We developed Fantasy Strike for over a year on our own, but now we need your support to continue. By participating in our crowdfunding, you really are making it possible for us to finish the project—we can’t do it without you. We’re also excited to bring you into the process of making the game and showing you how it develops the whole way through.
We’re using Patreon rather than Kickstarter. That might be unfamiliar territory for many, so we’d like to explain what that means and why we’re doing it.
Kickstarter is great and we’re no stranger to it. Sirlin Games has done five successful kickstarters, all of which shipped on time. Kickstarter involves doing a 30-day fundraising period, then much later (often a couple years for video games), you hopefully get what you pledged for.
Patreon works differently. It lets you give monthly support to a person or company whose efforts you want to encourage. There’s no such thing as being late to the party: you can join any time. There are some advantages to this method from your perspective, and advantages on our end too.
For Patrons Supporting the Game
From your point of view as the patron, the first great thing is you can get our latest build of Fantasy Strike immediately after you pledge. Not in two years, but RIGHT NOW. Furthermore, you’ll see our progress throughout the project. As a patron, you’ll have access to each new build we make (usually about once a month) and you’ll see for yourself what progress we’re making in which areas of the game.
This gives you an unusual power that you don’t have on Kickstarter: you can fire us. If you don’t think we’re making progress, or you don’t like how it’s going, you have the power to drop your support. We hope that you’ll actually end up doing the opposite though. We’ve been able to show regular progress ever since we started development, and we hope that we’ll inspire enough confidence and hype that you’ll want to get your friends to support us too. If you do that, we’ll be able to hire more staff, implement even more features, and reach a greater level of polish. Our fate is in your hands!
For Us, the Developers
There are advantages to this model on our end too and they all have to do with efficiency and transparency. This ultimately helps us deliver a better game to you.
This type of crowdfunding is perfectly aligned with the realities of the development process. First, there’s the nature of monthly payments. It costs us tens of thousands of dollars per month to pay for even our small staff and Patreon allows us to collect money monthly. It’s helpful to plan our monthly budget and check if we can afford more staff or not when we know our monthly crowdfunding income. All the money we raise goes directly into the project, by the way.
Second, and even more profound, is that this is a much more efficient way to develop a game than if we asked you for all our funding up front. By efficient, we mean that if you give us $10, we can put that money to better use under this model than on Kickstarter. How is that possible?
Consider a typical Kickstarter project for a video game. First, the game should have a clear set of features defined. Next, it should have a bunch of pledge levels, possibly offering more features or extras. Then, and most importantly, it should have a bunch of stretch goals. That is, more features and content that entice the community to collectively pledge more. The two main problems with this have to do with rigidity and with scope.
By rigidity, we mean that such a project has decided—sometimes YEARS ahead of time—that it will have X bonus feature rather than Y bonus feature. Think of it this way: when is the best time to decide the most effective and efficient way to improve the game 14 months into development? Would it make more sense to decide the answer to that before or after you had the benefit of knowing how those 14 months went?
On the surface, it sounds good to promise ahead of time exactly what everyone will get, including a dozen or so stretch goals, and codify that into writing. But in practice, game quality and player satisfaction can be even higher if you allow the game to develop organically over time, making the best decisions you can at each point, and letting the community give feedback the entire way through. That’s what we’d like you to do, and you’ll see that entire process as it unfolds.
The problem with scope on most Kickstarter projects is that there’s a temptation to promise A LOT in the form of stretch goals and higher tier rewards. There’s a real danger in promising stretch goals that sounded good at the time, but that end up being more costly to deliver than the developer anticipated. That’s one reason video games are notoriously late in shipping and/or lacking in polish of their core features.
What we’re doing is a new kind of thing, and we invite you to join us on this journey. By supporting us through Patreon, we’re hoping to show that by delivering new builds every month that show our progress, by getting feedback from all of you the entire time, and by promising merely that we’ll make the best game we possibly can with the time and money we have as we go, that we can be more efficient in achieving that goal than if we outlined a specific plan of stretch goals that may or may not be what you end up wanting later in development.
And if supporting us through Patreon is not something you’re interested in doing right now—we totally understand. Our great hope is that we can open up Fantasy Strike to as wide of an audience as possible after release. Our task right now is to get to release, and we can only do that with the help of our generous patrons. So if you’d like to wait a long time and get the game through more conventional means, we’ll welcome you at that time. If you’d like to help make this project happen in the first place, please support us now. We’ll do our best to make sure our patrons always get the newest stuff first and they’re as happy as possible. Let’s be a happy and supportive community together, even though we’re making a competitive game.
We know this is a different way of funding games than usual. Let us know through social media or our forums which aspect of it you like the most!
- Getting access to our latest build the moment you pledge
- Getting monthly builds of the game all throughout development
- Having the ability to fire us
- Efficient, agile development: deciding each month what is the best way we can improve the game next month