Despite all my talk about being a happy game developer I'm actually super-anxious about the upcoming Kickstarter launch. I think I'm more anxious about it than I've been about any actual finished games I've shipped!
Why the heck is that?
A combination of things, I guess:
- I'm showing people stuff that's so rough and unfinished. The other things I shipped I thought were at least medium-to-well-done.
- Kickstarter is so random. I don't know why some games - ones I wouldn't back - get ridiculously funded and others - that I do think are worth backing - can't even raise enough money to pay for a programmer-month.
- This may be my last hurrah. If this doesn't work, it's probably back to the pixel mines for me. (Side note: I've been saying that for two years now, ever since Torpex was chasing publisher funding for a Richard Garfield game we were working on, and nothing has worked and I still haven't gone back to the pixel mines, so take me with a grain of salt.)
I don't know who she is or what her credentials are - in fact, it's possible she took a series of articles about how to do marketing for shoes, crossed out 'shoes' and wrote in 'games' - but this Emmy Jonassen has posted a bunch of very wise-sounding stuff about how to do a Kickstarter, and that's what I've lately been using for a playbook. I'm on phase two now. But I'm behind schedule. I was supposed to be contacting journalists weeks ago, and I wasn't able to bring myself to do that. (Though happily, Khris Golder of the up-and-coming GamerCheese actually reached out to me, and we got an interview up yesterday.)
After all, I'm supposed to have a teaser trailer ready first. So. Finally 'finished' that - and by 'finished' I mean cradling my head in my hands in front of my desk going "this looks so amateur", seeing nothing but flaws, so Cathy looked into my office and was all 'What's wrong?' so I showed her the video and she sat there in silence for a moment and then was just like, "Um ... is it done?" and my heart sank further and I was like, "Yeah, except for the music" ... which helped a lot, actually (George Ellinas - shit I forgot to credit him on the youtube page, brb) ... but I was not confident.
But, like I said in my post on perfectionism, sometimes you just have to set a deadline and ship what you've got.
And so yesterday I did the contacting journalists thing, more or less just as Ms. Jonassen described. (Though she says we're actually supposed to call people, like, on the phone? Who has their phone numbers listed anywhere?) And I heard back from a couple whom I already knew from previous games, who said they'd try to get something up - but mostly crickets.
So it was stressful and anxious-making. But I wouldn't call it unhappy. There's no way to get all the stress out of your life ... "You can't keep birds from landing on your head, but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair." I still managed to get in some quality family time last night, watch some TV with the wife, get a good night's sleep.
And in the morning - fucking awesome! We're in Rock, Paper, Shotgun and ShogunGamer! And 1 out of 10 people who have watched the teaser trailer Liked it! And all these positive comments! (And I also have other positive news which I should keep secret for now.)
I'm over the moon. Maybe this will really work! But I like to think I'd still be happy even if I hadn't gotten that external validation.
Here's that trailer.