FAQ: Some Concerns Addressed & FAQ's Added
So, as I understand it some people have concerns over helping fund a PC game. Before too many people form permanent opinions, I thought I'd talk about that here.
Our Kickstarter page is focused on making a PC demo--once that's done we have the weapon we need to land a publishing deal or deep-pocket VC funding and finish the full game.
The KS campaign promises in the stretch goals that we'll make a PC game and we will because no matter what console publishing opportunities arise, the game will already run on PC because we develop on PCs. It doesn't make financial sense to not test that and ship that PC game--the potential upside is huge. There are so many features and so many more maps, characters, weapons and gear that we could make and everyone will get to enjoy them on any/all platforms. So rather than try to fund the not insignificant costs of console development up front just to make a console-only demo--let's say for PS4 in this case--we're going to get the game running on PC. And then find the right partner to take it to consoles.
I know a lot of SOCOM fans want a PS4 version. We are more than excited about making that happen but we feel it is unrealistic to ask you for additional funds at this stage when the development platform is PC anyway. All content and code originate there--my philosophy is that we should spend the time making the demo better and more polished rather than spend time and money on a port to a console that we know will work.
Still, for the sake of argument, we’ve updated the stretch goals to show you what it will cost to finish the game, including a PS4 version, which is a bargain budget for a good shooter.
So bottom line, we launched on Kickstarter to get the funding to make the demo to get the funding to make the game. With the game in production all sorts of target platform scenarios emerge. And as I've stated before, I want as many people as possible to enjoy the games I make. Why wouldn't we create a PS4 version since there is huge interest in it? We just don’t want to ask you to assume all the risk up front. So help us out getting our demo made and we’ll get the game on as many platforms as possible.
Also added to the FAQ section at the bottom of our main project page.
Games are expensive to make. How can you make H-Hour with the small amounts of money you’re asking for?
First we are bringing together a team that has worked together before on other game projects—heavy hitters with many years of industry experience. These are no-nonsense guys who produce lots of great content fast. Second, we’ve eliminated the bureaucracy, internal overhead, and politics that drive up project costs when you’re part of a very large company--basically all the reasons that indie studios cite as reasons for their success, at least in part. Finally, we choose to work in a part of the country that is significantly less expensive in terms of cost of living. Money goes farther here. Second finally, we only need a small amount from Kickstarter to leverage into a lot more funding from VC firms.
What experience does the team have? Who are these people?
At this stage we can’t reveal the names of the team because many of them want to keep their day jobs until we’re ready to begin production. But we can tell you that the average game industry experience level is over ten years per person with team members having worked for Eidos, SquareEnix, Ubisoft, Sony Computer Entertainment of America, Looking Glass Studios, Midway, and others. Military shooter projects in which we’ve held important positions include America’s Army, SOCOM and Rainbow Six while our practical experience across game genres is extensive.
Why the stretch goals?
As an independent developer we face many challenges. Not surprisingly, money tends to liquidate those challenges. It just freaking dissolves them down into their much less menacing constituent molecules which we can then turn into useful stuff like more maps, more weapons, and more features. So while we intend to make this game no matter how many challenges remain after our Kickstarter campaign, we have to have at least a little funding to secure a lot more funding. Make sense? Maybe not, but we look at it this way: We need to finish our demo to prove that we know how to make a fun and probably more importantly, pretty-looking game. This is what VCs need to see before they’ll pony up the big money that takes us all the way to shipping a finished game. Awesome! That’s what the minimum funding target gives us: something great to show and proof that a lot of people are interested in the game we’re making. Makes sense now, right? So why are we asking for more funding through Kickstarter?
Any pledges beyond the minimum we need for our showcase demo allow us to make a better showcase demo. More features, more content, more time to polish. The better the initial demo, the better the terms we can negotiate with prospective VCs and that means that down the road we have even more freedom to create the kind of game we all want with fewer obstacles. But after a certain point in reaching stretch goals, a magical thing happens: We don’t have to ask VCs or anybody else for money. What’s that mean?
That means that we just make the game and answer only to you. And this is the path that gets the game made the fastest and with the least compromises. That’s why the stretch goals.
Why ship direct and no publisher?
Publishers tend to ask for a lot in return for their investment money. For example, many expect most of the back end and ownership of the intellectual property. Operating under those conditions, we might as well just go work for a publisher internally. Of course every stretch goal we reach puts us in a stronger position to negotiate more favorable terms with a publisher should we ever take that approach. Publishers often do a great job in marketing and public relations so there’s certainly room for a partnership down the road. The more people we can reach, the more players you have to game with.
Why are you based in Southern Pines, NC?
After Tom's 20 year military career he retired just outside of Ft. Bragg, NC in Southern Pines, NC to be close to family and battlefield friends. It made no sense to relocate the company when so many things were perfect for a tactical shooter gaming studio. Not only do you have Raleigh, NC and the multiple gaming studios and talent from the Research Triangle area but the studios is just a stone's throw away from the most popular and decorated military post in the world, Ft. Bragg, NC, home of the Airborne and Special Operations Forces. So, Why Southern Pines, NC? Why the hell not!
Additionally, the cost of operating a studio is significantly lower in the South with a strong talent pool to be found just up the road in the Golden Triangle region of North Carolina. Finally, we recognize that the slower pace of a small southern town is a welcome change to many industry veterans accustomed to living in large cities with big city problems such as traffic, crime, pollution, noise and elevated living expenses.
Here’s an interesting fact. According to the government-prepared document “Thrive in North Carolina”, the average North Carolina worker is 36% more productive than the average U.S. worker. Take that, California. Must be something in the water down here.
What’s your stance on free to play?
Personally, I think that’s a misnomer since you pay for everything at some point. Our stance is you never pay to win. Nor will you have to grind obsessively to earn most of the same swag that your “rich” friends bought with a credit card. Why? Because that totally sucks and we think it’s wrong.
The core game is perfectly playable at competitive level without you having to spend a dime more than the purchase price. And if you supported us here on Kickstarter at the $20 tier or above you’ll be receiving a copy of the game in exchange. Plus if you fund more now during the campaign, you’ll receive future DLC for free too.
What will the gameplay be like?
Well, if you played the early SOCOM games, you have a good idea already. So sort of that, but evolved and more polished. Tight controls, distinctive map design, first and third person support, realistic ballistics, one shot kills, high-grade authenticity, team work required to win, and a touch of humor (which you could find in those early SOCOM games if you looked)—but with much more robust community and online tools. And I fully intend to include ideas that were so shocking, so crazy back in my SOCOM days that I was afraid to speak them out loud. Which is cool because that means that we own those ideas and can build them into H-Hour.
Will there be private servers?
Absolutely. On private servers we intend to give you as many game customization options as possible. Ranked games occur only on our open servers.
Can I play over LAN?
Of course. It’s hard to inspire a LAN party if your game doesn’t support it.
Will there be a single player campaign?
Yes, totally. Our first goal is to build and launch our core multiplayer game and community tools. At the same time we release DLCs we will be working on the single player campaign. This campaign is narrative-driven and is inspired by the true stories of Special Operations Forces veterans. We have to change some specific details to avoid breaching national security but these single player missions are as authentic as permitted by law and our sense of patriotism.
How will the community be involved?
If you’ve followed us on our forum, you probably noticed that we embrace and encourage community input. Most times their suggestions are in line with what we’re planning but sometimes the community inspires us to try something different. In any event, we’re making the game for the community, to grow the community, and to, hopefully, make being part of a gaming community a more rewarding experience.
In addition to continuing to listen to and engage in public forums, we plan to create a private forum for everyone who helps us through Kickstarter at the $100 level and above. If you’re serious enough to put up that kind of cash, we’re professional enough to consider and respect your opinion.
Will I be able to play internationally?
Absolutely. Friendships and camaraderie does not recognize international boundaries and neither does H-Hour. In fact, we think gaming should encourage people to be more social, particularly with new friends that aren’t necessarily “from around here.”
How will I get my game?
H-Hour will be distributed digitally via a major distribution provider such as but not necessarily Steam.
What are the system requirements?
Too early to be definitive on this. We will announce the target minimum requirements and recommendations in a later update here.
What type of server support is planned for outside the USA?
The only ways to "resolve" latency issues (they never totally go away) is to have geolocational servers in the main hubs of traffic, i.e. North America, South America, Asia (includes Australia), Europe and so on. We will have to get the North American servers up and running first just to test the core game. We will need to investigate a service provider to help us set up and maintain servers on other continents. Of course this is exactly the sort of thing a publisher will do for us, but we can't promise more than the intention to support geolocational servers at this time.
What languages will you support?
Initially English. We will support additional languages if there is enough interest. Most of the interface will be iconic so navigation should not require an exceptional command of the English language.