Thursday, June 5, 2014

Looking at Offbeatr and alternatives.

I was thinking about Offbeatr again today. I feel like it has some things that make it really viable, but one thing that makes it sort of iffy.

If I were to use it, I could hire artists that are a priority using my own money, and create an offbeatr project with stretch goals for things that, while not a requirement for the game's release, would improve the game considerably. For example,

$2400 - 20 extra CGs
$4000 - Second H animation for every enemy
$4800 - All enemies voiced (monster girls)
$6000 - CGs are animated.

Rather than the Offbeatr project being about raising enough money to create the project in the first place, it would be about raising the exact amount required to hire artists to make extra content. In other words, it would basically be like pre-ordering the game, and ensuring that what you spend is going straight towards content.

The first problem, though, is that people couldn't pay for exactly what they want. If it's based on the stretch goal order, some people would be annoyed that voices are before animated CGs, for instance.

However, the biggest, problem is that they take 30%. Meaning if I need $2400 for 20 CGs, then the stretch goal would need to be $3120. Doesn't seem like a massive difference, but that's a lot of money to just lose entirely.

Alternative

I don't like it when pre-orders are blind purchases of a game, or pre-ordering for minor bonuses, but I like the idea of paying for elements that you care about. Which, makes me think of another alternative.

The thing is, there doesn't need to be stretch goals. I could set up a page for pre-orders, the same way I sell games now, but instead of a single payment option, I could let the customer choose what "pool" to pay into, and how much. For instance, you could choose to buy the game, and pay into the "in-game H-animation" pool. This pool wouldn't actually need to meet a certain goal to take effect. Meaning if it only makes $500, that's still 25 hours of work I could pay an artist to work on H-animations, or around 5 CGs, if it's the CG pool.

Just a thought. I won't be doing this now, mind you, but I might consider it for the next project I work on. Tell me what you think, or if you have any other ideas for such a system.


66 comments:

  1. Have you seen what humblebundle does? They have sliders that let the customers freely split their payment among several recipents. Maybe a system like that is worth considering.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think the alternative with the "pool" (I will says the pool-position) is a better idea than the offbeatr and others things like, because players who is more interest second H animations will be less desapointed if they can choose to pay directly for this than if they had to pay for the extra CGs. (I'm not sure what I say is understandable...)
    By making the pool-position, you will be able to know what your fans want and so it will be easier to make them happy to play the game. Of course if you do that, the problem will be to know what pool you are gonna do. (Pool depending on ennemis? Or on type of game-art? Or on... other things... Maybe)

    Also, maybe you could make a pre-paying system wich gave pre-buyers a little bonus (like the musics in mp3, for an exemple, or a beta access). That could help you for during the making of the game (or have free beta testing)...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Putting the effort in and running it yourself sounds waaaaay better than just giving away the 30%. Pools would work much better than the offbeatr as well, since everyone paying chooses where their money goes.

    Just so long as you don't get a surge of donations going in one direction, causing it to suddenly have more donations than it would ever need in one pool and no decent way to let people change their target.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 30% is a lot. What if you go to Kickstarter or Indiegogo instead (I believe they take around 10% only?), and 'initially' offer it to be a H-free game, but put the stretch goals like "More enemies" (which would imply more CGs), and etc. You can just state that the current crowdfunding effort is to make a "G-rated game" and you would just add the H-content after the G-rated game is released. You could even make it so that you overstate the stretch goals, so that if for example for the goal of "More enemies", the extra money you get could be used to create CGs for them.

    This idea came from that Kickstarter project of making a 3D MGQ* (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1727847183/hero-monster-girl-quest-3d). I'm not into their style, so I didn't look into it too much. But from what I gather, they will first make it "G-rated", then if they reach their pledge goal, they will just communicate with the backers outside of Kickstarter and give them the H-version of the game if they want it or not.

    *MGQ is a VN originally in 2D

    ReplyDelete
  5. ANIMATED CGGGG

    ReplyDelete
  6. In regards to the Alternative Pool idea:

    While that is beater than the Offbeatr idea, one issue with the alternative pool is that there will very likely be overflow depending on how much money is needed to be raised for that extra addition. If customers are paying for the original game and throwing in some extra dosh for the added content, and it ends up being that their money doesn't actually go towards anything (ergo, their money either isn't enough or was more than enough), will they be able to get a refund? Or will it be simply similar to Kickstarter and it's ilk where the pushing forth of this money is done on blind faith?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The lack of an edit button is infuriating.

      Delete
    2. Well if possible, a running tally on the side of each pool could be added I would assume. That way people know what they are getting into and can then decide to donate in another pool or just hold off.

      Delete
    3. Like I said, there wouldn't actually be a goal that would have to be met for the money to go to it. Even if a pool only got $50, That's still "time" I can pay someone to work on the appropriate content. If it wasn't enough to finish something, I'd just finish it myself. (For instance, if I only commissioned line art, I'd color it)

      Delete
  7. I'd rather not see you do any of this, I mean if you want something like a kick starter to do an ambitious project that's fine but pools for a variably different things is the same kind of convoluted mess that triple a publishers are getting them selves into. I say just make the game you want to make and publish it as is and if you need extra money for something just ask for it. I'd rather see you beg than see how far down the "This is probably a stupid idea" hole you will go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd still be creating my usual content, and making the games I want to make, working on larger projects as I go. The pools would only control what content is expanded upon, and not the nature of the content itself.

      Also, I'm not really one to take risks. If I were to attempt such a thing, I'd start with a small project.

      Delete
  8. Have you thought about working on a game that wouldn't require much time spent creating assets? Maidensnow Eve was really popular despite not having that many original assets. The game made up for it by having great gameplay that stood apart from most other h-games on the market.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, there isn't really much reason to.

      Generally you only slack on assets when there's a lot of them, or if there's a lot of depth in other areas to make up for it. However, for such projects I'd much rather wait until I can afford to do them justice in every regard.

      Delete
  9. There are several noes to the current idea, but they are personal and thus can be disregarded:
    - Offbeatr isn't good for much. Direct payment gives more money, more control over money and conditions to the developer. Offbeatr is advisable only if you are unknown, uncertain of your success or are in need of money.
    - I do not find your CGs attractive. Your sketches are nice, but your Bad End CGs so far all are lifelessly dull for me for some reason. Something essential is missing there, but I am not painter and can not put it to useful description. Maybe it'll worth to try and use a pixel-art of higher definition for your galleries?
    - Animation of CG requires a good material to begin bother with. I hope that when you say animation you mean different frames and not the process of rigging body parts to wobble.
    - Delegation of CG-making requires some information about an artist in question. Tastes differ.
    - Good voices aren't cheap. Acceptable voices can be synthesised or picked from free repository.

    Interesting gameplay concepts and improvements, H-animation (and animation in general) I can provide support for.
    Alternative has a potential to do some good, but that'll depend on available options.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This.
      Before you think of making a project like that you should the quality of your CG's, for me and many others your games are all about gameplay and pixel art, not your CG's. Now if you hire artists only for them to do the lineart then the result will be the same.

      Focus on learning a bit there, and about the animations... same thing, your art sucks then it will be bad art animated.

      Delete
    2. If I hired artists to do the lineart then the result would not be the same. What's lacking is my lineart, not my coloring. Even then, I'd never hire artists just to do lineart. That example was in the event that the "CG pool" didn't make enough to commission a full CG.

      Delete
  10. I have to say that this is a great idea, both options.
    Perhaps I should pledge for what I consider the best during your next project if it appeals enough, overall I like your work after all.
    I can't specify what I'd prefer over another element that would influence the game by any means, but the idea that we can be the reason for extra content sure does sound appealing to me.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think it would be best to do per-orders yourself but let people rank their priorities. Then assign the actual budget for each yourself, based on those priorities. That way you can have a smaller number of more polished features rather than a bit of this and a bit of that. But you still respect the priorities of the people paying for the game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There wouldn't really be any "features" added, per say. It would mostly revolve around core content like the number of H-animations, CGs, or enemies in general.

      Delete
    2. I was thinking of things like voices and animated CGs as features. I worry that having those sort of things in a small number of places will make the game feel less complete than not having them anywhere.

      Delete
    3. Ah, gotcha. With those examples I was referring specifically to offbeatr stretch goals.

      As for animated CGs, I plan on including some in future games already, so I'd just be adding more.

      Delete
  12. I personally would back an offbeatr project of yours if it's only goal was to add lots of good H content to your awesome games, which is exactly what that looks like.

    Hell I would back an offbeatr project to go add most of the stuff you just listed to Kurovadis!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Interesting and now you do talk about offbeatr^^
    Anyway, your alternative to have some sort of pool where people can decide to put their money into sounds interesting, but you would need to give some good feedback as to how much money exactly contributes how much to a certain goal. Of course more money for let's say for "good CG's" means more art but how much money would you need for one or two? In case the 20 CG goal isn't reached. I do not know whether that's easy to calculate but it would give your buyers more assurance as to what they can expect, instead of just saying "well, it contributes to it" (you are already doing something similiar above, I know, I'm just saying it should an even mroe detailed approach).

    The problems with direct financial support is that you need a lot of people that trust you, as they have no real warranty that you will actually finish your product. I don't know whether you have enough people for that. Offbeatr is more established and seems more legit in that sense. It's also easier to advertise your product that way on sites that might not now your work. But as you said, it has its drawbacks as well. I'd suggest you to make an actual poll whether people would support you directly or not. From that you would have to take a guess as to how much more money offbeatr might provide you.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Besides that, I hope you find a good artist. And by good I mean a nice, cheap artist and not a douchbag who wants 50% per minute.

    And I personally never had problems with your lineart, Kyrieru. Yes, I see some minor mistakes sometimes, but ask yourself: does it matter THAT much?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It mostly comes down to the fact that I don't draw enough.

      When I work on say, pixel art for 4 hours straight, I don't really feel like drawing for the fun of it afterwards. As a result, when it comes time to CGs, I have to quickly work my way back up to a passable level and then do multiple CGs per day. I need to draw more on a daily basis.

      I plan on trying to do a comic on the side, once I start my next project. That, and I'll go back to doing a short animation every day. I need to keep up with stuff like that.

      As for an artist, finding a good CG artist is probably the easiest part. There are plenty of artists who are not only better than me, but faster, as well. I plan on paying around $100-$120 for each CG.

      Delete
    2. Not the Same AnonJune 7, 2014 at 2:57 AM

      Huh... I'm intrigued.

      If you were to hire an artist, what would be the most realistic timeframe you would want per CG? Would they also have to match a certain style?

      Delete
    3. I'd be paying around $120 for each CG, and since CG prices aren't generally determined by the hour, it would be up to the artist to decide how much time to spend on it, as long as they're still meeting a certain level of quality.

      Since this is hentai, after all, they would have to be an anime/manga style. However as you're probably aware "anime/manga" is a pretty vague distinction.

      Delete
  15. The alternative definitely sounds more appealing. Honest Phil raises a decent point, but you yourself said that reaching the amount isn't exactly necessary. I'd see what gets paid for the most, and shuffle the money around so that the goals are met. If one option is paid for, put any extra into the one closest to being completed.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I like your work but i have no idea for your "options"

    i dont know the genre of website.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The only thing I can think of that can contribute when it concerns about art is this guy

    http://www.shadbase.com/commission-shadman/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really this guy? Eh, I'm kinda tired of seeing his art...

      Delete
    2. Broaden your horizons.

      Delete
  18. Perfect idea, love the pool system. Implement it.

    ReplyDelete
  19. What kind of cut does Patreon take? You could look into that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mmm..Patreon isn't really meant for this sort of thing. It's based around paying an artist every time they create content, rather than funding it's creation in the first place. In my case, I want a system where pre-orders fund additional content before the product is released.

      Delete
    2. Patreon might make a fair bit of sense, actually.
      Probably not as "x$ per game" because that's too infrequent, and as you say doesn't implement pre-orders.

      However, there's a fair number of people who just do a flat "per month".
      I could see myself paying 5 or 10 bucks per month to keep one of the best devs I know supported.
      Perhaps regular supporters could then get free copies of games as they come out as a bonus, since they'd be net paying more anyway.

      Delete
  20. I think that the pool system makes more sense, but putting 'benchmarks' to give people a sense of example as to what they're paying into might help. Like if $2400 is 20 extra CGs, then something like '1 per 120' just as a note would help ease decision-making, as would showing people some approximation of what goals have received what amounts (so that those on the fence would be able to pick the lowest pool among their favorites). If there's that, plus the ability to divide things among various pools (even just having checkboxes and dividing equally among them), it'd make for, weirdly enough, a system that's 'fun' to pay into, as well, which would boost its usage-- one might be surprised by how many places lose sales due to tedious or otherwise bland payment processes.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I would keep away from offbeatr. The guys doing Mogi Origins used it and despite really great donations, the amount that was taken AND the amount of time it took for them to receive the money was just not acceptable. Luckily they are kind enough to add things that we didn't even reach with that large percentage offbeatr takes. Definitely go a different route, Or don't do this at all. Make your games standalone content and just make them more frequently.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'd say use an external service like Offbeatr if you plan to make a large game and definitely need the early funding to hire a team; something extensive that you're planning to make quite a lot of money from.

    For games more along the lines of what you've been doing so far, private pre-orders would be better. No point giving away 30% unless there's a need.

    As far as the 'make a non-H version and put it on Kickstarter' option goes...I wouldn't. I've seen a few projects shut down myself, it's not worth the potential hassle...

    ReplyDelete
  23. Can I recommend an Artist you should check out? I mean of course it's up to both you and her but I think it's worth looking on her blog. She has a sfw blog too but both that and her nsfw blog was recently recreated.

    http://nyxondyx.tumblr.com

    She's actually pretty speedy with her work and her line-art is top notch. Unfortunately you can't see all the amazing work she's done because she starts fresh every year but hopefully you'll consider and so will she.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Here's an idea: actually MAKE another game first before looking at the alternatives. Otherwise it's just wind

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You mean like the game he's already making? Kyrieru's been slaving at this latest game and the second he tells us what's on his mind, idiots like you assume he's been sitting on his backside for a few days. At least TRY to have some sense.

      Delete
    2. No, he's right, the guy is counting his chickens before they hatch, besides didn't he have like 2 other projects to do? I guess that with this they're oficially dead but that's no surprise with Kyrieru

      Delete
    3. That's like saying you shouldn't consider what you might do after you get out of highschool until you graduate -__-

      Also, none of this has anything to do with how projects are initially developed, let alone the probability of picking up old projects, so, I'm not sure where you're going with this.

      Delete
    4. You consider what you might do after graduating when you're actually close/sure to graduate, you don't even have a demo. I know you're getting work done (No one will argue with that) but you should focus on the work at hand, otherwise like Skelly said, it's just wind and you can't blame people for seeing it like that, after all they're just ideas and there are lots of those everywhere.

      Also, don't worry about the old projects, a lot of people don't expect you to go back to them, and you're already talking about future projects so we know where that bullet is going. If you go back to one of them great, if you don't that 's also fine because we know you're going to keep working. But don't try to say that you "might" retake them just to keep that subject at bay and everyone happy for now, seriously don't. Some people here actually liked those ideas and want you to go back to them so don't play with the part about retaking these projects if you don't mean it. Just putting that worry onto the table.

      Delete
    5. I disagree.

      You should "consider" what you might do long before you graduate. People who only decide to become artists once they graduate don't generally get very far. It's the people who weighed their options early on and prepared themselves who succeed. You should always consider the possibility of success, failure, and unforeseen events regardless of the circumstances.

      Also, just wind? Just ideas? So what? Discussion and feedback is what helps to shape ideas and perception. In talking about ideas for a Rogue-Lite game, I got a lot of useful insight from commenters that will change the way I think about certain elements of game design, not just Rogue-Lites. Discussion doesn't always have to revolve around something I'm working on now for it to be beneficial.

      Not to mention, people seem to be under the impression that thinking takes up a lot of my time. I hate to break them, but people lay awake at night, people walk to the store, and artists have hours upon hours of idle thought whilst they draw. I think about the game I'm working on, I think about medical conditions, I think about future games, I think about short term goals, my long term goals, everything. It's called being alive, and having a life. Taking 15 minutes to write about an idea relevant to my career that may give me productive things to think about is hardly a waste of time, and thinking about something other than a game I'm working on hardly means I'm not focusing on it.

      Delete
  25. I dont know what to say to this, following the blog sometimes and Kyrierus behavior gets annoying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What behaviour, exactly?

      Delete
    2. YEAH FUCK HIM FOR ASKING OTHER PEOPLES OPINIONS

      Delete
    3. Oh, look, more people yelling at Kyrieru for not being a machine that shoots games monthly!
      Some people are just too self-centred... It's not easy to develop ANY software, let alone a video-game.

      Delete
  26. I think some people are just trolling. People who actually want games by Kyrieru would wait and say their neutral opinions about Kyrierus plans. I for one always liked his games and respect all his plans. It's a Dev JOURNAL, not a tell "Kyrieru what he has to do blog".

    And since this is a Dev Journal and Kyrieru is such a nice person, we are even allowed to make canadian jokes :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, let's face it, Canadian stereotypes aren't exactly the most offensive..

      Delete
  27. Did you ever consider using multiple artists for a game?

    I'm sure there are a few 'unknown' artists like myself out there who, maybe can't commit to a full game, but would be willing to contribute 1 or 2 CGs for free, just for the exposure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I will hire multiple artists, however pixel artists are a higher priority for me. The order in which I'll hire people once I can afford it is..

      1.Pixel artist
      2.CG artist
      3.Writer/translator
      4.Second pixel artist.
      5. Second CG artist.

      As for getting help, I'm not really too keen on accepting free work. Generally, artists who offer free help aren't really at the level I'm looking for yet, and when they are, I feel as though not paying them would be taking advantage of their generosity. If someone helped with a project, I'd always pay them.

      The only time I'd accept free help from artists is if it were a project I was merely doing as a hobby, with no intention of selling. Which I may do, at some point.

      Delete
    2. hmm... well, since you're an established and talented developer who has collected quite a following in the field of h-games and that up-and-coming artists tend to benefit heavily from exposure, is it possible you could "pay" them by crediting them visibly for their work?

      if people like what they see, they'll seek out that artist. i admit it's still probably a lopsided deal, but doing it pro bono at all suggests that just wanting to help is part of their motivation.

      additionally, perhaps you could offer them a free copy of the game?

      side suggestion: you could establish a page on your blog for fan art.

      Delete
    3. Considering I'll be paying around $120 for just one CG from a commissioned artist, a free copy of a $5 game would be pretty cheap lol.

      As for exposure, I don't think doing art in my game would really do much for an artist. Thus far, I've only made two games, and while they were successful, they were successful in a very niche market. I think it would take something big like say, Monster Girl Quest, for exposure to mean much for an artist.

      Plus, even if they do get exposure, there isn't really much you can do with it in the H-game industry outside of commissions. Other than..well, me, a few text-based game developers, and perhaps Mogi, which had a good offbeatr run, there aren't really any developers who are in a position where they can hire CG artists for any substantial work. Unless the artist did a lot promote themselves in addition to their work with me, I doubt the artist would get more than a few potential commissions as a result of their involvement. I could only imagine accepting free help if I was working on something a bit more open source in nature.

      As for a page for fan art, I might do something like that at some point.

      Delete
    4. Why do you need a translator?
      Canadian - English
      English - Canadian?

      I didn't knew that many japanese people play your gamed. I saw some niconico videos, but did someone ever requested a translation?

      Delete
    5. right on, kyrieru. i mean, i already knew you were right that money is the best way to make the deal square, but like i said, i was assuming artists who provided pro bono artwork would mostly be doing it out of altruism.

      @anon: i think it's because kyrieru makes a lot of sales through japanese outlets like dlsite and if he's going to making games with more text, then translation will become necessary. kurovadis and eroico was explained through imagery, so they didn't need translation, but i assume there's a point where text becomes a necessity if you want to make a more complex game -- especially one with RPG elements.

      Delete
    6. Pretty much. Over 50% of my total sales come from Japan, so once I do something with any sort of dialogue I'll have to get a Japanese translation done.

      Delete
    7. Nothing wrong with taking the money even if you wanted to do it for free. Just means you have a job that you like to do. I find that artists do work for free wayyy too often and they don't even get paid enough in general already.

      Also,
      http://shouldiworkforfree.com/

      Delete
    8. Wow, I always tought that japanese have enough games and wouldn't buy western games.

      Besides that, the idea of dialogues sounds pretty nice! I would love to see how much creativism you put into some texts,

      Delete
    9. Enough Visual Novel style games, perhaps, but not enough action H-games. At the end of the day, there aren't really that many of them, and there are even less good ones. My games don't really have anything distinctly western about them, either, so I suppose that helps too.

      Delete
  28. Offbeatr would be great...except they don't allow rape or bestiality content in the games / projects on their site!

    http://offbeatr.com/terms-of-use

    I know that other games / projects have been posted on offbeatr that have "objectionable content", but I don't know how they got away with it.

    Anyway just wanted to let you know (since no one commented on this).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, Fenoxo's project got away with it even though some people went around reporting it.

      Delete
  29. Any chance on a progress update? I'm pretty patient but it's nice to see how you're doing every so often.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm...I suppose I could. Not sure what I'll show, though. I've mostly been working on tilesets, and generally I like to avoid showing too many enemies and whatnot.

      Delete