Dekker Records: The Kickstarter Postmortem

So, the deadline for our Kickstarter came and went. After a brief flurry of funding in the first few days, the Kickstarter stalled and is now dead on arrival.

As good game developers, we are in the habit of doing a postmortem on our projects. Postmortems are good educational experiences for even the greatest projects, but failed projects can be especially informative. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

What Went Right

  • Backers
    • As mentioned, we had a great initial push. Only two of our backers were actually people we knew. 7 out of our 9 backers were people we didn’t know before the campaign started.
  • Community engagement
    • I believe we were pretty good about keeping our backers informed as to where we were and what we were currently doing. Sometimes that was prodded by a comment, sometimes that was a result of our planning beforehand.
    • We also had some great backers, willing to give us advice or to promote us on their blogs. That was invaluable.

What Went Wrong

  • Video
    • We forgot the main principle of making a pitch – knowing your audience. We made our introductory video as if we were pitching to another studio instead of pitching to kickstarters. This may have created a bad first impression. Our presentation certainly didn’t grab anyone’s attention – our metrics showed that most people stopped watching as soon as the intro trailer ended.
  • Flair
    • We went live with a pretty boring and lifeless page. We made some efforts to change things later on, but we’d already screwed the pooch on making a good first impression. Our Kickstarter page should have had the personality and humor of Dekker Records.
  • Our Beautiful Faces
    • You never saw them – at least not in video form. Apparently, that’s a Kickstarter no-no. Our intro video might have been more effective if you saw Mike and Dan speaking instead of a presentation.
  • Lack of Community
    • This was our biggest problem. In a way, it’s a catch-22 for a new studio – building a community around a product that doesn’t exist yet. Mike and Dan both are pretty lacking in the desire to use social media and neither one frequents forums that would have brought in an interested community from elsewhere. This is what hurt us more than anything – had we been spending the past half-year we’d been working on the project building our brand instead of waiting until we had our demo to showcase our work we would have been better off than going live with just our demo.
      • We’ve been working to change this, often by networking through more traditional means – Dan has recently been engaging with his local tech community and Mike has deigned to descend from his mountain hermitage more than once a fortnight.

What Happens Now?

So, the Kickstarter didn’t make it. Where do we go from here? Well, The Dekker Records: Thunder Stone Blues is still coming out. We’re going to have to release it as three separate Acts (episodes) which means the story will be more linear than what we originally envisioned (had the Kickstarter succeeded we were going to release acts 1 and 2 together, which would have allowed you to tackle either act in the order you desired). Act 1 is coming out in June with a possible Steam version at a later date.

Act 1 will have some custom art assets and a ton of new content (which we’ve told you about in past developer updates). The new art will most likely be generated by Mike and Dan working together but won’t be nearly as impressive as if we’d been able to hire someone, and won’t replace as many of the RPG Maker assets as we’d wanted. The new content is all game development stuff, right within All-Father’s wheelhouse. New classes, skills, and dungeons to explore are coming your way soon.

It also won’t have a soundtrack performed by a live band. We’ll have to figure something out about making the current soundtrack more cohesive than the blend of midi and real instrumentals that we have now. Mike is hard at work and Dan is readying his strongest criticisms as we speak.

Keep an eye on our webpage, our Twitter @AllFatherStudio, and our Facebook page at  for further developments.

We’re still accepting donation via GoFundMe which, unlike Kickstarter, this goes directly to us whether we’re funded or not. We’re also looking into possibly launching a campaign on IndieGoGo in the near future.

We’d like to thank everyone that pledged to The Dekker Records: Thunder Stone Blues; your support means the world. Again, we will be publishing – Thunder Stone Blues is happening, and you will be able to help Dekker unravel her mystery in three low priced acts. See you in June!

Daniel Chessare and Michael Commini