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Got_Rhythm

Building Trust as a New Studio

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Good afternoon everyone. 

 

I am building up towards a Kickstarter in the Spring to fund the majority of the art for my game. As a studio which has not produced anything before I know a big issue that can prevent people from backing is questioning whether we are even capable of delivering a finished product, or that we might simply run away with the money. 

 

To help alleviate some of these concerns, our plan is to have a vertical slice of the game complete and playable at the launch of the Kickstarter. It will include one to two hours worth of content. We have a playable vertical slice now, we are just overhauling the in game art and assets to make it presentable. However we are not sure about:

 

 

1. Should we only allow reviewers and Youtubers play the demo? I have been told by some not to let backers play the demo because it can do more harm to your campaign than good as every tiny bug and unmet expectation can have a lot of backlash. The risk however is that no Youtubers and reviewers will be interested at all in playing the game. 

 

2. Or for trust building purposes should we just let anyone who is interested play the demo even if it has some flaws and that some parts do not reflect well what the finished product will be?

 

3. Are there any other ways you might suggest for building trust and credibility as a new studio?

 

 

 

Thank you for your time. 

Edited by Got_Rhythm

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I would just let everyone play the beta. To do otherwise closes the door on a lot of feedback and gives the impression that you have something to hide.

Make sure you make it clear in the game that it won't reflect the final version.

Invite and act on all feedback no matter how critical.

Good luck!

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Test the hell out of your demo/beta before it goes out the door. You don't need to fix everything before you release it to the public, but you do need to fix all critical and complete blocker issues that you are aware of, and ideally have a list of all other major bugs or missing features lined up (And a road map of how those are getting fixed if possible).

 

Make your initial backing level super cheap. I'm far more willing to part with $5 on something that might fail than I am with $30 or more.

 

Have your budget in very good shape, don't forget to account for Kickstarter's take and taxes, and leave some wiggle room in your overall budget when deciding your minimum funding. It doesn't have to cover everything, but you do need to have a plan for what happens when: A) Kick starter isn't going to cover all your costs, and B) Costs become higher than you expect.

 

 

Also, get your core fanbase lined up and ready to go on day one of your campaign. Do NOT expect to start your campaign the day your kickstarter goes live. Your kickstarter is part of the "Last 10%" of your startup campaign, not the beginning. If you don't have data suggesting that you have enough customers to met the bulk of your goal 'tomorrow' if you were to launch your campaign today, then you have more work to do. 

 

Put lots of effort into the video production. If the audio hisses or sounds like you're underwater, then you are clearly some fly by night group doing this on the cheap, and aren't remotely serious about it. if the lighting is bad, or it is all one single long take with lots of ummmm, and uhhhhhs, and, ands, then you're probably some kid with no clue what you're doing.

 

Find someone who can help you edit your promotion video and update videos, or learn to do it all yourself. (Consider Adobe Creative Cloud if you need software tools. Bit of a bite out of a monthly budget, but I've found the on going cost easy enough to find ways to manage.)

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Thank you for all the advice, I am spending a huge amount of time on sites like Gamasutra reading up on how to run a campaign well and what to avoid and I love all the extra advice I always get from this site too. 

 

As you say, the biggest challenge at this time is trying to build an audience/following/fanbase in the months leading up to the campaign, when there isn't a much yet to show. 

 

 

Fortunately my Art Director is amazing at video editing so the video will likely be the best part of the Kickstarter page. 

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