Founder of horror game GRAVE – how to get fully funded on Kickstarter

Ghastly creatures and apocalyptic wastelands will now come fully to life after the successful Kickstarter campaign from Grave–an innovative, open-world horror game.
Developed by local gaming company Broken Window Studios, the project ended in April with 1,111 backers raising $37,662 of their $30,000 goal. Tristan Moore, Co-founder of Broken Window Studios and designer of Grave, shared his experience on the success of his campaign.
Have a demo for people to experience, even if its small. “We built a limited demo of the game but showed people the possibilities in the gameplay experience and showed that we were credible developers with a solid, original idea,” he said.
“When Kickstarting a game, you can’t always present it in a fully finished or ideal state. [However,] you have to highlight as much as possible.”
Market the game to the press and public. “The important part for us was making sure that we had a good story to tell to everyone-and getting accepted into ID@Xbox early in the [campaign] really gave us something to talk about.”
For the press Moore said they contacted anyone who either wrote or posted about gaming, horror, or anything that could relate to Grave through YouTube, Twitter or email.
“I had to get used to the idea of setting up unsolicited contact with people,” but glad he did it, he said. “I figured out how to write clear, concise requests and it ended up paying off.”
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Don’t be too eager; know when the game is ready. “Some games aren’t going to be good candidates for Kickstarter, and some ideas haven’t been flushed out enough yet for them to work in crowdfunding,” Moore said. “You have to decide how to prioritize based on the intended audience, whether you should focus on the video, trailers, game demo, or concept art. A lot of times, this is dictated by your own limitations.”
Provide consistent content for backers, but don’t be annoying. Once the campaign is a go, ”it’s basically your full time job for a month. Every single day, you need to have things ready to post, features to release, or contact emails to send out. The more you can get done in advance, the better.”
GRAVE screenshot1
Don’t give up, get creative. “We aren’t a known team and lack of name recognition can have a serious impact on the success or failure of a Kickstarter project. At one point, we were about $10,000 short with a little over a week to go.”
However, with plenty of last minute correspondence to YouTube gamers, Moore said the project managed to get a number of prominent people to play it all at about the same time.
“If we hadn’t have done that, I don’t know that we would have made our funding,” he said.
Read: Hypoxic founder shares secrets to Kickstarter success
Engage your community. Moore mentioned specifically the nature of game development in Arizona and that it’s relatively an underground community compared to LA or Austin.
“There’s a lot of people I know who do awesome work on games and make a good living in Arizona, but I think Kickstarter can be hard to judge and a little off-putting to a smaller community,” he said. “Because Kickstarter requires a lot of outreach and press attention, it can be hard to do without a strong community of support.”
Read: Grave was recently noted as an emerging startup in our USA Today Coverage with Jefferson Graham.
Read more about emerging startups in Arizona from AZTB.
Graphics courtesy of GRAVE