Congratulations on launching the website! I can't get enough of those bold colours and general direction. At this point you can just assume that I love everything to do with this game.
In the gifs above, what is the blue-red-green bar below the 3 cats (lives?) counter?
I've received some feedback from other people that the page may negatively effect people with epilepsy, so I am considering putting up a warning screen before opening the page that allows the user to turn off the flashing effects. I feel like that's a shame as it compromises the art direction, but it's definitely important to look into. I tried to stick to guidelines such as having no fully-saturated flashing reds, but I will read the epilepsy guidelines once more, and run the website though a test suite that I found to make sure that it is not dangerous.
To talk about more nice things - plenty of people have also been really positive about the design too, so I still feel happy about it
In the GIFs on the last page, the blue-red-green bar at the top of the screen is currently a counter I'm using to illustrate how much time left of particular power-ups the player has. I've copied an image of it below from the last page so it's easier to refer to:
- Green bar: Timer for how long you have a movement speed increase
- Blue bar: Timer for how long your frequency of shooting is doubled
- Red bar: Timer for how long your shots are 8x as powerful as a standard shot
I think these colours are right, but I always forget which is which..!
In the current model, which may change, these powerups are currently activated by picking up bubbles that are created occasionally when you destroy some enemies. There are additional power-ups too:
- Picking up a heart makes all kittens swarm towards the player for a limited time
- Picking up a kitten automatically adds to the 8x power up timer
- There is a special bubble that makes your shots bounce off walls for a limited time
- One type of bubble gives you a random amount of bonus points, between 1000-999. This is then multiplied by the current difficulty level for even more points!
I'm thinking about what other powerups to implement, and am very open to suggestions!
Yeah, I was joking about the seizure-inducing effect, but epilepsy is definitely a serious disease
with screen monitors one has potentially to be careful with almost anything,
and maybe we should put that disclaimer everywhere...
never digged into guidelines myself, but due to the nature of your work I feel you're doing good taking care of this.
Other than that - love the psychedelic feel of your new website, very good work!
Thanks Schrodinger, and hello again everyone!
I'm excited to say that after last week's feedback I decided to make a couple of small changes to my website to make it more accessible. On the first visit to the site, there'll be a little warning message that lets you know about the flashing and optionally disable it. The site remembers your choice so that if you come back* need not have to select this again. I've added a little button at the top right to let you switch between the two modes.
Fortunately, with the browser testing work I had done previously the styling side of this had already been taken care of, as I'd already styled a good-looking fallback so that browsers without CSS animations would still look good, so it was just a case of making it so you could turn them off!
A fun bonus that came from doing this is that for your first visit I can soft-load the header behind the warning, giving the cat and it's trail time to load before it flies in from the bottom-right.
* when you come back, RIGHT?
I've got a great update coming later this week - I'm going really in depth about my plans for Kickstarter! It'll be great to share what I've got planned - hopefully by sharing what I've learned then it'll help some other people also planning their own Kickstarters!
Update 017 - 13/02/16
How to write a Kickstarter budget
This week I'm going to go into some detail on my plans for Kickstarter. From what I've read, it's an inexact science but in this update I'm focusing on three things:
- Proposed overall target goal
- Reward tiers breakdown
- Budget detail and analysis
This is a first draft, and as such I'm expecting things to change. I'd love feedback from anyone, if been through Kickstarter or not, as I'm sure everyone will have a strong opinion on what they think is a good approach. As it is, I've apportioned my budget to the areas that I'm going to use it, and then talk about how I came to these preliminary decisions.
Section one: The goal
I've set my overall goal to be around £10,000. This takes into account 5 areas of predicted expenditure, the given "10% charge" of using Kickstarter, and 5% of funds apportioned to a definite "backup" pot. The distribution can be seen below.
What the Kickstarter money will go towards. [click 4 bigger]
Art + Programming: Both of these areas of the project are going to be done by me, so essentially this part of the budget is to fund a portion my own dedicated time to work on the project. With the rate of progress I have on this project at the moment, it will be a very long time before I can consider the project to be complete. The 28% of funding received towards these two areas will directly contribute to paying me a living wage to work on the game around my current job. This arrangement is yet to be decided (or formally discussed), but could take the form of 1 day off from my day job for X weeks, or a block of time off in one go to dedicate to the project. Without this funding, progress on the project will be much slower, and I will likely have to sacrifice content and scope to be able to complete the project. It should go without saying (but I'm going to state it anyway) that I'm still intending to work 'out-of-hours' on the game as much as I am now, which is to say, for a reasonable amount of unpaid hours per week.
Music + Sound effects: As you can hear in my trailer, I've found a great artist who agreed to be part of the project - and if the Kickstarter is successful then I will commission him to provide more tracks for the game. I recognise that my sound budget at the moment is quite low - despite my opinion that sound is massively important part of the overall experience to the player. Because of this, it's one of the first places that I'm considering either re-allocating 'leftover' funds or anything that I make above and beyond the original goal.
Promotion: I'd love to take the game to some small indie gaming expos, or perhaps some slightly-bigger-than-small events. I've put a loose 25% against this. Choosing the right value in this area is a hard balance - I think this has the benefit of potentially making the eventual launch of the game more successful, but as far as the backers are concerned could be considered an unnecessary use of funds that could be put directly towards active development of more content. I think 25% is a fair number, hopefully it's not considered too high, but it recognises to me the importance of that side of game development. After all, if the game does well enough at launch it could allow me to extend the content for the original backers to enjoy. Very interested to hear about other people's views in this area - I think strongly this should be recognised as a weighty and expensive part of game dev, but what do you think the general public think? I'm wondering whether being so open about it is 'acceptable' yet.
Reward fulfilment: I've stated this as 20%, but based on my preliminary research, this is quite a large overstatement of my expected costs. You can see the breakdown of this further in this post. I've put the figure as 20% (over an estimation of approx 12%), to take into account anything I've not considered, or unexpected problems in this area.
Section two: The rewards!
The below image is a snapshot of my current draft reward scheme. Things might change, and I'd be really interested to hear if other people who have contributed to a Kickstarter, or ran their own, to see if they seem reasonable.
Kickstarter reward tiers! [link 2 make readable]
Hopefully these tiers have a both an enticing smooth scale and fairly priced rewards - bearing in mind that the rewards can't be sold at cost price in order for the game to be funded. I'm tentative about the idea of granting beta access, but I can see it's the best way to earn extra funding seeing as there's no physical cost to doing so. Having a beta means that I have to get the game to a public-facing state earlier in development, which could be considered a setback in terms of forward momentum, also can be considered a good point to consolidate and reflect on the project at around the 75% mark. I'm nervous about doing one, but I think it's a worthwhile effort. Whenever I look at other Kickstarter projects, I love seeing rewards that have a personal and handmade touch. I think that people really value one-off, special gifts, that only they can get - as a special thankyou for helping me realise my dream project. This is why one of my lower tier rewards will be a hand-drawn postcard featuring an imagined scene from the game. Each one will be a different drawing, and signed, so I think it's a great reward!
The higher tiers include some more traditional rewards: posters, t-shirts, and being able to contribute to designs of mobs or mini-bosses or bosses! Contributing to the design of the game in such a way is a little compromise as originally I thought that I would exclusively want to design everything in the game myself - but I think if others are passionate about my project too then it's a great chance for a collaborative opportunity, and what's more really boosts the likelihood of the success of the Kickstarter! The last reward I'm currently considering is a high quality numbered screenprint, of art quality. I think that would be a fun reward to design and make, but I'm currently slightly hesitant as I've not brainstormed any designs yet.
For the pricing and cost/benefit distribution of the different tiers, I researched other successful Kickstarters to see two things; firstly an idea of what represents a good, gradual pricing distribution, and secondly to help to estimate how much revenue each tier might generate. The table below shows my current cost estimations versus what, as a rough estimate, the number of units that I could ship of each item.
Kickstarter budget analysis [click here 2 read]
The estimated revenue generation from sale of the physical items is actually relatively low - I was surprised to see my cost/profit mark-up dropping to below 50% on some items (including postage). That said, a 50% mark-up is good, it seems perhaps a large margin on these items, but at the end of the day I'm aiming to fund production of a video game, not just sell t-shirts and posters.
You might notice that in my budget, I've allocated 20% of the funding to go towards reward fulfilment, yet in this table, based on analysing other Kickstarters of a similar size, I've estimated the actual cost of fulfilment to be 11.5 of the total raised funds. I figure that almost doubling the funds allocated to this aspect of the project is the safest bet, as it gives a little money towards prototypes and also the possibility of unexpectedly higher numbers of pledges at those tiers. Perversely, whilst having a lot of pledges at these middle tiers would boost me towards the target goal faster (which is the point), it comes at a higher price to the project financially, as these cost more to produce. If everyone that backed the project went for just the beta version of the game (£15.00), then all of that funding can go directly into making the game even better!
Here is where things get kind of interesting - if I was to remove all the higher tier goals and run a Kickstarter that didn't provide any reward tiers higher than the £15 tier (beta access to the game), then the table could look like the below - assuming everyone that was interested in the £15 and up tier just settled for that top tier instead.
No physical rewards [more numbers click here]
What this 'shows', is that with that big assumption, I could reduce my goal by £2,000 and reduce my total number of pledges by ~70 (about 10%). Would this make my target easier to reach? Maybe. Maybe not. I think there are obvious fallacies with that proposal. Firstly, the psychology of investment; I don't think that just because I chop off the higher tiers automatically those investors would settle for the next highest one. Secondly, also psychologically, having those higher tiers makes the lower tiers seem less of an outlay for people. Hey - if presented with two options to help a project I like and times are tight, maybe I'd chip in for the lower of the two, whereas without the choice I may just be questioning backing at all... This is all getting complicated. In any case, I think that the spread of pledges would likely look more like this:
A more sensible distribution [http://supermegabestcatadventures.co...able thank god]
Which just goes to show that actually I might need more backers this way! And as a small lone voice in a crowded market - that sounds a lot harder. So the conclusion I've come to is that whilst it might inflate my goal, going to the effort of designing, producing, shipping these bonus rewards for my backers is totally worth it for two reasons:
- It means I need less backers
- I can give people awesome things to say thanks!
Really interested to see if this kind of breakdown is useful to people planning their own Kickstarters - or if anyone thinks I'm way off the mark! Hopefully sharing this kind of information is a benefit to the community, and does raise awareness of the costs and risks involved.
Thanks - That comment has made it feel it was worth the effortOriginally Posted by Del_Duio;
I wanted to have better control over scaling individual letters, making them change colours, and most importantly - easily animating or moving them. So I drew each one and slapped them all in an active object! Every time I want to write anything on the screen I move a 'placer' object into the right place, set some parameters on it (scale, etc), and then run a fast loop to make the letters I want.
Perhaps it's complicated but it lets me do exactly what I want! And because I drew the font myself it is unique to my game!
I was really excited to see today that my trailer has now been viewed over 1000 times on YouTube!
If you haven't watched it yet you can check it out here:
In other news, I spent a while today starting work on a new HD trailer for the Kickstarter - but only managed to create about 5 seconds of footage... it's going to be a lot of work!