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Funding Through Backing Websites (Kickstarter etc.)

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Jon Bon

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Owner/Founder
Owner/Founder
Introduction
Whether your game is planned to be released as a free or for sale product you may need money to get certain aspects of it created. Funding as it's known as. There is more than one way to fund a video game, and this topic covers just this one method.

Function of 'Backer' Websites
Sites like these operate in a manner that allows developers the ability to post the financial needs for their game creation and ask for tiered 'backings' from 'backers' which in turn receive content based on their tier purchased. In other words if I need money for my game I can make a special edition and offer it to people who will give me say $5 in an effort to fund the game and help it become reality. Make sense to me as a game player and developer.

Making Your Post
When creating your post on these sites there are a few things to take into consideration.

-Quality
Make sure your post is as professional as possible, do not hesitate to mention your motivations or passion for making the game, but make sure it focuses on why people should give money to see this game made. Run it through a spell and grammar checker, as well as have two people who's opinion you trust read it over before you post it.

-Quantity
Keep your word post as concise as you can and if possible try to have a video specifically made for your funding efforts of your game features and possibly your voice explaining your motivations for needing funding etc. Additionally you should include as much material as you can about the game, story write up, character bios, screenshots, game footage, backgrounds, forum icons/badges, advertisement videos, anything you can make to show off your work. Allot of this should be done already and be on your social networking sites months prior to asking for funding.

-Fan Base
People can generally be reluctant to be the first on board something, so if you build a fan base using social networking sites, and advertising on independent development sites and other resources. You can then have people to hopefully follow your work and start the 'snow ball effect' you need for your funding. In any case it's better to ask for money after you have some popularity then before you do, and second round funding should never be considered an option.

-Budget Plan
As an independent developer we don't have the credibility the big guys might have with video game players. There for we need to show our potential or exiting fans what we plan to do with their money exactly. They might not trust or understand we know how to turn their money into an independent project worth their time and money. With a budget you can show exactly what you plan to spend money on. You should of already realistically have researched why you need $XXXX amount, so that is all you really need to post.
Spoiler:

Fictional Game Budget Example
Introduction
Through negotiation with the independent creators listed below we have established a budget needed to complete the game presented above.
GRAPHICAL DESIGN
-$100-Promotional material for website, and social networking. Acquired through (my resource website.com) commissioned to (name of artist) *provide links*
-$200-Graphical Character Representations for in game. Acquired through (my resource website.com) commissioned to (name of artist)*provide links*
PROGRAMMING
-$50-Special script design and implementation. Acquired from published scripter at (my resource website.com) commissioned to (name of creator)*provide links*
-$125-Game protection security and installer program custom made. Acquired from published programmer at (my resource website.com) commissioned to (name of creator)*provide links*
TALENT
-$75- $5 per song for game sound track. Acquired from published muscisian at (my resource website.com) commissioned to (name of creator)*provide links*
-$300- Voice acting total cost. Multiple actors through thread recruitment on independent voice acting site at (my resource website.com)*provide links*
-$150- Overhead costs. This is in case we have not foreseen some resource or extra resource already contract and need to ask for more. This way we can offer payment, and feel $150 is enough to cover extra costs if they arise.
Total Game Cost $1000.

Tier Rewards For Backers
The below examples of rewards for backers are only what I deem fair as both a video game player and developer. The prices you choose should (in my opinion) be as low as your overall goal. If you only need a couple thousand dollars then your tiers should likely be only a few dollars each promoting many purchases. If you need 10's of thousands of dollars you will likely want your tiers to be in the 10's of dozens of dollars for backing, but the game better be darn good to need that much money.

Automatic gain for backing
Below are what each backer should get the second they choose any of the tiers to be fair.
-Credit in the game. Their name in the 'backers' section of your credits roll.
-The game itself for no additional cost to your backing fee.
-Each advanced tier receives the stuff from the one previous with the exception of those that are limited by amount available .


Teir 1
Same price of game if it isn't free or if it hypothetically weren't
Benefit
-Special edition of the game, includes unique content such as items and weapons.

Tier 2
More expensive then tier 1
Benefit
-All benefits of tiers 1
-Fan's Edition, early access to the game and guaranteed access to the beta test.

Tier 3
More expensive then the previous tier.
Benefit
-All benefits of tier 1 and 2.
-Collector's edition , includes concept art, unique promotional material with digital signatures, sound track of the game for free.

Tier 4
Again more expensive then the previous tiers
Benefit
-All benefits of tiers 1, 2 and 3.
-Dedicated Backer's Edition, guaranteed special edition on Onyxbreakers next release.

Tier 5
Each of these can be priced as you see fit (some should be cheap and very limited like the item stuff), but should be as low as realistically possible.
These could also each include the special edition to add to their value.
Some of these will simply not work with some games, and giving the player this freedom could break some games as well.
Additionally the ones that allow the backers to design elements of your game should have links to templates to allow them to mesh well with your design.

  • In game non player character name sake. A computer player in game with your name.
  • Likeness, send in your picture and have it made into a character in game.
  • Statue of your likeness in the game.
  • A city, region, planet etc named of your choosing and a theme picked, ie tropic, winter etc.
  • Design the layout of a city, given specifics of shops to include, choose the layout and design of the city.
  • Have your house floor plan in the game, for a small fee give us your floor plan and we will make a house to match it.
  • Design your own dungeon, draw mazes, or fan dungeons, heres a chance to have one put into a real game
  • An equipment set you design, complete with icon, name, description and function of your choosing (within game parameters)
  • Design an item, make sure that game dynamic you want is included, and be credited for it's name, icon, function and description.
  • Design a skill/spell/ability, name it, pick it's function, and word it's description, yet another way to leave your mark on the game.
  • Your very own self designed playable character secondary to the story with a minor background
  • your own designed story character playable or not complete with background and implmentation as a pivotal role.
  • Your own player character from scratch. Every skill, every piece of gear they can equip, their look, their story etc, templates should be given.
  • Antagonist, design your own villian or sidekick to a villain, look, name, dialogue you name it.
  • Side quest, ever write that perfect short story you want to see in a game, this is your chance, buy a chance to add your own side quest. Developers reserve the right to edit it to fit.
  • Special feature alteration, does your game have pets, or maybe mounts? Allow the backer to design one.
  • Personal Creative inclusion, maybe you have a poem, story or song you want included into the game for all players to see. Follow the template for addition.


Conclusion
With a well thought out post on a funding site such as kickstarter an independent developer can get the money they need to make the game they people who gave it want to see exist. If you post honest and fair then it's a perfect system for developing games.
Kickstarter.com is the chosen development funding site Bon Ink advocates for but anyone publishing through us is free to use whatever methods or resources they wish. Whatever gets your game made in an honest manner.

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