Today I finished everything for the coming update. What's missing is writing a couple of texts (item descriptions etc.), balancing (object health, drop rates, furniture costs etc.) and a bit of playtesting. This will require a couple of days from what I know. By the way, the hawker has finally a balloon! But...
...I wanted to use this post to talk about the future of Orcish Inn and this Patreon campaign. Having a game's pre-alpha available for free and a Patreon campaign alongside doesn't work out. I really hoped it would, but it seems that's not how it works. I just can't afford to continue on Orcish Inn full-time anymore, which is a shame. You and all the people who pledged money over the last months or even from the very beginning helped me so much, it's incredible! I feel very honored and I'm really very thankful for that.
The problem is, I don't think I can finish Orcish Inn on weekends besides a full-time job in any reasonable amount of time, especially not in the way I would love to do. If I want to continue full-time, the game needs to be funded. Here are common ways and my opinions about them:
1) Kickstarter (or similar): I don't have the manpower, experience, skills and especially the reach to perform a successful Kickstarter campaign. Especially because it's so hard to estimate any realistic amount of time or money which I require to make Orcish Inn not just a good game, but a very good one. I'm also not totally sold on the idea of Kickstarter at all.
2) Early Access (itch.io
refinery or similar): Early Access always looked strange to me. You basically buy a game in the hope it gets finished in some future. There are so many terrifying stories out there, from game developers I genuinely believe have a good heart but fucked up. I'm a solo developer... there are so many things which can make Orcish Inn's development halt, even with something trivial as a sickness. Furthermore, Early Access doesn't seem to be a good idea from a financial standpoint, as a game seems to have one release only and a game developer has to decide between an early, weak release (Early Access) or a late, strong release (final version). Besides that, fellow indie devs advised against using Early Access for funding (if you are a game developer who is going or went through Early Access, I'm curious about your opinion!). It also seems that mostly games which are very far progressed perform well during Early Access, which I don't think would work for Orcish Inn.
3) Pre-Order: I may tread on someone's foot, but selling something to customers who have no idea what the final product is, just looks dubious and ridiculous to me.
4) Publisher: there are nice publishers out there and while I fear to give away creative freedom and control on how the game is distributed and sold, working with a publisher is on my list of available options if nothing else works out. For the very rare case that you are working for a publisher, feel free to get in touch!
5) Mandatory Patreon: the basic idea is, that if you want to play the newest version of Orcish Inn, you have to subscribe to this Patreon campaign here for at least 1$ a month to get access to new updates. As money is only charged at a month's beginning, you are free to unsubscribe beforehand, for example because Orcish Inn didn't ran on your machine or you think your experience wasn't worth the money. It's fair and transparent for everyone. A problem could be, that people don't like to register on Patreon or can't use the offered payment methods.
Working full-time is f****** expensive (the health insurance alone is making me crazy). I calculated costs a couple of times and thought about 1500$/month could be enough for a tough living (and for a start), given actual living costs, taxes, insurances and Orcish Inn related expenses.
For now, I would like to try 5) (mandatory subscription) for the coming month and if it doesn't result in any notable increase, I will consider 4) (publisher). I probably also try to make a smaller game alongside Orcish Inn again, in the hope it works out this time. Nothing is set in stone, perhaps I or someone else come up with a better idea?
It would be absolutely
nice if you tell me what you think of all of this by sharing your honest
opinion in the comments or via mail ([email protected]
, if you are shy). I really don't want to do something which leaves you with a bad aftertaste, so don't panic, no decisions were made, except the one that something has to change.