Code Hero was one of the successes of the early Kickstarter boom, racking up $170,000 to build a game that teaches you how to build games.
Unfortunately, things are not happening on schedule and currently the Code Hero team is trying to contain a very angry bunch of crowdfunders. There were even rumors of a class-action lawsuit, thanks to a poorly chosen email address.
Don’t want to be part of an angry mob? Here’s a guide to choosing what games to fund, and what games to avoid.
Treat It The Way You Would Buying Stuff Off Of eBay
Look, we all know the rules of buying stuff online: Don’t trust anybody who doesn’t speak the language, don’t trust anybody shady or scarce on the details, and if it seems too good to be true, assume it’s a ripoff. Even if the people in question mean well, and the number of scammers on Kickstarter is surprisingly low considering, if things go wrong you’re still out the money.
The same goes for Kickstarter projects: Caution is always your friend.
Is The Team Qualified?
It’s one thing to throw twenty bucks at, say, Obsidian Entertainment. Say what you will about their QA department, these guys are professional game developers making an isometric RPG, who are in fact famous for making some of the greatest isometric RPGs ever. It’s fairly likely they can deliver on their promises. The guy who has never built a game probably has no idea what he’s in for, even if he means well, and likely will never deliver the product, or if he does, it will be a mess. It’s cruel logic, but it’s that simple.
Does The Team Have The Necessary Expertise?
The adventure games team wanting money to make another adventure game are likely to know what they’re doing. The mobile games company planning to build the massive open world RPG for PC, Mac and Linux? They’re going to have problems. Even a respected game company wandering out of its bailiwick can quickly find themselves dealing with far more serious problems than expected. Developing for any operating system isn’t easy, and often you’ll find things go wrong accordingly.
Do They Have A Specific Plan In Place And Is It Reasonable?
Look, at root, you are investing in this game. You may not see any of the profits, but you are putting down money on something that does not exist yet on the expectation that it will exist at some point. So, be an investor: Demand specifics about what will get done when and why it’s getting done in that order.
When All Else Fails, Trust People Who Have Something Playable Versus Those Who Don’t
If they’ve got a demo you can download and play, then they also have a better sense of what’s working and what isn’t. Those with at least a sample of the product are always going to have a better grasp than those that don’t.
Bear all this in mind, but don’t give up on Kickstarter. The site is still great. It just needs the crowd to be as smart as the pitchmen.