Wednesday, July 31, 2013 4:56pm
First off, let me start by summarizing where we are in our work toward a Kickstarter and what we accomplished in the month of July:
- We designed and revealed the game's player-owned properties system.
- We introduced a new community moderation and reputation system that will serve multiple purposes as Antilia gains more attention and the community grows.
- I contacted several websites and individuals this month, seeking support in promoting Antilia's Kickstarter. So far the response has been great and we look forward to working with these sites and more as the Kickstarter progresses.
- We've been working to ensure all information about the game on our website is up-to date and accurate.
- We asked the community for testimonials and received dozens of wonderful replies. (We can always use more, so if you've participated in the Alpha and would like to share, visit the thread and let us know what you like about Antilia!)
- I started work on a new "press information" page for the site, so that members of the press and other websites can get accurate descriptions, feature lists, and the latest screenshots of the game in a single click.
- We began recording high-quality video clips of Antilia for use in our Kickstarter video.
It may have seemed like a quiet month, as many of these items weren't individually news-worthy. With so many minor-but-required items getting crossed off, however, my pre-campaign task list is dwindling down. What remains is creating the final list of backer rewards, the Kickstarter project video, and then launching and running the campaign.
One of the final things that I'm working on, and could use community feedback about is in deciding backer rewards. To reach our goal, we have to offer reward tiers that are attractive and exciting to backers at all levels.
Before getting into specific backer levels and what rewards they each include, however, in this post I'd like to start with a broad look at the kind of things we're looking to offer backers:
The most obvious thing to offer as a backer reward is of course, the game itself. Antilia will be limited to a trial area for free players, with access to all areas requiring a one-time fee - so it makes sense to start our lowest reward levels off by offering full area access to everyone who backs at a minimum level.
Some special features of the game - most notably unique customizable properties which can only be owned by a single player at a time and require a higher server load - will require a premium subscription. For backers who back at a level that includes custom properties, 12 months of premium subscription will be included.
As the Kickstarter is likely to attract a lot of new users to the game, we will be required to restructure the way we do testing. While primary feature testing will shift to a small group of testers who are willing to perform exhaustive regression tests and fill out test reports, server load and real-world testing will continue as "early access" for those who back Antilia. Backers will be divided into groups by backer level, and groups will be invited incrementally as we ramp the server up to 24/7 availability. Special server events will continue as they have in the past, and will provide an opportunity to test with briefly higher server loads and gather data.
A final offering we can make with regards to access is friend coupons. Players who back at the higher levels may be rewarded with some one-time-use codes that they can pass out to friends - allowing their friends to enjoy the full world of Forra without the one-time fee.
Special Character Customization Options
There is no doubt that character customization options play a large role in a game like Antilia, and even while working on the Kickstarter we've been working to expand the options
across the board. Some options, however, are special - and should be reserved for players willing to spend a few bonus points on them through our handicaps & bonuses system.
As a Kickstarter Backer reward - some of these extra customizations could be made available without costing bonus points, allowing backers to create character combinations that are really distinctive.
(Feel free to make suggestions for unique customizations in response - we'll try to incorporate as many as we can in the customization packages!)
- Unlimited fur color palettes
- Unusual or di-chromatic eyes
- Special character histories such as being a direct descendent of the gods (god-prince or god-princess)
- Rare bloodline traits, such as Felos with pink noses, Lupans with larger teeth, or Vulans with two tails.
Rare & Special Items
There are some things in the Lantros region you just can't find.... unless you have the right connections
These backer rewards could come in the form of a bonus that provides access to secret item shops, or as a package that is delivered once to the player. These special items will eventually be available to all players as the game grows - but initially will be limited to backers-only.
- Alenfay Herbs & Spices - These ingredients can't be found locally, but are invaluable in the hands of a chef.
- Ariielian Clothes - Make a statement with the most fashionable and exquisite clothing from Ariiel.
- Exotic Craft Materials from Chalei - Take crafting beyond steel and bronze with magically-enhanced metals from Chalei!
- Glasswork from Talikus - Decorate your home with colorful glass lanterns and stained glass from Talikus!
Although a full pet system is not planned for the Kickstarter, the game already includes limited support for basic creature-follow, allowing us to offer some very simple decorative pets. These pets will be limited to backers only, and upgraded if a stretch goal adding pets is reached. These would include Jidou of course - as well as this recently introduced koura
As Antilia will be expanding with buildings and cities with the Kickstarter, and these initial buildings will be unique, limited, and coveted - they are among our top offerings for backers. As the world is expanded into future regions like Chalei and Lantros the number of buildings will grow, and we'll always offer instanced residential suites at inns so all players can have customizable homes and properties. As these are the first buildings and represent a significant amount of development work, we'll offer the first buildings to our backers in limited reward tiers.
One last additional thing I'm working on is offering a digital copy of Antilia's soundtrack for backers - including all music in the game currently, as well as additional tracks planned to be commissioned for the Kickstarter.
One thing you may notice we are avoiding is physical rewards. All of Antilia's rewards are digital. There are a few reasons for this:
- In several recent successful video game Kickstarters, backers preferred digital reward packages 10 to 1 over physical goods packages.
- Offering physical rewards would have increased our budget significantly. Offering something like a t-shirt for example would likely cost us at least 10-15 dollars to have the t-shirts made, and end up requiring a lot of time shipping orders, dealing with lost merchandise, wrong sizes, etc.. Multiply 10-20 dollars in product and shipping cost by the number of backers... and we could quickly add hundreds if not thousands to Antilia's Kickstarter.
Kickstarter Video Progress
As I started work on the Kickstarter video this month, I just wanted to share a few things that have come from capturing new footage of the game.
For our Kickstarter video, it would be great if we could illustrate to some degree everything we plan on adding to the game. For some things, we have to rely on hand-drawn illustrations - there is no way to illustrate them in-game without spending months creating the very assets the Kickstarter is supposed to help us create.
Other concepts have been surprisingly easy to illustrate in-game. When we began thinking of special customization options and crafting materials to give out as backer rewards - it only took a couple minutes in the editor to create some potential new crafting materials and then craft with them:
Likewise, when we started talking about player-owned ships as a property type, it occurred to me that there was already a basic ship mesh in our existing game assets. With some quick modifications to the player object in the editor I was sailing - and I captured some beautiful video of the ship sailing around the Isle of Kasau.
As soon as I started sailing that boat and realized how easy it would be to turn it into a working game system - Antilia got a lot more interesting. Antilia is certainly going to need a bigger landmass and more islands to disembark at and explore when ships become available.
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