GamingIamA I spent the last 2 years turning my idea for a MMORPG into a board game and raised over $250,000 to make it, AMA! AMA!
Apr 24th 2017 by Monkofdoom • 24 Questions • 159 Points
I’m Frank, world builder and game designer of The City of Kings.
I spent the last 2 years designing an open world board game with skill trees, professions, procedurally generated creatures, side quests, the holy trinity, raid like combat and much more, heavily inspired by Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft and Diablo.
You can watch the trailer on YouTube here.
A few months ago, I quit my job to work on this full time and have now raised over $250,000 on Kickstarter to fund manufacturing.
I’d love to answer your questions about designing games, building worlds, running Kickstarters or anything else you wish to know!
My proof: Twitter post here
This looks pretty awesome!
My question is how did you go about making sure the game was properly balanced (enemies not too hard, progression in skill tree vs. difficulty of enemies, skills being balanced)? Was it a kind of test, tweak, repeat or something more technical?
It was really that, a lot of testing.
Sometimes testing specific parts of the game, sometimes full runthroughs and eventually getting hundreds of other people to play the game too.
The other day I even did a "The Internet plays The City of Kings" and had the people in the chat controlling 1 character. That was an interesting way of testing how people thought about the various decisions.
With that said, I do have a lot of spreadsheets which I used to calculate all the possibilities. I know the best and worst cases in all scenarios and made sure to keep referring to these and testing them.
What's the worst thing that can happen in this situation: Ok, let's set that up and see what happens. What's the best thing that can happen in this situation: Ok, let's set that up and see what happens. And so on.
Did you protect your concept before showing it to people or beta testing it? At what point? What are the essential steps to filing a patent or whatever for the idea (not just trademarking the name)? Is it worth hiring a lawyer? What would you recommend doing differently than you actually did?
Hey WobblyGobbledygook, great question!
The short answer is no. The only protection I ever took was asking a few people to sign NDAs when I was sending over artwork that I didn't want released to the public.
I believe there are many great ideas out there all the time and it comes down to the execution, which isn't something you can easily copy.
I believe The City of Kings is a great game due to the combination of mechanics, world and the overall experience I tried to give.
Having someone steal/copy any one of these points wouldn't cause me any damage, and I don't believe another person, or team of people, would have put them together in the same way I have.
Hi Frank, congratulations on the success of the KS campaign so far. I think you've built a very interesting world and some interesting gameplay and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on it!
1) Any chance in the future we would get to experience Vesh's rise to power or a more morally grey setting (rather than simply always saving the world)? 2) how much time did you dedicate researching and preparing for the Kickstarter? You mentioned that you didn't launch it until you were sure the game was good. 3). Did you use a lot of resources like Jamey Stegmaier's blog to prepare?
Hey there, and thank you.
1) I certainly intend to explore as many points in time as possible, there are many years of history before Vesh existed and I hope to make games across the entire timeline. I've already got some prototypes surrounding Vesh's rise to power and hope to flesh these out in the coming years.
They wont all be adventure games either, for example I have been working on a social deduction game where you play the role of the great leaders during the time Vesh is creating his armies. You're fighting over whether or not you should leave Vesh alone or whether you should join together and fight him. (I probably need to work on the elevator pitch for this one!)
2) I've been studying Kickstarter for many years, I've spent hundreds of hours researching it, reading blogs, backing projects and helping others with their own campaigns. I even ran a survey which received over 20,000 answers during my research phase.
3) I have read some of the articles on Jamey Stegmaier's blog, but mainly when looking for specific information. For instance I used his statistics articles covering % of backers per region to prepare my shipping calculations.
Typically I like to use all the different resources available a little bit, rather than a specific one a lot. There are a lot of Kickstarter advice groups on Facebook, there's Board Game Geek, Jamey's blog, James Mathes blog, the Board Game Designer forums and many great podcasts.
I studied computer science at university, I've been in the web industry for my whole life until recently.
Ah, interesting. Do you think it helped in developing the game in any way? :)
The user experience side of it did for sure, perhaps not so much the development.
One of the toughest things about making a good game is learning that you can't do it alone. You need to playtest the game and listen to others, evaluate their feedback and decide when to act on it. They aren't always right but they also aren't always wrong.
Working in UX certainly prepared me for putting my ideas in front of people!