Special Message from Nathan
Hours to Go! Read this:
This game is my life's passion, and I am very grateful to all who have backed my project so far. I've been very pleased to hear so many positive comments about Island Forge in news, reviews, forums, here at Kickstarter, and most recently in the Steam Greenlight community.
I listen to everyone's comments, and take your suggestions seriously. Even though comments are almost always positive about the game, the most requested suggestion is to move away from subscription-based billing.
My stretch goals already focus on providing more free-play and non-subscription options, but I am ready to go that direction right away. Even if I only reach my base goal, I will pursue some way to provide more free-play/non-subscription gameplay.
It all hinges on having the funding I need to support the game while the community comes together. My sincere thanks for all the community interest in Island Forge!
A World of Player-Created Content. Create Islands with Stories for Others to Explore. The Brand-New Old-School MMORPG.
Thank you for your interest in Island Forge! As mentioned in my Kickstarter video above, I'm Nathan Baughman, the sole developer of Island Forge, as well as the founding member of Potential Games LLC.
It's just me here, and I greatly appreciate (and need) your support to bring Island Forge to life. Island Forge is more than just a game project to me; it's the culmination of my life's passions.
I designed Island Forge to appeal to creative players who enjoy participating in an engaging community. They're out there (I've been finding them one-by-one), but I need your assistance to kickstart the community.
Island Forge features classic (old-school) RPG elements, with a unique (brand-new) game design. Explore player-created islands and stories, fight creatures, craft items, and level up with a unique health-based experience system.
You can meet others in town and form party expeditions to explore and fight creatures. You can also go solo to follow stories at your own pace. Choose your level of peril when setting out on each expedition, or even choose no peril. Earn resources to craft weaponry, potions, spells, and other equipment for your character.
See the Gameplay page to learn more about the unique gameplay.
Island Forge is all about player-created content. Create islands and author interactive stories. Use the intuitive Island Builder to lay out your terrain, scenery, and town, author interactive dialogue, and publish your islands to the world for everyone to explore!
Visit the Atlas page to see some islands players have already created!
Island Forge v1.0 shows what I can deliver with very modest means, and there is a lot more potential in Island Forge. My immediate focus is to reach creative players to build the Island Forge community.
See the Goals below for a roadmap of where I want to take Island Forge.
Many role-playing games on Kickstarter reward contributors with in-game characters, or name locations after you, or let you write part of the story. Since Island Forge is a world of player-created content, you can do all that yourself, just by playing!
Island Forge is a community-centric game, and I welcome the opportunity to connect with those who support the game, so I look forward to the chance to say hello and hear what you think.
I also think it's neat to put Island Forge images on merchandise, so please give me the opportunity to customize something for you! (Note that I am not an artist, but I've become moderately proficient at image editing.)
The Island Forge Shoppe is a CafePress site. Reward items from the Shoppe will be ordered by me and shipped to you via CafePress or myself (I will require your contact information). For shipping outside the US, I may require that you provide additional customs information and shipping cost.
It is imperative to reach as many potential players as I can, in a timely manner, and your support will allow me to reach those creative individuals who will establish the Island Forge community.
The following goals form a roadmap of where I want to take Island Forge. Just reaching the base goal would greatly benefit Island Forge and would mean a great deal to me.
The higher goals show my plans for the future of Island Forge. Reaching the stretch goals (not to mention the dream goals) will be really exciting, and will allow me to realize the full potential of Island Forge.
Base goal: $4,000
These funds will allow me to establish a marketing budget, which will greatly enhance my ability to reach potential player communities.
I have experience using Google AdSense and Project Wonderful ad systems, and will run campaigns targeting the indie game community, as well as the creative storytelling community (Project Wonderful has a strong Web comic following). Facebook ads are also a consideration.
I have researched game-specific press release services, and will use these to help distribute news of Island Forge directly to reviewers and other press services. (I have also researched professional press release consultants, but I feel it is more important at this stage to spend the budget on direct distribution of my message.)
Stretch goal: $8,000
In addition to the above marketing, which takes place mostly at my desk, I'd like to reach out more directly to players.
I'm a fan of local game shops, where people can get together (in real life) to play strategy board games, customizable card games, role playing games, miniature games, and such. Shop owners are helpful in promoting activities that involve creative community involvement. Some shops have computers for customers to play multiplayer online games. I will contact game shops and send them a small promotional display and other items.
I would also like to attend at least one game conference, where I can set up a booth to meet with players and introduce myself and get to know others in the games industry. This goal will allow me to pay for the space, as well as produce other materials to promote the game, including an Island Forge banner.
Stretch goal: $16,000
Many online games advertise a free-to-play mode. Unlike large game publishers, I don't have the means to run the game for free. Supporting free players increases server and other costs. I currently offer a 30 day free trial, followed by a subscription requirement.
At this level of funding, I will be able to market Island Forge as free-to-play for six months (thanks to support from the Kickstarter community). This will help bring more players into the game, and give the community more time to take hold.
Stretch goal: $32,000
At this level of funding, I will offer a free-to-play option for ONE YEAR. During this time, I will pursue ways to continue a free-to-play option indefinitely, such as introducing micro-payment options, pay-what-you-like features, or other forms of non-subscription revenue, without compromising the gameplay.
Such payment systems add complexity, which were beyond the scope of the 1.0 release, but could be undertaken at this level of contribution. I feel this would give me the best chance of establishing a strong player base for Island Forge.
With this solid foundation, I can also guarantee the release of a version 1.1 expansion, with a number of gameplay and island building features players have requested (and maybe even realize some of the creative ideas I'm still keeping up my sleeve).
Lofty goal: $64,000
Although pocket change to large companies running online games, $64,000 sounds like a lot of money to me, and I can make it count where it matters most: directly to the players.
With this contribution, I can immediately start to take Island Forge to the next level. My first priority is still to establish the community, and I will have even more ability to leverage the above goals.
To support more players, I will upgrade the hosting to more capable servers, which also allows me to run a test/beta server. As new game features are introduced, they can be released for players to test, so I can get direct feedback from the community.
I will be able to solidify plans for expansions beyond version 1.1, with as many player-requested (and yet undisclosed) features as practical. I already have plans for many potential features and enhancements beyond 1.0, and this level of funding would place the whole project on track to deliver these features over the coming year.
Dream goal: $128,000
My goal has always been to provide a professional product, and I'm proud of what I have accomplished thus far. With this level of support, I can budget for developers, artists, and other professional services to improve the players' overall experience.
I have plans to bring more social interaction outside of the game itself, on the islandforge.com site and via other social sites. I would like to work with an experienced Web developer to implement these features.
I would also like to work with an artist to produce custom tilesets and other graphic enhancements to enrich the world and provide players more island design content. I like the feel of Island Forge, and I do not intend to change the atmosphere of the game, but there are certainly some aspects that can be better executed by an artist creating graphics specifically for this purpose. (Most of the graphics in Island Forge are used under open licenses, and adapted to my custom game engine by myself.)
Dream goal: $256,000
Whereas the above goal focuses on enhancements outside the game software itself, at this level of contribution, I will be able to work with developers with specific areas of game software expertise, such as graphic performance, visual enhancements, user interface, special effects, and sound, as well as other technical fields such as scalability, in order to further enhance features of the game itself.
I have also researched online customer support services, which might be feasible to use at this level, to better serve customer needs (beyond seeking assistance on the player forum).
Ultimate(*) goal: $500,000
At this seemingly unattainable goal, I pledge that Island Forge shall be free-to-play forever, and I will do my best to continue to support the community and enhance the game, for as long as we both shall live.
(*) Ultimate implies the top, but whether this is the final tier is entirely up to you! This is way beyond my immediate expectation, but I've enjoyed plotting out the future, and I hope it shows that, although lofty, these goals are very realistic and achievable. Nonetheless, I will be entirely satisfied with attaining my initial humble request, which will give Island Forge the attention it deserves to find its community and eventually achieve those dream goals.
Thank you so much for your support of my passion.
Please help me spread the word about Island Forge and this Kickstarter project! Your comments and questions are most welcome.
Yes! Island Forge v1.0 is released and fully playable! See http://islandforge.com
I (Nathan) am the founding member of Potential Games LLC (and sole developer of Island Forge). I take this project very seriously, and I formed the company so that everything could be handled as professionally as possible.
Your money goes directly to Potential Games LLC, not to me personally. The business account is already set up with Amazon Payments (which processes Kickstarter funds).
Island Forge is available for Linux, Mac, and Windows. I encourage you to register for the free trial period, and try it on your computer!
Island Forge is entirely custom. I have developed everything (client, server, protocols, persistence, rendering) from scratch in the Java Programming Language.
For fellow developers out there: Island Forge has no external dependencies outside the Java Runtime Environment, Standard Edition.
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