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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsSUPER MEGA BEST CAT ADVENTURES
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supermega_peter
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« Reply #40 on: February 08, 2016, 02:20:51 PM »

Hello again everyone!

I'm excited to say that after last week's feedback I decided to make a couple of small changes to my website to make it more accessible. On the first visit to the site, there'll be a little warning message that lets you know about the flashing and optionally disable it. The site remembers your choice so that if you come back* need not have to select this again. I've added a little button at the top right to let you switch between the two modes.


Fortunately, with the browser testing work I had done previously the styling side of this had already been taken care of, as I'd already styled a good-looking fallback so that browsers without CSS animations would still look good, so it was just a case of making it so you could turn them off!

A fun bonus that came from doing this is that for your first visit I can soft-load the header behind the warning, giving the cat and it's trail time to load before it flies in from the bottom-right.

* when you come back, RIGHT? Wink


I've got a great update coming later this week - I'm going really in depth about my plans for Kickstarter! It'll be great to share what I've got planned - hopefully by sharing what I've learned then it'll help some other people also planning their own Kickstarters!
« Last Edit: February 08, 2016, 02:29:15 PM by supermega_peter » Logged

Mr Bazooka
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« Reply #41 on: February 09, 2016, 12:35:10 AM »

This is crazy and absurd. I love it!
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« Reply #42 on: February 17, 2016, 12:45:24 AM »

This is crazy and absurd. I love it!

Thanks Mr Bazooka, comments like that really make my day :D


Update 017 - 13/02/16

How to write a Kickstarter budget


This week I'm going to go into some detail on my plans for Kickstarter. From what I've read, it's an inexact science but in this update I'm focusing on three things:

  • Proposed overall target goal
  • Reward tiers breakdown
  • Budget detail and analysis


This is a first draft, and as such I'm expecting things to change. I'd love feedback from anyone, if been through Kickstarter or not, as I'm sure everyone will have a strong opinion on what they think is a good approach. As it is, I've apportioned my budget to the areas that I'm going to use it, and then talk about how I came to these preliminary decisions.

Section one: The goal

I've set my overall goal to be around £10,000. This takes into account 5 areas of predicted expenditure, the given "10% charge" of using Kickstarter, and 5% of funds apportioned to a definite "backup" pot. The distribution can be seen below.


What the Kickstarter money will go towards. [click 4 bigger]

Art + Programming: Both of these areas of the project are going to be done by me, so essentially this part of the budget is to fund a portion my own dedicated time to work on the project. With the rate of progress I have on this project at the moment, it will be a very long time before I can consider the project to be complete. The 28% of funding received towards these two areas will directly contribute to paying me a living wage to work on the game around my current job. This arrangement is yet to be decided (or formally discussed), but could take the form of 1 day off from my day job for X weeks, or a block of time off in one go to dedicate to the project. Without this funding, progress on the project will be much slower, and I will likely have to sacrifice content and scope to be able to complete the project. It should go without saying (but I'm going to state it anyway) that I'm still intending to work 'out-of-hours' on the game as much as I am now, which is to say, for a reasonable amount of unpaid hours per week.

Music + Sound effects: As you can hear in my

, I've found a great artist who agreed to be part of the project - and if the Kickstarter is successful then I will commission him to provide more tracks for the game. I recognise that my sound budget at the moment is quite low - despite my opinion that sound is massively important part of the overall experience to the player. Because of this, it's one of the first places that I'm considering either re-allocating 'leftover' funds or anything that I make above and beyond the original goal.

Promotion: I'd love to take the game to some small indie gaming expos, or perhaps some slightly-bigger-than-small events. I've put a loose 25% against this. Choosing the right value in this area is a hard balance - I think this has the benefit of potentially making the eventual launch of the game more successful, but as far as the backers are concerned could be considered an unnecessary use of funds that could be put directly towards active development of more content. I think 25% is a fair number, hopefully it's not considered too high, but it recognises to me the importance of that side of game development. After all, if the game does well enough at launch it could allow me to extend the content for the original backers to enjoy. Very interested to hear about other people's views in this area - I think strongly this should be recognised as a weighty and expensive part of game dev, but what do you think the general public think? I'm wondering whether being so open about it is 'acceptable' yet.

Reward fulfilment: I've stated this as 20%, but based on my preliminary research, this is quite a large overstatement of my expected costs. You can see the breakdown of this further in this post. I've put the figure as 20% (over an estimation of approx 12%), to take into account anything I've not considered, or unexpected problems in this area.

Section two: The rewards!

The below image is a snapshot of my current draft reward scheme. Things might change, and I'd be really interested to hear if other people who have contributed to a Kickstarter, or ran their own, to see if they seem reasonable.


Kickstarter reward tiers! [link 2 make readable]

Hopefully these tiers have a both an enticing smooth scale and fairly priced rewards - bearing in mind that the rewards can't be sold at cost price in order for the game to be funded. I'm tentative about the idea of granting beta access, but I can see it's the best way to earn extra funding seeing as there's no physical cost to doing so. Having a beta means that I have to get the game to a public-facing state earlier in development, which could be considered a setback in terms of forward momentum, also can be considered a good point to consolidate and reflect on the project at around the 75% mark. I'm nervous about doing one, but I think it's a worthwhile effort. Whenever I look at other Kickstarter projects, I love seeing rewards that have a personal and handmade touch. I think that people really value one-off, special gifts, that only they can get - as a special thankyou for helping me realise my dream project. This is why one of my lower tier rewards will be a hand-drawn postcard featuring an imagined scene from the game. Each one will be a different drawing, and signed, so I think it's a great reward!

The higher tiers include some more traditional rewards: posters, t-shirts, and being able to contribute to designs of mobs or mini-bosses or bosses! Contributing to the design of the game in such a way is a little compromise as originally I thought that I would exclusively want to design everything in the game myself - but I think if others are passionate about my project too then it's a great chance for a collaborative opportunity, and what's more really boosts the likelihood of the success of the Kickstarter! The last reward I'm currently considering is a high quality numbered screenprint, of art quality. I think that would be a fun reward to design and make, but I'm currently slightly hesitant as I've not brainstormed any designs yet.

For the pricing and cost/benefit distribution of the different tiers, I researched other successful Kickstarters to see two things; firstly an idea of what represents a good, gradual pricing distribution, and secondly to help to estimate how much revenue each tier might generate. The table below shows my current cost estimations versus what, as a rough estimate, the number of units that I could ship of each item.


Kickstarter budget analysis [click here 2 read]

The estimated revenue generation from sale of the physical items is actually relatively low - I was surprised to see my cost/profit mark-up dropping to below 50% on some items (including postage). That said, a 50% mark-up is good, it seems perhaps a large margin on these items, but at the end of the day I'm aiming to fund production of a video game, not just sell t-shirts and posters.

You might notice that in my budget, I've allocated 20% of the funding to go towards reward fulfilment, yet in this table, based on analysing other Kickstarters of a similar size, I've estimated the actual cost of fulfilment to be 11.5 of the total raised funds. I figure that almost doubling the funds allocated to this aspect of the project is the safest bet, as it gives a little money towards prototypes and also the possibility of unexpectedly higher numbers of pledges at those tiers. Perversely, whilst having a lot of pledges at these middle tiers would boost me towards the target goal faster (which is the point), it comes at a higher price to the project financially, as these cost more to produce. If everyone that backed the project went for just the beta version of the game (£15.00), then all of that funding can go directly into making the game even better!

Here is where things get kind of interesting - if I was to remove all the higher tier goals and run a Kickstarter that didn't provide any reward tiers higher than the £15 tier (beta access to the game), then the table could look like the below - assuming everyone that was interested in the £15 and up tier just settled for that top tier instead.


No physical rewards [more numbers click here]

What this 'shows', is that with that big assumption, I could reduce my goal by £2,000 and reduce my total number of pledges by ~70 (about 10%). Would this make my target easier to reach? Maybe. Maybe not. I think there are obvious fallacies with that proposal. Firstly, the psychology of investment; I don't think that just because I chop off the higher tiers automatically those investors would settle for the next highest one. Secondly, also psychologically, having those higher tiers makes the lower tiers seem less of an outlay for people. Hey - if presented with two options to help a project I like and times are tight, maybe I'd chip in for the lower of the two, whereas without the choice I may just be questioning backing at all... This is all getting complicated. In any case, I think that the spread of pledges would likely look more like this:


Which just goes to show that actually I might need more backers this way! And as a small lone voice in a crowded market - that sounds a lot harder. So the conclusion I've come to is that whilst it might inflate my goal, going to the effort of designing, producing, shipping these bonus rewards for my backers is totally worth it for two reasons:

  • It means I need less backers
  • I can give people awesome things to say thanks!


Really interested to see if this kind of breakdown is useful to people planning their own Kickstarters - or if anyone thinks I'm way off the mark! Hopefully sharing this kind of information is a benefit to the community, and does raise awareness of the costs and risks involved.

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supermega_peter
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« Reply #43 on: February 24, 2016, 03:10:26 PM »

I was really excited to see today that my trailer has now been viewed over 1000 times on YouTube!

If you haven't watched it yet you can check it out here:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=bk9BQZx7jFE

In other news, I spent a while today starting work on a new HD trailer for the Kickstarter - but only managed to create about 5 seconds of footage... it's going to be a lot of work!
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« Reply #44 on: February 25, 2016, 07:21:03 AM »

Have you tried posting that trailer on reddit? If you're lucky you could several thousand views in just a day Smiley
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« Reply #45 on: February 25, 2016, 07:56:35 AM »

I was really excited to see today that my trailer has now been viewed over 1000 times on YouTube!

If you haven't watched it yet you can check it out here:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=bk9BQZx7jFE

In other news, I spent a while today starting work on a new HD trailer for the Kickstarter - but only managed to create about 5 seconds of footage... it's going to be a lot of work!

I've watched it but I'll watch it again Smiley

I agree trailers are a lot of work. It's took me 2 weeks so far and I still barely have anything to show for  it  Cry
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« Reply #46 on: February 26, 2016, 10:08:37 AM »

Have you tried posting that trailer on reddit? If you're lucky you could several thousand views in just a day Smiley

Great idea Chrilley, I'll try it out over the weekend Smiley 

Thanks for checking out the trailer again guys - I'll put up some screens of the new WIP HD trailer later today or tomorrow
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« Reply #47 on: February 28, 2016, 06:44:16 AM »

I agree trailers are a lot of work. It's took me 2 weeks so far and I still barely have anything to show for  it  Cry

Can't wait to see yours! What are you using to capture game footage? I am struggling with my weak computer, it's making it more difficult to capture full HD 1900x1080 60fps footage. I'm considering buying a capture box to make the job a bit easier. At the moment I'm capturing it at the native resolution of the game (320x200 pixels) and upscaling it with no processing so it keeps the pixel art crisp. I've not captured much footage yet but I know it's giving me more work than otherwise.



Just thought I'd share a couple of thoughts about something I find quite interesting as I started mulling it over in my head this afternoon.

The second aspect to the gameplay of SUPER MEGA BEST CAT ADVENTURES (yes, all-caps is necessary Wink ) is that as well as battling wave after wave of enemies, you are also challenged with navigating a randomly generated maze.

I've implemented the random mazes with a simple depth-first algorithm, like this example from Wikipedia:



Video: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7d/Depth-First_Search_Animation.ogv

This type of maze creates quite interesting mazes - but carries the risk that there can be very long 'corridors' and if you take a wrong turn there might be a lot of backtracking required.


Other types of maze algorithms include Prim's algorithm - which produces mazes with much shorter corridors. This means that there are more 'dead ends' within the maze grid - but also means that if you take a path in the wrong direction then you won't have to do so much backtracking.



Video: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b1/MAZE_30x20_Prim.ogv



As you can read about on the Wikipedia article, you can tweak the generation routines to create different looking mazes, something I'd definitely like to come back to at some point.  Other ideas I've had around this include granting the player the ability to destroy maze walls so that they could cut corners if they wanted - I'm really keen on extending the challenge of the exploration phase of the game to make it more interactive. I think it could add really interesting layers of gameplay, adding a strategic challenge to time-attack modes or the like. The cool kids call it speedrunning nowadays.

If you are interested, you can read more about these maze algorithms here (P.S. it is totally super interesting): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maze_generation_algorithm
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« Reply #48 on: February 28, 2016, 01:32:58 PM »

Bonus update - two in one day! Hooray for 4 hour train journeys!

I've updated the design of my website homepage once more! It's been a bit of a fluid project, and I've been tweaking it loads as I've been moving forwards. After spending a little time to make and implement Twitter cards for each page (which makes sharing links from the site look great!), I had some perfect images to use as links to each news blog post. The previous design of the site just had every single news post printed in full on the front-page; which whilst super accessible, meant that now that I've got so many posts, made the site load a bit slow, especially with all the psychedeilc GIFs in each one! I've streamlined it and now each has a simple looking link to the other areas. This is the third website I've made now and I'm so pleased with how it's turned out. I'm happy that for now the design is finished.



Click here to take a look!



Last but not least - here's a couple teaser images from the HD trailer!





Click for bigger versions, maybe they'd make good wallpapers if you like weird shit
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« Reply #49 on: March 04, 2016, 02:32:14 AM »

I love how it hurts my eyes just a little bit but not so much that I have to lie down for too long afterwards  Blink v Blink
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« Reply #50 on: March 09, 2016, 01:21:22 AM »

Thanks and!

After trying to capture footage at the native resolution of the game (320x200px), and upscaling it to HD, I've come to the unfortunate conclusion that my machine still isn't powerful enough to capture footage in high enough quality.

I'll be looking into capture boxes over the next couple of weeks, and I'll share what I learn about those here.



For the time being, I'm enjoying experimenting with things for the video. It's amazing how working on the same project in a different context is helping me hone the aesthetic.

Here's a few quick animation experiments from this morning that I might use in one way or another in the new trailer.








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« Reply #51 on: March 13, 2016, 02:02:12 AM »

I got an elgato (it's what I recorded the trailer for Mable on) and it's good (and pretty good value for money)
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« Reply #52 on: March 28, 2016, 10:09:27 PM »

Thanks for the recommendation and, I've chosen to get an Elgato too! A personal recommendation goes a long way Smiley

I've done a little research too and will share my thoughts on the Elgato once I've given it a go.




Today is a good day! It feels good to make some solid progress after a few days of head scratching over one specific problem.

I've implemented two new things - and I'm super excited by both!

The first thing I've done is extend the routines that control the generation of random scenery. You can read about when I first implemented this feature earlier in the thread, or here.

I've tweaked the load functions, and added a new save function which kicks in automatically to update the positions of everything in each room. This means that I can now permanently modify the states and positions of existing objects, and add objects created as gameplay happens!

The first example of this is that I've added a little 'scorched-ground' sprite that gets created when the player dies to add weight to the death.


Player death explosions now leave a permanent scar where you died


Really excited about this change - for one the immediate feature I've put in is pretty fun, but secondly it's super extendible! This means that I can add/remove things at will as the game is happening, permanently adding, removing, or changing attributes of the scenery in the rooms! It's really simple to add things to this model so I hope to be able to add lots of methods of interactivity!

This feature was mildly awkward to implement, not helped by the frankly 'difficult-when-your-project-exceeds-a-certain-size' Fusion event editor, and that it was in an area I've not touched for a while. It was one of those amusing (maybe) fixes where you reset everything to how you thought you did it the first time round and then it works for some reason Wink

The second thing I've added is a little tweak to the maze generation to make the mazes more interesting! I've added some negative space - rooms that have no entrance defined. These rooms make the mazes feel more varied, instead of a maze that covers the entirety of the grid we now have differing patterns!







The first three mazes I generated after making the change.

In the images above, note how there's now some rooms that have no doors! I'm interested in potentially making these into secret areas that the player can enter with an as yet undecided ability.

Another couple of cool things to share include a fun thing that happened the other day; I found a little effect from 2 years ago that I'd completely forgotten about!



It's weird I've been working on this project for so long that I'd actually forgotten that I made that effect! I wonder what else I've got lurking in the code waiting for me to find..!

Finally, I added a new text prompt just to announce that the room you are in is complete! It's pretty simple at the moment and I might come back to it later.



ROOM CLEAR!

Wow, that's it I think! Often I feel like this project is crawling along, and then sometimes I sit down to write a new blog post not knowing what to write! Today I've been pleasantly surprised by everything I've managed to do in the last couple of weeks. Progress with the new HD video has halted a bit as I've been waiting on getting a new capture device - that's in the post now so I can't wait to get recording next week!

Thanks for reading if you got this far! I'm looking to talk to other game devs, catch me on Twitter if you're into that kind of thing!
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« Reply #53 on: April 02, 2016, 12:29:10 PM »

This keeps looking better!

I really love the marks you leave when you die, such a great little addition that I think will make a big difference!
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« Reply #54 on: April 02, 2016, 01:41:54 PM »

I am soooooo looking forward to playing this.

I don't care if I'm twitching on the floor in epileptic convulsions within a few minutes of gameplay...still gonna do it and come back for more.
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« Reply #55 on: April 03, 2016, 10:38:29 AM »

Thanks NoLocality! I'm really reaching for that feeling of overwhelming action and excitement by trying to pack the screen full of as much as I can in some fun and colourful ways! Hope I can keep you satisfied! Also I really hope I don't give seizures to anyone for real, I might have to put a warning on the game for people's safety..

This keeps looking better!

I really love the marks you leave when you die, such a great little addition that I think will make a big difference!

Cheers, I'm really excited about other little permanent changes I can store in each room too to make each play through feel unique and meaningful. By "meaningful" I mean to say that the chaos the player is causing or part of has a lasting impact in the environment, and then when backtracking through rooms you are reminded of the different situations and scenarios that took place!

I'm really pleased I've got a working framework for that in now! :D
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« Reply #56 on: April 03, 2016, 01:00:26 PM »

Psychedelic!
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« Reply #57 on: April 03, 2016, 05:57:51 PM »

omg yes, take me back to the 80's and slam my face into a CRT computer screen
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« Reply #58 on: April 04, 2016, 06:25:27 AM »

Thank you both!

omg yes, take me back to the 80's and slam my face into a CRT computer screen

I love this. It will now become my design ethos and I will think of this with every decision I make
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« Reply #59 on: April 05, 2016, 09:31:42 PM »

Update #Something

Took a little time this morning to jot out some notes on how to structure my Kickstarter project page. Looking at some other projects I like, I've distilled what I think is a concise layout that gives enough space to get people excited over the little details.

I took inspiration from some fantastic projects, including:
- Mable & The Wood - live now, please show your support!
- Invisigun Heroes
- Moonman

So, without any more fanfare, here's my first draft of my planned layout for the project page:

---

[Animated header image, including game logo]

Catchy 1 paragraph description of game

[Animated GIF of gameplay]

Bulletpoint summary of key features
- Key feature: Description of this key feature
- More Key features: Everything moves super quick and is super sweet
- Other cool things: Yes this is cool too

Gameplay elements
Illustrations of specific interesting mechanics with explanations

Platforms
State that the game will be PC only to start with, others possible via planned stretch goals.
- Big button: "Support on greenlight!"


SMBCA worlds (needs a catchier title)
  The enemies
  - many small gifs of cool dudes

  The music
  - embed soundcloud links, bio on sound designer

  The environments
  - different environments+scenery combinations, secret rooms

Influences and Inspirations
- A short paragraph about other games that inspired this project.

Why Kickstarter?
Short paragraph explaining that this project wouldn't be possible without extra help,
and how it lets me realise the game as best as possible. etc
  Cost breakdown
  - Pie chart
  - Explanation of where the money will go

Rewards
- A pretty list with nice pixel art drawings representing each tier. Image of reward if physical
- reward comparison table

---

I've also been mulling over the idea of tweaking the rewards that I could give people, and have been thinking that maybe some smaller rewards are worth considering too! I also like the idea of perhaps badges or mousepads with custom designs.

So currently, ideas I've got for rewards are, in order of expense:
- Be in credits, Wallpapers
- Game // Early bird reduced price
- Badges
- Mousepads
- Access to Beta
- Hand-drawn postcard
- Small Poster
- Big Poster
- T-Shirt
- Screenprint
- Design a mob
- Design a mini-boss
- Design a boss

I think adding these additional options around the lower tier levels might be helpful to reduce the price difference where possible, and get extra physical items in the lower end.

Really interested in what people think about my ideas so far! Thanks guys
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