More backer rewards and tiers!
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. :)
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!