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Patreon for The Chaos Layer?

1: Should I start a Patreon for "The Chaos Layer"?

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Patreon for The Chaos Layer?

#1 User is offline MarkeyJester 

Posted 07 November 2015 - 07:08 PM

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Many of you may remember The Chaos Layer, a homebrew game I was initially making for the SEGA Mega Drive. Well, I wasn't able to finish it, likewise, many of the hacks I've made in the past have been incomplete (Pana Der Hejhog, Next Level, BroTro, etc), and this is strictly because I have to work to keep myself alive, and my work is excessively physical. I don't work in some office somewhere as a programmer, I work in a Deli factory, probably the worst deli factory in the country, due to negligence and stupidity of the corperation who have ran us into the ground pushing and pushing, and so, I am frequently too tired to do anything in my own spare time, such as, making the damn games/hacks you guys tend to enjoy.

So I was looking into a Patreon, initially I was looking towards a proper full Sonic hack, but I was led to (and reminded of) Stealth's incident and with the advice of the fellows in the IRC channel, came to the conclusion that it's probably not such a good idea (not just because of the response to Stealth's suggestive Patreon, but legal reasons also). I was advised that maybe I could throw up The Chaos Layer for one, and continue working on that. I would love to come back to it, restructure the engine (again) and proceed it further than before. It was always tiredness that got in the way, but if I gained enough finance to cover my rent at least, I'd be able to spend 100% of my time on it, without outside issues getting in the way.

I'm also interested in your views and any experience you may have with Patreon, I've never done something like this before, so I don't want to go throwing it up there to find there are consiquences I was unaware of.

#2 User is offline Dude 

Posted 07 November 2015 - 09:16 PM

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It's a good idea in that you clearly have the skills to make a genuinely impressive game. I should caution you though that a successful Pateron is more about how well you sell *yourself* as a personality and your game than how good the things you make are. If I were you I'd build a following for your project first, get engagement on social media by showing off demos and such, then start your patreon campaign once you've got an audience.

#3 User is offline iojnekns 

Posted 08 November 2015 - 07:40 AM

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It seems to me that 90% of people live their lives like this The Onion article, myself included. The trouble is, as far as I can tell, in order to change this way of life, one needs to be either independently wealthy, or able to use that sliver of spare time to aggressively monetize that thing that you're passionate about until it becomes a viable, sustainable business, then give up your life to feed that machine. 'What you're most passionate about' varies from person to person, and ranges from deluded and self indulgent ("I want to be a footballer/movie star/pop star") to unoriginal ("I'm going to write a fantasy novel") through to fundamentally commercially unviable (people in death metal bands rarely end up with mansions.) Unfortunately, I suspect that homebrew for 27 year old consoles probably falls on the latter end of the spectrum. Or at least it did at one time - something like Patreon can work, but Dude is right, it requires a tremendous amount of marketing and hard work to sustain. The only entity I've ever supported on Patreon are Duckfeed.tv, who only had to give me 200+ hours of entertainment for free for 2 years before they were able to part me with my $6 a month - AND they have regular jobs anyway. Personally, if a service like Patreon were my sole source of income, my arse would be twitching every time I received an e-mail. I wonder if one can get a mortgage offer with only Patreon as an income...

In my opinion the more viable options are either - a) Develop a more commercially viable idea in your spare time and hope it makes it big. b) join an established development house using your rather formidable CV (yes, it is formidable, despite how you may feel about it) and sacrifice auteur vision and creative control for financial security. c) sell your used underwear on eBay and use it to finance MegaDrive homebrew.

Obviously this is just my opinion, and I do hope that you prove me wrong and are able to make your dreams into a reality (if you do, I'd appreciate you sharing the secret, as I have been puzzling against it most of my adult life). However, you have an entire planet full of people to compete with, who would also love to do what they want for a living. As I recall, that group did produce a MD game quire recently (Pier Solar, according to Google), so it is possible though I cannot say whether that project came out at a net profit or whether it was simply a passion project. Everyone here will tell you to do it - but will everyone here who votes Yes be prepared to pledge £10 pcm?

As a side note, your work being physical might feel like an impediment, but trust me (or ask Marc), there is nothing that will sap your enthusiasm for spending all evening working at a computer than also working all day at a computer. At that point, you have to give over a a few more of those precious hours each day just to stay healthy and in shape.

Best of luck Markey
This post has been edited by iojnekns: 08 November 2015 - 07:55 AM

#4 User is offline Selbi 

Posted 08 November 2015 - 07:48 AM

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I've seen many YouTubers before who did exactly what you try to attempt there, ditching their real world job for Patreon. The unfortunate part is that nine times out of ten this concept fell horribly flat, even for people with tens of thousands of followers. The simple reason is that everyone is extremely open to the idea of donating money to content creators they like, but once the actual finances get involved a whole bunch of those "supporters" just seem to vanish. If there's one thing in this world that suffers from hypocrisy more than anything else, it's donations.

Another problem specifically dedicated to Patreon is that you regularly have to produce content, or your donators will die away. This inevitably leads to a quantity-over-quality mindset, and nobody wins at the end of the day. If you specifically want to get The Chaos Layer to work, I'd suggest you try your luck with Kickstarter, rather than Patreon. I just don't know how or if at all this can be pushed through legal boundaries...
This post has been edited by Selbi: 09 November 2015 - 01:25 PM

#5 User is offline winterhell 

Posted 08 November 2015 - 02:50 PM

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In your place I'd think about making the game multiplatform, at least have it available for puchase for Steam/PC. People generally don't have much of a problem spending 10-15 bucks for a good retro game with retro graphics that is available to them literally the next minute. Shedding 40+ bucks on the same game, even if its a physical copy, and then having to wait for shipping or even worse, waiting list for a batch to be produced, and then having to play it on a retro console that might not even connect to the available displays in the house does not help matters.

If you insist on making at least a Mega Drive version, is there an option to have the game be emulated on Steam like Sega did with their games? That way you can focus only on one version of the game.
And lets be honest, if the game is good but its tough to acquire, people who would otherwise pay 10 bucks on Steam would simply pirate it instead.

I don't believe in Patreon as well. Kickstarter is a better place to start.
This post has been edited by winterhell: 08 November 2015 - 02:52 PM

#6 User is offline Jeffery Mewtamer 

Posted 09 November 2015 - 12:04 PM

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I've got a few people I'd like to support via Patrion(Wildbo(whose works you should totally read) being at the top), but actually squeezing a consistant 10 USD per month for entertainment I can enjoy for free is hard to do when my own income is not that great and most of it goes to bills(and I live with my dad and don't have to worry about things like rent, utilities, or a car payment(I do help my dad with groceries and gas when I have the funds to spare though)), and but my income couldn't even cover the rent if I had nothing else to spend it on.)

#7 User is offline 360 

Posted 09 November 2015 - 04:56 PM

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Whilst I voted yes for the idea of the Patreon in the poll, I was more voting yes to the idea of an attempt to derive income from one's creativity and demonstrably evident game producing skills as you've proven to us on here, time and time again with the amazing hacks you've produced like Sonic The Next Level, those that preceded it and of course the amazing promise and technical wizardry of The Chaos Layer. I remember playing a build you posted of it a while ago and came away extremely impressed. It felt like a true, precious gem of a long lost Genesis game.

However I think it's important to keep in mind that Patreons are notoriously difficult to set up and maintain, purely in terms of gaining and preserving a giving, reliable audience of financial supporters. I'd personally recommended Kickstarter over Patreon. I've been following that since its inception (at least in the games department when it became notable for games) and retro-inspired, indie games do extremely well on Kickstarter. Just look at Shovel Knight as one example. Or Pier Solar HD if you're looking at something that started out as a Genesis game then became something more.

I'm not saying it's super easy. It's going to require energy and effort particularly in terms of preparation, marketing and pushing your campaign hard to gain press attention. However if you can get the right presentation on there, maybe some killer screenshots, a demo if possible or hell even a quick trailer so the page has a compelling video that sells the game (a video is a must) then you're definitely in with a shot. Games do well on Kickstarter in general and there's a proven niche of willing supporters that would be ready to help a project like yours particularly a retro throwback game like The Chaos Layer. Games like yours are notable for being popular and successful on there.

You could probably push the "precious gem of a long lost game for the Sega Megadrive" angle too and push the 16-bit roots of the game hard. That'd work in your favour. However the legal implications need to considered. I'm not entirely certain on the legal barrier here but you could evade the issue entirely if you can port The Chaos Layer in to a standalone PC game that could be released on Steam. Pier Solar did this. The game started out as a Megadrive release and then the team was clever and only started a funding drive when they ported the game to other platforms as Pier Solar HD and that resulted in a successful Kickstarter campaign (200K in donations I believe).

My advice? If you can port the game to Steam go with Kickstarter. If not it'd have to be Patreon. Hope this helps.

#8 User is offline MarkeyJester 

Posted 10 November 2015 - 12:30 PM

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I would like to go on record and state, I am not an idiot. I don't plan on just outright quitting my job, and running in blindly to a patreon thinking it'd support me right away... C'mon, what do some of you take me for? I NEVER get my hopes up too high in finance, it's also the reason why a thread has been made (with a poll, nevertheless) to gain some more information on this.

360: So Patreon is a bit more advertisement involved? Go figures... As for portation to other platforms (idealy PC), it'd probably have a bit more emphasis towards to port (graphics/audio/etc), and the Mega Drive aspect would probably be dropped, but it is something I've considered. I'll have to thoroughly think this in, though I think you're right.

#9 User is offline Trunks 

Posted 10 November 2015 - 12:36 PM

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Patreon's the wrong avenue for this. You need to either do a kickstarter or an indie gogo. Patreon's for more regularly produced content, not game development. I'd back this project, but I wouldn't be a patreon supporter.

#10 User is offline Strife 

Posted 10 November 2015 - 12:54 PM

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I voted Yes, but I'd like to note that I'm part of the Kickstarter/Indiegogo camp. I feel it's much more likely to be successful on there since it's a single game you're seeking to create, whereas Patreon is geared towards people who regularly produce content (artists, LPers, etc).

Regardless, best of luck! I'm signal boosting it the moment I see it up.

#11 User is offline Linaru 

Posted 24 November 2015 - 03:12 AM

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I would definitely agree that it is more a kick-starter project than a patreon.
Patreon only really works for ongoing projects that receive regular updates and more content.

#12 User is offline Ravenfreak 

Posted 24 November 2015 - 03:05 PM

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I also think it belongs more on Kickstarter than Patreon. But the answer would definitely be yes. If Pier Solar can be released on the Genesis, then I see no reason why The Chaos Layer can't be finished and released for the Genesis as well. I'd back your project up in a heart beat. ;)

#13 User is offline 360 

Posted 24 November 2015 - 03:26 PM

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Yeah I'd say the overwhelming consensus here is to go with Kickstarter. If Freedom Planet can succeed then so can The Chaos Layer. Good luck man.

#14 User is offline synchronizer 

Posted 24 November 2015 - 05:22 PM

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I kind of prefer the game you were making with the Markey Jester character. You demonstrated some interested hallway distortion effects and presented some neat gameplay.

Why not incorporate the best working concepts from all of your demos into one Markey Jester game?

#15 User is offline shilz 

Posted 25 November 2015 - 12:19 AM

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Synchronizer's idea might be good for a sort of “sampler”. small doses of what you might be interested in producing while charging just a bit (like $2/3?) and seeing what people might be interested in getting. That way you can see what you agree on the most, while also showing that these people might be able to invest in it.
I know this might be a sort of “Go straight to Steam” approach but it's probably the best idea to come from me.
As for if you should start a crowd funding idea I chose Depends. I'd rather you decide on a solid concept before you take anyone's money (although I think that contradicts what I suggested, but, eh?).

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