Crowd Funding Midnight

If Lords of Midnight was funded using some form of crowd funding, what would you want from it?

What would be your enticement to donate some cash to the project and what would you expect to see in return?

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36 Replies to “Crowd Funding Midnight”

  1. The bare minimum: release for PC and Android. Not everyone likes the pretty golden cages Apple makes.

    Intriguing: Indie developers are nowadays the front line of innovation and risk taking. It would be intriguing if the game would explore paths little walked before (while keeping the core gameplay). At least, it would be nice that the final product would feel like “new”, not just a port from a 1984 game with updated UI.

    Extras: Divided in several Tiers, the more you donate, the more you get. The first tier would be the game. Second tier, maybe a cloth map of Midnight. Third tier, the printed novella. Etc.

  2. I think a copy of the game is a must!
    Also if you are commissioning some art a print of the art could be an option.
    Again if you are adding music – the mp3 files.

    Perhaps at the top level you could offer lunch with you and Mike!!

  3. I’d just want a copy of the game at a reasonable price.

  4. Check out the game Xenonauts and its Kickstarter funding. I think it constitutes a great example to gather some funding, with tiers as some other guy said before. You might try something like it, but you would also have to publicize it in some magazines if you wish to get some recognition.

  5. We’ve already been approached by funding people, so everything would be fully marketed and publicised.

    I’m more interested in what the incentives are… looking at a number of projects that are going through the process, it seems to me that a large chunk of the money being raised, will pay for the incentives.

    For example, on Xenonauts, if you pledge $5000 then someone will fly out and take you for lunch… well that’s probably $5000 gone!

    On a smaller level. If we created a nice printed Novella, how many would we need to produce to get a good cost of goods? Digital ebook makes sense, but why wouldn’t I include that in the game anyway… I could do a nice limited edition hardback version… but to create them in runs of less than x might mean a $25 per unit printing cost…

  6. I just want the game for iPad without crowdfunding.

  7. When it comes to new lands, or even Icemark ones, a contribution could be rewarded with a place-name. E.g. The Gates of Tigon, The Red Lantern Fountain, The Azrapse Stones, etc. You could possibly scale it too, more of a donation buys a bigger landmark. I don’t think it would work in Midnight very well but for DDR and EotM it may well prove very simple.

  8. The game obviously and complete, on PC and Android (as already mentioned, not all of us like iThisAndThat). The additions could be the artwork or novel – but as you have said, the novel sort of forms a part of the game, and anyway, those of us ‘in the know’ which is probably still the main target area, already have the novella several times over…. unless it is done from scratch this time.

    I think the game also has to offer something more than already available in the likes of TME and WotS, else it’s just another version of the same thing again. At present, I’m not 100% convinced it does that… correct me if I’m wrong please.

    1. Kevin, I think you are going to be sorely disappointed. The game is Lords of Midnight. It looks like LOM, and it will play like LOM. It has a few new features to update it, some make the UI easier, some make the AI harder, but essentially, it’s the same game.

  9. Okay. You make a point with the costs of incentives taking basically most of the money.
    Then, instead of physical stuff, it could be immaterial privileges.
    As Tigon suggested, it could be ingame names, but also premium services such as:
    – With the base tier, you can play the solo game or join someone else’s game.
    – With the next tier, cheap one, whenever you play online, your Lord will have some special title attached to his name, to be chosen by the player (except profanity).
    – With the next tier, you gain a Lord slot on the online server that you can use to customize the looks of your Lord when you join online games. Also your Lord gains some XP with every game it participates on, that you can use to improve/change his stats, buy better starting mount, buy additional starting troops, special starting gear or companions, or even special traits (good at hiding, recovers energy while in forests, can fly once per game, restricted races, etc).
    – With next tier, the area your Lord starts at in every online game is renamed to be “Azrapse’s Domain”, or some other text template to choose. You will be able to spend online XP on adding additional town, cave, liths, ruins or forts to it, that will be randomly placed inside the area when the game starts.
    – With next tier, the main menu screen will show an autograph by Mike Singleton and Chris Wild, with a small short personal text. Something like “The Wise of Icemark offer guidance to Lord Azrapse: ‘May your hatred for Apple doesn’t blind you!'”, or any other funny text customized to the player. Also, the name of the player will appear golden instead of white for everyone online.
    – With next tier, as long as the cost is way lower than the amount donated, the player gets a printed copy of the novella, autographed by Mike Singleton, with the never released before extra chapter where it is told how Luxor came to be Moonprince and the rise of Doomdark into power!

    Except these last two, previous tiers could be later purchased from the market (AppStore, Google Play, LOM webpage) as additional content, when the game is released, maybe more expensive that it would cost if got by crowdfunding.

  10. Hi Chris, I have spoken to a friend who is a small publisher about this. He advises for 100 copies it would cost around £400 plus your postage costs or sending them out. This is for a high quality hardback novella.


    1. Yes, so that puts you into the realm of… eBook when you donate say £5. Paperback Novella ( like the original ) when you donate £10. And Hardback when you donate £20+. And maybe a super special edition hardback for £100 plus.

  11. Are you thinking of extending or rewriting the novella? That would possibly give an extra incentive to those that have the original? Also the hardback should have a signed author page and numbered limited edition to make it that bit special.
    I am a big fan and would go for this , but not sure about £100…

    1. No real plans. And please don’t take the above as gospel, I was merely thinking the process through with examples. You’d want more goodies than just a book for £100 🙂 Which in turn hilights the issue. I wonder what the value to donation rate actually is. eg. You only really keep 50% of every donation because the other 50% is the cost of goodies required.

  12. Even if the rate would be 10% for you, 90% for goodies, it still benefits you.
    You get them to donate more, even if of that donation you only get part, that part is more than zero.
    It’s like saying: “Donate extra 550€, and you will get this 500€ bill signed by Mike Singleton.” It would still benefit you. 😀

  13. I definitely agree with you, Azrapse. It doesn’t sound too good to say what you are implying, Chris. Definitely, I think that going and having lunch to any place in the world where a 5.000$ donator is constitutes the least one could do for such a contribution. And hey, I definitely think that going to Zimbabwe, taking the guy to England, spending a weekd with thim showing off the game and then sending him back to Zimbabwe is definitely NOT worth 5000$. Perhaps 1500 $ or 2000$, which meant you had just earned 3000 $ and made a (rich) person happy, if such person is willing to pay that amount for the pleasure of knowing you and Mike. That is, Chris, it’s neither fair nor wise to consider all donations as 100% profit. If someone gave me 2000 $ and in exchange he wanted an authographed T-shirt sewn with golden threads, and the cost of manufacture was 1500$, I would not dare to complain that I lost 1500$. I just earned 500$.

    It’s just my opinion. If you want people to fund you, you will have to comply with their wishes, and some of them might cost you money. As long as you profit and the customer gets happy, where’s the problem?

    1. Not quite sure what you are implying that I’m implying. I just have concern that if someone donates some money to me to make a game, that I use the majority of that money to actually make the game.

  14. I’ll explain. What I am saying, and what Azrapse seems to be saying, is that one thing is a donation, which might be entirely rewardless, and crowdfunding, where the donator must expect something in return. Some might go for something ethereal, such as watching his “localized” name as a new lord’s name, or it might be a goodie, such as T-Shirt with the WatchWords of Midnight and a cute design. One might mean 100% of the funds go to making the game, the other might mean only 30% of the funds go to making the money and 70% to paying for the goodie.. but you should contemplate and try both, and both are equally interesting. First, because you would attract more people, and second, because even spending 95 % to get 100$ is worth it, because otherwise you would have zero. I think both people exist… guys who will go for unmaterial cost-free things, and guys who willl go for goodies. If you are concerned that a 200$ tier plenty with goodies might leave you less profit than a 100$ goodie-free tier, well, there are several solutions for this; either contemplate the reward tiers carefully or make then accumulative (if you donate 100$ you get THE t-shirt, AND the printed novella, AND the game, AND YOUR name as a location in Midnight, whereas the 50$ tier only gets you the t-shirt and the game and a location in Midnight.

    About other things, perhaps this is not the same topic, but I wonder that, if you have thought of raising some crowdfunding, what new features would the game present to make potential donators contribute. As far as I know, we DO have Lords of Midnight for PC, for Java, for Linux, for GameBoy, etc.

    I think that if you want people to pay for something that is free as we speak, you should offer or hint some new features, and not basically the same game. Come on, I am a fan, but I would not pay to be able to play in my iPhone for the same game that works fine in my PC. If we are speaking about new lords, new strategies, new maps, new features, new content, new possibilities, new mods.. that would be a different thing altogether…

    And come on, I am sure that must be why Mike Singleton must be along the ride. Making him join just to make a conversion for iPhone seems kind of… unambitious, don’t you think?

    I’d love to hear your views in these prospects.. I think they are reasonable. And I’d love to play LOM in a different map, for instance. And if there were a bunch of maps, or the user could make their own and the AI adapted to them all, well, that would go a long way for merchantability.


    1. Firstly we must clear up the use of the word “profit”. Crowd funding does not generate profit it helps pay costs. Profit can only come from selling the game or from selling stuff in the game.
      I would like the game to have a number of animated sequences to essentially tell the story that was in the original novella. Now, I can’t do that, nor can I find someone who will do that in their free time for no cost, (like how I am developing the game).
      So I need to pay someone to do the work. Now let’s place an arbitrary cost for the animation of €10,000. I either fund that myself, would love to but can’t, find an investor in the project, or crowd funding helps pay. I would rather 10,000 people fund €1 each and get the game free which means their whole €1 goes to the game rather than 4 people fund €3,500 each and I have to use €4,000 to pay for whatever enticement justified their donation.
      However, if someone invested €10,000 on the belief that they would make their 10k bag plus profit from game sales, the that’s a separate issue, which is ultimately traditional game funding.

  15. Unlike Ignacio, I would actually pay for a remake of LOM if there is effort put in remaking it, as I think it’s the case. It’s a bit like the Monkey Island Special Edition, that is basically the same game just with better graphics and voice-overs. It’s worth the money even if it only pays for the new artwork and multiplayer.

    For a straight port? Only if there are promises of further development later. I have purchased several games in that are still at alpha stage just because the promises of what it could become. Some of them have been dropped down, but will keep supporting little developers with good ideas again and again.

    If we are talking here about going to Kickstarter, seeing what has happened with projects way more ambitious than this one (like Storybricks), I fear it would be a failure.
    Crowdfounding in that site works mainly when either the project is a totally awesome and revolutionary idea, or when there are big holy cows behind. As much as I admire Mr. Singleton or you, Chris, I hope I’m not breaking any dream here by saying that you are not holy cows (yet 🙂 ).

    If you describe your project in Kickstarter like “A straight port from a 1980’s Spectrum game to mobile platform, with touch interface.”, well… Unless the target amount is really low, I don’t see you raising tens of thousands.
    In fact, it’s something we have been able to have for long time ago on the Android Market (not sure on other platforms), until Mr. Singleton asked Richard Quirk, the developer of the two ports (War of the Solstice, and Sareth’s Revenge), to take them away from the Market when you started talking about this project.

    I don’t mean to be harsh or discouraging. But after reading the blog of the main guy of Storybricks after failing their Kickstart [], complaining about how many people come to explain their failure, and how few came before the kickstart attempt to give them useful advice for succeeding, I rather call for a rethink of how high you are aiming in terms of game features, than run into the bucket of ice water that is a failed crowdfunding, and ruining your motivation with the whole project.

    Regarding the subject of the goodies taking good amount of the donation or not, I think that, in the end, crowdfunding is not that different than fundraising from traditional investors, in the sense of that in both cases the “money givers” want something in exchange. It’s not like giving money for the Red Cross.
    If a gamer gives you money for a game project, he does it because he wants to play that game concept that can’t be found elsewhere. That’s what he get in exchange for his money. The possibility of something impossible from the big companies, that would never fund a risky project because of the uncertain profits.
    If you want people to give you even more money than the price tag of a game, then it will be in exchange of even more.
    Your project isn’t a charity. Once you have it complete, all the profits will be for you. The difference here is that a traditional investor will take a chunk of those benefits after you get the game done, and a crowdfunding investor will get them as soon as the money raising succeeds, in the form of goodies.

    1. I hope my previous post in reply to Ignacio clarifies some issues, but let me continue. Firstly, the whole concept of crowd funding is not a certainty, indeed I was first approached about funding the game through kickstarter over 12 months ago and I resisted. I’ve more recently been approached by a couple of other crowd sourcing providers and that prompted the blog post.
      I ran a game dev company for 10 years and I know how traditional funding works be it independently funding yourself, using publishers, or taking on investment.
      Both mike and I see this project as a way of bringing the game back to a new market and the smartphone and tablet market is a perfect fit. There is also the promise of future projects, and finally seeing eye of the moon developed, and completing the “trilogy” correctly, is appealing.
      Bringing an old game to new platforms raises its own set of issues. Not always ones that two guys working in their spare time can solve quickly or indeed at all. Right now if I had a guaranteed artist working within the same framework as me and mike, I would be unlikely to think about funding. If I had an animator too, then I definitely wouldn’t.
      I’m also very aware that we are not a big draw and would not command the kind of big donations we’ve talked about, but my issue are actually in the smaller area. I would be uncomfortable with donations bigger than €5, so what can you offer someone to donate to a game that probably will only sell for say €2 or maybe indeed become freemium?! I doubt there are enough fans out their who could cover the costs by just donating the price of the game alone. Thus you spiral into the issue of bigger donations but then bigger incentives.

  16. Well I have been paying LOM on the iPad and it is much more than a straight conversion of the spectrum original. Considering the time it is taking Chris to do this, and the enjoyment I have had out of the PC version as well as this new edition I will happily pay for it. Also if you read through the Blog you will see plans for DDR and EoTM, which I think is one of the main reasons Mike is involved.

  17. I would happily donate €50 to help fund this game, Midnight is so close to my heart, I almost feel I owe it to Mike any way for all those hours of pleasure he gave me. We now just need 199 like minded individuals. Ultimately I want to play EOTM as I so longed for all those years ago, therefore LOM needs to be as good as it can be. Come on everyone let’s all climb aboard and enjoy the ride!

  18. I’m in agreement with Andy. I’ve played LOM and DDR for many an hour and I must say, the prospect of them being upgraded and playable on a tablet, and also the bonus of EOTM being developed some time in the future, I would also happily make a donation. There, that’s two of us!

  19. I agree. I haven’t played them since they came out originally but I’ve been following the developments recently with great anticipation. I’d be willing to make a donation.

  20. I was one of the initial people recommending Kickstarter to Chris so it goes without saying that I’d back it financially. I’m really not interested in any version for Apple products though as I don’t buy any of their products so would be looking for it to be released across other platforms (eg, PC) for me to throw money down.

    I’d also be willing to back an EotM game separately as well.

  21. Most videogame kickstarter projects I’ve seen seem to offer back-stage access during the development and beta-testing of the game. Something that would be ideal for EotM, but not well-know projects like LOM and DDR.

    Plus those other games seem to be commanding a much higher retail price, so the minimum pledge is much higher than Chris plans on asking, which allows them to add nice goodies to the mix. Even then, I don’t think anyone would consider the goodies to be anything like value for money.

    I don’t know how the App store works but I wonder if there are some non-essential goodies you could make in-app purchasable. I’m not talking about making the game unplayable, or cutting out essential features like the map but more aesthetic things like maybe a user-defined shield logo should you get the multiplayer feature implemented. Or maybe you open up ‘classic’ mode, with the original art and interface (possibly a true emulation?). If you expect to add features after release, maybe you allow these to be unlocked in advance for those in the know with a normal development release update, unlocking it for everyone with a later release.

    Something that is cool to have but not really a part of the game, nor limits you if you don’t have it. Nor does any player who doesn’t have it feel cheated that they were sold a cut-down version of the game. By making in an in-app purchase (sorry, just dealing with ios here) you can always price these things pretty high. Anyone pledging more than the base retail price you simply give an unlock code so they get these for ‘free’ (at least cheaper than if they upgraded afterwards. Depending on how much they pledge, the more is unlocked.

    But as far as the game goes, there is only one version (per sku) to support, I’m not talking different builds for different people. That way most of the money collected does indeed find it’s way into the development of the game, rather than paying out for goodies.

    Just a thought.

  22. Chris

    I would happily make a donation for this but it’s not to the extent to make things a cm closer to being viable for you- £30 or so! I’m not interested in perks for it, i would just want to do it as a donation in appreciation of all your time and effort. I would contribute further still for EOTM, I’ve been waiting for this ever since I read an article in a certain micro computer gaming magazine I used to get when i was a kid that interviewed Mike and told you all about it (circa 1986 I think!) Also, have you considered using HE internships/support? I bet they’re all clammering for projects to do in iOS development for graduates/post-graduates. For example I know here in Nottingham, Trent Uni have an innovative games dept, which also hosts GameCity- a big draw for retro gaming too each year. This probably complicates things but then again may open doors and is worth a thought and enough for me to come out of my lurking for once in the last 20 years or so! regards David

  23. Oops, I must remember to check back when I leave comments on these things cos the author may actually reply!

    You could be right regards my possible disappointment Chris. Glad that you are ‘tidying up some bits’ but from my own perspective it does sound like another copy of the same game, and from a PC users perspective I already have the excellent WotS and TME versions. However, given that you are really doing this for the iOS crowd then it achieves it’s goal I guess.

    I find the more exciting part that you have now got Mike back to LoM with t he prospect of Eye of the Moon. So the true end result is not then a disappointment.

    1. I’m not really “doing this for the iOS crowd”. I’m doing this to give the game a new lease of life. It just so happens that iOS is what makes this possible, as there is a viable audience there and I like to develop for those machines. It also helped bring Mike fully on board. I don’t like Android and have no interest in developing for it, but I will, because I can. I just can’t do all it all at the same time. In the same way I do intend to release a Mac and Windows desktop version, but only after the iOS and Android releases. Again, the reason for that is there will need to be some interface changes, and I can’t do those at the same time. The game already runs on all those devices thanks to the Marmalade system, I just can’t let platform specific versions get in the way of the target platform, because if I do, nothing will get released.

  24. I guess I could have put that better! What I meant was pretty much what you’ve said actually, in that you can develop it easier for iOS and as you say, there is a potential new market there. Obviously people like myself have been around a while(!), and have good PC versions. With devices like iPad and iPhone it is more likely to find a whole generation that have not come across it before. Like I said, the benefit from the older/longer running fans point of view is the longer term future prospects and projects… so don’t stop!!

  25. My view is really a composite of a number of posts from above.

    The PC versions currently in existence are all I really need for LOM. I’m certainly curious (very curious even) about how the iOS version looks etc and there is every chance that it will surpass the PC versions. So for just that, any donation I’d make would be relatively small (and I’d probably rather just wait and pay for the game once it comes out).

    However, for me, the real interest in the project is where it might go.

    To have DDR updated to (at the very least) the standard of LOM on TME (etc) would be a much more exciting development. I’d definitely consider a small contribution in advance for that (with no expectation of a return other than the game being completed – to your usual high standards – and perhaps a free copy).

    And for EoTM – well, obviously that is the holy grail. For that to be done in the way that both you and Mike have outlined is where I think you’d most attract crowdfunding from fans.

    As always, all the best with it!

  26. Re: Printed novel
    You don’t really have to worry about bulk printing these days. The price of paper is as high as ever but laser printing techniques have come on leaps and bounds in terms of turnaround. You’d only need to print as many copies as people pledge money for. I’d estimate less than $10 for a 200-page paperback novel, dropping to $7 for 300 of them – that’s cover price, not cost. The real kicker is the postage, which can easily equal your print costs.

    Re: Crazy $5000 studio tours, etc
    Given that LoM is a UK game and many fans are UK-based, why not some kind of meet-up rather a lavish tour/dinner? A cheap and cheerful pint with the devs (“The Lagers of Midnight” just popped into my head). That’s the sort of thing many of can afford and I’m sure would love to contribute to. Of course there is the perennial disappointment of meeting your heroes, but I’m sure you guys aren’t as bad as you’re obliged to be 😉

  27. Just my 2-cents on the original question ….
    I would like to suggest offering a “limited-edition” engraved Lords of Midnight medal for donations over 20-pounds.

    I was once given an engraved watch for beta testing software for a large company once and now that watch is priceless to me.

    So offering an engraved LOM medal for belonging to the ‘Army of the Fee’, with some kind of cool LOM quote engraved on the back – plus an individual number might entice the LOM geeks to see value in supporting this project?

    The pros would be … Limited edition themed product that values over time, Small postage fees, low production costs (?)….
    The Cons would be .. Time or money to buy them from a trophy store with the engraving.

    You could possibly make it yourself if you have a bit of crafty skills behind you?

    Thats my 2-cent idea. 🙂

  28. I would happily donate, but the incentive would be I think in the IOS game have a Lord named after whoever donated permanently if the right fee could be agreed for such an agreement.

  29. I’d happily donate. A Lord named after me, a small domain near Shimeril would be good too.

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