End of campaign wrap-up and thanks!
Well we're finally at the end of the campaign and it nearly broke £22,000! That's an amazing result as it looked like it was going to be lucky to hit £20k for most of the campaign, there's been a real surge in the last few days so thank you to those of you who've just joined the adventure, and of course to each and every one of you for backing the game!
What happens next?
- Until end of August - The very next thing is that Kickstarter will be processing pledges and charging your cards. If your card is declined please sort it out as soon as you can, as that sets things back for everyone. I'll be adding a few quality of life improvements to the game which have been requested by players during the Kickstarter campaign and that haven't already been implemented in one of the updates to Pre-Alpha 6.
- Mid-September - Once the funds have been released by Kickstarter I'll be sending out the BackerKit pledge manager for you to confirm your pledge and any add-ons you'd like to select (you don't need to do anything until you receive an email asking you to claim your rewards from the campaign). You'll also have the opportunity to switch to a different pledge level if you wish while the pledge manager is still open. I'll be working on the first of the Alpha 1 features - saving and loading games! Most likely the monthly dev updates will start up again here too (you can read the previous ones here) and they'll be sent out as Kickstarter updates.
- Rest of 2018 - Thanks to the funds brought in from this Kickstarter I'll be able to devote much, much more time to development of King under the Mountain than I have so far, which really is a dream come true, thank you so much for your support! I'll be working on the features that make up the Alpha 1 release detailed on the roadmap. The BackerKit pledge manager will stay open for modifications by you during this time, most likely until the end of December.
- January 2019 - Any extras you've selected in BackerKit beyond what you pledged in the Kickstarter will be charged to your card. This will be done in January because BackerKit prefer project creators to charge cards no more than a month before rewards are due to be shipped out (there's something of an assumption that Kickstarter rewards will be physical) so that if someone wants a refund it can be processed within 30 days of the charge. I'll be beavering away to get everything ready for...
- February 2019 - Alpha 1 release! If everything goes to plan you'll receive an itch.io key for your all-new paid-for digital download for the first alpha version of King under the Mountain. From here the plan is to release monthly or bi-monthly updates following the development roadmap, all the way up to version 1.0. One of the first major updates following Alpha 1 is to open up modding support so you can start adding to the game yourselves (if you so wish!)
Why itch.io? Why not Steam or GOG or...?
First of all, King under the Mountain won't be going to Steam Early Access until at least halfway through the development cycle of Alpha 1 to full release. Despite the "Early Access" moniker, the Steam audience isn't very forgiving for rough and early versions of games that launch on the platform. I'm certain that if Alpha 1 went straight to Steam Early Access, it'd be bombarded with negative reviews for being very incomplete and nowhere near the fun game it has the potential to be. This would be absolutely disastrous to the income potential of the game, and by extension the development budget, so don't expect to see a Steam version until the game is much more polished and final than it will be upon the Alpha 1 release. This is the approach taken by some incredibly successful indie games, even ones well-suited to Early Access like Factorio, Kerbal Space Program, Prison Architect and Rimworld - they all spent a significant amount of time available to purchase and play in an early form before moving to Steam when they were more developed, and the resulting Steam reviews and sales figures show this approach to be a winning strategy.
So now that Steam is initially ruled out, why itch.io? In short it has all the features I could want for hosting and managing the game's downloads - there's command line tools and a build plugin to automatically upload new builds to their site, and even an API for the game itself to check for new updates to let you know if the game has an update available and you're not using their download manager (so you don't have to use their app - knows as itch - if you don't want to, but it's recommended). Once the game does progress to Steam Early Access, you'll receive a steam key for each itch.io key you received.
What about content design rewards e.g. design a settler?
Please note that despite the "estimated delivery date" being February 2019, this doesn't apply to all the content design rewards, which covers almost every extra reward other than the game itself. This is because in some cases (design a settler) I'd rather have more content in place (such as more variety in hairstyles and beards) or even that the content won't exist for a while (new races of orcs and humans). Stay tuned for details on how you'll be able to manage and design these rewards, but for now I can say that you'll be able to change any choices you make in the design of your settlers, so if you make a dwarven settler for now, you can change it to an orc or human when those races are released and your settler in the game will be updated appropriately.
Paying it forward
And finally, if you're already feeling withdrawal symptoms due to not following a live Kickstarter campaign and are interested in something similar to King under the Mountain, check out Kubifaktorium by Dr. Mirko Seithe. It's a colony builder with a strong focus on automation and transport systems, partly inspired by Factorio which is another favourite of mine. Similarly they have a free demo available from Itch.io so you can see the game already exists and is well into development.
The developer has previously released Boss Constructor which also looks great (it's on my wishlist but I seem to spend all my free time developing a certain game), so at least you know they've already successfully developed and released a game previously unlike other Kickstarter games (like ours!) which come from an unknown developer.
Please let me know if you've any questions in the comments. If you want to get involved in the King under the Mountain community, either jump in to our Discord server or start posting in the r/KingUnderTheMountain subreddit. Otherwise I'll see you in the next update!