Saturday, February 7, 2015

Debating about Patreon "prices"

First of all, two status announcements to two of our games! (yup, two of them)
The Patreon "debate" is down below in this post.

The test game: "Last Demon Hunter" goes along smoothly.
I'm talking about this game:

Last Demon Hunter (aka Test Game)

As you can see, it's a topdown shooter with minimal graphics.
The CGs are also sketch only, well, it's a test-game after all.

Current status:

I'll need some more time before the random generation is implemented, but I'm making progress.
Please keep in mind: this game will never be "finished" (by that I mean, polished etc.) it's just a testgame. Also this won't be sold at all.

The plan is still to give this game to our Patreons as "bonus", and then release it some time after that for free on the blog. Possibly the first free version will also be released to the public very soon.
But possible additions to the test game will be first handed to the Patreons, then later on, to the public.
(something along those lines, we haven't settled on the exact details yet, but probably we'll get to that later this day, or in the upcoming days)

Lets move on to our real game: "Deathblight Apocalypse"
It's this game here:

Deathblight Apocalypse

Anyone still remembers this one?
We worked on it around the time Cres got her arm injured etc.
Then we couldn't continue working on it for a long time.
Several months ago, we figured we should do the "Sion and Medusa" game.

Well, there's some important stuff I need to share with you guys and girls.

A couple days ago, I was thinking about the whole Patreon stuff, games etc...
Originally we wanted to do the "Sion and Medusa" game, because we could deliver this (probably!) faster than "Deathblight Apocalypse"...
But, why's that?

DA (Deathblight Apocalypse) already has graphics, it's already running, the combat is working, the only thing missing is more enemies, hentai content and possibly a world map (for the random generation).
So... why would SaM (Sion and Medusa game) be "faster" than this?

Well... animated CGs...
Anyone remember that one?

We originally wanted to include animated CGs, which is a lot of work.
On top of that, we have NO prior experience in this field.
We did several animations attempts, but we never made the "real thing".

And there's one more problem:
Even IF we prove to be capable of producing animated CGs, there's a high probability that those will eat up a shitload of resources, so the game could probably become unplayable...
(at least unplayable on older machines)
Which is not good...

Back then I also mentioned, "if" those concerns prove to be true, we would rather do animated hentai pixel sprite animations + CG scenes (consisting out of several pictures/variations per scene).

So, the conclusion is?

We were not able to "test" animated CGs and it's pro's and con's, because of Cres arm injury back then. (everything healed, no worries!)

And we figured, our "next game" (whatever this is) should be a game we're confident that we can 100% deliver what we promise.

In the end we decided to continue with DA, but use hentai pixel sprite animations + CG scenes.No animated CG's anymore... sorry for the disappointment everyone...
But this is probably our best bet right now.
And we should be able to deliver this game way sooner than any possible release of "SaM" would have been.

On top of that, most of you want to see Ferania in a game, right?
(at least that's what I get out of the popularity polls)

Finally... lets get to the:

Patreon debate!

The last couple days, I was looking again at other Patreon pages (well I do that all the time, actually), and I wondered if we would sell ourselves too short, if we do what we originally planned?

So, this is what we planned at first: (the following is "obsolete" I just figured I'd mention it anyway)
I figured, I'd give anyone who gave us 1$ via Patreon full access to every "early access" version there is. Including the full game on release day.

Why I thought like this?
Well, I figured, such a project would most likely need 6-12 months until it's finished.
Probably around 10 months, so that would be 10$, right?
(1$ each month)

But then again, wouldn't it be "too cheap" if I sell "early access" this cheap?
I'm NOT trying to be greedy here!
I'm just thinking about the fact, that everyone else is selling "early access" at a higher price.
(this includes other Patreon campaigns, Kickstarter etc... but it excludes Steam, Steam early access is usually cheaper than buying the full game <-- so that's the only reversal thing, but we're not on Steam, we're debating about Patreon here)

So, doing a cheap "early access" model is an interesting idea.
But at the same time we would miss out on a lot of funding, probably?
The funding is extremely important, as it would help us to scale down commissions and other stuff.
Plus, we could afford our own appartment at some time, which should also boost productivity.
(Living with other people... there's always stuff that gets in the way, especially when working on hentai games...)

Also, if we reach a high enough amount of money, we could hire a good pixel sprite artist, so we could boost developement speed.
We obviously can't afford someone like that right now.

This all mostly means:
More funds = faster progress
Of course there's some "limit" to as fast as things can possibly progress.
I hope this makes sense?
(we certainly won't hire ~20+ people, even if we have the funds to do so... it would just get out of hand at some point... I'm just feeling confident in successfully leading a team out of ~5-10 people for now <-- I have years of experience with this kind of thing)

So, with all these things in mind, we figured (for now) that the following "model" would be the best?

This is what we "now" have in mind:

1$ Tier:

Everyone who pledges 1$ gets access to the Patreon only informations, plus the FULL game if they pledge on the same month that the game gets released on.
Yes, this means the people on this tier get to "read" about the stuff we're currently working on, plus they'll get to know WHEN release day is, some time before release day.
Plus they'll get the game once it's out, even if they only paid 1-3$ for it, if they are subscribed on the month the game gets released!

And yes, there will be "public" demo versions, but they'll be cut down in scale compared to the "early access" versions that always include the newest stuff.
(the public demo is just to show what the game is about)

However, people on this tier will not get the "full" game if they're NOT subscribed on the month the game gets released. They have to be subscribed at least in the month the game is being released, in order to get the full version!
Also they don't get games that had been created in the past, they'll just get the currently released game.

5$ Tier and upwards:

This includes the stuff on the 1$ tier (obviously) plus:
The 5$ tier and all tiers above would get full access to early access builds.

This means, that people who are on the 5$ tier will most likely pay WAY more for the game, than I originally planned, provided they're subscribed for the whole developement cycle...
But then again, it's "voluntary" pledges, no one needs to do that.
If you just want the game once its released without paying more for early access, there is still the 1$ tier. Plus we'll sell DA and probably all our other future games on DLSite too, so you still have other options.
Also, I'd figured there could be another thing.
Once we released several games, we could offer a "bundle" on Patreon, where you pledge ~30$ or something for 1 month only.
And then you'd get all the "finished" games that we created up until that point or something like it?
It's just an idea, and it's not going to be included unless we have 2 or more games "done".
So there's quite a lot of time going to pass until we get to that.

Anyway, most likely we'll be joining the "Patreon hentai game developers" this month.
First with "Last Demon Hunter", and shortly after that (probably next month though?) with "Deathblight Apocalypse".
Even if it just increases our current Patreon campaign by a small amount, we should still be able to work MUCH more on our games.
And that's what everyone wants too, right?

Currently, thanks to our Patreons, we're able to pay ~50% of our monthly bills through the webcomic.
The other 50% are being paid via commissions.
If we raise that amount a bit more, we'll need to do 2 webcomic pages a week, but after that goal, we would be able to concentrate much more on the game stuff.
(currently we're only working on the game stuff "in between" so progress is slow, as you noticed, but we're making progress! don't worry)

I hope I didn't forget anything important.
If there are any questions, feel free to ask!

And... I just realized I wrote WAY too much again... ugh...
Well, at least you all know what's going through my head now.

Please feel free to share your opinions in the comments!


  1. I don't think you made it clear enough. Are the games part of the same Patreon as the comic, or are they going to be two separate campaigns?

    1. It's the same Patreon as the one we already have.
      So everyone who already supports us on Patreon profits from this ^^
      (I think it makes no sense to open up a new Patreon, the "2 pages per week" goal is almost already reached, and other than that we planned on working on games anyway, occasionally a wallpaper or a dakimakura is also part of this, but most of the money will go into game developement after we reach the "2 pages per week" goal)

      You could say that our games are a "bonus" for all our Patreon supporters.
      And for everyone who joins us on Patreon as well.

  2. Honestly? I for one prefer pixel sprite animations above anything else but that's just me. Do whatever you're confident in doing. It's always that some people will like it and others won't. I wouldn't bother getting (much less buying) any CG only games since I'm a pixel freak. Others wouldn't want to get a pixel game. It's just that. You'll always get your stuff through to a part of the adience who appreciates what you do, so keep up the good work :]

    1. I'm glad to hear that ^^
      And yes, I think you're right, people have different tastes, and the game will find it's audience.

      Thank you very much!

  3. I think that as long as you put in the Patron page the estimate release date it's ok IMO.

    A lot of people give money in Patreon thinking that they will get the game in a month or two and end up paying 50+ for a game that it may not be worth that money...if they get the game at all. :P

    1. Unfortunately, it's impossible to name a release date.
      I can only "guarantee" that we need at least 6-12 months to finish a game.
      It might take longer, and it's very unlikely that it takes less time.

      Anyone who doesn't want to spend too much money can buy the game on DLSite once it's done.

      So the honest answer is:
      I can't name a release date for sure, just a rough guess...
      And I rather say that it takes longer than 6-12 months (which is the truth) than promising too much and failing to deliver that promise.

      Another "issue" with this release date is, that via Patreon, it's easy to make additions to a game, since there is a constant stream of payment.
      By "additions" I mean stuff like new playable characters and other stuff.
      Once a game is complete, we could ask our supporters if they wish for more playable characters, or if we should start working on a new game instead.
      I think it's very likely that the people will ask for more playable characters.

      So the game gets several additions, which makes it very hard to find a "final release date" ahead of time.
      I hope this makes sense?

      Plus, I'm able to do monthly updates (usually I'm able to do that).
      So people can see the progress and judge for themselves if it's worth it or not.

      Anyway, thank you very much for your feedback ^^

  4. I am sure that adding games to your Patreon will bring more funds, and I hope that we will see those animated CGs somewhere in the future! And two webcomic pages per week (looking forward to it). Completely forgot the DA game, it has been a while! Anyway, good luck

    1. Thank you very much ^^

      And yes, maybe someday we'll be able to do a game with animated CGs.
      But that needs to wait for now.

  5. Uhm... Only read a little... Skipped to the bottom... No demo... closing the page. Thanks.

  6. Well, i finally managed to sign up on patreon to support you all (thank you workplace for funding my vices!)

  7. looking good i cant wait to see what the patreon system will work out. Also for both games will the grab/rape scenes work out like they do in Paperheads?

    1. Actually, for the "Last Demon Hunter" testgame it will be quite different.
      I experiemented around quite a bit, so probably some people won't like it at all.

      "Deathblight Apocalypse" will include a similar but hopefully more polished system like Paperheads did.
      It's not entirely the same, but there are some similarities. (directional buttons etc.)

      Also there will be an option to disable the directional buttons, so all you need to do is mindless button mashing.
      I planned to include a lot of options in "DA", you can decrease the number of enemies that spawn in each area, make them overall weaker or stronger etc.

      With all those options, hopefully everyone can customize the game to his liking.
      So hopefully "DA" will appeal to a broader audience.

  8. Well it deleted the huge post I just wrote, so to sum it up, been subscribed on Patreon since about November. Super looking forward to release day of DA. As well as more games and art from yourself, (your artwork is by far my favorite among other games and artists) , and more workers to keep em rolling! And yes. Roommates suck if you're not good friends. In the army, know all too well how that is.

    1. Crescentia and I are different persons.
      Cres is responsible for the artworks, while I do most other things.
      (like story, backgrounds, character personalities, as well as programming etc.)

      We are glad that you like our stuff!
      And thank you very very much for your support.
      It really means a lot to us!

  9. I can animate the cg for you slightly, using ps and some rendering, ill do it for free too if you want. dont need moe than 1 pic to animate ala azazuke wind, tho not as rad or hard as our japanese fellows.
    also if you need some help with gm let me know.

    1. Thank you very much for the kind offer.
      We decided already on doing regular CG scenes and hentai sprite animations instead.
      (mainly because we have no experiences with animations, but also because it's very likely that it will eat up too many ressources in GMS)

      I think for now it's best to play it safe and create a game we know we can create.
      By that I mean, we rather create a game that consists of stuff that we did before, in one way or another.
      (if that makes sense)

      So, we don't need any help for animating things right now, but thank you very much for the kind offer!

    2. sure thing. I know that feel, It took me a whole week to update a game after updating to a newer gm it's a risk and a nightmare jumping into new things.