Aquamarine is in it’s final week of Kickstarter Funding, with $7,977 pledged of its $25,000 goal. While there is still hope of this project reaching completion, Developer Patric Fallon has published what he’s calling a “Pre-mortem” on the project, talking a bit about what went right and what went wrong.
It’s a great read, so I encourage you to give the whole thing a look, but I wanted to highlight a couple a key concepts that struck me as particularly insightful.
Hard work isn’t always enough.
While this phrase comes toward the end of the premortem, it struck me the hardest. There’s know doubt the Patric and Moebial Studios have been busting butt on Aquamarine. Patric himself didn’t sleep for the two days leading up to the launch of the Aquamarine Kickstarter so that the demo could be in as good a place as possible.
The issue isn’t one of skill or quality it’s one of outreach and of timing:
I can’t say just how many emails I’ve personally written to get Aquamarine in front of the right people (somewhere in the hundreds), but I can tell you that the responses I’ve received these past months amount to around 20. This time of year is especially crowded with news and releases, to the point where one major journalist told me they simply “don’t have time” to cover a smaller project they find interesting.
Exposure is by far the biggest issue facing indie developers in today’s publication environment, be it with a crowdfunding campaign or the launch of a title. Heck, it’s part of the reason IndieHangover exists: as a place, in it’s own small way, to give exposure to game’s that wouldn’t normally get much or any. It’s tough to swallow, even for me as a journalist not a developer, but the quality of your product has very little to do with the quantity of people that’ll be interested in funding it. This leads to the second major point Patric makes:
All we need to do is find them and tell them we exist.
I think that, more than anything THIS is the take away, or perhaps the thing to examine and digest with this premortem and the Aquamarine Kickstarter. How and who you communicate with and pitch to matters. A LOT. this isn’t even an issue necessarily of good feedback, as the feedback on Aquamarine seems to have been glowing (It was our Editor’s Choice Award Winner at Play NYC FFS!)
The reaction online was even more incredible, with our game getting hundreds upon hundreds of likes, views, or upvotes when I’d share it on Reddit and Instagram. (Twitter was also positive, but never with those numbers.) People were asking if they could get involved and even a few publishers got in touch.
It’s my firm hope that Aquamarine’s Kickstarter Campaign will be successful. If it is not, than it is also my firm hope that it will be a stepping stone for Moebial Studios and they’ll be able to reorganize, plan their next steps and push forward with the development of Aquamarine.
I’d also like to take this sentence to thank Patric for sharing his thoughts, worries and anxieties in this article. It’s not easy sharing these feelings, but it goes a long way in building an accurate humanized picture of independent game development.