The Thorns of War Update #5 - Kickstarter Draft


EDIT2 - Okay, I've made the final changes to the KS campaign and I think it's ready for Tuesday's launch.

Aside from some minor changes, the only things worth mentioning are, firstly, that the love interest POV reward tiers are now in addition to the 28 extra POV scenes (2 each per available character per game). This is so I can guarantee the four POV scenes per love interest, but also allow those who back that tier the freedom of which characters they chose. It is more work for me, but more content for the game, so that is fine.

And secondly, after a weekend of work (seriously, considering how basic it is, it took me an obscene amount of time) I have a trailer. It's nothing fancy, but I think it conveys the mood of the game and showcases the artwork well enough.

And that's it. I'm starting to get nervous (well, more nervous), but whether the kickstarter is a success or not, I am very grateful to everyone for bearing with me this far. 

Thank you. ^_^

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EDIT - Many thanks to everyone who left feedback. I have tried to take as much as it into account as I can. 

If you have the time and the inclination please take a look at the revised page below and let me know what you think, and to anyone who viewed the page prior to Tuesday 1100 BST (0500 Central / 1800 HKT) apologies for any inconvenience caused by the changes.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Well, Kickstarter came back very promptly and I'm happy to say the campaign has been approved and I have a draft copy to share with you all.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ttow/1912933008?ref=b6098l&token=8c436b3a

Please let me know what you think of the rewards, the game overview, the character profiles, stretch goals - anything and everything really. 

Oh, and if you find any typos or anything is confusing or unclear, please drop me a line about that, too. ^_^

Also, a quick note on my thought process behind the rewards offered. I do mention this in the rewards section of the campaign page, but I wanted to get people's thoughts on it here.

I have kept the rewards digital, and I've tried to make sure that no major game content is reserved for higher tiers only.  While I was working things out, I had a kind of DLC situation going on where the POV extras scenes were a higher tier reward - a very popular reward according to the survey, but I just didn't feel comfortable putting content like that behind a paywall. 

So (and possibly shooting myself in the foot here) I decided the make that content available for everyone and it's the ability to pick which scenes are used for the love interest POV which is the reward. I doubt it will be as popular, but I feel better about it this way. 

Same with the other higher reward tiers -  I wanted to give people the opportunity to collaborate with the team and add something to the game that can be enjoyed by everyone. 

So what do people think? Whether you plan to back the higher tiers or not, I'd be interested to hear what people have to say. 

Many thanks for reading 

Comments

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(+1)

I voted for TTOW so I'll definitely be backing you! I had a look at the Kickstarter & I like that there's lots of screenshots, you mention the different MC personalities & the character bios look pretty. 

Some feedback:

-I think your backer rewards are good ideas (the love letters, copies of your previous games, beta access, designing an outfit, creating a character, creating a scene, etc). Another idea would be a short playable scene/scenario in between the first game & the sequel, since a lot happens in that time. It could be in the game itself, as DLC, or even a text game using Twine or Choicescript. You could also add the option to buy them as DLC when the game is released for anyone that didn't back the Kickstarter. It might be too late now to suggest something extra & I'm not sure if it would take too much time away from the main game, although it's something that'd only have to be done after the Kickstarter is finished, but I just wanted to throw it out there just in case. I think anything capitalising on the ROs in general will be popular.

-It might be a good idea to get someone who isn't familiar with either game to have a look over the Kickstarter draft. Everyone on this page has probably played TROS & is already planning to buy TTOW, which makes us a bit biased and we probably don't require as much info as someone brand new who comes across your Kickstarter.

-I think it'd be helpful to make it clearer that this is a sequel to TROS, an already published game. I know you mention it in the demo section (with a link to the itchio page), but it's a bit too easy to gloss over. You might also want to add the Steam page for TROS too.

-If you're worried about the tiers & rewards being confusing, I've seen other Kickstarters provide a breakdown grid diagram to show which rewards are available in which tiers, and I think that makes it as clear as possible. There's an example of this on this current VN Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lunarisgames/errant-kingdom

-Unless I've missed it, I think it'd be a good idea to provide links to your game dev social media accounts & a clear link to your itchio store page so people can browse your previous games.

-Make sure there aren't too many early bird backer spaces. I'm not an expert on this so I'm not sure what the right proportion should be, but most people who will back a game will pick whatever the cheapest tier is that includes the base game. So take into account how many of that tier you need to sell when deciding the number of early bird spaces.

-Other people have already mentioned that a trailer would be ideal (like the one on the TROS Steam page), and if you're releasing on Steam then you'd need to make one eventually right? If that's not possible, or in addition to this, it would be cool to include some GIFs in the campaign page, to show the gameplay (making choices, sprites changing expressions, etc).

-Mini bios of yourself & anyone else who works on the game (I think there's a separate artist?), your role in making the game, how long you've been making games, your background, any fun/silly facts about yourself, etc. may help people to see the person behind the Kickstarter.

(+1)

Many thanks you for your feedback – I’m glad to hear you like the general look of the page.

To answer some of your points…

+ I do like the scenes from between the two games (it’s actually one of the tier rewards), but I think if I were to make a whole game of them it would be very graphic intensive (if I went with the VN option over interactive fiction, that is), and I also worry it would take a lot of time away from making the main game. I  certainly might consider making a text game version, (I think a VN with all those extra backgrounds would be prohibitively expensive) but if I did it, it would just be a bonus extra I would make and release for free if I had the time.

+ A good suggestion, and I’ve already had someone unfamiliar with both games look over the page.

+ Well, I’ve mentioned it is a sequel in the title of the game, the game intro graphic, the demos section, and on the £6 tier where you can get TROS at a discount. But I’ve added it to the overview section, too, and I’ve added a link to the Steam page along with the itch page.

+ As for the tiers, well I have managed to circumvent my worries about having too many tiers if I added all the POV scenes separately, by no longer restricting backers' access to characters.

Now, the game will have 28 extra POV scenes AND whichever POV scenes backers wish to choose themselves. So if all backers at that tier choose Frederique, then that is what will be written, in addition to the 2 scenes each for TTOW and TROS which all characters (where appropriate) will get. It’s more work for me, but it’s more content and it means people can get what they paid for with no hassle.

I may put up a running total showing who has picked which characters so backers can make an informed choice, but I will no longer restrict the choice.

+ I had provided social media links on my profile, but I’ll add it to the main page, too. ^_^

+ There are 50 early bird spaces. I feel this will potentially generate enough early revenue to offset the loss in earnings.

I know people have very differing opinions on the early bird tier. I only added one at others’ suggestions and, since then, just as many people have told me to remove it. I see the logic of both sides, and I think it is one of those things where we have no way of knowing how it will turn out in this particular case until it is underway.

+ As for the trailer, I understand it is important, but as I mentioned previously, my financial circumstances right now will not provide for one (not even a cheap one). 

That said, while I was considering my options this week, I decided to try my hand at making my own. I’m not a complete newbie when it comes to this, but I certainly am rusty. If I can pull something together this weekend that I am happy with, then that is what we will go with.

Otherwise, gifs could be a good alternative/addition to this, so thanks for the suggestion.

Many thanks for taking the time to leave a detailed response and thank you, too, for your support. ^_^

At this stage I assume that the retail price of the game will be changed to 20 pound stirling at initial release.  This may have already been pointed out, however the early bird tier still lists that the retail price of the game will be 11.99 pound stirling.  If people think that the early bird and game only tiers costs more than the retail release they may be confused and not back the kickstarter at these tiers. 

(1 edit) (+1)

 No, it was supposed to reflect the fact that you are also getting a £8 tier of rewards plus an £12 game for £15 – a saving. But I have increased the initial retail price to £20 so people are definitely getting a bargain.  

Thanks for the feedback ^_^

(+2)

The rewards look really great. I know if I (being and artist and writer) had the money I'd love some of the higher tier rewards that allow you to have input in the game. I imagine some with the money will also love that. The lower tier rewards are nice too. I think your choices are well thought out and will make this kickstarter very successful.

 Many thanks for your feedback – I’m glad you like the look of the tiers.  

(+3)(-1)

I have one more piece of advice for you.  Please have the Kickstarter run 45 to 60 days.  Kickstarter advises people to have short Kickstarters because they want a lot of turn over, but just being on Kickstarter gets you backers from people browsing.  Our first successful Kickstarter was for 60 days and we made  30% of our funds from the last 30 days.  Yes, we still would have made more on our last days if we had a shorter Kickstarter, but it wouldn't have been that much.  Take advantage of the presence the platform gives you and have a longer Kickstarter.  You have nothing to lose from going longer and potentially a lot more pledges to gain.  

Short and sweet:

I like it. 

I hope there isn't too big of a pool open for early birds, I used the tip someone else gave and there would have to be over 300 backers at the game only tier for success. There'll definitly people that will back at higher tiers to make up for it but.. don't forget some people's pledges won't go through for one reason or another, we're charged at the end of the campaign, not when we pledge,

(Also, I thought Canadians and Brits were using the same spelling for everything. Learn something new every day!)

(1 edit) (+1)

Strange... *refreshes Kickstarter draft repeatedly* I can't seem to find the 'SOFIA LOVER DELUXE' tier. ;P

Jokes aside(but I'm Serious), I do agree with a lot of the other commenters on having those individual tiers devoted to Specific LIs. I know you're worried about having too many/scrolling forEVA - put looking at the draft, your current tiers stop far Above where your Overview, Character profiles, Demo links - etc., end. So, while I can only speak for myself, it certainly wouldn't be an Eyesore. While certainly great to have that general love letters tier (3 and then ALL) -- why not capitalize on RoS Veterans who are willing to lay down Bank for all the [Insert LI here] moments they can get? Naturally, these can be medium to high tiers where you get more and more content. Or - (if it really bothers you) you could even have it as a Single high 'Par Amour' tier where you get XYZ content for one LI of Backer's Choice.

As for games Deets: I tried to read it like I had No Idea what this was.  Especially Love that you Highlighted the MC's customizable Personality. I think that's one of your Highest Selling Points with this series - and why Many Absolutely Adore the MC - and newcomers and veterans alike need to know this (Continued) Awesome. Another thing that makes me Super Excited (and I think is just Novel - bum dum tss - for visual novels in general) -- you've Clearly Alluded to House vs. Relationship dynamic; i.e. repercussions on romance if you neglect for Status. So REAL - Ah! <3 I mentioned it in private correspondence, but that Tension between Family and Lover is one of the things I'm looking forward to *MOST*. And - WOW. The thought of *SIX* Possible CGs per route -- I'LL DO MY BESTEST, GUY

I have to be honest: I didn't really see the difference(besides discount price?) between the 'Early Bird' tier and the 'Enough is as Good...' tier. I feel like you should just combine them and have the tier pledge at 20 pounds+ since, as many mentioned, this game is WORTH at least $20+. I appreciate you wanting to make it accessible, but WE also want to pay Everyone who's worked on this Future Masterpiece in the making their DUE.

Typos I Caught:

'With a cast of nineteen named characters, and an estimated length of 400,000 words, each route will be its own story with its own goals and opportunities - an its own dangers. ' 'an' should be 'and'

In Charlotte's 'Cast' profile, last paragraph - is 'reverses' supposed to be 'reserves'?

'*Though unlikely, we reserve the right to refund these rewards if an outcome which is not satisfactory to both parties can be reached.' 'can't'?

The King's Grace tier: 'acknowledged' instead of 'acknowledge'

Budding Playwright: 'Please the 'Rewards' section for more details., is missing 'see'.(Speaking of)THIS. OH. MAI. BETTY BOOP - YESPLEASELETMEDOTHETHING You have Hit me RIGHT in my Writer FEELZ with this one. GUESS WE'RE DOING THE HIGHEST TIER - JUST CALL ME SUGA MAMA *takes out checkbook(then throws it away - because who EVEN still uses??)* I am SO EXCITED this is a Reward!!!

One thing I'm confused on, though since I'm new to Kickstarter: Your tiers have [amount] or more for all of them - so, if I do the $250/Highest tier, do I get All Rewards? Or do I have to pay extra for different tier offerings I'm Interested in - Like 'Change in Perspective' or 'NPC', for example. How does that work?

Many thanks for the feedback - I'm glad you like the look of the KS so far.

I've corrected those typos now (many thanks for spotting them).

As for the highest tier, no, it only includes the rewards as stated, not all previous rewards, so I've added a new highest tier which offers a selection of the high-level rewards for anyone who would like a greater level of input into the game world.

It's pretty pricey and I wouldn't be surprised if both (it is currently limited to two) are still left by the end of the campaign, but at least the option is now there for anyone who wants it. ^_^

(1 edit)

Oof - that *Is* Pricey(why are Exchange Rates so EVIIIIL??) -- but Certainly worth what you're paying for. I'm glad you added it - you never know until you put it out there. Over $600 is a bit much for me with current financial obligations allotted to Oct. (doing an international conference), but if Backers can buy multiple tiers, then I, at the Very Least, can invest in 'Budding Playwright' and 'Join the Cast' - and Maaaybe add POV one depending on cash mon situation - because  I REALLY wanna see LI POV in either RoS or ToW scene. (Also already have IDEAS for NPC, not gonna lie). 

I still would urge you to consider those LI-specific tiers; your choice, but it feels like a missed opportunity. I also wondered - is there a reason you're not offering LI/MC art as a reward? I assumed logistics with artist - but if we can design full on Characters, I don't see how pairing art would be an issue?

(2 edits) (+2)

Backers can't buy multiple tiers.  You can only back a project once.  :(  You can increase or change a pledge to a different tier, but you can't buy more than one tier.

(1 edit)

WHAT?? NOOOOO. KS limits you to only ONE?? That's STUPID when I wanna give ALL my MONEY. Ugh... I guess I have to choose then. Unless BT makes a tier one below new 'Queen' one. Though, I did see that pledge payment isn't immediate withdrawal(?); if so, I'll go for highest tier even though I don't really NEED to design MC outfit(not that I'll hate it - just don't want it as much as the others). Either way, thanks for letting me know. <3

Edit: Confirmed. For those who don’t know, pledges aren’t charged until the project is successfully funded. There could be authorization holds, but if you’re wanting a tier you could possibly afford a month+ in the future, good to know. 

(11 edits) (+2)

I'm probably going to end up writing a lot, as always. So I'll split this into two comments. This one's solely about the reward tiers!

I agree that some of your tiers could definitely use a price boost, and that the cost of the game in general could be higher as well. It has twice the amount of words as Heaven's Grave! Please do consider it, even if it's just boosting the price up to $17/£13.5. Anything up to $20 would be quite fair, I think, for ~20 hours of gameplay and generously un-gated bonus content.

I also think you'd be justified for charging a little extra for the "fan disc" content, but it seems like you've already thought that one out and decided against it. You could still consider including the extra content for all backers, then releasing it as paid DLC or part of a "special edition" for non-backers post-release.

Remember, you're not being greedy, you're doing your best to raise money so you don't let down your fans. We want you to succeed! Being good to the people who love your games means trying to raise as much as you can, to make the best product you can.

I wrote a list of suggested tiers/prices below, rather than listing all the minor changes. Assume all of them include the tiers' perks unless it says otherwise!

SUGGESTED TIERS/PRICES:

  1.  £2 Thank you/backer updates/name in credits
  2. £6 Wallpapers
  3. £7 Copy of TRoS (+thank you/updates/name in credits, no wallpapers)
  4. £10/11.5 Thorns of War Early Bird
  5. £12/13.5 Thorns of War
  6. £19/20.5 Thorns of War + TRoS Bundle
  7. £25 Three love letters
  8. £30 All love letters
  9. £45? Blackcross & Taylor Bundle Pack (A copy of Heaven's Grave, Thorns of War, TRoS, and The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, plus all previous perks. Not to be included with higher tiers.)
  10. £60 Beta access 
  11. £80 Choose a POV scene (Thorns/Rose) 
  12. £120 Fashionista (only one NPC outfit, not two!)
  13. £130 Lady's Maid (She's the main character, so changing her outfit feels more special!)
  14. £160 Join the Cast
  15. £200 Budding Playwright

I'm repeating myself from another comment, but TRoS should have a low tier at the game's regular price, so anyone who just wants to try the series for the first time can, without a major financial commitment.

Instead of automatically including a copy of TRoS in every tier above it, have the option to "add" a copy by pledging the combined cost of the two tiers (e.g. pledge £30 for the love letters + £7 for TRoS = £37).

Some people who already own TRoS won't want a second copy. Having it as an "add-on" stops backers from feeling like they're paying for a key they won't use, gives you less work mailing out superfluous keys, and means that anyone who wants a copy at a higher tier can still get it. That said, I suggested a tier that bundles both TRoS and ToW to make it easy for the many people who will likely want to get that option.

Have a step-by-step FAQ about how to add TRoS to your tier, and mention it in the description of the TRoS tier (e.g. "a key for The Rose of Segunda can be added to any tier. Check the FAQ!") Once the Kickstarter is over, ask the backers to mention if they added a copy to their tier in the backer survey.

I recommended Tier 9 (a bundle of all your games) because it would be easy to fulfill and provide immediate backer satisfaction. They'll be getting three awesome games right away! It also advertises how you've made lots of games before, and it could provide extra exposure and reviews for Heaven's Grave. You can include a sentence or two about each game in the FAQ with links to their Itch/Steam pages, too.

For the Fashionista and Lady's Maid tiers, I was a bit confused as to when the outfit would appear in-game, and whether this included love interests. Will you write a scenario around the outfit to include it in the game? Or does it appear in bonus art?

For the POV scenes, it says "first come, first served," but you'd have to somehow make it obvious to anyone considering the tier which characters are still available, which could change over the course of the campaign as people swap tiers. Even if you try to do it in order of who backed first, I'm not sure Kickstarter provides you with the tools to keep track.

I'm not sure what the best solution would be. Personally, I think it could be fun, if a bit messy, to have separate tiers for all the characters. Limited to one each. So someone would buy the "Charlotte: Thorns of War" tier if they want to choose her scene. It would put pressure on backers to quickly snatch the tier of their favourite characters, plus it'll be fun for everyone to see which tiers get taken, dropped, switched around, etc.

At its current price, I'll be getting the Epistolary Romance tier because I know I'll desperately want all the letters when the game is released. £30 ($50 in my currency) is about as high as I can go on my current budget. I totally understand if you want to raise the cost of it, but I'd probably drop back down to the game-only tier if that happened. I'm not sure if this would hold true for other backers as well, but I thought it might be helpful for you to know!

(+1)

Thank you for the detailed feedback - I’ve taken people’s advice and increased the tier prices slightly and revised some of tier content. Please feel free to take a look at the new tiers and let me know what you think.

I've added TROS as its own tier, as suggested, and mentioned people can add it to other tiers. I’ll write a guide in the FAQ once I have access to it (not sure I do in draft).

I haven’t added the game to another tier along with TTOW as well though, as I was feeling the reward list was getting a little long.

The tiers where backers can design outfits are supposed to give the characters an alternative outfit, where appropriate. For example, someone helps to design a day dress for the MC. Now the MC has two dresses and I will use them both in game as they would be used in real life. So if the MC wears one on one day, she will probably wear the other the next day – or even change before she attends a salon that afternoon. They won’t be one-use game items – I would like for them to become a part of the world.

As it is, I’ve tweaked that tier a little and I’ve added something to the rewards section on the KS page that I hope clarifies what I hope for, but if you could have a look and tell me if it is clearer now, I would appreciate it. ^_^

Hmm, I thought KS had a way of letting people message me along with pledge, so I would see their choice, but perhaps having them as individual tiers would be better (though so long! I worry people are just going to get bored of scrolling down the rewards and give up!)

I’ll have to have a think about this further. 

Anyway, many thanks for the feedback and all the best

(14 edits) (+1)

Hi, again! I'm so pleased that you've raised the game's price. I'm sure you were a bit taken aback by all of us protesting cheap content, haha.

I'm really happy you went with my TRoS suggestion! Adding it automatically to higher tiers was really generous, but this is more flexible and makes the cheap price of higher tiers much fairer to you. I've seen add-on tier FAQs before. I can find one for you if you want a template to use. :)

And the B&T bundle tier, yay! I know you must be tired of hearing this, but it's priced a bit low. I hazarded £45 at TToW's original price, £12. Now that TToW's £20, you're actually charging for less than the asking price of your games, which is £42. Don't forget they're getting the letters and wallpapers as well! At least bump it to break-even?

In terms of pricing in general...it's better now! Beta access, Join the Cast and Budding Playwright are priced well. Fit for a Queen's great. It gives those "superbacker" types something to pledge if they like the project. And I can get the Epistolary tier, yay!

I still feel like you're undercharging for Lady's Maid and the POV tiers. Anything that affects game content like that is usually at least $100! You, or your artist, will be putting a lot of time and work into collaborating with those backers.

The description for Fashionista's much clearer now! Being allowed to design an in-game outfit that's actually part of the world is rad. I still feel like it should be limited to one character, though, especially if you're not allowing any male options! That would give four people the opportunity of purchasing the tier instead of two.

Speaking of which, I'm assuming the reason male characters aren't included in Fashionista is for story reasons? If not, maybe consider having them as options? There might be people willing to pledge to dress e.g. Frederique or Leopold up, since they're quite popular! And again, having lots of characters available means more people can pledge for a high tier.

And unlike the POV tiers, you don't have to worry much about people picking the same characters to dress up. Few people pledge for tiers that pricey, and one character could theoretically get more than one special outfit.

For the POV tiers... I'm just kinda worried there will be someone who buys one without messaging you, or two people will back it around the same time asking for the same character before you can update the description, or someone will change their mind halfway through the campaign... People are terribly inconvenient that way.

FWIW, Kickstarter quarantines sold-out tiers it in a separate section from the available ones. So if you use individual limited tiers, the amount people would have to scroll to see all the rewards would lower over the course of the campaign as the tiers get taken. If you're really worried about having too many, I guess you could also double the price and combine the TToW/TRoS tiers, so there's just one tier with two scenes for each character?

(2 edits) (+3)

Not to argue with anyone but I've backed a lot of otome games, I also looked at the campaigns for even more otome games. The number of tiers for successful campaigns tends to be 8 to 20 (some even went up to 30 omg) so do what you want in terms of tier numbers. Something I've seen almost universally in game Kickstarters is a limited number (often about 100 or so) of lower priced "early bird" priced tiers that are a dollar or so less than the regular that will be available when the early bird runs out. I wouldn't make the early-bird price lower than the currently listed price though (you can go higher but I really don't think you should go lower). I've never seen a game kickstarter offer the game for less than $15 USD and that was for the limited discounted ones $15-25 or so seems a good price but up to you.

Edit: I would keep the one dollar pledge but those usually have no rewards.

(1 edit) (+2)

Thanks for the feedback, ToasterGnome. 

Even after reducing them, I still have a good few tiers - including a £1, since I was given early advice about how that was useful in its own way. 

And I've increased the prices a little, too, and added a limited early bird tier.

All the best

(+3)

Um so. I wrote some things that might come out harsh if read with the wrong kind of tone so please try to employ a happy, teasing, concerned kind of tone over the whole thing...

Price for the game is WAY too low! I'd suggest going for at least 20 pounds if not more, some people will only buy on sale. A kickstarter is for making sure a game gets made, not doing discounted pre-sales.

The benefits given are too much for such small increments.  The lowest tier should be 4 pounds and it should only be a thank you and a wallpaper. The next highest should be at least 8 for a thank you and three wallpapers. Double again for all 8.

Also increase that Enough is as Good as a Feast tier. If you're giving all of those perks it needs to be more. The all 8 wall paper tier is 8, the game is 10 and the game plus all 8 wallpapers is 12?

Take another look at your prices, you deserve to be paid for you time.  If you got hired to flip burgers would you be making more or less than the amount of time you spend working on these things? If it's less, espeically if it's half as much,  you should be taking a hard look at why. I buy things from Etsy a lot and some people are clearly not selling at a profit; if you aren't making enough to cover your costs and some you might not be able to make another game. What if there's an unexpected issue? What if you need to hire someone else? 

Just consider carefully! It's really hard for most people to put a value on their time, be kind to yourself, consider if someone was hiring you to write something as long as this VN how much would you ask for?

Only 1000 pounds for 8 CG's? Seems low. - Also only 1000 pounds for custom music? Have you done a bunch of research on the cost for that? 

Add notes about the number of revisions or a set deadline for designing a character/scene/outfit. Some people will nitpick things into eternity and beyond.


And on to little nit picking...

Charlottes profile:
Not entirely sure what the last paragraph of her profile is supposed to mean. I can't decide if it meants that she is less worried about herself than she is for her brother, changing her personality to try to change her brother, or something else entirely.

Frederiques profile:
Enroll at university

Guillaumes profile:
You used nor, I'm pretty sure it's only supposed to be used if neither is used before it. I think it should just be a plain old or.

Mathys profile:
Is it supposed to be "does he hope a war will spark need of his skills once more..." or should it be "does he hope a war will spark the need of his skills once more..." ? or..?

Typo: rewards
All those backers... recognition int he credits.

(+1)

 Please don’t worry about your tone – I am not looking to take offence from anyone kind enough to leave feedback

I’ve increased the price of the game and tiers based on the advice of several people - I don’t think my studio is in a position yet where I can expect a wage from the proceedings (cost of living is high where I am from so…), but that is okay for the time being. Once my studio is larger, this is something that I can look at again.

Good idea regarding adding a limit on revisions – it’s rare for me to ask for them, so they slipped my mind.

Thank you for the general feedback, too.

For Charlotte, it is supposed to indicate that though she is worrying for her whole family, she is worrying mostly about her younger brother (because he is acting aloof and seems super excited by the prospect of a war). I’ll run it by my proofreaders and see if it needs to be clarified.

Enrol is British English which is what I use

Guil Again, I’ll run it by my proofreaders

Mathys – It’s supposed to be the first one, but I’ll run it by my proofreaders (lol, they are going to be busy, it seems)

Many thanks again for your feedback and all the best

(3 edits) (+5)(-2)

This is a long advice post.  Please do not be offended.  I know you've done this before, but I see some mistakes and this advice comes from my heart with the best of intentions.  I've raised $50,000 in a Kickstarter before and have made over $100,000 a year on Steam, so I really know what I'm talking about.  

I think your game is under-priced.  You're giving players a lot of content.  If Y Press Games was putting out a game with 8 love interests and 400k words it would be $24.99. 

I think, at the very least, you should up the price to $14.99-$16.99.  We've tested the $9.99 price point vs. the $19.99 price point and the $19.99 game sold more because the price indicated how much more value the player was getting.  You're selling yourself short!

Anyone who is put off by a higher price will add the game to their wishlist on Steam and buy it when you put it on sale.  So, you're not losing an sales by a higher price. You going to work incredibly hard on this and deserve to make a decent amount of money from game sales.    

Your giving a lot of bargain perks on your Kickstarter and it's really nice of you, but not conducive to raising a lot of money for your project.  

If Perk A is £1, Perk B is £2, Perk C is £4, Perk D is £6, and Perk E is £8 then the perk where you actually get the game should be £15 or higher and you should not offer a 'bare bones' option.  This is fund-raising, not a chance for them to get a steal.  

Re: Perk A for £1.  You're charging too little for a chance to be in the credits.  You and I both know what a huge pain in the butt it is to make the credits page in Ren'Py.  Backers don't turn in their surveys and then get mad at you for not putting their names in anyway.  £1 is too little for the privilege you're giving and the hassle you'll potentially have.  It should be $5 minimum.  I don't know what that is in £, but please increase it for this perk.

There was an experiment where someone sold Hershey Kisses for $.01 and Lindt Chocolate Truffles for $.16.  Most people bought the truffles.  Then they reduced both prices by $.01.  The Hershey Kisses were free and the Truffles were $.15.  Now no one bought the truffles and everyone took the free kisses.  Once someone is paying for something they are more inclined to spend more for more value than if you're giving away something for free.  People coming to your Kickstarter are ready and expecting to spend.  $5 is not much for a name in the credits.  If they'll pay 1 pound then they'll pay $5, and you need every pence because the odds are most that Kickstarters fail.

You have way too many little perks before you get the game.  A Kickstarter should have around 6 perks in total.  Studies show that more than 6 options overwhelms people.  At most you should have 2 perks before you hit the game perk:
£3.50 - Name in credits and backer only posts 
£8 - All those little perks in one bundle
£15 - All prior perks and the game.  It's a £19 value because those little perks cost £8.   If you raise the price like I suggested then this perk should be £20.

Beta Access to the game should be £50 at the very least.  We sold beta access for $100 and had 40 backers.  That's $4000!  We were able to had dozens more images in the final game, more songs, more story threads.  Everyone won!  Beta Access is a HUGE perk.  They're getting access to the game months before everyone else.  It shouldn't be this cheap.

The love letters are a great idea.  Backers will want to collect them all--so don't give them all in one or two perks.  Have one with the game perk, one with the beta perk, and one with a higher perk.  People don't like incomplete sets.  It will encourage them to pledge higher tiers!


I have never seen pledges where people can control parts of the game go for so cheap.  They should be over $100.  These are exclusive perks that effect the game for everyone.

Last, you should offer a digital art book and the sound track if you have the rights to sell it.  The next perk after the game should be the Little Rewards + Game + Art Book + Sound Track + Love Letter and this should be for £30 if the Little Rewards + Game is £15.  NEXT:  When you launch, offer 50 of these perks as your early bird reward and take £5-9 off.  People who would only get the game perk normally will spring for more because they want to be an early bird.  When you sell out the 50 perks add another 50.  You lose nothing, and will gain more money for the campaign.

Around 75% to 95% of your backers are going to only get the perk with the game.  That means you'll need around 600 backers to hit your goal.  Very few otomes have that many backers.  Most have 180-300.   You need to maximize what you can get from every backer or you won't be funded.

Crowdfunding is HARD.  It's SO HARD.  Barely any campaigns make it to their goal, no matter how modest that goal is.  You have to be very cunning.  It's not because you're trying to rip people off, it's because if you don't make 100% of your goal your Kickstarter will fail and you can't make the game at all!  And most Kickstarters fail!  Please take some of my advice so you can not only make your goal, but hit lots of stretch goals and enrich the game even more.

And again--I'm not trying to step on your toes.  I wish someone had sat down with me and given me this advice on my 2nd Kickstarter.  It's so hard to succeed I needed all the help I could get. 


(+4)

It's really cool of you to share expertise with another indie dev!

I agree that the wallpapers should all come in one tier. I personally think the tiers before the game should be:

  • Thank you/updates/name in credits
  • Wallpapers (+ previous tier)
  • Full-priced copy of TRoS (no perks, but have the option to "add" a copy of the game to any other tier by pledging the combined cost of the two tiers, instead of automatically including a copy with all of the higher tiers)
  • Thorns of War Early Bird
  • Thorns of War

And the highest tiers could definitely be more expensive than they are now, especially Lady's Maid. I've seen custom OC character insert tiers go for $900 before, without the promise of writing them into the game beyond a short appearance.

IIRC, she's avoiding an artbook/soundtrack because they aren't an option. I think a lot of the soundtrack is free to use.

(+2)

I am certainly not offended and I appreciate any and all advice people are kind enough to take the time to give.

I haven’t done this before and I would like to make my best attempt at making it a success.

In accordance with your advice (and others’, as well) I have bumped the tier prices (and the game price slightly) and reduced the number of smaller tiers.

If you have the time (and want to, of course) I would be interested to know what you think of the revised tiers once they are completed.

That said, many thanks for the advice you have already imparted. I was not able to follow all of it, but I am sincerely grateful that you took the time to share your experience with me.

All the best

(+1)(-1)

It looks a lot better now!  I could go on to nitpick, but you're in a lot better shape than when I first saw it.  I would just make sure people know Rose of Segunda is your other game, because at first I thought that you were giving the game for 6 pounds.  Make sure you mention it's the prequel and not the game the Kickstarter is for.  I foresee a lot of people grabbing that 6 pound tier thinking it's for the game the Kickstarter is for.  

I urge you to not do an early bird special for the game tier, but to do it for a higher tier.  People are going to buy the game tier anyway, and you're losing whatever discount you give.  Having the early bird on a higher tier gets the people who were only going to buy the game tier to contribute more, and you really need it. 

It is INCREDIBLY hard to get a Kickstarter funded.  I've said this, but you can't imagine how hard until you launch and hear the crickets chirp after day 3 of your launch.  Just being on Kickstarter is not enough to get you funded.  You have to hustle like crazy.  I'm Ms. Successful Game Kickstarters, and I've had 50% of my campaigns FAIL.

(+3)(-1)

The rewards all seemed very, well, for lack of a better word, very rewarding!  I think I know which tier I want so now I just have to count down the days until it's live!  Thanks for giving me something to look forward to, though I'm sorry BFF didn't get as many votes, I think you said it was your first project so i know it must be near and dear to your heart.

(1 edit) (+1)

Ah, thank you, NikaWo. I am sorry to say there have been a few changes since you first looked at the page - I sincerely hope this has not affected you (though I suspect it will have).

I am sorry, too, that BFF did not get as many votes. I was really looking forward to finishing it (I was so close!), but I am also excited to be writing TTOW and exploring this new story. 

Fingers crossed the Kickstarter makes it. ^_^

(+3)

I'm actually glad you've boosted the prices a little (I think you did anyway), I agree with the other games that I'd be willing to pay more for TOW, 400k words and I'd easily drop $20 - $30 (USD), that said I can see why you're nervous about raising it too much so you do whatever you think was best, I don't know anything about selling games, regrettably.  

My tier I'm thinking of getting actually doesn't seem to have been affected at all (an epistolary romance), so you've still got me for at least that!

(+2)

Ah, phew! I was actually really worried I'd priced you out of the tier you wanted and after you'd been so supportive, too. 

I'm glad to hear you can still get what you want ^_^

(1 edit) (+1)

Me too, I'm just sorry I can't give more at the moment!  Hopefully next time.  Anyway, good luck, I'll definitely be keeping an eye on its progress!

(-4)

Please think long and hard about doing 'Backer only' updates at all, especially during the campaign.  I absolutely refuse to back a kickstarter that has any 'backer only' updates during the pledge drive.  Personally I would take that reward option out of all the tiers.   A limited 'early bird' reduced cost digital copy of the game only, as someone else suggested, is a really good idea to get a burst of funds at the beginning.

Kickstarter games have become quite a gamble for backers with little to no recourse if things go wrong, even after a successful campaign.  I believe transparency is really important.  Since you will have a commercial release of the game your kickstarter page, even years after the completion of funding and delivery, becomes a form of information for anyone researching whether to buy your game.  Information needs to be accessible.

Sorry if I sound harsh I've just seen so many kickstarter otomes and vn's flounder even after initial success.  Also kickstarter has engaged in some union busting behaviour recently with some of its employees which has put a lot of people off supporting the company and made it even more difficult for the achievement of funding goals.

Anyway, Good luck and I really hope this works out as 'The Rose of Segunda' has become one of my favourite otome/vn's and I would love to play its sequel. 

(1 edit) (+4)(-1)

I like getting exclusive posts as a reward for supporting a project.  I get to be part of the process because I was one of the ones to fund them.  There wouldn't be a project without me, so I should be able to see stuff that people who didn't support the project can't see.  You should only get all the insider info if you're an insider (backer).

(-4)

Well, I suppose it's up to the creator to decide if the people they potentially alienate by putting information behind a paywall are balanced out by the people who like to feel special.  The thing is they'll never really know why someone chose not to pledge.

(+7)

I can't actually think of any game campaigns that had no backer-only updates whatsoever? Transparency is important for backers, which is why there are updates in the first place, but it doesn't change anything if they're the only ones who can see a post. That only affects people who chose not to back it.

I think it would be unusual to go digging through Kickstarter logs to figure out whether a game is for you. Once the game is out, people can judge the quality themselves by reviews or demos.

(2 edits) (+5)

Many thanks for your feedback

I understand where you are coming from, but I see backer updates less as an exclusion for those who did not back, but more of an acknowledgement of the trust those who did back have placed in me, and their access to the most frequent and up-to-date information I can provide is a reflection of that.

Thank you for the well-wishes and your kind words - I hope it all works out, too ^_^

No worries. 

I'd also highly recommend putting an announcement in the otome reddit group when the kickstarter is ready to go live, as there are a number of fans of The Rose of Segunda that post there.  It was while lurking in that reddit that I saw a great post about TROS and how wonderful the mc is and that tipped me over the edge to a purchase (with no regrets!).

(+2)

Good idea. I will be sure to add it to the growing list of places I plan to publicise the campaign once it goes live.

Thanks  again ^_^

(+5)

Ahh, so exciting! I've got an appointment to run to so I can't give in-depth thoughts for now, but a few brief things I noticed right away:

You don't need to put the approximate cost of each tier in dollars! Kickstarter shows you that automatically in your local currency when you click to pledge.

You need a trailer. IIRC, the difference in success rates for projects that include one and projects that don't is significant.

Backer-only updates should be available to everyone who backs, not as a special tier! Combine the thank you/backer update tier.

Love the Lady's Maid tier, that's so cute!

Make a tier that has both The Rose of Segunda AND a copy of the sequel! People are going to want to get both in one go, especially if they're new to the series.

Make an early bird tier for the game (e.g. the first 100 backers get it for ten pounds, the rest for the full cost of the game). Both tiers should come with all previous rewards, which helps backers justify paying the game's full price for that tier. The early bird tier encourages people to back the game early rather than wait until the last minute to see if it's already been backed, which is important because people are more likely to back a Kickstarter that's already made a decent amount of money because it looks more likely to succeed.

More thoughts later! Congrats on putting this together and I hope it's successful!

(1 edit) (+3)

Many thanks for taking the time to offer feedback. I will try to address all your points in order.

+ I personally think it helps to see the cost in dollars on the tier. I know it has helped me in the past. I know I am familiar with sterling but I understand that many people might not be, and I'd rather avoid the disappointment of people deciding on a tier only to click and then realise it is more expensive than they realised. So I thought including US dollars (a popular currency on the internet) would help at least some people avoid that.

+Unfortunately, I cannot afford a trailer, so this is not something I can do.

+Backer-only updates are now available for everyone

+I'll reply to your TROS suggestion in your other post

+There is now a discounted early-bird tier

Thanks again for your feedback. Please feel free to look over the updated KS once it is completed and let me know what you think.

(+3)(-2)

Go to Fiverr.com and search for Game Trailers.  Get one made.  If you don't have a game trailer your Kickstarter will fail.  Just look at the other Kickstarters, and you'll see what I mean.  

https://www.fiverr.com/bramskh/create-trailer-game-or-app-trailer-video-editing?context_referrer=search_gigs&source=top-bar&ref_ctx_id=c10c713a-f158-4c1b-b30b-7e574fe71318&pckg_id=1&pos=1&context_type=auto&funnel=c4988daa-3dab-46d3-9f07-9423ddb265f8&seller_online=true
  Boom.  Done.  

(+1)

So it turns out I was wrong about needing to click on the tier to see the price in your local currency! Whoops. It's actually displayed automatically, right beneath the actual price. So again, you don't need to worry about including that info in the description itself. :)

I'm not sure what price point you're thinking of when you say you can't afford a trailer, so I can't really offer a lot of specific advice, but I think that's one of the most essential components of a Kickstarter page. It's what people will look for first, and some will click away by default if it's not there.

I'd really, really recommend getting a trailer done, even just a cheap 30-second one like the freelance spot Y Press linked, if it's at all feasible. Better to invest a small amount now than to wonder if it would've helped after a failed campaign, right?

Thanks for listening to my other feedback! Hope we're not overwhelming you with all this. <3