Monday, February 11, 2013

CRYAMORE!

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation! I am pleased to be joined by the creative team behind the very successful Kickstarter: CRYAMORE!  Thank you for joining us today.

NostalgiCO: Thanks! We’re glad to be here.

You describe CRYAMORE! as, “Whaddaya get when you blend obsolete Steampunk with Zelda, Secret of Mana, & Megaman?”  Now that’s quite the blending of elements you have there could you describe it a bit more?  

NostalgiCO: Well, we all love the main explorative, adventure-driven gameplay of Zelda. That’s the core, but we’re also taking the contextual-based mechanic of Zelda (acquiring an item, using an item to gain access to an area or finding an item and progress the game) and swapping it with Megaman (learning an ability, adding the ‘rock-paper-scissors’ combat mechanic to it, and using it instead of items for contextual progression and), and sprinkled the combat of Secret of Mana on top of it (strategic, well-timed attacks, and special moves).



Well no matter how you describe it the Kickstarter community obviously likes it!  In five days you’ve already raised nearly $90,000 blowing quickly past your $60,000 goal.  (Even sweeping me up as a backer!)  What made you choose Kickstarter over other methods of funding?  

NostalgiCO: Well, we figured Kickstarter is the biggest platform to pull this off. While working on what we have so far, we had day jobs which would hinder us from putting 100% into the game and pitching to a publisher, per se. We found that crowdfunding the game through Kickstarter would assist us greatly and allow us to work on it more and give us full creative control.


As someone who looks at a LOT of Kickstarter videos and project layouts I have to say yours is one of the most effective videos I have ever seen.  Funny, in character, and detailed.  The only down side was it was a bit long but so engaging I couldn’t help but watch it all!  What are your current watch rates on that video?  How much do you think it’s helping your cause?  

NostalgiCO: Last time we checked, we have a total of 41,000 plays, with about 35% finished watches. Yeah, it dragged slightly, was FAR from perfect, but we figured we might as well get what needed to be said in the video. We decided rather than seeing our ugly mugs say it, we would introduce the audience to a few of the main characters, have them tell us about the game, and especially the story, which is a pivotal aspect of ANY kind of role-playing game. And the video itself was a labor of love, as we didn’t use Flash to animate it. It took over hundreds and hundreds of separate hand-drawn scenes and pieces to piece it all together, lip sync it, and render it out over the course of 2 weeks when we compress all the time worked on it altogether. So with that in mind, if people can see what it took to put it together, it’ll definitely give them the notion that we’ll carry that passion into the game itself (even though we had little gameplay footage at the time).

Beyond the video you have a very clean art style that you have realized quite well.  Who is in charge of the art direction?  How did you settle on this style?

NostalgiCO: That would be Rob. He works his day job as a freelance character designer, illustrator, and comic artist. And being a fan of JRPGs, anime, and the like, it’s just something that blended with his work as he developed.

Who came up with the idea of “Obsolete Steampunk?”  From the video it’s interesting to see how fully the characters have moved past using even basic steam technology (like hot water O.o!) and become dependant on Cryamore.  How much will this be reinforced throughout the story?  

NostalgiCO: Well, Rob came up with the whole premise of Cryamore, which is basically an ore (or mineral) that is used to power the current technology. But we couldn’t just come up with this out the blue. So being that we always wanted to work with a steampunk theme, we thought “What if Steampunk is outdated? What if there’s a new “kid on the block” that replaced steam technology?” And that’s where Cryamore comes in, where science takes the place of steam, but having a mystical undertone that they discover. So Alan and Rob got together and started blending all these elements together as to how the characters’ world would work with Cryamore.

Personally I’m not the biggest Zelda fan (blasphemy I know!) yet your project has caught my attention.  How well do you think your game appeals to those who are more RPG than action platformer kind of gamers?  Will I get to summon giant elementals to fight for me?  

NostalgiCO: Well, this is probably where the Secret of Mana and Musashi influence comes in a bit. Strategy and stat building, and though we’re still leaning mostly on the Zelda side of things, we figured to have a few things to level up and learn would be the way to go. There will be a few ways to up your attack power level, stamina/fatigue gauge rate, and more. Even side quests, which is a huge part of any RPG. And yes, summons will definitely be a mechanic in the game. Though we’re utilizing more of a team-up technique mechanic with some of them. Can’t say too much, but yep-- Summons are part of it.



Your stretch goals mention adding new locations and weapons to the game, how much have you planned out these features?  Are we looking at tacked on areas or will they become woven into the main narrative?  I’d hate for them to feel like “DLC afterthoughts.”  

NostalgiCO: We planned everything well in advance. Though for those additional stretch levels, we picked which things we could potentially scrap in case we didn’t get funded. So everything is still interwoven in the full game, as our goal is to give the audience a complete game. Not anything with DLC or micro-transactions and such. Games of the SNES/PSX era didn’t have that stuff. Why should we?

You’ve funded “ Major Voice Acting” have you already secured the talent?  Are you using the same three voices from the video?  Will you be casting for voice actors from the backers?  (I volunteer myself!)

NostalgiCO: Haha, well we work with an agency to grab us the best talent out there that matches what we’re looking for in characters. And yeah, those three are already casted for their roles.




Your current delivery goal is March 2014.  How much of a delay do you foresee these stretch goals adding to your delivery time?  

NostalgiCO: Well, giving the fact that we now have dedicated programmers to work on the game, we can even go faster. But we’re not going to get too ambitious here and just still settle with that date. As stated before, we planned everything in timescale (even the stretch goals), so that would hardly be the issue. If anything, small development issues may or may not arise that would have us variably miss the date by a smidgen, but that’s game development for ya’. With that said, we don’t foresee a huge delay at all.

I have to ask, with such a diverse staff how did you all come together for this project?  

NostalgiCO: Well, it honestly all started with Alan asking Rob if he wanted to get a game created. From there, it was a big snowball effect of people hopping along for the ride. And it wasn’t just anybody, we were very careful in our choosing of our team, and everyone that hopped on brought something extra-special to the table. So you’re going to be looking at a nice, full table of “home-cooked” goodness.

What kind of research did you do leading up to the launch of this project?  How far along are you into development on Cryamore?

NostalgiCO: Well, we were already versed well in the concepts of art, game design, and programming, enough to get us moving along. Though we continue to research and push the envelope. Right now, we’re working on the first playable build/demo, slated for a late March release, and we’re going to try to pack as much as we can in that demo to give you a taste.


How did you discover Kickstarter?

NostalgiCO: We can’t even remember, haha. But being creatives ourselves, it was natural to discover Kickstarter and see all the wonderful things other creative people are sharing to the world and succeeding. So we figured, let’s not miss the party. We have something to share to the world too, in our own little way.
A key part of successful Kickstarters is backer participation and how to convert a potential backer into a full backer.   How are you engaging your backers?  What kinds of things do you have planned for updates to give notice to those who just hit the “remind me” button and surf on?  Interviews?  Videos?  Stories from the project?

NostalgiCO: Well currently at this writing, we’re already at our 12th update, and we try to give out meaty information to our backers, not just “hey, we’re still here and tell your friends to give us money!”, with the scope of the content you listed there. And our goal is to keep updating long after the Kickstarter campaign is complete, unlike most successful campaigns who rarely say a word once everything is said and done. We want to make this a recurring thing, with more games in the future. So staying in tune with our backers will show them that we mean business and we’d want to give them more.

CRYAMORE! A True, First-Class Take on the Action-RPG Genre -- Kicktraq Mini 


What kind of media attention have you received with your project?  How are you spreading the word?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Google+? Youtube?  Advertising?  Are you using Kicktraq to track your progress?  

NostalgiCO: Well, we started spreading information and stuff about our game at least 7 months before we even began the Kickstarter on our DevBlog, Tumblr, deviantART, Twitter, and Facebook. We haven’t quite advertised anything yet other than one-time micro-promotions, but we sure they had a nice amount to do with the result. We use Kickstarter’s built-in analytics to keep tabs on everything and the Promoter App to see what media/press has written about the game, as well as Google. We look at Kicktraq, but we don’t stick to its Trends feature as it’s something that can be taken with a keg of salt.


Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?

NostalgiCO: Well, definitely prepare as much as you can about your project before launching. We wish we could’ve waited a bit longer to get more gameplay in, and we could have had even a greater impact, but the fact that we did go as full-blast as we could within our set timescale shows that that’s one of the main keys to Kickstarter success. Also, being realistic with yourself about your project helps a lot. Really meditate and figure out whether your project is up to snuff with someone who’s frankly, not you. Ask your friends. Ask your enemies. Ask people who wouldn’t even potentially care about your project what they think about it. Opinions are many, but there are ton of them that will help you in your decision. For all you know, you may go a different route on your project, or even a whole new idea instead, considering the result.

Thank you for spending your time with us!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

NostalgiCO: No problem, thanks for featuring us! We would just like to thank everyone who has supported us so far in this quest! It really means a lot and put the flame beneath our seats, and without that, we wouldn’t be nearly as excited for working on this game than before (and we were already excited!)

Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!

NostalgiCO: Thank you! Take care!