Racing to Kickstart VR: Tammeka Dev Diary #1

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Following yesterday’s launch of an official Kickstarter campaign for the futuristic racing videogame Radial-G, indie studio Tammeka has dropped the first instalment of a new series of developer diaries here at VRFocus. Beginning with a description of why the team chose to follow the Kickstarter route and the work that has gone into maximising it’s chances of success, Tammeka’s Sam Watts, 3D Producer on Radial-G, demonstrates that the team aren’t afraid to tackle this challenge head-on.

Kickstarter is a minefield of lacklustre productivity. VRFocus has covered many campaigns which have simply failed to garner the required interest of the gaming media and consumer audiences. Tammeka are keen to ensure that doesn’t happen, and below is an introduction into steps that the team have taken in Watts’ own words. VRFocus will bring you a new edition of this developer diary each week, and of course we’ll keep you updated with all the latest details on Radial-G.

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Sam Watts, Tammeka Games: Preparation for Kickstarter

We knew that we had to go via the Kickstarter route in order to gain the necessary funding to be able to achieve what we wanted to be able to release for the first version of Radial-G. Kickstarter is a generally obvious choice to do this, we looked at IndieGoGo but felt that the audience wasn’t big enough to allow us to reach the potential number of backers we needed.

We also knew that a lot of projects fail on Kickstarter, especially games related ones, so we had to make sure we were as prepared as possible with all angles covered to give us the greatest chance of success. We carried out a lot of research into what makes a successful Kickstarter campaign and profile but found a lot more information and post-mortems for why campaigns failed. Hopefully we won’t be writing our own one of these further down the line.

One of our main guiding lights in our research into Kickstarter was Thomas Bidaux, of ICO Partners, who studies, data-mines and speaks about crowdsourced funding at various conferences. We learned some important facts about Kickstarter to keep in mind whilst preparing for launch:

a)      Only 2 out of 5 games projects are successful

b)      As a general rule, if you haven’t received 20% of your goal within the first few days, your campaign will most likely fail

c)       Ensure you have built up the PR for the Kickstarter well before the launch, don’t just expect people to stumble across your project

d)      Give backers as much information about your development plans and process to build confidence in what you aim to achieve and ultimately, backing you

e)      Don’t just propose a concept, build a demo or a prototype and allow people to experience and see for themselves your vision and again, build confidence that you can deliver

So in order to prepare, we had to establish PR channels well in advance and establish connections with relevant websites to produce articles to go live before or at launch, get a demo ready, and build the audience around Kickstarter and raise awareness on the social media channels. Here are the profiles for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Soundcloud. Part of the outcome of this effort is this blog post you are reading on VRFocus, who we are happy to be able to work with on Radial-G!

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The final part of preparation was the Kickstarter campaign content copy, which once drafted, we invited select individuals to review and provide constructive feedback on so we could be sure to have covered all aspects whilst maintaining relevance and structure.

We feel we have covered the main points effectively, such as:

  1. What the game is
  2. Why you should back it
  3. When you can expect to receive it
  4. How we plan on delivering it
  5. Where the funding will be spent

Hopefully we will be able to avoid “6. If we fail, what next” but this will be covered in a future post.

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