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Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Nov 10 2016
pledged of $299,400pledged of $299,400 goal
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Nov 10 2016

More backer rewards and tiers!

Posted by Chris Park/Arcen Games (Creator)

Chris here.  Wow this has been a busy day!  ...and as usual there were not enough hours in it to get everything done.  But we've had a lot of great things happen while the rest of the internet has apparently been getting DDoS'ed.

Happy News From Yesterday

If you've been on the Arcen forums or the kickstarter comments, you probably already saw this yesterday, so feel free to skip ahead.  

Basically: I had a long call with some of the higher-ups at kickstarter and our awesome kickstarter rep, and they had hordes and hordes of good advice and information. There's a lot of things that we can put into practice soon (and that we started on today), and so you'll start seeing even more changes than what already started today. 

The other thing that they were really clear about: this isn't remotely over. Basically we're currently in an "awkward place" in some respects, but in their opinion a place where a lot of campaigns claw their way all the way to the end and/or beyond. This is based on looking at our market segment, our campaign in specific detail, and all that jazz; not generalized statistics. So that's really awesome!

We have our work cut out for us for sure, but we're in the zone that a lot of funded kickstarters were at this stage of themselves. The kickstarter folks were quite upbeat, and clear that if our numbers were at a different level "we would have been having a very different conversation."

So! Yesterday you heard some about our various contingencies and hedges and backup plans for if things don't work out, and you can rest easy knowing that we do HAVE that sort of thing, but that's the last you're going to hear about any of that sort of thing for a while. I'm not going to have time to talk to any publishers or even think about "Reverse AI War" for a few weeks at minimum, so the 5% or so of attention that was diverted that way is now firmly back on AI War II.

Gifs!  Oh Man The Gifs!

One of the big things that they impressed upon me is the importance of gifs.  You may have noticed I was already doing that in the updates... and originally I'd planned on doing that in the campaign page itself, too.  But I had worried about page download size, since gifs of a high quality are multiple MB in size.

But that's the expectation on modern kickstarters, and their web pages "lazy load" large images so that they don't waste your bandwidth (or theirs) if you don't actually scroll down to look at them.

I haven't remotely finished converting over all the images, but I've gotten a number of them.  It's amazing how much more professional that makes things feel.  And it also helps to offset some of the frustrating dithering that is applied to all of the images on kickstarter campaigns in general -- our otherwise crystal-clear PNGs and JPEGs had been getting some frustrating fuzzing in existing screenshots.

New Tiers and Rewards!

These were things we'd been mulling anyhow.  Some folks were saying that there wasn't a tangible enough difference between a lot of the reward levels if they weren't particularly interested in the creative elements that you get to add as you get higher and higher on the dollar amount.  So I talked about this with the folks that pull royalties on the games in question, and we've decided to make the following additions:

1. We added a new $25 tier that is the same as the $20 tier, but which also gives the person Skyward Collapse and Bionic Dues Steam keys (plus DRM-free versions).  All rewards $25 and up now include that.

2. We added a new $35 tier that is the same as the $30 tier, but also adds in the original AI War and all its expansions. All rewards $35 and up now include that.

3.  Due to popular demand, the AI War 2 soundtrack is now a part of all tiers $50 and up rather than $100 and up.  Thanks for the messages folks!

4. We added a new $60 tier that is the same as the $50 tier, but also adds in the original The Last Federation and all its (existing) expansions. All rewards $60 and up now include that.

So there you go!  There is more we may do with the rewards coming up soon, and we're also working on the presentation style for the reward panels down at the bottom of the page.  But this is a good start. :)

Other Stuff!

The image for the campaign has been updated to look cooler, and also include some spaceships in there.  Following some various advice from the kickstarter folks, hopefully this will lead to a higher clickthrough rate from their site (it was already pretty high, though).

We've learned a lot about Facebook strategies and some other things in that area, and we'll be hitting that stuff hard starting next week.  First we needed to get the actual campaign page fully up to snuff itself, and we're getting there on that.

Next, and lastly for now, we've come to discover that the mail blast to all the forum members that I thought I sent out actually didn't happen.  So that explains the low turnout from that...  As soon as the campaign is ready, we're going to be contacting some new customer groups that we thought we had reached before, but actually had not.

That's really encouraging, and basically between that and some other related things, we should be able to contact about 4000 new people that we previously haven't.  That could be HUGE, so we'll see what happens!  I'm incredibly eager to just pull the trigger on that, of course, but instead I've been spending time getting the campaign page where it needs to be first, since that's smarter.

I'm not going to be working as much as usual this weekend, but for the moment we have some decent momentum and we'll pick up a lot more going into next week what with all the new things we're doing on the social media and email front, and... otherwise.

Thanks so much for your support, everybody!  This is a fight we can win, and we're working hard on doing so, but it's going to be one step at a time.  So far so good!



Brandon Roberts, Joseph Losee, and 17 more people like this update.


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    1. Missing avatar

      Griffin Graham Good on

      A *huge* reason I contributed is that I saw that $50+ got the soundtrack! I haven't played the first game a *whole* lot but for some reason the title music makes me so nostalgic for it??? Anyways good luck; looking forward to getting comp stomped in a whole new game!

    2. bonuswavepilot

      Good ideas all round, I hope you guys make it! It has been interesting to hear the thinking behind your marketing strategy too - I think the one common element in Kickstarters I have backed which have gone sour (thankfully not too many so far) is lack of transparency and dialogue, and on both of these counts you folks are doing an excellent job.

    3. Chris Park/Arcen Games 2-time creator on

      @Daniel: I put this in the FAQ section at the bottom, but basically on the OST that just starts at $50, and the early bird for that level doesn't get it. It was a tricky thing to figure out and I apologize for making that one confusing. I really wish I could tweak certain things with the backer tiers to make them a little more clear (not taking anything away!!), but there's good reason for not being able to edit them. I'm trying to see if kickstarter has a way for them to safely add notes.

      @amigacooke: I really really appreciate that, thank you. :)

      @Andrew: Thanks!

      @Sceptus: Bionic is actually in the same tier as Skyward, so you get both there. And yeah, it's meant to be Skyward Complete, so with Nihon as well. I will have to clarify that for sure, thanks for the note.

      @skanx: You know, that's a good point. I think I mainly need to focus on keeping those far enough away from one another, particularly the fast ones.

      It irritates me how fast I have to move things in the gifs in order for them to be not-laggy. Because the actual frame capture has to be something like 10fps for it to be even just a couple megs -- at 60fps native capture its hundreds of megs for a few seconds (go efficiency on gifs). So to keep it from being laggy, I have to take really short, fast clips that are then sped up so that they don't feel like stop-motion. Some other games don't do that and it winds up feeling really like the framerate of the game itself might be bad. Others have a low palette of color (SUPERHOT) and so their gifs compress better, which I kinda envy, heh.

    4. Missing avatar

      skanx on

      The new gifs are neat! It truly makes the page more vibrant. I just have a small problem with them: I find reading a short paragraph of text between two big fast-moving gifs is difficult. Maybe keep the text enclosed between static images? Maybe it's just me :)

    5. Missing avatar

      Sceptus on

      All good improvements on the current award tiers. Though I would also recommend to offer AI War without expansions or Bionic Dues at lower tiers as a reward. Also a question is Nihon No Mura included with Skyward Collapse reward?

    6. amigacooke on

      Chris, whatever happens no-one can question your effort, top notch!

    7. Missing avatar

      Daniel Savoy on

      Got a question about "early bird" backers: do the ones for the alpha who pledged $40 get in on the soundtrack since they get the $50 tier for just $40? This would apply to every early bird tier in its own way for extras-just using my pledge as an example to see if I get the soundtrack as well

    8. Andrew Butler on

      Rooting for you guys!

    9. Chris Park/Arcen Games 2-time creator on

      Thanks everybody!

      @Michael: I think maybe your comments are being shown in reverse order, I'm not sure. The soundtrack does start at $50, yes. Assuming we fund, then we'll also have it available as an addon... but if we don't fund that's moot of course. :P

      @Mond: Good point on those FAQ sections, thank you! I had missed those.

      @Mond: On the actual rewards section, that's mainly a WIP right now in terms of what we want to do with it graphically now. All the information in that section is technically correct unless I didn't update something to reflect a new lower price, but I think I got all that. We're hitting the character count of 35k characters pretty hard right now, and have to keep trimming things and moving things to images in general to get around that. The approach that we initially took with the chart for the rewards simply doesn't work anymore, which happens with a lot of campaigns. So we're working on a different way of visualizing the rewards that hopefully gets at better clarity and also lets us reclaim some word count. ;)

      @Mond: Regarding the gifs, I know, it's so slow. There's a new format that is incredibly tiny (like more than 10x more compressed) that is for basically silent video of that sort, and it's clearer, too. However it only works in Chrome, and I don't think kickstarter supports embedding it later. I am hoping that that format (WebP or WebM -- actually either of two formats) becomes more widespread and sees a bunch of use on reddit and imgur and so forth in general, to be honest. Interesting info:

      @Stian: Thank you in particular, too! :D

    10. Michael Wittig on

      If I'm currently at the early bird $40 backer, does that include the soundtrack, and if I up my pledge to $50, do I need to change to a different reward selection to get the soundtrack?

    11. Michael Wittig on

      An extra $10 for the soundtrack? Yeah, I'm jumping on that.

    12. MondSemmel on

      Oh, same with the FAQ question re: press kits, which mentions the GIFs you ultimately did end up using: "There are some animated gifs in there that we were going to use on the kickstarter page itself, but that slowed it down too much."

    13. MondSemmel on

      Lovely. I like the updates. The gifs look great indeed, though I totally understand your reluctance there. 15 MB for a few seconds of animation? Wow.

      Re: new and/or updated backer rewards: Remember to update the "Rewards" graphic, and the FAQ (for instance, the FAQ currently says one gets the soundtrack at pledges of $100€+; but you might have to check all of those).

    14. Missing avatar

      Stian Soltvedt on

      Soundtrack at 50$? Doubled my pledge from 25 to 50 for that, the original soundtrack is still one of my favourite soundtracks of all time! Good luck with the rest of the campaign!