Order of Dagon http://orderofdagon.com News and information for the upcoming game The Eldritch Cases: Dagon Sat, 13 Sep 2014 19:45:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Kickstarter Post Mortem http://orderofdagon.com/kickstarter-post-mortem/ http://orderofdagon.com/kickstarter-post-mortem/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 11:02:12 +0000 http://orderofdagon.com/?p=348    Read More ...]]> (this is an older article that I forgot to publish. tl;dr : Kickstarter was not successful, here are some tips what to look for if you want to run your own campaign)

 

Alright, I’m a bit late to the game, but it is tradition that after a Kickstarter, successful or not, one does  write a Post Mortem, so here is mine.

Unfortunately my own campaign falls into the “or not” category, so take what I write with a grain of salt.

Some stats:

Goal: £20.000 / Reached: £15.803 (79%)

# of backers: 600 / Average per backer: 26

Duration of the campaign: 30 days

Number of updates before end: 14 / Comments: ~1100

So, as you can see, I wasn’t that far away from actually hitting the target, and the campaign picked up quite a lot of steam towards the end, but it just wasn’t enough.

So, what went wrong?

It’s hard to tell really. The project went off to a good start and made it to nearly 20% of the target in the first 2 days, and people even went for the 3 highest tiers straight away.

A few things that were not optimal, e.g. the animations in the trailer video could have been better, I didn’t have much of the actual gameplay to show, and I didn’t manage to generate enough buzz outside of the adventure scene.

For the gameplay, I decided against releasing a demo straight from the beginning. While I think that a good demo can help a campaign getting funded, I think a mediocre one hurts more than it helps. And the one I would have released would have lacked in two main areas: Sound and animation. The main reason for doing the Kickstarter campaign was to secure funding for the areas that I lack the skills to do it myself, and these two areas are the major parts. And I felt that without sound, and even more so properly animated characters, a demo wouldn’t have convinced many people to back the game.

However, as other recent campaigns have shown, a demo doesn’t seem to have that much of an influence. Examples of games that failed although they had very good demos are Waldemar the Warlock and The Breakout. Last Life on the other hand was a roaring success without having a demo. In the end, I think even a good demo wouldn’t have had much of an impact in either direction.

Another point that proved to be very difficult was to get press coverage. Even adventure magazines aren’t that hot on giving coverage to Kickstarter campaigns any more, and much less so general gaming websites, especially bigger ones. I managed to get some coverage on RockPaperShotgun and Destructoid, but the rest of the bigger pages like Kotaku, IGN and so on ignored my press releases and emails. Indie game mags and horror blogs were more welcoming.

One huge disappointment was one of the largest Lovecraft websites who I was in contact with for nearly half a year already before the campaign. They interviewed me very early on in the campaign and promised to publish this interview in the second week of the campaign. That never happened, and although there was quite a lot of communication before, all of the sudden they just went radio silent and stopped responding to emails. I’m not 100% sure why, but shortly after they launched their own Kickstarter campaign, so my best guess is that they didn’t want to give publicity to other Lovecraft projects on Kickstarter in favour of their own. I can’t tell for sure of course, but I think that interview might have pushed the campaign over the line – alas, I will never know!

Anyway, it’s over now, so not much sense in being sour over things past.

I’m currently trying to secure other sources of funding, but should I decide to do a Kickstarter campaign again I will do a couple of things differently.

So, here is my advise for similar projects (i.e. smaller games, niche market, small team):

1. No physical rewards

When I started to finalise the campaign I didn’t have any physical rewards (DVD version, posters, T-Shirts etc) in it. I have analysed a lot (a hell lot) of other projects before launching my own, and one thing became evident quite soon was: Only a minority of backers actually want a physical version of a game, especially for smaller projects. I shared a preview of the KS page with quite a few people and asked for feedback, and one thing that many people told me was that at least a DVD version was extremely important.

For small teams and projects however these physical rewards can become a real problem: They eat money out of your budget, and you have no way of calculating up front how much that will be, because obviously you can tell how many backers will go for physical rewards.

A simplified example: Lets say your goal is $10.000, and you have 2 tiers, one purely digital for $10, and one with a DVD for $20. The DVD costs you $5 to produce and ship.

If all your backers go for the digital tier you have 1.000 backers at $10, and you can keep all the money (except from KS fees etc that you have to pay in any case).

If all your backers go for the physical tier you only need 500, however you will lose $2.500 that you have to pay for the DVDs. And you have to design a cover, and find a manufacturer, and make sure the DVD works on all targeted platforms, you need to do package and ship 500 DVDs … doesn’t sound too appealing to me. Another huge issue is shipping costs: Kickstarter only allows you one flat fee for all countries outside your own, and, even worse, these shipping costs count towards your goal. So, either you go for high shipping costs and risk putting off potential backers, or you keep them low and risk having to pay on top of every parcel you send – both not very desirable.

There is a chance that some people would only back if there is a physical version of the game, but from what I have seen on many other projects most people go for the digital rewards anyway, I am pretty confident that you won’t lose many backers because of that.

So, my advice for small teams with low budgets would be: Get rid of all physical rewards, and if you really think you need them, make them available as addons or stretch goals after you have reached you actual goal (i.e. the money that you need to actually create the game).

2. Don’t rely on social media alone

I’ve invested a lot of time upfront building up a following on Twitter and Facebook, and when I launched the campaign I had around 700 followers on Twitter and 950 followers on the Facebook page. I never got in the hang of using Twitter much, but I was really confident that the FB followers would bring in a good chunk of backers. That, however, turned out to be a wrong assumption. According to my Kickstarter stats Facebook brought in a total of £700 of the £16k, and that includes people who came in via my own FB page and all other posts on Facebook, including my repeated posts on several Lovecraft pages and quite a lot of coverage on various gaming and horror FB pages.

I was assuming to get quite a high conversion rate from the people who liked the FB page and continued to like and comment all the updates I posted during the year before I launched the campaign, however  that didn’t quite work out. On the other hand I have seen similar campaigns succeeding that had just launched their FB pages together with the Kickstarter campaign and had barely any followers there.

3. If you can, use Kickstarter

Even if my own campaign was not successful, I would use Kickstarter again if I chose to give it a second try.

I usually tend to root for the underdog, however looking at other platforms, especially Indigogo, it has become obvious that they don’t work work games in this sector. There are a few ones that were successful of course, but the majority of  campaigns I’ve seen there lately have failed miserably although the games looked really good – seems like people have decided to stick with one platform, and that is Kickstarter (at least for now). Also, from what I’ve heard from people who ran campaigns on Indiegogo it’s riddled with bugs and very unpleasant to use.

4. If you can, run your campaign in US $

It seems that projects that run in $ rather than in £ do significantly better, especially as Kickstarter in the US allows for more ways of payment compared to Kickstarter UK.

5. Try to network as much as possible

Cross-promotions with similar projects can bring in quite a few backers, also don’t be shy to contact projects that are already finished if they are similar to yours – people are constantly updating their projects and most of them are happy to mention currently running campaigns in their backer updates – never forget to return the favour of course!

 

What next?

 

I’m still working on the game, and am currently porting it over to a new engine, Unity3d. The main change will be that I move from pure 2d to 2.5d with realtime 3d characters.

As far as financing goes, I’m in contact with a few interested publishers and will also not rule out another KS campaign.

More on that soon(ish)!

 

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The Eldritch Cases: Dagon – Final Week on Kickstarter http://orderofdagon.com/the-eldritch-cases-dagon-final-week-on-kickstarter/ http://orderofdagon.com/the-eldritch-cases-dagon-final-week-on-kickstarter/#comments Fri, 09 May 2014 13:12:05 +0000 http://orderofdagon.com/?p=340    Read More ...]]> Hey everyone,

I wanted to update the main website a bit more often during the Kickstarter-campaign, but there was just too much stuff to do all the time.

Today the final week starts, the campaign end on Friday the 16th at 6pm BST. We have reached more than 50% of the goal, which is great, but unfortunately no enough, so the final week need to bring a real push.

If you haven’t backed the game yet but would like to see it become reality, please consider backing it, even small amounts help a lot!

In addition to the regular tiers you can also get addons, like an extra copy of the game, a cool T-Shirt or a printed version of the Innsmouth Tourist Guide with artistic renderings and background information about Innsmouth, the main characters and so on!

Here are a few mockups of how the Shirts could look:

shirt1 shirt2

 

If you don’t know it yet, The Eldritch Cases: Dagon is planned to be the first in a series of games based on H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos that will follow the two heroes of the game while they are solving Eldritch Cases.

If that sounds like something you would really like to see, please consider supporting the campaign, and please spread the word if you know people who you think might enjoy this kind of game.

Here is the link again: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1819174432/the-eldritch-cases-dagon-a-lovecraftian-horror-adv

If you do, Cthulhu will eat your house last. Maybe.

Thanks for your support!

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The stars are right! http://orderofdagon.com/the-stars-are-right/ http://orderofdagon.com/the-stars-are-right/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:03:27 +0000 http://orderofdagon.com/?p=297    Read More ...]]> Dear friends,

after nearly a year of preparation and teasing, the time has finally come to go the next big step in the journey of The Eldritch Cases: Dagon

Today I launch the long announced Kickstarter campaign. The money I hope to raise there will help me to create the game that I’m working on and dreaming of for a very long time now, and with your help and support I am sure I can reach this goal!

Please have a look at the campaign page, and if you think that this is a game you would enjoy yourself, maybe consider supporting it.

And please feel free to share the link in your social networks, with friends, family, coworkers, or walk up to random strangers in the streets and tell them about it! This is especially effective when you hold a sign with e.g. a random bible verse (Like “John 5:23″) or a catchy slogan like “The end is nigh”  or … ah … sorry, I got carried away.

So, without further ado, here is the link to the campaign:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1819174432/the-eldritch-cases-dagon-a-lovecraftian-horror-adv

And please feel free to make use of the Share-buttons below :-)

Join the Order today!

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The stars are aligning http://orderofdagon.com/the-stars-are-aligning/ http://orderofdagon.com/the-stars-are-aligning/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 12:55:27 +0000 http://orderofdagon.com/?p=282    Read More ...]]> Hi folks,

I have some news to announce:

I have renamed the game to

The Eldritch Cases: Dagon

This is a better reflection of what I have in mind for the future. It will hopefully also make it easier to find the game with Google :-)

There is also a second news item lurking in the shadows, I will announce this when the stars are right …

Ye who enter here, abandon all hope

Ye who enter here, abandon all hope

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RIP H.P. Lovecraft http://orderofdagon.com/rip-h-p-lovecraft/ http://orderofdagon.com/rip-h-p-lovecraft/#comments Sat, 15 Mar 2014 16:50:23 +0000 http://orderofdagon.com/?p=241 On this day in 1937 H.P. Lovecraft died.

HPLovecraft

Rest in peace, and thanks for all the nightmares!

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New screenshots, and the King in Yellow http://orderofdagon.com/new-screenshots-and-the-king-in-yellow/ http://orderofdagon.com/new-screenshots-and-the-king-in-yellow/#comments Mon, 17 Feb 2014 15:05:16 +0000 http://orderofdagon.com/?p=229    Read More ...]]> Hi folks,

it’s been a while, but I’ve not been lazy! Well, not the whole time at least.

I’ve got two new screenshots for your delight. One shows Innsmouth’s leafy graveyard, where people come to find some peace and quiet (that doesn’t work, trust me) and the other one … is a secret for now.

Also, if you don’t do already, you should all watch True Detective, because it’s awesome.

That’s all.

downbelow graveyard ]]>
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I’m on TV! http://orderofdagon.com/im-on-tv/ http://orderofdagon.com/im-on-tv/#comments Tue, 29 Oct 2013 21:37:05 +0000 http://orderofdagon.com/?p=193    Read More ...]]> Well, not yet, but I could be!

Exciting times ahead:

Brighton-based filmmaker Ant Carpendale is currently kickstarting a documentary on the history of horror games from it’s humble beginnings til now, and he will also include a number of indie game developers if the campaign will be a success. And yours truly is one of the chosen few :-)

 

Check out the KS page here, and maybe pledge if you are interested in horror games (well, otherwise you would probably not be here :-) ): http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/AntCarpendale/playing-with-fear-the-world-of-horror-video-games

 

The projects Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PlayingWithFear

 

Amongs  many others the documentary will cover games as Amnesia, Fran Bow, Among the Sleep, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and of course H.P. Lovecraft’s Dagon.

 

Have a look!

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AdventureExpo, Kickstarter and You http://orderofdagon.com/adventureexpo-kickstarter-and-you/ http://orderofdagon.com/adventureexpo-kickstarter-and-you/#comments Tue, 08 Oct 2013 12:11:56 +0000 http://orderofdagon.com/?p=182    Read More ...]]> Hi folks,

a quick autumn update where things are with H.P. Lovecraft’s Dagon!

Pre-production is still in full swing, and last weekend we started filming the Kickstarter video, so we are coming closer! If all goes as planned the campaign will go live towards the end of October. But then, when do things ever go as planned?

In other news, I will attend this years AdventureX in London as an exhibitor showcasing DAGON: http://www.screen7.co.uk/adventurex/

It’s the first time I’m there, and I’m quite excited! CHARLES CECIL will be there, as well as STEVE INCE and a lot of talented indie developers. And me!

If you live anywhere near or have planned to visit London anyway (you know, to see Buckingham Palace) why not visit the expo as well!

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To Ouya or not to Ouya http://orderofdagon.com/to-ouya-or-not-to-ouya/ http://orderofdagon.com/to-ouya-or-not-to-ouya/#comments Thu, 19 Sep 2013 22:02:12 +0000 http://orderofdagon.com/?p=169    Read More ...]]> You have probably all heard about the controversy around Ouya’s Free the games fund (if not: several developers were rigging the game in order to grab the extra funding Ouya would have provided).

 

Anyway, as a result of these things Ouya have changed the terms for the fund, the minimum funding is now lowered to $10k, Ouya exclusivity is lowered to 1 month per $10k and – most importantly for me – PC-versions of the game can be released simultaneously to the Ouya version.

 

The engine I’m using does not support Ouya natively, however, since it has functional SCUMMVM-support now, and SCUMMVM on the other hand has Ouya-support technically this should work.

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A few new screenshots and then things are getting real http://orderofdagon.com/a-few-new-screenshots-and-then-things-are-getting-real/ http://orderofdagon.com/a-few-new-screenshots-and-then-things-are-getting-real/#comments Mon, 16 Sep 2013 13:24:36 +0000 http://orderofdagon.com/?p=160    Read More ...]]> So, first, I will add a few more screenshots at the end of this post, which is a good thing I think.

Then, and this is the real reason for writing another post: stuff is getting real.

 

And with stuff, I mean the Kickstarter campaign. I’m in chicken mode since about May this year and always found good excuses to push back the start of the campaign, but no more! Well, a little more, but then, no more!

 

The campaign will start in October (exact date is not set yet), before that I need to finish the pitch video and do some final research regarding pledge levels aaaaand then the time has finally come.

And I guess I have to start contacting the press to let them know about the game and the campaign. For this I have done a lot of research on how to write press releases for indie games and how to approach editors etc., and I found out the following: Whatever I’ll do, it will be wrong, and my emails will all be deleted without anyone ever reading them.

This is very reassuring, and so I’ll start sending out some this week.

By the way, in case you, dear reader, happen to like the project and would like it to succeed, it would be tremendously helpful if you could spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, amongst your friends, family, colleagues or talk to random strangers in the streets about it! Or if you know people who write for gaming / horror / Lovecraft mags … every little helps, as they say on TV.

 

And finally, for those who are still with me, here are the promised screenshots:

 

church_scene cell_protagonist_alt cellarFront1 ]]>
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