Nov 23, 2014

Kickstarter Week IV

As you can see on the right, we pulled through. With 79 backers and 111% funding, all's well that ends well. Just like during the first week, let's go over a few numbers.

Edit: I keep forgetting that images posted in blogger have a fixed resolution. That says 5613 downloads total for those of you who don't have microscopes built into your eyes.

Just going over this very quickly, about 1,4% of our total downloads represent one backer. Let's assume some of them are repeat downloads and round it down to 1% for basically one backer every 100 downloads. Most of the downloads (roughly two thirds) are after the campaign started, but I'd be willing to bet most backers are long time fans rather than new blood.

The pie chart does not differentiate between external referrals from this blog and other websites, but it does basically show that Kickstarter is good at promotion but not very good at retention unless you already have a large enough budget to wow people right out of the gate.

So where did most pledges come from? A full 35% (That's $1192) came from direct traffic, that means word of mouth person to person linking and another 26% ($880) came from widget links. That's 61% ($2072) that I bet came mostly from you wonderful people. Thank you, I really don't have enough words to express my gratitude.

So before we get all sappy and stuff let's talk about the other update we had about mechanics this week about Giant Rivals and PCs. Here, I'll sum up the rules for you. Giant Mecha use the following rules:

Unnatural Disaster: You occupy a size between 4 and 9 Zones, chosen during creation, but the number must be your Power Level plus four or lower. Your size can be increased when you go up a Power Level as well, but once increased it may not be reduced. All Zones occupied by your body count as Extreme Terrain for Enemies in them. Abilities that can usually ignore the effects of Extreme Terrain will not help against you if you have a similar ability that works in the same kind of Terrain.

Raw Power: You cannot Engage or be Engaged in a Duel, but all your Melee Weapons gain an Advantage to their use, and Shooting Weapons used against you suffer a Disadvantage to their Might Tests. When measuring the maximum Range of your Internal Upgrades or Weapons you may use any part of your body as the origin point.

Segmented Areas: Your four external Areas are distributed across your body each with its own separate Zone. Each Area has a single Level of Threshold having to be targeted and damaged individually. Other body parts are impervious to damage, and excess damage from breaking through a Threshold Level will not carry over into a different Area. When you restore lost points of Threshold, you choose how to distribute each point individually.

Exposed Weak Points: Abilities that let you treat Maimed Areas as normal have no effect. Replacement Maim effects like those of Biological still function as normal. Offensive Actions that target multiple of your vulnerable Areas gain an Advantage to their Might Tests for each additional Area affected. Any time you would take Damage to more than one of your vulnerable Areas at once, only one Area of the attacker's choice receives Damage, but if the Damage is more than enough to break past that Level of Threshold then the remaining Damage will transfer to another Area of your choice.

As you can see, they've got a lot going on in terms of rules. Colossus works just fine if you want to keep things simple, but Giant has a little more personality to it and gives more options to GMs... As well as to entrepreneurial PCs.

The expansion does not shy away from this kind of complexity, but at the same time this is about the most complex I want any individual mechanic to get. There might be one or two more mechanics just as complex as Giant, but nothing more complex than it.

What Now?

The holiday period is always a busy one so I'm probably going to space out updates more. I still owe you all that series of posts about Gurren Lagann and I'm going to do it as soon as things calm down.

So I think that pretty much covers everything. Until next time.

Nov 16, 2014

Kickstarter Week III

Week III is basically Week II redux. You know how bad guys with multiple forms are remembered for their first and last forms but the other ones in the middle all kind of just blur together? Yeah, it is a little like that with crowdfunding too. This is an appropriate comparison, given our subject matter, but more on that later.

Here's your weekly summary:

Three Updates in Three Minutes

First of all there's Design Flaws which are Upgrades that you can take during Mecha construction to have more MP to spend but give your Mecha a big weakness. Here's the two examples:

Limited Battery Time (+30 MP)

Internal Upgrade
Effect: At the beginning of every one of your Turns after the first one, your Mecha reduces its Energy Attribute by 1 until end of Operation. After your Energy is reduced to 0, you will lose your current Level of Threshold every Turn instead.
This is a prototype so experimental that it cannot run for more than a few minutes at a time. It is so inefficient that after its battery for external equipment runs dry it the limbs will start to power down individually until it can't move at all.  

Walking Coffin (+60 MP)

Internal Upgrade
Effect: Double all the Damage that you take.
Your Mecha is a fragile little thing and the designers have made it a testbed of every feature they could think of, but apparently forgot to armor it with more than aluminum foil and to fill the tank with something other than explodium.

Then there's Interference Terrain which is a variant of Defensive Terrain. with a focus on jamming sensors and obscuring vision. Unlike Defensive Terrain, Interference Terrain does not provide real cover, it only makes you harder to pinpoint and is thus useless against weapons that don't require precise targeting and cover a wide area of effect.

Interference Terrain works both ways, any Units attacking from within, into or through Interference Terrain will suffer two Disadvantages to the Might Test unless it is with Weapons that have the Blast ability or that affect Zones instead of specific targets. That means you can use it offensively to force enemies to move out of their current position, defensively to nerf their (most likely) strongest weapons, or as a barrier between both groups to do a little bit of both.

Lastly there's nerfing Guardian of Steel. The update goes more in detail, but here's the two options I'm considering the most:

The first is to reduce Guardian of Steel's area of effect to a 1 Zone radius. This makes it only work with a team full of snipers or after a lot of setup positioning the party properly, which in turn makes everyone more vulnerable to kiting (the group now has to move at the speed of the slowest member of the party) and area weapons will hurt more. Waaay more. The effect is just as strong as it used to be but it is more situational, so you have to think about how and when to use it.

The second is to halve the Defense bonus granted to allies. Cutting the bonus to half makes it go from 6-8 to 3-4 which is a lot more manageable. Those 3-4 extra points are usually the difference between hitting for very little and not hitting at all, meaning that weapons with effects that trigger on hit can still have an effect with a good roll. Still not enough to make using those over Finger Nets and Bombardments a good idea though, but it is something. This is a boring change, but an effective one.

The Finish Line

The beginning and the end are the most important stages of a campaign. Continuing the comparison from before, this is when all the fighters get serious. I may not be able to blow up a planet in 5 minutes (that somehow take a zillion episodes) but I've been preparing for this period the most. Maybe this will work out, maybe it won't, but I sure am not going down without fighting to the end.

Nov 9, 2014

Kickstarter Week II

Kickstarter creators whisper to each other in hushed tones about 'the slump', that period between the first and last weeks when activity dramatically cuts down. When you have to earn every 1% by trying out all sorts of things.

It is a learning experience to be sure.

Battle Century G - A Cinematic and Tactical Mecha RPG. -- Kicktraq Mini

Not what I'd call an utopian experience either.

There are many ways to approach this problem, and I'm trying to take the high road whenever possible. Many creators want to trade pledges and positive comments with each other like it is a business transaction, saying nice things about each of our projects and offering support without actually feeling it. That's not for me and I would rather fail than succeed through lies.

In other news, I would make a pretty bad politician.

But hey, we're officially 2/3rds of the way there and a new week means new ways to approach backers. Now that I know what works what doesn't work, I am going back to the drawing board for a new strategy.

But enough about that, let's talk about game things. This week I started previewing some of the material that will be in BCZ, our first two previews are about Genre Powers and Weapons respectively. It is important to not lose sight of the ultimate goal here. No matter what happens, one thing will always be true: I want to make fun games and fun games will be made.

Now I'm off to the proverbial war room of the mind.

Nov 2, 2014

Kickstarter Week I

Things are looking good. I won't bore you with the details of what it feels like and everything I'm doing. Instead I will bore you with data. Yes, data, that most elusive of resources that all anime scientists go crazy over. What kind of data? This kind of data:

So as is more or less expected, there's a quick initial surge in contributions from all of you awesome people who were waiting for your humble deliverer of roleplaying goodness to get this thing going. Then it stabilizes and slows down until the day where I make the first update and promptly starts to climb up again. Note that this is before I make today's update or rounds of promotion, so the line is flat precisely because I haven't done anything new.

What I find more interesting are the near 3k downloads in the span of a single week, it is especially interesting because I still have under 50 backers, most of which already had the game. This tells me that either there's a high rate of interest (not in the economic sense) but a low rate of retention, or that a really, really high number of people are waiting for the magic moment when everything spirals out of control with crazy stretch goals. If you've ever followed a successful Kickstarter you know what I'm talking about.

Also, just to let you know that I didn't forget about you guys: Have an offsite poll. For your convenience, and here is a link to the non-backer inclusive update discussing the matter at hand.

That'll be all for now, I gotta go back to making games. Toodles.