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Castle Story is a voxel-based creative strategy game about building castles brick by brick and defending them against enemies.
27,060 backers pledged $702,516 to help bring this project to life.

Kickstarter diary number two : Days to come

(this update has also been posted in our blog, click here to read the original)

Hi folks! 

We’ve spent the week getting back on our feet, after a pretty eventful weekend. Bascially, sending emails to dozens of people, answering hundreds upon hundreds of email, and deciding what we should do in the near future. 

Speaking of which, we would like to take some time to answer a number of recurrent questions that have been popping in our inbox in large numbers.

I don’t have a credit card! How do I pledge? Can I pay with Paypal? 

Unfortunately, we have no control over the way Kickstarter works. We’ve spent the last 4 months going through the complicated steps require to sign up for a Kickstarter, so we know what it feels like to deal with Amazon Payments. 

But do not despair! We are currently working on a system that would allow people to donate via a widget on our own website! It’s pretty complicated to set up, especially if we want to distribute rewards similar to what we offer on Kickstarter, so don’t expect it to be online soon. But within a week, hopefully, everything should be ready to go. 

If everything goes well, the widget should be super easy to use, allowing you to donate via Paypal and/or a large number of payment options!

I want a t-shirt AND a poster! Why don’t you have more reward tiers? 

You’re absolutely right! We’ve decided there should be more reward options. So we’re now introducing 3 new reward tiers: 

  • $30 - Get TWO COPIES OF THE BETA as well as two names in the game (yours and a second one of your choice) 

This one is pretty self explanatory. For those of you who want to offer a copy of the game to a friend, this reward is for you!

  • $45 - Get TWO COPIES OF THE PROTOTYPE as well as TWO COPIES OF THE BETA. You also get two names in the game (yours and a second one of your choice) 
Same principle as #1, but you get two copies of the prototype as well. Note that the prototype will NOT have multiplayer, so this reward tier isn’t meant to be a “team” pack. 

  • $80 - Get one T-SHIRT of your choice, one POSTER of your choice as well as the PROTOTYPE, the BETA and your name in the game.

Finally! You can now get a t-shirt of your choice as well as one of the two posters! More choice is better, right? 


Regarding the other reward tiers, we’ve been getting a lot of comments about how badly forumlated they are. Kickstarter does not allow rewards to be modified after launch, so there isn’t much we can do. This brings me to the next question: 

The first reward is confusing! Do I have to pay for the game again when it goes out of Beta? 

Dear god no! If you donated 15$ or more, you own the game when it comes out! We use the term Beta to say that you will be getting the game early, and we use the term pre-release price because once the game releases, it will likely cost more than 15$ for people who haven’t contributed to our Kickstarter. 

As for the protype, remember that this is a limited demo version we will be sending out exclusively to our 25$-and-up Kickstarter backers. Once the Beta releases, there won’t be a point to keep the prototype because the Beta will likely be bigger and better in every way possible. 

The reward tiers say estimated delivery date in August, does that mean the game is ready now? 

Ok, let me be frank, we’re stuck with the reward descriptions we’ve written. We wrote August because technically, the Kickstarter ends on the 26th. But in all likelihood, it won’t be ready until September. 

The huge size of our Kickstarter is putting significant strain on our small team. We’ve been getting so many email and requests, that we are having a hard time working on the actual game these days. We’re at 400% of our goal and will probably reach 500% by the end of the month, so this means that we are required to put 400% as much effort managing everything than we originally planned for and it will probably last until the very end of the Kickstarter. So as close as we are to releasing the prototype, the Kickstarter is also slowing us down considerably. 

Our milestone (accounting for all possible delays) is to release something in time for the IGF submissions which is on October 17th. Ideally we would still release somethings earlier than that, but if anything happens, you are guaranteed some kind of release by that time. 

 Do you have any stretch goals? 

This is a tricky question. What are stretch goals anyway? Some kind of scheme to motivate more people to donate? 

I don’t really like the concept of promising more features on a whim. We’ve been working on that game for the last two years of our lives, often on the verge of starving, and constantly depending on parents and friends to support us. This game is our baby, and we will push it as far as we can. 

I don’t think there’s any feature we could promise that we don’t want to do already. We’re a small team, exploring a game idea that has never been tried before, so we will get as far as we humanly can. 

There’s also the fact that the game is in the middle of development (opposed to a game that hasn’t been started yet), so the concept of adding features that late is really strange. 

Anyway, I think it would be dishonest to hold back features we already wanted to do, in order to get more people to pledge. This is why we don’t have stretch goals, to us it feels just like day 1 DLC, and we don’t like that.

[edit] However, I would like to add that we still plan on hiring our community manager, musicians, artists, accountants and a lot of people who can help us develop the game more easily so we can deliver a game that is, simply put, better.

In conclusion 

That’s it for now. This update is getting pretty long anyway. We’ll get back to you next week with some videos and some more pictures, so stay tuned! 

Before we go, we’ve just updated the third t-shirt design, as well as creating a wallpaper for it. 

Remember! Don’t dig too deep! 

[Download Link]

The Sauropod Team

Comments

    1. Creator fakishan on November 29, 2012

      Ignore my previous post, there was confusion on my part, but for good reason. Waiting for beta :)

    2. Creator fakishan on November 24, 2012

      I have backed this project, and it was a mistake. Still cannot get ahold of the beta and of course no replies from sauropod. Their beta download management is so bad, I don't even want to see the game anymore.

    3. Creator Doktor Jones on August 11, 2012

      P.S.: If you limited it to the $50+, that would be a good way to get me to up my pledge! *wink* *wink*

    4. Creator Doktor Jones on August 11, 2012

      i'd love to see physical media as a stretch goal, say if the KS reaches the $500k or $600k mark. You could limit it to the $50+ tiers (so you don't have to deal with the confusion of the double-sets and whether they'd get two box copies). Such a stretch goal wouldn't be "adding features to the game", nor would it be "holding back on a feature" -- simply put, the extra KS money would go towards the expense of publication (designing/printing the box, compiling/manufacturing the media, etc).

    5. Creator paul clowes on August 8, 2012

      It's great to have a physical copy I prefer it.
      Thanks to greats application like dos box etc you can play games from years ago, so long as you kept theh media!! Still an .exe could be burnt to DVD (download only games installers can be retrieved from temp files in windows anyway)

    6. Creator Corey Schaff on August 7, 2012

      and although you've deemed not to comment on the Physical Copy request issue forwarded by several others, I once again put it out there that if there is any way you can be persuaded to provide an option for obtaining a physical box copy of the game, whether through this kickstarter via stretchgoal, seperate reward tier, or something seperate from the kicstarter, it'd be much appreciated for the Pro-Tangible Gamers like me.

    7. Creator Ryan Stack on August 6, 2012

      Please post to steam greenlight once it's all up and running.

    8. Creator Stefan Nygren on August 6, 2012

      Steam is a good idea.
      But unfortenly steam dont accept new games currently :(
      But put it up for the new steam thingy and lets PUSH IT FORWARD:)

    9. Creator Jamie on August 5, 2012

      If not a streach goal how about an encouragement to give more. T-Shirts and trinkets don't interest me but I would happily pay a little more to get the game through STEAM. That way (hopefully) you could make use of steam multi-player for friend matches, steam cloud so I can play between my machine and auto update.

    10. Creator John on August 5, 2012

      Agreed on the stretch goals!

    11. Creator David How on August 5, 2012

      Looking forward to the game. :) Appreciate your honesty about the stretch goals.

    12. Creator Peter Hyder on August 5, 2012

      I have every confidence in this title, and I can't wait to start a little yellow empire, good work keep it up!

    13. Creator Alexander H. Lybekk on August 5, 2012

      I took the 30 One do i still get the prototype for myself?

    14. Creator David Sherman on August 5, 2012

      @ SuperG ...what? Sorry dude I fell asleep trying to read your comical retort. :-)

    15. Creator Thomas on August 5, 2012

      Same as Jamessac68, just want to add my voice to the "I don't care about stretch goals" sentiment. You show the right attitude, and love for your game. That's enough for me. If you make a good product (in this case a pitch) you should get rewarded.

      So as long as the promised content is delivered I could care less. If you choose to spend all of it on the game even better, but don't forget to look to the future.

    16. Creator Jamesac68 on August 4, 2012

      Just adding my vote to the chorus saying stretch goals are irrelevant. I didn't come here to fund a million things not listed in the original pitch. I'm happy getting the best game the funding can enable development of. :)

    17. Creator SuperG on August 4, 2012

      Yes David, you're oh so very smart and I bow in your presence.

      It's not as if the original descriptions weren't (admittedly BY THE DEVELOPER) unclear. It's not as if nobody else asked the question. I couldn't have possible read every word and comment PRIOR to asking my question, nor could it be that I clearly stated in my first question that I'm new to all this and wasn't sure. CLEARLY this could not POSSIBLY have been the case.

      Obviously this is a case of me being a money grubbing fool who doesn't deserve to breathe much less expect a rational answer to a reasonable question.

      Hope you got your rocks off on that one smart guy. You've done the internet crowd proud today!

    18. Creator Nico Avalle-Embree on August 4, 2012

      @Yigit Guc You can update your pledge to change you're reward tier. Enjoy!

    19. Creator David Sherman on August 4, 2012

      @ SuperG It actually is quite clear. $30 gets you X2 the $15 level. You get TWO copies of the game. You DO NOT get the PROTOTYPE with this package. Simply because it does NOT say (See above reward) or mention the word PROTOTYPE as well. IF you want two games and the PROTOTYPE. you will have to pledge at the $45 level. then you get TWO games and TWO PROTOTYPES (Which is $5 dollars off X2 $25 level.) GOT IT? Just read the descriptions COMPLETELY, if it is not mentioned you do not get it. Okay? None of these tiers say you get a pile of gold, so don't expect one. ;-)

    20. Creator SuperG on August 4, 2012

      You can modify your pledge up to the close of the kickstarter. At the top under "Backers" "Pledged of Goal" and "Days to go" click on "Manage your Pledge".

      From there you can just bump up to $30.

      What still isn't clear is if you bump to $30 do you still get 1 copy of the prototype or if you have to move up to $45 to get it. Since they have far exceeded their goals, I would hope you still get one prototype at $30.

    21. Creator Yigit Guc on August 4, 2012

      Hey there, I have pledged $25 just before your update, and feel very unlucky because I would've pledged $30 if I had an option, so I could share and play this awesome-to-be game with my close friend.

      I've witnessed before in Kickstarter upgrade options for such situations. Is it possible to have something like this that I'll pay $5 more and upgrade to $30 pledge?

      Thanks

    22. Creator Jörn Huxhorn on August 3, 2012

      @Marc That is the developer of Cthulhu Saves the World and other games. If you don't know CStW then you missed something. :)

      Discussing the direction of development during beta isn't the same kind of feature creep that hurriedly defined stretch goals would result in.

      If they decide, during beta, that they won't be able to support water for technical reasons then this will be fine.

      If the say "Hey, we'll do water and fancy waterfalls at $500.000" then this can lead to a very real problem if they aren't able to implement this feature without hurting the rest of the game. They would make people angry in both cases. If they wouldn't implement it, the people would be all "BOOOO, but we PAID for it!!1" and if they implemented it in a bad way, since they are forced to do so, then people would be like "BOOOO, the performance sucks! YOU suck!!1".

    23. Creator Jörn Huxhorn on August 3, 2012

      Sauropod is offering much more than just mere stretch goals. They want to establish a constant back-and-forth between them and us during the beta phase. We don't have to swallow a stretch goal that is only interesting for some backers (like the improved posters ^^).

      Instead, we get a say during development of the final game. Even waaaaay after this Kickstarter campaign has ended.

      Cross-posted from the general comments because of reasons.

    24. Creator Marcelloz on August 3, 2012

      Please use the extra money to improve the quality of the game, directly or indirectly. Don't buy Ferrari's like John Romero of ID did ;-)

      And stretch goals are a way of telling what the developers will do with the extra money; always good to hear they have an opinion about that. I think most stretch goals have been thought about, so feature creep is not really the issue here I think. Delayed product delivery is the only thing it will probably cause.

      But good to hear you spend the money on extra manpower; in a way that are stretch goals too.

      Finally, all that extra money will put pressure on you as a lot of people expect the game to be awesome. So I guess it only helps :)

    25. Creator Michael Stubbs on August 3, 2012

      Mansel, I'm sure the whole world will revolve around this momentous day for you. However, unfortunately for the rest of the world, it is just another day and they are unlikely to do anything special for it.

    26. Creator TimelyChyme on August 3, 2012

      Hey, if I were to upgrade from $25 to $30 will I still get a single prototype version in addition to two beta (eventually final) games?

    27. Creator Mansel on August 3, 2012

      Can you just tell me guys, as my birthday is on the 13th would you be able to target that date as a release date?
      i would be very happy if you released the prototype on that day :)

    28. Creator Devon Rampe on August 3, 2012

      As long as you're using the extra money to make the game even more awesome, then that's fine with me! :)

    29. Creator Henrik Holm on August 3, 2012

      I dont care how you use the extra money. I care that I'll get a fun and playable game.

      I hereby grant you the right to use my 25$ as you see fit.

    30. Creator Padraig Sutton on August 3, 2012

      I'm really looking forward to what you guys have to offer, I can't stand that people have such silly requirements about what their money is used for though, they are giving their money for a product, the money goes towards whatever you need/want it for.

    31. Creator Bryan Sullivan on August 3, 2012

      @Autodeul76 I'm glad you brought the salary issue...spot on and I agree 100%. Anything that the end user deems as "fun and entertaining" still comes with lots of paperwork, daily bullsh*t and stacks of bills to pay for the developer. Don't forget long hours, cold pizza and stale coffee too. If my pledge helps pay the electric bill, I'm a happy camper. Supporting the dream is not just the product, but the people who have to deal with real world issue to make this happen for all of us. Entertainment is so damn expensive...

    32. Creator Nathaniel on August 3, 2012

      I'll admit, when I first heard of this game I thought it was another Minecraft rip off (read: Terraria), but I am very excited about this! Great job, and hope you have a lot of success!

      That said I did have a question. I originally pledged at the $25 level for the Prototype and Beta. If I change my pledge to reach the $30 reward, do I get two beta keys AS WELL as access to the prototype?

      Thanks for giving us this great game!

    33. Creator David Sherman on August 3, 2012

      Follow that dream Sauropod Studios!

    34. Creator Sauropod Studio on August 3, 2012

      @Autoduel76
      Thx for pointing that out, the thing is if we don'T have salaries, we don't pay our bills, if we don't pay our bills we need a second job, if we need a second job it does affect the productivity on our game dev.
      We have already worked a year on our reserve and on loaded credit card because we had a dream that we wanted to follow. We had to change a little bit our plan in january and went from part time to full time because on the high expectations from people all over the world.

    35. Creator Autoduel76 on August 3, 2012

      How do people still not understand that paying developer salaries IS the money going to game development costs?

    36. Creator Kramer Davis on August 3, 2012

      We haven't played the PROTOTYPE. How about that happen before the list of upgrades and stretch goals people (polite suggestions at most). There is no "extra" money.

      @ Sauropod Studios - your amazing work so far has led me to pledge. Make the game you want to play, I will be happy I'm sure. Best wishes.

    37. Creator Andrew on August 3, 2012

      I GOT BLISTA'S ON ME' FINGA'S

    38. Creator David Sherman on August 3, 2012

      Also lel's not forget that over 90% of the backers are packed into the first two pledge tiers. That would be about 45% for just the basic game (which has updates for life if I'm not mistaken) and about 45% for the game and the prototype.

    39. Creator David Sherman on August 3, 2012

      @ Hyde & Dave - I agree 100%

      @ Christopher V. - If you want to wait for the proverbial "5 dollar bin" go a head and do so. The rest of us will have spent countless hours enjoying a beautiful game. From the sound of it Beta could last well into 2013. and a physical copy (if there ever will be one) most likely wouldn't make it to your favorite "discount bin" until mid to late 2014 (at the earliest). In the mean time we might be jumping up and down for Castle Story 2 by then. :)

    40. Creator Ragnarok918 on August 3, 2012

      Feature creep was awful in Minecraft and it is awful in all projects. Minecraft added half-features nthat destroyed playability requiring ludicrous computing power and separate updates for SP and MP. It was an obvious nightmare all because they didn't have a plan. I hope Sauropod will take a step back before this Kickstarter is over and plan the rest of development properly, maybe hire a consultant to help with this specifically. I have faith in them from the creative stand point, but artists and programmers don't always make great project leads.

    41. Creator Dave on August 3, 2012

      Just be happy the game is even in development. The huge amount of people who wish to own the game is what pushes it above the funding goal, not the fact that people want more features. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure more features is always better but the company has already stated getting the product out the door is the primary concern and I am sure they will off new content like Minecraft in updates as time goes on.

    42. Creator Hyde on August 3, 2012

      Just because a project was successfully founded beyond the developer's expectation does not mean that they are liable for more what they pledged to deliver initially. I agree with looking at kickstart a project as per-ordering the game at a lower price and supporting the developers. For rude people who think they can get the game once they go into the $5 bin anyway, they jolly well should just pirate it instead of paying even five bucks ;D
      you guys rock Sauropod!

    43. Creator Christopher Voegeli on August 3, 2012

      @ dave that last edit is just saying we will be paying people to make the game "better". Those jobs mentioned will not cost the additional 280,000 they have gotten. Telling the backers that they do not want to put more effort into the game, and instead pocket the difference is not what kickstarter is for. Like I said earlier if they want to treat kickstarter customers as just a preorder pool than I will treat them like every other indie developer and wait till the game has been out for a while then buy it at a discount.

    44. Creator David Sherman on August 3, 2012

      @ Christopher V. They've completely explained what the money is going to be used for on the main page. Just read all the way to the botom and you'll have your answer, I don't think these guys are going to be in the "lame developer" group. The have a vision and like they said "The game is our baby."

    45. Creator Marc Holmes on August 3, 2012

      @Jorn Huxhorn: your quote is form a developer "Dan Marshall " who has never kickstartered game. Dan's comments are based combination of hear say, assessments based on old game development when the project wouldn't see the light of day until they are done and bizarrely he lives in the constant fear that he would die before finishing the game causing untold suffering in the world????

      This game already has a prototype and is going to be available in beta form during development. games such as Minecraft, SPAZ, KSP, FTL, etc, which have a Beta stage have shown that feature creep is good for them .

    46. Creator Christopher Voegeli on August 3, 2012

      I am with Xianthos and dablue on this one. I could just wait for the game to go on sale and buy it like I do with all my other games if you folks dont need the money. It would save me money when it goes to the 5$ bin. Just tell us where the money is going so you dont come off as another lame developer that is just out for the money.

    47. Creator Jörn Huxhorn on August 3, 2012

      To quote Zeboyd back in April:

      'By adding stretch goals, you’re essentially saying “Feature creep, here we come!” and as anyone who has run into the problem of feature creep can tell you, it can ruin projects. Rather than do stretch goals, set reasonable goals in the first place and if you get more money than you expected, just consider it a cushion in case your expenses turn out to be more than you expected.'

      (Source: http://zeboyd.com/2012/04/27/the-kickstarter-video-game-report-week-of-april-27/ )

      I agree 100%.

    48. Creator Jeffrey Losapio on August 3, 2012

      thank you for explaining it to me. I know you guys are doing all you can and the project looks amazing as is so far. I especially like how you're approaching stretch goals. I do wonder though, what will happen with the remaining funds? technically it's your income since at the end of the day, anything left over is from pre-orders. though an announcement of a future project or DLC/update plans after release that it will fund would be amazing ;)

      i'm not saying that it would not have all the intended features, i'm just saying that there are a lot of games that have more ideas behind them than time available, and this game feels like it could expand in many directions.

    49. Creator SuperG on August 3, 2012

      As clear as the $30 goal is, it gives the impression that you no longer get any access to the prototype that you had if you pledged $25. Is that accurate?

      Sorry, I'm new to Kickstarter and it seems some of them 'stack' rewards (ie: if you choose level 3 you get 3,2, &1) and others do every level different.

    50. Creator Florian Lhermite on August 3, 2012

      In your game, I feel something like Mario, Pikmin or Worms. That's the spirit of the game with your cute builders, like the entire game. I was watching your posts and videos several months ago, so now I was very happy to support you and I hope the other players/backers will keep you enough time to deserve your ideas for this growing "baby" !

      I wish you the best !

      Florian from Belgium.