As you know we are not just making a game, we are making a game with a huge innovation – procedural story generation. Why is that such a huge innovation? One might argue there are short story contests in Japan where you can submit short stories written by AI using machine learning techniques and there have been approaches also in board games to make “procedural” stories. The point is that we want to go beyond a simple grammar or puzzle like story generator where everything is fixed and just a few names or tasks are exchange. We want to go beyond the “collect 10 herbs”, “kill 10 boars”, etc. On the other hand, an AI algorithm that just learns stories and produces new ones from the learned material is not really bound to a physical world. However, in the game we also need the elements in the story to be present as game assets. Hence, we have more restrictions than the short story approaches.
To achieve this goal, we have applied for a fund for 1 year that supports companies, which go further and strive to integrate innovations into products. We were granted that fund because the committee believed in the possibility and our skills and motivation to finish it.
Now to put it a bit simpler let’s compare our game making project to making a pizza.
This year’s fund was meant to create the basics, which would be the dough of the pizza. Unfortunately, our goal is pretty big, and we didn’t have enough time to completely flesh out the story generator and the game mechanics. So, we need more time. Therefore, we applied for another fund, with which we planned to finish the dough and then use Kickstarter to put on tomato sauce, Salami and all the other awesome things you put on a pizza. And then we wanted to release the game on Steam as early Access and use that time and money to put cheese on the pizza and bake it, so it would be delicious and awesome when it was to be finally released…just like this pizza here
Now this second fund committee didn’t believe in our idea – even though we have a technical demo and examples how the result will look like (see our Story Generation Video). Now if we would go for Kickstarter only with the goals, we had in mind then we could only finish the dough. Then we would need to put the game on Steam as Early Access and people would complain that it is not good enough, hence, not giving us the time and money to put on the topping and cheese and bake it properly. However, we would have made a promise to you guys who would have supported us on Kickstarter that we would release the game. Thus, putting us under a lot of pressure to finish the game anyway, even though we don’t have enough time and money – making our lives pretty hard. And leading to a result like in the picture below… nice dough, but not a pizza yet.
Now one might say: “Just increase the Kickstarter goal mate.” Yes, that might seem right… If you don’t consider the German tax system… If you get funds on Kickstarter, then everyone loses around 30% of the funds to taxes and fees. Now that would still be kind of okay. However, in our current situation we would lose at least another 30% to taxes. A lot of money at once is simply speaking not good in our current situation. Germany simply takes too much pleasure in cutting your wins.
So – we need a more flexible funding version. Therefore, we decided to use Patreon. This way you will get more flexible ways to give money (once a month, once per update or just once without any long-term commitment). So now you want to go directly to Patreon and give us money – we know. But we still have to figure out our pledges, goals and giveaways, since we must change them a bit from Kickstarter.
Just safe your money a bit longer for us. In the next few weeks we will put out our Patreon campaign. Providing our supporters with a lot of extra information and game updates. Stay tuned. This project is definitely not done yet!