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Developers should 'think like a fan,' be transparent when pitching on Kickstarter, says Double Fine producer

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Indie developers looking to launch projects for crowdfunding on Kickstarter should "think like a fan," altering their mindset and tailoring pitches to best inform their gaming audience, according to Double Fine Productions producer Greg Rice.

Speaking in panel today at the 2013 Game Developers Conference, Rice said 2 Player Productions' ongoing documentary helped attract backer interest for Broken Age, the studio's upcoming point-and-click adventure game.

"We knew if we were doing a documentary, we needed to be really open and transparent and honest," he said. "Funding through Kickstarter allowed us to do so with no third party involved."

Rice said Double Fine knew it would receive a "burst" of backers at launch due to studio head Tim Schafer's established popularity as an adventure developer. However, Rice said the best way to attract backers was to tailor the information in the initial pitch to backers, rather than presenting facts in a manner similar to how you would approach a publisher.

"Normally when we're pitching a game to a publisher, they want to hear how this game will make them a lot of money," he said. "It's a different perspective than pitching to fans. You have to think like a fan, think about what I would want to hear, what information I would want to know. You have to think hard about how you message that game to people who just want to just play cool game."

"If you're ready to take on your own distribution and marketing, then it's a good choice."

The second biggest thing to keep in mind, Rice said, is setting up an appealing rewards structure, something Double Fine had no previous examples to work off of, and preparing to manage your own marketing campaign.

"We didn't have projects to look to as successes for projects in that space to know what structures might work," he said. "If you're a one man studio and you're not ready to be talking to you fans every day and answering 30 support emails every day, getting yourself out there and being in PR mode for a month straight, this might not be the best choice for you. If you're ready to take on your own distribution and marketing, then it's a good choice."

Both Doug Wilson, designer for the Sportsfriends collection, and CEO of Revolution Software Charles Cecil, the studio behind Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse, cited Double Fine's success as the reason they turned to Kickstarter to fund their own projects.

"Double Fine brought in a whole lot of people geared towards backing games," Wilson said, noting the studio's success helped bring Kickstarter into popularity among indie developers. "Double Fine's success helped fund [our] game."

Double Fine Productions announced the title of its Kickstarter-funded adventure game, Broken Age, earlier this week in a panel at PAX East.