Startup money – My plan A just got killed
It wasn’t anything fancy really but it would have been more than enough to get me to the release of Star Corsairs and even beyond. But today that simple plan died.
Oh dear, government stuff
In Canada when you lose your job you get employment insurance. The money you get is usually enough to keep living normally if you’re careful a bit. The condition to get employment insurance is to be able to work at any time and searching for another job which I have been doing while working on Star Corsairs (that might explain why I’m not making progress as fast as I would want to). Those are the rules and if you don’t play by them you receive nothing.
Unless you take a look at my plan A which was a special program (french only sorry) for allowing people to dedicate themselves full-time to the development of their new business while receiving employment insurance. You don’t have to look for a job anymore and in fact you absolutely must dedicate all your time on your business. This is a quite a nice way to help people to build their own business as you don’t have to worry about not being able to pay the rent or to have to reimburse a loan later. But getting in this program is the problem here…
See if you have too much chances of being able to find easily a new job then you can’t get into that program. Let’s take a look at my situation. I have 11 years of experience in a domain which has high probability of me finding a job even while I’m sleeping (web/software development). Meaning that since it’s too easy for me to find another job I can’t get in that program. Right. Talk about a nice way to help people build their own business… Of course nobody thought of telling me that until I finally passed the final interview which was today… It’s not even on the website.
And all those people I met to get to today were all excited about my project. They don’t get that kind of project often (if at all) so they thought it was original and everyone was positive about it. I would have had more chances to be accepted in this program if I would have worked in something totally unrelated for which I’d have a hard time to find a job. So basically my 11 years of experience as an analyst programmer that are quite helpful to work on a project like Star Corsairs are also the reason why I don’t receive any help. Go figure. That’s how the government think… or don’t think I should say.
So tonight I’ll probably have a horrible night if I’m able to sleep at all. What this means now is that either I keep looking for a job to keep receiving employment insurance so I can still eat and pay the house (which is totally counterproductive to complete an MMO, I know I did one part-time remember?) or that I try to go to plan B which is …
Well plan B is crowd funding. I’m thinking something like 8-Bit Funding. Why not Kickstarter? Well I live in Canada and Kickstarter is using Amazon checkout and you have to be located in the US to be able to use that. Of course if you look at 8-Bit Funding there are not much successful projects there but those websites are a tool in your campaign. You still must run your own campaign and I suspect many game developers that dropped games on 8-Bit Funding didn’t do much to help. Why not skip 8-Bit Funding and do it myself to keep all the money? Well like I said it’s a tool and I’m really not sure I can afford to not use it.
The question is “Am I able to reach enough people to make this work?”. Or “Am I able to reach the right people to make this work?”. I won’t know unless I try I guess but yes it’s scary.
Crowd funding – not just targeting players
If I only run a campaign targeting players it will take a load of players willing to spend some money so I can make it and I’m really not sure I can get that huge crowd. While we did see some impressive donations for The Fae’s Wyrd most funds from players will probably range from $5 to $20. Do the math and you realize that if I want to make the bank happy by paying for my house it would take way too many players to support me. It’s one thing to believe you’ll make a living with a completed game but it’s another to get money while the game is in alpha stage (and please don’t drop me the Minecraft bomb ‘k?).
So I’d need to find people who would put $250, $500 and even $1000. Who are they? Well probably people selling something. In the best of world games but let’s try to keep an open mind here. Steambirds: Survival was sponsored by AXE after all and nobody complained about that. So yes if I go with that plan it means I’ll be selling ad spaces. It would have been nice to avoid that but I have to be creative here as that tree in my backyard still isn’t growing money.
What to do to make it work?
Well first thing today I finally bought a webcam. Bad timing to spend money right now but if I’m to run a campaign and ask for money I guess I’ll have to put my face up there. There’s no need to show a trailer of the game as you can already see the game. Well right now there’s not enough to build a trailer anyway because well I need to be able to spend time on it so I can build the trailer…
It also means that I might quite well send a lot of you an email. The nice thing about “doing stuff” is that you meet people along the way and that’s something I didn’t have when I started Golemizer. I’m far from being well-known but at least now some people know who I am and know what I’m able to do if given the chance.
So if I contact you don’t be surprised
Isn’t this begging?
No it’s how it works! People need to get money from people and companies all the time! I bet you didn’t buy your house cash… And I won’t be asking for free money either. People will get something out of it. I still have to finish my perks list but it’s not a donation system here. You pay and you get. I just need to make sure that what you get is interesting enough for you to pay for it now while I finish the game. It’s like some kind of pre-order but here you know that pre-ordering really makes a difference. It’s not like pre-ordering CoD: Black Ops on Steam for the full price while not getting anything more.
Why not do it like you did Golemizer? Find a job and do it part-time!
Because doing 80 hours a week for a year is not healthy and there’s a point where you put hours of work without getting results because your mind is elsewhere. Because it caused all sorts of problems (body, mind, social) when I did Golemizer part-time and that it really doesn’t serve the project you’re working on. Because there’s a limit as to what you can impose your very supporting wife. Because if I can do it full-time I believe I can hit a release date around October but if I do it part-time I just don’t see the release date.
Why not do another game then? Well Star Corsairs is the idea I have. The idea I believe I can make a living from. That’s the idea I see myself succeeding. If it was as simple as just finding another idea then everybody would pick the easy route. And since it’s not happening I guess it’s not that simple. For a time I believed getting funds out of Flash games could work. Well it didn’t went that way. It’s a mix of factors but mostly the type of games I like doing and I’m able to do and I’m willing to do just doesn’t seem to fit the casual Flash games market.
So this time it’s the real deal. You sure?
Golemizer: 2007 and still up, 100,000 registered players, no previous experience, no initial business model, no contacts. Yes I believe I can make this idea work based on what I did and where I am right now. I’m not trying to make millions either you know. Pulling a Minecraft would be nice but that kind of thing is not a plan you can rely on. If I wouldn’t believe it I wouldn’t bother to post here anymore. All I’m hoping now is that some of you will believe as well and help me to make it happen.
So there will be more later. I know there’s a nice update coming to 8-Bit Funding so I’ll be trying to sync my things with theirs.
Of course I also have a plan C which I’m not ready to talk about yet and that I’d like not to use. I don’t have a plan D though so I better start to think about one…