Official Alteil Horizons Kickstarter Launch
Written by Logress   
Thursday, 05 September 2013 13:52

It’s official!
Okay, I know we’ve had about ten unofficial Kickstarter announcements for Alteil Horizons, but here is the official one.

Before I get to my usual word-hurling, let’s get the good stuff out in the open before the jump:

Whew! Okay, now let’s get started with the overview.  First of all, Alteil Horizons is going to be a sequel, but your accounts will translate over, as will your cards, and the core gameplay will be the same (although with the new engine we’ll have a lot more freedom for future mechanics and features). In fact the main reason it’s going to be a sequel and not just a revamp is that, well – we really are changing A LOT as you’ll see below, especially in ways that makes it easy to pick up and play as a new game for a new user, and by making a sequel with a big PR campaign, we’re a lot more likely to get a ton more users. Think of it this way, if you saw an ad for a game you never played that said “Improved graphics” you probably wouldn’t care, but if you saw an ad for a big sequel to a game you never played, you might give it a chance. After all, not having played the first game doesn’t generally kill your interest in its sequels, because they stand on their own. And, we’re putting in a lot of effort to make sure jumping in around Horizons launch will be just as easy as jumping in when Alteil 1 launched back in the days when dinosaurs (or Earth Dragons) roamed the earth.

To make all this happen, here is what we’ve got:
-          New front end graphics engine in HTML5, solves the issue of Alteil looking like it was made in the early 2000’s. Since it’s HTML5, it’s super easy to swap out animations and graphics whenever, so as time progresses we can keep things looking slick. Not quite as easy/fancy to make particle/light effects as Unity, but pretty close, a lot more upgradable, a lot faster to run, and we get to maintain the No Download Required.
-          New Card File editor gives us control over things like Core Sets (see below) and underdog and all that.
-          Horizons Core Set, allows us to keep an optimal number of cards in the new user environment (and beyond) to make collecting possible, and game balance scalable no matter how many cards get added over time.
-          New card distribution from treasure battles and the shop to make collecting the Horizons Core set and recent sets possible
-          New and more tutorials “in-game”. The new battle engine is a snap to modify, and building Tutorials using it will be quick and easy. There will be plenty of fun single-player tutorial content covering the basics, and if new users are complaining that a certain strategy of the game is hard to learn, we can churn out specific tutorial material in a few weeks.
-          New ways to play – one of the big ways to make a game with a huge card pool keep all those cards in use is to have different gametypes. For example, in Magic there are not only certain cards usable in certain formats, but also there are cards good in draft. We can also add things like team play (stretch goal) and Community tournament tools (like an actual system built into the game) that will increase the variety of useful cards.
-          Economy reboot – yes, things will be cheaper. Although something will have to change a bit to make that work, probably recycling (which also makes stuff like messing with the drop rates of treasure battles easier).
-          Marketplace – answers the while card trading angle, and puts the economy in more of a player controlled space. Judging from how distribution has worked on other game’s auction houses, commons should be plentiful and affordable, which means as long as there are always solid “pauper deck” options, the Marketplace should work for everyone.
-          Bigger Player base – Hopefully a side effect of the economy reboot + new graphics + everything else, jump started by a PR Push around the Kickstarter and then another one around launch to get some mainstream visibility.

And that’s probably not everything, but I’m writing this at 3 AM, so that can’t be helped. And yes, I know that the Kickstarter page doesn't go into that kind of detail, that's because it's mostly for pople who haven't played (info wise)... yet!

So, how are we going to make all that stuff possible?  And in the “all at about the same time” needed to make the PR part work?  A Kickstarter!  Now, some people have asked me why we didn’t just do this a year ago. Well, we wanted to make some progress first (and yes, you’ll get to see some of our progress if you head over to our Kickstarter page), we wanted to make sure we could actually do it, build a complete team, etc, etc.  But more importantly, if we did a Kickstarter last year, we knew that no one would back it except our current core users. And since Alteil itself was still making monthly income from our core users back then, that didn’t seem right.
Now, with our PR company and all the contacts and time we’ve had to prepare, we’re confident a Kickstarter will attract backers above and beyond our current players. In fact, it will become a platform to attract new players! To be honest, you might not see them until launch, because we’re focusing them on a traditional Kickstarter, meaning “we’ll call you when it’s done, and then you can play it”, but as you will see on our rewards details page, that doesn’t mean we haven’t built in an awesome option for current players into pretty much every reward.

So how does this work, and what can you do to help?  I’m glad you asked!

You can pledge on the Kickstarter page, and pick a reward level that you think looks good. We’ve put some effort into making the rewards really cool, including commissioning some new art that won’t appear anywhere else, including the Japanese game. Kickstarter works through Amazon Payments, and if for some reason you can’t use it, we’ll be adding a normal PayPal link in a few days.

Now the thing about Kickstarter is that the better we do in the first few days/week or so, the more likely and the more often we will get featured on the various Kickstarter features list and features pages. Getting featured is pretty much the difference between struggling and scoring, so getting there will be huge for us getting new players to come and back the Kickstarter. That means that all pledges are not created equal. Pledging in the first few days or first week will have a HUGE impact on the overall Kickstarter, and we ask that anyone who’s up for pledging try to do it as soon as possible. If you’re not sure, it will still be great if you could just put down $1 (you can always upgrade your pledge later).  Getting more backers early will also help us.  Think about it this way, pledge late and it’s just a pledge, but pledge early and you’ll be getting dozens more people to pledge with you thanks to the publicity you’ll help us generate. And those dozens more people become dozens more players, and the game will grow and grow. We’re gamers, and they have a system. So let’s game their system!

The other thing you can do is tell your friends about it.  One thing I’ve heard over and over is that a lot of users would love if their friends would play, but they just think that it would be a hard sell. The game’s graphics are 10 years out of date, the site is mostly made for current users, not as a sales tool (well, we partially solved that with our new front facing site) and there isn’t much to get new users into the game. Been waiting for something you could point their friends to that will actually get them excited about Alteil?  How about our Kickstarter page?  It’s slick and full of great looking rewards, gameplay footage, video(s) (okay, the how-to video isn’t done yet, hopefully soon), and all the good parts of the game laid out with bullet points and graphics.

Another thing I’ve often heard is that players don’t like to tell other people about Alteil because it’s obscure. People react better to hearing about your favorite games when they are at least vaguely familiar with the name. Well, I think we can consider the problem solved. This went up at 3 AM this morning, before our Kickstarter was even live:

And they’ll be more where that came from. Oh, and if you spot a little exaggeration in the press, don’t let it bother you. It’s all part of the PR angle. For example, I have it under good authority that the press has been informed that I am 7 feet tall and sport an 8-pack. I asked GGG to photoshop me up a bit to really sell it – wait a minute, that’s not Adonis-Logress in GGG’s out box, it looks more like… Mermaid Logress! Noooooooooo!

Anyway, as you can see things are finally rolling. There’s still a lot to be done before we make our goal, but it feels good to be on the road, radio blasting. I want to thank all of you for sticking with us long enough to see this day.  Thank you all!