Well that was just adorable. Little Witch Academia is a short one-shot anime about a little girl that wants to follow in the footsteps of a performing witch. She gets herself into a prestigious academy for witches, where she she struggles to keep up academically. On top of her problems in class, she learns that the rest of witch culture has a very low opinion of her childhood idol. When a classmate accidentally unleashes a terrible menace from underneath the school, she gets a chance to prove herself and maybe redeem her hero a bit in the process. Good stuff.
So I made a subdomain for my silly RPG projects back in December, got in touch with several artists and talked them into doing some work for me, and figured I’d test the waters of self-publishing a game by funding my first project on Kickstarter. I put together a modest target value that would cover the costs of printing and shipping the actual books with enough margin to have a really skimpy art budget.
Turns out the modest target value was a bit low. Or the campaign length too long. Take your pick. Either way, not quite a quarter of the way through, we’re already over twice the target value. This means the art budget gets a lot more free and easy, but it also tickles a certain game-player nerve of mine. Kickstarter provides a chart showing your daily progress in dollars. Kicktraq.com makes crazy projections about where the project might end up landing. You see a little number ticking towards a target value and the lizard part of your brain that has been playing video games for the past thirty years wants to keep nudging that number up. And up. And up. You need to shift from “get bare funding” mode to “get product to backers” mode, but with the clock still ticking it’s so monstrously tempting to shift instead into “get even more funding” mode.
The dashboard interface for creators is vastly more enticing than the “discover new projects” interface they have for backers. You get a chart showing pledged dollars over time. You get a pie chart showing how much funding was referred from inside the Kickstarter site as opposed to other sources. You get a table showing which referrers resulting in how many pledge and how much was pledged in total. You get a listing of recent activity, showing individual backers joining in, comment postings, and pledge adjustments. Next thing you know you’re copying and pasting unfamiliar URLs into your browser and finding yourself reading through 21-page flame wars about your project. Eek.
Anyhow, I’m immensely pleased and somewhat conflicted about how this is all working out. I started out doubting that there’d be any support at all, that the campaign would flop and I’d just be crying in a corner overwhelmed by the market’s rejection of my game. Now I’m facing the very real prospect of shipping & handling logistics, quality assurance, and lots more artist collaboration.