take it as more of a constructive informative note than a personal insult, it's better to know what the average potential consumer thinks of you and to take steps to avoid that classification than it is to blindly run in thinking everyone trusts you and that everything is just fine and dandy.

If your answer is no, well then it's going to be even harder to convince people like servant and I (you know people that do actually invest in projects we deem worthy by whatever standards we particularly choose) to give you money.  Neither of us are trying to be rude or accuse you of being a scammer we're simply explaining what it takes to get money out of our wallets and into your hands.  Your question is when should you start in on kickstarter and we're telling you it should be when you are at a point when people like us believe in you.  Anything prior to that is going to be extremely difficult if not impossible.  I'm sure not everyone there thinks like we do, I'm sure there's plenty of people willing to throw $5 -$10 at a game that looks pretty without doing their homework.  But taking the advice that Servant put forward in his message is more likely to get more people interested in investing more money.

(Not doing so good on sugar coating my response am I?)  Unfortunately in development fields like game development, software programming, website design and what have you the difference between success and failure is the ability to take the bad, offensive and insulting comments from peers and potential customers, learn from them, expand your skill sets and practices to appease them and generally turning it into more of a constructive and good learning experience.  Us giving you a bit of harsh reality here and now is something that you can take as constructive criticism, something you can learn from and adapt to shut us up and when the time comes you'll find yourself in a better position with a wider range of people.  For as bad as this comment or prior comments sound, wait till you hear the responses of people with big bucks.  Everything said here is a walk in the park compared to how much they will slap you down for presenting an incomplete of shabby proposal.  We're being a little harsh on you now to get you to ask the right questions of yourself, prepare a good and effective proposal and in the hopes of you making it where many others fail.

All in all I guess the point is you will be ready to head up your kickstarter campaign when your peers say you are.  That is to say when you get to a point where you can swing into a social outlet and say "here's my game's trailer and website", "here's a little demo to try" and those people respond with "Wow that's cool, I'd buy it".  Then you might be ready or at least close.  Mind you I say peers meaning other developers as we are more critical on you than generic users will be.  When you can make us interested you are ready to make potential customers interested.  Before that you may still get some interest but we're looking for maximum gain are we not?

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Dan Mayor - Dan@Digivance.com
www.Digivance.com

### #7Alamar  Members   -  Reputation: 214

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:25 AM

Some very good posts in here, and it's sad that you react defensively instead of what you should have responded with 'thank you for well written posts answering my question'...

One thing I didn't see mentioned, or maybe missed, is that of the amount to ask for.

Now that KS is popular again, and many many indie's, and even large companies are jumping on the bandwagon, we've gotten a chance to see some of the KS failures (those that hit their target, but then realize they asked for too little).  Which again also includes small indies as well as experienced groups (Quest for Glory people for example).

Beyond what points have already been made, you need to convince people that you know how much your efforts are going to cost.  In part, because there are (in my opinion) two major KS contributors: those that make pledges from the heart, and those that make pledges from the mind/head/wallet.  I would say 90% of pledge money comes from the latter, because they typically have more money, are older, and pickier.  Those people, I see a lot of comments from, and time and time again, they want to know why developer A only needs 10k, or why developer B thinks they need 100k.  Finding the balance is tricky, but keep in mind that these picky people don't want to pay a salary, especially for coding (art/music/etc is easier to justify).

In short, if you don't already have a job, and all the hardware/software required, do that before going to KS begging for money (because that is what it will sound like).

I considered going to KS about a decade ago, but realized that the money wouldn't be enough of a motivation by itself to finish a project.  Just like not having art, shouldn't be enough to not finish the code on a project (something I believe many hobbyist coders have as a reason to give up on projects).

-Alamar

### #8Tom Sloper  Moderators   -  Reputation: 7141

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:34 AM

At what point should I turn to kickstarter...  I don't know much I'll ask for.

You should not turn to Kickstarter until you are sure how much you need, and what you need it for.  In addition to the other prerequisites already stated above by other respondents.

-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

### #9riuthamus  Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3825

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 01:37 PM

I have been doing some extensive research on this, you can read further on my blog post if you like but I will sum up some information for you here.

Financials and planning:

http://www.gamedev.net/blog/1513/entry-2255782-kickstarter-and-the-planning-process/

Theory of Kickstarter:

http://www.gamedev.net/blog/1513/entry-2255780-character-work-network-code-amping-up-for-kickstarter/

Long story short, right now even quality projects are finding a hard time getting funded. The only projects that are a real "success" are one that accurately ask for an amount that is equal to the value of the project. I say this because some games with real potential are putting their "required funds" a bit too high and because of this are finding themselves close to funding but maybe not making it. A key example of this is Akaneiro, which started out strong but is very near not making their goal within the 3 days left. If they would have lowered their value just 25k than they wouldnt lose out on all that funding. So the key is to really plan out what you "REALLY NEED" to make it happen and put that down as your goal. If you need $500,000 to make your first game ever than perhaps you should really rethink the game you are attempting to make as it is most likely above your ability to make ( maybe your that one rare case but most likely you are not ). Secondly, the most important thing I have noticed is having some form of a gimick. Project that is properly priced and has a great hook is Cryamore. In the first few days of its release the project had made its already "needed funds" and will most likely surpass them to a very high % rate. Why, because they provided the viewers with all the information they would need to say "hey i want to put some money into this" and they did it with a great hook. I hate anime but despite that I really fell in love with their video and how they presented the information. When you can make a person who doesnt like the genre respect what you are doing and possibly donate you know you are doing something right. So, find what makes your game unique and fun and highlight that in a very fun way. To often you will find people who take videos on their couch and just talk about what their idea of the game is, this only works if you have made games before that sold on the real market via AAA titles or another very popular indie game. Lastly, Having 5000 options for perks is not equal to a win. Kickstarter is very much a visual process. If you sell the game properly you could have little to NOTHING done and people will invest. Some points are made here that "smart investors" will not put the money down but if you make a game that they are interested in and you present the idea properly you will find that most people will wave their more rational thoughts for the ideal of playing something that they are passionate about. What does this mean? Presentation is KEY! Do not show off low quality pictures or low quality production type work. If you have some cash spend some on getting concept art done for the game... you would be amazed at how far you can go with a little bit of concept art. Most people will draw up some quality crap for$150 and that money can easily net you the difference between $5000 and$50,000 on Kickstarter.

Thing to note: People claim that advertisement is key... and while I agree it will not hurt your project I certainly do not feel it is the single most important factor. I have seen plenty of projects that were not advertised that gained massive support from word of mouth AFTER the kickstarter was out. So, once you do get the kickstarter ready you should look at spending some time promoting the project. Get your stuff on other game sites like IndieDB and maybe get a big online news site to say some things about it. If you get one post on Kotaku you can very easily gain a small revenue based off of advertisement alone.

I say all of this because I am looking at doing a kickstarter soon myself. There are thousands of things to be done and I am most likely over thinking most of them... but these are just some of the observations I have made. Use them or ignore them at your own risk. Good luck!

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### #10riuthamus  Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3825

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 01:45 PM

- Best to provide a playable demo.

I disagree with this. Akaneiro just added this and the game is in such a.... alpha/beta feel that it really could distract people from further donating that would have. I agree it would help people like "Servant of the Lord" but it certainly could detract people from your concept far before it is fully mature. Perhaps that is why he suggested you have it 90% done. ;)

Personally I would suggest having video of your ingame interactions and show off some unique elements to your game. I know that my game ( being voxel based ) will get the "minecraft clone" bullshit from the early start but once we show them how different it is compared to minecraft they will shut their mouths. To accomplish this in our promo video ( at the start ) we plan to show off the most important unique elements before we show off anything else. Keep that in mind when presenting it, your idea

edit** can a mod merge these two.... sorry i tried but it failed

Edited by riuthamus, 30 January 2013 - 01:46 PM.

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### #11Servant of the Lord  Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 14396

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:58 PM

I'm more than just an "idea guy." I have skills in programming and artwork. I don't think we have the same view on Kickstarter. Not all funded games on there will succeed, but that's whey they're on Kickstarter... to get funds they otherwise wouldn't have to have their games developed. I think I'll aim for the 50% mark before putting it on kickstarter. Kinda insulted you brought up scamming. Maybe some people put up projects hoping to get a free ride, but that's not me.

I'm saying KickStarter attracts alot of people, skilled and unskilled, and the only way I personally have to sort between the skilled people (who may have poor pitches) and the unskilled people (who may have very shiny pitches) is that the person either has a track record of completed games (even if small), or the person is far enough along to prove to me that they have skill.

I'm not at all saying you're inexperienced or just an "idea guy", I don't know you so I don't know if you're unskilled or experienced. You could be very skilled! I'm not saying you aren't.

I'm just sharing A) How you can convince to me that you are skilled (track record or nearly finished).

And B) How I view the responsibility of developers posting on Kickstarter.

Once funded, and the money released to the developers, the developers instantly benefit. The only way for the contributor to benefit is for the promised project to be released. This is why developers like Kickstarter. Zero risk for the developer, 100% risk is swallowed by the contributors. It's unbalanced, and most the contributors don't realize that (from ignorance*).

Thus the developers' responsibility is to maximize the chances of the contributors not being ripped off, since the developer already has been benefited. (You want people to fund you for two years. Even if you fail in the project, you already immensely benefited  People paid your salary so you can do what you love, and be your own boss, for two years. So those two years (and the development leading up to it) need to be focused in making sure you don't fail, not for your benefit, but for the benefit of the contributors who paid you to succeed.

*Ignorance as in, a lack of knowledge and understanding of the effort and risks of game development, and a lack of discernment to measure who's legit and who's not, and a tendency to get carried away by their passion about what's cool and interesting.

It's like paying a contractor in advance for a project that he says he is able to complete, and then he says, "Oops, I underestimated the money/time/labor, and I either can't complete the project or you have give me more to actually get something finished. I already spent what you previously gave me, so I can't return it, and the project is half-completed, so it's worthless to you.

[Edit:] I'm answering two questions here:

1) How far you should be before Kickstarting, if you want to convince me to contribute. This is the question you asked, reworded.

2) How I, as a developer, approach my Kickstarter responsibilities. This is the question I for some reason thought you were also asking ('How do you approach Kickstarter'), but in re-reading your one-line post, isn't actually asked anywhere! Whoops.

Edited by Servant of the Lord, 30 January 2013 - 05:15 PM.

It's perfectly fine to abbreviate my username to 'Servant' rather than copy+pasting it all the time.

All glory be to the Man at the right hand... On David's throne the King will reign, and the Government will rest upon His shoulders. All the earth will see the salvation of God.                                                                                                                                                       [Need free cloud storage? I personally like DropBox]

### #12riuthamus  Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3825

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 04:48 PM

I think what servant is saying is, if your going to go through this process of Kickstarter go through it with the mindset of making something that will be released. To approach kickstater with the idea of doing a hobby that might turn into something big would be inappropriate and unfair to the consumer. Least that is how I am reading it.

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### #13Rorakin  Members   -  Reputation: 568

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 05:51 PM

Lot's of good posts in here, thanks all for contributing

### #14Butabee  Members   -  Reputation: 200

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:57 PM

Thanks for taking the time to respond, and you're probably right. I don't have a track record of anything solid, and chances are I won't finish my game, and if I did submit it to kickstarter it probably wouldn't get the backing it needs. As far as I can see the only projects getting anywhere have some sort of history. They're reboots or have real professionals working on em. Guess my time is gonna have to be hobby time until I can get something big done.

### #15Servant of the Lord  Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 14396

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:57 PM

Not at all! No one says you have to make a commercial-quality game. No one says you need to ask for $500,000 either. It's not 'Minecraft or nothing'. Produce and get funding for something within reasonable, and build a track record. Like Archer Alec, it's only asking for$5,000 (though by the looks of things, even it's funding might be premature).

You create something within your capabilities, and once working fairly decent, get funding to improve it further in areas you can't do on your own (art, music, or whatever).

Or, create something much larger in scale (like my game - a modern 2D RPG), but still mostly achievable on your own. Then fund it for the last leg of the journey, and launch it, and build a fanbase, and repeat larger in scope. If money is changing hands, it's a business - and needs to be treated like one. Just take it in small steps, and don't try to jump too far at once.

I've been working on my game part-time for a year, and full-time for a year. I haven't asked for any funds yet, and know I won't get any if I did ask at this point in time. Thankfully, I got family willing to back me while I do this, but if you don't, just do something smaller in scope - and work on it when you can, and then try to get funding when it's almost completed. People are willing to back almost-completed games. Websites are willing to promote almost completed-games. People and websites aren't interested in 10% completed games (in the majority of cases).

I had played Minecraft a full year before it was known and popular, and said, "this could be fun... but isn't currently", and didn't buy it until it was much further along in development (almost a year later). When I did buy Minecraft, it was playable and enjoyable - even though it was in early alpha. I don't think it's coincidence that Minecraft became popular around that time period either - it became popular because it was enjoyable, and became huge because websites covered it because the websites' fanbases played it. It was around for over a year before it became popular (like I said: I played it), but it wasn't fun, so nobody bought it and nobody covered it. When it became fun, people bought it and websites covered it. I'm not saying people will buy your game and websites will cover it automatically if your game is fun, but I am saying they definitely wont if it's not fun (unless you have a big marketing budget).

The only way it can be fun is if it's farther along in development before it asks for coverage and funding, or it shoots itself in the foot. The only way it can get farther along in development before being funded is if you work on something already within your scope. I want to make some First-person 3D 2-8 player cooperative open world action RPGs. It's beyond my current capabilities to do solo, so I'm working on a series of single-player 2D turn-based RPGs as a stepping stone. I can get a 2D rpg much closer to completion before I ask for funding, and so improve my chances of actually getting funding. Short-cutting the process sabotages the project, in almost everything you do in life. Sometimes short-cuts work, but most often they actually slow you down or defeat you (though you don't realize it until later).

Again, this is my opinion and views - other people's opinions may vary.

It's perfectly fine to abbreviate my username to 'Servant' rather than copy+pasting it all the time.

All glory be to the Man at the right hand... On David's throne the King will reign, and the Government will rest upon His shoulders. All the earth will see the salvation of God.                                                                                                                                                       [Need free cloud storage? I personally like DropBox]

### #16Ashaman73  Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5319

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:38 AM

I disagree with this. Akaneiro just added this and the game is in such a..

Well, I stated this for people who don't have references or are known. American McGee is a veteran, working on a lot of projects and in certain industry positions (else he would most probably not come near 200k ). This will result in  certain expectations, a demo which is not on a par with the expectations could have a negative impact.

But if nobody knows you, any demo will be higher than the expectations (=flatline), or should at least be a proof, that you could archieve what you promise. I'm sure, that the demo would be the hit for someone who only wants \$ 20k and is not known to the public or have any references.

### #17riuthamus  Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3825

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:00 AM

Ah, makes more sense and agreeable.

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### #18Sploitz  Members   -  Reputation: 210

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 04:39 AM

This is a really good example of Kickstarter done right.  The guy had no real track record, so he waited until he had something worthwhile to show.  And what he had to show was so cool and interesting that he blew his KS goal out of the water.

### #19riuthamus  Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3825

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 05:20 AM

Indeed... and very much agree. Great example sploitz.

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### #20Butabee  Members   -  Reputation: 200

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:35 PM

Well I suppose I'll wait until I have all the core game mechanics up and running plus a small city working before I submit my project. The game itself is inspired by Shadowrun. Aiming to by a multiplayer third-person shooter cyberpunk rpg with support for 128 players per map/server, but maps can be traversed without loading screens, and you keep all your equipment/inventory between maps. Thanks again for the posts.

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