Friday, June 29, 2012

Concerning pledge tiers when crowd funding ADOM

Tonight I'm going to post my proposals for the pledge tiers of the ADOM crowd funding campaign that will begin really soon now (there's a special day coming, hint, hint). Thanks to many very helpful and interesting comments in response to my explanations behind the ideas of crowd funding ADOM some general points popped up that I already would like to discuss now.

  • Most specifically I am surprised by the general dislike of exclusive or limited content. I have several pledge tiers planned that give access to limited content (like new PC races or classes or exclusive artifacts) but everyone seems to hate that. I am surprised and would like to know more about this? Why does everyone hate exclusive content? Let me explain: If you do not take pirating software as standard procedure exclusive content is the standard of the day: If you want to be able to use the content in Sim City or Modern Warfare at all you have to buy the game. If you want to be able to do multi-player you have to buy the network access. If you want to have more maps you will have to buy them. The same for weapons. And so on. It seems to be totally standard and it seems to work very well for commercial publishers (ask the World of Warcraft guys). We do small independent game publishers get punished and hated for doing the same thing?
  • Before posting my ideas for pledge tiers (also due to the problem above with exclusive content) I would like to see proposals or ideas of what you would like to see as possible pledge tiers. Maybe you have much better ideas than me and then I should act according to your wishes ;-) There's just one limit: I do not intend to provide any physical rewards (due to the rather high overhead in costs and time of producing and distributing them) except for a "reverse postcard quest" (you will get an exclusive and signed postcard from me) and a limited quantity number of pledges including a certificate for high donors including a random piece of ADOM source code. (Oh, and one other level containing the whole source code in a series of something like 10 printed hardcover tomes that I personally will deliver to you - but I doubt that anyone will shell out $50.000 for that - it's more of an inside joke ;-) ).
  • Remember that there probably need to be something like 5 to 12 pledge levels (from pretty low entries to costly and limited exclusives).
Please respond - both to issue #1 and issue #2 as I am for obvious reasons wanting to do a funding campaign that will make us all happy ;-)

I'm now very interested to see what you would love and then by tonight will post my ideas so far. Which will give enough time for revision over the weekend before starting the campaign.


  1. Pledge-only content rubs people the wrong way mostly because it implies there is no way late-comers will ever be able to get that content. That's no good. Some people just don't hear about the pledge drive till it's gone.

    1. Ah, thanks, that's a rather simple and understandable explanation. Could have thought of that myself. So people would be more happy to accept something like "donors will receive immediate access to feature x while folks who didn't donate will get it six months later"? Seems fair and might work as well...

    2. Or they could pay money later to get access, too?

      Hmmm... need to think more about ADOM Deluxe as it has been a part of my internal stretch goals in any case...

    3. Paying to get access later is perfectly fine - for instance, Dead State currently has an expansion pack for all donors if they hit X amount of dollars, that everyone else will have to pay for. Seems reasonable to me.

    4. You don't understand. We actualy hate commercial publishers for making us pay for things, that should be in every game.

    5. @Piotr: Almost nothing "should be in every game" ;-)

      As a consequence you probably at some point will only get games of "student level quality" - which still can be great according to my experience. But it's different.

    6. @Unknown That's exactly right. Something I've seen Kickstarter developers do to sweeten the deal is discounts for backers; that is, the exclusive Land of the Mists expansion is available for $10 on the kickstarter but $15 afterward. (a year later it can be quietly lowered to $5 to get the cheapskates on board and eke out whatever remaining money there is left in the franchise, but there's no need to advertise that in the crowdfund campaign.)

      Thomas, I think your thinking is correct in foregoing t-shirts and posters, because they are enormously expensive. Take these guys for example, who ended up massively misspending the funds on their almost doubly funded project:

  2. Interesting reward would be custom named creature which would appear only in some new dungeon. There could be quest to kill your named creature to gain random artifact. Supporter would choose name, race and maybe lvl of said creature? You can even stretch that over more tiers. Lowest can only choose name for his creature and get quest to kill it. Highest would be able to choose creature race, level, weaponry?

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  4. I'm a bit hesitant about any pledge level that would affect the gameplay, such as these new races and classes. I'm not sure what is wrong in it, exactly, but it just doesn't sit right in the gut. It wouldn't make the game free anymore. Cosmetic things, vanity items and other such trinkets are fine as they don't affect gameplay.

    Also I don't think WoW uses micro-transactions, which you are referring to here it seems. Sure, they have expansion packs, but those I'd consider a different thing, even though in principle they might not be.

    Also something being an "industry standard" does not make it an instant "ok". (Intrusive and downright broken DRM, anyone?) You can still go very much wrong with micro-transactions too(like Eve Online, for example).

    1. Just to be clear: I hate micro transactions. I was more thinking along the line of extension packs. Balanced extension packs. Not the the "you need to have this to be able to play reasonably" kind ;-)

  5. This is ADOM. It's not a Blizzard game. Stop doing all this pointless "tier" stuff and make all the content available to everyone. 90% of people just want the major outstanding bugs fixed in this game, not some kind of bastard child "freemium" game that apes the business models of games that were released 15 years ago. I'm kind of losing my paitence with all this crap.

    1. That's an honorable statement, and I would agree with it at face value. But it's my guess that getting to $60k will certainly take some financial "stretching" from the townspeople around here. For example, I already have a dollar amount set in my mind, but if I see something beautiful and awesome available to me at double the cost, I could certainly see myself increasing my donation.

    2. But crowd funding doesn't work this way. And without funding serious development is a problem. As I explained. We are running in circles.

      Or what you like to pledge to say $50 to get a game that everyone else after a short while also will get? Really? Promise?

      I mean, I have no problem releasing the game with "just bugfixes" for about 80% of the number I called. Because 80% of the efforts probably will go into the bug fixing. So you would get much less for a little less. Does that make you happier?

      This is also not about patience. This is a discussion.

      Where BTW do you take the 90% number from? My impression is (besides the dream of everything being free to everyone - which in reality sadly can't work) that a verbal minority believes in some strange god-given right to get everything for free. Which is easy to demand since they don't need to produce anything but just want to consume. But that's obviously also not realistic.

      So I fail to understand your argument.

      And if we can agree to not understand each other it's probably better to part ways instead of gettting pointlessly insulting.

    3. Wait, so you're saying that bugfixes to your 10 year old game is worth $48,000 (80% of 60K) in 2012?

    4. I feel like you're being intentionally insulting to a guy who developed a great game. Not only that, but this guy is being very honest and transparent about what he would need to develop a sequel, and all you can do is sit there and say "I need dis" (for free) in a really childish way.

      Thomas, I was going to post this as its own comment, but I just wanted to tell you that you were spot-on when you called this group a "vocal minority."

      As to what types of things I'd like to see for pledge levels, I think that in-game swag (cosmetic-only) for lower tiers, the reverse postcard quest, and maybe a monster named after especially high-tier donors would be awesome. I recently shelled out $50 for a recent band re-kickstart for a CD album and a T-shirt, and I thought that was an awesome deal (assuming you value the CD and T-shirt both at $20). I would have done it for half that.

      I think you can give an exclusive benefit to donors by making them e-famous or ingame-famous and that would mean you don't have to 1) give it to everyone later, because everyone still has the exact same gameplay, and 2) it's the kind of benefit that grows over time as more people discover the named mobs, etc. Maybe even an in-game location where there are donors' names memorialized? (the graveyard inscriptions spring to mind, or maybe as a ghostly apparition room event or something like that)

    5. Yeah, I'm definitely saying all those things, especially the racist implications of changing "I need this" into "dis"

    6. Kenny, I really need your help to understand you.

      I believe you are asking the wrong question: The only valid question for you should be "Is it worth to pledge $10 to get a bug fixed version of ADOM?". That's the lowest entry level and everything would cost you.

      Asking "Is it worth $X to get a bug fixed version?" its just plain wrong and useless. It doesn't cost you X - whatever that is. You are perfectly allowed to doubt my estimations but the way you do it to me pretty clearly indicate that you no idea at all of changing complex software systems.

      My message is: "The costs are $X." (e.g. $60.000) and "You can get in for $Y." (e.g. $10). So is a bug free (and enhanced) version worth $10 to you or not. If it's not please don't disturb an otherwise reasonably discussion and troll elsewhere. If it's worth $10 to you, we are finished, too.

      Life sometimes is very simple. Even for a troll.

      Oh, and if you had a bit more literacy skill you would have understood that about $48.000 is my estimation of the cost to fix 10 year old bugs (dozens and dozens and dozens and...) and patch loopholes and provide other enhancements to somewhat broken messages, etc. Cost. Not value. You decide upon the value, I decide upon the cost (total and for you). If things match we are happy, otherwise there is nothing to discuss.

    7. The more I read from you the less goodwill I have towards what you are doing. Good luck getting $60,000. (You won't)

  6. I personally have nothing against the idea of paying for extra content (like maps, expansions, etc.) as long as I don't get competitive advantages. For example, if I'm playing a shooter and I have to pay for an extra pack of maps, that's great. On the other hand, if I'm playing a shooter and I have to pay for an extra pack of weapons, I don't like that, because that means people who pay will have a competitive advantage against people who don't, and competitive players (as I tend to be) don't like that (imagine chess with two queens if you are a "premium" player... if you are not premium it would suck to lose against a 2-queen player, and if you are premium you don't get satisfaction from winning with such an advantage because you really haven't showed that you're a better player than the other guy).

    From what I have seen in different forums and gaming communities, and talking to gamers in general, I think this is not only my feeling but a general feeling, i.e. no one dislikes expansion packs that don't affect competitive play (regardless of whether the developer is indie or not), but almost everyone dislike expansion packs that add a bias in competitive play helping people who have payed. And nowadays developers (big names, not indies) are very very careful with that, see for example Valve who added buyable weapons to Team Fortress 2 but made absolutely sure that every weapon that you can get by paying is (1) not really better than free ones, but only good for specific situations (80% of the time people have stock weapons even if they own others), and (2) also obtainable by playing a bit, so that in practice you can get any weapon you want for free by playing+trading in a couple of days. This made the Team Fortress 2 freemium model very popular, you'll hear almost no one complain about it, while for other games introducing competitive advantages without a free means of getting them, people uniformly hated that.

    ADOM is also a competitive game, even if it was not conceived that way... if you look at the forums, you will see lots of challenges, competitions, highscore-boasting, there are halls of fame, etc. So the question is: is adding new races/classes to ADOM in the "maps" category or in the "weapons" category? My feeling is that, well, it is not as bad as adding new weapons in a shooter, but if those races are any good it falls slightly into the "weapons pack" category (i.e. affecting competition). So my personal opinion is that well, I don't mind it very much, but if I had to choose I'd also rather not have it.

    Perhaps a good alternative would be also a TF2-like model, i.e., people who pay get the new races/classes up front, and people who don't pay can get them by completing quests or making in-game achievements.

    1. 100% agreement with the reasoning and I like the conclusion. Someone already proposed something similar elsewhere (Facebook?).

      Thanks - I think this is leading somewhere :-) Those are the ideas I am looking for.

    2. Oh I'd like the TF2 model of ingame "unlocks" but free to people who pay enough. I must say that I am a big fan of the way they've handled micro-transactions in that game, it allows them to still make money, but doesn't exclude people from what can be seen as "core" features - it just makes them work to get access to them.

      +1 to this method of 'exclusivity' if you feel it is needed. In-game quests for 'meta'-unlocks are awesome anyway!

  7. The part I'm curious about, Thomas, and it's not a criticism... why not grandfather ADOM I into ADOM II? That's the engine you're currently developing, in a completely different language, and from what I've seen of it, it'd have no problem running the original game. Make it a pledge option even, that you could start ADOM II in 'Classic' mode or something for supporters, and have it just run the original map and scenarios. Combine the two, as it were.

    1. It's not trivial. While technically it's theoretically possible it's an amazing amount of work to make a close adaptation (as many things work differently in ADOM II, e.g. skills, monster size, classes and advancement, materials to some respect and definitely spells and prayers which are getting implemented next).

      The cost to emulate ADOM in ADOM II is... high. In time and thus also in money. Since I personally wouldn't enjoy doing that a lot I'm not going to do it (for whatever amount). Maybe there will be another crowd funding initiative with ADOM II somewhere in the future but I have no specific plans for that and right now would like to see where things go. ADOM II definitely needs to be more finished to rebuild trust and belief in the game before I'd dare to ask people for money for its development.

    2. That's fair enough; I had a suspicion that it might not be as easy as I thought it might be.

      I'll be honest, I probably wouldn't be prepared to pay (or indeed, afford) some of the double figures for additions that have been suggested to a game I haven't played a whole lot for some years.

      I also think you'll be up against a lot of stiff competition from the newer roguelikes like Stone Soup or ToME, who are giving it away or accepting donations only.

      The roguelike-likes that have gone commercial (Dredmor, Binding of Isaac, etc.) seem to come in under $10, including the expansion packs, so I have a few doubts about figures of anything up to $60 for a couple of features.

      Still, I'll be watching with interest, and I wish you the best with it all. I confess I'll be watching ADOM II even closer, I always felt the larger scale of it shows a lot of promise. :)

  8. As the first comment said, nothing that would be exclusive for contributors, full stop. I agree that there is only a limited amount of content that can be added (this sort of things would be better in ADOM II with its unlimited world). Plus, what if the extra content from the people will be just a distraction? I mean, I am one of the people who DO have an item of their own in ADOM (scroll of literacy check), and after all these years I feel like it just takes space of something actually useful... We age and we learn :)

    1. ADOM is a small download and a small program, I'm sure there is space for loads of more items so I don't think any item "takes the space of" any other.

      And that particular item is rather fun, I wouldn't remove it.

    2. A new item probably is something like 100 bytes or so. So no real problems here. Add 10.000 and you have another megabyte ;-)

      That's why IMHO roguelike games are so cool compared to modern 3D games - so much room for actual content :-)

    3. You misunderstand me -- I didn't mean disk space, I meant in-game space. A useless item in game must have a probability of being generated, and that probability must be taken from something else, potentially more useful. Of course, that doesn't apply if there's a flat-out probability for getting a useless item and all useless items are fit in that one chunk :)

  9. Although I understand the incentive behind coughing up more cash to get exclusive things that noone else does... it does fly in the face of 'community'. In that because you missed the window or couldn't afford anymore, you've missed out on something that you can no longer get.

    I personally have no issues in forking out more coin to get something "unlocked" for everyone. Yes I know that selfish desire to have something special and unique tends to win more people over - but to be honest you're asking the community to help, so I think it's a bit irrational to then not help the community in turn (by keeping exclusive content).

    I'll repeat my requests/suggestions from a few posts back though:
    * If donators got their name in the game (as NPC Ratlings/Mist-Elves, or on statues/tombstones/walls etc) then that is something which recognizes their efforts - but doesn't segregate the community any further.
    * I'd also be very happy to contribute more to get something I designed/named/etc into the game. A new weapon type (Serpentine-dagger: +0, 1d4+1) or suffix (of Revenge: gains bonus to damage if injured by target on previous round), or even monster! Basically contributing to the game as well as contributing to funding it.

    Either way I'm looking forward to seeing what gets added and being rid of some of those annoying bugs! Hope this all goes somewhere.

  10. You can sell indivual tiles on certain maps, allowing the "owner" to put there what they want (within certain limits).

    Alternatively, you can sell whole dungeon rooms, areas or houses in the towns.

    That's a nice way to show some appreciation for your sponsors, but also to get some interesting variance into the game world.

  11. I don't know if I really represent the average pledger, but I am not really interested in the pledge tier rewards. I am a long-time fan. ADOM has given me more fun and adventure than any other game. I will gladly give money just to give The Creator time to improve it in the direction he sees fit. I will naturally appreciate bug and balance fixes, but I am not looking for any substantial new features.

    When it comes to deciding new content for the game, I would actually prefer that the changes done to ADOM are all decided by The Creator, not some random player with deep pockets. There is a problem with rewards promising getting to decide new monsters or artifacts or whatever to the game. I think it is a good idea to be absolutely clear from the start that the pledgers only get to *suggest* new content. What if somebody pledges $100 or $10000 to get George W. Bush appear as a NPC or to have an Uzi as a new weapon? Ok, you turn them down and return their money. What about something else that might, with a little stretching, fit to the theme of the game but will potentially anger some other fans of the game? Will we have another round of pledges to remove content added by the first one? If there has to be a tier for suggesting new content, it could be made such that other members of that tier (or all pledgers) could also somehow vote on that content.

    I certainly don't look forward to any pledger-exclusive content, since I don't feel that making the content available to everyone would in any way be a loss for me. And of course, in any case, the content *will* be available for everyone by some "unofficial" means, so the only thing really left for the pledger is the warm fuzzy feeling that they have supported the pledgee, making the whole idea of pledger-exclusive content kind of moot.

    The only thing the pledge tiers can do in my case is slightly increase the pledge amount by possibly rounding up to the next tier. The rewards I am interested in are the warm fuzzy feeling, maybe a name in some file, the Reverse Postcard Quest, and possibly a chance to vote on which changes get done in the case there is no money to all the changes The Creator wants. But as I said, I am less interested in what *I* get with *my* money and more interested in what *we*, the fans of ADOM, get with *our* money. Actually, since we already got a magnificent game for free, I solemnly pledge that even in the case that the campaign fails (which I highly doubt) I will donate the money anyway. You have my money. {insert obligatory LotR movie joke}

    1. Very well said!

      And if you're looking for little things to add, I always wished that there were some way in the game to read the weird tome. Maybe get lessons from the Mad Minstrel? It could be a powerful anti-chaos effect (reducing background corruption for the whole world), open a gate to some other realm, grant a unique corruption, who knows? Or maybe its effects depend on the character reading it? But I always felt that the triad of tome, MM, and Filk were intriguing and underutilized elements of ADOM.

  12. Well, you have to think what people want. For instance, players want to not die. So, perhaps pledgers could get a program that allows people to save-scum without actually fiddling with the files themselves.

    Or, perhaps the pledgers could get better character creation options, or a walkthrough.

    Honestly thOugh, I agree with the maps versus weapons packs as discussed above.

  13. As far as exclusive/deluxe content goes, I think my vote goes with the first poster in this thread: Make the content available for people who pledge, but allow an option for people to buy in sometime after the drive (or give it for free if you want). Another option, as I see it, is just to adjust your target to compensate for this: If $60,000 isn't enough to make this content available to everyone, what level would be? Remember too that part of the way that games like World of Warcraft can actually enforce the micropayment system is because those games are cloud-based. If you're sending people the full executable with that content included, sooner or later (probably sooner, in all honesty), that content is going to be leaked more generally.

    What I'd like to see in terms of content would be:
    -Bugfixes is definitely #1 on my list by a fair margin.

    Other stuff...

    -New monsters (particularly, IMHO, at the top tier level)
    -New equipment or artifacts, particularly in some realms that are pretty deprived (eg. iron/mithril/eternium chain whips)
    -New dungeon features and room effects (ex: an abandoned shop that isn't full of mimics (obviously very rare); summoning portal (sort of like a beehive, except is summons monsters, like one that summons all lesser daemons or something); fletchery shops (sells arrows, quarrels, occasionally fletchery sets); a room filled with noxious gas that damages you when you're in it; a massively corrupting room)
    -New ways to die :) Anything cruel and capricious.
    -Monsters using items and more spells. I'm guessing that this might be a lot of work, but I'd love to see intelligent monsters able to use wands/potions/whatever that they have in their inventories, or cast more spells.
    -More wilderness features/weather effects (rain of fire? hail storms? groups of high level bandits who will extort you for money?)

    1. BTW, you should probably cross-post/sticky some of these discussions to the forums, IMHO. I'm sure there's people who check there but don't follow the blog.

    2. For monsters using items and spells you will have to transition to ADOM II (once it's more complete - spells are planned for the 0.4.x releases, religion for 0.5.x, monsters will already start using items with 0.3.x, the next release in a week or two is 0.3.0).

      Otherwise... thanks for the nice ideas. I need to do some of those in both ADOM and ADOM II ;-) Please send you name to creator(at) for eventual credits ;-)

  14. Sooo... if 80% of the effort would go into bugfixes, perhaps a more sensible starting goal would be $15-20,000 for new stuff and only easy-to-fix bugs? ADoM is pretty stable right now, no really annoying bugs, and players can refrain from using exploits on their own.

    I suggest that because $60,000 seems like a LOT. Especially for people from poorer countries. If you say that's what it's going to cost you, I believe you. But on the other hand, I'm pretty sure for that I could remake ADoM from scratch ;) (I consider myself a reasonably skilled programmer. $60,000 would last for about 2 years of my full-time work.)

    What I'm trying to say is that spending $48k on fixing minor bugs and annoyances doesn't seem like the right allocation of resources. If I had that much and was willing to fund ADoM with it, would I want to put it towards minor bugs? Surely not, I'd much prefer to fund ADoM2 or perhaps new features for ADoM.

    Now, pledge tiers... I think in-game recognition is the way to go. You could sell the right to name/design...
    -special room effects
    -houses in Terinyo/Dwarftown/Lawenilothehl
    -pick names for old barbarian, ancient dwarf, assasin prince, ogre guardian, ratling guards and other existing but unnamed NPCs. Or for notable monsters, maybe D:50 balors, or skeletal king.
    -add Mad Minstrel's songs, Yggaz' ramblings, fortune cookie messages, grave inscriptions, etc, etc...
    -you could create an item named "Tome of Donors" or something, when read it gives a name of random donor and a chance of +1Ch.

    Also, all of the above could as well be for ADoM 2.

    The only downside would be that every pledge towards in-game content would have to be individually reviewed and approved so they wouldn't stick out flavour-wise, be vulgar, inappropriate, or something.

    1. Just for the sake of it: Irregardless of your skills (no disrespect here) I sincerely doubt that two years are enough time (even full-time) to ADOM from scratch. Just a somewhat educated guess as I'm trying this with ADOM II and occasionally count spent time ;-)

      Thanks for the suggestions!

    2. Well, maybe "from scratch" was a bad choice of words... What I meant was, "put what exists now into nice neat modern easily expandable code", not "design and code entire game from ground up". And most definitely not talking about ADoM II, scope of that compared to ADoM seems immense. In either case, I'm not going argue the point, as sadly I don't have time to prove it (or fail trying). Hopefully my point about how much could be done with $60k stands anyway ;).

    3. For naming monsters, adding contributor names to the "surge of power" list would be another possible way to go.

      I like the idea of adding the names to graves.

    4. I totally agree that _a lot_ can be done with $60.000 - especially if you manage to get by with that for two year (which doesn't work for us due to mortgages, not having two years of spare time because we can't totally get out of our daily jobs, etc.). But with a more forgiving context I'd probably agree totally. As I said elsewhere we might not be the best ADOM development team business wise... but at least from the perspective of experience and knowledge we are optimal ;-)

  15. The whole reason I play indie games is because I hate the so-called free games that are really just demos, and they nickle and dime you so you have to pay twice as much to get a full game. I don't like pre-order bonuses, since I don't want to gamble the $60 that I might want to use elsewhere. I don't like DLC, and would prefer buying a full expansion pack to the game. Well, that and indie games tend to be more inventive.

    Having stuff named after me in the game would be a good incentive for me. Then again, there are people who would give money just to have the game happen. Look at Dwarf Fortress. Toady and his brother don't charge a single cent for their game, and don't even push hard for donations. Yet they're pulling in several grand a month on average, and pulled in something like $10,000 on their last big release. And the only thing they give donors are crayon drawings or stories. People like your game and would be willing to give you money for it. I might not have much, but I hope to be able to squeeze something out for you.

  16. I just want a button that says "click here to purchase ADOM II" out pours Thomas Biskup goodness.

    If you are going to have a Kickstarter style campaign I agree with most everyone that they should be incidental things that don't really affect gameplay. Minor rewards could include things like the Reverse Post Card Quest. Major rewards could include things having a hero included as an NPC in one of the story lines.

    Personally I just want to pay you for a full copy of the game. End of story. The one way I wouldn't mind paying for more content is if you add more story. I.E. complete JADE, complete the ADOM II storyline. Then create a new story for the JADE Engine.

    I can't emphasize this enough. WRITE MORE STORY. I love the new engine, I agree that JAVA is a bit slow, but computers are only getting insanely faster so I wouldn't sweat it. Just finish the engine and continue to tweak it while writing new adventures for it. ADOM has been played to death. I want, ADOM III, IV, V, and VI.

    I would totally buy every new adventure. Plus if you have a campaign every time you write the new adventure that allows contributors to support not only the development of the game, but also leave their little "mark" on the world I think you would find contributors at all levels.

    This would not only give you an ongoing method to support the development it would give you a completely unique niche in the rougelike world. Unless I've missed something (which is highly possible since I don't haunt the boards much) no one else is going this route.

    Adom has always been centralized around Thomas Biskup's vison of the world. That has also always been the thing that sets it apart.

    1. :-)

      I totally agree with "Write more story". That's what I am totally itching for as far as ADOM II goes as the whole engine is built around the idea of being infinitely extensible. Once I get past ADOM II 0.5.x (missile combat now in 0.3.x, arcane magic in 0.4.x, religion in 0.5.x) I will start to focus on the world. First making the settlements a lot more interesting (maybe in 0.6.x) and then by adding layers and layers of stories.

      As for Java: Believe me, it's not really slow. Right now I'm still in a very early development phase where I focus more on adding heaps of cool internal stuff instead of optimizing every line I write. I have had very good experiences so far with late optimization so I right now usually take one of the later release of a minor (e.g. 0.2.x) release line to work out any performance kinks and then start the next major release line (e.g. 0.3). Yes, Java is slower than C Code but I'm about ten times more productive with Java than I could be with C. And computer systems from the last couple of years shouldn't have too much of a problem with ADOM II.

      I'll remember your words and I'll raise that issue after the 0.5.x line of ADOM II is finished ;-) But first I'd like the game to be more complete and prove its power.

  17. I suggest taking a look at another successful kickstarter, Grim Dawn.

    Grim Dawn is a graphical rpg that's been in development for 2-3 years by a team of 4-5 professional game programmers working in their spare time. If you look through what they offered for each tier, you'll notice that most of the upper tier stuff was either physical trinkets or special in-game items. Some higher tiers get extra copies of the game to give out, some get the promised expansion packs when they come out, but there certainly isn't a tier where you get access to a new race or class that no one else gets.

    I honestly think you need to keep your tiers low and do more with stretch goals. I'd recommend something like $10 for the game once it's released, $15 includes alpha access, $25 gets a few nifty in-game items, and if you're feeling really generous, $50 puts your name on a list for randomly generated unique monsters. "A cyclops named Gruevy", for example. $100 lets you pick of a list of abilities and create a non-random unique monster named after you, with abilities you decide.

    Then do everything else with goals. $20,000 for a bug fix version, two new races, and 10 new monsters. $30,000 for an interface overhaul and another 10 new monsters. $40,000 for two new classes and two new item types. $60,000 for an iphone and android version. $75,000 for a new town with 10 new quests, two new items types, and 20 more monsters. $100,000 for a graphical interface redesign and Steam integration, with achievements.

    I think that would do a bit better for you than $80 for the version with all the stuff worth actually donating to get.

    Also, if you were smart, you'd start talking about getting the game on Steam. That would give people a better idea of what kind of quality they should be expecting. Let's be honest: ADOM was not a monumental, superhuman feat of game design and programming. It's fun, and it's impressive, but it's not worthy of a place in history textbooks. It's buggy and poorly balanced in some ways. We haven't seen anything out of you in ages, except for the early ADOM II stuff, and that's not enough to build a game design resume on yet.

    Another benefit of trying to get the game onto Steam is that it would give people a better idea of how serious you are about this. Right now it sounds like to want to be paid to get back to an old hobby. "Please donate $50 so I can build more model trains, and then you can come look at them." Keep in mind that most other roguelike developers do this for free, for fun. If you started talking about turning ADOM into a serious business endeavor, it would be easier to take you seriously and donate my money.

    Also, I think you've done a good job setting a tone in your replies here. Just remember that people who seem upset and don't like your ideas are not trolls or enemies--they're potential customers. Every complaint someone posts is an opportunity for you to explain how great your ideas are. You truly win when you don't insult them back, even if you're insulted.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. *Sigh*. The first half was much better than the second half as far as I am concerned ;-) But I'll try very hard to not get upset.

      Ok, here we go from a hopefully calm point:

      1. Thanks for the pointer to Grim Dawn. I had seen that some time ago but completely forgotten about it. Tonight we'll not see my pledge tiers because I'm still wrestling with them.

      2. Concerning the pledge levels: If I only were regarding ADOM development as a job (which I never did) I'd probably agree more with you. Sadly the proposed numbers don't fit the reality under which I am forced to live. And again: Why do you care for the total amount? It doesn't affect your pledge... I understand that it's very important to find reasonable pledge levels and I am extremely concerned about that but as I said in another post: I decide upon the cost, you fans out there decide upon the value of _your_ pledge (not the total).

      3. I don't see the connection between being smart and being on Steam. Please explain.

      4. I personally see ADOM as kind of monumental... simply by judging from the fact that since ADOM there probably was at most two other games that managed to raise to similar heights (ToME and Crawl/DCSS). For a period of more than ten years that's pretty little. And thousands of post cards, magazine articles in many countries, e.g. are quite a nice achievement, too. I'm pretty proud of that and I'm very happy that I don't need to prove anything to others anymore as I have achieved so much more than many other people (without ever really trying to get it) and over the years I have received such an enormous amount of positive feedback that I can I've pretty well with weirdos, idiots and trolls that might pop up once in a while. Even if they get through to me for a short moment usually I realize pretty quickly that I'm so lucky to not have such a miserable existence that I can continue with a smile on my face ;-)

      5. I do to have the need or the wish to build a game design resume. ADOM is more than enough for me and even if I'd never again write a game I'd be happy with it till the end of my days. So are many thousands of fans (today... at its height there were probably more than 100.000 active fans out there at the same time judging from the amazing download numbers of those times). That's more luck than I ever asked for, so I am _very_content and grateful to all those amazing people out there.

    2. 6. "It's buggy and poorly balanced in some ways. ". In some - IMHO minor - respects. Otherwise people would enjoy the game much less and be less emotional in the discussions. I believe that your absoluteness is totally flawed. ADOM is good enough for unknown thousands of people to enjoy it so much that they play it many years after the last new release. All the remaining other roguelike games still have to prove that they could exist after eight+ years of no releases ;-) Even if that's nothing to be proud of.

      7. I don't feel the need to prove my seriousness and I also don't see how Steam would help in that. I have no interest in Steam. Either you believe me or you don't. And I think I am a lot more believable than many people doing crowd funding campaigns. If you don't agree you shouldn't pledge.

      8. I still believe - and I think that by now I have told you that several times, so you might want to listen - that it shouldn't matter for you what my long-term goals are, etc. Ask yourself if an amount of X is good enough for you personally to get a new version of ADOM and then act accordingly. It's that simple.

      9. People with no manners at all aren't people I'm going to take seriously. Just to put it clearly: I'm pretty fed up with the spiteful idiots out there who hide behind an online account and dare to talk to people in a way they most likely never would dare to do when facing a person in real life. Those pitiful wretches seem to enjoy spreading lies, lies and damn lies and I'm not willing to accept that. I don't need such wretches as fans, I don't want them and as far as I am concerned they can linger in their pitiful existence... but please without bothering me any further. I think I have gone far beyond a reasonable limit in trying to argue with idiots... but I'm not going to any length to convince the last idiot as that isn't possible in any case.

      In research concerning developing markets there is a rule (for which I right now can't remember the exact percentages but to get the point that's not important) that says something like: About 8% of the customer base out there will buy anything new that comes out, no matter how good or bad it is (the true fanboys so to speak), about 12% will buy anything that comes out if it shows a decent quality (the fans), about 34% will buy things that have convinced the first two groups and prove to be of quality, another 34% will buy things that come out once the majority of the first 50% has the stuff (the late market) and the remaining 12% won't ever buy your offer but always complain (usually very vocally) about all kinds of imagined problems, injustices etc. This last group thou shalt ignore as they are totally unimportant.

      The big mistake many businesses (and software developers) make is to listen too long and too much to the vocal last 12%. The right way to handle them is to totally ignore them as they are just worthless.

      Total ignorance is something I still have to learn and I will be the first person to admit that I'm surely not 100% perfect in identifying that group, but considering e.g. the recent Reddit thread it was pretty trivial to discern the total idiots from the dimwits, from the half-reasonable people and from the reasonable people.

    3. Firstly, thanks for conversing with me. I've said it before but I'll say it again: I'm not against you. I'm a fan, and I'm giving my honest opinion, because I believe it needs to be said. You can take it or leave it.

      I need to say sorry about the 'if you were smart' comment. It's just a saying in America and doesn't mean I think you're not smart. Clearly, you're smart. It just means "here's a good idea" or "I have some advice for you". Poor choice of words. I should have thought you might not be familiar with the phrase.

      If you want to ignore your detractors, that's cool. Ignore them. Don't get into name-calling fights with them. It just makes you look as petty as they are. You're always so nice here on your forums, too, so I think it's out of character for you to do that. Don't call them idiots or trolls. They're neither. They happen to be people who play roguelikes, and I doubt you'll find a stupid person anywhere who likes them. They're also not trolls--trolls are there just to make you angry and cause trouble, and not giving their real opinion, because they don't care. Someone can hate you and everything you stand for and tell you that to your face and not be a troll, if they're sincere. Haters would probably be the right thing to call them, if you can't stop yourself from mentioning them. Can you imagine Gabe Newell saying this: "I'm pretty fed up with the spiteful idiots out there who hide behind an online account..."? It's funny, because in this statement, your manners match theirs.

      I keep mentioning it because it really will hurt you if you keep it up. That kind of thing will get out to the public and turn people off to your project, and I'd like to see you succeed, even if it turns out not to be something I choose to support.

      The reason I care about the total amount is this: you're asking us to invest, not to purchase something. We're giving you our money in exchange for a promise, not a tangible good or service. In order for most people to invest, they have to be comfortable with the entire idea, not just a part. They have to feel like they're becoming part of something.

    4. Another thing is that people won't invest if they don't think the goals are reachable. Most kickstarters start out slow, and then in the last two weeks, get a ton of donations because people see that it's going to be successful. No one wants to get on a train that isn't going anywhere.

      Of course the benefits for donating at higher levels are bribes. That's how sales works. However, there's a difference between a good bribe and a bad bribe. Requiring an $80 donation just to get the full version of the game and saying 'you're free to donate less!' is like saying, "I'll sell you this Audi for only $20,000, and for only another $10,000 I'll add tires and steering wheel!".

      If your finances are tight, I'm sorry. I know how rough it can be when you have to choose between bills and food, if you're in that position. However, that's not how you set up a kickstarter campaign. You don't say, "I need this much because I have to pay my mortgage". You say, "I need this much because I think it's a fair market value for the benefits you're receiving, vs my time involved." If you're doing badly financially, join the club. Only the top %8, your most loyal fans, will invest because they feel sorry for you. You need investments from thousands of people who have no idea who you are and don't really care, but think the project looks cool.

      Finally, I mention Steam because I think it will give you more credibility to be using this money to found a company (even if everyone in it just works part time) and join the rest of the world's independent gaming community. Indie games have had tremendous success on Steam. If you don't like it, that's fine. I just think that more people will invest if it feels like they're participating in something bigger than funding your hobby. You may have a better idea, though. Anyway, Cheers!

    5. Thanks for the additional explanations, they were very helpful. I didn't know that smartness phrase but I am happy to learn every day (or night as it's 2am by now here).

      Thanks for the Steam elaborations... now I understand what you were going for.

      And I'l now stop talking about the monetary context: I don't need the money per se, I feel we (as a team) will need to the money according to all estimations and calculations I can do to successfully deliver the game.

      Right now I'm still wrestling with moving things to stretch goals but I always have ADOM by trying to combine cool things people asked for with cool things I dearly wanted in the game. Stretching things just for the sake of crowd funding psychology feels wrong to me and I'm still thinking I just should take the gamble. We'll see. Now I'm going to sleep and dream of pledge levels... I just noticed that Indiegogo is limited to 12 which is a about 2-3 short of what I'd feel comfortable with. (Or I'm now going to ruin a great inside joke by removing the highest pledge level... na, can't do that).

      Thanks again for the thoughtful comments!

    6. Beyond, and honestly perhaps before, Steam---you would do well to try to get on Desura and Gamersgate. Aside from each one being rather indie-friendly and well-behaved with their users on the whole, getting on Steam successfully as somebody other than a big publisher is something of a mysterious and arcane artform. Of that madness though, there DOES appear to be ample evidence that already being carried on the likes of Gamersgate and Desura and doing OK with them counts mightily in the favor of a submitted application.

      More visibility is key, and these services reach a great many gamers and enthusiasts as trusted portals and each already has at least one Roguelike or so to their name at present. There's many folks who also like to organize their gaming library via these outfits, so given the choice they will bolster their Steam library instead of buying from an outside source they can have issues keeping track of.

  18. For myself, I hate the DLC approach. I have no problem with expansions or things like that, but I don't want to build my game piecemeal. I imagine that the content I get by paying for the game is finely crafted to go together. That is is what the designer wanted the game to be. I don't mind paying for the game, but whenever people try to sell me 12 little packs of things to add to the game, it makes the whole deal look like a scam.

    Which is not to say that is what I think of you, Mr. Biskup, but I would (and, I hope, other people would too) donate more to a project that avoids this kind of thing. For example, one kickstarter that is almost finishing is the one for the mega dungeon Rappab Athuk ( Now, maybe I am hurting my case for bringing them up, as they are one of the most successful RPG books in the Kickstarter. Nevertheless, I never gave them one cent. Specifically because there was exclusive content for the people who donated $250 or more. I could have gotten most of the game. Heck, I could have donated $250, if it came to it. But I decided to just let it pass.

    That is not to say I would never donate to piecemeal project, I have done so in the past, after all. But I have probably donated less than I would have otherwise. Personally, I think good stretch goals, coupled with good tiers like getting a mention in the credits, a virtual hintbook about the new content, bet participation, etc.

    Now, I can't really say that "my way" is the best way. It may well be the case you will get more money if you break up the new content if lots of small packages. I know for sure my view isn't that of the majority of the gamers, though it might be of the majority of your target audience. But whatever is it that you decided, I do thank you for taking the time to listen to what people have to say.

  19. Perhaps you could offer tiered incentives based on total amount donated? I know that's not really the Kickstarter model, but maybe you could say, "Once we hit $10,000, I'll tell you how to read the Scroll of Omnipotence," or something.

  20. I won't play ADOM if it has any kind of freemium content. Considering that nowadays $10 will buy something like Terraria or Minecraft, buying ADOM content seems ridiculous. That's not to say I'm greedy -- I'd rather just donate to the project just to donate, and to pay back for all the years of fun. But not if it's insulting me by trying to sell some gimmick. That's a slap to the face.

  21. Wow... so many understandable opinions :-)

    Still fighting with the pledge levels and having just twelve doesn't really help... I hope to get my proposals up at some point today.

  22. I pay for games, but I am not willing to buy a title that will nickel and dime me for every single thing. It feels like a ripoff. This is why I haven't nor do I intend to touch Modern Warfares, the new Sim City (although I love the genre), and other titles with this scheme. The DLC approach does work for some studios, but the audience and their expectetations are probably a tad different. There IS a reason for the resurgence of kickstarter games and the "indie" scene in general, and the monetization of gaming is one of the forces driving the customers away from big-budget titles.

    1. You all have been heard. As you can see in the more recent blog posts all exclusive content is a thing of the past. I have understood the lesson ;-)