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Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Nov 10 2016
$93,168
pledged of $299,400pledged of $299,400 goal
2,434
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Nov 10 2016

To... the future!

34 likes

Chris here.

I think it's obvious to everyone at this point that this kickstarter isn't going to fund unless there is some sort of unexpected deus ex machina that comes out of left field.  

That's okay: this kickstarter was a long-shot in some ways from the start, because not many games fund at this level.  Only 1% even pass the $50k funding mark, but we did (and then some!), so we have a lot to be proud of.

Quick Kickstarter Notes For Those New

First of all: for those of you not familiar with kickstarter, please don't feel like you need to alter your pledges or cancel them!  And if you have not backed but were considering it, feel free to pledge a dollar so that you get future updates about what is going on.  You won't be charged in any fashion for a kickstarter that doesn't completely fund.

That's the beauty of kickstarter: unless a project gets all of its baseline funds, it doesn't take money from backers at all.  The creator doesn't have enough funds to actually MAKE the thing that was backed, so to take enough money to do part of it... well, nobody would get what they want or expected in that scenario.  What a disaster that would be.

Anyway, so please do leave your pledges at the level you were planning to back, because that will help show off the level of support we received on this first kickstarter, and inform our decisions as we move to a re-launch.  If everyone pulls pledges at the last second, that doesn't do anything for you, but makes things look markedly different on our side.

This Kickstarter

For the moment we're leaving this campaign alive for another couple of days at least, because why not -- there's always some chance of an unexpected deus ex machina, even if that chance is vanishingly small -- and it also gives us more time to talk with you about future plans and reach some final backers who we can then tell about the re-launch.

The Re-Launch, And Its Differences

This first kickstarter was about trying to maintain the status quo at Arcen in terms of staffing, AND making everything at once (within reason) for the 1.0 scope.  For a re-launched campaign, we'll be cutting things far back to what we can do with only a portion of the budget (1/4 of our original goal, or even as low as 1/5th).

There will then be stretch goals that will let us build back up to our previous design goals, and in the future we would use either kickstarter or patreon to build up even further.  This first kickstarter was always first and foremost about building a platform to see future expansion, and the re-launch will carry over that spirit.  We'll still have a big game at launch, but without quite so many bells and whistles.

The simple fact of the matter is that AI War is HUGE, and so if we're going to build it from smaller individual funding chunks, we're going to have to cut scope.  That... actually ought to be familiar to folks who were around for Classic, actually.  It wasn't like those SIX expansions to the game didn't add stuff to the game. ;)  With this original kickstarter, we were trying to hit as close to the content of AI War Classic PLUS six expansions PLUS new stuff, and that just turned out to be untenable since we were only able to reach a fraction of our audience.

Ultimately that's okay: this first kickstarter raised a lot of awareness, and has also helped us identify what is most important to people out of the vision we have for the game, and has helped us to gauge the amount of financial support that we can reasonably expect to muster.

Now Keith and I have a lot of discussion needed in order to figure out exactly what to cut and what to retain in order to stay as close to the original as possible while working within a new and slimmer budget.

Arcen's Future

Arcen itself is undergoing a change at this point, and it's a rather fundamental one.  For my personal life it's a hugely positive thing, because I can finally have a better work/life balance.  I have been living in a very unhealthy way in terms of how much I work versus how much I see my family for quite some time.

For Arcen in general, it is also a positive thing because we'll finally be living within our means.  I've always been trying to reeeeach just a little farther to get the company to the next level and support a certain amount of staff, etc.  In the current market, where there are indies and AAA studios flaming out and disappearing left and right, that's just clearly not tenable.

But for us, it means a reconfiguration.  There will be a core team of just Blue and myself from now on, and our existing residuals are enough to pay for us.  That puts a lot less time pressure on things, and we can approach projects with more polish.  

We can't rely on those residuals staying at this level forever, but at the same time we won't be reliant on each new game being a massive addition to it; with just Blue and myself as expenses, we could have kept developing In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor, despite its poor performance, for instance.  We also could have skipped early access for it, or at the very least released it with more content from the start, and the project as a whole likely would have succeeded.  In the older form of Arcen, we simply had too many expenses for that to work.

Erik has been working with us on a royalties-only basis ever since the layoffs this January following Starward Rogue, and that will continue; that fits quite nicely for us, and he's launched his own company since then and it's working out well for him, too.  So that's been a mutually positive thing in the end, and I hope that will also be the case with more of the folks here after this reconfiguration.

Re...configuration?

I say reconfiguration because this is overall less of a layoff.  It's not meant to be a corporate-sounding euphemism.  Yes, we are losing some contractors, but in terms of the core four of us: Blue, Pablo, Keith, and myself -- we're still going to be working in the same group, just in a different fashion.

The re-launched kickstarter will mostly be for funding Keith, who is the core programmer on this anyway.  He designed and programmed the last 3 expansions for AI War Classic himself, and a lot of people's favorite features are in there.  I'll still be quite involved, but I'll get less input than I otherwise would have unless we start hitting stretch goals in the re-launch.  Blue and I will still be tag-teaming various aspects of the art, for instance, but Keith will be taking over the interface work instead of me, etc.  That way he actually... well, still has a job, and can work on other things related to the game, too.

For Pablo, we'll be announcing both a kickstarter campaign and a patreon for him, and he'll thus be funding his music more separately from the main thing.  The hope is that then his music budget can grow and exist on its own, and he's not so dependent on our core successes or failures with the games that we create.  There's a whole huge soundtrack for Stars Beyond Reach that he did that almost nobody has heard, for instance, because I couldn't get the game design worked out there.

This new arrangement should work better in terms of giving him a steady income regardless of what is going on with Arcen, as well as giving people a way to get Moar Pablo (and more vocal tracks by his wife, Hunter, I imagine), which I know a lot of people have really been wanting.

Why Tell People All This?

The first thing that someone might think is: isn't this going to undermine confidence in Arcen as a company, and our ability to deliver things in the future?

Well... you tell me.  My belief is that the people backing this sort of project for Arcen are fundamentally rational, and also place a high premium on honesty and transparency.

If you folks were to start seeing a fundamental shift in tone where I was suddenly dodgy and evasive, that would raise quite a few eyebrows, wouldn't it?  And with a re-launched project with a massively cut budget, I think you'd immediately have some questions about what the heck is changed that lets us do that.

Rather than beat around the bush or try to save face or whatever people do, I figure it's best just to be upfront with you.  My hope is that your confidence in the next kickstarter will be just as high as your confidence in this one was: the only thing that can stop us, in either case, is not meeting our funding goal.  We won't set a goal that we can't hit [edit for clarity: referring here to our ability to do the work in the stated budget, not our ability to raise that amount of funding in a kickstarter], because that would be unfair to us and you.

TLDR!

  • We will re-launch, but please do keep your pledges here or feel free to back, because you never know what might happen and you won't be charged if this fails or cancels.
  • We are losing a number of contractors, which is something I take very hard, but which was inevitable if this kickstarter did not succeed.
  • Blue and myself will remain as the core staff, and we will be financially stable finally (for the first time in 7 years, in terms of not needing windfalls to leap between).
  • Keith and Pablo will gain their income from crowdfunding for these projects, and thus the core 4 stay together as much as possible.
  • Erik remains in his existing royalties-only capacity, which works well for everyone involved.
  • We are extremely grateful and proud of what this kickstarter has accomplished so far, because only 1% of KS projects even make it to $50k, apparently.  At the time of this writing we're at $84k.  I wonder if we can break $90k!  That would be pretty freaking awesome as a note to end on before we re-launch.
  • We're going to be talking to folks a lot as we prepare for the re-launch, so you'll know what's up as we move forward into that.

Overall this isn't the outcome that we wanted, obviously, but it underscores some changes in Arcen that needed to happen.  We haven't been financially stable on our own for quite some time simply because of being staff-heavy (I believe in paying people fair wages for the work they do), and so since this first kickstarter wasn't able to solve that issue, we instead need to reconfigure and move forward under a different methodology.

Final Thoughts

Arcen isn't going anywhere, and AI War 2 is still going to be awesome.  But you guys deserved an update rather than radio silence, so here I am.

Probably all of our upcoming discussions will be in comments on this project for now, and so our next update will be details with a more concrete plan.  I'm not going to pretend this doesn't hurt, because I think that would make me a sociopath of some variety, but we stuck our old approach out as long as we could and made it really far, so I'm very proud of that.  Our new approach is stable and sane, and has a variety of benefits for you as well as those of us that remain, so there are doors opening even as the old ones close.

Any questions, of course please let me know.  You guys all continue to amaze us!

Best,

Chris

P.S. -- Doing a publisher deal is pretty much not in the cards.  It just wasn't a fit from either side, at least for AI War 2.  Wouldn't have been good for you either, or the future of the franchise.

Comments

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

      Thanks so much Joshua!

      If you want to give commentary and so forth on the new design document for the re-launch, that's now available on our forums: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,19316.0.html

      We do definitely work with the community and volunteers, and with the new modding capabilities that the new kickstarter version has (that this one did not), various bits of AI logic should be able to be modded, to some extents at least. Good mods that people find essential we can always roll into the main game with the permission of the modder of course. :)

    2. Missing avatar

      Joshua Koh on

      Thanks again for the transparency, guys. As said before, my AI War playmates and I (yep, we still play dis old game together regularly) want to give you guys the biggest vote of confidence and support that we can. We're in full support of this new effort and we'll do everything we can from the community side to see it succeed and excel!

      Just out of curiosity, is there a world where developers from the Arcen community volunteer to contribute to building the project? The friends I play with and myself are students of computer science and AI, and we would jump at the opportunity to work on a project as cool and beloved as AI War.

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

      Thank you so much. :)

    4. Missing avatar

      Michaël Rosmane on

      It's awesome to see such openness... And for me it does not undermine my trust in you guys at all, it does th exact opposite!

      I've been enjoying AI war on and off for years now, its still one of my favorite go-to games if I need some brainteasing and problem solving exercises!

      I wish you guys all the best and I can't wait to see the new Kickstarter!

      Good luck!

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

      John! Thanks for all of that -- and I'm glad we were able to reach you. We plan on a re-launch next Thursday (the 17th) if all goes well, and should start having more details to share a lot sooner than that, hopefully.

      Right now we're pretty quiet because there's a lot of writing going on with the new design doc on Keith's end, and I'm basically trying not to say something that will accidentally turn out to be counter to what his plans are. Once he and I are fully on the same page and agreed on the budget, which we're getting close to being, then we'll start sharing that out for wider comment.

      I feel unnaturally silent at the moment, but that won't last. ;)

    6. Missing avatar

      John Walker on

      I had no idea you guys were even considering an AI War II until I reinstalled and loaded the classic just a few hours ago.

      The open book you have with your fan base is something that I applaud and admire. Not to mention having reasonable goals set out for development! I will keep my eyes peeled for the relaunch and you shall still have my support.

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

      Thank you SO much for the enthusiasm, guys. I feel like a broken record, but that sort of thing really does make my day. I'm getting really excited about the various plans we have coming up for after this kickstarter concludes.

      And no need on Greenlight -- we have basically full pass to avoid that with Valve, and I wouldn't touch Greenlight itself with a ten foot pole. ;) We've never done one, and it does not seem to add anything. Valve has already approved AI War 2 and basically rubber stamps anything from us right now unless we do something scummy suddenly. We've worked with a number of their staff for 7 years now, and they know us well, and we've been mutually good for business for one another. We never pulled any shady stuff, so they've responded really well and treat us better because of it, I think. There's just in general a lot of positive history there.

      That only goes so far when you're talking automated systems and whatnot, but all three of our major vendor partners are clearly rooting for AI War 2 and Arcen in general, which is such a comfort despite the troubles we still encounter.

      Life will find a way! :)

    8. Gary Chike on

      And there's always trying to get it Greenlit on Steam :)

    9. Jake Regan on

      "the people [...] place a high premium on honesty and transparency."

      This was extremely well put sir. There is an unfortunate lack of this in the business world in general, and its nice to see someone being honest.

    10. Matthew on

      There’s a TL;DR at the end if my rambling becomes too boring :)

      My first interaction with Arcen was way back when (probably only a year or two, but it feels like ages), when my friend suggested AI War as a game to try out. I tried the demo, and for one reason or another, I didn’t give it much chance (probably only 10 minutes) before I declared “I’m not going to learn this at all.” Maybe it was my lack of patience, maybe it was the much-smarter-than-me AI, or maybe it was because I jumped in without even trying to learn what to do.

      I haven’t really considered it since, mainly because I keep thinking back to that time I tried the demo, even though I knoooow I’d love it (seriously, two of my biggest loves are space and RTS games). Because of this, Arcen and AI War faded away and left my mind.

      Then, back in January, Erik sent me an email (unrelated to Arcen or AI War, but bear with me). Eventually, this led to me following and keeping up with Arcen, which led to me finding out AI War 2 was a thing, and that it was on kickstarter. I immediately threw myself onboard the hype train and pledged; it looks so fantastic, so well made, and has so, so, so much potential.

      Not only is an Indie studio (a small one, at that) attempting something that I can see a AAA flopping at, but it’s setting the bar while doing it. Everyone at Arcen is creating something that will be one of the greatest strategy games of the year (and probably years to come), and will be renowned for its, well, awesomeness.

      Seeing the kickstarter near the ending without being fully funded broke my heart, but seeing the plan you’ve laid out, and knowing you won’t give up, glued it back together.

      Much like Drake, what I can offer is only kind words. I don’t have a huge following to spread the word to, nor do I know of a lot of places to post about AI War 2. I’m pretty much an introvert, so climbing to the top of the tallest building in my city and shouting “EVERYONE CHECK OUT AI WAR 2 IT’S AWESOME” is out of the question.

      While I’m just one drop in a sea of 2k supports (and many more outside of the kickstarter backers), Arcen has this one drop’s full support. I will do my best to give all the support I can, in any and all forms I can. I wish you, and the whole Arcen team, nothing but success.

      TL;DR
      You’re awesome, everyone at Arcen is awesome, AI War 1 and 2 is awesome, and you have my full support till the end :D

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

      Drake, you... blow me away. I've avoided responding to your comment all day, because I just can't think of any words to express myself here.

      But suffice it to say, I feel like there ought to be more of a goal to my life than just making video games (much as I value them) and Accumulating Stuff (much as asceticism isn't my bag). Sometimes the higher ideals can come into conflict with practical matters, and things start getting muddy fast. All I try to do is remember that I'll probably still be alive a few years from now either way, and I want to make sure I feel good about how I get from here to there.

      I don't feel like I even do anything that should be that unusual. But I always loved the quote on the old Magic The Gathering card Goblin Hero: "To be a goblin hero, you don't have to step forward; everyone else just has to step back."

      There's a certain dark humor there that appeals to me. I just hope that, from whatever source, increasing numbers of people are encouraged to "not step back." I think we'll all be pretty okay if that happens.

    12. Drake Vato on

      I am a long-time veteran "lurker" of the Internet; never had taken much participation in online discussions, forums and such, up until recently. Thus, even though I tried to break my stereotype and raise awareness for this project, my status as a social recluse prevented me from achieving much.

      So, I post this to say simply: Thank you. Thank you for everything you do, and for everything you strive to be.

      Arcen Games is one of the few remaining champions of humanity in the gaming industry, and in modern society in general. You are one of the reasons I still believe that there is hope for the future.

      You will always have my eternal gratitude for your exemplary conduct - even if the very next day you choose to abandon and never again return to it; for up until this point, you have done more than uncounted many refuse to do for the entirety of their lives.

      Keep up the good work. Always.

      And I shall keep searching and striving to support more people like you. Even if the only support I can offer are kind words.

      ~Drake

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

      Thanks so much guys, it really means a lot that these things matter to other folks, too. I've been really absent today because Keith and I spent about 5 hours on skype hashing things out for the re-launch.

      He's going to be the one with the core vision there, and it's partly based on what I've been doing thus far, and partly not. I'm really excited about how this is shaping up, though, even at these early stages of the new document -- a lot of the things that I was personally most excited about are things that he's still embracing, which I'm glad to see. And then other things that were just money/time sinks are either delayed, cut, moved into stretch goals, or otherwise.

      It's definitely not just bells and whistles that are going in the re-launch, there's some serious meat that also has to go. But AI War is HUGE and could stand to lose a few pounds anyway. ;) Focusing on all the best stuff and making an experience that is fresh as well as familiar, and not just some remake or some half-finished piece of junk, is our main goal. We want people to be able to approach it and find a really complete strategy game even if we hit no stretch goals, but just one that is a bit tighter and more focused.

      And then of course I'm really really hoping we hit the first three stretch goals in particular, because they have some of my personal favorite items in them. Keith has come up with one thing that is new that isn't even part of this first kickstarter at all, and I'm particularly jazzed about that. It's one of those things that is less costly to do, but super duper cool, and just refocuses things a little bit.

      I think if we took the approach of "this is the same, except we're cutting and doing nothing else," that would not go over so well (for us or players). That would feel really like a let-down. So we're trying to really focus on "what would a scaled-down budget version of this look like if we use that budget absolutely in the best way we can?" And that's considerably more exciting to me, and I hope will be something people are excited about seeing, too.

      We'll start sharing the design document for that sometime in advance of the re-launch for sure. Not sure exactly when that will be, but next week at the earliest and the week after at the latest.

      And haha on the stretch goal of $300k -- we could just do so much with that in general! I'm not sure about open-sourcing skyward, but maybe someday. :)

    14. Missing avatar

      tbrass on

      Chris,

      I've said it before, and I'll say it again: your commitment to transparency and engagement with the community is phenomenal. You share fascinating insights and really help us understand many of the business and design decisions involved in these games that we love - and I hope that our feedback is helpful for you.

      I'm sorry that the bells and whistles won't work out from the get-go, but I cannot wait to see how AI War II shakes out in the beginning AND after the next X expansions.

      What would you say to a stretch goal of $300k & open sourcing skyward collapse? ;-) Now that would be fun to see on github while we wait for all the bells and whistles...

    15. Missing avatar

      Annum on

      A lot of indie game companies these days have failed to deliver on their promises or taken consumer goodwill for granted, but Arcen has always shown respect for their customers. It is sad to see this fail, but I'll gladly support any future ventures by you guys. One shooter more or less wouldn't really matter much, but without Ai War the gaming scene loses another one of its unique experiences.

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

      @Neil: it is odd for sure, but usually people who are less familiar with kickstarter, which is a lot of the audience for this game. Lots of first-time-backers here. I've seen it happen with some other games that I backed that didn't fund.

      @Abram: Thank you! :)

    17. Missing avatar

      Abram J. Bacon on

      Thanks for being honest. That's part of the reason I backed it in the first place, that and AI War is awesome. I was looking forward to this, especially the different empires/races to play. The Spire sounded like how I usually played: heavier military, controlling a large section of the map before dying horribly.

      I'll be back for the next Kickstarter.

    18. Missing avatar

      Neil Martin on

      Seems an odd thing to cancel a pledge for a failing kickstarter as you lose nothing if it doesn't fund and presumably you want it to fund, very odd.

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

      Thanks for the support and understanding, guys -- I really do appreciate it. I had really been bracing myself for the flood of canceled pledges and so on, but there have been like 3. Meanwhile a ton of upped pledges and new ones.

      During a time of a year where senior citizens are acting like insane people as they try to take charge of various governments around the world, it's really refreshing to see on a smaller scale how people actually can be rational and goodhearted. I'm really not trying to start anything political here, but just talking in terms of the general climate of the times, and no particular candidate or even country. It really is awesome here. :)

    20. bonuswavepilot
      Superbacker
      on

      Personally I find the 'managed' sort of messages you get out of a PR department utterly worthless, so I very much appreciate the frank approach you have taken here.

      I'll be along for the next campaign, wherever it might reside.

    21. Sounds on

      Thank you for bean so candid. This is one of the reason for me pledging after I'd been burned on false promises with another Kickstarter.

      Its sad to think that you're unable to reach existing AI War customers out there. :(

      Indie developers are really up against it at the moment. Reading through the comments and forums leads me to believe getting the word out is an uphill battle unless you can contact you're existing customers directly, rather than via a third party.

      I pledged as high as I could squeeze the budget for this Kickstarter. The next one you do I'll have a little better discretionary funds available.

    22. Missing avatar

      Aotrs Commander on

      I'll keep my eyes open for your future attempts. In the meantime, as I only got AI War on the sale (which did it's job, since it lead me to the kickstarter), I can have time to have play of that!

      (If you wonder why I was up for a kickstarter sequel for a game I haven't played yet, people have recommended me the game in the past, but (if I'm to be brutally honest) the visuals put me off a bit. (Never thought I'd get so shallow, but there you go). I was waiting for a suitable sale to give it a try and at the sort of price as the sale price, I figure something only has to keep me entertained for an hour or two and if I never play it again it doesn't matter. And the kickstarter had both improved graphics and I don't have a lot of upcoming games, since everything I play now is pretty much regulated to mid-range or indy level stuff, so I figured what the heck! Anyway, I shall still be interested one the next round emerges.)

    23. Missing avatar

      Sam Spackman on

      Will definitely be back for round 2. If this campaign has done nothing else, your podcast on Qt3 gave me a new appreciation for AI War and have enjoyed diving back into that with the knowledge of its influences and genesis. Good luck!

    24. Missing avatar

      Adrian Lim on

      Bummer. Funding goal seemed a bit ambitious, but it's still a shame it didn't go through. Hope to see what you guys publish regardless!

    25. Mike B on

      Glad to hear you have a good plan to keep moving. Best of luck, and for sure let us know as soon as we can jump in again in some way to help support Arcen's efforts.

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

      Thank you, Jake!

    27. Missing avatar

      Jake Kuska on

      I really believe in this project and am glad that you have the plan to optimize for a relaunch.

      Hope that everything goes well in this and/or future endeavors.

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

      @Kevin: Fair enough! I'd rather look human than professional, though, to be honest. That's been a constant throughout my career; when we made a number of design shifts in games over the years, people thought we were really showing too much of how the sausage was made. But other times when we shared nothing until it was very polished, it was too late and the market had already moved on. It's a tricky issue.

      @Russell & @Paul: Thank you so much!

      @Charles: Definitely, that's one of the big draws there. You have to be approved by Fig and chosen as one of their select few products, though. Kickstarter is mostly open to all, but Fig is a very very walled garden. So we'll see what happens.

      @Kim: Thank you very much! And I think that the spire will be one of those things we just have to retain, or make the absolute first stretch goal at the least. It's one of the highlights of the sequel, for sure. Things like playing as the Zenith, or having solar systems, and having the AI retake territory, are far more likely things to cut for the budget in round 2. I think people will miss those less, and the overall amount of time to implement versus player value out of them is less favorable to everyone there.

    29. Kim Kang-oak on

      I am glad to know that you will not give up AIW2, I will definitely make a pledge for the 2nd funding. I hope you will be able to create the game you planned eventually, for I was really excited to play as the spire.

    30. Charles Davies on

      Fig is good, you can even set it up so people can invest in the product financially!

    31. Paul Zakrzewski on

      Keep your chins up and don't forget your accomplishments.

      Best of luck - dreams are one of life's rare miracles.

    32. Missing avatar

      Russell Rutherford on

      I'm sorry things didn't work out but I'm really glad you'll launch the game anyway. I'm looking forward to the game more than anything I've backed except maybe battletech :)

      Please don't lose heart, I'm sure things will work out well in the end!

    33. Missing avatar

      Kevin A Muñoz on

      Ok, that clarifies some things. I still maintain that the kind of transparency displayed here made the Kickstarter look less than fully professional. Of course now that you have one under your belt, the next one won't have as many, "Huh, I didn't know we could do that until just now" moments.

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

      @amigacooke: We have submitted to Fig, actually. It's definitely a possibility, given that the original AI War would have been more than a 400% ROI on our original budget for the sequel, and the sequel seemingly has a lot more potential for sales and growth long-term. They only take a few projects a month, though, and in general I think only projects that are a certain size of (very very large) budget. So we'll see.

    35. amigacooke on

      Probably no use at all, but is Fig a viable alternative to KS?

      https://www.fig.co/

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

      @Kevin: "We won't set a goal we can't hit" refers to us doing work within a budget. We have NOT demonstrably done this once; we absolutely could have made AI War 2 in the budget that we laid out in this kickstarter. If we had set a goal of $200k but the same feature set and staff and so on, that would have been "a goal we can't hit" in terms of work required, even if possibly the actual kickstarter funded.

      Ultimately funding a kickstarter is the simpler part, and is more out of our control either way. We either hit it or we don't, and that doesn't reflect on our ability to make games. But in terms of budgeting the actual creation process, and creating the thing itself, that's something that is completely in our control and that we take very seriously.

      We shot for the stars with the first campaign, for a variety of reasons. One of them was that I couldn't very well go "sorry, your contract is now ended because I have a suspicion that we can't get 3.6% of our existing customers to know about and back this kickstarter, so you're out immediately." Wow what an incredible jerk I would have been. And obviously just from a project standpoint, if we're able to fund more in one go that means fewer fundraising rounds and the cost spread across more people, which is happy-making all around and logistically simpler.

      I maintain that we had plenty of audience that the goal we set was achievable -- for AI War 2, although not any new project we might have come up with. But what I had not counted on was the inability to reach most of our customers. I just hadn't factored that in, and having never run a kickstarter before there were other things that we needed to learn this first time around, too.

      So here we are. Will some people choose not to back a second time? Sure. There are a wide array of rational and irrational reasons that someone might make that choice, and a lot of those reasons have nothing to do with Arcen or AI War.

      Anyhow, at a fundamental level I think my wording there was unclear, so I'll adjust that if there's still time on the update-edit timer. Cheers!

    37. Missing avatar

      Ian on

      Glad to hear you guys will continue working on making this happen. Good luck!

    38. Missing avatar

      Kevin A Muñoz on

      My concern here is campaign fatigue. I'm probably going to back a second round, but not for any truly rational reasons. If I were being completely rational, I would recognize that the original campaign was certainly never likely to fund, and the extent to which I can trust the management of a second or separate campaign is, at this stage, fairly marginal without any clear evidence.

      You state, "We won't set a goal that we can't hit, because that would be unfair to us and you," but you've already done that once. And from previous updates you've given it's become fairly clear that you didn't have an especially solid plan for this campaign in the first place. There were options, avenues and solutions to various problems (both logistical and advertising) that you seemed completely unaware of until halfway through the campaign. I know a few people who run Kickstarter campaigns and they tend to get all their ducks in a row, and find experienced Kickstarter marketers to help them fill in the gaps before they even start. It doesn't appear that this has happened here.

      Absolute transparency is only an advantage when there are no underlying structural problems to reveal. Now, of course, the suggestion here isn't to go opaque. Rather, it's to come better prepared to the table. Seek upfront advice from seasoned Kickstarter people. Or if you did that already, perhaps seek upfront advice from *better* Kickstarter people.

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

      Yep, we budgeted this one very carefully and will for the next one, too. Not all kickstarters follow the path you're describing -- that's a common myth, and does happen sometimes, but in all honesty KSers come in all shapes and sizes from what we've learned.

      We've reached out to a number of youtubers, including the ones you've mentioned, but without luck. There's not a lot of faith in kickstarters in general within the gaming ecosystem, thanks to some high-profile failures, so the fact that we were able to get as much coverage as we did was pretty incredible.

      That doesn't mean we've stopped trying, either! But those have been a pretty solid "no response." :/

    40. Doctor Jackstraw on

      To be honest, I'm glad that you guys went with a higher requirement than lowball and not be able to make the game.

      Kickstarter projects tend receive most of their backing in the first few days and the last 48 hours (since that's when "Remind me" kicks in), so it's certainly not impossible for this one to finish up.

      Is there any chance of being able to partner with a big Youtuber like Northernlion, Total Biscuit, or Angry Joe to help get the world out in the last few days?

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

      And yes, the title of this is a reference to Meet The Robinsons. Such an awesome movie.