The question in short, what is your experience with Kickstarter (or similar funding)? Not in particular how much bucks you received, but did it help you achieving your goals? And how complex was it to manage the money (paying, keep everyone happy)? Or even more precise, someone in the Netherlands having experience with the legal side?
The question/story in long:
I've been working on a horror game (Tower22) for quite some years now. Mainly as a hobby, but with ambitious dreams. Although the project isn't super well known, the majority of reactions are very positive, and people suggested multiple times to get funding via Kickstarter or the likes. Very flattering of course, but modest as I am, I always felt it wouldn't be fair to ask for funding while I can't give any guarantee on a finished (&fun) game. But one Youtube responder said it wouldn't be fair to block their chances to "invest" into a game they like to see happening. Hmmm... never really thought about it that way.
He has a good point. In the current state, the game will never finish. Biggest problem? Lack of (3D)artists with sufficient time, talent and motivation. Unlike most Indie games, Tower22 is a "big" game with somewhat high-end graphics. Hearing the GTA V budgets, I know chasing superb quality will be a pitfall, but it just happened to be that most of the work we did so far just looks good for Indie standards, so I would hate to step back. But with those high demands, finding people is extremely hard. And keeping them seems to be even harder. Slow progress conflicts with motivation, and most of the talented guys are paid to do the same kind of work the whole day already. You can't expect them to put dozens of hours into a project.
I downgraded the targets from "making a game" to "make a small playable demo of the game". Which is more realistic, but still requires horsepower to get done. So, this is where Kickstarter might be helpful. But before plundering wallets, I still have concerns. Which is why I hope you can share your experience or thoughts on this.
Investors & Guarantees
Obviously you need some marketing and have a solid plan to begin with. IF I would "kick start", the goal would be to collect 40 or 50k. Less is nice as well, but honestly I don't think it will help the project much further. Which is my first concern. What if only a handful of people donates? There is no easy way to pay them back I suppose? In case we only collected a few thousand for example.
But moreover. See we reach our target. But we don't finish the game. Can't do it, lose my hands, no team, whatever. I would hate to let down those people. And let's say I couldn't spend all the money on the project because we quit... Doesn't that just make a thief in the end, with the remaining dollars? I'm sure donators are aware of risks, but well, just getting a bag of money and having no obligations sounds odd to me. Where is the catch?
50k.. what to do with it?
Say we manage to collect fifty thousand dollars. Which is quite a lot for a hobby project, absolutely nothing for a commercial project. I could hire 1 or 2 3D artists for a year for that budget, but I doubt they can get everything done. And you still need to be lucky to hire the right boy or girl. Doesn't sound like a good plan to me.
I thought about a "Pay-per-Asset" system. I make a list of stuff todo, and put a price on it. Like bounty hunting. Make me a cool barrel and you get 3 bucks. I think it stimulates, but we still need to keep the reward low. If I pay 100$ for a barrel, we run out of money soon as well, as the game just needs a lot of assets. So would it really motivate the talented-but-busy artist to do things?
Say we do this "Pay-per-Asset" system, or just pay people per month. Whatever. As I received a bag of money, I'm responsible for sending their "salaries". I'm anything except an accountant, so that sounds horrible. Apart from that, are their legal / law issues here? I know the Netherlands can be a bitch when it comes to stupid rules, paperwork, taxes, and whatsoever. I would hate to see 40% vaporize in tax, or receive penalties for having fun with a game.
Sounds like I need someone with a business or economic background here (I'm just a programmer who wants to stay far away from lawbooks). But I don't know any personally. I'm sure I can find one via internet, but... who the hell gives a bag of money to a stranger?
Geoge Washinton berserk
Probably not a good reason to avoid Kickstarter or money in general, but it's just true that people can get nasty once they see dollar signs. Audio composer works 6 hours on a song he thinks is awesome. I hate it. Should I pay him? Artist-X thinks Artist-Z gets the better-paid tasks and gets jealous. Drawer-D just copy-pastes an image from Google and wants 10 bucks for it. And... what about myself? So far, I worked a factor thousand times more than any other on this project. It would feel wrong to pay myself, but making others "rich" and getting nothing yourself while you are the heart of this project isn't fair either.
Well, plenty of things people can get mad or jealous about. In the end, doing this project is a hobby and it should keep feeling like that. So maybe you have some quacksalver hints to avoid heat.
Pfew, too long, but it feels good to write about it