Arcen Games

Games => AI War II => Topic started by: x4000 on November 15, 2016, 11:19:41 AM

Title: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: x4000 on November 15, 2016, 11:19:41 AM
Hey everybody!

Here's the new kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arcengames/770186919?token=af1fc0b9

We'd love to get your feedback on it from a perspective of how well this sells the game to you in the very early part of the page (that stuff in the What Is AI War 2 section) in particular, as well as the more detailed stuff further down.

There are a lot of graphics missing here, and a few places where there is a ~*~ and a note that some particular content is missing.  The video is just the video from the first campaign, right now.

The rewards have been redone somewhat, particularly as you get into the higher tiers.  A lot of the things that we offered the first time are not things we can offer anymore now that we've got a reduced scope and staff.  However, we'd love to hear about other ideas if you have them.

There are also now Addons noted, and I'd love your feedback on those.

The risks and challenges section has been updated a bit, and the Arcen section also has been moved and shrunk and rewritten.  Overall there's a whole lot less text floating around here, which is the idea.

I took out the budget section from before, because it's a bit fuzzier this time.  There are a number of pieces of work that I'm doing or that Blue is doing that Arcen is funding directly instead of the kickstarter funding them, and so the chart starts to look even more misleading when you show it in that fashion.  We still have a very detailed budget, but I'm not sure that the breakdown we had was all that interesting to folks before.

The "current feature status" section is also gone, because it seemed pretty clear that people weren't reading that in the first place even if they were really into the game, so it's better to just save that space I figure.

If there are things you feel like should be on there that are not, though, then please let us know!  Overall I'm trying to make a condensed and convincing message that isn't overwhelming people with the sheer volume this time.

Cheers!
Chris
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Apathetic on November 15, 2016, 01:37:23 PM
In general it looks good, though I thought the first looked fine so /shrug.  My comments are only about the various reward tiers.

Pledge levels critique:

The one thing that seemed a bit odd and took me some reason to figure out was the multitude of different backer levels that were very similar.  The first 9 tiers that provide rewards are 3 sets of the following: Early bird X, Regular X, super X.  To me, it might clarify things if only 1 of those levels had much of a description, then the others were modifications to that.  So it could be

Early Bird Launch Backer:
<stuff>

Launch Backer:
same as early bird launch backer.

Bionic Launch Backer:
Same as Launch Backer (Or list as early bird launch backer)
+Bionic Dues
+Skyward Collapse

Also the $26 pledge level seems a bit out of place.  All other pledges are a multiple of $5.  The other potentially important thing to mention is that in the first iteration of this kickstarter the early backer beta tester level did not get completely claimed.

The sound track being added to the Alpha backer level, but not the early Alpha backer level seems an interesting decision, though I'm guessing it has something to do with royalty payments...



Rewards tier image critique:

For clarity, in the Rewards Section, it lists that all pledges over $XXX get YYY.  Does that count pledge Addons?  So if I buy just the Launch Backer then add 3 additional copies of the game do I get all the additional rewards?

Also the Rewards image lists a number of items as 'New Rewards!', new to what?  This is a new kickstarter, these are only new to the first iteration.

I think either the 'Name a planet' reward should be removed from the rewards image, and moved to a text based entry like the other rewards that are $100+, or the other $100+ rewards added to the reward image.

In some instances I've seen projects that had numerous backer levels end up with a backer tier / reward matrix, which seemed to simplify things.  Though those projects' reward tiers were a bit more complex.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Lakshata on November 15, 2016, 02:26:00 PM
I think the main things it needs, and I'm not sure if it's possible, are a screenshot of the new UI, and a video of an actual planet conquest or something.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: nas1m on November 15, 2016, 02:59:06 PM
Sounds really good to me, especially the introductory section.
I agree that a snippet in of real gameplay would go a very long way to promote the game as far as the new video is concerned.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Draco18s on November 15, 2016, 03:20:59 PM
Pledge levels critique:

The one thing that seemed a bit odd and took me some reason to figure out was the multitude of different backer levels that were very similar.  The first 9 tiers that provide rewards are 3 sets of the following: Early bird X, Regular X, super X.  To me, it might clarify things if only 1 of those levels had much of a description, then the others were modifications to that.

Yeah. I agree with this.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: x4000 on November 15, 2016, 04:22:24 PM
Thanks all!  Keep it coming. :)

Regarding the backer levels: I've put together a number of changes on there that make them both more brief and hopefully calls out the differences better.  I like having the full list of things on each one, because typically when I'm backing something and it says "plus all prior reward tiers," that gets annoying to figure out what I'm supposed to be getting.  Plus when it's things like getting the game earlier, does that mean I get two copies?  Etc.  That said, I also had how verbose it gets; I condensed it as much as I could, but perhaps even more could be helpful?  Thoughts welcome.

Regarding the graphic and the addons not being clear: really good point on that.  I've put a note in the rewards section at the top.  Does that cover it well enough?

Regarding the rewards image vs rewards text in that section: those will all be in an image later, FYI.  It's just not set up fully yet.

Regarding the soundtrack, I've moved that to now also be in the early bird version of that.  It bugged me, too.

Regarding some of the dollar amounts seeming odd ($26), well, now a lot of the dollar amounts are changed up a bit.  Everything is a multiple of two, but that's it now. ;)

Regarding screenshots of the GUI, I'm not sure if we'll have a version of that we're going to be completely ready to show off yet, but we'll see.  In general regarding images, that stuff is coming but it's specifically omitted right now because I'm redoing all that stuff with newer graphics, etc.

Same deal with the gameplay.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Tridus on November 15, 2016, 04:59:28 PM
Windows XP support? Wow. That seems like a waste of support effort in this day and age since we're talking about 1% of users on the Steam hardware survey (and dropping fast).

There's mk I badges and mk IV badges, with some gaps. I presume that's WIP.

There's a huge gap between the $16 tier and tiers that come with AI War 2 stuff. The soundtrack shows up at $44, but then we're up to $72 to name a planet. The only other things in between there are games I already have. Naming a planet used to be $65 and the "message in a bottle" stuff was in the middle, so it seemed like a smoother ramp up in tiers. I guess if you want the other games it would feel better, but for me it feels off.

There's a $100 tier that gives you copies at 1.0 release, surrounded by alpha access tiers. That's awkward. It almost seems like you could eliminate that tier entirely with an Addon: "Additional copies of AI War 2 at 1.0 release: Add $20 per copy."
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: x4000 on November 15, 2016, 05:19:24 PM
Quote
Windows XP support? Wow. That seems like a waste of support effort in this day and age since we're talking about 1% of users on the Steam hardware survey (and dropping fast).

Those are simply the minimum requirements for unity itself.  We don't have to do anything special to support that OS -- it just works.  Which is nice!

Quote
There's mk I badges and mk IV badges, with some gaps. I presume that's WIP.

Hmm? I'm not seeing the gap you refer to.

Quote
There's a huge gap between the $16 tier and tiers that come with AI War 2 stuff. The soundtrack shows up at $44, but then we're up to $72 to name a planet. The only other things in between there are games I already have. Naming a planet used to be $65 and the "message in a bottle" stuff was in the middle, so it seemed like a smoother ramp up in tiers. I guess if you want the other games it would feel better, but for me it feels off.

I'm open to suggestions, but basically we've had to retool things somewhat so that we can actually afford to do the backer rewards now.  Blue now has vastly less time on the project, so the art things we can offer is down.  The voice stuff is comparably cheap and so we can offer that still, and a bit lower priced.  The name a planet stuff is overall pretty cheap, but we have to have something to give to folks past a certain threshold.  I'd be amenable to moving that lower and then having something else that people can name or... something... higher up where it is.

But now it's Keith and I that have to sort all that stuff, since we no longer have Jack, etc.  Though Cinth can probably help some.  But we're just way shorter on people and time in general, when it comes to backer reward fulfillment.  We haven't set up anything we can't do, don't get me wrong -- we're quite capable of doing what we're promising.  But that's part of why prices and availability for things shifted around a lot, and in general the tiers are different.

Our strongest asset that we are able to give away that doesn't cost us anything new is copies of our existing games.  Not that exciting for the hardcore fans of Arcen, but for people just stopping by on kickstarter hopefully that grabs them.

I do agree with you that it feels off to not have things show up until that far, though.  I'm just not sure what to do about it yet. :/

Quote
There's a $90 tier that gives you copies at 1.0 release, surrounded by alpha access tiers. That's awkward. It almost seems like you could eliminate that tier entirely with an Addon: "Additional copies of AI War 2 at 1.0 release: Add $20 per copy."

Scrapped it.  Yeah, that was odd.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Cinth on November 15, 2016, 05:27:04 PM
Though Cinth can probably help some.

 ???
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Tridus on November 15, 2016, 05:30:35 PM
Quote
Windows XP support? Wow. That seems like a waste of support effort in this day and age since we're talking about 1% of users on the Steam hardware survey (and dropping fast).

Those are simply the minimum requirements for unity itself.  We don't have to do anything special to support that OS -- it just works.  Which is nice!

Oh that's handy!

Quote
There's mk I badges and mk IV badges, with some gaps. I presume that's WIP.

Hmm? I'm not seeing the gap you refer to.[/quote]

Reading fail on my part. I see them now. :)
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: kasnavada on November 15, 2016, 06:14:46 PM
Quote
AI War is a grand strategic RTS against an opponent so much more advanced than you, and with so much more territory, as to be completely insurmountable.
By conventional tactics ? If it was complete awake and focussed on killing you ?

Actually I'd rework the whole section. Sounds like you're supposed to enjoy being a masochist, rather than playing a game. I'd stress the game being hard, no problem, but here it sounds like winning is a bug earned only with billions of tries, it's too much.


About pledges... ugh. You've boosted the prices and added stuff. I personally don't care about bionic dues, skyward & AI War, I've already got them all. AI War I got twice actually, that is if impulse was still working. Good thing though, you managed to put up addons. I'm not sure about the price increase thing, but then again the first KS didn't succeed, so.


~*~ Details coming. => I suppose that those details will be in before the KS starts =).



Missing stuff: I think that the KS requires some kind of "what is the game flow". I suggested in another thread that the video should show it (it's not been updated, has it ?). Currently you mostly speak about how awesome everything is, but not what it is. That's my feeling at least.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: NichG on November 15, 2016, 07:49:35 PM
I would agree that saying 'you will lose, many times' is going to be a turn off (and I think given that the AI has lots of different difficulty settings, its unnecessary to make it sound like this is going to be Dwarf Fortress). Instead you could say it positively: 'the AI has all the advantages of territory, technology, and forces; but it's distracted. You must use subtlety and strategic planning to grab resources that empower you, while not drawing the attention of the AI...' Basically, make it a 'look, here's what kinds of skills this game will develop in you' sort of thing.

In the Kickstarter risks section, I would really not say 'the biggest risk is not getting funded'. Statistically, talking about your Kickstarter not getting funded or things that sound like you're begging or asking for money (rather than offering things in exchange for money) are the biggest predictors of it actually not getting funded (see, e.g. https://comp.social.gatech.edu/papers/cscw14.crowdfunding.mitra.pdf (https://comp.social.gatech.edu/papers/cscw14.crowdfunding.mitra.pdf)). In terms of honesty policy, its Kickstarter and the whole point is that there's no risk to the supporters if the thing isn't funded, so its unnecessary to say I think.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Sounds on November 15, 2016, 08:43:53 PM
Quote
AI War is a grand strategic RTS against an opponent so much more advanced than you, and with so much more territory, as to be completely insurmountable.
By conventional tactics ? If it was complete awake and focussed on killing you ?

Actually I'd rework the whole section. Sounds like you're supposed to enjoy being a masochist, rather than playing a game. I'd stress the game being hard, no problem, but here it sounds like winning is a bug earned only with billions of tries, it's too much.


About pledges... ugh. You've boosted the prices and added stuff. I personally don't care about bionic dues, skyward & AI War, I've already got them all. AI War I got twice actually, that is if impulse was still working. Good thing though, you managed to put up addons. I'm not sure about the price increase thing, but then again the first KS didn't succeed, so.


~*~ Details coming. => I suppose that those details will be in before the KS starts =).



Missing stuff: I think that the KS requires some kind of "what is the game flow". I suggested in another thread that the video should show it (it's not been updated, has it ?). Currently you mostly speak about how awesome everything is, but not what it is. That's my feeling at least.

Wow! Everything you mention above echoes my own thoughts. :)

Not sure how much value Arcen's existing titles work as an incentive, for me they offer no value from a pledge perspective. Don't misunderstand, I'll definitely be pledging. Its just a case of asking whether you're able to offer other incentives to appeal to your existing customer base, rather than just offering things someone already has.

I'd also add that I'm a bit confused with respect to offering/s around the soundtrack and the stretch goal. I don't think you're implying this but I'll ask any way:

Are you saying without the stretch goal there won't be an OST at a certain tier? You might want to point out the difference.

Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: yllamana on November 15, 2016, 11:39:28 PM
I just want to agree with the people saying the start is a bit offputting and doesn't sell the game super well. Not sure about "the most sentient AI in gaming" either? I guess what's weird is the blurb comes right after a few quotes talking about how great the AI is, but then doesn't mention anything other than how the enemy is so powerful that it could squash you even if it was completely brainless. Maybe it'd help to explain what the AI opponent is good at in particular? What makes it "the most sentient AI in gaming"?

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.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Chthon on November 16, 2016, 12:54:09 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.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Draco18s 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.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: keith.lamothe 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.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: kasnavada 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.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: garion333 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.

///

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

Remove "already".

///

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

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

///

Quote
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. :(

///

Quote
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.

///

Quote
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".

///

Quote
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.

///

Quote
Chat with us and other backers on our Discord server?

I'd change this to:

Quote
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:

Quote
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:

Quote
Multiplayer co-op up to at least 8 players.

///

(https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/014/529/654/781a4a96353cf4ffa5c9f2d1245527ee_original.png?w=680&fit=max&v=1479238577&auto=format&lossless=true&s=21195bf99f15f2667508156f425a3a9f)

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.

Quote
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.

///

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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. ;)
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Draco18s 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.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: x4000 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.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: NichG 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.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: garion333 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.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Draco18s 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."
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: kasnavada 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 =).
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: garion333 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....
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Draco18s 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.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: garion333 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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supreme_Commander_(video_game)#Gameplay), 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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

///

(https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/014/542/548/0cdcaa758dbf5474f14f7df5f7d90a8d_original.gif?w=680&fit=max&v=1479316131&q=92&s=52d4788a1b4c02c185faba7c8175894a)

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."

Quote
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!
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: TechSY730 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/
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: keith.lamothe 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.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: wyvern83 on November 16, 2016, 08:29:18 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.

It should... (if it doesn't by now)

Better to solve a potential problem before it pops up, in my opinion. I thought the previous KS page had that sort of wording though.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Cyborg on November 16, 2016, 08:54:12 PM
Does this game support Unicode?

Can I name a planet ??

Crap, this forum doesn't support that character.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Squashyhex on November 16, 2016, 08:55:33 PM
Seems like quite the jump from $1000 to $10000. Maybe needs something inbetween? Or some adjustment?

Also, have we got any idea for the numbers of EARLY backer tiers available?
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Chthon on November 16, 2016, 10:18:34 PM
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.
Well, the lore is what drew me to donate at that level. Maybe the design a bit as well. None of the other tiers in that area really call out to me however.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: x4000 on November 17, 2016, 09:45:03 AM
Okay, I'm caught up to this point -- much as I can be, I think.  Things like ships shooting are not in that one piece of GUI graphical showcase, no, but I'll be having stuff like that shortly.

The topmost areas have been redone a fair bit.  The at a glance image has been updated.  Modding was updated a lot.  Stretch goals are rewritten and two of them are switched in order.  The rewards image is still out of date.

I know that there's a giant jump from $1k to $10k, but I'm a bit stuck right now because the music thing wouldn't work there anymore.  The lore-based things were all relying on Jack, who's no longer on the project, so hence those being gone.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: NichG on November 17, 2016, 10:51:05 AM
Design a system defences layout for one of the AI core worlds? Feels less personal than a taunt/name/etc though... I guess the question is, if the donation level is $2000 lets say, what kind of content costs about $500-$1000 to produce that could be added entirely on the basis of 'this guy is paying for it'?
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 17, 2016, 10:53:47 AM
Design a system defences layout for one of the AI core worlds? Feels less personal than a taunt/name/etc though...
It's interesting, but one thing to bear in mind is that we're fairly ruthless about rebalancing stuff and even removing certain units entirely. That means that these layouts would either have to be revised (more work) or taken out of the normal rotation (which could feel bad to the backer who designed it).

Doesn't mean we can't do stuff like that, but it does indicate limiting it. That said, at the 2k+ level it'd be pretty limited anyway.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: wyvern83 on November 17, 2016, 04:10:50 PM
Are we still launching the KS today? Or do more things need to be done still first?
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Squashyhex on November 17, 2016, 11:24:01 PM
I know that there's a giant jump from $1k to $10k, but I'm a bit stuck right now because the music thing wouldn't work there anymore.  The lore-based things were all relying on Jack, who's no longer on the project, so hence those being gone.

Does this include the "What was the AI doing during AI Wars Classic?", or is that something that's written already? Just, if its written already, then you could possibly add that somewhere?
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: x4000 on November 18, 2016, 10:34:57 AM
I know that there's a giant jump from $1k to $10k, but I'm a bit stuck right now because the music thing wouldn't work there anymore.  The lore-based things were all relying on Jack, who's no longer on the project, so hence those being gone.

Does this include the "What was the AI doing during AI Wars Classic?", or is that something that's written already? Just, if its written already, then you could possibly add that somewhere?

We know what the AI was doing, but that wasn't something we were planning on revealing as part of this game.  It's in a different game (Stars Beyond Reach) where you actually find that out as part of the lore THERE.  It's already written, but we'd put it in as an ultra-high-backer reward in the first campaign just as an enticement.  Jack wasn't super thrilled about that, since he figured that someone might spill the beans.  Either way, I think it's cooler if you find it out while playing SBR if we can ever manage to finish that, so I took that off the list for now.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Sounds on November 18, 2016, 06:11:49 PM
Forgot to say congratulations. I'm loving seeing this:

(https://www.kicktraq.com/projects/arcengames/ai-war-ii-0/minichart.png) (https://www.kicktraq.com/projects/arcengames/ai-war-ii-0/)

:D
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Captain Jack on November 18, 2016, 06:56:19 PM
It's already written, but we'd put it in as an ultra-high-backer reward in the first campaign just as an enticement.
Still needs a few editing passes though.  ;)

Forgot to say congratulations. I'm loving seeing this:

(https://www.kicktraq.com/projects/arcengames/ai-war-ii-0/minichart.png) (https://www.kicktraq.com/projects/arcengames/ai-war-ii-0/)

:D

:D
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Squashyhex on November 18, 2016, 07:38:18 PM
We know what the AI was doing, but that wasn't something we were planning on revealing as part of this game.  It's in a different game (Stars Beyond Reach) where you actually find that out as part of the lore THERE.  It's already written, but we'd put it in as an ultra-high-backer reward in the first campaign just as an enticement.  Jack wasn't super thrilled about that, since he figured that someone might spill the beans.  Either way, I think it's cooler if you find it out while playing SBR if we can ever manage to finish that, so I took that off the list for now.

That's fair enough. Thought I'd ask at least  ;) Maybe I'll have to increase my pledge to get a copy of Stars Beyond Reach then!  :D
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 18, 2016, 07:40:32 PM
That's fair enough. Thought I'd ask at least  ;) Maybe I'll have to increase my pledge to get a copy of Stars Beyond Reach then!  :D
Bear in mind that none of SBR's alpha versions (to my knowledge) go into this part of the story. I wouldn't want you to pledge for SBR and be disappointed that it didn't contain said lore :)
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Cinth on November 18, 2016, 07:58:06 PM
That's fair enough. Thought I'd ask at least  ;) Maybe I'll have to increase my pledge to get a copy of Stars Beyond Reach then!  :D
Bear in mind that none of SBR's alpha versions (to my knowledge) go into this part of the story. I wouldn't want you to pledge for SBR and be disappointed that it didn't contain said lore :)

If it's the same deal as the first KS, then the game is given as-is.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: Cyborg on November 18, 2016, 08:26:38 PM
Does the spire stretch goal include the spire campaign? I have already backed the project, just wondering.
Title: Re: (Please review) New kickstarter pitch and campaign page!
Post by: keith.lamothe on November 18, 2016, 08:31:01 PM
Does the spire stretch goal include the spire campaign? I have already backed the project, just wondering.
It doesn't have the scripted campaign parts, no. I hope to bring that back (adapted to the new model with the mobile "HCS" and all that) at a later point.