Kickstarting Do & So Can You

A lot has happened since I last posted, a lot of game design on Free Spacer as I push towards the end, but more notably Daniel Solis’ Kickstarter for “Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple” has become one of the biggest things in the Indie Community.

The ongoing overwhelming success of this Kickstarter is incredibly intimidating. The “Do” Kickstarter has raised over $20K out of an asked for $4K and over 400 contributors; by anyone’s judgment that is a huge success.

So, how did he do it and what can we learn from that? Daniel Solis has been very open about what made his Kickstarter a success and how Kickstarter converts his social currency into financing for his game. The question becomes, how did he generate this social currency in the first place? The simple answer is strategic marketing and hard work in the mines of the internet. Of course, the simple answer won’t help us create that same success, so I’ve looked around and here are some of the details:

  • A full game: “Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple” is a full game, not just a setting or mod. Most Gamemasters create their own content, to make your game something they want it has to beyond content.
  • Allies with strong voices: Fred Hicks & Evil Hat are powerful allies they have their marketing and distribution lines. The also provide a sense of assurance to the audience.
  • Podcast Exposure: Multiple guest appearances on Jennisodes, Podgecast, &. Podgecast again. Podcasts are the media of the RPG community and getting the ear of their audience is valuable.
  • Convention Exposure: Dreamation & GenCon; Conventions are the places where the community meets and are valuable places for people to meet you and get their hands on your game.
  • Web Community exposure: Story-Games; The community communicates a great deal with the many different forums out there.
  • Twitter: Twitter is a great way to get your message out their 146 characters at a time. People who want to know about your game can follow you with the touch of a button.
  • Previous Successful works: Happy Birthday Robot
  • Longtime Coming: Daniel Solis has been talking about his game for a good percentage of the 4 years he has been working on it.
  • Playtesting publically: Do was playtested by many people, including a Podgecast Actual Play.

Kickstarter leverages this social currency extremely well and many of these methods are available to you and I. At any point in game production, we can write a blog, tweet, become involved in a forum, or start making friends. Once the game has advanced far enough even for playtesting, we can playtest the game publicly online and at Cons. After all that hard work, maybe, just maybe that social currency will turn into some earnings for real publication.

One other thing I have learned while designing Free Spacer is that many people are putting together games, but few people have a finished game. I believe a finished Game will open many doors and make generating social currency far easier.  A finished game can be played, previewed, and kickstarted; once these are underway, you can get on to podcasts. Even the biggest podcasts are looking for the new and fresh content and interview with an indie game publisher has to offer.

Free Spacer is on the path to completion and I am more energised than ever to start building that social currency, are you?

 

2 comments

  1. Andrew Laing

    Hey your project sounds cooler than this one. You should get it on Kickstarter.
    I’m making a video for one of my projects right now too.
    The funny thing is that I just showed the same video in class to some students and then you post this.
    Good Luck with Free Spacer. Yeah, it’s the easiest thing in the world to start a game, one of the toughest to actually finish!

  2. Free Spacer’s fun, and you’ve got some good art. You should totally crowd fund it! Incidentally, did you see this Gamasutra article from a couple of weeks back? It mentions a few alternatives to Kickstarter (as do some of the comments): http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/6369/the_crowdfunding_revolution_.php

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