I, like many of you, probably found ourselves with conflicting panel talks we wanted to attend or couldn't attend all the days. I took notes, and saw others doing similarly. Perhaps some of you went to some sessions and got some surprises. Maybe we can all post our notes/key findings/exciting tidbits. I know I'd love to hear about the sessions:
- Be So Good They Can't Ignore You: Tales of Successful Indies
- Community Impact on Game Development
- Gaming Your Career: Manage Your Career in the Game Industry
- Take This: How to be a Friend
- 3D Printing and the Future of Tabletop Gaming
- The Future of Online Games - MMORPG.com
Pax 2014 - Sat 4:00pm - It's Complicated: Developers' Relationship with Backers
- How to build your Twitch community
- Are Twitch, YouTube, and Podcasts Killing Traditional Games Journalism?
- Game-Changers: Making Mid-Career Transitions & Awesome Games
- Bridge to Japan: The Process of Localizing Japanese Media
- Procedural Generation: Too Much or Too Little?
- What Does It Take to Be Independent in the Games Industry?
- Kickstarter is hugely better than investment/entrepreneurship of the past. One panelist's parents had to mortgage home to start their projects - which was common. We have a great new tool.
- Transparency, transparency, transparency to your backers. Make sure you are writing weekly reports and doing weekly playtest with backers.
- Common thread between several panelists: this keeps you honest and on track.
- Very common problem new kickstarters have is to get wrapped up in details and features they think are cool, but nobody is going to care about or don't think is fun. It's surprising how often this happens. 2 panelists said: You are not there to make the game you personally want - you're there to make the game that people want to play. (more below)
- Always strive for amazing amounts of transparency - same as public company: especially financials. Only limitations are they don't talk about active litigation, hiring/firing or other HR matters, employee personal information (individual salaries). Have an employee packet with all this outlined.
- Lack of transparency or silence at any time is bad and backers get very sensitive/worried at any silence. Don't ever do it.
- One panelist is moving from crowd funding to crowd forging. They need new tools to do this and managing that interaction can become a black hole if not careful (timebox it in daily schedule - 1-2 hours each morning).
- They use reddit style forum of up-voting for features. Get over 1000 up-votes? Considered for inclusion in his mmo.
- Radical switch of design principles: forum members are EQUAL to employee input. You do not make the game you want - you make the game people want to play. This is a whole new way of making games.
- Sometimes you'll find feedback not on kickstarter but on facebook forums/steam/etc. Be aware of where conversations about your product are happening and follow them.
- Don't overload updates with overly data only overload - always give just enough details to keep them wanting to follow and put pieces together.
- Until playable demo ready - keep pictures coming
- We are now at a turning point where kickstarter backers are finished being fine with just regular updates.
- They are more interested in deliveries since many support many kickstarters and want to see results.
- Whats become more important is the interaction - community feedback and input.
- Post things that actively illicit feedback or responses. You need to make sure you engage them - even to point of driving the conversation since a portion of backers will be quiet unless asked.
- One panelist does three 10 min dev video diaries a week. If backers are engaged, they generate buzz and user reviews on steam/etc. You must feed them.
- Advice: Pick and observe a disorganized looking kickstarter project and see what they do wrong and learn from their mistakes
- Most investors do not volunteer info, you need to actively interact with them and engage them to get feedback.
- Kickstarter sizes: 5 fulltime and 3 contractors. 2 to get started and get all collateral - then grew to 9 after got funded and will grow to 50. 2 volunteers only.
- One guy knew they didn't get enough money to do game they wanted - so they took side consulting jobs for a year or two to raise more on own. Almost all panelists didn't get all the money they knew they needed and were creative like this. One kickstarter was staffed completely by volunteers. Other had 2 full-time, unpaid folks that got all the protoyping and everything ready for 1-2 years before kickstarting and then hiring.