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pledged of $425,000pledged of $425,000 goal
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, January 5 2015 1:59 AM UTC +00:00
pledged of $425,000pledged of $425,000 goal
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, January 5 2015 1:59 AM UTC +00:00

The $425,000 Question

Posted by Trapdoor Technologies (Creator)

I wanted to take a moment to address a question that has been circulating around social media since we launched the Codename: Morningstar Kickstarter. 

Why are we asking for $425,000? 

First of all, I want to apologize for not providing more transparency. When we were assembling our Kickstarter materials, we didn't expect that our ask amount would generate such interest. Speculation has been all over the board from "trying to recoup our investment" to "keep a skeleton crew going for 5 years of support". 

I'm afraid the answer isn't anything so nefarious - no secret government agencies are involved. 

The Trapdoor team working on Morningstar consists of six senior-level developers, a creative director who leads both UX and visual design efforts, a web developer, a production artist, a data entry specialist, a content architect, two QA engineers, three support and social media staff, and a number of contract folks for specialized tasks. These are full-time employees dedicated to the project - far from a skeleton crew. Throw in a commercial-grade infrastructure - we have 9 dedicated Linux servers for the project - and a fully-stocked QA lab with scores of tablets, phones, etc. for testing, and you can quickly see how $425,000 is a real world target. Trapdoor is a commercial software development company, and this is how we approach large projects. We have already invested $1.2M in the project to date. 

Why will it take 6 months to complete a project that was "almost" complete? 

Since we can't release Morningstar with the D&D 5e rules (at least until/if WotC announces their OGL strategy), we have to refactor the Expert System (our rules engine) for Pathfinder PRD. This is reflected in our April 2015 release date - which includes support for our three core platforms (iOS, Android, and web), QA, play testing, etc. We could have stopped there with a smaller ask, but we didn't. Why? Our July 2015 release date for the Forge represents a significant expansion of our original functionality. Where the original plan (with WotC) allowed users to create adventures and campaigns for their own use as stand-alone documents, we now plan to allow user-created content to be published to the store as fully interactive titles. This requires moving the automation and functionality of our commercial Story Machine technology into Morningstar while making the experience simple, fun and fast. 

This is an aggressive plan, and we have an experienced team to execute on our vision. 

As a final thought, we are not replicating existing software. We are building something remarkable, captivating and new. I have seen Morningstar in action in my home game, and I don't want it to go away. I urge you to take the leap of faith needed to pledge to the Kickstarter. 

Respectfully submitted. 

Chris Matney 

Managing Director 

Trapdoor Technologies


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    1. Missing avatar

      C C Magnus Gustavsson

      I have no issue at all with the target amount. It seems quite a reasonable sum to me for a quality product. What I do have some doubts about is the reward system. It seems to me you've introduced some real obstacles in the path of getting people from "OK, this sounds interesting." to "Alright, I'll pledge.".

      First, you're asking people to pay in advance for something they can't evaluate, don't know how it will turn out, or even if there will actually be a finished product at all. The first question most of them are going to ask themselves is "OK. What do I gain from paying right now rather than in April? (Or August for founding Game Masters?)".

      A preliminary pricing plan for the finished product would be great. Then I can see right away if I think it'll sell and what I might gain from supporting the project. If I look through the FAQ there is the question "What's the pricing for Morningstar?", to which the answer begins with "Morningstar will be free to download.". Sounds like a good idea to me, but stating it like that right now without specifying any cost for unlocks will only make people think "OK, then. Great. I'll wait, evaluate the free version and see if it's for me."

      Second, you've introduced "founding" levels. Good, but only for the first 200 pledges? Surely you must have missed a zero there somewhere? So when $6,000 out of $425,000 (!) has been pledged all of the founding levels are gone? And after that, nobody will have any incentive at all to pledge early rather than asking for a reminder. If anything, it'll only serve to make people annoyed that they missed the discount. I personally don't quite see the point to introducing these levels at all. What was the thinking here?

    2. Ben Overmyer on

      Seems reasonable to me. But then, I'm also a web engineer, so I understand the logistics involved.

    3. Luke illiz on

      I want to use Morningstar for the games I run and play it looks amazing. I used the beta it was awesome. Most ui for TTRPG management looks horrible but Morningstar breaks that and provides something that looks and feels great!

      I'm afraid that Morningstar went make its goal I
      think releasing this KS close to Christmas was a little bit of a bad move. I know at least 7 people who would have pledged but couldn't because of the time of year (having to buy gifts for family and friends).

      I had a discussion with some of my gaming groups and we came up with this:
      Note we are just thinking of ways to make Morningstar available.
      We would have considered lowering the pledge goal a little, providing a 'lite' version that consists of only lvl 1 character builder for 5e.
      Then having an option to buy the full character builder app to surpass lvl 1.
      Hoping that the app purchases would have covered a little of the cost.

      Anyway that's just some thoughts of a few dice rolling fans.