Author Topic: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!  (Read 3176 times)

Offline Draco18s

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Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2016, 12:59:23 AM »
I went in on the $300 tier where I got to Name a star, Design a station, and write some lore.

What happened to those tiers? I was going to stick to that pledge amount.

Stars are gone, so that tier doesn't make sense any more.
Also I think minor factions were cut, so no space stations.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2016, 08:57:39 AM »
I went in on the $300 tier where I got to Name a star, Design a station, and write some lore.

What happened to those tiers? I was going to stick to that pledge amount.
Solar systems got cut, and there are very few minor factions going in.

There's the "custom skin for Ark" and "custom skin for Flagship" rewards.

I'd love to also have "custom skin for Devourer Golem", "custom skin for Dyson Sphere", and "custom skin for Zenith Trader", and maybe "custom skin for (whichever) Golem" for the ones you can repair and use. But I don't know how many of these we have the art-time to do, and from what Chris has said we're already borderline on doing too much of that.
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Offline kasnavada

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Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2016, 09:11:28 AM »
I would have also thought one of the strengths of the game is that it has options to tailor the game to your skill level and desires. The blurb makes it sound the opposite, like the game is going to put some crazy challenge in front of you and you have to rise to its level to prevail. It's good to mention you can make it as hard as you like, but how well it can be tailored to you is really important and doesn't get mentioned at all.

Oh, yes, this. It corresponds a lot more to what is AI War. I know that a vocal subgroup here spoke of the higher difficulties only, but the wealth of option (from we can set the challenge and option you want, including winning 10/10 is a bug part) is really how the game resonates with me.

Offline garion333

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Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2016, 11:15:31 AM »
Here are some things I noticed. Since yall don't really know me these are simply suggestions on ways I'd change things. I'm not a marketing person though, so keep that in mind, but I do have a background in copy editing so I have a tendency to get into the nitty gritty of every single word. My view is that brevity is good for KS pages. Use as little language to explain things clearly. Clear and concise is best.

Anyway, there's a LOT of suggestions here, so forgive me for the wall of text that's to follow.

///

Quote
FINALLY a sequel to the award-winning, genre breaking, asymmetric strategy cult classic. The most sentient AI in gaming.

"Finally" is how those of us who wanted an AI War II for forever feel, but it could also be taken to sound like "Fine! We're finally doing this!"

Maybe the emphasis on "Finally" is my issue here.

Cult classic is a perfect description. Feels like good marketing speak too because people always like cult classics they may have missed out on, right? Or it feels like we were in on some great secret and now other people can get in on it too!

"Sentient" might be a bit too college wordy.

///

In the "What Is AI War II?" section you refer to "AI War" which I think should be "AI War II" since we're talking about the new game here. Want to keep things as active as possible and remind people of why they're here. They're here for AI War II, not AI War.

///

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AI War is a desperate battle for survival against an overwhelming, inhuman enemy who has already conquered the galaxy.

Remove "already".

///

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The enemy has only one weakness: It has underestimated you.

Remove "only" for better readability. "It's" for "It has".

///

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You must steal as much technology as you can, and take enough territory to fortify your bases and launch your attacks.  But every conquest you make alerts the AI... and alerting the AI too much means death.

"Death" sounds like Game Over. Not a challenge, but a failure. I'd put that a different way to indicate it actually means the Eye of Sauron is on you and not that the game ends. Unfortunately I don't have a suggestion for what that word would be atm. :(

///

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We designed it from the ground up for both solo and co-op play, and put the emphasis on your smarts instead of your reflexes.

"it" should to be changed to "AI War II" or "the game" or something.

///

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In no other RTS is defeat this likely even at the cusp of your own victory.

Maybe a comma before "even"? And I think the correct idiom is "on the cusp" not "at the cusp".

///

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Eventually you may pull off a victory, and there are few things sweeter: you know you earned it.

I'd change "may" to "will". Let's be positive and tell the player they will do it! The Souls series is something people want to know they can beat, not something the may be able to beat.

///

In the Quick Bits area, I'm not sure how I feel about linking back to prior KS campaign posts. Is there a better way to house the story snippets and AAR list? I also don't like them being linked before you get into the goodies about what this new game is about.

Also, the link in "We collected a lot of fun and awesome story snippets about the AI from the first game." doesn't extend to the "f" in "fun".

///

Something that struck me out of nowhere is that when you updated the prior KS with updates you would say "Chris here!" Might want to remind people who you are. "Chris, Arcen Games head honcho, here!" "Keith LaMothe, lead developer, here!" Generally you did that in some sort of introductory post or the KS page itself, but people need reminders and reminding people you are developers, artists or whatever is a good idea.

///

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Chat with us and other backers on our Discord server?

I'd change this to:

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Come chat with us and other backers on our Discord server!

///

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Already approved for Steam -- no greenlight needed.

Cap the "g" in "greenlight".

I'm not sure if I like how this is worded, almost sounds like the KS isn't needed as Steam has given the thumbs up or whatever.

///

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Of course DRM-free also, and day-one OSX and Linux in addition to Windows.

"Of course" can be taken as condescension. Almost like you're saying "Duh, moron". Try this:

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DRM-free copies available also, and day-one OSX and Linux support in addition to Windows.

Something like that.

///

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Multiplayer up to at least 8 players, co-op only.

Move the "co-op" to earlier:

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Multiplayer co-op up to at least 8 players.

///



The Day 1 support is nice, but seems like too much info and very techy. Almost seems like you're supporting Windows XP, but maybe not Windows 7 or 10. I hope people aren't going to think that, but it could happen. I'd probably list Windows, Ubuntu, Mac OS and Steam OS and cut the version numbers.

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Steam-only until 1.0 launch. Status with GOG TBD.

I said this in the previous KS campaign, but "1.0" is a terrible term to keep using. It's confusing to laypeople. I'd change "Steam-only until 1.0 launch" to "Early Access on Steam".

"At A Glance.." in the image only has two periods instead of three for an ellipsis. I'd probably just remove them entirely.

///

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This time around

Don't remind people of your failed Kickstarter. Act like it never happened. Be overly positive and excited. Forget your failures! They never existed! ;)

///

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Key Design Shifts From AI War Classic

What is AI War Classic? Never defined.

///

Quote
That said, most people aren't going to care to go read external document, so here are the highlights:

Highlights first. In-depth people will read farther down the page to get to the deeper stuff. Others won't. Put the design docs later. Meaning, move this part down below the new features. Hit people with the best stuff first. IMHO the best stuff is not going to be reading a design doc.

///

Okay, I'm cutting this off here as I've got a bunch of work to do at work. Sorry if any of this has already been said, but I've been working on this throughout the morning. ;)
« Last Edit: November 16, 2016, 11:44:44 AM by garion333 »

Offline Draco18s

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Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2016, 12:32:16 PM »
Here are some things I noticed. Since yall don't really know me these are simply suggestions on ways I'd change things. I'm not a marketing person though, so keep that in mind, but I do have a background in copy editing so I have a tendency to get into the nitty gritty of every single word. My view is that brevity is good for KS pages. Use as little language to explain things clearly. Clear and concise is best.

I have to agree with most, if not all, of these suggestions.
There was something bothering me about the wordage being used, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Everything I could think of that needed to be said was there, so I was scratching my head.

Offline x4000

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Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2016, 12:51:48 PM »
Okay!  Whew, lots of awesome feedback, thanks. :)

I am running like crazy today, so I'm just responding in brief and hopefully the revised document speaks for itself as much as possible:

1. There is now a gif on there with a small version of the current GUI mock in place.

2. I've rewritten that whole upper section for the most part, based on feedback above.

3. Also I've added a section about what makes the AI awesome, which definitely is something to do sooner than later, yeah.  It's all one big block of text right now, but images will break that up better.

4. The "at a glance" image needs its updates still, but Blue is going to send me the PSD for that so I can tune them.  That said, the "until 1.0" bit literally means until 1.0, NOT until Early Access.  Early Access and 1.0 are two different things and two different timeframes, as noted in the timeline.  If there's a better word than 1.0, then I'd be all for it.

5. The game mechanics section is revised a lot, based on suggestions above.  I've not revised anything below that for the most part, the below exceptions aside.

6. I've added a note under the stretch goal for music.  Does that answer the needed question?

7. Good points on the risks and challenges bit.  I've reworded that and removed a few things.  More needed?

8. Overall I suspect the first section in particular will still need more work in particular.  I'm going to disappear for a while working on the new video, though.  I spent a long while this morning recording stuff, and I have a lot more to do.

9. Regarding tiers that were re-priced or removed, there were ones that went up in price and others that went down, and some that are new and some that were pre-existing.  If there are other things that people want that we can potentially afford to do, then I'm open for ideas.  Doing skins for super large ships like golems and so forth is comparably expensive, though, because of all the detail work that has to go into a ship like that.  That wouldn't be my first choice in terms of types of ship graphics to add.
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Offline NichG

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Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2016, 01:05:26 PM »
New version seems much better!

Mild quirk, calling 'it has 3D graphics' technical mumbo jumbo feels just an eensy bit patronizing :)

Edit: I thought at first I was objecting to the use of 'mumbo jumbo' but I think that's communicating the sort of development/community culture to expect (e.g. laid back rather than super-serious). It's just that it doesn't feel like graphics design is logically a technical point (though I know that's what motivated the decision to go 3D), which makes it feel like its some kind of inside joke listing it there.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2016, 01:10:48 PM by NichG »

Offline garion333

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Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2016, 01:22:45 PM »
4. The "at a glance" image needs its updates still, but Blue is going to send me the PSD for that so I can tune them.  That said, the "until 1.0" bit literally means until 1.0, NOT until Early Access.  Early Access and 1.0 are two different things and two different timeframes, as noted in the timeline.  If there's a better word than 1.0, then I'd be all for it.

I'm missing a hard return in what I said, I think. Two separate thoughts bled together.

My suggestion is that "Steam-only until 1.0 launch" would be changed to "Steam-only for Early Access" which is a bad idea since Alpha is obviously not Early Access but will still be on Steam. I was trying to use "Early Access" as all the pre-release stuff. Dunno what would work better.

I can understand using 1.0 in certain but not all cases. However, I don't think it's great to use in the At A Glance image. On the timeline "Version 1.0" can be "Full Release" or something. You might get excited about version 1.0, but as a consumer I'm like "huh, so when's the game coming out?" I mean, even "gone gold" isn't terribly well known. I may be vastly underestimating the populace in all this. 

Anyway, this isn't a huge deal to begin with, but I'm going to continue sticking to my guns that I don't like the talk about "Version 1.0". Seriously easy to confuse it as "AI War 1" or something else entirely.

Offline Draco18s

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Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2016, 01:30:31 PM »
Quote
The game has options to tailor the game to your skill level and playstyle -- whether you're a masochistic ultra-hardcore grognard or just someone who enjoys RTS games.

I'd add on to this:

"The game has options to tailor the game to your skill level and playstyle -- whether you're a masochistic ultra-hardcore grognard or just someone who enjoys RTS games.  Generally speaking, if you're winning all the time, the usual suggestion is to 'up the difficulty a notch.'  If you're on Difficulty 6, try it again on 7.  Most players tend to enjoy the game best when victories are hard fought or just barely lost!  It's not about winning or losing, but about finding the right balance so that each win is a story of accomplishment (and each loss a story too!)"

Then it matches the later comment about "AI War is meant to be a hard but fair game."

Quote
Quick bits:

This section feels odd coming right after "how the AI works" but maybe it's just the fact that "join us on Discord" is first.  Yeah, move the discord server to the bottom (I was going to say the "Technical Mumbo Jumbo" section" but that's not quite right either) and then just move the "at a glance" image above the Quit Bits section.  So then the page flow goes from "overview of the game" to "at a glance" followed by "quick bits" and a few other bullet lists.  After that we get into the meat and potatoes with "better learning curve."

Offline kasnavada

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Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2016, 01:38:25 PM »
"The game has options to tailor the game to your skill level and playstyle -- whether you're a masochistic ultra-hardcore grognard or just someone who enjoys RTS games.  Generally speaking, if you're winning all the time, the usual suggestion is to 'up the difficulty a notch.'  If you're on Difficulty 6, try it again on 7.  Most players tend to enjoy the game best when victories are hard fought or just barely lost!  It's not about winning or losing, but about finding the right balance so that each win is a story of accomplishment (and each loss a story too!)"

Big NO on writing the numbers ! It forces the game design to have those numbers which might mean nothing later. The're also not relevant to the new game but the old one. Big NO on suggesting what people might like or how they should play should enjoy a game. You've just lost the support of everyone that wants alternate game flow, repeateability, with no increase in difficulty.

Quote
2. I've rewritten that whole upper section for the most part, based on feedback above.
That's much better, but I think you can stress the sandbox aspect a bit more. Also, not sure, but the "highest difficulty is not meant to be won" part, I think it's worth writing. Finally, repeatability is a core aspect of AI War, should be there if it's still there.

Quote
There is no PVP here. Your clicks-per-minute don't matter. We designed AI War II from the ground up for both solo and co-op play, and put the emphasis on your smarts instead of your reflexes.
The core point is that it's a solo or coop game, or that it has no pvp ? Yeah. I think it's better to write "solo and co-op first", and possibly to remove the "there's no pvp". At least, tone it down a bit =).
« Last Edit: November 16, 2016, 01:40:19 PM by kasnavada »

Offline garion333

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Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2016, 01:40:32 PM »
Quote
The game has options to tailor the game to your skill level and playstyle -- whether you're a masochistic ultra-hardcore grognard or just someone who enjoys RTS games.

I'd add on to this:

"The game has options to tailor the game to your skill level and playstyle -- whether you're a masochistic ultra-hardcore grognard or just someone who enjoys RTS games.  Generally speaking, if you're winning all the time, the usual suggestion is to 'up the difficulty a notch.'  If you're on Difficulty 6, try it again on 7.  Most players tend to enjoy the game best when victories are hard fought or just barely lost!  It's not about winning or losing, but about finding the right balance so that each win is a story of accomplishment (and each loss a story too!)"

Then it matches the later comment about "AI War is meant to be a hard but fair game."

Thanks for quoting this, made something jump out at me: only mentioning grognards or RTS games is limiting.

"whether you're a masochistic ultra-hardcore grognard, someone who enjoys RTS games or just a space game fan!"

Maybe open it up even more to turn based fans (since the game is real time pausable) or even just video game fans. Also, don't be afraid to use exclamation points to show how excited! you! all! are!!!! This game will be great! Hype me up! Right now it's more like "we're making a game, here's point 1, then there's point 2, we have good AI". Etc. I'm being slightly hyperbolic, but....

Offline Draco18s

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Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2016, 02:07:58 PM »
Big NO on writing the numbers ! It forces the game design to have those numbers which might mean nothing later. The're also not relevant to the new game but the old one. Big NO on suggesting what people might like or how they should play should enjoy a game. You've just lost the support of everyone that wants alternate game flow, repeateability, with no increase in difficulty.

So rewrite it.  There's two lines that exist: it's too short.

I can see your point about numbers, but there's still something to be said about having a story to tell.  We've got After Action Reports all over the place about why the game is awesome.  Those stories are already important to the campaign, telling people "you too could have a play so awesome you want to tell people about it" is a good thing.

Offline garion333

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Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2016, 02:50:17 PM »
Okay, back to my runthrough of the KS page.

Let's see if we can make the features on the page more marketable.

Quote
Key Design Shifts From AI War Classic (The Original Game)

Quote
Replacing the static human Home Command Stations with mobile Arks.

People don't know what a "Home Command Station" is. Now that they're movable they kind of work like the ACU's in SupCom, right? How did SupCom marketing talk about those units?

I'm projecting a little bit here because the design doc has me thinking that the way the Arks move and function could fundamentally change AI War in a way that excites me. SupCom is the last "true" RTS that's help my attention and AI War moving more in that direction is cool. Anyway, not a part of this discussion. ;)

Quote
Making the AI's defensive game more responsive and aggressive.

How is someone's defense aggressive? Sounds like an oxymoron even if it isn't. Maybe remove "defensive game" altogether since the AI is only ever technically on the defensive.


Quote
  • Reworking the Hull Type and Armor mechanics into something intuitive and interesting.
  • Reinventing Cloaking as something more dangerous.

"Something" sounds like you don't know what it is yet. You have a design doc people can read but you haven't figured out how you're reworking hull types, armor or cloaking?!?

"Refined hulls and armor mechanics, making them more intuitive an interesting."
"Reinventing Cloaking to be more dangerous."

At least here we're being told the new stuff is cool, not just will be cool.

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Splitting Energy into Power and Fuel to better balance "ablative" defense against "glass walls".

If I thought "sentient" was too much a college word, then "ablative" is a smashing game winning grand slam. spelk might appreciate it's use, but I'm not sure anyone else will. ;)

What are "glass walls" and why do they matter?

Think this entire sentence could be re-written to sell it better. I'm struggling to come up with a way to do it and probably need to consult the design doc.

///

Design Documents. Small note here that you might want consistency between the docs and KS for terminology. AI War 1 should be AI War Classic, or vice versa. Unifying your terminology shows professionalism and an attention to detail, it builds trust. Trust = sales.

Quote
First of all, we have the 1.0 Design Document,

Maybe says "the AI War 2 version 1.0 Design Document" to make it clearer.

Quote
This is useful even if you've never played AI War Classic, and relatively concise.

I feel a little guilty saying this as I kvetched about promoting the size of your previous design doc, but "and relatively concise" is a sentence fragment. Give this a go:

"First of all, we have the AI War 2 Version 1.0 Design Document, a relatively concise doc which outlines the intended launch build.  This is useful even if you've never played AI War Classic!"

I played with this a little and came up with:

"Then we have a separate document, Appendix A - Relationship To AIW 1, which is for the AI War Classic fan. This doc intimately details the specific changes from AI War Classic, even down to specific units!"

///

Quote
Key Technical Mumbo Jumbo

Quote
Lots and lots of multithreading to make awesome use of modern computers.

Oh oh oh. Do we have some personality shining through now? Finally. I'd recommend selling it even harder though or switching back to your more dry and technical speak.

"Lots and lots of multithreading to push your CPUs to the edge, no matter how old it is!"

Quote
3D graphics that look great, and which scale well for both older machines (turn off fancy effects), and newer ones.

Delete "(turn off fancy effects)". Not needed in a sales pitch.

Maybe say "and maximize newer ones". Something like that.

Quote
All sorts of modding and scripting abilities.

"All sorts" doesn't sit with me well. A little too laissez faire, a little too iffy in what it means. Will there be modding tools? Steam Workshop integration? Or is the game simply easily moddable? Since we're in the Technical Mumbo Jumbo don't be afraid to be more technical by mentioning XML. Or don't as you have a modding section. ;)

///

Quote
Better Learning Curve

Don't mention your failures! Might I suggest changing this header to "THE BEST Learning Curve" or "No Longer EVE Online Learning Curve". Ahem. Maybe "Smooth Learning Curve"? "Gentle"? Etc.

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Thanks to fixing up a ton of usability issues, AI War 2 is well placed to deal with the first game's most common complaint: the killer learning curve. AI War is meant to be a hard but fair game, and the start menu should not be enough to defeat new players.

I'll accept that to talk about a better learning curve one must mention the not quite nice learning curve of AIWC.

What are the "usability issues" we're talking about here? Maybe specifically mention something. I don't actually know what you're talking about, so I don't have any suggestions.

I'd go active voice here:

"We've fixed a ton of usability issues, cleaned up the UI and made it easier to get into the action. All of this deal with AI War Classic's most common complaint: the killer learning curve. AI War is a hard but fair game, the start menu should not be enough to defeat new players. We've fixed that, you will love it."

Okay, that last bit is Trump speak, but he's President almost entirely because he's persuasive. Also, "start menu" immediately makes me think of Windows. Maybe "game menu"?

Quote
We’re coming at the problem from a few different angles. Usability changes will help smooth the difficulty curve once they’re in-game, as will quickstart options that allow you to jump into the game without fiddling with settings.

I combined the salient point here into the previous paragraph, which is quickstart options.

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One thing we will not be doing is dumbing the game down. We shudder at the very thought and it isn’t necessary.

I honestly think this is catering to a hardcore subset of people, but I get why you've added it. I may not like it, but I get it. Might want to flesh this out with another sentence about how refinement isn't dumbing down. Instead of promising not to dumb it down give a short example or two.

///



I've figured out what struck me as odd about the version of this in the previous campaign: ships are flying around, but nothing is shooting in it. Will things shoot each other? Let's see that. Right now it's just random ships flying around without context.

This is also so dark I can barely see the blue ships.

///

Quote
Modding

Quote
We are pleased to announce that AI War 2 will be open and easy to modify, while still maintaining sim-concurrence. Players will be able to modify ships and structures, the design of AI personalities, and create tutorials, scenarios, and vignettes of their own.

Wtf is "sim-concurrence"?

Will we have Steam Workshop? Guess it would have to be a Steam-only game. Nvm.

Where will mods be housed? Here? Not sure if that's necessary to mention in the KS, but I'm thinking "Mods housed on our forums" or "our servers". Will they be easily accessible in-game? Or is this something I'll have to manually un/install?

I've made this section more active voice:

"We are pleased to announce that AI War 2 is built from the ground up to be open and easy to modify, while still maintaining sim-concurrence. Players can modify ships and structures, the design of AI personalities, and create tutorials, scenarios, and vignettes of their own."

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New in this re-launched campaign, you can even write your own C# code to hook into various parts of the game, such as map-generation, to do much more robust modding than we had originally planned.  Modders asked, and Keith listened!

Delete "New in this re-launched campaign,". Who is this Keith guy you mentioned out of nowhere? ;)

Maybe this:

"You can write your own C# code (just as we do) to hook into various parts of the game, such as map-generation, which allows for much more robust modding than we had originally planned.  Modders asked for this, and we listened!"

Quote
The design document has a long (LONG) list of modifiable components that we identified before we even started making the game.

Link to it again, don't make people hunt for the design doc link again.

"before we even started making the game"

This strikes me as odd phrasing.

///

Stretch Goals should go below Rewards. Sell the Rewards before you hit em for the Stretch Goals. Kickstarter may have told you differently, so do what they say, but I seem to recall Stretch Goals being at the very bottom before the FAQ.

///

Okay, out of time again. Hopefully some of this helps!

Offline TechSY730

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Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
« Reply #28 on: November 16, 2016, 04:34:55 PM »
Are you sure letting backers choose a planet name is a good idea?

https://www.xkcd.com/1253/

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
« Reply #29 on: November 16, 2016, 04:39:12 PM »
Are you sure letting backers choose a planet name is a good idea?
We're sure it's not ;)

It should say somewhere that backer-created language has to "be within reason", though it doesn't seem to actually say that right now.
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