Crowdfunding a game I'm developing: ReTux (Mario-inspired game)

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quantumgravity
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Joined: 04/22/2013

It indeed does help.

Maybe you can get a volunteer artist to make a mockup (is this how it's called?) of a leveldesign that he would create if the goal is reached.
Just one picture, really stunning;
even better would be a whole level or maybe just a part of the level with this new design that shows at the same time a few interesting puzzles you could build thanks to the new features of retux (the ones you were talking about).
It's alot about visual stuffs, trust me.
Most people just quickly browse through those campaigns and decide after a short moment if they're interested or not.
Maybe they look at the supertux picture and think "already know that" or "hmm looks ok". Then you lose them.
What you want them to think is "Wow, the graphics look really nice and the gameplay is kind of fresh and smart".
Besides, how do you currently promote your campaign? Just the trisquel forum?

Those are just a few ideas, hope they help maybe.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

Thanks for the suggestions!

> Besides, how do you currently promote your campaign? Just the trisquel forum?

So far I've posted a link here and on FreeGameDev.net. I'm planning on also posting a link on GameDev.net at some point.

SuperTramp83

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Joined: 10/31/2014

onpon - you should post a link about it on the major decentralized social platforms like gnusocial, diaspora etc..
I know many people on diaspora love free software and free culture and some of them may help with donations I guess.
Format it nice and put a couple of shiny pictures from the game maybe..

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

Yeah, I'll be busting out my old Diaspora account as well. First I'm making a big level showing off most of the features of reTux and some possibilities of things that can be done with them; hopefully that'll make it look more interesting to people.

leny2010

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OK, I bought a copy and gave you an additional $25 tip for going as far as considering people with color blindness. However, I have some comments on the business side of the campaign. In the UK there are gratis government funded courses (one night a week for six weeks) on starting your own business. These 101:s cover all these basics. Get on whatever the equivalent is in your geography.

So: You're selling on features, which is known not to work well, rather than benefits as you should do. Nor are you being persuasive in your text, nor do you have a clear USP (Unique Selling Point). Thus some of your points would be recast as:

Rather than the defensive 'Not a Fork of SuperTux' - "ReTux is an entirely new game, using those SuperTux graphics you so love."
"All new game play inspired by Mario[tm] games."
"A concise pro written Python game you can hack to your heart's content once you have played the original copy and make as many more new games as you want."

You've said elsewhere here 'depending on how much the graphics cost' or similar. No, you should have done your research and have a pretty good idea of how much the graphics will cost in your business plan for this campaign. As guidelines from 'I am Mongoose So Can You' the 2009 going rate for an original quarter page professional graphic (predominantly from Brazil) for pen and paper roleplaying games was $20-$25 *with all rights* (i.e. the copyright etc all the purchaser's). Around 2012 the best a friend who is a talented non-professional artist could get was $70 for *all* the art for a shareware game on the same all rights deal. As in, it looks like the art costs for this project should be marginal in terms of your budget.

For my money @jxself is right about nothing between the $20 and $495 levels. One accepted model of becoming a professional musician is called '1000 Dedicated Fans.' A 'dedicated fan' is someone who buys *everything* the musician does, the musician makes $50 worth of stuff a year and thus has an income of $50K - costs. I.e. a living wage. Thus I suggest your campaign should be aimed at milking $50 from low end givers like myself. At the above art costs things like Stickers, Mugs, T-Shirts, Posters, Hoodies etc are all doable with a decent profit level in grades up to a $100 perk. I know I myself like a tangible souvenir.

Anyway that's my twopennyworth.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

> In the UK there are gratis government funded courses (one night a week for six weeks) on starting your own business.

I live in the U.S., not the U.K. The U.S. doesn't have anything like that; if you want to go to school after high school, you have to pay for it (and usually will end up in massive debt for the better part of your young adult life).

> So: You're selling on features, which is known not to work well, rather than benefits as you should do.

I should remove the list of features not shown in the video, then? Alright. Thanks for the suggestion.

Is there something insufficient about the list of benefits I have there now?

> Rather than the defensive 'Not a Fork of SuperTux' - "ReTux is an entirely new game, using those SuperTux graphics you so love."
> "All new game play inspired by Mario[tm] games."
> "A concise pro written Python game you can hack to your heart's content once you have played the original copy and make as many more new games as you want."

Again, thanks for the suggestions.

> As guidelines from 'I am Mongoose So Can You' the 2009 going rate for an original quarter page professional graphic (predominantly from Brazil) for pen and paper roleplaying games was $20-$25 *with all rights* (i.e. the copyright etc all the purchaser's). Around 2012 the best a friend who is a talented non-professional artist could get was $70 for *all* the art for a shareware game on the same all rights deal. As in, it looks like the art costs for this project should be marginal in terms of your budget.

Most of what I want to do is touch up existing stuff; I expect to pay for no more than an hour or two's work for each of those. Rough conservative estimation, $300-$600.

Run animation, I'd expect to be probably around 8 frames or so. Also, it's entirely new drawings, and they would have to match up with the existing arm animations (since I'm using the split animation from SuperTux 0.3.0, not the old Milestone 1 animations). So this one is much more tricky, but I'm expecting to spend a lot more for this than the touch-ups. If I suppose 5 hours for each frame, and since I would want this to be done well, I'd suppose around $1000, again, as a rough, conservative estimation.

But the main reason I don't bother with these estimates right now is I plan on spending whatever is reasonable given the amount raised. Because of this, it could be as little as a few hundred dollars (if the campaign is a complete flop), or it could be substantially larger than my conservative estimates above, perhaps as much as $7500 dollars (if the campaign is a roaring success).

> At the above art costs things like Stickers, Mugs, T-Shirts, Posters, Hoodies etc are all doable with a decent profit level in grades up to a $100 perk. I know I myself like a tangible souvenir.

I don't really think I could do souvenirs, to be honest. The main character is Tux, the Linux mascot, and (almost) all of the graphics come from SuperTux. So any reTux souvenirs would be virtually indistinguishable from SuperTux souvenirs, or in some cases indistinguishable from Linux souvenirs. (Besides, it reeks of pretense. As far as I know, I don't have any fans.)

One possibility I've considered is offering copies on a CD, but what's holding me back from that is I've never given CDs printed labels before and don't want to have to deal with that new experience here. On the other hand, I could sell such CDs with "reTux" just written on the CD with a permanent marker, but that seems like it would a bit tacky.

JadedCtrl
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Joined: 08/11/2014

> At the above art costs things like Stickers, Mugs, T-Shirts, Posters, Hoodies etc are all doable with a decent profit level in grades up to a $100 perk. I know I myself like a tangible souvenir.

The KickStarter and IndieGoGo projects that fail are the ones that don't have enough perks.
Perks are *vital* to a project's success.

People are selfish as hell, if statistics mean anything. People donate when there are perks they're interested in.
Selling hard copies is probably one of the best ideas. Yea, it may be annoying and such, but that's a perk that makes enormous sense to add.
I don't have much of an imagination, so I don't have too many ideas of perks. The standard T-shirt & mug routine might not be enough for some people, however.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

I've added some new perks, and also cut the level of the "Special Thanks" perk down to $95. So now you can get a copy on a CD.

I looked up companies that sell CD labels, and I found one site called Disclabels.com which offers to print them for $0.20 each plus a $20 fee for small orders, and I also looked up the price of jewel cases, and found some of those small jewel cases being sold at $25 for 50. So this should work out. Worst case scenario, only one person chooses the perk and I should still gain slightly.

leny2010

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Wrt the small business classes. AFAICT there is some government help for people taking premises in South Lyon Downtown Development Area but not an actual course. So instead try a business 101 book like 'Small Business for Dummies.' Which will cover the 101 info from such a course, just you won't get free access to marketing and demographics data, introductions to VC funders, discounts on business banking for passing etc.

andermetalsh
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Joined: 01/04/2013

About the nice, it would be nice if it had Wario Land 3 features.

Sorry, propietary video game, but take it as a reference. Once the enemies "harm" you , you became into another creature.

https://r5---sn-x0n35auxa-cpve.googlevideo.com/videoplayback?fexp=9407573%2C9407992%2C9408253%2C9408710%2C9412773%2C9413032%2C9415365%2C9415485%2C9415873%2C9416023%2C941612...

I put the direct URL so you don't have to use JS.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

That sounds interesting, but it would be a completely different game, I'm afraid.

It's possible I would be able to implement the feature if you paid me to do it, depending on exactly what it does (your link is broken; you shouldn't link directly to YouTube's video files as they expire after a certain amount of time). But I won't be making it a standard functionality of reTux.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012
quantumgravity
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Joined: 04/22/2013

The music is really good. Where did you get it from?

Besides, my suggestion may sound like a joke, but you should maybe check out a few episodes of the Angry Video Game Nerd (youtube).
He reviews some of the worst platform games of all time, and
despite the name and the offen rough humour of the series, he does it pretty professional; he raises valid points and shows the most serious flaws in gameplay.
Maybe watching a few episodes (somewhere between episode 30 and 80) will help a game developer to avoid them.
(I'm serious about this. If i was a gamedeveloper, it would have helped me, because you see it from a gamers point of view).

There are episodes which are more comedy ones and others are more of serious reviews.
Maybe you want to have a look, for example "the simpsons", "kid kool", bat man, super pitfall and especially zelda CDI give pretty good examples, how things can go wrong and why.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

> The music is really good. Where did you get it from?

It's "Dark Forest Keep", the forest castle music in SuperTux.

> Besides, my suggestion may sound like a joke, but you should maybe check out a few episodes of the Angry Video Game Nerd (youtube).

I'm subscribed to that show, and I've seen all the episodes as far as I know.

As a side note, reTux is not my first platformer. It's my third or fourth, depending on whether you consider Karate Kat to count. (My first two are not listed on my website because they depend on proprietary software. They're listed instead on the "darkside" section of my website.)

B50D
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Joined: 05/30/2015

Do you want to develop a mario-inspired game? Help supertux developers or fork the game

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

I didn't see SuperTux as a particularly great starting point given what I wanted to do. Still don't. Actually, if I were to use an existing engine, a re-implementation of Super Mario Bros X called "PGE" would have been the most likely candidate:

http://engine.wohlnet.ru/

Incidentally, I think that's a great project. If you're a C++ programmer and interested in doing something useful for libre software gaming, you might want to contribute to that. SMBX is not only a quite comprehensive engine, there have also been tons of levels made for it. PGE getting into a fully working state would be a huge contribution to libre software gaming as a result.

But although PGE would have been a pretty good candidate as a starting point, even that wouldn't have necessarily been easier, and I wanted to test and grow the SGE Game Engine further, anyway. I think this decision was absolutely worth it. It has resulted in countless bugs being fixed, and improvements being made, to the SGE.

onpon4
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Alright, at jxself's suggestion, I've submitted a story to Slashdot:

http://slashdot.org/submission/4788485/crowdfunding-retux-a-new-libre-mario-inspired-platformer

Now to bust out my old Diaspora account...

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

And now I've shared it on Reddit (on /r/freesoftware):

https://www.reddit.com/r/freesoftware/comments/3h3ok5/crowdfunding_retux_a_new_libre_marioinspired/

I wonder, is there another sub-reddit I should post to? (I'm not a regular Reddit user, I just follow r/gnu and r/freesoftware.)

Calinou
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/r/linux_gaming, /r/linux, /r/opensourcegames, /r/freegaming.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

Well, posted it on freegaming:

https://www.reddit.com/r/FreeGaming/comments/3h5ol0/indiegogo_campaign_for_retux_a_new_libre/

Apparently I can't post it on linux_gaming now, though... how does this work? I'm pretty sure there's a way to "cross-post" the same thing to multiple sub-reddits, isn't there?

ssdclickofdeath
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t3g
t3g
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I see that you are using Python. Are you using it by itself or with Cython?

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

ReTux uses the SGE Game Engine:

http://stellarengine.nongnu.org

And xSGE:

http://xsge.nongnu.org

The SGE currently uses Pygame, but I'm intending to develop a new implementation that can work with PyPy (probably PySDL2 or Pyglet-based) when the SGE reaches version 1.0. (I intend for that to happen after reTux is finished.)

A SGE implementation optimized with Cython is in fact another possibility I've considered. An implementation in pure-python also has the possible benefit of greater portability, though, so that takes priority. :)

t3g
t3g
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I love Python but have only used it for small system scripts and websites using a PyPy, Falcon Framework, Redis, and nginx stack. I'd love to give it a shot for a game down the road as well. Of course most prefer C, C++, or C# with Monogame for cross-platform releases.

tomlukeywood
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Joined: 12/05/2014

"Of course most prefer C, C++, or C# with Monogame for cross-platform releases."

id say languages like lua python or ruby are normally much easier to make cross platform than C/C++

t3g
t3g
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Yeah, but C and C++ are ideal as they are more low-level than Python and Ruby. Python with Cython could be great if you are strict and wisely use C libraries like OpenGL.

t3g
t3g
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I also meant to say that doing a native GNU/Linux version of a Windows game does take extra effort. With Steam games they either include WINE, a wrapper like eON, or use something like Monogame.

Valve does a good job with their "SteamOS" versions and it.can only get better with Source 2.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

To be fair, there's some difficulty with porting Python code to Android and iOS, whereas it's pretty streamlined for C++ from my understanding. There are Python interpreters for Android and iOS, but they're proprietary (the libre ones don't seem to actively be developed). Also, they're probably not entirely compatible with CPython, which would mean Pygame is a no-go for them. (But that type of thing is another reason I want to have a pure-Python SGE implementation.)

It seems that the best way to port a Python program to Android would be Jython, though I'm not entirely sure.

t3g
t3g
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It makes you wonder when Android will let you program apps in Go, which has been getting a lot of buzz lately.

tomlukeywood
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dose Go have any Google patenting problems?

also apparently you can make go programs for android:
https://github.com/golang/mobile

Calinou
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No, there are no known patent issues on Go. The Go tools themselves are under a BSD 3-Clause license.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

Does anyone know of any reviewers (with a decent audience) that I could send a copy of reTux to? It might be a better source of publicity, especially with a third-party opinion being added in.

JadedCtrl
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Joined: 08/11/2014

http://www.gamingonlinux.com/
GoL reviews proprietary software too, but has a huge audience.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

Awesome! I've sent them an email, so fingers crossed!

JadedCtrl
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Good luck out there! :D

Jookia
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Why not release a free (an in freedom) prototype for people to play then decide to fund?

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

That would be a huge amount of additional work.

I have decided to send gratis copies of the current game to reviewers, though. If you know of one which has a decent audience, that might give reTux a review, please do let me know about them. :)

Jookia
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Joined: 08/01/2015

Did you give them an offer for source code or is the version you're sending nonfree?

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

Regular version, under the GPL and with source code (in fact, there currently isn't a binary version at all; I've had trouble using cx_Freeze for the past year or so). I will never send a proprietary version of any program I write to anybody (at least, not on purpose).

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

9 days left! There hasn't been much in the way of new contributions, but there have been a couple -- and given how few people have contributed, that's actually quite significant (those two contributions acount for over 1/3 of the total money raised, after all).

I've run out of ideas for where to post about ReTux, unfortunately, so if anyone knows of any place where ReTux hasn't been posted, please either post there or let me know! :)

tomlukeywood
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tomlukeywood
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so far ReTux has raised $318 with 5 days left
which is not bad considering the amount of publicity

assuming the amount of money stays around the same
what will happen?

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

At the current funding, the game will be around the estimated 40 levels long, including all of the features you can see in Concept Castle plus Raccot the yeti as the final boss. Graphical flaws will be fixed up, and Tux will be given a run animation (I'll need to hire an artist to do this). Anything else that gets added is purely on a whim, and in particular, I will not be adding features I don't already have graphics for. So for example, there will almost certainly not be a 2-player mode. The intro cutscene will probably also be more simplistic than I was hoping (I would have liked to have some NPCs here, but I just don't have the graphics for that, so it will have to be something more simplistic with Tux finding a message or something).

The version of ReTux contributors will be getting in a few days has two worlds completed, consisting of a total of 13 levels. So, it's about 1/3 of the way done, in terms of levels. I think it will probably be finished this year, but I make no specific promises; it'll be done when it's done. I'll make sure to keep all contributors (and probably everyone else by proxy, since there's no reason to keep it a secret) informed about the progress of the game. At least, the interesting parts of it.

When the game is finished, copies will be made available to non-contributors for a fee.

Someone chose "ReTux on a Disc" as a perk, so when the game is finished, I will order labels. There's a $20 fee for small orders plus a $10 shipping charge, and each label costs $0.20, so I'll be ordering extras, probably 10 or 15 total. The extras will be made available for purchase.

Jookia
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Would you accept outside contributors to help with the game's development?

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

I'm not really interested in help with the programming parts right now, unless that comes down to finding and fixing bugs in either the SGE Game Engine or xSGE (which are both publicly available). But if someone wants to make some levels for ReTux, and can make good levels, then I would accept that contribution (as long as it's libre).

Levels are made in a libre program called Tiled.[1] I'll be releasing a written guide to making levels and worldmaps for ReTux, and possibly a video tutorial as well. For people who don't have a copy of ReTux, a small package containing the necessary graphics and map editor data to edit levels and worldmaps will be made available at no charge.

[1] http://www.mapeditor.org

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

With the crowdfunding campaign over I'm enjoying playing reTux. I've added a copy of the git repository to https://jxself.org/git/ for your enjoyment.

If you enjoy it perhaps you can support onpon4 when they release the final version (or maybe sooner if a method becomes available to send money.)

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

ReTux is now being hosted on Savannah, and there's a new website:

http://retux.nongnu.org

Coinciding with that, a new alpha release of ReTux is now available:

http://savannah.nongnu.org/forum/forum.php?forum_id=8405

There's also a new video, where some of the improvements can be seen:

https://goblinrefuge.com/mediagoblin/u/onpon4/m/retux-0-2-gameplay-world-1/

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

If you enjoy the game perhaps you can support onpon4 and send money. Details of how to do that are at http://retux.nongnu.org/download.html

More people should do what onpon4 is doing and developing free games commercially like this. Free from the start. Not free code with non-free graphics/sounds. Or that start proprietary and are made free later on when the code is thrown over the wall (and it no longer compiles or runs on modern systems.) Etc. So let's support onpon4 financially to keep going. :)

Calinou
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Joined: 03/08/2014

"These files are encrypted 7z archives. You need a program such as 7-zip to extract them. You also need the password to decrypt them, which I have only given to backers who contributed $20 or more to ReTux."

Like it or not, I am reminded of https://snowdrift.coop/p/snowdrift/w/en/economics.

Not to mention one could easily distribute their own, legally and gratis, after buying it.

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

"Not to mention one could easily distribute their own, legally and gratis, after buying it."

That is exactly what I am doing. My hope is that people that like it will send money to onpon4.