Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pledge tiers and funding goals when crowd funding ADOM

Ok, folks - the recent discussion really got me confused (not that I wasn't before). Finding the right pledge levels for a crowd funding campaign (specifically with ADOM) seems to be incredibly hard (I find it so much easier for purely commercial games, print products, etc.). Due to ADOM's long history and tradition there seem to be many highly emotional pro and con arguments (love to see a iPad version, forget about iPad, just give everything for free - you don't deserve money for work, I hate downloadable content, I hate exclusive content, I like DLC because it gives me choice, and so on and so on and... you get it).
Additionally there was a lot of talk about the rather high goal of $60.000. I have said enough about my reasoning behind it and I understand the concerns. I have thought a lot about that and I have tried

So I once more have spent a short night pondering pledge tiers and funding goals and here are my latest thoughts (@Team: For now I no longer configure them in Indiegogo - I must come to a final conclusion first).

Concerning pledge tiers

My thoughts behind the pledge tiers currently are the following:
  • By now I've had something like 20 different variants and none really clicked. So there should be only a low number of simple to understand pledge tiers.
  • I want a basic pledge level for folks who are no longer very active with ADOM but enjoyed it at some point. Basically the lowest "I want to say thank you level although I no longer really care". That will be $10.
  • I want a pledge level that gives you access to the game. As ADOM is (and - successful campaign  as a requirement - will remain so) free that means "early access to the upcoming development versions". That level will be $25 (kind of the "basic fan package").
  • I want a pledge level for folks who still care a lot about the game and want to leave a personal permanent mark in the game. That level will be $50 (kind of the "big fan package").
  • I want a pledge level for folks who would love a physical collectors item besides all the other advantages. That will be the $75 level (kind of the "long time fan and supporter" level).
  • I want a pledge level for folks who would like to leave a highly personalized and recurring mark on the game by actually adding an active play element (the "true fan and ADOM devotee" level). That will be the $100 level.
  • I want a "true collector" pledge level with some very special and limited reward. That will be the $250 level.
  • I want one inside joke and only semi-serious pledge level (I don't think anyone will pledge that level - but I want an ubercool reward). That will be the $50.000 pledge level.
  • I know that some folks will think "wow, $25 for being able to add that bit as a personal thing to the game" - please remember that I have no idea whether 5 or 500 people will select that specific reward and 500 people suddenly will scale the amount of work at least quadratically due to the amount of communication to be expected. As I said - I am trying to be realistic about costs lest I don't want to disappoint in delivering.
  • I want to have a little room to add new interesting pledge tiers should more ideas come up (Indiegogo is limited to 12 pledge tiers, much less than Kickstarter).
This takes us to the following pledge levels currently being planned:

$10 - Villager
Get your name added to a special credits section in the ADOM manual, on a special memorial website dedicated to the campaign and to the "Tome of Donors", a special new but rare in-game artifact with peculiar effects.

$25 - Wanderer
As above and receive access to all prerelease builds of the next version of ADOM (kind of nightly builds although we surely won't have a new build every night - but see below the section on funding goals).

$50 - Adventurer
All of the above and suggest a description, an inscription and a magical effect for special magical statues that will start to appear all over the Ancardian dungeons (the magical effect really is just a suggestion, the description and inscription definitely will be implemented if they fit ADOMs atmosphere and we will work out something appropriate together; in the unlikely case that we fail to agree there will be no refunds though)

$75 - Questor
All of the above and receive a personalized and signed post card from Thomas Biskup.

$100 - Hero
All of the above and you get to specify a non-unique existing monster race, the monster gender, the monster name and one special power out of a preselected set. You also may suggest an addition to the monster description. Said monster will be added to a special roster of unique wandering challenge monsters that pop up random during the game.

$250 - Lord (limited to 100)
All of the above and receive a special, personalized and highly limited certificate showing your lordship as well as displaying a random piece of the ADOM source code.

$50.000 - Demigod (limited to 1)
All of the above and I personally will deliver to wherever you live the hard-bound tomes containing a print out of the ADOM source code. Please understand that you will have to design a kind of NDA to not spread the source code to other people unless we reach the "open source ADOM stretch goal". I'll stay a whole weekend (if you want that) to talk about ADOM, ADOM II, develop, play or do whatever else.

So there you are. Right now I am no longer sure if these levels make sense or are interesting enough but as for the previous days I am highly interested in feedback and will try to listen very hard. Which gets us to...

The funding goal

As explained before I initially was planning $60.000 for a lot of reasons. I have heard many arguments and as I care for your opinions I have thought about several options to lower the required amount. Here is what we came up with (although I'm not totally happy with it I don't want to leave the impression that I fail to understand your points or don't care about them):
  • I learned that I missed an important difference between Kickstarter and Indiegogo with both good and bad sides: Kickstarter withdraws money from your account only if the campaign is successful. Indiegogo withdraws the money right away and refunds it if the campaign fails. The Kickstarter behavior probably is nicer for the donors but leads to about 5% losses after a successful campaign (from statistics I have seen) that I had figured. Indiegogo ensures with its method that you really get the money pledged (after cost deduction). Since I had figured in those 5% (as I said - I'm trying to be realistic) I now can take them out again.
  • We will move the iPad version out of the game. We will develop that separately (and Jochen already has done some work on that as it's our personal pet project that got the while chance for new development on ADOM started). The iPad version will not be available for free but only as a paid application and we yet have to decide if at some point it will contain some kind of paid DLC. No ideas so far, this thing now no longer is a topic of the campaign.
  • I have removed all exclusive content from the pledge levels above. Specifically there now won't be new PC races or classes. Those will be moved to stretch goal levels once we meet the initial goal and then they will be available for everyone.
  • I won't promise the addition of any new items, monsters or quests besides those mentioned in the pledge tiers above. Knowing myself I probably will add some in any case but again these things now have been moved to stretch goals once we meet the initial expectations.
  • We'll be developing at reduced speed. This means that the end result will come a bit later than we already planned but this mostly concerns folks who won't pledge at the $25 or above level as all others will have access to all our prereleases whenever we build a new dev version.
Other things definitely still are a part of the new version as I want them (e.g. music, some graphics and a revised manual).

All this (with some rounding down to show good will and be a bit more optimistic than I really should be) leads me to reduce the initial funding goal to
But that's the real end of the line and it means that several things will not be as great as I'd prefer them to be. But maybe we manage to raise more and will get back everything through the stretch goals I'll spread liberally.

So there we are: Feedback welcome as the clock is ticking. Post your opinion, post different suggestions - I am really listening and trying to find the best solution. But monday is the day...


  1. Just because you set a goal low doesn't mean you won't get more remember!

  2. These pledges work for me. (No exclusive content, yay!) Now to decide how much I can throw your way...

  3. I think you are making a very good job of listening to the community's worries. I hope you make at least $60K anyway, and can implement some stretch goals or make development faster.

  4. Maybe I'll buy all 100 lordships and try to get enough "random" source code to be able to piece it together. It'd be a bargain compared to the $50k!

    Seriously, if I ever won the lottery, I'd finance this thing completely. As it stands, I have not won the lottery, and will therefore be saving up so I can help contribute. Just a question the "magical effect" for a statue... The current statues just give stuff. Like items I mean. Well, except that one that prevents the bugs from breeding. But what is an example of a magical effect that you mean? Like stat buffs?

    1. Examples of magical effects:
      - The statue suddenly animates and tries to strangle you!
      - The statue shatters and leaves behind a heap of gold.
      - The statue disappears. You hear maniacal laughter.
      - The statue turns gaseous and you accidentally inhale it with your next breath. You feel nimble!

      And so on. But those things are just suggestions and only will use them to pick the ones I find easy enough to implement, as the pledge says.

  5. Looks pretty sensible and solid alongside the more absolutely achievable initial funding target---all the more fodder for incremental and some big stretch goals as I'd mentioned a good approach to back in the initial feedback topic in my long posts.

    The biggest things now will come down to the first project promo video and the writeup aiming to excite folks to get it to the $48K mark for all the assorted improvements to ADOM that will entail---"first impressions" and all that counting for much.

    From there, hopefully getting media coverage on all manner of OS related and gaming related media outlets like Rock, Paper, Shotgun will be the other key component aside from general word of mouth---it would be nice if some of the other successful commercial Roguelikes thus far gave the campaign a nod to their paying customers via Twitter or whatever in the spirit of general camaraderie.

  6. Neat tiers! I love the "limited to 100" aspect of Lord, though I'm not bright enough to appreciate source code and too shy about my nerdliness to display the certificate properly.

  7. I'd would not dismiss Kickstarter. By now people know hot to use it, they have accounts set up with amazon payments or whatever from when they were funding all those other titles and by now it became a 'familiar' and therefore 'safe' ground for funding cool, new games.

    1. I believe TB mentioned in an earlier post that he can't use Kickstarter because he is not American.

    2. No, it's going to be Indiegogo ( as Kickstarter is not a truly viable choice. I received some excellent advice on how to get into Kickstarter despite not being American (there are ways) but they seemed to require quite some effort and I was somewhat hesitant about that (I want to program, not do legal paperwork ;-) )

  8. I love it. It lets everyone keep access to the same game, but those who donate more get to leave a "mark" on the game that is permanent.

  9. Why limit demigod? Maybe there are some crazy rich ADoM players willing to throw 50k at you? (probably not, but what if there are? Allow them to help you! ;))

  10. It's a good pricing structure I think. Hero certainly looks about right for me (wish I could give more, but we all have our own commitments and responsibilities). For the $50k level I suggest maybe adding the donator's own individually designed companion NPC (like Hawkslayer).

    I'd suggest also posting your planned info text for the Indiegogo page, as I'm sure the community can give good feedback on tweaking that. I know you're hasty to hit a certain deadline, but you should make sure you get this exactly right. There will only be one shot at this.

  11. I like this, though I still kind of feel that if the community has generous enough members that you might get $50K in one go, it's only fair to release the source to everyone.

    Of course, I would've donated no matter what the incentive, but it's still nice to know there won't be exclusive content.

  12. That funding project is shape shifting into realistic form (at last).I like all tiers with no exception.I think you should add "adom tiers" tab very soon as anyone (even random person) who enters here(or official adom site) will get knowledge of what to expect from this game.

    Personally I used to have general rule: i wont pay for pixels unless they are goin to bring me profit.That sentense is true modulo this game atm :)

    1. LOL :-) I need to remember that ;-)

    2. Just wanted to use a moment of rest to say "thank you very much to everyone" (even the "_very_ critical posters" ;-) ). Without you all the campaign wouldn't shape so nicely. But that's what I really love about ADOM (and ADOM II): the absolutely phantasmic community. Thanks!

  13. The tiers look good, and the goal, even at $60,000, seems fine. I've seen a web-comic get over $100,000. I'm rather disappointed that the new races were dropped from the main goals, though. I was looking forward to playing a Ratling. Still, I'll donate what I can, and hope you get to that stretch goal anyway. I'm not too worried, I think there's enough ADOM fans still out there.

    One thing you might want to keep in mind about a payed iOS version of ADOM, people with a jailbroken iPad (and I'm not counting piraters in this) or who got the DOS emulator before Apple decided to remove it from the store, will be able to run the DOS version with no problems. I know I do.

    1. The races and classes will belong to the very first stretch goals. Every (maybe - not yet decided) $3.000 beyond $48.000 will add one of them to the next version - I'll announce that officially once (and if) the campaign manages to come close to the basic funding goal. Thus at $60.000 they'll all be in - that was one of the dropped things I personally miss, too. But it was one of the better options to drop in order to reduce the basic amount of money required.

  14. BTW I have added another high stretch goal ($30.000) to fly in the donor to the ADOM 1.2.0 release party in order to feast with the whole ADOM team. Five available ;-)

    1. And removed it again as it seemed too kinky.

    2. But there is now a new $150 level (Champion) which yields a PDF-download for a print poster of the Drakalor Chain (unlimited) and a $1.000 level (Legend) that will allow you to work with me on a new artifact as in-game content (limited to 24).

    3. Perhaps the $1k level should be able to request which part of the source they'd get a certificate of. I think there are a few like Notch that might be interested in this. Going beyond $1k is probably too much - most of your money will come from the lower tiers.

  15. To be honest I wouldn't expect as many as 24 people to go for legend status at this price. I think it might be more effective to have the (limited) artifact reward at $250, that might interest more people. Imho a random piece of the source code is not that attractive.

    Anyway, just my two cents.