Watching the Devastated Dreams campaign's progress.

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LobsterSundew
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Re: Watching the Devastated Dreams campaign's progress.

Post by LobsterSundew » Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:31 pm

662 backers are currently pledging $20,855.

July 22nd had 9 new backers. I didn't anticipate that decrease being so much. There is still hope that this dip will be temporary if the game gets some good coverage again.

Even if the dip is temporary, it is still probably enough of a reason to try to rally the backers. You have many experienced backers pledging to the project. There may be a perspective about the campaign that I am unaware of. It may take a coordinated group effort like a Thunderclap campaign to try to get out of a slump. What may be most important is getting a dialogue going because right now there isn't much talk happening.

Another daily Internet search only turned up demo playthroughs by Ch1ba and ToadieLee. Low exposure outside of Kickstarter is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. The Bitly link showed the lowest amount of sharing of all the days so far. There were no new comments on the project page. Even discussion on these forums has declined.

The Super Best Friends Play came back from Texas according to their recent podcast. Markiplier is now back from Comic Con. They made Neverending Nightmares videos, so hopefully they will make videos about Devastated Dreams.

The PR message broadcasted about the project may have to become an underdog story again. Other topics to potentially spark discussion are:
- Adapting another culture's folklore.
- Why isn't the campaign performing better.
- Game design about implementing horror.
- The personal story behind the game.
- The visual effects of the game.

Because this is a horor game, discussing horror is probably going to help the most. Maybe what is lacking is a strong enough reason for people to agree that Devastated Dreams is a game that has to be made.

Doing more interviews, participating on /r/gamedev, doing a Gamasutra guest post and other opportunities may need to be explored.

I don't know how big the percentage of Neverending Nightmares's backers were for receiving copies on Ouya. Adding Ouya support again could tap into those backers, but this may or may not be worth it. I didn't hear anything about people complaining about a lack of Ouya support for Devastated Dreams. The technical limitations of the Ouya would hold the game back too in what effects could be used.

Even with the decrease in momentum the campaign is still ranked 5th in popularity. Many of the worse ranked projects aren't doing very good. There really isn't many projects active right now that were able to spark my interest. I have lower standards about what is a decent game than some gamers, so if I'm not impressed it means a lot of people may not be impressed with what campaigns are live too. Most of the campaigns launching right now are really poorly executed. The low quality campaigns aren't really helping to generate much traffic to other active campaigns.

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matt
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Re: Watching the Devastated Dreams campaign's progress.

Post by matt » Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:06 am

This is all very good advice. I'll see what I can do interview wise, but usually you get one article per outlet, and I may have burned my polygon story to announce, my RPS story with the brief article, and my destructoid one on Monday. I always offer to do interviews, but I haven't gotten many chances. I think the best interview I did since the kickstarter's launch was Dirge Mag... I haven't gotten anyone at kotaku interested yet. Joystiq was very supportive last time around, but unfortunately they aren't around anymore... :(

I did get a hold of LordMinion, and he will hopefully do a playthough next week, which will hopefully help. I haven't heard back from PewDiePie or Markiplier.

Thank you for all your support!
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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evilkinggumby
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Re: Watching the Devastated Dreams campaign's progress.

Post by evilkinggumby » Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:20 am

ahh sorry to see it is starting to slow a bit. I hope things pick up and it's not a crazy mad dash to the end, that's always so much stress.

I've already chimed in back before the campaign went live with my suggestions for the focus and direction of the campaign, so i won't repeat myself or annoy you with em again. I'll just quietly keep an eye on things and hope for the best!
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Re: Watching the Devastated Dreams campaign's progress.

Post by matt » Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:21 am

I'm not sure that the pitch itself is the problem, which was my understanding of your feedback. It seems like we don't have enough eyeballs on the project. For Neverending Nightmares, we had 108,512 views and 3,608 total backers. That means 1 out of every 30 people who watched the video backed the project.

For Devastated Dreams we have 10,160 views and 665 backers. That means 1 out of every 15 people who watched the video backed the project. Perhaps that doesn't mean the pitch video is more effective because maybe our backers are mostly super-Neverending Nightmares fans. However, it does seem to indicate that the issue is not getting enough views.

I would say our shortcomings are in terms of press coverage, which is a challenge to engineer, and Let's Plays. I thought we'd do better with press than we are because I feel like the game is doing a lot of interesting things, but there hasn't been many bites and as Lobster pointed out the articles themselves aren't much more than a basic overview. With youtube Let's Plays, I've nagged popular streamers, so we'll see what happens, but we haven't seen the level of support we received on Neverending Nightmares.

As far as to why we aren't doing as well in those departments, I have a few theories:
1) The game just doesn't interest people the same way Neverending Nightmares did. Perhaps this is because the development story isn't as compelling, but if that were the main draw to the kickstarter campaign, I would have expected Neverending Nightmares to sell less once it was released. We didn't do amazingly, but there are almost 40k units of Neverending Nightmares out there (although many were sold at a discount and some in the Humble Weekly Sale). Perhaps no one wants to play as a pregnant Filipino woman. If that were the case, then I would have expected more negative comments, but as Lobster pointed out, we don't have a lot of comments in general. Maybe the issue is the art style. In my eyes, we did a totally new art style for Devastated Dreams, and one which took us months to develop. I am really happy with it, but a lot of people say it's the same art style as Neverending Nightmares. In fact, I got into a bit of an argument with Indie on his twitch stream about whether it was. I guess we should have switched to pixel art or something. :'(
2) PAX was huge for generating buzz for the previous project, and we are hurting because we don't have that. PAX is an amazing promotional event, but unfortunately, it is right around my child's due date, and even if I have to give up on Devastated Dreams (which probably will be the case if this campaign fails), it isn't worth missing the birth of my first born.
3) I expected more repeat backers from Neverending Nightmares. We'll have to run the numbers again (I think it was previously 2/3rds), but as I mentioned earlier, we haven't gotten that many backers total, so even if 100% of our current backers were from Neverending Nightmares, I still would have expected we'd get more.
4) It's harder to do a kickstarter these days. I'm not saying there is kickstarter fatigue. That seems ridiculous given the success of Shenmue 3 and the indie project XO is currently doing better than us, but I think it requires more thought into pre-marketing. Perhaps the 5% to Square Enix Collective was worth it for XO. Perhaps we should have made sure to get more quality articles and interviews about the game before launching. I do think the press are more reluctant to cover kickstarter campaigns these days. We got a crazy amount of mentions for Neverending Nightmares' campaigns - even for some that weren't really news worthy (like our add ons), but we haven't gotten many interviews for Devastated Dreams. I imagine I could have done a better job with the press, but I had hoped that they would come out in support of our project.

Obviously, it's not over until the fat lady sings, but we have a much tougher fight ahead of us than on Neverending Nightmares, and that was a really tough fight... I'm not giving up on Devastated Dreams, and hopefully you won't too, but we need to get way more eyeballs on this project for it to happen!

Lobster - what do you think? Is that a fair assessment? Thank you so much for all your suggestions and analysis.
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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evilkinggumby
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Re: Watching the Devastated Dreams campaign's progress.

Post by evilkinggumby » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:46 pm

I guess we should have switched to pixel art or something. :'(
Ok now i need to slap you.. LOL. THANK YOU for not doing pixel art and trying something different. even though i am not totally 100% in love with it (though i love it more now that i saw the scenes without the darkness effect) i love it 10,000 more than the rash of pixel art everyone is apeing.

I haven't read through all the articles covering it currently out there but what seems to be the general vibe/angle to them so far? is there a "story" or a scoop they're trying to hook readers in with or is it literally " New game coming out" and nothing else?
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Re: Watching the Devastated Dreams campaign's progress.

Post by matt » Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:54 pm

Well, basically since the initial announcement interview, (which I thought was quite good) most of the press has just been "hey there's a new kickstarter by the creator of Neverending Nightmares. Here is a little bit of info. Check out the kickstarter". While that is not bad, I think it lacks the hook that a lot of the Neverending Nightmares coverage had. This may be my fault. Perhaps I should have been more "hook-y" in my correspondence with press, but in my mind, there are a few different hooks for the game, and maybe by presenting them all briefly rather than picking one and talking a lot about it, I failed to hook them.

What do you guys find most interesting about Devastated Dreams? Maybe that is the issue. When I was at PAX, I got to refine my pitch process based on what people seemed interested in, so maybe I just did a bad job making the case for this game. I thought with the demo and our track record, it would speak for itself, but I guess I overestimated that. :(
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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RightClickSaveAs
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Re: Watching the Devastated Dreams campaign's progress.

Post by RightClickSaveAs » Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:58 pm

Aside from the fact that it's another game being made by you, which I'm already on board because the NN Kickstarter experience was so good to be a part of, specifically in this one the Filipino folklore is the most unique and attention grabbing hook to me. From what I've seen you've done a good job at hitting that part of the game, but maybe it could be focused on even more?

The pregnancy fears I can't relate to personally, but I can definitely see that angle, and that part seems sold well too.

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Re: Watching the Devastated Dreams campaign's progress.

Post by LobsterSundew » Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:42 pm

671 backers have pledged $24,430. July 23rd also received 9 new backers, backers upgrading helped bring in more than the previous 6 days individually brought in.

$10,339 to go until 30% funded.

For coverage there was Kickstart Ventures, Game Gods, Liam Pack, Dooms and Soy Sangre. Still not as much as other days.

The Thunderclap page currently has 30 out of the 100 needed supporters. The August 3rd end date was a good choice.

Nevereneding Nightmares' 108,512 views divided by the 34 days it ran is an average of $3,192 views per day. Its view counter may be higher than it actually was if the views after the campaign ended are still being accumulated. Dividing the number of views Devastated Dreams has by the number of day it has ran so far produces a much lower average.

Shenmue 3 drained the wallets of a lot of regulars for the category. Others are pouring a lot into the struggling RED ASH which suffered from Mighty No.9 not delivering yet. XO is catering to a specific strategy niche that hasn't been well fulfilled recently so it is seeing good demand.

What surprised me the most was that the press coverage was often regurgitation of the press release. There is so much content they could have explored. Devastated Dreams is from a project creator that actually shipped a crowdfunded game that wasn't far behind schedule (That is rare). They could have commented on "Will gamers accept a pregnant protagonist?". Because there are so few comments there is not much to get feedback from. I find the monsters are the big attraction and some of the few comments that can be found are about the Filipino folklore being cool.

Another thing is how little the backers are promoting it and chatter among each other about the game. When a lit match is dropped into dry grass a fire spreads quickly. I can compare this to a project like SUPERHOT where it becomes a "Shut up and take my money" moment and rushing to text friends to check it out. When a lit match is dropped into water-logged lawn the fire may not spread at all. This is more what is happening with Devastated Dreams. While some press was achieved, the people who saw that press didn't seem to really propagate the information to others. Even negative comments could be helpful to figure out what the problem is.

If there was a glaring problem with the page I could see like a horrible project thumbnail or broken reward tiers, I would have pointed them out. When the problem is simply exposure it isn't as easy to do a quick fix.

Markiplier and many other horror gaming Let's Players are going to be putting in long hours trying to rush to the complete ending of Five Night's at Freddy's 4 because that game is going to generate them a lot of advertising revenue.

The project timing in hindsight is not starting to look worse than what it looked like before the launch. July and August are some of the weaker months, but not bad enough to prevent the campaign from getting funded. A strong campaign like XO can still see great success. It had a very large amount of pre-launch marketing, so many people knew it was coming, and there was also a big launch party in Portland with multiple game developers present. I get to see everything that launches in the video games category on Kickstarter. This July is feeling worse than other years for the lack of strong medium sized campaigns. Most of the traffic for Shenmue 3 was in its first half of its run. It is like when a movie theater with no good movies playing the attendance can decline. There really isn't a big superstar campaign pulling a large crowd of people to the category right now. The category itself seeing slowdown adds to the problem of declining external exposure.

What may be the biggest threat right now is that a large chunk of regular backers do not pledge to projects they aren't already sure are going to reach 100% funded. Devastated Dreams needs that 30% tipping point to convince them not to sit on the sidelines. Backers from outside of Kickstarter would be needed to put the campaign in a good enough position that those hesitating Kickstarter regulars decided to jump onto the campaign.

I plan to have new graphs tomorrow.

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Re: Watching the Devastated Dreams campaign's progress.

Post by evilkinggumby » Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:23 am

I think what Lobstah is saying makes a lot of sense. He is looking at it with a good analitical eye and you can see a number of potential factors in play. I personaly think in addition to that the issue is the lack of an emotional "hook" or story. It seemed (to me) like a lot of people latched onto the first game both because it was horror, had a unique compelling art style, but also was a personal expression and journey for Matt to look at his own mental issues and "nightmares" and give them form. That is a HUGE difficult feat and so plenty of folk wanted to rally behind you and see you succeed. You also have all the kids who also HAVE mental issues (or feel like they do) who liked the idea of a game that might address and empathise with their plight.

This new campaign has an decent art style, but it doesn't go significantly above and beyond what the other game did, and whereas it is personal for Matt, it doesn't really emphasize how critical or necessary it is to him. I know I've bugged you on this plenty of times before so I won't belabor the point. I just think this game feels less like a "I need to make this to try and hang onto my humanity, please help me on my journey" and more like " I have some fears being a new expecting parent and they seem kool for a game". I don't mean that to mock, but as an honest observation. This feels like you are selling a kool concept, not a personal journey. Because of this, there is less of a "hook" that can be explained in articles. All that is left is the fact you play a pregnant woman as the main character, and whereas folk seem ok or to like that idea, few seem totally intrigued or excited about it. The general reception I've seen from folk that are not returning NeN fans is a very middle-of-the-road "meh". not disappointed necessarily, but also not really excited or enthusiastic. just take it or leave it. and because of that no one is pressing friends to check it out or passing the word on.

One thing to try and consider would be to engage your audience. Talk to them and address them directly as if you were sitting at a con or in a room and discussing the game. talk about common problems with pregnancy and childbirth. ask if they were told they had a difficult birthing, or if they knew of people that had serious trouble. Get your audience to really think about their friends and relatives, and their own stories and imagine how they could apply to the game. And if possible invite them to join your forums and the discussion to talk about those stories with you and your team so that they MIGHT become part of the finished game. THAT could really get folk interest. because it makes it more personal, and makes it something of a "mission" game like NeN or that dragon cancer or the hole story.

when i kept saying you needed a "hook" or an angle to the game, this is the kind of stuff i meant. As an example: If the game (visually) was leaps beyond the first game, like shifting to cell shaded black and white 3d, that would likely be enough to pull in the masses, easily most of NeN's supporters. But it isnt, it is an incremental step, and so not easily noticed by common eyes. Anyone less than thrilled with NeN is not likely to come back because it feels so much like NeN at first. Now if this new project really felt like it is significant, important, personal, or a vast(read:obvious to the lay person) improvement....

You have a lot explained in your diaries that shows it is a cut above NeN in various areas. But at this point it may be that those details are being spread too thin across all your videos and people won't sift through them to get said info and back it. At this point I'd almost want a "sizzle reel" that kind of pinpoint focuses on all the improvements, innovations, and personal investments the game has and see if you can do an interview with a major site that could link to that reel as a reference to the article. That could help it POP and if you give them a hint, something juicey and unique no other site has, like an anecdotal story about a scare you and your wife had, or even a friend's story that will influence the game, that gives them more to work with and gives other news sites a reason to steal the story and reprint it for clicks.
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Re: Watching the Devastated Dreams campaign's progress.

Post by LobsterSundew » Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:55 pm

Here are updated graphs:
http://i.imgur.com/IfLOQ6Y.png

The amount of unallocated funding jumped significantly. There is also a new $1,000 tier backer. The $250 and $350 tiers also did better recently.

Siliconera posted about the game.

I didn't get as much done tonight as I planned.

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