It may seem odd that our first major update for Dino Run is over 2 weeks after the initial launch. In a typical crowdfunding campaign this would probably mean one of two things: either we exceeded our goal by 1000% and are currently experiencing “overwhelming success panic”, or we raised so little that we’ve already given up.
Fortunately for us, neither of these scenarios are the case. We’re hovering around $7,500, which is halfway to our second milestone and still very far away from our final goal. Are we concerned that we’re only 15% of the way there? Not at all… if we can keep delivering content at about the same rate that we can raise money to fund that content, that’s a very ideal situation.
A different way to describe what we’re doing is slow burn crowdfunding. Since we’re not rushed to make a certain goal by a certain time, this allows us more time to promote the game, the campaign, and the platform in general. One big bummer about the failed Dino Run 2 campaign was that we had lots of great insights on how to promote it…. after it was all over. Now we get to implement every idea we have, and we aren’t rushed to get them done before time runs out.
Another advantage of taking things slow is that there is room to experiment, fail, pivot, and in general just find the best way forward. Dino Run 2 felt like we were constantly loading the cannons with whatever we could find and shooting them randomly into space, hoping to hit something. It was all about the DREAM and not the REALITY… not exactly the best plan for success. Real success in reality usually comes with keen observation, iteration, refinement and reflection. Those things cannot be rushed.
Speaking of reflection, here are some insights we’ve had at the 2 week mark:
– We should have padded the estimate for the initial milestone delivery a bit more. The first few weeks of the campaign required more emphasis on spreading the word and getting the initial version of DX out the door than we we initially estimated.
– The “Street Team” is incredibly powerful and needs more attention. We have about 700 people who are willing to help us promote the game and right now the only interaction we’ve had with them is occasional emails that say “Please Retweet This!” or “Tell Your Friends!”. There is some obvious under-utilization going on here, but once again the nice thing about the slow burn is that we have time to fully explore the possibilities of such a thing.
– Our crowdfunding platform is pretty great, but could be a lot better. We have to manually manage the street team and higher reward tiers using spreadsheets and google forms when it could easily be automated and managed internally. Our dashboard is about as bare-bones as you can imagine, and could use a healthy dose of structure and style. We’ve been taking a lot of notes on how to evolve it and have an enormous “phase 2” task list that will prepare the platform for others to use it. (Perhaps we should make that task list it’s own roadmap and make it public!)
– Dino Run is the type of game that people enjoy experiencing together, and we should keep this in mind when promoting the campaign. Our marketing efforts so far have been the equivalent of shouting “Look At This!” over and over… we should be doing hangouts with other players in the chatroom, organizing fan art contests, running tournaments and engaging with fans at every opportunity. We tend to be the type of developers who keep their head down for weeks and then suddenly jump up with something to say, only to put their head down again for a month. That’s not going to work for this campaign. We need to be engaging with the community and developing the game at the same time.
So, what’s next?
Obviously the top priority is getting milestone #1 completed and in the hands of the people that funded it. By then we will probably be pretty close to having milestone #2 funded, but if it’s not we’ll at least have enough money to get started on it. Another priority is getting creative with our marketing efforts and finding new ways to reach all the older fans of the game. It’s been played about 100 million times and only a *tiny* fraction of those people have visited our campaign page…. we’ve got our work cut out for us for sure.
As we stated before though, we’ve got time to do it right. We don’t have to figure everything out inside a 30 day stego stampede. We can slowly sharpen our spears around the bonfire, get a good night’s sleep and climb the peak the next day to plot out the best strategy for survival and success.