Second campaign for Hero-U

Am 19.5.2015 ab 20 Uhr steht Corey Cole für Fragen zum Adventure-RPG-Hybriden Hero-U - Rogue to Redemption zur Verfügung.
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neon
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Second campaign for Hero-U

Beitragvon neon » 19.05.2015, 20:07

As we know, you are doing a second kickstarter and asking for more money.

A financial report has already been posted

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tr ... ts/1235635

So the question:

When did you realize that the inital funding is not enough to finish the game and how hard was the decision to ask for more money? What other options did you have in mind? Did you contact any publishers to get funded in a different way?

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Re: Second campaign for Hero-U

Beitragvon Corey Cole » 19.05.2015, 20:25

A fan who is also an investment advisor contacted us before the 2012 Kickstarter began. He offered to help us prepare an investment presentation and find investors for a new game. At that time, we decided to proceed with the Kickstarter instead because it would let us connect directly to fans.

We realized that we would need additional funding within 3 months after the Kickstarter campaign ended. I worked with the advisor for several months, and we talked to a "media investor" who normally funded films. I felt the terms they proposed were too expensive for us, and broke off talks. Their ask was 100% of income until the initial investment was repaid, and 50% of income after that. I did not see how we could start the second game under those terms.

At that time, I thought the project would be completed within 15 months, so that seemed much too high a price to pay. Today it sounds better. :-) However, I would have had to know back then that the game would take two or three more years. I did not realize that until we created the first demo - what I thought was a two month task took over six months. Making a game under Unity is much harder than using Sierra's SCI, but we are also able to do much more.

In my understanding, publishers have no interest in games that have been funded with Kickstarter. I have had no contact with publishers and do not know how we would approach a deal with one.

Returning to Kickstarter was sensible. I knew it would anger some backers, but it made sense. We were not ready for Kickstarter the first time. A modern Kickstarter project is a half-completed game that needs more funds to complete. We had only a game idea, and a loose relationship with a developer with whom we would be working for the first time. I see nothing wrong with the current Kickstarter, but looking back, we should not have done the first one until we had more to show.

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Re: Second campaign for Hero-U

Beitragvon neon » 19.05.2015, 20:28

So lesson learned, but looking back, if you would have asked for, let's say 600.000, do you think the fist kickstarter would have been successful?

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Re: Second campaign for Hero-U

Beitragvon k0SH » 19.05.2015, 20:38

Do you think we see more kickstarter projects, e.g. SpaceVenture, asking for more money if your second approach will be successful?
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Re: Second campaign for Hero-U

Beitragvon Corey Cole » 19.05.2015, 21:12

@neon: Rewind time and ask for $600,000 instead of $400,000? No, I would not have done that. We would have spent a month on the Kickstarter and ended up with $0. Kickstarter is all-or-nothing funding, and we barely managed to get $400K. A $600K project would have had no chance. Today, a $400K project with the pitch we used in 2012 would have no chance. Players insist on seeing more than an idea and a few sketches now.

The better choice would have been to say, "Bring back Lori and Corey Cole to make a new game. We will use the Kickstarter funds to create a technical demo of the game. We will use it to launch a new campaign to make a full game." The goal would probably have been $100K. While that would have been challenging to get, I think people would have responded based on our previous games.

Then we could have taken the demo to an investor or publisher, or launched a second Kickstarter campaign for the full amount.

This is the approach that Pathfinder Online used very successfully - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/16 ... ology-demo and https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/16 ... andbox-mmo. They received $300,000 for the tech demo (goal was $50,000) and over $1,000,000 for the full project.

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Re: Second campaign for Hero-U

Beitragvon Corey Cole » 19.05.2015, 21:18

k0SH hat geschrieben:Do you think we see more kickstarter projects, e.g. SpaceVenture, asking for more money if your second approach will be successful?
I think it would be wise of some of the project creators, although perhaps not for SpaceVenture. In their last update, they said they intend to release the game before the end of this year. I don't know what their financial situation is, but they raised $135,000 more than Hero-U the first time. They might not need additional investment to finish the game. A year ago, it would have been sensible for them to do a second Kickstarter.

Possibly Pinkerton Road should have come back, since they have a different model - Their backers get subscriptions to multiple games. I don't think they will do that now, but it might make sense to find new backers. Again, I can't speak of their finances, but based on what they raised and what they've done with it, I can only hope their sales are strong - the Kickstarter budget will not have come close to covering their expenses.

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Re: Second campaign for Hero-U

Beitragvon neon » 19.05.2015, 21:21

So, for other indie project that run out of funding, would you recommend doing it the same way you did? Collect as much as possible in a first attempt and then return and ask for the money needed to complete the game?

I know it's hard to answer for people who did not do anything in the past. But we've seen other attempts, like running a kickstarter and then starting a second project before the first was finished or trying to get less money in a second kickstarter for a failed campaign and then going to other platforms with flexible funding and getting even less and so on.

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Re: Second campaign for Hero-U

Beitragvon k0SH » 19.05.2015, 21:22

Today, a $400K project with the pitch we used in 2012 would have no chance. Players insist on seeing more than an idea and a few sketches now.
Agree. But the reasons for that are clear.
Nearly no kickstarter project has delivered the game in time.
Some accept/ know that developing is a tough process and a lot can happen down the road, others don't care.
Few projects delivered nothing, others were disapointing in the end.
Of course there were some good results too.
But people think twice before they throw money into another project again.

Hero-U was originally planned to be delivered in Okt. 2013.
So you're alreaday way behind schedule.
What would you say now was the main reason for that?
And have you already an idea - with the support of the additional fundings - when they game will be finally released?
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Re: Second campaign for Hero-U

Beitragvon Corey Cole » 19.05.2015, 21:56

October 2013 was an impossible date, and I should not have given it as an estimate. That was just a mistake. A reasonable date would have been July 2014 based on what we thought we knew when we started the project.

This is a good reason why people should not back a raw concept, at least not if they expect to get a game from it in a reasonable time. Too many things change between the initial idea and the implementation.

I based the original estimate on three things - Tim Schafer's estimate for Double Fine Adventure, the fact that we were modifying a complete, existing game, and that the Kickstarter funding would only last until Oct. 2013. We had also done our first few Sierra games and Shannara in less than a year. Of these, the only good reason to expect completion in one year was the leverage from an existing game. When the developer left the team, that would have been a good time to announce that the schedule would slip at least a year, but I was still an optimist then.

Again, with a crystal ball to show me the future, I could have started over in early 2013 and used something like AGS. The game would not have looked as good or played as well, but we would have gotten it done much sooner and on a lower budget.

Instead, we addressed each problem with, "How can we take advantage of this situation to make a better game?" I think that's the right approach - People didn't put $400K into our project to get a mediocre game - but it is a very costly approach in both time and money.

Estimated release date - I prefer to give the estimated completion date, which is late this year (likely between October and December). We will then go into a long and extensive alpha and then beta test period. Hero-U is far more complex than any game we've made, and we don't want to ship it in an incomplete, buggy state. That happened with both Quest for Glory II and especially Quest for Glory IV, and it hurt the quality of those games. Sierra assigned a full-time programmer to Quest for Glory IV for a year to fix bugs and integrate the voice acting. It still wasn't completely solid on second release.

We expect that Hero-U will need at least three months of solid testing before we will consider it worthy of release. Most likely, that will take it into early 2016, but I can't guess the exact month.


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